Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, May 22

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 22, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Giant molecules shaped like Kandinsky circles are toxic to MRSA bacteria

Bone trove in Denmark tells story of 'Barbarian' battle

Leveraging imperfections to create better-behaved quantum dots

Toward a stem cell model of human nervous system development

New hydrogel developed to remove tape from centuries old drawing

Tunable diamond string may hold key to quantum memory

First violins imitated human voices: study

Experts disclose new details about 300-year-old shipwreck

A hidden world of communication, chemical warfare, beneath the soil

Firmware, blind spots flagged by Spectre attack research

Cell types underlying schizophrenia identified

CRISPR-edited rice plants produce major boost in grain yield

Tunable third harmonic generation in graphene paves the way to high-speed optical communications and signal processing

Resetting the epigenetic balance for cancer therapy

A new DNA editing toolkit for the alga Nannochloropsis

Astronomy & Space news

Study details the history of Saturn's small inner moons

The small inner moons of Saturn look like giant ravioli and spaetzle. Their spectacular shape has been revealed by the Cassini spacecraft. For the first time, researchers of the University of Bern show how these moons were formed. The peculiar shapes are a natural outcome of merging collisions among similar-sized little moons as computer simulations demonstrate.

SpaceX rocket blasts off water-tracking satellite duo

A SpaceX rocket Tuesday blasted off a duo of sports car-sized satellites built by the US and Germany to reveal changes in sea level rise, ice melt and drought on Earth.

Experts: China far side lunar mission potentially historic

China's ambition to soft-land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon later this year faces considerable challenges, but if successful would propel the country's space program to the forefront of one of the most important areas of lunar exploration, experts say.

ANU invites citizen scientists to search for exploding stars

The Australian National University (ANU) invites citizen scientists to join the University's search for exploding stars called supernovae, which help astronomers to measure the Universe.

GRACE-FO spacecraft ready to launch

Twin satellites that will monitor Earth's water cycle are scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California on Tuesday, May 22, in a unique rideshare arrangement. The two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On mission (GRACE-FO) spacecraft will join five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as the payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA sends new research on orbital ATK mission to space station

Astronauts soon will have new experiments to conduct related to emergency navigation, DNA sequencing and ultra-cold atom research when the research arrives at the International Space Station following the 4:44 a.m. EDT (1:44 a.m. PDT) Monday launch of an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft.

An expanding universe and distant stars—tips on how to experience cosmology from your backyard

For people like me, light years, the expanding universe and the Big Bang are part of daily language.

Dutch radio antenna launched from Chinese base to position behind the Moon

Yesterday evening Central European Summer Time, the Netherlands Chinese Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) was launched on board the Chinese Queqiao satellite from Xichang in the south of China, to a position behind the Moon. It is the first Dutch scientific instrument ever to travel on a Chinese space mission, and it opens a new chapter in radio astronomy. The launch of the satellite is the starting point of the Chang'e-4 mission, later this year, the first mission to land on the far side of the Moon. The relay satellite is required for communication with the Earth.

Technology news

Firmware, blind spots flagged by Spectre attack research

Software vulnerability discoveries by security researchers come and go and are more often than not promptly followed by vendor fixes. After each headline scare, you read the labs' reports, you hear about the fixes, and well, everyone can relax, for at least the moment.

Electric vehicles could save billions on energy storage

Using electric vehicles (EVs) as mobile power storage could eliminate the need to build costly stationary grid storage for energy from renewable sources.

Team takes a step up in system that teaches robot how to complete a task

NVIDIA researchers have set about teaching a robot to complete a task by—here's the kicker—simply observing the actions of a human. Networks were trained as described in a video. The system was tested in the real world on a pick-and-place problem of stacking colored cubes, and they used a Baxter robot.

Study helps driverless cars change lanes more like humans do

In the field of self-driving cars, algorithms for controlling lane changes are an important topic of study. But most existing lane-change algorithms have one of two drawbacks: Either they rely on detailed statistical models of the driving environment, which are difficult to assemble and too complex to analyze on the fly; or they're so simple that they can lead to impractically conservative decisions, such as never changing lanes at all.

New tech may make prosthetic hands easier for patients to use

Researchers have developed new technology for decoding neuromuscular signals to control powered, prosthetic wrists and hands. The work relies on computer models that closely mimic the behavior of the natural structures in the forearm, wrist and hand. The technology could also be used to develop new computer interface devices for applications such as gaming and computer-aided design (CAD).

Gauging language proficiency through eye movement

A study by MIT researchers has uncovered a new way of telling how well people are learning English: tracking their eyes.

Using 3-D X-rays to measure particle movement inside lithium ion batteries

Lithium ion batteries have come a long way since their introduction in the late 1990s. They're used in many everyday devices, such as laptop computers, mobile phones, and medical devices, as well as automotive and aerospace platforms, and others. However, lithium ion battery performance still can decay over time, may not fully charge after many charge/discharge cycles, and may discharge quickly even when idle. Researchers at the University of Illinois applied a technique using 3-D X-ray tomography of an electrode to better understand what is happening on the inside of a lithium ion battery and ultimately build batteries with more storage capacity and longer life.

Sony buys most of EMI Music, to spend $9B on image sensors

Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to spend $2.3 billion acquiring an additional 60 percent stake in EMI Music Publishing, home to the Motown catalog and contemporary artists like Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams.

