Friday, April 18, 2014

[NASA HQ News] NASA Celebrates Earth Day with Public Events, Online Activities

 
April 18, 2014
NASA Celebrates Earth Day with Public Events, Online Activities

NASA will celebrate the 44th anniversary of Earth Day with a variety of live and online activities April 21-27 to engage the public in the agency's mission to better understand and protect our home planet.

This year, for the first time in more than a decade, five NASA Earth Science missions will be launched into space in the same year. These new missions will help address some of the critical challenges facing our planet today and in the future: climate change, sea level rise, access to freshwater resources, and extreme weather events. For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

Earth Day in the Nation's Capital
Monday, April 21 (11 a.m. - 5 p.m. EDT) and Tuesday, April 22 (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.) -- NASA Hyperwall and Science Gallery exhibits in the main hall of Union Station at 40 Massachusetts Ave., NE. The exhibit will include activities and displays showing how NASA uses satellite technology to better understand our changing planet. NASA scientists will give a series of talks April 22 at the Hyperwall stage. For a complete listing of events, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/1kIrbtX

NASA #GlobalSelfie Event
Join NASA April 22 as we encourage people all over the world to step outside and celebrate environmental awareness.  Anyone, anywhere on the globe, can participate by posting a "selfie" with their local environment as a backdrop. Post your photo to Twitter, Instagram or Google+ using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie or to the event groups on Facebook and Flickr. Photos tagged #GlobalSelfie will be used to create a mosaic image of Earth. For details on how to participate, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/globalselfie/

NASA Center Activities
Stennis Space Center, Hancock County, Miss., April 22 (10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. CDT) -- Demonstrations and hands-on activities will be part of the center's Earth Week at Infinity Science Center. School groups and the general public will be able to participate in the solar beads bracelet activity, tornado in a bottle experiment, Science on a Sphere presentations, and Experimentation Station demonstrations.  For more information, visit:

http://www.visitinfinity.com/

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., April 22 (8 p.m. PDT) -- Theater Arts Caltech will present a special Earth Day production of the play "Dr. Keeling's Curve," starring Mike Farrell, in the California Institute of Technology's Ramo Auditorium in Pasadena. The play tells the story of the scientist whose research on carbon dioxide provided the first early warnings about global warming. JPL scientists will participate in a post-performance discussion session. More information is available at:

http://www.caltech.edu/content/mike-farrell-dr-keelings-curve

Aquarium of the Pacific 14th Annual Earth Day event, Long Beach, Calif., April 26 and 27 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT) -- JPL will host a booth in the main hall for this event, which focuses on Earth as an ocean planet. The event includes hands-on learning demonstrations for all ages. For more information, go to:

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/earth_day_celebration/

For more information about NASA's Earth science results and programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earth

-end-

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0918
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov


NASA news releases and other information are available automatically by sending an e-mail message with the subject line subscribe to hqnews-request@newsletters.nasa.gov.
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[NASA HQ News] NASA Completes LADEE Mission with Planned Impact on Moon's Surface

 
April 18, 2014
NASA Completes LADEE Mission with Planned Impact on Moon's Surface

Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m. PDT Thursday, April 17.

LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent into the lunar surface. The spacecraft's orbit naturally decayed following the mission's final low-altitude science phase.

During impact, engineers believe the LADEE spacecraft, the size of a vending machine, broke apart, with most of the spacecraft's material heating up several hundred degrees – or even vaporizing – at the surface. Any material that remained is likely buried in shallow craters.

"At the time of impact, LADEE was traveling at a speed of 3,600 miles per hour – about three times the speed of a high-powered rifle bullet," said Rick Elphic, LADEE project scientist at Ames. "There's nothing gentle about impact at these speeds – it's just a question of whether LADEE made a localized craterlet on a hillside or scattered debris across a flat area. It will be interesting to see what kind of feature LADEE has created."

In early April, the spacecraft was commanded to carry out maneuvers that would lower its closest approach to the lunar surface. The new orbit brought LADEE to altitudes below one mile (two kilometers) above the lunar surface. This is lower than most commercial airliners fly above Earth, enabling scientists to gather unprecedented science measurements.

On April 11, LADEE performed a final maneuver to ensure a trajectory that caused the spacecraft to impact the far side of the moon, which is not in view of Earth or near any previous lunar mission landings. LADEE also survived the total lunar eclipse on April 14 to 15. This demonstrated the spacecraft's ability to endure low temperatures and a drain on batteries as it, and the moon, passed through Earth's deep shadow.

In the coming months, mission controllers will determine the exact time and location of LADEE's impact and work with the agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team to possibly capture an image of the impact site. Launched in June 2009, LRO provides data and detailed images of the lunar surface.

"It's bittersweet knowing we have received the final transmission from the LADEE spacecraft after spending years building it in-house at Ames, and then being in constant contact as it circled the moon for the last several months," said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at Ames.

Launched in September 2013 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, LADEE began orbiting the moon Oct. 6 and gathering science data Nov. 10. The spacecraft entered its science orbit around the moon's equator on Nov. 20, and in March 2014, LADEE extended its mission operations following a highly successful 100-day primary science phase.

LADEE also hosted NASA's first dedicated system for two-way communication using laser instead of radio waves. The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) made history using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles from the moon to the Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits-per-second (Mbps). In addition, an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps was transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the Laser Communications Space Terminal aboard LADEE.

LADEE gathered detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere. In addition, scientists hope to use the data to address a long-standing question: Was lunar dust, electrically charged by sunlight, responsible for the pre-sunrise glow seen above the lunar horizon during several Apollo missions?

"LADEE was a mission of firsts, achieving yet another first by successfully flying more than 100 orbits at extremely low altitudes," said Joan Salute, LADEE program executive, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Although a risky decision, we're already seeing evidence that the risk was worth taking."

