Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jan 15

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 15, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A decentralized trajectory generation algorithm for multi-robot systems

Three-dimensional femtosecond laser nanolithography of crystals

Bright colors produced by laser heating

Brilliant glow of paint-on semiconductors comes from ornate quantum physics

Einstein–de Haas effect offers new insight into a puzzling magnetic phenomenon

Researchers discover new evidence of superconductivity at near room temperature

The 17 different ways your face conveys happiness

Big genome found in tiny forest defoliator

Study identifies a new way by which the human brain marks time

Epigenetic change causes fruit fly babies to inherit diet-induced heart disease

Relying on karma: Research explains why outrage doesn't usually result in revolution

Hong Kong scientists claim 'broad-spectrum' antiviral breakthrough

Stroke drug may also prevent Alzheimer's disease, study says

Fever alters immune cells so they can better reach infections

Cottoning on: Chinese seed sprouts on moon

Astronomy & Space news

Cottoning on: Chinese seed sprouts on moon

A small green shoot is growing on the moon in an out-of-this-world first after a cotton seed germinated on board a Chinese lunar lander, scientists said Tuesday.

Comprehensive model captures entire life cycle of solar flares

A team of scientists has, for the first time, used a single, cohesive computer model to simulate the entire life cycle of a solar flare: from the buildup of energy thousands of kilometers below the solar surface, to the emergence of tangled magnetic field lines, to the explosive release of energy in a brilliant flash.

Iran satellite in US row fails to reach orbit

Iran launched a satellite criticised by the United States as a breach of a UN resolution on Tuesday but it failed to reach orbit, the telecommunications minister said.

Scientist anticipated "snowman" asteroid appearance

On Jan. 2, the New Horizons spacecraft made the most distant flyby ever attempted, successfully returning images of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule. While the world is agog at the so-called "snowman" shape of this icy asteroid, the concept is nothing new to PSI scientist and artist, Bill Hartmann. The figure shows paintings that Hartmann made from 1978 to 1996, to illustrate the possible outcome of very low-velocity collisions of distant asteroids. These are compared with the first released color image of Ultima Thule. The story goes back 50 years.

Habitable planets around red dwarf stars might not get enough photons to support plant life

In recent years, the number of extra-solar planets discovered around nearby M-type (red dwarf stars) has grown considerably. In many cases, these confirmed planets have been "Earth-like," meaning that they are terrestrial (aka. rocky) and comparable in size to Earth. These finds have been especially exciting since red dwarf stars are the most common in the universe – accounting for 85 percent of stars in the Milky Way alone.

Technology news

A decentralized trajectory generation algorithm for multi-robot systems

Researchers at the SRM Institute of Science and Technology in India have recently developed a decentralized trajectory generation algorithm for multi-agent systems. Their algorithm, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, can generate collision-free trajectories for robots when provided with an initial state and desired end pose.

Brilliant glow of paint-on semiconductors comes from ornate quantum physics

LED lights and monitors, and quality solar panels were born of a revolution in semiconductors that efficiently convert energy to light or vice versa. Now, next-generation semiconducting materials are on the horizon, and in a new study, researchers have uncovered eccentric physics behind their potential to transform lighting technology and photovoltaics yet again.

Curiosity builds over Beijing event invites for phone with 10x optical zoom

OPPO is to announce a 10x lossless smartphone zoom camera but at what level of market readiness? That is the question that had a number of tech sites talking about no definite answers but offering ample views.

Researchers create an application that ensures anonymity and trustworthiness

Minority and dissident communities face a perplexing challenge in countries with authoritarian governments. They need to remain anonymous to avoid persecution, but also must establish a trustworthy identity in their communications. An interdisciplinary group of researchers at UC Santa Barbara has designed an application to meet both of these requirements.

Engineers 3-D print smart objects with 'embodied logic'

Even without a brain or a nervous system, the Venus flytrap appears to make sophisticated decisions about when to snap shut on potential prey, as well as to open when it has accidentally caught something it can't eat.

Feds to ease rules on drone flights over crowds and at night

Federal officials plan to ease restrictions on flying small drones over crowds and at night, which would give a boost to the commercial use of unmanned aircraft.

Huawei founder says company would not share user secrets

The founder of Huawei, in a new effort to allay Western security concerns, said Tuesday that the Chinese tech giant would not comply with Chinese government requests to disclose confidential information about its foreign customers and their communication networks.

Free tools empower public in bid for online privacy

Protecting personal information while surfing the web or using apps is a concern for many of us and successfully shielding such data can be a struggle.

Algorithm gives robots an instinctive understanding of how to use tools

A*STAR researchers working with colleagues in Japan have developed a method by which robots can automatically recognize an object as a potential tool and use it, despite never having seen it before.

