Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Mar 21

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 21, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Radio nebula discovered around the pulsar PSR J0855–4644

New design produces true lithium-air battery

Scientists use diamond in world's first continuous room-temperature solid-state maser

Potassium gives perovskite-based solar cells an efficiency boost

Blind cavefish evolved insulin resistance to keep from starving

Weird superconductor leads double life

New wearable brain scanner allows patients to move freely for the first time

'SoFi': Soft robotic fish swims alongside real ones in coral reefs

Dinosaur frills and horns did not evolve for species recognition

New linguistic analysis finds Dravidian language family is approximately 4,500 years old

Hunting squid slowed by rising carbon levels

New valve technology promises cheaper, greener engines

Researchers listen for silent seizures with 'brain stethoscope' that turns brain waves into sound

Researcher captures striking Antarctic video of minke whale

AMD says patches on the way for flawed chips

Astronomy & Space news

Radio nebula discovered around the pulsar PSR J0855–4644

Using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India, an international team of astronomers has detected a diffuse radio emission forming a nebula around the pulsar PSR J0855–4644. The finding is reported March 9 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Evidence that a star disturbed prehistory solar system comets

About 70,000 years ago, during human occupation of the planet, a small, reddish star approached our solar system and gravitationally disturbed comets and asteroids. Astronomers from the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge have verified that the movement of some of these objects is still marked by that stellar encounter.

ESA's next science mission to focus on nature of exoplanets

The nature of planets orbiting stars in other systems will be the focus for ESA's fourth medium-class science mission, to be launched in mid 2028.

New atmospheric results from the International Space Station

With ESA's help, the latest atmosphere monitor on the International Space Station is delivering results on our planet's ozone, aerosol and nitrogen trioxide levels. Installed last year on the orbital outpost, NASA's sensor tracks the sun and moon to probe the constituents of our atmosphere.

Two Americans, one Russian blast off for ISS

Two astronauts, a cosmonaut and a ball set to be used in the forthcoming football World Cup in Russia blasted off Wednesday for a two-day flight to the International Space Station.

Image: Satellite panel following reentry testing

Ideally, no parts of a reentering satellite would survive their fiery return through the atmosphere, so testing is being used to understand how satellites break apart as they fall.

Technology news

New design produces true lithium-air battery

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Argonne National Laboratory have designed a new lithium-air battery that works in a natural-air environment and still functioned after a record-breaking 750 charge/discharge cycles. Their findings are reported in the journal Nature.

'SoFi': Soft robotic fish swims alongside real ones in coral reefs

This month scientists published rare footage of one of the Arctic's most elusive sharks. The findings demonstrate that, even with many technological advances in recent years, it remains a challenging task to document marine life up close.

New valve technology promises cheaper, greener engines

Technology developed at the University of Waterloo reliably and affordably increases the efficiency of internal combustion engines by more than 10 per cent.

AMD says patches on the way for flawed chips

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday said patches are on the way for recently revealed flaws in some of its chips that could allow hackers to take over computers.

Shelly fashioned to be nicely patted not punched

Shelly is a turtle-like robot that can help kids learn the rewards of being kind to their companion robots—and the consequences of being bullies.

Make way for the mini flying machines

Tiny floating robots could be useful in all kinds of ways, for example, to probe the human gut for disease or to search the environment for pollutants. In a step toward such devices, researchers describe a new marriage of materials, combining ultrathin 2-D electronics with miniature particles to create microscopic machines.

New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in

From moon landings to mobile phones, many of the farfetched visions of science fiction have transformed into reality. In the latest example of this trend, scientists report that they have developed a powerful printer that could streamline the creation of self-assembling structures that can change shape after being exposed to heat and other stimuli. They say this unique technology could accelerate the use of 4-D printing in aerospace, medicine and other industries.

Using AI to make push-notification apps smarter

A pair of researchers in Taiwan has developed an artificial intelligence system to filter smartphone push notifications, thus allowing only those the user wants. In a paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, TonTon Hsien-De Huang and Hung-Yu Kao describe their system and how it was developed and tested.

IBM has launched Watson Assistant

IBM has officially unveiled its Watson Assistant, a voice recognition and assistant system meant to serve as the back end of customized customer front-end systems. IBM announced at its annual Think conference that Watson Assistant is now available for use by interested customers.

Depth-sensing imaging system can peer through fog

MIT researchers have developed a system that can produce images of objects shrouded by fog so thick that human vision can't penetrate it. It can also gauge the objects' distance.

New artificial intelligence technique dramatically improves the quality of medical imaging

A radiologist's ability to make accurate diagnoses from high-quality diagnostic imaging studies directly impacts patient outcome. However, acquiring sufficient data to generate the best quality imaging comes at a cost - increased radiation dose for computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) or uncomfortably long scan times for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Now researchers with the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have addressed this challenge with a new technique based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabling clinicians to acquire higher quality images without having to collect additional data. They describe the technique - dubbed AUTOMAP (automated transform by manifold approximation) - in a paper published today in the journal Nature.

IBM talks about world's smallest computer smaller than grain of salt

World's best. World's fastest. World's smartest. Superlatives are the stuff of which news headlines are made. IBM, taking center stage at its Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas, scores big in superlatives this week in unveiling the world's smallest computer.

Facebook's Zuckerberg admits mistakes—but no apology (Update)

Breaking more than four days of silence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted mistakes and outlined steps to protect user data in light of a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm.

Facebook: A community like no other. Should you leave it?

Sure. Take that quiz about which hair-metal band is your spirit animal. Share a few snaps of your toddler at the beach and watch the likes pile up. Comment on that pointed political opinion from the classmate you haven't seen since the Reagan administration.

EU unveils digital tax targeting Facebook, Google (Update)

The EU unveiled Wednesday proposals for a digital tax that targets US tech giants, heaping more problems on Facebook after revelations over misused data of 50 million users shocked the world.