A thorough understanding of the characteristics of our nearest celestial neighbor will help researchers understand other bodies in the solar system, such as large asteroids, Mercury and the moons of outer planets.

NASA also included the public in the final chapter of the LADEE story. A "Take the Plunge" contest provided an opportunity for the public to guess the date and time of the spacecraft's impact via the internet. Thousands submitted predictions. NASA will provide winners a digital congratulatory certificate.

NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission. Ames was responsible for spacecraft design, development, testing and mission operations, in addition to managing the overall mission. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., managed the science instruments, technology demonstration payload and science operations center, and provided mission support. Goddard also manages the LRO mission. Wallops was responsible for launch vehicle integration, launch services and operations. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., managed LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.

For more information about the LADEE mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ladee

For more information about LLCD, visit:

http://llcd.gsfc.nasa.gov

-end-

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

Rachel Hoover
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-930-6149
rachel.hoover@nasa.gov

Dewayne Washington
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
301-286-0040
dewayne.a.washington@nasa.gov


NASA news releases and other information are available automatically by sending an e-mail message with the subject line subscribe to hqnews-request@newsletters.nasa.gov.
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World Science: 1st Earth-sized planet in a 'habitable zone'

* First Earth-sized planet in star's "habitable 
zone" reported found
:
In a long-awaited first, astronomers report finding
an Earth-sized planet possibly able to support life.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140417_Kepler186f.htm


* Even moderate pot use tied to clear brain 
changes: study

Even once- or twice-a-week use can lead to
abnormalities, scientists say.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140416_cannabis.htm


* Saturn may be spawning tiny new moon:
Astronomers suspect the object may be going through
stages that characterized the birth of other moons,
and planets.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140414_Peggy.htm


* Fair bosses "pay a price":
Bosses who are fair make their workers and companies
better off, but may be burning themselves out, a
study finds.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140329_fair.htm


* Possible alien moon detected, but never to 
be seen again
:
Though unconfirmable, the finding is seen as a
tantalizing first step toward finding exomoons.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140410_exomoon.htm


* Big, unseen planet may inhabit outer Solar 
System
:
A dwarf planet just found far outside the known
Solar System also hints that a far bigger one lurks,
astronomers report.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140326_2012VP113.htm


* Saturn moon hides sea within, scientists 
conclude
:
Researchers believe the water is in contact
with a rocky floor below, making it more suitable
for a hypothetical origin of life.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140403_Enceladus.htm


ADDITIONAL NEWS


* We're over the hill at 24? So says computer-
game study
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140416_MotorSpeed.htm


* Zombie cancer cells eat themselves to live:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140406_autophagy.htm


* "Dark matter" possibly seen destroying itself:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140403_darkmatter.htm


* Did limits on lead cause huge U.S. crime drop?:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140402_lead.htm


* Riddle of zebra's stripes "solved":
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140401_zebras.htm


* Tiny planet found to have Saturn-like rings:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140329_chariklo.htm


* Debris of Earth-like planets found to float 
around dead stars
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140326_whitedwarfs.htm


* Study: E-cigarettes not linked to higher quit 
rates
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140324_e-cigarettes.htm


* Cuckoo helps nestmates by releasing awful 
stench
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140321_cuckoo.htm


* Radar shows mirror-smooth sea on Saturn 
moon
:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140320_Titan.htm


* Social groups may ease depression:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140319_depression.htm


* Males, females may deal with stress oppositely:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/140318_stress.htm



*****************************

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Phys.org Newsletter Thursday, Apr 17

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Phys.org Newsletter for April 17, 2014:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Google's Street View address reading software also able to decipher CAPTCHAs
- Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur
- Researchers find tin selenide shows promise for efficiently converting waste heat into electrical energy
- First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed: It may have liquid water
- Archaeological, genetic evidence expands views of domestication
- Cognitive scientists use 'I spy' to show spoken language helps direct children's eyes
- Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids
- Neuromorphic computing 'roadmap' envisions analog path to simulating human brain
- SRI microrobots show fast-building factory approach (w/ video)
- Vitamin B3 might have been made in space, delivered to Earth by meteorites
- Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers
- There's something ancient in the icebox
- Satellite telecom vulnerable to hackers, researchers find
- For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key
- Facebook rolls out location-sharing feature (Update)

Astronomy & Space news

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues
We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts
This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… three to ten times more, in fact. A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle's Museum of Flight, shows that "the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid is blind luck."

Astronaut salary
Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science that researches the nature of the human body.

Smallest speed jump of pulsar caused by billions of superfluid vortices
A team of astronomers, including Danai Antonopoulou and Anna Watts from the University of Amsterdam, has discovered that sudden speed jumps in the rotational velocity of pulsars have a minimum size, and that they are caused not by the unpinning and displacement of just one sub-surface superfluid vortex, but by billions. This result is important to our understanding of the behavior of matter under extreme conditions, and has been published this week in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe
An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range from cosmic near neighbours to objects seen in the early years of the Universe. The 14-hour exposure shows objects around a billion times fainter than can be seen with the naked eye.

A sharp eye on Southern binary stars
Unlike our sun, with its retinue of orbiting planets, many stars in the sky orbit around a second star. These binary stars, with orbital periods ranging from days to centuries, have long been the primary tool for measuring basic quantities like the star's mass. While masses of normal stars are now well determined, some binaries present special interest because their stars are unusual (e.g. very young) or because they may contain planets, gas clouds, or other stars.

Bright points in Sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior
Like a balloon bobbing along in the air while tied to a child's hand, a tracer has been found in the sun's atmosphere to help track the flow of material coursing underneath the sun's surface.