As EU privacy law looms, debate swirls on cybersecurity impact

Days ahead of the implementation of a sweeping European privacy law, debate is swirling on whether the measure will have negative consequences for cybersecurity.

Uber hit with harassment suit following policy shift

Uber was hit with a lawsuit Monday alleging sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees, apparently the first case in court since the ride-hailing giant scrapped a requirement for arbitration of such claims.

Uber taps into Japan with first taxi-hailing pilot

Uber announced Tuesday it would start its first taxi-hailing pilot programme in Japan this summer, as it bids to break into a tough market in the world's third largest economy.

What Facebook isn't telling us about its fight against online abuse

Facebook has for the first time made available data on the scale of abusive comments posted to its site. This may have been done under the growing pressure by organisations for social media companies to be more transparent about online abuse, or to gain credibility after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Either way, the figures do not make for pleasurable reading.

Tidal range power plants hold potential for electricity generation

In theory, one third of global electricity needs could be provided by the world's tidal range, according to a new comprehensive state-of-the-art review of tidal range power plants.

AI slaves—the questionable desire shaping our idea of technological progress

From high impact Hollywood dystopic accounts such as the infamous Terminator films to public responses to the story of a burger flipping robot being "fired", the stories we tell ourselves about AI are important. These narratives have an impact on our conception and development of the technology, as well as expressing elements of our unconscious understanding of AI. Recognising the shaping effect of stories – whether fictional or "news" – is increasingly important as technology advances. How we think about a technology can open up some pathways while closing others down.

The right mix of green energy

Can we get by on just renewable energy? Can energy from the sun, wind and water cover our electricity needs – even on a windless, overcast day in Scandinavia? Perhaps, but it makes new demands.

US, China near deal to save ZTE: report

The United States and China have a tentative deal to save embattled Chinese telecom company ZTE, days after the two nations announced a truce in their trade standoff, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Facebook boss faces European Parliament over data scandal

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg faces tough questions later Tuesday at the European Parliament over the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.

EU lawmakers to press Zuckerberg over data privacy

European Union lawmakers plan to press Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday about data protection standards at the internet giant at a hearing focused on a scandal over the alleged misuse of the personal information of millions of people.

Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police

The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to "easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone."

Decoding digital ownership: Why your e-book might not feel like 'yours'

Despite stereotypes that paint millennials as "all technology, all the time," young people may still prefer curling up with a paper book over their e-reader—even more so than their older counterparts—according to a new study from the University of Arizona that explores consumers' psychological perceptions of e-book ownership.

Porsche recalls car model aimed at the very young

Luxury German automaker Porsche on Tuesday ordered a recall of a recent model, citing safety hazards for joyriding operators and offering full refunds.

Pentagon adopts new cellphone restrictions

After months of debate, the Defense Department approved Monday new restrictions for the use of cellphones and some other electronic devices in the Pentagon where classified information is present or discussed. But officials stopped far short of imposing an all-out ban.

Facebook chief faces EU grilling over his 'digital monster'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced tough questions from European Union lawmakers Tuesday over what one of them branded Zuckerberg's "digital monster," and he apologized for the way the social network has been used to produce fake news, interfere in elections and sweep up people's personal data.

Medicine & Health news

Cell types underlying schizophrenia identified

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and University of North Carolina have identified the cell types underlying schizophrenia in a new study published in Nature Genetics. The findings offer a roadmap for the development of new therapies to target the condition.

Resetting the epigenetic balance for cancer therapy

Though mutations in a gene called MLL3 are common across many types of cancers, their relationship to the development of the disease has been unclear. Now, a Northwestern Medicine study has identified an epigenetic imbalance that silences the expression of tumor-suppressing proteins, allowing cancerous cells to proliferate.

Researchers discover cell structure that plays a role in epigenetic inheritance

We know a lot about how genes get passed from parent to child, but scientists are still unraveling how so-called epigenetic information—instructions about which genes to turn on and off—is conveyed from generation to generation.

Link between tuberculosis and Parkinson's disease discovered

The mechanism our immune cells use to clear bacterial infections like tuberculosis (TB) might also be implicated in Parkinson's disease, according to a new collaborative study led by scientists from the Francis Crick Institute and Newcastle University.

Advance genetics study identifies virulent strain of tuberculosis

LSTM's Dr. Maxine Caws is co-lead investigator on an advanced genetics study published in Nature Genetics, which has shown that a virulent strain of tuberculosis (TB) has adapted to transmit among young adults in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Mechanisms of harmful overhydration and brain swelling

We are all familiar with the drawbacks of dehydration, but we rarely hear about the harmful effects of overhydration. For one, excess fluid accumulation can lead to dangerously low sodium levels in the blood or hyponatremia—a life-threatening condition that can result in brain swelling. Similarly, more is known about the mechanisms in the body that detect and drive thirst while little is known about how the brain detects a state of overhydration.

Mice brain structure linked with sex-based differences in anxiety behavior

Using male individuals has long been a tradition in scientific mice studies. But new research enforces the importance of using a balanced population of male and female mice.

Fruit flies: 'Living test tubes' to rapidly screen potential disease-causing human gene

It all began with one young patient; a 7-year old boy who was born without a thymus, an important organ of the immune system, and without functional immune cells. The boy also presented with cardiac and skeletal defects, dysmorphic craniofacial features and some signs of autistic behaviors.

