Monday, November 20, 2017

Science X Newsletter Monday, Nov 20

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 20, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Physicists unify quantum coherence with nonclassicality of light

'Super-Earth' planet with very short orbital period discovered

Best of Last Week–A new type of cosmic explosion, creating plasma in a defined shape and dogs helping people live longer

Rise in oxygen levels links to ancient explosion of life, researchers find

Added Arctic data shows global warming didn't pause

Artificial photosynthesis gets big boost from new catalyst

Scientists discover most blue whales are 'right-handed'—except when they swim upward

Separate experiments show no evidence of violation of Lorentz invariance

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

Ancient fish scales and vertebrate teeth share an embryonic origin

The strange case of the scuba-diving fly

Car, stroller, juice: Babies understand when words are related

A curious quirk brings organic diode lasers one step closer

Recurring martian streaks: flowing sand, not water?

ESO observations show first interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before

Astronomy & Space news

'Super-Earth' planet with very short orbital period discovered

(Phys.org)—NASA's prolonged Kepler exoplanet-hunting mission, known as K2, has revealed the presence of another "super-Earth" alien world. The newly found planet, designated EPIC 246393474 b (or C12_3474 b), is more than five times more massive than the Earth and orbits its parent star in less than seven hours. The discovery is reported November 6 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Recurring martian streaks: flowing sand, not water?

Dark features on Mars previously considered evidence for subsurface flowing of water are interpreted by new research as granular flows, where grains of sand and dust slip downhill to make dark streaks, rather than the ground being darkened by seeping water.

ESO observations show first interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before

For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. The new results appear in the journal Nature on 20 November 2017.

NASA launches next-generation weather satellite

NASA on Saturday launched a next-generation satellite into space designed to monitor weather around the world and help improve forecasts.

Image: Hubble's cosmic search for a missing arm

This new picture of the week, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the dwarf galaxy NGC 4625, located about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs). The image, acquired with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), reveals the single major spiral arm of the galaxy, which gives it an asymmetric appearance. But why is there only one such spiral arm, when spiral galaxies normally have at least two?

Space dust may transport life between worlds

Life on our planet might have originated from biological particles brought to Earth in streams of space dust, a study suggests.

James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

The vault-like, 40-foot diameter, 40-ton door of Chamber A at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston was unsealed on November 18, signaling the end of cryogenic testing for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

Astronomers reveal nearby stars that are among the oldest in our galaxy

Astronomers have discovered some of the oldest stars in our Milky Way galaxy by determining their locations and velocities, according to a study led by scientists at Georgia State University.

100 full moons: Blazing fireball lights up Arctic sky

A blazing fireball lit up the dark skies of Arctic Finland for five seconds, giving off what scientists said was "the glow of 100 full moons" and igniting hurried attempts to find the reported meteorite.

NASA selects instrument for future international mission to Martian moons

NASA has selected a science instrument for an upcoming Japan-led sample return mission to the moons of Mars planned for launch in 2024. The instrument, a sophisticated neutron and gamma-ray spectrograph, will help scientists resolve one of the most enduring mysteries of the Red Planet—when and how the small moons formed.

Momentum braking in deep space

With a miniaturised space probe capable of accelerating to a quarter of the speed of light, we could reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest star, in 20 to 50 years. However, without a mechanism to slow it down, the space probe could only collect data from the star and its planets as it zoomed past. A theoretical physicist at Goethe University Frankfurt has now examined whether interstellar spacecraft can be decelerated using "magnetic sails."

Image: Integral space observatory's orbits visualized

ESA's Integral space observatory has been orbiting Earth for 15 years, observing the ever-changing, powerful and violent cosmos in gamma rays, X-rays and visible light. Studying stars exploding as supernovas, monster black holes and, more recently, even gamma-rays that were associated with gravitational waves, Integral continues to broaden our understanding of the high-energy Universe.

ELaNa XIV CubeSats launch on JPSS-1 mission

NASA has launched four small research satellites, or CubeSats, developed by four universities as part of a broader mission launching the next generation polar-orbiting satellite to space. These CubeSat missions were selected through the CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) as part of the 14th installment of the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) missions. The ELaNa XIV mission is an auxiliary payload on the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) mission, a collaborative effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. JPSS-1 lifted off Nov. 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST). Over the past four years, university students have been involved in the design, development and construction of the CubeSats that will be jettisoned into space from spring-loaded deployers.