US FTC probing Facebook data scandal: media

The US Federal Trade Commission, a consumer and competition watchdog, is investigating Facebook after a major data scandal that affected 50 million users, US media reported on Tuesday.

Facebook fined in South Korea for limiting user access

South Korea's telecoms regulator has fined Facebook for illegally limiting user access to its services from late 2016 to 2017.

Academic says he's being scapegoated in Facebook data case (Update)

An academic who developed the app used by Cambridge Analytica to harvest data from millions of Facebook users said Wednesday that he had no idea his work would be used in Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and that he's being scapegoated in the fallout from the affair.

Filling lithium-ion cells faster

Developers from Bosch and scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are using neutrons to analyze the filling of lithium ion batteries for hybrid cars with electrolytes. Their experiments show that electrodes are wetted twice as fast in a vacuum as under normal pressure.

NASA marshall advances 3-D printed rocket engine nozzle technology

Rocket engine nozzles operate in extreme temperatures and pressures from the combustion process and are complex and expensive to manufacture. That is why a team of engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, developed and proved out a new additive manufacturing technique for nozzle fabrication that can greatly reduce costs and development time.

Cambridge Analytica scandal—legitimate researchers using Facebook data could be collateral damage

The scandal that has erupted around Cambridge Analytica's alleged harvesting of 50m Facebook profiles assembled from data provided by a UK-based academic and his company is a worrying development for legitimate researchers.

Indonesia's electricity subsidy reforms led to improved efficiency

Indonesia has been home to some of the world's largest subsidies for electricity use. Electricity prices have been set at low levels, with the government making transfers to Indonesia's electricity utility, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), to cover its losses. In 2012, electricity subsidies cost the government US$10 billion.

Think Facebook can manipulate you? Look out for virtual reality

As Facebook users around the world are coming to understand, some of their favorite technologies can be used against them. It's not just the scandal over psychological profiling firm Cambridge Analytica getting access to data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles. People's filter bubbles are filled with carefully tailored information – and misinformation – altering their behavior and thinking, and even their votes.

Facebook is killing democracy with its personality profiling data

What state should you move to based on your personality? What character on "Downton Abbey" would you be? What breed of dog is best for you? Some enormous percentage of Facebook's 2.13 billion users must have seen Facebook friends sharing results of various online quizzes. They are sometimes annoying, senseless and a total waste of time. But they are irresistible. Besides, you're only sharing the results with your family and friends. There's nothing more innocent, right?

Psychographics—the behavioural analysis that helped Cambridge Analytica know voters' minds

The dealings that have been revealed between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have all the trappings of a Hollywood thriller: a Bond villain-style CEO, a reclusive billionaire, a naïve and conflicted whistle-blower, a hipster data scientist turned politico, an academic with seemingly questionable ethics, and of course a triumphant president and his influential family.

Growing mistrust threatens Facebook after data mining scandal (Update)

As Facebook reels from the scandal over hijacked personal data, a movement to quit the social network gathered momentum Wednesday, portending threats to one of the most powerful internet firms.

Pedestrian's death raises concerns over driverless cars

Self-driving cars were once the fixtures of futuristic cartoons and sci-fi films.

Dropbox raises price range ahead of stock debut

Cloud data service Dropbox defied recent volatility among technology shares and raised its expected stock price range ahead of this week's initial public offering, suggesting strong appetite among investors.

Key figures in Cambridge Analytica scandal

The university academic, the chief executive who boasted about dirty tricks and US political strategist Steve Bannon—here are the key figures involved in Cambridge Analytica, the British firm at the heart of a Facebook data scandal:

Psychometrics: How Facebook data helped Trump find his voters

It was one of hundreds of cute questionnaires that were shared widely on Facebook and other social media, like "Which Pokemon Are You?" and "What Are Your Most Used Words?"

EU greenlights controversial Bayer-Monsanto takeover

The EU on Wednesday approved the proposed blockbuster buyout of US agri-giant Monsanto by German chemical firm Bayer after securing concessions in order to win approval.

China to become top patent filer within three years: UN

China is on its way to becoming the world leader in international patent filings, and should overtake the top spot from the United States within three years, the UN said Wednesday.

Tesla stockholders approve Elon Musk compensation

Shareholders of electric car and solar panel maker Tesla Inc. have approved an ambitious pay package for iconic CEO Elon Musk that could net him more than $50 billion if he meets lofty milestones over the next decade, according to a person briefed on the vote.

Porsche workers snap up bonuses of nearly 10,000 euros

German luxury carmaker Porsche on Wednesday said it would pay workers a special bonus of up to 9,656 euros ($11,800) each to celebrate a record year, even as the industry grapples with a series of scandals.

Uber co-founder Kalanick shifts gears to real estate startup

Uber co-founder and ousted chief Travis Kalanick is shifting gears to take charge of a startup devoted to giving shops or parking lots new purpose as venues for internet-age businesses.

Crisis experts say Facebook has mishandled the data scandal (Update)

The crisis-management playbook is pretty simple: Get ahead of the story, update authorities and the public regularly, accept responsibility and take decisive action. Crisis-management experts say that until Wednesday, Facebook was 0-for-4.

Washington state's electric vehicle sales tax break to end

Washington state's sales tax exemption for electric vehicles is expected to end sometime this summer after efforts to extend it stalled during the recent legislative session.

New Mexico regulators OK massive wind farms near Texas

New Mexico regulators on Wednesday approved a $1.6 billion plan that calls for building two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border.

Online tech is changing the dynamics of gift-giving

Online gift-giving is spreading in social networks and causing people to give more gifts - online and in person - according to a new study led by René Kizilcec, Cornell University assistant professor of information science. About half of these gifts were unlikely to have occurred offline or via another online channel.