Scientists discover how breast cancer hibernates: study

Scientists have identified the mechanism that allows breast cancer cells to lie dormant in other parts of the body only to reemerge years later with lethal force, according to a study published Tuesday.

Researcher: Big data, networks identify cell signaling pathways in lung cancer

A team of scientists led by University of Montana cell biologist Mark Grimes has identified networks inside lung cancer cells that will help understand this cancer and fight it with drug treatments.

Link between IBD and Parkinson's might allow doctors to slow down condition

Doctors may be able to modify or slow down the progress of the neurological condition Parkinson's disease in the future by spotting signs of it in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), suggest a study published in the journal Gut.

Avoiding the car for travel could significantly lower risk of illness and death

People who are more active when commuting to work by walking or cycling could be cutting their relative risk of developing ischaemic heart disease or stroke by 11% and their relative risk of dying from these diseases by 30%, suggests a study published in the journal Heart.

New study sheds light on the opioid epidemic and challenges prevailing views about this public health crisis

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine sheds new light on the sharp rise in fatal drug overdoses in recent years, one of the most severe public health challenges of our time. The study found that the growth in fatal overdoses for non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) aged 22-56 years was sufficiently large to account for the entire growth in mortality rates (MR) and years of potential life lost (YPLL) for this population from 1999 to 2015.

Model estimates lifetime risk of Alzheimer's dementia using biomarkers

Lifetime risks of developing Alzheimer's disease dementia vary considerably by age, gender and whether any signs or symptoms of dementia are present, according to a new study published online by Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Michael Jackson's antigravity tilt—Talent, magic, or a bit of both?

When was the last time you watched a Michael Jackson music video? If your answer is "never" or "not for quite a while," you are really missing a treat. According to Rolling Stone, "No single artist ... shaped, innovated or defined the medium of 'music video' more than Michael Jackson."

Young toddlers may learn more from interactive than noninteractive media

Preschoolers can learn a lot from educational television, but younger toddlers may learn more from interactive digital media (such as video chats and touchscreen mobile apps) than from TV and videos alone, which don't require them to interact. That's the conclusion of a new article that also notes that because specific conditions that lead to learning from media are unclear, not all types of interactive media increase learning and not all children learn to the same degree from these media.

Kids show adult-like intuition about ownership

Children as young as age three are able to make judgements about who owns an object based on its location, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

More patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis receiving liver transplants

Increasingly, liver transplant centers are changing a long-standing practice of delaying potentially life-saving liver transplantation for patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis until after they stopped drinking alcohol for six months, according to a new study scheduled for presentation at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2018.

DNA-based vaccine treatment for colorectal cancer to undergo first human study

For the first time in humans, researchers will test a two-pronged approach to treat advanced stage colorectal cancer (CRC), potentially increasing life expectancy. Combining a DNA vaccine, which boosts the body's immune response against tumors, with an antibody that blocks the body's natural defense against the potency of the DNA vaccine, may lead to the development of an effective treatment for late stage CRC, when a cure is not often possible. Preliminary research leading up to this trial will be presented at Digestive Disease Week 2018.

Including Indigenous elders in primary care positively affects Indigenous patients' mental health

Indigenous Elders can have a broad range of positive effects on the mental and physical health of urban Indigenous people who often experience marginalization and barriers accessing health care, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) that partnered Elders with mainstream health care providers in primary care.

Five dead, dozens quarantined as virus fears spread in India

A deadly virus carried by fruit bats has killed at least five people in southern India and more than 90 people are in quarantine, a top health official said Tuesday.

Battle to treat Madagascar women for debilitating fistula

"Get rid of the girl who stinks," they said about Sana Rodiny who for three years had to endure unrelenting abuse after developing a fistula.

Studying insight

The Computer Science and Engineering Research Team at the Toyohashi University of Technology have taken pupil measurements of subjects who feel inspired by an object. The pupil dilates and narrows to adjust the amount of light entering the eye, and the extent of dilation/narrowing varies depending on the emotional state. In the present study, researchers measured the reaction of the pupil when a subject viewed a video made to elicit inspiration—specifically, a video in which an object gradually appears. Reactions at the moment of inspiration were compared to reactions when no inspiration occurred, and it was found that the extent of pupil dilation varies depending on whether or not a person is inspired by an object, and also that the pupil is already largely dilated at a previous stage. The results of the present study were published in the British scientific journal Scientific Reports on May 2.

Drug dosage recommendation model

NUS pharmaceutical scientists have developed a prediction model to guide dosage adjustments of rivaroxaban, an oral anticoagulant (blood thinner), in renal-impaired patients taking amiodarone. This is to reduce the risk of internal bleeding.

Chronic heart failure patients show individual therapy response to ACE inhibitor treatment

A cross-sectional study conducted at MedUni Vienna including patients with chronic systolic heart failure has demonstrated great variations in patients' individual therapy response to ACE inhibitors, the first-line therapy for heart failure. It seems possible that the clinical picture is composed of various subgroups characterized by the over-activation of different endogenous systems. The results provide an explanatory approach to the question, why not all patients benefit equally from ACE inhibitors. The study supports ongoing efforts to develop a targeted, individualised therapy for heart failure patients (precision medicine). Vienna will be the venue for two cardiology congresses taking place at the end of May 2018, that cardiologists from throughout the world will attend.