VW, Ford announce alliance to build commercial vans, pickups

Volkswagen and Ford announced a new alliance on Tuesday to jointly develop commercial vans and pickups starting in 2022, a bid to reduce costs in the increasingly competitive auto market.

Will talking to AI voice assistants re-engineer our human conversations?

When you're lost, Siri can be your best friend. But if she can't retrieve the right address from your contacts, she can drive you crazy.

VR gets reality check with significant decline in investment

A few years ago, virtual reality was all the rage in Hollywood, helping to fuel the rise of Silicon Beach with the promise of reinventing the entertainment business.

The legal implications of digital privacy

A June 2018 decision rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States established an interesting principle on digital privacy in a case related to a criminal proceeding.

Facebook follows Google with funds to support journalism

Facebook announced Tuesday that it will invest $300 million over three years to support journalism, with an emphasis on promoting hard-hit local news organizations.

Netflix raising prices for 58M US subscribers as costs rise

Netflix is raising its U.S. prices by 13 percent to 18 percent, its biggest increase since the company launched its video streaming service 12 years ago.

Alliance talks continue as Ford, VW call off joint Detroit appearance

The Detroit auto show was abuzz over what Ford and Volkswagen would announce Tuesday, after the car giants called off a joint appearance during which they were widely expected to announce an alliance.

Tokyo court denies ex-Nissan chief Ghosn's bail request

A Tokyo court on Tuesday rejected a request by former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn for bail following fresh charges, dashing his hopes for an early release from his Japanese jail cell.

Hundreds of flights axed as fresh strike hits German airports

Hundreds of flights were cancelled at eight German airports Tuesday, including at the nation's busiest travel hub Frankfurt, as security staff walked off the job in a deepening row over pay.

Opel helps France's PSA buck China, Iran auto downturn

French auto giant Groupe PSA, which makes the Citroen and Peugeot brands, reported record vehicle sales Tuesday as the acquisition of General Motors' Opel unit helped offset a sharp downturn in key markets China and Iran.

Two charged with hacking SEC computers in trading scheme

Two Ukrainian men hacked into the Securities and Exchange Commission's computers to steal thousands of quarterly and annual reports of public companies and worked with traders to use the information to make more than $4 million in illegal profits, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Tuesday.

US charges eight in securities hacking scheme

US authorities on Tuesday charged eight people in a scheme to trade on and profit from stolen corporate information hacked from a government database, court papers showed.

Medicine & Health news

The 17 different ways your face conveys happiness

Human beings can configure their faces in thousands and thousands of ways to convey emotion, but only 35 expressions actually get the job done across cultures, a new study has found.

Study identifies a new way by which the human brain marks time

With a little help from HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," University of California, Irvine neurobiologists have uncovered a key component of how the human brain marks time.

Epigenetic change causes fruit fly babies to inherit diet-induced heart disease

We all know we should eat fruits and vegetables to keep our own heart healthy. But now, scientists are learning that epigenetic changes, or molecular tags that modify our DNA, can cause your children—and even your grandchildren—to inherit the negative effects of your poor diet. However, the details behind this inheritance—and how to stop it—have been unclear.

Hong Kong scientists claim 'broad-spectrum' antiviral breakthrough

Hong Kong scientists claim they have made a potential breakthrough discovery in the fight against infectious diseases—a chemical that could slow the spread of deadly viral illnesses.

Stroke drug may also prevent Alzheimer's disease, study says

Researchers from the University of Southern California have discovered that a drug currently being developed to treat stroke patients could also prevent Alzheimer's disease. The study, which will be published January 15 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, shows that the genetically engineered protein 3K3A-APC protects the brains of mice with Alzheimer's-like symptoms, reducing the buildup of toxic peptides and preventing memory loss.

Fever alters immune cells so they can better reach infections

Fever is known to help power up our immune cells, and scientists in Shanghai have new evidence explaining how. They found in mice that fever alters surface proteins on immune cells like lymphocytes to make them better able to travel via blood vessels to reach the site of infection. Their work appears on January 15 in the journal Immunity.

Medically assisted reproduction does not raise risk of preterm birth and low birth weight

Couples considering medically assisted reproduction (MAR) because they have difficulty conceiving naturally have feared the possibility of preterm birth (less than 37 weeks of pregnancy) and low birth weight (less than 2.5 kilograms). Doctors often warn prospective parents about these risks.

The sleeping brain remains attentive to its environment

By exposing sleepers to complex sounds, researchers from the CNRS and ENS Paris1, in collaboration with Monash University (Australia), have just demonstrated that our brain can track the sounds in its environment while we sleep, and favor the most relevant ones. This aptitude could be one of the mechanisms that allow us to sleep in complete safety and wake up at the right moment. The study is published in Nature Human Behaviour on January 14, 2019.