Leaving fossils behind for the future of transport

One of the key challenges we face as a species in the 21st century is how to co-exist with nature in a sustainable manner whilst maintaining our way of life and extending these benefits across the developing world. This basic tension affects every area of our modern way of life, but none more so than transport. We live in a time of unprecedented technological progress, with colossal investment in clean transport technologies – but there is a significant risk that in a rush towards technological change we neglect the big picture. To fully understand the scale and importance of the challenge that confronts us we need to consider the profound impact that transport has already had on our way of life.

Tencent profits up on mobile gaming popularity

Chinese technology giant Tencent reported a profit boost Wednesday, helped by the continued popularity of its mobile games.

'Fat finger' sends Formosa Petrochemical shares plunging in Taiwan

Taiwan's third largest stock tumbled almost 10 percent in minutes Wednesday and lost $3 billion of its market value due to errors made when placing orders, the stock exchange said.

Amazon workers in Spain deliver first strike

Workers at Amazon's biggest logistics centre in Spain have gone on strike, a first in the country as they demand better pay and conditions, a union said Wednesday.

Nordea 'pulls brake' on Facebook investments after data row

The Nordic region's largest bank Nordea said Wednesday it would not allow its investment funds to buy stocks in Facebook after the social media giant was ensnarled in a major data scandal.

Opening arguments in AT&T antitrust trial postponed

Opening arguments in the federal government's case to block AT&T's efforts to gobble up Time Warner have been postponed until Thursday.

Medicine & Health news

New wearable brain scanner allows patients to move freely for the first time

A new generation of brain scanner, that can be worn like a helmet allowing patients to move naturally whilst being scanned, has been developed by researchers at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, University of Nottingham and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL. It is part of a five-year Wellcome funded project which has the potential to revolutionise the world of human brain imaging.

Researchers listen for silent seizures with 'brain stethoscope' that turns brain waves into sound

When a doctor or nurse suspects something is wrong with a patient's heart, there's a simple way to check: put a stethoscope over the heart and listen to the sounds it makes. Doctors and nurses can use the same diagnostic tool to figure out what's going on with the lungs, stomach and more, but not the brain - although that could change with a new device.

New ALS gene points to common role of cytoskeleton in disease

An international team of researchers led by John Landers, PhD, at UMass Medical School, and Bryan Traynor, MD, PhD, at the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has identified KIF5A as a new gene associated with the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The discovery, published in the journal Neuron, advances the understanding of what causes ALS and further implicates the role of cytoskeletal defects in the axon as a common factor in the disease. It points to the cytoskeleton as a potential target for new drug development.

A new way of thinking about tau kinetics, an essential component of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is most often characterized by two different pathologies in the brain: plaque deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid and tangles of another protein called tau. A paper appearing March 21 in the journal Neuron brings new insights into how tau proteins are processed in the human central nervous system. Researchers found that tau production and secretion from nerve cells appears to be an active process in the natural course of Alzheimer's disease. This may explain why experimental treatments targeting tau have had disappointing results, as the current focus of these drugs assumes that the protein is primarily released from dying nerve cells.

First 'non-gene' mutations behind neurodevelopmental disorders discovered

In the largest study of its kind, genetic changes causing neurodevelopmental disorders have been discovered by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators in the NHS Regional Genetics services. The study of almost 8,000 families, published today (21 March) in Nature, found for the first time that mutations outside of genes can cause rare developmental disorders of the central nervous system.

Mumps resurgence likely due to waning vaccine-derived immunity

A resurgence of mumps in the U.S. among vaccinated young adults appears to be due to waning of vaccine-induced immunity, according to a new analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Researchers found that vaccine-derived immune protection against mumps persists an average of about 27 years after the last dose. The findings suggest that, in addition to the currently recommended two doses of mumps vaccine in childhood, a third dose at age 18 or booster shots may help sustain protection among adults.

Immune cells in the retina can spontaneously regenerate

Immune cells called microglia can completely repopulate themselves in the retina after being nearly eliminated, according to a new study in mice from scientists at the National Eye Institute (NEI). The cells also re-establish their normal organization and function. The findings point to potential therapies for controlling inflammation and slowing progression of rare retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness among Americans 50 and older. A report on the study was published online today in Science Advances.

Belly fat promotes diabetes under orders from liver

The fat that builds up deep in the abdomen—more than any other type of body fat—raises the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have known that abdominal fat becomes dangerous when it becomes inflamed but have had a hard time determining what causes the inflammation.

Gradual release of immunotherapy at site of tumor surgery prevents tumors from returning

A new study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists suggests it may be possible to prevent tumors from recurring and to eradicate metastatic growths by implanting a gel containing immunotherapy during surgical removal of a tumor.

Researchers discover new anti-cancer protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in Nature that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

Western diet depletes artery-protecting immune cells

New research from scientists at the La Jolla Institute For Allergy and Immunology shows how a diet high in fat and cholesterol depletes the ranks of artery-protecting immune cells, turning them into promoters of inflammation, which exacerbate atherosclerotic plaque buildup that occurs in cardiovascular disease. The team has also found that high density lipoproteins (HDL)—more commonly known as "good cholesterol"—counteract this process, helping the protective immune cells maintain their identity and keep arteries clear.

Cold can activate body's 'good' fat at a cellular level, study finds

Lower temperatures can activate the body's 'good' fat formation at a cellular level, a new study led by academics at The University of Nottingham has found.

Could drugs used after an organ transplant protect against Alzheimer's?

A UT Southwestern study in mice provides new clues about how a class of anti-rejection drugs used after organ transplants may also slow the progression of early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

International team confirms new genetic mutation link to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Kinesin family member 5A (KIF5A), a gene previously linked to two rare neurodegenerative disorders, has been definitively connected to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by an international team from several of the world's top ALS research labs. The findings identify how mutations in KIF5A disrupt transport of key proteins up and down long, threadlike axons that connect nerve cells between the brain and the spine, eventually leading to the neuromuscular symptoms of ALS.