Ditching the car may reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and stroke by almost a third

Swapping your car for more physically active forms of travel may reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death, our latest research shows. Walking, cycling and even using public transport are all more physically active than using the car, so switching to one of these modes of transport can help you be more active and healthy.

Pelvic pain a major issue for women nearing mid-life, research reveals

Many women nearing mid-life suffer some form of pelvic pain like period pain, or pain with sex however, pregnancy and childbirth appears to offer some protection, latest findings from the University of Otago's Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study reveal.

Designing for diabetes

"Managing type 1 diabetes requires close monitoring of blood sugar levels throughout the day and regular injections of insulin," says Dr. McCarthy. "For young people this often poses challenges, as it can disrupt participation in everyday activities and present problems of dealing with the stigma that can surround the condition."

Study predicts most people with earliest Alzheimer's signs won't develop dementia associated with the disease

During the past decade, researchers have identified new ways to detect the earliest biological signs of Alzheimer's disease. These early signs, which are detected by biomarkers, may be present before a person starts to exhibit physical symptoms. What biomarker screening doesn't reveal, however, is how likely it is that a person who tests positive will eventually develop the dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Study highlights gender gap in mental ill-health during early adolescence

The gender gap in mental ill-health and wellbeing widens from childhood into early adolescence, a University of Liverpool led study suggests.

Dementia-friendly swimming sessions help patients and carers, study finds

Specially organised 'dementia friendly' swimming sessions can be beneficial to people with dementia and their carers, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Nottingham and the Institute of Mental Health.

Here's what's on the horizon for a male contraceptive pill – but don't hold your breath

The female contraceptive pill has helped millions of women take control of their fertility and reproductive health since it became available in 1961. Yet a male equivalent has yet to be fully developed. This effectively leaves men with only two viable contraceptive options: condoms or a vasectomy.

How does being overweight affect fertility?

The proportion of Australians who are overweight or obese is at an all-time high. We know excess weight is linked to many adverse health consequences, but there is now growing understanding that it also affects fertility.

The antioxidant myth

Dora Il'yasova, associate professor of epidemiology, explains why everything you thought you knew about antioxidants is wrong.

CD93 protein suggests new strategy to inhibit cancer

One strategy for cancer therapy is to inhibit the development of blood vessels in the tumour. Researchers at Uppsala University show in a new study how the protein CD93 interacts with the protein network that is required for tumour vessels to form properly. Blocking this interaction could be used as a means to hamper blood vessel development and slow down the cancer. The study is published by Journal of Clinical Investigations.

Researchers publish study on new therapy to treat opioid use disorder

Better delivery of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) is key to addressing the opioid crisis and helping the 2.6 million Americans affected by the disease.

Procedure plus medication is better than standard treatment for heart disease patients

A non-surgical procedure, called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), along with prescribed medication, is better than medication alone as initial treatment for people who have the most common form of heart disease, suggests an analysis of an international clinical trial co-led by St. Michael's Hospital.

Schizophrenics' blood has more genetic material from microbes

The blood of schizophrenia patients features genetic material from more types of microorganisms than that of people without the debilitating mental illness, research at Oregon State University has found.

Nipah virus death toll in India jumps to 10

The death toll from an outbreak of the rare Nipah virus in southern India jumped to 10 Tuesday with more than 90 people quarantined to try to stem the spread of the disease, officials said.

'Serendipitous' use of antimalarial drug may have improved outcome for cancer patient

A cancer patient with advanced ovarian cancer had a "remarkable" journey to recovery that may be partially attributed to a treatment she received for a completely different disease, according to a case report published in ecancermedicalscience. The case report discusses whether the patient's autoimmune disease and its treatment could have contributed to achieving such a "striking" response to treatment.

What helps form long-term memory also drives the development of neurodegenerative disease

Scientists have just discovered that a small region of a cellular protein that helps long-term memories form also drives the neurodegeneration seen in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This small part of the Ataxin-2 protein thus works for good and for bad. When a version of the protein lacking this region was substituted for the normal form in fruit flies (model organisms), the animals could not form long-term memories—but, surprisingly, the same flies showed a remarkable resistance to neurodegeneration.

Research supports restrictions on opioid-containing cold medicines for children

Prescription cough and cold medicines containing the opioid hydrocodone were more likely to cause serious side effects in children than those containing codeine, according to a new study from Penn State College of Medicine. The research supports recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restrictions on prescription hydrocodone- and codeine-containing cough medicines for children and suggests that opioids in general should not be prescribed for coughs and colds in pediatric populations.

Overall cancer mortality continues to decline, prostate cancer mortality has stabilized

The latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that overall cancer death rates continue to decline in men, women, and children in the United States in all major racial and ethnic groups. Overall cancer incidence, or rates of new cancers, decreased in men and were stable in women from 1999 to 2014. In a companion study, researchers reported that there has been an increase in incidence of late-stage prostate cancer and that after decades of decline, prostate cancer mortality has stabilized.

In brain stimulation therapy less might be more

One of the promising non-invasive brain therapeutic methods is the repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). During such a procedure, a magnetic coil is placed near the head of the patient and a magnetic pulse is transmitted to a specific damaged region of the brain.

Married couples share risk of developing diabetes

It can be a good idea to bring your spouse to a GP medical examination if you are obese. Because Danish researchers from the Departments of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University have in a new study found a connection between the BMI of one spouse and the other spouse's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Could we predict the next Ebola outbreak by tracking the migratory patterns of bats?

