Monday, August 21, 2017

Science X Newsletter Monday, Aug 21

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 21, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Scientists accelerate airflow in mid-air

Best of Last Week – One in 100,000 chance of asteroid striking Earth, how the first animals appeared and growing hair

X-ray observations reveal new details about the solar-type star HD 209458

2.7-million-year-old ice core pulled from Antarctica

Engineers predict how flowing fluid will bend tiny hairs that line blood vessels and intestines

Scientists create 'diamond rain' that forms in the interior of icy giant planets

Antarctic salt-loving microbes provide insights into evolution of viruses

Polarization for controversial scientific issues increases with more education

Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry

Dino-killing asteroid could have thrust Earth into 2 years of darkness

Mars weather: 'Cloudy, chance of nighttime snowstorm'

Researchers explore photographic images synthesized from semantic layouts

Alexa paired with exoskeleton could bring fresh step in mobility

Testing TVs and tablets for 'green' screens

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors

Astronomy & Space news

X-ray observations reveal new details about the solar-type star HD 209458

(Phys.org)—By analyzing sets of data obtained by two X-ray space observatories, a team of German researchers has learned new insights into the nature of a solar-type star known as HD 209458. The new study, published Aug. 15 in a paper on arXiv.org, uncovers X-ray properties of the star.

Scientists create 'diamond rain' that forms in the interior of icy giant planets

In an experiment designed to mimic the conditions deep inside the icy giant planets of our solar system, scientists were able to observe "diamond rain" for the first time as it formed in high-pressure conditions. Extremely high pressure squeezes hydrogen and carbon found in the interior of these planets to form solid diamonds that sink slowly down further into the interior.

Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry

The moon is likely very dry in its interior according to a new study from researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, published August 21, 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mars weather: 'Cloudy, chance of nighttime snowstorm'

Mars is buffeted by turbulent snowstorms that occur only at night, according to a study released Monday that revises our understanding of Red Planet weather.

The origin of binary stars

The origin of binary stars has long been one of the central problems of astronomy. One of the main questions is how stellar mass affects the tendency to be multiple. There have been numerous studies of young stars in molecular clouds to look for variations in binary frequency with stellar mass, but so many other effects can influence the result that the results have been inconclusive. These complicating factors include dynamical interactions between stars that can eject one member of a multiple system, or on the other hand might capture a passing star under the right circumstances. Some studies, for example, found that younger stars are more likely to be found in binary pairs. One issue with much of the previous observational work, however, has been the small sample sizes.

Japan launches satellite for better GPS system

Japan on Saturday launched the third satellite in its effort to build a homegrown geolocation system aimed at improving the accuracy of car navigation systems and smartphone maps to mere centimetres.

Millions pour into US towns in path of total eclipse

On Monday, when a total solar eclipse sweeps across the United States for the first time in 99 years, people gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, will be the last on the continent to experience it.

Image: Atlas V lifts-off with TDRS-M

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, with NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M. TDRS-M. Liftoff was at 8:29 a.m. EDT.

Image: Hubble's twisted galaxy

Gravity governs the movements of the cosmos. It draws flocks of galaxies together to form small groups and more massive galaxy clusters, and brings duos so close that they begin to tug at one another. This latter scenario can have extreme consequences, with members of interacting pairs of galaxies often being dramatically distorted, torn apart, or driven to smash into one another, abandoning their former identities and merging to form a single accumulation of gas, dust and stars.

Americans stake out prime viewing spots to see sun go dark

Americans with telescopes, cameras and protective glasses staked out viewing spots along a narrow corridor from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the midday sun Monday in what promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history.

Historic eclipse turns day into night across the US (Update)

Millions of Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

Technology news

Researchers explore photographic images synthesized from semantic layouts

How far can we go in achieving fictional scenes just by using real photos? More precisely, what can we do with deep learning in rendering video games? Those questions are the focus of research work by Qifeng Chen and Vladlen Koltun.

Alexa paired with exoskeleton could bring fresh step in mobility

"Alexa, I'm ready to stand" or "Alexa, I'm ready to walk." What a meaningful type of command those could be for the people who are hampered by lack of mobility.

A 3D-printed robotic arm solution designed to assist the deaf

"Is there a sign language person in the house?" Coming up empty for lack of interpreters available is a situation that drew the interest of engineering student at University of Antwerp. What if they could apply what they know about technology and design to support the deaf?

Computer algorithm automatically recognizes soccer formations and defensive strategies

Though soccer players have assigned roles, it's routine for players to swap positions during the course of a game, or even of a single play. Other players and most fans recognize when this occurs and now, thanks to new work on multi-agent imitation learning, so can a computer.

AI revolution will be all about humans, says Siri trailblazer

It's 2050 and the world revolves around you. From the contents of your fridge to room temperature—digital assistants ensure your home runs smoothly. Your screens know your taste and show channels you want to see as you enter the room. Your car is driverless and your favourite barman may just be an android.