Hundreds of genes affecting tobacco and alcohol use discovered

Tobacco and alcohol use, both genetically inheritable behaviors, influence risk for many complex diseases and disorders and are leading causes of mortality.

Study suggests tumor mutational load may be useful metric to predict response to checkpoint-inhibitor immunotherapy

A large team of researchers affiliated with Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center has found that the mutational load of a tumor may be a useful way to predict a response to checkpoint-inhibitor immunotherapy across different types of cancer. In their paper published in the journal Nature Genetics, the group describes their study of over 1,500 patients with advanced cancer who had undergone checkpoint-inhibitor immunotherapy, and what they found.

Cancer drugs speed airway repair in lungs damaged by bacterial infections

Cancer drugs are able to halt life-threatening bacterial lung infections in mouse models by promoting lung repair, researchers at Duke Health have found.

Medical detection dogs help diabetes patients regulate insulin levels

New research by the University of Bristol in collaboration with Medical Detection Dogs has found that the best trained alert dogs have the potential to vastly improve the quality of life of people living with Type 1 diabetes.

Study reveals how fasting can improve overall health and protect against aging-associated diseases

In a University of California, Irvine-led study, researchers found evidence that fasting affects circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscle, causing them to rewire their metabolism, which can ultimately lead to improved health and protection against aging-associated diseases. The study was published recently in Cell Reports.

TGF-beta pathway protects against uterine cancer

Two new mouse models of uterine cancer shed light on how this disease—the most common gynecological cancer in the U.S. - happens. Led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, the team of scientists found that the Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF-beta) signaling pathway in uterine cells protects against the disease by suppressing the overgrowth and transformation into cancer cells of the endometrium, the membrane lining the inside of the uterus.

Early child deprivation and neglect impair memory and executive functioning at age 16

Young children experiencing deprivation and neglect in institutional settings have impaired memory and executive functioning at ages 8 and 16 compared with peers placed early in quality foster homes, report investigators at Boston Children's Hospital. The study, interpreting the latest findings from the randomized controlled trial, the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP), was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Muscle stem cells can drive cancer that arises in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

People with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) can develop an otherwise-rare muscle cancer, called rhabdomyosarcoma, due to the muscle cells' continuous work to rebuild the damaged tissue. However, little is known about how the cancer arises, hindering development of a treatment or test that could predict cancer risk.

MANF identified as a rejuvenating factor in parabiosis

Older mice who are surgically joined with young mice in order to share a common bloodstream get stronger and healthier, making parabiosis one of the hottest topics in age research. Publishing in Nature Metabolism, researchers from the Buck Institute report that MANF (mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor) is one of the factors responsible for rejuvenating the transfused older mice. Researchers also show the naturally-occurring, evolutionarily-conserved repair mechanism protects against liver damage in aging mice and extends lifespan in flies.

Gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 shown to limit impact of certain parasitic diseases

For the first time, researchers at the George Washington University (GW), together with colleagues at institutes in Thailand, Australia, the U.K. and the Netherlands, and more, have successfully used the gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 to limit the impact of parasitic worms responsible for schistosomiasis and for liver fluke infection, which can cause a diverse spectrum of human disease including bile duct cancer. Their findings are found in two papers published today in the journal eLife.

Antihypertension drug losartan may improve treatment of ovarian cancer

A new study from a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has found that the hypertension drug losartan, which targets the angiotensin signaling pathway, may improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy agents used to treat ovarian cancer. Previous research from the same team identified a similar effect for losartan in animal models of breast and pancreatic cancer, leading to a phase 2 clinical trial that had promising results against pancreatic cancer.

Scientists have identified a bone marrow backup system

New research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research has identified the backup for an important biological system—the hematopoietic system, whose adult stem cells constantly replenish the body's blood supply.

Research reveals potential therapeutic target for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Research led by stem cell scientists at Harvard University points to a potential new biomarker and drug target for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurological disease that is extremely difficult to diagnose and treat. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the study used stem cell models of human motor neurons to reveal the gene STMN2 as a potential therapeutic target, demonstrating the value of this human stem cell model approach in drug discovery.

Assessing the performance of multiple influenza forecasting models

In what the authors believe is the first documented comparison of several real-time infectious disease forecasting models by different teams across many seasons, five research groups report this week that a majority of models consistently showed higher accuracy than historical baseline models.

Protective effects of ADM-RAMP2 system make it a new therapeutic target for retinal vein occlusion

A clot in the retinal vein can lead to severe and irreversible loss of vision. In a report in the American Journal of Pathology investigators utilize a newly developed model of central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) in mice that mimics many of the clinical features of CRVO in humans to study the pathologic effects of retinal occlusion and demonstrate the retinoprotective effects of the peptide adrenomedullin (ADM) and its receptor activity-modifying protein RAMP2.