Javier Buceta, associate professor of bioengineering, Paolo Bocchini, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and postdoctoral student Graziano Fiorillo of Lehigh University have created a modeling framework that takes a zoonotic perspective on Ebola.

Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Josephine Rizo survived chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, but breast cancer treatment wrecked her finances.

More frequent checks control MRSA in newborns, but can hospitals afford them?

The more often a hospital can check its newborns for deadly MRSA germs, the more likely it will be that they are contained, according to a new study.

Subtle hearing loss while young changes brain function, study finds

Cranking up your headphones or scrambling for a front-row spot at rock shows could be damaging more than your hearing.

Most hospitals aren't ready for mass tragedies, ER docs say

(HealthDay)—Nine out of 10 ER doctors say their hospitals aren't fully prepared for major disasters or mass tragedies.

How exercise helps your heart

(HealthDay)—You already know that exercise is good for your health and your heart, both to prevent heart disease and, for those who already have a heart-related condition, to make managing it easier.

Vendors say pot eases morning sickness. Will baby pay a price?

(HealthDay)—Nearly 70 percent of Colorado marijuana dispensaries recommended pot products to manage early pregnancy-related morning sickness, new research reveals.

Patterns of potential misuse help assess risk of opioid overdose

(HealthDay)—Patterns of potential opioid misuse are positively associated with subsequent opioid overdose, according to a study published online May 22 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Bioengineering feasible for airway reconstruction

(HealthDay)—Airway bioengineering appears feasible for tracheal and bronchial reconstruction, according to a study published online May 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association to coincide with the American Thoracic Society's 2018 International Conference, held from May 18 to 23 in San Diego.

Study finds popular 'growth mindset' educational interventions aren't very effective

A new study co-authored by researchers at Michigan State University and Case Western Reserve University found that "growth mindset interventions," or programs that teach students they can improve their intelligence with effort—and therefore improve grades and test scores—don't work for students in most circumstances.

To have or not to have... your left atrial appendage closed

Each year in the U.S., more than 300,000 people have heart surgery. To reduce risk of stroke for their patients, surgeons often will close the left atrial appendage, which is a small sac in the left side of the heart where many blood clots form, during these surgeries. Mayo Clinic researchers report today in JAMA that adding this procedure is likely the right choice for certain patients but not all.

Surveillance intensity not associated with earlier detection of recurrence or improved survival in colorectal cancer

A national retrospective study led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found no association between intensity of post-treatment surveillance and detection of recurrence or overall survival (OS) in patients with stage I, II or III colorectal cancer (CRC). Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study is the largest of surveillance intensity in CRC ever conducted.

Unlocking the secrets of HIV's persistence

Thanks to advances in the development of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), patients with HIV are living longer than ever before. And yet, even in patients on very effective, long-term ART, HIV persists, requiring patients to take antiviral medication life-long. It's thought that the virus establishes a "persistent reservoir" of infected cells that can survive almost indefinitely. A new study by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital explores how the virus gets this foothold, identifying cellular survival programs that become activated in infected cells, and providing a potential target for future therapy. Their results are published this week in Immunity.

Study finds vitamin D supplement decreases wheezing for black preterm infants

African American infants born prematurely are at higher risk for recurrent wheezing. This condition can cause the baby discomfort and is a risk factor for developing asthma later in life. There are no widely-accepted therapies to prevent prematurity-associated wheezing.

Future doctors take to the streets to address problems at the root of poor health

Medical students seldom learn much about the real-life problems (hunger, joblessness, addiction) their patients face outside the clinic walls. Yet, these problems are at the root of poor health in many low-income communities. A new article published today in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved describes a new approach to educating medical students about the real world.

Closing coal, oil power plants leads to healthier babies

Shuttering coal- and oil-fired power plants lowers the rate of preterm births in neighboring communities and improves fertility, according to two new University of California, Berkeley, studies.

Brazil's austerity measures could increase avoidable child deaths, researchers find

Cutbacks to social programmes in Brazil could lead to more avoidable childhood hospitalisations and deaths compared to maintaining current funding.

Unnecessary antibiotic use in asthma exacerbations may increase hospital stay, costs

Administering antibiotics to adults hospitalized with an asthma exacerbation without any documented indication of lung infection appears to lengthen hospital stay, increase cost and result in increased risk for antibiotic-related diarrhea, according to new research presented at the ATS 2018 International Conference.

People with ASD risk being manipulated because they can't tell when they're being lied to

A new study shows that the ability to distinguish truth from lies is diminished in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - putting them at greater risk of being manipulated.

Downward-facing mouse: Stretching reduces tumor growth in mouse model of breast cancer

Many cancer patients seek out gentle, movement-based stretching techniques such as yoga, tai chi and qigong, but does stretching have an effect on cancer? While many animal studies have attempted to quantify the effects of exercise on the disease, results have been mixed. Furthermore, studies in animals involve levels of vigorous exercise that can be difficult for cancer patients. Investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in collaboration with colleagues at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, have conducted new research in a preclinical model to specifically study whether stretching can affect tumor growth. Using a mouse model of breast cancer and a gentle stretching technique, the team evaluated tumor growth as well as changes in molecular signals of immune response and inflammation resolution. Their results appear in Scientific Reports.