Risk of maternal death doubled in pregnant women with anemia

Pregnant women with anaemia are twice as likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy compared to those without the condition, according to a major international study led by Queen Mary University of London of over 300,000 women across 29 countries.

Surgeon performance benefits from 'warm-up'

Surgeons progressively 'warm-up' as they repeat a procedure on their operating list, akin to the way athletes' performance improves across a competition—according to new research.

Do young children learn anything from YouTube videos?

In a new Acta Paediatrica study, children up to 2 years of age could be entertained and kept busy by their parents showing them YouTube clips on smartphones, but they did not learn anything from the videos.

Can artificial intelligence be used to study gut microbes in patients?

A new Journal of Internal Medicine article proposes that artificial intelligence tools, such as machine learning algorithms, have the potential for building predictive models for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases linked to imbalances in gut microbial communities, or microbiota.

Freezing hunger-signaling nerve may help ignite weight loss

Freezing the nerve that carries hunger signals to the brain may help patients with mild-to-moderate obesity lose weight, according to a study presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting. The treatment was determined safe and feasible in the initial pilot phase.

Targeted immunotherapy treatment shows promise for treating advanced stage liver tumors

Advanced stage liver tumors may be safely treated through image-guided injections of an immunotherapy approved for melanoma, according to a study presented today at the Society of Interventional Radiology's Annual Scientific Meeting.

Study reinforces link between lack of vitamin D and metabolic syndrome

Results of a study carried out in Brazil show a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women. Metabolic syndrome (MetS), described as a cluster of conditions that heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, is estimated to affect approximately 50 percent of the female population above the age of 50 in the United States.

Neglect common in English care homes

The largest-ever survey of care home staff in England, led by UCL researchers, has found that neglectful behaviours are widespread.

Does menopausal hormone therapy maintain the brain?

Taking menopausal hormone therapy soon after menopause to relieve symptoms may also benefit the brain, according to a study published in the March 21, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

New augmented reality Hands-Only CPR makes training life-like and mobile

The American Heart Association, the world's leading voluntary health organization devoted to building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke, has collaborated with Google to develop an augmented reality version of Hands-Only CPR training that launches today in the Association's mobile App, My Cardiac Coach.

Treating depression in cancer increases quality of life, but not length of life

Researchers have found that treating depression doesn't make cancer patients live longer, but it does make lives immeasurably better.

Forgetting details, getting the gist may prompt false memories in older adults

Older adults often complain about forgetting, but Penn State psychologists suggest that another problem may be misremembering.

Fiber supplement increases insulin secretion in type 2 diabetic patients

University at Buffalo researchers have found that taking a fiber supplement can help patients with type 2 diabetes boost their insulin secretion even after eating a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal.

App developed at UIC to track mood, predict bipolar disorder episodes

An app that one day may help predict and monitor manic and depressive episodes in people with bipolar disorder is now available in the App Store.

An unexpected side effect of public health education efforts in Brazil

Understanding of tuberculosis is associated with higher, not lower, stigmatization of TB patients in Brazil, according to a new "Insights" report from Vanderbilt's Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) titled "Blaming the Victim: Knowledge of Tuberculosis is Associated with Greater Stigma in Brazil."

Infectious diseases docs may be lifesaving for patients with antibiotic-resistant infections

For patients with difficult-to-treat, drug-resistant infections, seeing an infectious diseases specialist can be a lifesaver. Such patients experienced significantly lower mortality rates when treated by physicians specializing in infectious diseases, according to a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Study finds bad sleep habits start early in school-age children

Bad sleep habits in children begin earlier than many experts assume. That's the takeaway from a new study led by McGill University researchers. The findings suggest that official sleep guidelines for young school children should be revisited – and that parents ought to maintain firm bedtime rules throughout children's primary-school years.

20-year study finds little change in social functioning in people with psychosis

Researchers have found that levels of social impairment in people with schizophrenia remained remarkably stable in the years after the first hospitalisation for psychosis.

Do patients with neck injuries really need that MRI after a normal CT?

A new Yale-led study finds that the cost of a follow-up MRI after a normal CT scan for unconscious patients with blunt neck injuries may outweigh the benefit.

Surgeon uses 3-D printed skulls to prepare for delicate procedures

Plastic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Black operates in some of medicine's most challenging situations, including treating children born with deformities and adults suffering from severe trauma caused by violent accidents.

Microscopic 'shuttles' transport enzyme from cells to trigger onset of kidney disease

A new study involving the University of Sheffield has identified a key culprit in the onset of kidney disease in a major marker for kidney disease development.

We've located the part of the brain which understands social interactions

The ability to quickly detect and recognise the purpose of a social interaction is as indispensable today as it would have been to our ancient ancestors – but how does the brain do it?

How young children can develop racial biases – and what that means

Race-based conflicts and prejudices are common. The persistence of such attitudes has led some to ask whether we are naturally inclined to like those who are like us and dislike those who are different. One way to investigate that is to do experiments with babies and young children.

Energy-restricted Mediterranean diet could impact genes and improve health

New research shows that a high-fat Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra virgin olive oil could modify the function of specific cell genes. This should help in the fight against several conditions, especially cardiovascular disease.

Some gut feelings are a red flag, according to research

Are you guided by gut feelings?

How animal parasites find a home in humans

There has been a lot of buzz recently about a video shared by Oregon woman Abby Beckley removing worms from her eye. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a case report documenting Beckley's infection as the first human case of the cattle eyeworm Thelazia gulosa.

Research to make early diagnosis, intervention possible for cerebral palsy

A test to diagnose cerebral palsy at birth, which could allow infants access to critical early interventions, is one step closer thanks to research from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI).