Physical activity reduces mortality in patients with diabetes

Patients with type 2 diabetes should be prescribed physical activity to control blood sugar and improve heart health. That is one of the recommendations in a position paper of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC), a branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The paper is published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Researchers develop comprehensive new way to predict breast cancer risk

Scientists have created the most comprehensive method yet to predict a woman's risk of breast cancer, according to a study by Cancer Research UK published in Genetics in Medicine.

Fears over life-saving drug unfounded, finds review

Fears over a drug that can be used to treat alcohol addiction are unfounded, according to its first ever systematic review, led by academics at The University of Manchester.

Food ads targeting black and Hispanic youth almost exclusively promote unhealthy products

Restaurant, food, and beverage companies (food companies) target Hispanic and Black children and teens with ads almost exclusively for fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and unhealthy snacks, according to a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut, the Council on Black Health at Drexel University, and Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.

A molecular switch for stopping inflammation

A component has been identified by researchers in Umeå as a novel regulator of the immune system. It acts as a molecular switch to deactivate the innate immune system and has the ability to prevent certain diseases caused by an excessive activation of the immune system. This is shown in a new doctoral thesis at Umeå University, Sweden.

States with fewer melanoma diagnoses have higher death rates

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While the number of cases diagnosed is on the rise, the overall survival rate has improved, but survival is uneven across the country.

Personalized treatment benefits kidney cancer patients

Personalized treatment plans may extend life expectancy for early-stage kidney cancer patients who have risk factors for worsening kidney disease, according to a new study published in the journal Radiology.

JAMA report outlines recommendations for evaluation and management of penicillin allergy

While more than 32 million individuals in the U.S. have a documented penicillin allergy in their medical record, studies have shown that more 95 percent actually can be treated safely with this class of antibiotics, improving treatment outcomes and reducing the risk of infection with dangerous resistant pathogens such as Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). A review article in the January 15 issue of JAMA recommends best practices for evaluation of reported penicillin allergies and provides clinicians with guidance and tools to help determine appropriate procedures based on the severity of previously reported reactions.

Cellular protein a target for Zika control

A cellular protein that interacts with invading viruses appears to help enable the infection process of the Zika virus, according to an international team of researchers who suggest this protein could be a key target in developing new therapies to prevent or treat Zika virus infection.

Bioactive scaffolds guide the way to sore knee relief, cartilage repair

NIBIB-funded researchers have developed a 3-D-printed scaffold coated in aggrecan, a native cartilage component, to improve the regeneration of cartilage tissue in joints. The scaffold was combined with a common microfracture procedure and tested in rabbits. University of Maryland researchers found the combination of the implant and microfracture procedure to be ten times more effective than microfracture alone. Microfracture alone is the standard therapy currently.

Staying fit can cut your risk of heart attack by half

Poor cardiorespiratory fitness could increase your risk of a future heart attack, even if you have no symptoms of a lifestyle illness today, a new study has found.

How runners handle fatigue could help cancer patients, study suggests

Identifying variations in how populations prone to extreme fatigue experience it might hold the key to better management of exhaustion, especially in cancer patients, according to research out of the University of Alberta.

U.S. doctor released from Omaha hospital after Ebola monitoring

(HealthDay)—An American doctor who was monitored for 21 days after possible Ebola exposure did not develop the deadly disease and has been released from the Nebraska Medicine-Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, officials say.

Getting to the bottom of anti-vaccine attitudes

A study that helps explain why anti-vaccine attitudes still persist, despite clear evidence on the benefits of immunization to public health has been selected by an international scientific committee to be given the Atlas award. The survey findings, published in Social Science & Medicine, clearly show the Dunning-Kruger effect at play and demonstrate that people who lack expertise fail to recognize their own lack of knowledge.

Enhanced research reporting method to improve patient care

Patients could benefit from improved care and outcomes thanks to new research guidance developed as part of a University of Stirling-led study.

Engineered T cells promote long-term organ transplant acceptance

Organ transplant rejection is a major problem in transplantation medicine. Suppressing the immune system to prevent organ rejection, however, opens the door to life-threatening infections. Researchers at the University of Basel's Biozentrum have now discovered a molecular approach preventing rejection of the transplanted graft while simultaneously maintaining the ability to fight against infections.

Nurse practitioners providing primary care offsetting physician shortages in underserved communities

A growing number of nurse practitioners are providing primary care in low-income and rural areas where physician supply is low, according to findings from a study led by University of Rochester School of Nursing researchers.

Pathogen research could aid prediction, response to anthrax and other epidemic diseases

Better prediction of the emergence, spread and evolution of the environmentally transmitted pathogen that causes anthrax is the focus of a National Science Foundation award to the University at Albany, State University of New York and the University of Maine.

Why is the diagnosis of women's cancer often delayed?