Quitting smoking, but not cutting back, linked to better lung health

Researchers analyzed data collected over 30 years from 3,140 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. When they enrolled, participants lived in four U.S. cities—Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, and Oakland, CA—and their average age was 25. Nearly half were African American, and nearly half smoked at some point in their lives. Participants underwent periodic spirometry to assess lung function and a chest CT scans 15, 20 and 25 years after enrolling.

New brain development disorder identified by scientists

Researchers have identified a new inherited neurodevelopmental disease that causes slow growth, seizures and learning difficulties in humans.

Superstition stopping Ebola victims from seeking medical care

Health workers fighting Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo have run into an invisible but powerful hurdle—a belief system that deems the disease to be a curse or the result of evil spirits.

Health concerns rise along with Hawaii eruptions

(HealthDay)—There's more trouble in paradise: The eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano may lead to respiratory and other health problems for residents of the Big Island, an expert warns.

Addressing parents' HPV vaccine hesitancy ups vaccination rates

(HealthDay)—Providers engaging parents hesitant about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and addressing their concerns can lead to same-day vaccinations, according to a study published online May 15 in Pediatrics.

Exercise modifies predisposition to obesity after menopause

(HealthDay)—Physical activity modifies the association between the body mass index (BMI) genetic risk score (GRS) and BMI, according to a study published online May 16 in Menopause.

2003 to 2014 saw rise in diabetic ketoacidosis admissions

(HealthDay)—The incidence of hospitalization for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and associated costs increased from 2003 to 2014, according to a study published online May 17 in Diabetes Care.

CDC: No change in level of uninsured in U.S. in 2017

(HealthDay)—Overall, 9.1 percent of individuals in the United States were uninsured in 2017, which was not significantly different from the level in 2016, according to a report published online May 22 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Centers for Health Statistics.

Study: Guns in Chicago just '2.5 handshakes' away

In one of the first studies to try to map a gun market using network science, researchers used the novel scientific approach to understand how close offenders are to guns in the city of Chicago.

Study demonstrates new treatment for severe asthma

Researchers from McMaster University and the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, together with colleagues at other partnering institutions, have developed a new method to treat severe asthma. In a study of over 200 participants with severe asthma, the new treatment was shown to have improved asthma symptoms and lung function, while reducing the need for corticosteroids by up to 70%.

Training compassion 'muscle' may boost brain's resilience to others' suffering

It can be distressing to witness the pain of family, friends or even strangers going through a hard time. But what if, just like strengthening a muscle or learning a new hobby, we could train ourselves to be more compassionate and calm in the face of others' suffering?

Posttraumatic stress affects academics

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by traumatic military experiences is associated with feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness and/or guilt. New Penn State research is evaluating how PTSD symptoms increase risks for academic difficulties as well.

Blue dye tablet helps identify polyps during colonoscopy

Ingestion of a blue dye tablet during bowel prep for colonoscopy could be a significant advance in the early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC). When used in conjunction with colonoscopy, the blue dye increased adenoma detection rate (ADR) by nearly 9 percent, according to a study scheduled for presentation at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2018.

Experimental drug eases effects of gluten for celiac patients on gluten-free diet

An investigational new drug offers hope of relief for celiac disease patients who are inadvertently exposed to gluten while on a gluten-free diet. Findings of the first phase 2 study of a biologic immune modulator in celiac disease will be presented at the upcoming Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2018. Inadvertent exposure to gluten can be a frequent occurrence for celiac patients that triggers symptoms, such as pain in the gut and diarrhea, due to intestinal damage.

Improving health research among Indigenous peoples in Canada

Researchers must understand the historical and social context of Indigenous health research, while valuing the unique knowledge, skills and experiences of Indigenous people, in order to conduct meaningful health research, according to an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Nurse killed by deadly virus amid Indian outbreak

Officials say a nurse caring for patients infected with a deadly virus has died from the disease amid an outbreak in south India.

Physiology-stratified analysis of ORBITA

Invasive physiology data from 196 patients from the Objective Randomised Blinded Investigation with optimal medical Therapy of Angioplasty in stable angina (ORBITA) trial were used to assess the fractional flow reserve (FFR) and instantaneous wave-free ratio (iFR) predictors of placebo-controlled efficacy of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in stable coronary artery disease. Patients enrolled had stable angina and single vessel coronary artery disease. At pre-randomisation the majority had Canadian Cardiovascular Society class II or III symptoms (150/196, 76.5 percent). Mean FFR and iFR were 0.69±0.16 and 0.76±0.22, respectively. 97 percent of patients had one or more positive non-invasive or invasive tests for ischaemia.

Depression symptoms bias the perception of facial expressions

Previous studies have reported attentive negative bias in visual information processing in depression, but it is not known whether there is a similar negative bias in automatic face perception. To investigate this issue, we applied magnetoencephalography (MEG) measurements to study brain responses to facial emotions in participants who had depression symptoms (dysphoria) and in non-depressed control participants.

New system allows trainee doctors to use virtual reality to learn eye examination diagnoses

Academics have created a new virtual reality tool which allows medical students to replicate eye examinations and learn first-hand how to diagnose hard-to-spot conditions which may otherwise go unnoticed.

Congo announces 6 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus

Congo's health ministry announced six new confirmed Ebola cases and two new suspected cases Tuesday as vaccinations entered a second day in an effort to contain the deadly virus in a city of more than 1 million.