Energized fabrics could keep soldiers warm and battle-ready in frigid climates

Soldiering in arctic conditions is tough. Protective clothing can be heavy and can cause overheating and sweating upon exertion. And hands and feet can grow numb despite wearing such gear. To keep military personnel more comfortable and battle-ready in bitterly cold climes, scientists are now conducting research aimed at creating high-tech fabrics that heat up when powered and that capture sweat. These fabrics could also conceivably make their way to consumer clothing in the future.

Tech leaders warn against 'Pandora's box' of robotic weapons

Elon Musk is leading demands for a global ban on killer robots, warning technological advances could revolutionise warfare and create new "weapons of terror" that target innocent people.

Low-cost prostheses offer Indian amputees a second chance

Vishnu Kumar had barely reached adulthood when he lost his limbs in a freak electrical accident, seemingly condemning him to the life of penury endured by millions of amputees in India.

Free speech concerns as extreme-right evicted from web

A sweeping crackdown by US internet and social media companies on neo-Nazi and white supremacist material has sparked warnings in America that the web's grand promise of free speech is on the rocks.

Defence firms eye billion-dollar chance for 'made in India'

India has drawn up a shopping list for tens of billions of dollars of foreign fighter jets, armoured vehicles, submarines and helicopters but it will only sign the cheques if they are made in India.

Using machine learning to improve patient care

Doctors are often deluged by signals from charts, test results, and other metrics to keep track of. It can be difficult to integrate and monitor all of these data for multiple patients while making real-time treatment decisions, especially when data is documented inconsistently across hospitals.

Wireless motion capture device with widespread applications in fitness, health

A new "Fitbit for biomechanics" designed by researchers from Deakin University's School of Engineering has potential for industries from healthcare to sport.

Machine voice recognition reaches human parity

Last year, Microsoft's speech and dialog research group announced a milestone in reaching human parity on the Switchboard conversational speech recognition task, meaning we had created technology that recognized words in a conversation as well as professional human transcribers.

New theorems help robots to correct errors on-the-fly and learn from each other

Errors in Artificial Intelligence which would normally take a considerable amount of time to resolve could be corrected immediately with the help of new research from the University of Leicester.

We don't want AI that can understand us – we'd only end up arguing

Forget the Turing test. Computing pioneer Alan Turing's most pertinent thoughts on machine intelligence come from a neglected paragraph of the same paper that first proposed his famous test for whether a computer could be considered as smart as a human.

Revolutionary electric delivery vehicle tech prototyped

A technology demonstrator for a new type of electric delivery vehicle that could make the courier industry greener and more efficient has been developed by WMG at the University of Warwick and Warwickshire-based design company Astheimer Ltd.

aCar—the electric 'all-rounder'

An electric car for Africa, custom-designed for the needs of the population there, that strengthens rural structures and helps drive the economy: Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and partners have been working intensively towards this goal for four years. They will present their new prototype to the public at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt from September 12 to 15, 2017. The aCar is designed for passenger and cargo transportation and is also interesting for the European automotive market.

A good read: AI evaluates quality of short stories

The idea that artificial intelligence will someday be able to understand and even generate narratives has inspired and motivated researchers for years. A question inextricably bound to both lines of research remains unresolved, however: Can AI recognize a good story if it sees one?

Get Started: FBI warns of spreading W-2 email theft scheme

The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms—scams that can put staffers' Social Security numbers and other critical information in the hands of thieves.

Google to serve next version of Android as 'Oreo"

An upcoming update to Google's Android software finally has a delectable name. The next version will be known as Oreo, extending Google's tradition of naming each version after a sweet treat.

UAE nuclear programme edges toward 2018 launch

At first glance, the long hallway seems abandoned. But behind glass walls, in soundproof offices, engineers and physicists are putting the final touches to the Arab world's first nuclear programme.

UK promises to prosecute online hate crimes vigorously

British authorities are promising to prosecute hate crimes committed online as vigorously as those that take place face-to-face, recognizing the growth of hate speech on social media and the potential for such crimes to affect large numbers of people.

Walmart expands grocery service with Uber to 2 more markets

Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service with ride-hailing service Uber to two more markets—Dallas and Orlando, Florida.

Hackers hit Malaysian sites over Indonesia flag gaffe

Indonesian hackers on Monday claimed responsibility for attacking more than 30 Malaysian websites following a gaffe that saw Indonesia's flag printed upside-down in a Southeast Asian Games commemorative magazine.

GE's Immelt among finalists in Uber CEO search

Two people briefed on Uber's search for a new CEO say former General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt is among the finalists under consideration. But they say there's no clear consensus on Uber's board about a front-runner.

Medicine & Health news

Newly deciphered vitamin D regulatory pathway opens doors to clinical research

Biochemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have deciphered the molecular mechanisms that underpin how the synthesis of the active form of vitamin D is regulated in the kidney, summing up decades of research in this area that was started here in the Department of Biochemistry in the 1970s.