Sex workers need workplace regulations to improve safety

Canada's sex workers, many of whom work indoors, are enterprising and vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves against exploitation, assault or robbery. They set a relaxing atmosphere, insist on a no-drugs rule, keep self-defence tools at the ready and maintain good relationships with landlords in order to avoid eviction.

Two genes likely play key role in extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

Most women experience some morning sickness during pregnancy, but about 2 percent of pregnant women experience a more severe form of nausea and vomiting.

Cardiovascular health disparities between whites and minorities narrow, study shows

The nation's overall cardiovascular health worsened from 1988 to 2014, with disparities among racial and ethnic groups dropping slightly. But the reduction in disparities was due to worsening health among whites—not improvements among African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, a new UCLA-led study suggests.

Study finds the emergency department can play a key role in identifying undiagnosed HIV cases in low

South Africa has the worst epidemic of HIV in the world. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, 19 percent of the global number of people living with HIV are in South Africa. Many people in South Africa and around the globe do not even know they have HIV.

Six unusual signs that you may have heart disease

The heart, so integral to life, sits in its protective cage in the chest, going about its work without any external sign to the owner. In the West, where one in four people die of cardiovascular disease, the importance of keeping the heart in good working order is hard to overstate. Sadly, the first sign many people have that their heart isn't in good working order is when they have a heart attack.

The quest for neuronal origins

The cerebral cortex consists of a large diversity of neurons, each displaying specific characteristics in terms of molecular, morphological and functional features. But where are these neurons born? How do they develop their distinct properties? We do not currently have clear answers to these questions, largely because of methodological limitations. However, scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have recently taken a step forward. They have discovered a unique molecular factor allowing them to track, from birth to maturity, a homogeneous class of neurons called the neurogliaform cells. The results, which are published in the journal e-life, reveal for the first time the genesis and the development of these cells, opening new opportunities for the understanding of neuronal specificities and functioning of the cerebral cortex.

Tests starve cancer cells while leaving normal cells unaffected

Scientists seeking to make chemotherapies which are less harmful to cancer patients have reported "highly promising" results from a synthetic molecule called TPP.

Reducing HIV transmission when using hormonal contraceptives

More women are affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) than any other life-threatening infectious agent. This makes it crucial to identify all factors increasing the risk of HIV infection.

Medicating for mental health—Intense exercise before taking a daily dose could prevent weight gain, diseases

Weight gain and Type 2 diabetes are potential side effects in people taking a common medication to treat mental illness.

Islet transplantation improves QoL for people with hard-to-control type 1 diabetes

Quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes who had frequent severe hypoglycemia—a potentially fatal low blood glucose (blood sugar) level—improved consistently and dramatically following transplantation of insulin-producing pancreatic islets, according to findings published online March 21 in Diabetes Care. The results come from a Phase 3 clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both part of the National Institutes of Health.

Long forgotten, 1970s gay health clinics served as front line for AIDS crisis

Most historical accounts of the 1980s AIDS crisis presume the gay community lacked the capacity to respond to the devastating effects of the virus.

Targeting telomeres to overcome therapy resistance in advanced melanoma

A study conducted at The Wistar Institute in collaboration with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has demonstrated the efficacy of targeting aberrantly active telomerase to treat therapy-resistant melanoma. The research was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Pregnancy and motherhood during surgical training: Results of a nationwide survey

Surgeons take pride in the intensive training they endure, spending between five and nine years after medical school dedicated to gaining the skillsets needed to provide the best possible care for their patients. For female surgeons who wish to have children, this means that they either start a family during training, or wait until the end of the lengthy training period often when they are in their mid- to late-30s. Women constitute more than half of today's medical school graduates, yet they remain underrepresented in general surgery, making up 40 percent of residents and only 18 percent of faculty members in the United States.

Researchers link dietary supplement DHA to higher fat-free body mass in children

University of Kansas researchers have reported that pregnant women who consumed a supplement of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a nutrient added to U.S. infant formulas since 2002, tend to have children with higher fat-free body mass at 5 years old.

Wills & living wills

(HealthDay)—No one likes to think about end-of-life issues, but it's important for every adult to have a will, no matter their age.

Physical activity linked to lower mortality risk in CHD

(HealthDay)—Physical activity (PA), but not weight loss, is associated with improved survival in coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a study published in the March 13 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Patients rate blunt cannula subcision best for acne scars

(HealthDay)—Blunt cannula subcision (BCS) is more effective than Nokor needle subcision (NNS) for acne scar treatment, according to a study published online March 9 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Adcetris FDA approval expanded to include later-stage Hodgkin's

(HealthDay)—U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) has been expanded to include adults with untreated stage III or IV classical Hodgkin's lymphoma, the agency said Tuesday in a news release.

Medical expansion has improved health—with one exception

While Americans debate the rising cost of health care, a new study of 30 countries over 27 years found that medical expansion has improved overall health - with one major exception.

Drinking sugary drinks may be associated with greater risk of death

Adults over the age of 45 who consume large amounts of sugary beverages including soft drinks, fruit drinks and fruit juices may have a higher risk of dying from heart disease or other causes, compared to those who drink fewer sugary drinks, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Middle-aged tooth loss linked to increased coronary heart disease risk

Losing two or more teeth in middle age is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Mono-unsaturated fats from plants, not animals may reduce risk of death from heart disease and other causes

Diets rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids from plants were associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease or other causes compared to diets rich in mono-unsaturated fats from animals, which were linked to a higher risk of death from heart disease or other causes, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Grilling and other high-temperature cooking may raise risk of high blood pressure

Grilled or well-done beef, chicken or fish may raise the risk of developing high blood pressure among people who regularly eat those foods, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Global burden of low back pain—a consequence of negligence and misinformation

A series of groundbreaking papers from Australian and international researchers in The Lancet, published today (22/3) warns that low back pain is a major health burden globally - across developed and developing nations - and that the current use of X-rays and scans, opioids, injections and surgery to investigate and treat the condition is useless, unnecessary and harmful.