Gynaecological cancers are relatively common—ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers together make up about 20,000 cases each year, with approximately 7,400 deaths.

Better oral health with new type of glass ceramic

Researchers at Ångström Laboratory at Uppsala University have now developed glass ceramics that are three times stronger than current ones. This paves the way for better dental care where patients benefit from stronger teeth and do not have to visit their dentist as often.

How our unconscious visual biases change the way we perceive objects

As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But while we can appreciate that others might hold different opinions of objects we see, not many people know that factors beyond our control can influence how we perceive the basic attributes of these objects. We might argue that something is beautiful or ugly, for example, but we would be surprised to learn that the same object is perceived as a sphere by one person but as a cube by another.

Teen birth control use up, but still too many unwanted pregnancies

(HealthDay)—Today's teens are better at using birth control when they first become sexually active, but many unexpected pregnancies still occur, new research finds.

How to train the body's own cells to combat antibiotic resistance

Drug-resistant superbugs have threatened human health for decades. The situation is getting worse because of the shortage of new antibiotics. But what if we changed the way we aim to treat them, and trained our cells to kill these invaders instead of relying on antibiotics to do the dirty work? This new strategy, called host-targeted defense, could help to solve antibiotic resistance problem.

Gene therapies only work for some people – so how do we fix this?

Growing up in Devon in the 1980s, brothers James and Matt (names have been changed) had to be careful with their antics – a cut or bruise could land them in hospital.

Three conditioning exercises to support your hips

(HealthDay)—To support your hip joints, you need to strengthen the muscles that support them. This can help prevent or relieve hip pain and guard against injury.

Helping 'underperforming' doctors get back up to scratch – review to explore medical remediation

Estimates suggest that 6% of doctors in the hospital workforce may be performing below the standard that is expected of them at any time.

Bribe yourself to diet

(HealthDay)—For many people struggling with weight, an underlying reason for the excess pounds is the habit of using food to soothe bad feelings and reward good behavior. To lose weight, turn that habit on its ear.

White blood cells in different subsets have varying propensities to fuse in response to inflammation

White blood cells, also known as monocytes, play a key role in the immune system's response to infection. They have been shown to fuse and form multinucleated giant cells (MGCs) during inflammatory reactions, or in response to introduced materials such as medical implants, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying the fusion process and its functional significance. A collaborative study has shown that different monocyte subsets have varying propensities to fuse in response to inflammation.

Communicating effectively in crises

To combat epidemics, the local population must be more involved and respected, says Ursula Jasper. This is one of the lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.

Balance of biomolecular signals stimulates healing by setting skin cells into motion

After a flesh wound, skin cells march forward to close the gap and repair the injury. Findings from a team led by Leah Vardy at A*STAR's Skin Research Institute of Singapore now demonstrate how a carefully regulated set of molecular cues helps coordinate this healing migration.

Antibody that targets a protein on the surface of stem cells also targets same protein on cancer cells

An antibody that targets and is taken up only by certain types of cancer cells has been developed by A*STAR researchers. Combining this antibody with an anticancer drug could lead to a new treatment for some types of breast and ovarian cancers.

Researchers report key to efficient production of heart muscle from pluripotent stem cells

The transformation of embryonic stem cells, and their induced pluripotent counterparts into potentially limitless supplies of new heart tissue has been hindered by a lack of consistency from one stem cell line to the next, as well as a poor understanding of the differentiation process. Now, A*STAR scientists have shown that the key to efficient cardiac cell production lies in syncing the induction of differentiation with the cell cycle of the starting pluripotent material.

World's first device for premature babies with heart defect gains FDA approval

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the world's first device to treat premature babies with a life-threatening heart defect, without major surgery.

Many users prefer medical marijuana over prescription drugs

As more states legalize cannabis consumption, many more people will likely use medical marijuana as a supplement to or substitution for prescription drugs, says a University of Michigan researcher.

Design thinking can change the treatment of young people with psychological problems

Behavioural scientists are increasingly designing games that can be used preventatively or as therapy for young people with emerging or chronic psychological problems, such as anxiety or depression. Nevertheless, the development and validation of these games is still in its infancy. According to behavioural scientists Hanneke Scholten and Isabela Granic of Radboud University, a form of design thinking, which is customary among commercial game developers, could help to deliver on the promise of true interactive online therapy, as published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on 14 January.

Herbal antioxidants are becoming increasingly important

The human body is constantly exposed to so-called free radicals, which are a burden on the body. If they get out of hand, the result is oxidative stress, which can promote disease. While this has been treated in the past with the help of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, scientists are now increasingly turning to the use of phytochemicals, representing plant secondary metabolites. This has resulted in an analysis of almost 300,000 scientific papers by a team led by the molecular biologist Atanas G. Atanasov from the University of Vienna. The results have recently been published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.