Fatty liver can cause damage to other organs via crosstalk

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is increasingly common. Approximately every third adult in industrialized countries has a morbidly fatty liver. This not only increases the risk of chronic liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, but also the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The cause for this is the altered secretion behavior of the fatty liver. It increasingly produces glucose, and unfavorable fats and proteins such as the hepatokine fetuin-A, all of which it releases into the bloodstream. Thus, the secreted substances of the fatty liver enter other organs and trigger further reactions. However, researchers did not know the effects of this "organ crosstalk," which organs are most affected, or what damage is caused by the hepatokine fetuin-A.

Scientists make autism advance using monkey model

Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social communication and restricted and repetitive behavior or interests. The reported prevalence of autism has been rising worldwide. Due to the application of large-scale exome sequencing in recent years, hundreds of novel autism-associated genes have been identified.

Gene variant activity is surprisingly variable between tissues

Every gene in almost every cell of the body is present in two variants called alleles—one from the mother, the other one from the father. In most cases, both alleles are active and transcribed by the cells into RNA. However, for a few genes, only one allele is expressed, while the other one is silenced. The decision to shut down either the maternal or the paternal version occurs early in embryonic development—it was long believed that the pattern of active alleles is nearly homogeneous in the various tissues of the organism.

New molecule may hold the key to triggering the regeneration and repair of damaged heart cells

New research has discovered a potential means to trigger damaged heart cells to self-heal. The discovery could lead to groundbreaking forms of treatment for heart diseases. For the first time, researchers have identified a long non-coding ribonucleic acid (ncRNA) that regulates genes controlling the ability of heart cells to undergo repair or regeneration. This novel RNA, which researchers have named "Singheart", may be targeted for treating heart failure in the future. The discovery was made jointly by A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the National University Health System (NUHS), and is now published in Nature Communications.

Link between cells associated with aging and bone loss

Mayo Clinic researchers have reported a causal link between senescent cells - the cells associated with aging and age-related disease - and bone loss in mice. Targeting these cells led to an increase in bone mass and strength. The findings appear online in Nature Medicine.

Research reveals 'exquisite selectivity' of neuronal wiring in the cerebral cortex

The brain's astonishing anatomical complexity has been appreciated for over 100 years, when pioneers first trained microscopes on the profusion of branching structures that connect individual neurons. Even in the tiniest areas of brain tissue, the pathways are tangled, almost indescribably dense. Today, neuroscientists are trying to figure out the workings of all those cells and the networks they form, the ultimate grand-challenge problem.

Comprehensive genomic analysis offers insights into causes of Wilms tumor development

A comprehensive genomic analysis of Wilms tumor - the most common kidney cancer in children - found genetic mutations involving a large number of genes that fall into two major categories. These categories involve cellular processes that occur early in kidney development. The study, published in Nature Genetics, offers the possibility that targeting these processes, instead of single genes, may provide new opportunities for treatment of Wilms tumor.

Zika virus stifles pregnant women's weakened immune system to harm baby, study finds

The Zika virus, linked to congenital birth defects and miscarriages, suppresses a pregnant woman's immune system, enabling the virus to spread and increasing the chances an unborn baby will be harmed, a Keck School of Medicine of USC study finds.

Researchers identify key compounds to resolve abnormal vascular growth in AMD

A compound of specific bioactive products from a major family of enzymes reduced the severity of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a preclinical model, according to a new study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers. The report, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that it may be possible to prevent the vision loss resulting from disease-causing angiogenesis and inflammation observed in wet AMD by increasing the expression of specific bioactive lipid metabolites in the retina. The research demonstrates that these bioactive lipids have the ability to regulate inflammatory immune cells in the retina, key regulators of the angiogenic process in this disease. Given this, these molecules show promising therapeutic potential not only for AMD, but also for other major conditions that involve angiogenesis and inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Zebrafish larvae could be used as 'avatars' to optimize personalized treatment of cancer

Portuguese scientists have for the first time shown that the larvae of a tiny fish could one day become the preferred model for predicting, in advance, the response of human malignant tumors to the various therapeutic drugs used to fight cancer. If the results of this study, led by two scientists from the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown (CCU), in Lisbon, Portugal, are confirmed, it should be possible to readily and safely choose the most efficient treatment for each patient. The study will be published online in the August 21, 2017 "early edition" of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Afternoon slump in reward response

Activation of a reward-processing brain region peaks in the morning and evening and dips at 2 p.m., finds a study of healthy young men published in The Journal of Neuroscience. This finding may parallel the drop in alertness people tend to feel in mid-afternoon.

How a non-coding RNA encourages cancer growth and metastasis

A mechanism that pushes a certain gene to produce a non-coding form of RNA instead of its protein-coding alternative can promote the growth of cancer, report researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in an article published online ahead of print on August 21, 2017 by Nature Cell Biology. The non-coding RNA soaks up a microRNA that prevents epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, one of the key features of tumor development.

Scientists discover vitamin C regulates stem cell function, curbs leukemia development

Not much is known about stem cell metabolism, but a new study from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has found that stem cells take up unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then regulates their function and suppresses the development of leukemia.