Parkinson's gene initiates disease outside of the brain

Until very recently, Parkinson's had been thought a disease that starts in the brain, destroying motion centers and resulting in the tremors and loss of movement. New research published this week in the journal Brain, shows the most common Parkinson's gene mutation may change how immune cells react to generic infections like colds, which in turn trigger the inflammatory reaction in the brain that causes Parkinson's. The research offers a new understanding of Parkinson's disease.

Neuroscientists develop potential tools for the study of brain function

A team of University of Missouri neuroscientists are inching closer to developing the tools needed to decipher the brain. In 2015, the team received a National Science Foundation Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) award to investigate a newly discovered class of proteins that are turned on by heat. Now, the team has published a new paper that demonstrates how these proteins can be used as tools to regulate the activity of individual neurons in the brain through changes in temperature. These tools will advance fundamental brain research and potentially lead to "deep brain stimulation" treatments used for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients.

Brief cardiac arrest? Tend to the heart, but don't neglect the brain

Patients who survive a brief cardiac arrest and who appear neurologically intact should nonetheless receive a detailed neuropsychological assessment before being discharged, suggests a joint study by researchers at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and Israel's Rambam Medical Center.

Automated notification system improves follow-up of actionable tests pending at discharge

Many patients are discharged from the hospital with pending tests. For example, a patient may be awaiting biopsy results for a mass that may turn out to be cancerous, may have had blood cultures drawn that unexpectedly return positive, or may have had their Vitamin D levels tested which might come back low. A surprisingly large number of these tests pending at discharge (TPAD) are not followed up. The proportion of TPADs with documented follow-up is variable across institutions, but can be as low as 20 percent, meaning that up to 80 percent of patients awaiting results may never receive follow-up on those tests. A new study by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital demonstrates that the implementation of a simple automated notification system can improve TPAD follow-up. Their results are published in Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Millions get wrong treatment for back pain: study

(HealthDay)—Low back pain affects 540 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of disability, but it's often treated improperly, researchers report.

Most schools have variety of food allergy policies

(HealthDay)—The vast majority of school nurses report staff training on anaphylaxis and epinephrine availability, though barriers to implementation of food allergy policies exist, according to a study published in the March issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Blueprint being developed to address physician burnout

(HealthDay)—A new, three-pronged approach is being applied to develop a blueprint for addressing physician burnout, according to a report published in Medical Economics.

HIV incidence down in all except men who have sex with men

(HealthDay)—From 2008 to 2015, there was a decrease in modeled HIV incidence in all transmission risk groups except men who have sex with men (MSM), according to research published online March 20 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Oxyntomodulin augments glucose homeostasis

(HealthDay)—In obese subjects with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), oxyntomodulin (OXM) significantly augments glucose-dependent insulin secretion, according to a study published online March 15 in Diabetes.

Study evaluates connection between drug, alcohol use and infant abdominal malformation

Alcohol use early in the pregnancy by the mother may be a risk factor for a condition in which an infant's intestines develop outside the abdomen, according to a study published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.

Study: Poor health is a less common cause of bankruptcy than commonly thought, but it brings other economic woes

A team of researchers led by an MIT economist has found that medical expenses account for roughly 4 percent of bankruptcy filings among nonelderly adults in the U.S.

Surpassing critical blood pressure threshold could signal hypertension regardless of age

Hypertension, abnormally high blood pressure, is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Many healthcare professionals still believe that incremental changes in blood pressure are normal, and expected, with aging. A new study by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital, published in the journal of JAMA Cardiology, found that a systolic (top) blood pressure that regularly exceeds 120-125 mmHg could signal impending hypertension, regardless of age. These results are in line with the recently updated American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association high blood pressure guidelines, which categorize high blood pressure as greater than 130/80 mmHg.

Children born to mothers with low vitamin D levels may develop autism-like behaviors

Low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy and breast feeding may be related to an unusual pattern of brain development that can lead to differences in social behaviour of children in later life, according to a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology. Rats with vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and lactation produced offspring that displayed altered social behaviours in adulthood. Differences in social behaviours are a hallmark of numerous human conditions, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and these findings provide further evidence of the importance of maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy for brain development of offspring.

Certain pain medications linked to increased heart risks

Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was associated with an 18% increased risk of atrial fibrillation—an irregular, often rapid heart rate—in a study of middle-aged adults in Taiwan. The findings are published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Women with DCIS at lowest risk of recurrence if they are post-menopausal or ER+

Patients with an early form of breast cancer are less likely to suffer a recurrence if they are post-menopausal or if their tumour is oestrogen receptor positive, according to research presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.

Double mastectomy to prevent cancer reduces risk of dying in BRCA1 mutation carriers

Healthy women who carry a breast cancer-causing mutation in the BRCA1 gene, not only reduce their risk of developing the disease but also their chances of dying from it if they have both breasts removed, according to new research presented today (Wednesday) at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.

Systems approaches to optimizing deep brain stimulation therapies in Parkinson's disease

Systems biologists, physicists, and engineers have intensively worked at computational tools to analyze, predict, and optimize the effects of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to treat chronic neurological diseases. These efforts often have overlapping objectives and closely-related methods, but they are rarely compared, combined, or jointly discussed, perhaps because they often target different research communities.

Seizures may be detected through sound

A new Epilepsia study indicates that individuals without electroencephalogram (EEG) training can detect ongoing seizures in comatose patients through a novel method by which patients' brain waves are converted to sound.

Better educated nurses linked to better outcomes in surgical patients with dementia

A new study found that surgical patients with coexisting Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) are more likely to die within 30 days of admission and to die following a complication compared with patients without ADRD. Having more nurses with at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the bedside improved the likelihood of good outcomes for all patients, but it had a much greater effect for patients with ADRD.