Promoting HIV self-testing via text message to truck drivers in Kenya

Truck drivers in sub-Saharan Africa are especially vulnerable to infection with HIV due to contact with multiple sexual partners—often including sex workers—along their trucking routes. Accessing HIV testing can be a challenge for truckers due to their mobility and long working hours, as well as concerns about confidentiality and stigma. CUNY SPH researchers Dr. Elizabeth Kelvin, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and DPH candidate Matthew Romo are exploring HIV self-testing as a way to increase testing rates in this high-risk population.

How Australian wildlife spread and suppress Ross River virus

Ross River virus is Australia's most common mosquito-borne disease. It infects around 4,000 people a year and, despite being named after a river in North Queensland, is found in all states and territories, including Tasmania.

Red Cross issues emergency call for blood donations

(HealthDay)—The holidays, winter weather, and the flu season have all prompted a blood shortage, the American Red Cross warns.

Anticancer drug candidate inhibits lethal aggregation of mutant tumor suppressor protein

Cancer is a multidisciplinary disease, with different mutations leading to different prognoses and treatment necessities. Among the most important mutation targets in cancers, affecting more than 50 percent of all cancer cases, is TP53. This gene gives rise to a protein that is a key regulator in the cell, called p53. When mutated, this protein forms amyloid structures that accumulate in the cell, causing cancers that tend to have a worse prognosis. A group of Brazilian researchers has shown that a synthetic compound, PRIMA-1, reverses mutant p53 aggregate accumulation. The novel study is the first to demonstrate the action of PRIMA-1 on the inhibition of aggregates of the mutant p53 protein. The results are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Back to the future with CD4 testing: Improving HIV care in low- and middle-income countries

A practical resource-based public health approach for the rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected individuals living in low- and middle-income countries could save thousands of lives, according to an Essay published January 15 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Mark Tenforde of the University of Washington School of Medicine, and colleagues.

Scientists make strides in creation of clinical-grade bone

A team of scientists from the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute reported Friday in Stem Cell Research and Therapy that they have made valuable progress toward creating clinical-grade cells for treatment of bone disease and injury. In their study, the team identified two types of growth media that could support effective expansion of mesenchymal progenitor (MP) cells from stem cells in a clinically compatible, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) setting. GMP guidelines require that cells to be used as therapies are created without the use of animal-derived substances.

Study of mutation order may change understanding of how tumors develop

Cancers most commonly arise because of a series of two to five mutations in different genes that combine to cause a tumor. Evidence from a growing number of experiments focused on truncal mutations—the first mutations in a given sequence—suggests a new direction in understanding the origins of cancer.

Surge protector: A novel approach to suppressing therapy-induced tumor growth and recurrence

Following up on a groundbreaking 2018 study in which BIDMC's Dipak Panigrahy, MD, demonstrated that dead and dying cancer cells killed by conventional cancer treatments paradoxically trigger inflammation that promotes tumor growth and metastasis, a new study led by Allison Gartung, Ph.D., describes a novel approach to suppressing chemotherapy-induced tumor growth in an ovarian cancer model. Gartung and colleagues' findings were published in published in January in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

Hindering melanoma metastasis with an FDA-approved drug

For cancer to spread, it needs a hospitable environment in distant organs. This fertile "soil" can provide a home to circulating malignant cells. Recent research has shown that cancer cells from the primary tumor can help ready this soil by sending out small vesicles. These vesicles contain a cocktail of molecules that "educate" healthy cells to prepare the target tissues for cancer cells to seed and thrive. Blocking this process offers one strategy to stop metastasis, which is often responsible for cancer's lethality.

Researchers review vaccine-preventable infections in pediatric transplant patients

Children who receive solid organ transplants are hospitalized due to vaccine-preventable infections at rates that are significantly higher than the general population, according to a newly published study by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers.

Tap or bottled? Water composition impacts health benefits of tea

Here's to sipping a cupful of health: Green tea steeped in bottled water has a more bitter taste, but it has more antioxidants than tea brewed using tap water, according to new Cornell University food science research published in Nutrients.

Educational videos in clinics increased adolescent HPV vaccinations

A study examining the effect of a video educational intervention aimed at increasing HPV vaccinations among adolescents could help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meet its goal of getting more eligible adolescents vaccinated against certain cancers and diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Poo transplant effective treatment for chronic bowel condition

Poo transplant or "Faecal microbiota transplantation" (FMT) can successfully treat patients with ulcerative colitis, new research from the University of Adelaide shows.

Seattle bike share programs show infrequent helmet use, little disparity in access to bikes among neighborhoods

People riding free-floating bike share rentals in Seattle are wearing helmets infrequently, according to a new analysis conducted by University of Washington researchers. Only 20 percent of bike share riders wore helmets in the study, while more than 90 percent of cyclists wore helmets while riding their own bikes.