Searching for the 'signature' causes of BRCAness in breast cancer

Breast cancer cells with defects in the DNA damage repair-genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have a mutational signature (a pattern of base swaps—e.g., Ts for Gs, Cs for As—throughout a genome) known in cancer genomics as "Signature 3." But not all breast tumor cells exhibiting Signature 3 have BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Therefore, some consider Signature 3 a biomarker for "BRCAness," a sign of a breakdown in BRCA-related DNA repair (a process called homologous recombination, or HR) in general and not BRCA damage in particular.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

That statin you've been taking to lower your risk of heart attack or stroke may one day pull double duty, providing protection against a whole host of infectious diseases, including typhoid fever, chlamydia, and malaria.

Yemen's Saudi-led coalition is responsible for the 'worst cholera outbreak in the world'

The cholera outbreak in Yemen is overwhelmingly affecting rebel-controlled areas due to Saudi-led airstrikes and blockades, according to a letter by researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), published in The Lancet Global Health.

People who hear voices can detect hidden speech in unusual sounds

People who hear voices that other people can't hear may use unusual skills when their brains process new sounds, according to research led by Durham University and University College London (UCL).

Sugars in some breast milk could help protect babies from group B strep

Group B strep (GBS) bacteria remain the leading cause of severe infections in newborns worldwide. Now researchers have found that although the pathogen can be transmitted to infants through breastfeeding, some mothers produce protective sugars in their milk that could help prevent infection. They also report that the sugars can act as anti-biofilm agents, which is the first example of carbohydrates in human milk having this function.

No guts no glory: Harvesting the microbiome of athletes

Elite athletes work hard to excel in sports, but they may also get a natural edge from the bacteria that inhabit their digestive tracts. Scientists have now tapped into the microbiome of exceptional runners and rowers, and have identified particular bacteria that may aid athletic performance. The goal is to develop probiotic supplements that may help athletes—and even amateur fitness enthusiasts—recover from a tough workout or more efficiently convert nutrients to energy.

Behavior theory may offer key to ensuring infants are put to sleep safely

It is still common for infants to be placed in unsafe sleeping positions by their caregivers, report researchers from Yale and Boston University (BU). Fewer than half of infants are always placed on their backs for sleep, the recommended safe sleep position.

Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography

When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates. A new study compares the number of deaths that might be prevented as a result of three of the most widely discussed recommendations for screening mammography. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings may provide valuable guidance to women and their physicians about choosing a screening regimen.

Sedentary behavior increases risk of death for frail, inactive adults

Sedentary time, for example, time spent sitting, increases the risk of death for middle-aged and older people who are frail and inactive, but does not appear to increase the risk for nonfrail people who are inactive, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Research reveals how physical exercise protects the heart

Regular exercise is considered an important form of treatment for heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. The benefits of exercise include prevention of cachexia, control of arterial blood pressure, and improved cardiac function, postponing a degenerative process that causes progressive heart cell death. About 70 percent of heart failure patients die from the condition within five years.

Licorice is a hot trend in hot flashes, but could interact with medications

Licorice roots have a diverse and flavorful history, having been used in ancient Egyptian times as a tea and in traditional Chinese medicines, all the way to today as a flavoring agent and as an ingredient in some licorice candies. Some women now take licorice extracts as supplements to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. But scientists caution that the substance could pose a health risk by interacting with medications.

A faster, less costly way to process walnuts

As part of a healthful diet, walnuts provide protein, antioxidants, essential vitamins, and minerals. Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with overall good health.

Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test

Of the nearly 4 million women in the United States who have had either breast cancer or ovarian cancer, at least 1.5 million have a high risk of carrying certain types of genetic mutations that could increase their risk for additional cancers in the future.

Expert calls attention to the impact of workplace noise

During Hearing Awareness Week (20-26 August 2017), researcher Associate Professor Catherine McMahon, Head of Audiology at Macquarie University's Australian Hearing Hub, wants companies and employers to be aware that even a moderately noisy working environment, such as an office, could be impacting their employees' wellbeing.

Predicting brain surgery outcomes

For patients with a common type of epilepsy known as temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), the only treatment choices are anti-seizure drugs or surgery to remove the focus of the seizures in part of the brain known as the hippocampus.

Quitline is good value for money, says new study

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington has found New Zealand's Quitline service is a highly cost-effective way to improve health and even saves the health system money.

The data on who's driving too fast

Would you get behind the wheel drunk? Would you travel 65km/h in a 60 zone? The impact on driving performance is roughly the same, and is the message QUT's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) is highlighting on the first day of Queensland Road Safety Week 2017.

Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression

Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden describe a new method to study biochemical changes that occur in the pancreas during the development of diabetes. The method, recently published in Scientific Reports, is based on molecular spectroscopy and can be used to extract biochemical profiles (or "fingerprints") containing information about disease progression. The method could facilitate improved understanding of the mechanistic processes on molecular and cellular levels that are key to the development of diabetes.

Smartphone apps—memory aids for people with brain injuries

During Brain Injury Awareness Week, new research has emerged from Monash University showing that smartphone apps may actually help people with memory impairment from brain injuries, debunking earlier concerns that technology makes our brain's memory capacity worse.