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids
(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational pull on surrounding objects. Dark matter is thought to exist in a vast network of filaments throughout the universe, pulling luminous galaxies into an interconnected web of clusters, interspersed with seemingly empty voids.

First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed: It may have liquid water
The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The initial discovery, made by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, is one of a handful of smaller planets found by Kepler and verified using large ground-based telescopes. It also confirms that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zone of other stars.

Vitamin B3 might have been made in space, delivered to Earth by meteorites
Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

Technology news

Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job.

Old timey car to replace NYC horse carriages shown
An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has been revealed.

Turkey still hopes Twitter will open local office
Turkey's government said on Thursday it still hopes Twitter will open an office in the country, a day after the social networking site ruled out any such move.

Weibo shares jump in market debut
Weibo Corp.'s shares are rising in the Chinese social media company's debut in the U.S.

Record labels sue Pandora over older songs
Major record labels are suing Internet radio giant Pandora for copyright infringement for using songs recorded before 1972 without paying license fees.

'Chief Yahoo' David Filo returns to board
Yahoo announced the nomination of three new board members, including company co-founder David Filo, who earned the nickname and formal job title of "Chief Yahoo."

Weibo IPO below expectations, raises $285.6 mn
Sina Weibo sold fewer shares than expected in its US IPO which was priced below expectations ahead of a Thursday listing that takes place after tech selloffs on Wall Street.

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million
Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

Japan firm offers glowing finger for those phoning home
If you thought a finger that glows when you phone home was strictly the preserve of extra-terrestrials, think again: a Japanese firm has unveiled nails that light up when you make a call.

Sound expert works with Imogen Heap on musical gloves project
UWE computer music expert Dr Tom Mitchell is part of the team working to make musician Imogen Heap's pioneering Mi.Mu gestural gloves more widely available. The team has recently started a Kickstarter campaign to develop the gloves.

Researcher seeks to lessen failures in computerized visual recognition programs
Computer programs that use facial or image recognition systems—be it security cameras or applications that search databases for everything from photographs of wanted criminals to images of bears – are like any other technological marvel. They may be fast and versatile, but they frequently fail, and are limited to one-way communication, taking orders from the user.

Researcher launches successful tech start-up to help the blind
Michael Rosen has produced research related to people with disabilities for the past four decades, the last ten as an associate professor in the School of Engineering. It wasn't until he co-founded Engineering to Assist and Support You (E.A.S.Y), LLC, with a colleague and a former student, however, that he felt like his research truly impacted lives.

Bringing history and the future to life with augmented reality
Have you ever wished you had a virtual time machine that could show you how your street looked last century? Or have you wanted to see how your new furniture might look, before you've even bought it? Thanks to VENTURI, an EU research project, you can now do just that.

Preventing AI from developing anti-social and potentially harmful behaviour
Next time you play a computer at chess, think about the implications if you beat it. It could be a very sore loser!

Researchers develop the first mobile charging system for electric vehicles
The Instituto Tecnológico de la Energía (ITE) in Spain has developed the first mobile charging system for electric vehicles. This system allows users to charge their vehicle from any plug -not just from a specifically designed one- as long as it has been previously authorised by an electric power company.

Net neutrality balancing act
Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor profits.

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready
A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay people without needing to know their account number or sort code.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake
Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

Researcher finds flaw in Samsung fingerprint check
A Berlin-based researcher says he has managed to fool the fingerprint-based security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone using wood glue and a picture of the original print.

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
Finnish telecom company Nokia on Thursday recalled 30,000 chargers for its Lumia 2520 tablet due to risk it could give customers an electric shock.

Zynga seeks new harvest with mobile FarmVille game
Social games pioneer Zynga on Thursday released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.

Laptop used for first US presidential email finds a buyer
The laptop computer that Bill Clinton used in 1998 to send the first-ever US presidential email has sold for $60,667 in an online auction, the Boston auction house that handled the transaction said Thursday.

Honda's new ASIMO robot, more human-like than ever
It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot.

Wireless power transfer achieved at five-meter distance
The way electronic devices receive their power has changed tremendously over the past few decades, from wired to non-wired. Users today enjoy all kinds of wireless electronic gadgets including cell phones, mobile displays, tablet PCs, and even batteries. The Internet has also shifted from wired to wireless. Now, researchers and engineers are trying to remove the last remaining wires altogether by developing wireless power transfer technology.

PsiKick's batteryless sensors poised for coming 'Internet of things'
Research from the University of Virginia and the universities of Michigan and Washington is the foundation of a startup company, PsiKick, that plans to manufacture the lowest-power wireless sensors in the world.

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy (Update)
Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the incoming head of the Nuclear Energy Agency told The Associated Press.

Facebook rolls out location-sharing feature (Update)
Facebook users in the U.S. will soon be able to see which of their friends are nearby using a new feature the company is launching on Thursday.

Satellite telecom vulnerable to hackers, researchers find
Security flaws in many satellite telecommunications systems leave them open to hackers, raising potential risks for aviation, shipping, military and other sectors, security researchers said Thursday.

SRI microrobots show fast-building factory approach (w/ video)
(Phys.org) —SRI International, a research center that conducts client-sponsored research and development for government and other organizations, is attracting attention for work on what micro-factories might accomplish in the future, with micro-robots coordinated to go to work building products. SRI's ant-like microrobots in large numbers can reliably handle solid and liquid materials, including electronics. The micro-robots were designed to suggest a better way to assemble components and small structures.

Neuromorphic computing 'roadmap' envisions analog path to simulating human brain
(Phys.org) —In the field of neuromorphic engineering, researchers study computing techniques that could someday mimic human cognition. Electrical engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently published a "roadmap" that details innovative analog-based techniques that could make it possible to build a practical neuromorphic computer.