Third of girls in South Asia miss school during periods: report

More than a third of girls in South Asia miss school during their periods, a report said Tuesday, with a lack of toilets and cultural taboos about menstruation among the factors impeding their education.

Report of interventional cardiology practice presented in first extensive survey

A report on interventional cardiology practice from an extensive survey is presented today at EuroPCR 2018, the annual meeting of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI), a branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Lead exposure found to affect fertility rates

Over the last few years, Flint, Michigan, has been in the news due to findings related to lead in its water supply. New research that examined the impact of exposure to lead (in the air and topsoil) on fertility in the United States has found that exposure matters for both women and men. It is the first study to find causal evidence of the relationship between lead exposure and fertility rates in the 1980s and mid-2000s.

Trial demonstrates effectiveness of minimally invasive emphysema treatment

For patients with severe emphysema, every breath brings equal parts relief and burden. Oxygenated air comes in, but not all the air from the last breath is exhaled. Rather, it becomes trapped in the lungs, caught in large pockets formed by the rupture of the lung's tiny air sacs, known as alveoli.

California moves to defend law allowing life-ending drugs

California's attorney general is asking an appeals court to quickly block a judge's decision to toss a 2016 state law allowing the terminally ill to end their lives.

Anthropologists heading to DR Congo to ease Ebola vaccination

African health authorities said Tuesday they are preparing to send anthropologists to Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure a vaccination campaign against a deadly Ebola outbreak runs smoothly.

Critical advice for families to help heart patients

When a 50-year-old mother or father returns home after a heart attack, will the whole family adopt a better diet? Is it really necessary? This is an issue facing millions of families each year and one of the many to be addressed next month at EuroHeartCare 2018, the annual congress of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (CCNAP) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Digging into new ethical issues around stem cells

Discussions concerning to the ethical issues related to stem cells have been ongoing for many years, but a special section in the latest issue of Perspectives in Biology and Medicine takes a deep look at some of the newest and most complex issues—including the direct global sales of services and untested and unproven products marketed as stem cells.

Cardiac arrest survivor finds her rescuer... 5 years later

When Heidi Stewart's heart stopped at age 18 in her high school in Vancouver, Wash., quick-acting school administrators and teachers jumped into action, starting CPR.

Biology news

A hidden world of communication, chemical warfare, beneath the soil

The soil supporting a field of crops teems with life. Untold numbers of bacteria and fungi strive for space and food. Most are harmless. Many are vital to creating healthy soil. But farmers worry about a handful of species that cause devastating crop diseases, and they often turn to chemical pesticides to keep those pathogens in check.

CRISPR-edited rice plants produce major boost in grain yield

A team of scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25-31 percent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.

A new DNA editing toolkit for the alga Nannochloropsis

Eric Poliner and a team of MSU scientists in the Farre and Benning labs have released a new genetic engineering toolkit for the alga Nannochloropsis. The alga is of interest for the production of biofuels and other oil-based chemicals.

Bonobo females found to protect and support a female giving birth

A team of researchers from the University of Pisa and CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon has observed captive female bonobos helping one of their own give birth. In their paper published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, Elisa Demuru, Pier Francesco Ferrari and Elisabetta Palagi describe what they witnessed, referring to it as a type of midwifery.

How bacteria behave differently in humans compared to the lab

Most of what we know today about deadly bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa was obtained from studies done in laboratory settings. Research reported May 14 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that this laboratory-based information may have important limits for predicting how these bugs behave once they've invaded humans.

Researchers find invasive seaweed makes fish change their behavior

When it comes to finding protection and a safe feeding ground, fish rely on towering blades of seaweed, like kelp, to create a three-dimensional hiding space. Kelp forests have been shown to be one of the most productive systems in the ocean with high biodiversity and ecological function. However, in recent decades, many kelp habitats have been taken over and replaced by lower turf-dominated seaweed species.

Faster genome evolution methods to transform yeast

Scientists have created a new way of speeding up the genome evolution of baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same yeast we use for bread and beer production.

Fluid dynamics may play key role in evolution of cooperation

Believe it or not—it's in our nature to cooperate with one another, even when cheating may be more profitable. Social cooperation is common in every scale of life, from the simplest bacterial films and multicellular tissues to insect colonies and nation-states, where individuals prioritize the common good over personal gain, even when the two might conflict. Scientists have long wondered how social cooperation could evolve and persist, since "survival of the fittest" often favors cheaters that multiply at the expense of others.

Malaria-causing parasite manipulates liver cells to survive

When the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasite first slips into the human bloodstream, injected by the bite of an infected mosquito, it does not immediately target red blood cells.

Japanese student discovers new crustacean species in deep sea hydrothermal vent

A new species of microcrustacean was collected from a submarine hot spring (hydrothermal vent) of a marine volcano (Myojin-sho caldera) in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan. This crustacean group is found only in deep-sea hydrothermal vents and is the first of its kind found in Japanese waters.

Novel bioactive steroid biosynthetic pathway in symbiotic fungi

A group of researchers from Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of Tokyo and Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Natural Products at Jinan University, identified the biosynthetic gene cluster for the furanosteroid demethoxyviridin, and deciphered its biosynthetic pathway.