Childhood measles linked to increased risk of later lung disease

In a new Respirology study, having measles—a highly contagious respiratory infection—during early childhood was linked with an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in middle age, but only in adults with asthma and a considerable history of smoking.

Risk of a second breast cancer can be better quantified in women carrying a BRCA mutation

The risk of a second breast cancer in patients with high-risk BRCA gene mutations can be more precisely predicted by testing for several other genetic variants, each of which are known to have a small impact on breast cancer risk.

Sitting and physical inactivity may increase risk of urinary tract symptoms

Prolonged sitting time and low physical activity levels were linked with the development of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in a BJU International study of 69,795 middle-aged Korean men.

Lymph node surgery could be avoided for some women with aggressive types of breast cancer

Sentinel lymph node biopsies, where lymph nodes are surgically removed to check for signs of breast cancer spread, could be safely avoided for some women, according to research presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.

Patients to control their own sedation during operations

Patients undergoing operations while awake will control their own levels of anxiety thanks to new research.

New study to pilot language and reading interventions for deaf and hearing children

Researchers from City, University of London have been awarded £97k from the Nuffield Foundation to pilot a language and reading intervention with 120 children in their first year of formal education

How #MeToo can guide sex education in schools

Six months after the explosive allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein came to light, giving impetus to the #MeToo movement, this series looks at the aftermath of the movement, and if it has brought about lasting change to sexual harassment and gender equality.

Study shows heightened risks for premature babies in Bangladesh

A recently published study in Bangladesh titled Clinical outcome of the late preterm infants shows that premature babies can develop major neonatal complications that need admission in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Faster computations to visualize the finer details of brain activity in functional brain imaging

A computationally efficient data processing scheme will make it possible to see correlations in brain activity between different parts of the brain at unprecedented resolution. The statistics-based computation scheme, developed by KAUST researchers, also tackles one of the most critical problems of medical and biological imaging-how to process imaging data fast enough to realize the full exploratory power of the latest high-resolution imaging techniques.

Hope rises for a world free of TB

World TB Day 2018 is turning out to be special —never in the history of tuberculosis (TB) control has there been greater political attention and commitment to tackling the infectious disease that causes nearly two million deaths a year.

Chronic opioids linked to increased complications after spinal fusion surgery

Patients who have been taking opioid pain relievers for several months before spinal fusion surgery are at increased risk of complications after their surgery, reports a study in the journal Spine.

Analysis shows influential US prostate study not representative of real-world patients

An analysis of 3 US cancer databases has shown that a major US study comparing surgery with observation in early prostate cancer patients, the PIVOT study, used patients which didn't properly reflect the average US patient. Researchers found that patients in the PIVOT trial were between 3 and 8 times more likely to die than real-world patients. This may call into question the conclusions of the study, which are now being implemented in the US and worldwide. It was presented at the European Association of Urology congress (EAU18) in Copenhagen on 17 March, following publication as a letter in the peer-reviewed journal, European Urology.

Racial disparities in HIV control persist despite equal access to care

Researchers report that racial disparities in HIV control (viral load) exist even when patients have equal access to care, as shown in a study of black and white HIV-infected patients treated in the Veterans Administration (VA) health system. The study, which identified specific factors that contributed to these differences, is published in AIDS Patient Care and STDs.

New links between genetic abnormality and brain function in Huntington's disease

While the gene mutation that causes Huntington's disease has been associated with changes in certain types of functional brain connectivity, a new study that examined connectivity across the whole brain has now identified alterations in functional connectivity in additional brain networks and has also shown significant associations between the extent of the degree of gene mutation and measures of motor and cognitive function. These novel findings in carriers of the Huntington's disease gene mutation are presented in an article published in Brain Connectivity.

Long-lasting method to prevent dengue launched in Mexico's Baja California Sur

Communities in Mexico's Baja California Sur are to benefit from a self-sustaining program that uses Wolbachia mosquitoes to provide long-lasting protection from dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.

Machine learning predicts which patients benefit from prostate multiparametric MRI

A newly developed machine learning model can accurately predict which patients are most likely to benefit from prostate multiparametric MRI (mpMRI), according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2018 Annual Meeting, set for April 22-27 in Washington, DC.

Dutch prosecutors investigate assisted suicide group

Dutch prosecutors opened a criminal investigation Wednesday into an organization that supports members' efforts to buy a deadly powder to take their own lives.

Live 3-D printing of osteogenic scaffolds into bone defects

At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Venu G. Varanasi (University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation and Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, Dallas), presented an oral session titled "Live 3D Printing of Osteogenic Scaffolds Into Bone Defects." The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.

Leading AIDS researcher selected as CDC director

A leading AIDS researcher was picked Wednesday to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government's top public health agency.

Biology news

Blind cavefish evolved insulin resistance to keep from starving

Researchers trying to better understand and treat blood-sugar disorders such as type 2 diabetes can look for new clues in odd little fish that dwell in Mexican caves.

Hunting squid slowed by rising carbon levels

James Cook University (JCU) scientists in Australia have found high carbon dioxide levels cause squid to bungle attacks on their prey.

Researcher captures striking Antarctic video of minke whale

Marine mammal expert Dr. Regina Eisert thought minke whales were a little boring until she captured some striking footage of one swimming underwater near Antarctica. Now she thinks they're beautiful.

Monkeys use tools to crack nuts, shuck oysters

Wild macaque monkeys have learned to use tools to crack open nuts and even shuck oysters, researchers said Wednesday, identifying a rare skill-set long thought to be the exclusive party trick of humans and chimps.