Google's Street View address reading software also able to decipher CAPTCHAs
(Phys.org) —Google engineers working on software to automatically read home and business addresses off photographs taken by Street View vehicles, have created a product so good that not only can it be used for address reading, it can solve CAPTCHAs, as well.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers
(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature of the phone owner's Nest thermostat or playing a song of choice on the Spotify playlist, or turning on the lights, or unlocking a car. Their efforts have not been ignored by numerous tech-watching sites. As important, a premier university hackathon PenApps, sponsored by numerous company heavyweights, gave the quartet third prize. Their entry was GoogolPlex. "We hacked Siri in iOS 7 to interface with Spotify and other third-party apps," they said. "Imagine being able to control your Nest thermostat and unlock your car through Siri. With GoogolPlex, these are now possible."

Medicine & Health news

Patients with rare lung disease face agonizing treatment dilemma
Doctors who treat patients with a severe and progressive respiratory disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) can face an agonizing treatment decision.

Arthritis patients want more psychological and emotional support
New research from UWE Bristol has found a high demand for help to cope with the social and emotional implications of inflammatory arthritis among patients. The study, which will be presented at Rheumatology 2014 this month, found that patients need more support to deal with the impact of long term pain and tiredness.

Beating the clock for ischemic stroke sufferers
A ground-breaking computer technology raises hope for people struck by ischemic stroke, which is a very common kind of stroke accounting for over 80 per cent of overall stroke cases. Developed by research experts at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), this novel application that expertly analyses brain scans could save lives by helping doctors determine if a patient has the life-threatening condition.

Small steps and giant leaps provide insight into our brains
Heriot-Watt scientists looked at how primary school-aged children use their interactive Methodical Frog Hopping game at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Science Festival (April 5-20).

Philippines asks airline passengers to check for MERS
The Philippines on Thursday asked more than 400 passengers who shared an airline flight with a man infected with the MERS virus to check in with the health department immediately.

Study finds adverse respiratory outcomes for older people with COPD taking benzodiazepines
A group of drugs commonly prescribed for insomnia, anxiety and breathing issues "significantly increase the risk" that older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, need to visit a doctor or Emergency Department for respiratory reasons, new research has found.

Conceptual representation in the brain: Towards mind-reading
Your measured brain signals can reveal whether you are thinking about an animal or a tool. That's what neuroscientist Irina Simanova discovered during her PhD at Radboud University, where she investigated the conceptual representation of words and objects in the human brain. This knowledge is useful for the development of tools that convert brain signals into speech.

More research called for into HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in African children
Researchers from LSTM have called for more research to be carried out into HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in children in sub-Saharan Africa. In a paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases LSTM's Professor Russell Stothard, working with colleagues in the department of Parasitology and researchers from Cape Western Reserve University, in Cleveland Ohio, University of Cambridge and the Royal Veterinary College looked at previous research into the joint burden of HIV/AIDS and schistosomiasis of children, and found that while disease-specific control interventions are continuing, potential synergies in the control efforts for the two diseases have not been investigated.

Deaths from viral hepatitis surpasses HIV/AIDS as preventable cause of deaths in Australia
The analysis was conducted by Dr Benjamin Cowie and Ms Jennifer MacLachlan from the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, and was presented at The International Liver Congress in London earlier this month.

Child burn effects far reaching for parents
Parents of burn victims experience significant psychological distress for at least three months after the incident and may compromise the post-operative recovery of their child, WA research has found.

Drug watchdog urges vigilance in cancer drug theft
Europe's medicine watchdog urged doctors Thursday to be vigilant in administering the cancer drug Herceptin, vials of which had been stolen in Italy and tampered with before being sold back into the supply chain.

FDA warns of risks with fibroid removal procedure (Update)
The Food and Drug Administration is warning American women that a device-assisted procedure for treating fibroids could inadvertently spread cancer from the uterus to other parts of the body.

Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
Malaysia has quarantined 64 people in a southern village after one of its residents become the country's first person to die of a respiratory illness that is spreading from the Middle East, local media reported Thursday.

Re-emergence of Ebola focuses need for global surveillance strategies
EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation and global public health issues, published a comprehensive review today examining the current state of knowledge of the deadly Ebola and Marburg virus. The review calls for improved global surveillance strategies to combat the emergence of infectious diseases such as the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that has claimed the lives of 122 people in the countries of Guinea and Liberia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the deadly Ebola virus can cause mortality rates up to 90 percent of those individuals who contract the disease. No cure or vaccine exists for Ebola hemorrhagic fever and public health officials are concerned about further spread of the virus in the region.

Long-term effects of battle-related 'blast plus impact' concussive TBI in US military
U.S. military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffered "blast plus impact" concussive traumatic brain injury (TBI) were compared to military personnel without TBI who were evacuated for other medical reasons. Differences in measures of overall disability, cognitive function, post-traumatic stress, and depression 6-12 months after injury are reported in an article in Journal of Neurotrauma.

New perspective on sepsis
In a review published in the April issue of Immunity, Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, says it's time to take a fresh look at the medical community's approach to treating sepsis, which kills millions worldwide every year, including more than 200,000 Americans.

Prenatal risk factors may put children at risk of developing kidney disease
Certain prenatal risk factors are associated with the development of chronic kidney disease in children, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). Future studies should investigate whether modifying these factors could help protect children's kidney health.

Researcher reviews influenza, bacterial superinfections in Nature Reviews Microbiology
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Pediatrician-in-Chief Jon McCullers, MD, was recently invited to submit a review in the April issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology, one of the world's foremost scientific publications. Dr. McCullers, a world-renowned infectious disease specialist, and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, analyzed the epidemiology and microbiology of co-infections during the 1918, 1957 and 1968 pandemics, as well as more recent 2009 novel H1N1 pandemic.