Getting the best out of our brains

Student innovators and graduates from The University of Western Australia are developing a headset that can monitor human brain waves and stimulate the brain to improve concentration and boost the brain's performance.

Friend or foe? Just look at the way a person moves

Ever had that funny feeling about someone you don't know who's approaching you? There's something about them that makes you feel uneasy or you think they could cause you harm.

Immune system can be modulated by targeted manipulation of cell metabolism

In its attempt to fight a serious bacterial infection, caused by listeria, for example, the immune system can become so over-activated that the resulting inflammatory response and its consequences can quickly lead to death. Scientists from the Medical University of Vienna and Max F. Perutz Laboratories of MedUni Vienna and the University of Vienna, supervised by Gerhard Zlabinger from the Institute of Immunology, have now demonstrated in an animal model that such an excessive response by the immune system can be modulated by targeted manipulation of the sugar metabolism to produce an immune response that efficiently eliminates the pathogens without causing any harmful secondary reactions.

How hunger affects the mental health of pregnant mothers

The mental health of pregnant women can be affected by a range of factors, including partner violence and unemployment. But one of the key drivers that adversely affects a pregnant woman's mental health is food insecurity. Being food insecure is when someone doesn't have food or has the wrong kinds of food.

Women who sexually abuse children are just as harmful to their victims as male abusers

"That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?"

How to choose picture books that will empower, not damage, a child

For centuries, most children's books reinforced messages that children are unimportant, incompetent and powerless. Children need to shape up and adopt adults' values. Children must change to fit into an adult world.

Intermittent fasting could help tackle diabetes – here's the science

Intermittent fasting is currently all the rage. But don't be fooled: it's much more than just the latest fad. Recent studies of this kind of fasting – with restricted eating part of the time, but not all of the time – have produced a number of successes, but the latest involving diabetes might be the most impressive yet.

Devil versus angel—when do they shift into action in the face of temptation?

For breakfast this morning, I had to choose between a chocolate doughnut versus a bowl of oatmeal. (The doughnut was delicious.) Throughout the day I will have to fight off urges to check Twitter, skip the gym, and watch "Game of Thrones" late into the night. At every moment, temptation beckons.

Many young cancer patients do not receive adequate fertility information and support

All cancer patients of reproductive age should be provided with fertility information and referrals for fertility preservation. A new Psycho-Oncology analysis of the published literature indicates that many cancer patients are not receiving such support, however.

Can low doses of chemicals affect your health? A new report weighs the evidence

Toxicology's founding father, Paracelsus, is famous for proclaiming that "the dose makes the poison." This phrase represents a pillar of traditional toxicology: Essentially, chemicals are harmful only at high enough doses.

Back-to-school worries for parents? 1 in 3 very concerned bullying, cyberbullying

Parents may also experience some nerves as their children prepare to head back to school.

New technologies to diagnose and treat neurological diseases

The National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) are collaborating to develop innovative technologies to better diagnose and treat patients with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease and brain injuries.

Spaser can detect, kill circulating tumor cells to prevent cancer metastases, study finds

A nanolaser known as the spaser can serve as a super-bright, water-soluble, biocompatible probe capable of finding metastasized cancer cells in the blood stream and then killing these cells, according to a new research study.

New meta-analysis shows peer influence doubles smoking risk for adolescents

The way things stand now, tobacco use will kill one billion people in the 21st century. In the United States, 90 percent of smokers pick up the habit by age 18, making adolescence a critical time for smoking-prevention efforts.

Overcoming the last line of antibiotic resistance against bacterial infections

A common type of bacteria is causing a major healthcare crisis as we inch closer towards the last line of antibiotic resistance against bacterial infections. The bacterium known as Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is harboured by up to 60% of the human population and causes a variety of infections with severities ranging from mild to life threatening. While S. aureus is the cause of many common skin infections, it can also infect our essential organs such as the heart and lungs by travelling through our body's bloodstreams. This can lead to fatal illnesses such as septicemia, endocarditis, and necrotizing pneumonia which cause blood poisoning, heart inflammation, and lung failure respectively. Regrettably, there are currently no vaccines against S. aureus infections.

Newly developed nomograms provide accurate predictions for patients with oropharyngeal cancer

NRG Oncology researchers recently developed and validated a nomogram that can predict 2-year and 5-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) for patients with local-regionally advanced oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) treated primarily with radiation-based therapy. This nomogram was developed with data from clinical trials NRG Oncology/RTOG 0129 and 0522. Results were published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on August 4, 2017.

Do video game players make the best unmanned pilots?

New research from the University of Liverpool highlights the usefulness of Video Game Players (VGPs) as unmanned aircraft operators.

Our brains do change from early to mid-adulthood

Scientists in China have found that significant microstructural changes occur in the brain from early to mid-adulthood, allowing them to accurately estimate an individual's age from their brain structure. The findings are striking, because until now scientists thought that brain structure was relatively stable during this period of adulthood.