Five reasons India, China and other nations plan to travel to the Moon

No human has been to the Moon since 1972 and only 12 people have ever done it – all of them American men.

A guide to meteor showers – what to look out for and when

It has happened to most of us: walking home late at night under clear skies you catch a glimpse of something bright moving, often from the corner of your eye. You turn to see what it is but it's gone without a trace. And chances are you will have seen a meteor ending its multi-billion year journey in a burst of light 100km up.

Technology news

Wait, did I just see Atlas robot do a backflip?

(Tech Xplore)—Boston Dynamics is now part of SoftBank and their family of robots is getting lots of attention as the year draws to an end—from gee-whiz reactions to their recent showing of a bright-yellow plate display on SpotMini to outright gasps this week over a video showing a newer Atlas.

Quad9 service aims to help protect users from attacks

(Tech Xplore)—IBM Security, in partnership with the Global Cyber Alliance and the Packet Clearing House, on Nov 16 launched a new free DNS service.

'Robo-taxis' hold promise, and perils, for automakers

It's November 22, 2028 and Sarah, a young mother, gives her two children a kiss goodbye before buckling them into the driverless car that will bring them to school.

MekaMon robot from Reach Robotics is now ready for battle

(Tech Xplore)—Talk about game-changing robots. A UK team have created a robot weighing about 2.2 pounds that you just take out of the box and proceed to put together with an easy setup, to unleash it into play either in your real world or in augmented reality mode.

Volvo to supply Uber with self-driving cars (Update)

Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars said Monday it has signed an agreement to supply "tens of thousands" of self-driving cars to Uber, as the ride-sharing company battles a number of different controversies.

Vibrating sensors could identify blood biomarkers, improve early-stage detection, treatment of numerous diseases

Purdue University researchers have found a method of identifying biological markers in small amounts of blood that they believe could be used to detect a myriad of diseases, infections and different medical conditions at early stages.

Germany bans children's smart watches with listening app

German regulators have banned certain types of smartwatches marketed to children, saying the devices have been used to listen in on school classrooms and run afoul of Germany's surveillance restrictions.

Swimming with dolphins in virtual reality to aid disabled

Swimming with wild dolphins is something most can only dream of, and jumping into pools with captive animals has become increasingly controversial with environmentalists condemning it as cruel.

UK budget aims for driverless cars by 2021 (Update)

British finance minister Philip Hammond is to announce £75 million ($99 million, 84 million euros) funding for Artificial Intelligence and plans to put driverless cars on UK roads by 2021, in his budget speech on Wednesday.

Poultry excrement could partially replace coal as a renewable energy source, study says

While turkeys at Thanksgiving are an age-old custom, a new study shows that turkey excrement may have a future as a fuel for heat and electricity.

Singapore rolls out tough measures to keep cars off the roads

In the battle against the car, space-starved Singapore has deployed road tolls, massive spending on public transport, and a licence fee that bumps the cost of an average vehicle to over $80,000.

Most young Australians can't identify fake news online

In September 2017, we conducted Australia's first nationally representative survey focused on young Australians' news engagement practices.

Coming soon to a highway near you—truck platooning

Should Australian truckies feel a little nervous about the rise of platooning?

Marvell Technology buying chip maker Cavium in $6B deal

Marvell Technology has bid about $6 billion for Cavium in a cash-and-stock deal that would create a chip maker to compete with Intel and other giants in the industry.

Amazon goes into the holidays with magnified store presence

Amazon goes into the holiday season with a newly magnified brick-and-mortar presence, giving it more opportunities to sell its Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and other gadgets.

Russia confirms 'extremely high' readings of radioactive pollution

Russia's meteorological service confirmed on Monday "extremely high" concentrations of the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 in parts of the country in late September, following European reports about the contamination this month.

Metal constraints for a low-carbon economy

It is often thought that a transition to a low-carbon economy requires an enormous increase of the use of metals like steel and copper and smaller amounts of critical raw materials. For power generation and mobility systems, this is true. An electric car needs a battery. Wind turbines need strong magnets. Replacing a normal car for an electric car can easily require dozens or even hundreds of times more lithium per car, for instance.