Proteomics discovers link between muscle damage and cerebral malaria
Malaria-related complications remain a major cause of death for children in many parts of the world. Why some children develop these complications while others don't is still not understood.

Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates
The pass mark for a two-part test that international medical graduates must pass to work as a doctor in the UK should be raised to reduce differences in performance between international and UK medical graduates, suggest researchers in BMJ today.

Novel marker discovered for stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood
The development of stem cell therapies to cure a variety of diseases depends on the ability to characterize stem cell populations based on cell surface markers. Researchers from the Finnish Red Cross have discovered a new marker that is highly expressed in a type of stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood, which they describe in an article in BioResearch Open Access.

FDA OKs Merck tablet to reduce ragweed allergies
U.S. regulators have again approved a Merck & Co. tablet for gradually reducing seasonal allergies, this time for ragweed pollen.

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)
President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead of the November elections.

Changing where a baby is held after birth could lead to improved uptake of procedure that reduces infant iron deficiency
Changing where a newborn baby is held before its umbilical cord is clamped could lead to improved uptake in hospitals of delayed cord clamping, leading to a decreased risk of iron deficiency in infancy, according to new results published in The Lancet.

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer
Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines to treat cancer.

Inhibited children become anxious adults: Examining the causes and effects of early shyness
(Medical Xpress)—Three little girls sit together in a room, playing with the toys surrounding them. One of the girls—"Emma"—has clearly taken charge of the group, and the others happily go along with her. A fourth girl—"Jane"—enters the room, hiding her face while clinging to her mother. The first three continue to play, while mom sits Jane down with some toys a few feet away from the group. After mom leaves, however, Jane sits alone against the wall. Emma makes her way over to Jane, inviting her to play with the rest of the group. Jane—looking trapped—starts to cry, then stands up and tries desperately to open the door.

Survival hope for melanoma patients thanks to new vaccine
(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that a new trial vaccine offers the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability to stop or reverse the cancer.

Firm targets 3D printing synthetic tissues, organs
(Medical Xpress)—A University of Oxford spin-out, OxSyBio, will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. In the longer term the company aims to print synthetic tissues for organ repair or replacement. 

Newly discovered types of neurons in the animals' brain help to compensate for self-motion
Our eyes not only enable us to recognise objects; they also provide us with a continuous stream of information about our own movements. Whether we run, turn around, fall or sit still in a car – the world glides by us and leaves a characteristic motion trace on our retinas. Seemingly without effort, our brain calculates self-motion from this "optic flow". This way, we can maintain a stable position and a steady gaze during our own movements. Together with biologists from the University of Freiburg, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich have now discovered an array of new types of neurons, which help the brain of zebrafish to perceive, and compensate for, self-motion.

Home videos could be powerful tool for diagnosing autism, researcher says
Short home videos, such as those posted on YouTube, may become a powerful tool for diagnosing autism, according to a study whose senior author is a scientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Naps help infants learn
Sleep is essential in helping young children apply what they learn, according to new research by Rebecca Gómez, associate professor in the UA Department of Psychology. In this Q&A, she talks about her new work, which she presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting in Boston on April 8 as part of a symposium on sleep and memory.

A new neuron repair pathway could one day help people with nerve damage
(Medical Xpress)—Other parts of your body—such as skin and bone—can be replaced by the body growing new cells, but when you injure your neurons, you can't just grow new ones; instead, the existing cells have to repair themselves.

Cholesterol unlocks clues to prostate cancer spread
(Medical Xpress)—The findings could help explain why taking statins – commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs – is thought to slow the progress of the disease in some cases.

Mobile app to help children, families affected by severe, non-verbal autism
SPEAKall!!, an iPad application developed at Purdue University that facilitates communication and language development for children and families affected by severe, non-verbal autism, has been adopted for use at speech and language clinics at San Jose State University in California and the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Some immune cells defend only one organ
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may fight cancers and viral infections. The finding could aid efforts to use immune cells to treat illness.

Research links sadness with avoidance of indulgent behavior
Getting the kids to go easy on the chocolate bunnies this year could be simple as sitting them down Easter morning and making them watch "Old Yeller."

Research brings significant improvement in genetic analysis of tumours
Every tumour is unique and requires specific treatment. A thorough and complete analysis of the genetic activity in the tumour cells is necessary to determine the appropriate treatment. Researchers at TU Delft, in collaboration with researchers from Columbia University and the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital have achieved significant improvements in this type of analysis. The results were published on 4 and 10 April in the scientific journals PNAS and PLOS Genetics.

Smoking's toll on mentally ill analyzed
Those in the United States with a mental illness diagnosis are much more likely to smoke cigarettes and smoke more heavily, and are less likely to quit smoking than those without mental illness, regardless of their specific diagnosis, a new study by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine shows.

Tackling illness in premature babies with genetics and artificial noses
Parents of new-born children are used to dealing with their child's dirty nappies, but not to the extent of the dedicated scientists at the University of Liverpool who are in receipt of over 13,000 faecal samples from premature babies.

Research sheds new light on impact of diabetes on the brain
Researchers from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have discovered diabetic nerve damage causes more harm in the brain than previously thought, shedding new light on the disease.

More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale
Researchers in France have hit on a novel method to help kidney stone sufferers ensure they receive the correct and most effective treatment possible.

Animal study provides first evidence that gel can prevent multiple virus transmission in vagina/rectum
Population Council scientists and their partners have found that their proprietary microbicide gel is safe, stable, and can prevent the transmission of multiple sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in both the vagina and rectum in animals: HIV, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), and human papillomavirus (HPV). The USAID-funded study also provides the first data that the gel is effective against multiple strains of HIV, and has a window of efficacy in the vagina against all three viruses of at least eight hours prior to exposure. A Phase 1 safety trial of the gel is set to begin enrollment in May 2014.