Rare resistance mutation reduces treatment choices for urinary tract infections

Nearly 20 percent of women aged 15-29 are diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI). Now, investigators have uncovered a rare mutation that renders a UTI-causing pathogen resistant to levofloxacin, a quinolone antibiotic used to treat UTIs. The research is published August 21st in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Wellness visits for better well-being

(HealthDay)—If you want to stay on top of your health, no matter what your age, it's important to see your doctor for a regular wellness visit—typically a yearly check-up that takes a head-to-toe look at you as a whole person.

Candida antigen safe, effective for treating common warts

(HealthDay)—Candida antigen is a promising, effective, and safe immunotherapeutic treatment for common warts, according to a study published online Aug. 8 in the International Journal of Dermatology.

Studies often fail to include info on T2DM medication adherence

(HealthDay)—Studies often fail to include information on outcomes by medication adherence in type 2 diabetes, according to research published online Aug. 11 in Diabetes Care.

Moderate, severe OSA linked to elevated blood coagulability

(HealthDay)—Moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are associated with elevated blood coagulability markers, according to a study published online Aug. 17 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Most ulcerative colitis patients do not achieve target remission

(HealthDay)—Most patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) do not achieve the 'Treat to Target' (T2T) end point of composite clinical and endoscopic remission, according to research published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Physical activity predicts disability in older adults

(HealthDay)—Accelerometer-measured physical activity (PA) levels are strongly associated with major mobility disability (MMD) and persistent MMD (PMMD) events in older adults with limited mobility, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Procalcitonin testing not impacting antibiotic rx for COPD

(HealthDay)—Hospital adoption of procalcitonin (PCT) testing has had little impact on antibiotic prescribing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Radioiodine therapy for thyroid cancer doesn't up stroke risk

(HealthDay)—Radioiodine (I-131) therapy for thyroid cancer is not associated with increased risk of stroke, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in Head & Neck.

80 percent of Ebola survivors suffer disabilities one year after discharge

New research, conducted by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, highlights the need for long-term rehabilitation of Ebola survivors after almost 80% of those interviewed were found to have major limitations in mobility, cognition and vision.

Study shows global estimates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder among children

Globally, nearly eight out of every 1,000 children in the general population is estimated to have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Are there racial differences in cognitive outcomes based on BP targets?

A new article published by JAMA Neurology investigates how various blood pressure targets for older patients treated for hypertension were associated with cognitive function and if racial differences existed in long-term cognitive outcomes.

What hours are worked by women, men in dual-physician couples with kids?

In dual-physician couples, women with children worked fewer hours than women without children but similar differences in hours worked were not seen among men, according to a new research letter published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

New tool identifies diabetes patients at risk for low blood sugar emergencies

A team led by Kaiser Permanente researchers has developed and validated a practical tool for identifying diabetes patients who are at the highest risk for being admitted to an emergency department or hospital due to severe hypoglycemia, or very low blood sugar. Their results are published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers identify practices leading to safer outcomes in procedural sedation for children

August 21, 2017 - Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) looked at the incidence of and risk factors associated with sedation-related adverse events in pediatric emergency departments as part of a multi-centre observational study published today in JAMA Pediatrics.

New 'SIREN' Network seeks to improve emergency care clinical trials

The emergency department isn't typically considered an easy place to perform a clinical trial.

Gut microbes may talk to the brain through cortisol

Gut microbes have been in the news a lot lately. Recent studies show they can influence human health, behavior, and certain neurological disorders, such as autism. But just how do they communicate with the brain? Results from a new University of Illinois study suggest a pathway of communication between certain gut bacteria and brain metabolites, by way of a compound in the blood known as cortisol. And unexpectedly, the finding provides a potential mechanism to explain the characteristics of autism.

Claim lines with diagnoses of anaphylactic food reactions climbed 377 percent from 2007 to 2016

Private insurance claim lines with diagnoses of anaphylactic food reactions rose 377 percent from 2007 to 2016, according to data from FAIR Health, a national, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information. Consulting its database of over 23 billion privately billed healthcare procedures, FAIR Health investigated food allergies and anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that certain foods, as well as other substances, can induce in susceptible individuals. FAIR Health released its initial findings in an infographic (see below) and plans to issue a more expansive white paper on the subject in the coming months.

Research reveals potential target for alcohol liver disease

Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver, but investigators have discovered a protective response in the organ that might be targeted to help treat alcoholic liver disease. The team—led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania—also found that the same protective response may be involved in aversion to alcohol and could therefore help in the treatment of alcoholism.

New 3D-drug screening aims to ease economic burden of rare muscle diseases

Rare muscle diseases have a devastating impact on the affected individual and their families, but 3-D-drug screening could lead to better medicines being developed which would also relieve the huge economic toll of their treatment.

3-D app measures up to prevent falls

People prone to falls could be safer pottering round at home with smart mobile 3-D software to help healthcare workers measure their surroundings.

The children are watching. What can you tell them?

How can parents, caregivers and educators talk with children about racial turmoil and recent news events in the U.S.? Several Mayo Clinic experts say the best approach is proactive and direct.