B-group vitamins can improve concentration among people with first episode psychosis

B-group vitamins may be beneficial for maintaining concentration skills among people experiencing a first episode of psychosis, a study by researchers from Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has found.

Genes reveal clues about people's potential life expectancy

Scientists say they can predict whether a person can expect to live longer or die sooner than average, by looking at their DNA.

Researchers raise bar for successful management of severe atopic dermatitis

A team of investigators from the University of Colorado College of Nursing at CU Anschutz Medical Campus and National Jewish Health has identified comprehensive guidelines for managing severe atopic dermatitis (AD), the most common form of eczema.

Research confirms nerve cells made from skin cells are a valid lab model for studying disease

The incidence of some neurological diseases—especially those related to aging, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases—is increasing. To better understand these conditions and evaluate potential new treatments, researchers need accurate models that they can study in the lab.

Fraction of US outpatient treatment centers offer medication for opioid addiction

Despite the mounting death toll of America's opioid crisis, only a minority of facilities that treat substance use disorders offer patients buprenorphine, naltrexone or methadone—the three FDA-approved medications for the long-term management of opioid use disorder, according to a new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Personality type could shape attitudes toward body weight of others, researchers say

Studies show there is a major link between personality traits and personal body image, but the relationship between personality and attitudes toward others' bodies has gone largely unexplored.

For-profit nursing schools associated with lower performance on nurse licensure test

A new study published today by researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) finds that for-profit ownership of nursing school programs is significantly associated with lower performance on a national nursing licensure exam than public and nonprofit programs.

Scientists identify gene contributing to prostate cancer drug resistance

Researchers have discovered how a gene involved in regulating hormone receptors may contribute to drug resistance in some prostate cancer patients.

DR Congo Ebola death toll tops 400

The death toll from the latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has passed the 400 mark in the east and northeast, health authorities said Tuesday.

Stem cell transplant may help some with aggressive MS

(HealthDay)—A stem cell transplant may help some people with multiple sclerosis (MS) when standard drugs fail, a new clinical trial finds.

Hookah smoking trendy, despite evidence of health risks

While cigarette smoking has hit an all-time low, another form of tobacco use is rising in popularity—hookah smoking—and researchers are concerned there's a new epidemic brewing, especially among young adults.

Cardiometabolic risk up with tourette, chronic tic disorder

(HealthDay)—Patients with Tourette syndrome (TS) or chronic tic disorder (CTD) have an increased risk for developing at least one metabolic or cardiovascular disorder, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in JAMA Neurology.

Opioids now more deadly for Americans than traffic accidents

(HealthDay)—For the first time in history, Americans' risk for dying from an opioid overdose is higher than their risk for dying in a car accident, the National Safety Council reported Monday.

Pioneering surgery restores movement to children paralyzed by acute flaccid myelitis

An innovative and complex surgery involving nerve transfers is restoring hope and transforming lives torn apart by a mysterious and devastating illness. Acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM, strikes without warning, shows no mercy and frequently results in paralysis. Most affected patients are children, and nearly all have partial or complete loss of muscle function in their arms or legs.

Quality of life in adolescents recovering from sports-related concussion or fracture

When we think of the recovery period in adolescents with a sports injury, we tend to focus on milestones marking relief from symptoms, restoration of strength, and perhaps return to play. But what about the effects of sports injury on other aspects of the young athlete's life? How is the young athlete's quality of life (QOL) affected following injury and throughout the recovery process?

American College of Physicians releases new edition of Ethics Manual

The American College of Physicians (ACP) today released the seventh edition of its Ethics Manual, published as a supplement to the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP's flagship journal.

FDA approves scalpel-free treatment for Parkinson's disease tremor

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved a new, scalpel-free treatment for tremor in patients with medication-resistant Parkinson's disease.

Hospital: Doc gave near-death patients excessive pain meds

An Ohio hospital system says an intensive care doctor ordered "significantly excessive and potentially fatal" doses of pain medicine for at least 27 near-death patients in the past few years after families asked to stop lifesaving measures.

No-cost birth control, now the norm, faces court challenges

Millions of American women are receiving birth control at no cost to them through workplace health plans, the result of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, which expanded access to contraception.

Biology news

Big genome found in tiny forest defoliator

The European gypsy moth (EGM) is perhaps the country's most famous invasive insect—a nonnative species accidentally introduced to North America in the 1860s when a few escaped from a breeding experiment in suburban Boston. The caterpillars have been slowly eating their way across the continent ever since, causing widespread defoliation.

Scientists uncover the health effects of metabolic 'magic bullet' protein

The metabolic protein AMPK has been described as a kind of magic bullet for health. Studies in animal models have shown that compounds that activate the protein have health-promoting effects to reverse diabetes, improve cardiovascular health, treat mitochondrial disease—even extend life span. However, how much of the effects of these compounds can be fully attributed to AMPK versus other potential targets is unknown.