Researcher looks at public perceptions around newborn testing
While 94 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would participate in public health programs that screen newborns for a specific number of genetic conditions, only 80 per cent said they would be willing to participate in screening that would sequence their newborns' genomes. Most newborns in North America have a "heel prick test" in their first day or two of life in which a tiny amount of blood is taken from their heels and tested for about five to 54 conditions, depending on the state or province. Some conditions commonly tested for include cystic fibrosis, the enzyme deficiency phenylketonuria or PKU, and hypothyroidism, a thyroid hormone deficiency.

New evidence of suicide epidemic among India's 'marginalized' farmers
A new study has found that India's shocking rates of suicide are highest in areas with the most debt-ridden farmers who are clinging to tiny smallholdings – less than one hectare – and trying to grow 'cash crops', such as cotton and coffee, that are highly susceptible to global price fluctuations.

Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are the first to recommend that young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended.

Adrenaline does little to increase patient's survival after cardiac arrest
Giving patients adrenaline after they suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital does not increase their prospects of surviving long-term, according to new research conducted at St. Michael's Hospital.

Oft-assumed reasons for racial obesity disparities may not be only cause, study says
(Medical Xpress)—Racial disparities in obesity rates among the third of U.S. adults considered obese are often blamed on socioeconomic status because of its influence on diet and physical activity, but new findings from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published in Obesity suggest otherwise—particularly for women.

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer
It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines
Educators have tried to boost learning by focusing on differences in learning styles. Management consultants tout the impact that different decision-making styles have on productivity. Various fields have developed diverse approaches to understanding the way people process information. A new report from psychological scientists aims to integrate these disciplines by offering a new, integrated framework of cognitive styles that bridges different terminologies, concepts, and approaches.

20 years of data shows treatment technique improvement for advanced abdominal cancer
Meaningful long-term survival is possible for selected patients suffering from advanced cancer of the abdomen when treated with cytoreductive surgery with Hyperthermic IntraPeritoneal Chemotherapy, or HIPEC, according to a first-of-its-size analysis by physicians at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Internet use may cut retirees' depression
Spending time online has the potential to ward off depression among retirees, particularly among those who live alone, according to research published online in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. In the article "Internet Use and Depression Among Retired Older Adults in the United States: A Longitudinal Analysis," the authors report that Internet use reduced the probability of a depressed state by 33 percent among their study sample.

Massage therapy improves circulation, eases muscle soreness
Massage therapy improves general blood flow and alleviates muscle soreness after exercise, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Research points to potential treatment strategy for Fragile X syndrome
With no cure available, Fragile X syndrome is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability. Individuals with the syndrome cannot produce enough of a protein—called the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP)—whose function has remained somewhat mysterious. Now researchers, reporting online April 17 in the Cell Press journal Molecular Cell, show that the FMRP protein regulates the machinery within a cell that is responsible for generating all functional proteins. The findings provide new insights into how Fragile X syndrome develops and could lead to novel therapies that might help restore some of the capabilities lost in affected individuals.

New MRSA superbug emerges in Brazil
An international research team led by Cesar A. Arias, M.D., Ph.D., at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has identified a new superbug that caused a bloodstream infection in a Brazilian patient. The report appeared in the April 17 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide
Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.

Study IDs new cause of brain bleeding immediately after stroke
By discovering a new mechanism that allows blood to enter the brain immediately after a stroke, researchers at UC Irvine and the Salk Institute have opened the door to new therapies that may limit or prevent stroke-induced brain damage.

Rapid whole-brain imaging with single cell resolution
A major challenge of systems biology is understanding how phenomena at the cellular scale correlate with activity at the organism level. A concerted effort has been made especially in the brain, as scientists are aiming to clarify how neural activity is translated into consciousness and other complex brain activities. One example of the technologies needed is whole-brain imaging at single-cell resolution. This imaging normally involves preparing a highly transparent sample that minimizes light scattering and then imaging neurons tagged with fluorescent probes at different slices to produce a 3D representation. However, limitations in current methods prevent comprehensive study of the relationship. A new high-throughput method, CUBIC (Clear, Unobstructed Brain Imaging Cocktails and Computational Analysis), published in Cell, is a great leap forward, as it offers unprecedented rapid whole-brain imaging at single cell resolution and a simple protocol to clear and transparenti! ze the brain sample based on the use of aminoalcohols.

Dual role: Key cell division proteins also power up mitochondria
An international team led by researchers at UC Davis has shown that the cyclin B1/Cdk1 protein complex, which plays a key role in cell division, also boosts the mitochondrial activity to power that process. This is the first time the complex has been shown to perform both jobs. This newfound ability could make cyclin B1/Cdk1 an excellent target to control cellular energy production, potentially advancing cancer care and regenerative medicine. The research was published online today in the journal Developmental Cell.

Refining the language for chromosomes
When talking about genetic abnormalities at the DNA level that occur when chromosomes swap, delete or add parts, there is an evolving communication gap both in the science and medical worlds, leading to inconsistencies in clinical and research reports.

Salmonella decline seen in food poisoning report
The government's latest report card on food poisoning is out, and it has some good news: a drop in illnesses from salmonella.

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns
A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting its spread.

Our relationship with God changes when faced with potential romantic rejection
Easter is a time when many people in the world think about their relationships with God. New research explores a little-understood role of God in people's lives: helping them cope with the threat of romantic rejection. In this way, God stands in for other relationships in our lives when times are tough.