3M's new quicker sterilization test could boost surgical safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave 3M's new rapid sterilizing test kit the thumbs-up last month, meaning that hospitals can verify that surgical instruments are sterilized at low temperatures in just 24 minutes instead of the former four-hour time frame.

Jury awards $417M in lawsuit linking talcum powder to cancer

A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in its iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

Immune cells contribute to treatment resistance in aggressive breast cancers

Breast cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related death for women in the United States. Early detection and targeted therapies have improved overall patient outcomes, but these factors also profoundly influence the wide stratification of prognoses. So-called "triple-negative" breast cancers, which lack expression of estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) hormone receptors, cannot be targeted by existing hormonal therapies and are associated with poor patient survival. The claudin-low subtype of triple-negative breast cancer is distinguished by its exceptionally poor prognosis, as well as a substantially higher rate of immune cell infiltration within the tumor microenvironment. Though observations suggest an inverse correlation between immune infiltration and patient prognosis in breast cancer subtypes, the link has not been confirmed.

A new dental restoration composite proves more durable than the conventional material

Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics

The golden age of antibiotics may be drawing to a close. The recent discovery of E. coli carrying mcr-1 and ndm-5—genes that make the bacterium immune to last-resort antibiotics—has left clinicians without an effective means of treatment for the superbug.

Postnatal identification of Zika virus peptides from saliva

For the first time, researchers are using proteomics to examine proteins and peptides in saliva in order to accurately detect exposure to Zika virus. With 70 countries and territories reporting evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission, there is an increased need for a rapid and effective test for the virus. This study, published online today in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), offers a new, quicker and more cost-effect way to test for the virus.

Scientists probe a protein's role in speeding Ebola's spread

Two Johns Hopkins materials science graduate students and their professors played a key role in a multi-institution research project that pinpointed how a tiny protein seems to make the deadly Ebola virus particularly contagious.

Bank boycott snuffs Uruguay's legal marijuana sales

Uruguay's unique new marijuana industry has run into a hurdle as international anti-money laundering rules are forcing banks to close the accounts of pharmacies legally selling the drug.

Past health chiefs: insurance market stability is the goal

Don't make things worse. That's the advice of former U.S. health secretaries of both parties to President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress, now that "Obamacare" seems here for the foreseeable future. The 2018 sign-up season for subsidized private health plans starts Nov. 1, with about 10 million people currently served through HealthCare.gov and its state counterparts.

Tainted-eggs scandal reaches Italy

Two of 114 egg samples tested in Italy have shown traces of the insecticide fipronil, Italy's health ministry said Monday, making the country the latest to become embroiled in a Europe-wide scandal.

Chile court rules in favor of abortion in some cases

Chile's Constitutional Court on Monday upheld a measure that would end the country's absolute ban on abortions.

US health chief lauds China for help with opioid control

China has been an "incredible partner" in cracking down on synthetic opioids seen as fueling fast-rising overdose deaths in the United States, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Monday during a visit to the country considered the source of many of the deadly substances sought by addicts.

Biology news

Antarctic salt-loving microbes provide insights into evolution of viruses

UNSW Sydney scientists studying microbes from some of the saltiest lakes in Antarctica have discovered a new way that the microbes can share DNA that could help them grow and survive.

Scientists sequence a whole genome to identify a plant species within hours

In a paper published today in Scientific Reports , researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, detail for the first time the opportunities for plant sciences that are now available with portable, real-time DNA sequencing.

Avocado seed husks could be a gold mine of medicinal and industrial compounds

The least appreciated part of an avocado could soon undergo a trash-to-treasure transformation. In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists report that avocado seed husks, which are usually discarded along with the seed, are hidden gold mines packed with a previously unrecognized plethora of chemical compounds. They say these compounds could eventually be used to treat a host of debilitating diseases, as well as to enhance the allure of cosmetics, perfumes and other consumer goods.

The dangerous game of the 'highwayman' beetle

We all know the type. The project co-worker who doesn't really work on the project, but shows up for the group photo. The dinner companion who develops alligator arms when the check appears. Shirkers. Goldbrickers. Idlers. Malingerers.

First integrated atlas of microRNA expression in human primary cells

The human body consists of hundreds of different cell types with very different functions and behaviors, despite the fact that the genome sequence of almost all cells of an individual person is identical. The variation in functional roles of cells is accomplished by an intricate regulatory network consisting of regulatory proteins as well as regulatory RNAs such as microRNAs. Dysregulation of such networks plays a major role in disease development, in particular in cancer.

A holodeck for flies, fish and mice

How do people orient themselves when they are in a new area? How do we use street signs or houses, for instance, to estimate the distance we have traveled? Put simply: how do we update our mental map? Neuroscientists have been studying such questions in animals to learn about the basic principles of spatial cognition. "Until now, we have envied an invention from the world of science fiction: a holodeck like they have in Star Trek," says Prof. Dr. Andrew Straw. The holodeck is a space which can simulate any desired virtual world. "Something like the holodeck from Star Trek would enable key experiments in which we could artificially decouple an animal's movement from its perception," says the Freiburg professor of biology. Together with his colleague Prof. Dr. Kristin Tessmar-Raible from the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna, Austria, and an international team, Straw has constructed a kind of holodeck and with it created new opportunities for researching spatial cognition. The animals perceived the simulated objects as real and changed their behavior in different visual environments. The research team describes its results in the Nature Methods journal.