A seachange needed in fisheries to give dolphins, whales and porpoises a chance

Dolphins, whales and porpoises (cetaceans) are fascinating animals that continue to capture the imagination of humans as evidenced by the increasing number of whale watchers taking to the seas in search of a glimpse of these majestic creatures. They are amongst the most intelligent animals on our planet and play a critical role in maintaining marine ecosystem health and therefore human health. Yet, a dolphin, porpoise or whale is accidentally killed in fishing operations somewhere in the world about every two minutes.

First record of large-antlered muntjac in Quang Nam, Vietnam, in the wild

Under a biodiversity monitoring and assessment activity supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam captured photographs of one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, the large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. Prior to this milestone, this species had only been camera trapped in three protected areas in all of Vietnam since the year 2000. The new records from Quang Nam—which include photographs of both a male and a female—provide new hope for the continued survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction.

Embryonic gene regulation through mechanical forces

During embryonic development, genetic cascades control gene activity and cell differentiation. In a new publication of the journal PNAS, the team of Ulrich Technau of the Department of Molecular Evolution and Development at the University of Vienna reported that besides the genetic program, mechanical cues also contribute to the regulation of gene expression during development. Comparisons with other animals suggests that this regulatory principle is ancient.

New fishing rules aim to protect Gulf of St. Lawrence right whales

Not since the days of whaling had so many North Atlantic right whales died in one year.

Baby lemur born following rare C-section

Because they're endangered, all baby lemurs are special. But some, like Ranomasina, are extraordinary.

Eating to extinction—urban appetite for bushmeat sparks wildlife crisis in Cambodia

From baby elephants to sun bears and pangolins, escalating demand for bushmeat in towns and cities is taking an increasingly heavy toll on some of Cambodia's most endangered wildlife.

These CRISPR-modified crops don't count as GMOs

To feed the burgeoning human population, it is vital that the world figures out ways to boost food production.

Scientists develop 3-D scanner for insects

A scanner developed jointly at TU Darmstadt and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences enables automated digital archiving of preserved insects—in high-resolution and in 3-D. The scientists have published this new and unique development in the journal "ZooKeys."

How wheat can root out the take-all fungus

In the soils of the world's cereal fields, a family tussle between related species of fungi is underway for control of the crops' roots, with food security threatened if the wrong side wins. Beneficial fungi can help plants to protect themselves from cousins eager to overwhelm the roots, but it's a closely fought battle.

Giant invasive flatworms found in France and overseas French territories

One of the consequences of globalization is the introduction of invasive species. Giant hammerhead flatworms, or land planarians, up to 40 cm (over 1 foot) in length, are reported from France and overseas French territories by an international team led by Jean-Lou Justine of ISYEB (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France). This is the first study of this invasion, reported in an article to be published in the open-access journal PeerJ.

Conservationists fight to save animals as mass extinction looms

Animal and plant species are vanishing at an accelerating pace around the world—sometimes even before we know that they exist—but conservationists are pushing back against the juggernaut of mass extinction.

Study finds missing link between blow flies and possible pathogen transmission

Determining whether blow flies have consumed animal fecal material versus animal tissue has important implications for both human public health and animal conservation. A recent study by researchers in biology and chemistry at the School of Science at IUPUI shows how that determination can be made.

How coyotes conquered the continent

Coyotes now live across North America, from Alaska to Panama, California to Maine. But where they came from, and when, has been debated for decades. Using museum specimens and fossil records, researchers from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University have produced a comprehensive (and unprecedented) range history of the expanding species that can help reveal the ecology of predation as well as evolution through hybridization. Their findings appeared in ZooKeys in May.

Amazonian 'lookout' birds help other species live in dangerous neighborhoods

Usually, birds of a feather flock together—but in the Amazon, some flocks feature dozens of species of all shapes and colors. A new study by San Francisco State University biologists singles out one reason why these unusually diverse flocks exist: lookout species that call in alarm when they spot dangerous predators.

Pigs that digest their nutrients could reduce pork industry's carbon footprint

Giving pigs the ability to digest more nutrients in their grains could help reduce the pork industry's environmental impact, says new research published in eLife.

The chestnut gall wasp—The threat of an invasive species with clonal reproduction

A molecular study carried out on the chestnut gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus), a chestnut tree parasite, has revealed the absence of genetic variability in this invasive species in Europe. This is due to the fact that the wasp's reproduction is strictly parthenogenetic—the females produce more females without fertilization by a male. This is the main conclusion of the research, published in Scientific Reports. The study was arried out by researchers from the INDEHESA Research Institute of the University of Extremadura, the University of Córdoba, CREAF and the CSIC-UCLM-JCCM Hunting Resources Research Institute.

Biophysicist works toward bio-inspired solar cell

Even the best human-engineered solar cell is essentially a clunky dial-up modem compared to the sleek high-speed efficiency of the humble leaf. After all, plants have had about a billion years to perfect the process of photosynthesis, which uses energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (used by the plant as fuel) and oxygen (used by all of us).

Texas A&M, USDA research aimed at nitrite poisoning leads to methane mitigation

Two government researchers and a college graduate student aiming at one issue in the cattle industry are finding they can address two issues—nitrite poisoning and methane emissions—with an animal probiotic they are developing.

Bear researcher in 'dream job' attacked by grizzly

A government wildlife worker who recently landed her dream job researching grizzly bears in a Montana mountain range is recovering from a bear attack that left her with a fractured skull and other serious injuries.


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