Fish consumption advisories fail to cover all types of contaminants
A new modeling study suggests that fish consumption advisories for expecting mothers are ineffective in reducing infant exposure to long-lived contaminants like persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Researchers find anti-seizure drug may reduce alcohol consumption
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have discovered that the anti-seizure drug ezogabine, reduced alcohol consumption in an experimental model. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, may lead to more effective treatments for alcoholism.

Is Parkinson's an autoimmune disease?
The cause of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease is still unknown, but a new study proposes that neurons may be mistaken for foreign invaders and killed by the person's own immune system, similar to the way autoimmune diseases like type I diabetes, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis attack the body's cells. The study was published April 16, 2014, in Nature Communications.

Loud talking and horseplay in car results in more serious incidents for teen drivers
Adolescent drivers are often distracted by technology while they are driving, but loud conversations and horseplay between passengers appear more likely to result in a dangerous incident, according to a new study from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.

Quarter of prostate cancer patients may abandon 'watchful waiting' approach
(HealthDay)—Doctors often recommend no treatment at all when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, opting instead to keep a close eye on the slow-growing tumor and acting only when it becomes aggressive.

Training can improve visual field losses from glaucoma
(HealthDay)—Visual field loss from glaucoma is in part reversible by behavioral, computer-based, online controlled vision training, according to a study published in the April issue of JAMA Ophthalmology.

Educator discusses key issues for future doctors to consider
(HealthDay)—The key issues for future physicians are discussed in an article published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Tracheal allograft stable after immunosuppressive therapy
(HealthDay)—A composite-tissue tracheal allograft appears to have retained its structural integrity after the withdrawal of immunosuppressive therapy, according to a letter to the editor published in the April 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Considerable variation in CT use in ischemic stroke
(HealthDay)—For patients with ischemic stroke there is considerable variation in the rates of high-intensity computed tomography (CT) use, according to a study published online April 8 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Weight gain in children occurs after tonsil removal, not linked to obesity
Weight gain in children after they have their tonsils removed (adenotonsillectomy) occurs primarily in children who are smaller and younger at the time of the surgery, and weight gain was not linked with increased rates of obesity.

Gene variant raises risk for aortic tear and rupture
Researchers from Yale School of Medicine and Celera Diagnostics have confirmed the significance of a genetic variant that substantially increases the risk of a frequently fatal thoracic aortic dissection or full rupture. The study appears online in PLOS ONE.

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds
New therapies are needed to prevent and treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – a potentially lethal respiratory infection that can severely affect infants, young children and the elderly.

Our brains are hardwired for language
A groundbreaking study published in PLOS ONE by Prof. Iris Berent of Northeastern University and researchers at Harvard Medical School shows the brains of individual speakers are sensitive to language universals. Syllables that are frequent across languages are recognized more readily than infrequent syllables. Simply put, this study shows that language universals are hardwired in the human brain.

Progressive neurodegenerative disorder linked to R-loop formation
Researchers at UC Davis have identified a new feature of the genetic mutation responsible for the progressive neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS)—the formation of "R-loops," which they believe may be associated with the disorder's neurological symptoms, such as tremors, lack of balance, features of Parkinsonism, and cognitive decline.

The ilk of human kindness: Older women with gumption score high on compassion
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that older women, plucky individuals and those who have suffered a recent major loss are more likely to be compassionate toward strangers than other older adults.

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies
A Northwestern University synthetic biology team has created a new technology for modifying human cells to create programmable therapeutics that could travel the body and selectively target cancer and other sites of disease.

Live cell imaging reveals distinct alterations of subcellular glutathione potentials
In the April issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine a multidisciplinary research team led by Drs. Rex Gaskins and Paul Kenis in the Institute of Genomic Biology (IGB) on the campus of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign describe their recent work on subcellular redox homeostasis. Intracellular reduction-oxidation reactions underlie a variety of cell functions including energy metabolism, signaling, and transcriptional processes. Due to these crucial roles in regulating normal cellular behavior, redox status has been recognized as a key area of biological research in various diseases, including cancer.

New pain relief targets discovered
Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching how pain occurs in nerves in the periphery of the body.

First genetic link discovered to difficult-to-diagnose breast cancer sub-type
Scientists have identified the first genetic variant specifically associated with the risk of a difficult-to-diagnose cancer sub-type accounting for around 10-15 per cent of all breast cancer cases.

How the immune system prevents repeated malaria fever episodes in highly exposed children
Children in Mali (and many other regions where malaria is common) are infected with malaria parasites more than 100 times a year, but they get sick with malaria fever only a few times. To understand how the immune system manages to prevent malaria fever in most cases, Peter Crompton, from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and colleagues in the US and in Mali, analyzed immune cells from healthy children before the malaria season and from the same children after their first bout of malaria fever during the ensuing malaria season.

New gene variant found increases the risk of colorectal cancer from eating processed meat
A common genetic variant that affects one in three people appears to significantly increase the risk of colorectal cancer from the consumption of processed meat, according to study published today in PLOS Genetics.

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia
Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu? Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, USA, have developed a method of estimating levels of influenza-like illness in the American population by analysing Internet traffic on specific flu-related Wikipedia articles.

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines
One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive option, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

Multitarget TB drug could treat other diseases, evade resistance
A drug under clinical trials to treat tuberculosis could be the basis for a class of broad-spectrum drugs that act against various bacteria, fungal infections and parasites, yet evade resistance, according to a study by University of Illinois chemists and collaborators.

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever
Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other disease-causing flaviviruses.

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'
These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Researchers discover the seat of sex and violence in the brain
As reported in a paper published online today in the journal Nature, Caltech biologist David J. Anderson and his colleagues have genetically identified neurons that control aggressive behavior in the mouse hypothalamus, a structure that lies deep in the brain (orange circle in the image at right). Researchers have long known that innate social behaviors like mating and aggression are closely related, but the specific neurons in the brain that control these behaviors had not been identified until now.