Evolutionary arms 'chase'

In nature, plants engage in a never-ending battle to avoid being eaten. Unable to run away, plant species have evolved defenses to deter herbivores; they have spines, produce nasty chemicals, or grow tough leaves that are difficult to chew. For years, scientists have assumed that herbivores and plants are locked into evolutionary competition in which a plant evolves a defense, the herbivore evolves a workaround, and so on.

Chemicals from gut bacteria maintain vitality in aging animals

A class of chemicals made by intestinal bacteria, known as indoles, help worms, flies and mice maintain mobility and resilience for more of their lifespans, scientists have discovered.

Researchers find an alternative mode of bacterial quorum sensing

Whether growing in a puddle of dirty water or inside the human body, large groups of bacteria must coordinate their behavior to perform essential tasks that they would not be able to carry out individually. Bacteria achieve this coordination through a process called quorum sensing in which the microorganisms produce and secrete small molecules called autoinducers that can be detected by neighboring bacterial cells. Only when a large number of bacteria are present can the levels of secreted autoinducer build up to the point where the community can detect them and respond as a coordinated group.

Wood frogs research clarifies risks posed to animals by warming climate

As conditions warm, fish and wildlife living at the southern edge of their species' ranges are most at risk, according to Penn State researchers who led a major collaborative study of how wood frogs are being affected by climate change.

Love beckons for recovering chimp in Brazil refuge

Marcelino is calling to her, but Cecilia cannot be with him. Not yet. He may be handsome, but she has suffered a lot and isn't ready for a relationship.

A map of the cell's power station

Mitochondria are the cell's power stations; they transform the energy stored in nutrients for use by cells. If this function is disturbed, mitochondrial diseases can develop that often affect organs that have a high metabolism, like the brain or the heart. The research labs at the University of Freiburg led by Prof. Dr. Chris Meisinger and Dr. Nora Vögtle successfully mapped the landscape of proteins in the subcompartments of mitochondria for the first time. They published their research in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Have flowers devised the ultimate weapon of distraction?

Nectar, the high-energy 'honey' produced by flowers, might be a brilliant distraction technique to help protect a flower's reproductive parts, according to new research.

Urban butterflies under threat of extinction

According to an EPFL study, butterflies living in urban areas face the threat of consanguinity and potential extinction. The research drew on the fields of genetics and urban development to quantify the trend across an entire city.

Better odour recognition in odour-colour synaesthesia

People who see colours while perceiving smells are better at distinguishing between different smells and different colours, and are better at naming odours, compared to a group without synaesthesia. Researchers from Radboud University have found this result.

Cold-tolerant yeast strains for cider and wine makers to improve product quality

The new cold-tolerant hybrid strains developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland enable fermentation at lower and higher temperatures than before. Production at lower temperature reduces the risk of contamination and possibly allows reduction of the use of sulphates. Modulating temperatures can be used to fine-tune product aroma.

Both chimpanzees and humans spontaneously imitate each other's actions 

Copying the behaviour of others makes us effective learners and allow skills, knowledge and inventions to be passed on from one generation to the next. Imitation is therefore viewed as the key cognitive ability that enabled human culture to grow and create such things as language, technology, art and science. Decades of research has shown that apes, in spite of their proverbial aping abilities, are rather poor imitators, especially when compared to human children. The imitative superiority of children has been attributed to a higher social motivation to engage others in communication and the sharing of experiences. Current theories hold that apes are worse imitators because they lack this social and communicative side of imitation. The studies behind these theories, however, have focused on imitation in the area of learning solutions to physical problems.

Warmer waters from climate change will leave fish shrinking, gasping for air

Fish are expected to shrink in size by 20 to 30 per cent if ocean temperatures continue to climb due to climate change.

Plants under heat stress must act surprisingly quickly to survive

In new results reported in The Plant Cell, molecular biologist Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues in India and China report finding a crucial mechanism that plants need to recover from heat stress.

Biofuels from bacteria

You might not cook with this sugar, but from a biofuels standpoint, it's pretty sweet. A Bay Area company has patented a group of three single-celled, algae-like organisms that, when grown together, can produce high quantities of sugar just right for making biofuels. Sandia National Laboratories is helping HelioBioSys Inc. learn whether farming them on a large scale would be successful.

Post-whaling recovery of Southern Hemisphere

By 2100 some Southern Hemisphere whale species will not have reached half their pre-whaling numbers, while other species are expected to recover by 2050.The findings are part of new CSIRO and UQ research, which looks at the interaction of historical whaling, food availability and future climate changes to predict whale numbers to 2100.

Chile rejects iron mine to protect penguins

Chile on Monday rejected plans for a $2.5 billion iron-mining project in order to protect thousands of endangered penguins.


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