Phylogenomic analyses shows group of winged insects developed from terrestrial ancestor

An international team of researchers has found evidence that shows that many modern winged insects developed from a terrestrial ancestor, not from one that lived in the sea. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describe their large-scale phylogenomic analyses of both Polyneoptera and Pterygota and what they found.

Mojave rattlesnakes' life-threatening venom is more widespread than expected

The Mojave rattlesnake, living in the deserts of the southwestern United States and central Mexico, is characterized by its lethal venom that can either shut down your body or tenderize your insides. Clemson University researchers say which one depends on where you're located.

Gene expression study sheds new light on African Salmonella

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have taken another step forward in understanding the bacteria that are causing a devastating Salmonella epidemic currently killing around 400,000 people each year in sub-Saharan Africa.

Idled farmland presents habitat restoration opportunities in San Joaquin Desert

Most of the native habitat in California's San Joaquin Desert has been converted to row crops and orchards, leaving 35 threatened or endangered species confined to isolated patches of habitat. A significant portion of that farmland, however, is likely to be retired in the coming decades due to groundwater overdraft, soil salinity, and climate change.

Why haven't cancer cells undergone genetic meltdowns?

Cancer first develops as a single cell going rogue, with mutations that trigger aggressive growth at all costs to the health of the organism. But if cancer cells were accumulating harmful mutations faster than they could be purged, wouldn't the population eventually die out?

Time to step inside your DNA

Researchers at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (MRC WIMM) have developed technology that allows scientists to explore the complex 3-D structure of DNA in Virtual Reality. In a newly published pre-print, the team describes their tool, which is now freely available to all.

Biology of our ancient ancestor takes shape

The recent discovery of a new lineage of microbes has overturned biologists' understanding of the evolution of complex life on Earth. Genomic studies of Asgard archaea revealed that they carry many genes previously thought to be found only in nucleus-bearing eukaryotes, suggesting they may be closely related to more complex life forms such as humans.

Gut bacteria in fruit flies do not have a major influence on behavior

Microbial communities residing within the gut have been implicated in several aspects of health and disease. The mammalian gut microbiome, for example, not only influences metabolic functions and immune responses, but has also been found to affect mood, cognition, pain and anxiety. However, a recent study by Singaporean scientists has shown this is not the case for flies.

Conserving large carnivores in Alaska requires overhauling state policy

Large carnivore management in Alaska should be based on rigorous science and monitoring of the status and trends of carnivore populations, according to a Perspective article published January 15 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by William Ripple of Oregon State University, and colleagues.

Apps let everyone help track health of insect populations

More challenging than birdwatching and not nearly as popular, insect-watching—noting and sharing exactly what one sees and where—is nevertheless on the rise.

Bear necessities: New study highlights importance of water resources for Andean bears

A new study is shedding light on the importance of one critical resource for Andean bears living in the dry mountain forests of Peru: water. The study—a collaboration between the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and San Diego Zoo Global, with assistance from the Spectacled Bear Conservation Society-Peru—found that Andean bears focus much of their tree-rubbing behavior on shrubs and trees that are located on trails near water holes. Bears typically bite, claw and rub their body parts on trees, which is believed to be an important form of communication with other bears in the region. The discovery that this behavior occurs near water holes could have implications for future conservation programs.

New study shows animals may get used to drones

A new study in Conservation Physiology shows that over time, bears get used to drones. Previous work indicated that animals behave fearfully or show a stress response near drone flights. Using heart monitors to gauge stress, however, researchers here found that bears habituated to drones over a 3 to 4-week period and remained habituated.

Genomic study finds Haida Gwaii's northern goshawks are highly distinct and at-risk

Haida Gwaii's small population of northern goshawks—already of great concern to conservationists—are the last remnant of a highly distinct genetic cluster of the birds, according to a new genomic analysis by University of British Columbia researchers.

Protein alteration controls cell's response to stress, immunity and lifespan

Scientists have revealed a key mechanism in worms that is involved in controlling the cell's response to stress, a study in eLife reports.

France takes Roundup weed-killer off market after court ruling

French authorities on Tuesday banned the sale of a form of controversial weed-killer Roundup following a court ruling that regulators failed to take safety concerns into account when clearing the widely used herbicide.

Genome doubling, cell size and novelty

In the 2019 Coulter Review, "Polyploidy, the Nucleotype, and Novelty: The Impact of Genome Doubling on the Biology of the Cell," published in the International Journal of Plant Sciences (180:1-52), Jeff J. Doyle and Jeremy E. Coate examine the effects of genome doubling on cell biology and the generation of novelty in plants.


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