Neurons in the brain tune into different frequencies for different spatial memory tasks
Your brain transmits information about your current location and memories of past locations over the same neural pathways using different frequencies of a rhythmic electrical activity called gamma waves, report neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin.

Connecting sleep deficits among young fruit flies to disruption in mating later in life
Mom always said you need your sleep, and it turns out, she was right. According to a new study published in Science this week from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, lack of sleep in young fruit flies profoundly diminishes their ability to do one thing they do really, really well – make more flies.

Turning off depression in the brain
Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's a twist.

Cognitive scientists use 'I spy' to show spoken language helps direct children's eyes
In a new study, Indiana University cognitive scientists Catarina Vales and Linda Smith demonstrate that children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images.

Biology news

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets
A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking back legs.

Lost sea lion in California found mile from water
Workers at a central California ranch could hardly believe their eyes when they spotted a sea lion pup hopping through an almond orchard, a mile from the San Joaquin River.

Bee-flies and false widow spiders top Museum enquiry
Do bee mimics sting or arachnids bite are the most frequent questions put to our identification experts.

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher
One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled upon an orchid they had never seen before.

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues
Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves as an important intermediary during gene expression, by relating the genetic information of DNA to the molecular mechanisms involved in manufacturing proteins.

Genetics link found in search for sweet strawberries
If you've ever bitten into a strawberry and wondered why it doesn't taste as sweet or as good as others in the punnet, you could blame the fruit's genetics.

East African honeybees are safe from invasive pests... for now
Several parasites and pathogens that devastate honeybees in Europe, Asia and the United States are spreading across East Africa, but do not appear to be impacting native honeybee populations at this time, according to an international team of researchers.

Surprise: Lost stem cells naturally replaced by non-stem cells, fly research suggests
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered an unexpected phenomenon in the organs that produce sperm in fruit flies: When a certain kind of stem cell is killed off experimentally, another group of non-stem cells can come out of retirement to replace them.

First structural insights into how plant immune receptors interact
Researchers at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL), Norwich, collaborating with structural biologist Bostjan Kobe in Brisbane, have made a major advance in understanding plant disease resistance.

The malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscope
The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. For its survival and propagation, Plasmodium requires a protein called actin. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Germany used high-resolution structural biology methods to investigate the different versions of this protein in the parasite in high detail. Their results, published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens, may in the future contribute to the development of tailor-made drugs against malaria–a disease that causes more than half a million deaths per year.

Chickens to chili peppers: Scientists search for the first genetic engineers
Suddenly there was a word for chili peppers. Information about archaeological remains of ancient chili peppers in Mexico along with a study of the appearance of words for chili peppers in ancient dialects helped researchers to understand where jalapeños were domesticated and highlight the value of multi-proxy data analysis. Their results are from one (Kraig Kraft et al.) of nine papers presented in a special feature issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on plant and animal domestication edited by Dolores Piperno, staff scientist emerita at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Curator of South American Archaeology at the National Museum of Natural History and Greger Larson of Durham University in England.

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries
(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change.

Scientists solve the case of the red abalone die-off using forensic genomics
(Phys.org) —In August 2011, thousands of dead red abalone washed up on the beaches of Sonoma County in Northern California. At the time, the cause was unknown, but scientists, including a biologist from the University of California, Davis, learned that a harmful algal bloom was to blame: the causative agent Yessotoxin.

Research reveals evolution of cells' signaling networks in diverse organisms
(Phys.org) —Cells use protein-signaling networks to process information from their surroundings and respond to constantly changing environments. This includes information about the presence or absence of vital nutrients as well as the presence of other cells. Signaling networks control the decisions that cells make in response to these conditions.

India's ancient mammals survived multiple pressures
Most of the mammals that lived in India 200,000 years ago still roam the subcontinent today, in spite of two ice ages, a volcanic super-eruption and the arrival of people, a study reveals.

Fear of the cuckoo mafia
If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to make restaurant owners pay up. Similarly, mafia-like behaviour is observed in parasitic birds, which lay their eggs in other birds' nests. If the host birds throw the cuckoo's egg out, the brood parasites take their revenge by destroying the entire nest. Consequently, it is beneficial for hosts to be capable of learning and to cooperate. Previously seen only in field observations, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön have now modelled this behaviour mathematically to confirm it as an effective strategy.

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises
Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but related species in the genus Neotrogla, are the first example of an animal with sex-reversed genitalia.

Field study suggests islands and forest fragments are not as alike as thought
An international team of biogeographers has found that assumptions about similarities between biodiversity in forest fragments and true islands are not as clear-cut as has been assumed. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team reports on the results of a field study they conducted along with a comparative analysis of data from a much wider source.

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key
Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th have found that the clusters of brain cells responsible for each of those activity peaks—known as the morning and evening oscillators, respectively—don't work alone. For flies' internal clocks to follow the sun, cooperation is key.

Call for alternative identification methods for endangered species
In a time of global climate change and rapidly disappearing habitat critical to the survival of countless endangered species, there is a heightened sense of urgency to confirm the return of animals thought to be extinct, or to confirm the presence of newly discovered species. Field biologists traditionally collect specimens to distinguish the animals—or to confirm that they do indeed exist in the wild.

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced
Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus neoformans—a fungus responsible for a million cases of pneumonia and meningitis every year—are so malleable and dangerous.

Archaeological, genetic evidence expands views of domestication
Many of our ideas about domestication derive from Charles Darwin, whose ideas in turn were strongly influenced by British animal-breeding practices during the 19th century, a period when landowners vigorously pursued systematic livestock improvement.


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