City-dwelling blackbirds have poorer measures of health

Blackbirds live longer in cities than in forests. But their telomeres, repetitive stretches of DNA at the ends of the chromosomes, show that these city birds have a much poorer health status than their rural cousins. These findings from a study in five European cities led by University of Groningen biologists were published in Biology Letters on 21 March.

Predators learn to identify prey from other species

Wolves purportedly raised Romulus and Remus, who went on to rule Rome. Is there good scientific evidence for learning across species? Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama wanted to know if predatory bats learn both from other members of their own species and from other predatory bat species.

Extreme weather brings kelp rafts from the sub-Antarctic to New Zealand

An unusually large amount of storm activity in southern New Zealand over the past 12 months has provided new insights into how extreme weather events can impact marine biology.

Promiscuity may have accelerated animal domestication

Domestication of wild animals may have accelerated as promiscuity increased among the high density populations drawn to life near humans, according to a new paper by University of Liverpool researchers.

Insects could help us find new yeasts for big business

Yeasts are tiny fungi - but they play key roles in producing everything from beer and cheese to industrial chemicals and biofuels. And now scientists are proposing a new approach that could help these industries find new yeasts for use in their manufacturing processes.

Researchers study the vital role of marine predators in supplying nutrients to coral reef ecology

It's long been known that sharks help nourish coral reefs, but exactly to what extent has never been scientifically mapped out—until now.

Seaweeds shelter calcifying marine life from acidifying oceans

Seaweeds create a chemical microenvironment at their surface, providing refuge for calcifying organisms that are at risk from decreasing oceanic pH, shows new research published in the journal Functional Ecology.

Flight delays: Study finds out why some African birds stay home longer

Parents of millennials still living at home aren't the only ones with children that refuse to leave. Many animal species have adult offspring that are slow to take flight, but when and how they leave has been poorly understood by scientists. Now, new UBC research on a desert-dwelling African bird is yielding some answers.

India's turtle warriors embrace mission to save threatened species

Since he was a boy, Soumyaranjan Biswal has kept a night vigil at the beach near his coastal Indian village where tens of thousands of tiny olive ridley turtles gather to lay their eggs.

Australia to open more marine parks to commercial fishing

Australia recommended opening more of its marine parks, including near the Great Barrier Reef, to commercial fishing Wednesday in a decision slammed as the worst downgrading of a protected area in the world.

Natural aphid predators reduce pesticide use

The greater the diversity of crops grown in agricultural landscapes is, the better natural predators of aphids are able to control the pests on wheat fields. This is because a varied landscape provides better living conditions for aphids' natural predators than a never-ending series of monocultures.

US national parks increasingly important for bird conservation in face of climate change

U.S. National Parks could become even more important for the conservation of bird species in the face of climate change, according to a study published March 21, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Joanna Wu from the National Audubon Society, US, and colleagues.

As humans change the world, predators seize the chance to succeed

If you have ever been to a nature reserve in Africa, you may have been lucky enough to see predators on a kill – maybe something spectacular like lions on a giraffe. The chances are you got to see that because the predators killed the prey right on the road, where you could get up close in your car or safari vehicle.

Come hither... how imitating mating males could cut cane toad numbers

Cane toads are a real Aussie success story – for themselves, at least. But research has produced a new kind of trap that may help stop their insidious march south.

Long-term study reveals fluctuations in birds' nesting success

Understanding the factors that affect a bird species' nesting success can be crucial for planning effective conservation efforts. However, many studies of nesting birds last only a few years—and that means they can miss the effects of long-term variation and rare events. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances demonstrates this with nearly four decades of data from Song Sparrows in British Columbia.

Extent of cross-breeding between wild wolves and domestic dogs across Europe and Asia

Mating between domesticated dogs and wild wolves over hundreds of years has left a genetic mark on the wolf gene pool, new research has shown.

'We're sleepwalking into a mass extinction' say scientists

Species that live in symbiosis with others, which often occur in the most delicately balanced and threatened marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, are the slowest to recover their diversity if damaged, according to a team of UK scientists.

Exploring the vast potential of non-edible seed oils

Biomass remains the primary source of energy for developing countries in the South-East Asian region. The share of biomass utilization for energy varies from as large as 50-75 percent in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam to a much lower percentage (below 15 percent) in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Previously, biomass was used only as primary energy source. However, the current trend is towards the utilization and manipulation of biomass to generate bioenergy and value-added bio-based chemicals. Due to the increasing concern towards environmental and fossil-fuel reserves security, considerable attention has been given to these undervalued resources.

Native invaders—a chink in the armour of ecological policy?

Invasive species are widely recognised as a major threat to the functioning of ecosystems and conservation of wildlife in the 21st century. But while most biological invasions are associated with the introduction of alien species into a new ecosystem – like the notorious cane toad in Australia– an important and often overlooked minority involve native species that begin to behave differently in response to manmade pressures. These so-called "native invaders" can become increasingly dominant within their native ranges and can cause complex changes in their native ecosystems, from disrupting species interactions to affecting community composition and biodiversity. These complex changes also make it challenging to deliver effective  interventions to manage native invaders, as Caleb Roberts and his colleagues find out in their latest research published in PLOS ONE.

Excess phosphorus in cat food damages the kidney

A new study carried out by LMU veterinarians shows that high phosphorus intake, comparable to the average level provided by prepared cat food, can be deleterious to kidney function in healthy cats.

The problem of jaguars and space in western Paraguay

The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas and historically was found from southwestern USA to central Argentina. Today, jaguars are an endangered species throughout their natural habitat, and have almost been completely eliminated from the United States. The species has been lost from 50 percent of its original range, and outside of the Amazon it is present in only 20 percent of its original range. This drastic change is a result of human factors: habitat loss leading to reduced prey availability and persecution for cattle depredation.

Bulgarians rush to save frozen storks

What would you do if you came upon scores of distressed storks covered in ice lying in a snow-covered field? In Bulgaria, people have been taking them home.

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