Photocrosslinkable, thermoreversible, type-I collagen bioink for photolithographic printing

A group of biomedical engineers from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey have leveraged a unique combination of properties of methacrylated collagen to demonstrate its potential as a bioink capable of simple, photolithographic printing of 3D scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Type-I collagen is the most ubiquitous protein in the human body. Chief among the fibril forming collagens, type-I collagen gives many soft tissues strength and structure. Type-I collagen is also easily extracted from tissues, and it is frequently used as a 2D or 3D substrate for in vitro studies. Its ability to self-assemble hierarchically into strong and flexible fibers and its excellent biocompatibility across species also make it a popular biomaterial for applications in tissue engineering. However, its fibrillar, higher order structure also complicates collagen's use as a bioink for 3D printing, which would otherwise be an increasingly popular approach to regenerative medicine.

Google signs lease for office space near downtown Detroit

Technology giant Google is opening an office in a planned office, retail and residential development just north of downtown Detroit.

Swiss nuclear plant finds defective tubes from France's Areva

Tubes supplied by French nuclear energy giant Areva to a plant in northern Switzerland are defective and will be replaced, Swiss nuclear safety inspectors and the company said Monday.

Can social media users prevent use of online information to characterize and target them?

A new study examines how organizations use information people disclose on social network sites (SNS) to predict their personal characteristics and whether SNS users can successfully block certain information (and how much) to better protect their privacy. A novel analytical tool called a "cloaking device" to prevent the use of specific information and how effective it may be are discussed in an article in Big Data.

Justice Dept. to sue to stop AT&T's $85B Time Warner deal

The Justice Department intends to sue AT&T to stop its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of the suit's official filing.

Medicine & Health news

Car, stroller, juice: Babies understand when words are related

The meaning behind infants' screeches, squeals and wails may frustrate and confound sleep-deprived new parents. But at an age when babies cannot yet speak to us in words, they are already avid students of language.

Theory: Flexibility is at the heart of human intelligence

Centuries of study have yielded many theories about how the brain gives rise to human intelligence. Some neuroscientists think intelligence springs from a single region or neural network. Others argue that metabolism or the efficiency with which brain cells make use of essential resources are key.

Cell-weighing method could help doctors choose cancer drugs

Doctors have many drugs available to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. However, there is no way to predict, by genetic markers or other means, how a patient will respond to a particular drug. This can lead to months of treatment with a drug that isn't working.

Researchers describe new biology of Alzheimer's disease

In a new study, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) describe a unique model for the biology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) which may lead to an entirely novel approach for treating the disease. The findings appear in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Clinical trial suggests new cell therapy for relapsed leukemia patients

A significant proportion of children and young adults with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who participated in a small study achieved remission with the help of a new form of gene therapy, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute.

Molecules in spit may be able to diagnose and predict length of concussions

Diagnosing a concussion can sometimes be a guessing game, but clues taken from small molecules in saliva may be able to help diagnose and predict the duration of concussions in children, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Schizophrenia originates early in pregnancy, 'mini-brain' research suggests

Symptoms of schizophrenia usually appear in adolescence or young adulthood, but new research reveals that the brain disease likely begins very early in development, toward the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. The finding opens up a new understanding of this devastating disease and the potential for new treatment possibilities in utero.

New breast cell types discovered by multidisciplinary research team

A joint effort by breast cancer researchers and bioinformaticians has provided new insights into the molecular changes that drive breast development.

New approach to studying chromosomes' centers may reveal link to Down syndrome and more

Some scientists call it the "final frontier" of our DNA—even though it lies at the center of every X-shaped chromosome in nearly every one of our cells.

Researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., professor and distinguished university scholar in UofL's Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, led a team of researchers who have described the protein's critical role in the growth and repair of skeletal muscles, both in post-natal development and in the regeneration of injured adult muscles.

Now you like it, now you don't: Brain stimulation can change how much we enjoy and value music

Enjoyment of music is considered a subjective experience; what one person finds gratifying, another may find irritating. Music theorists have long emphasized that although musical taste is relative, our enjoyment of music, be it classical or heavy metal, arises, among other aspects, from structural features of music, such as chord or rhythm patterns that generate anticipation and expectancy.

What it takes to get teens moving

(HealthDay)—Teens with friends are active teens, a new study suggests.

Erlotinib overdose tied to conjunctivitis

(HealthDay)—Overdosing of erlotinib may be associated with rapid onset of conjunctivitis, according to a case report published online Oct. 25 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Psychosocial benefit seen with probiotic, peanut oral immunotx

(HealthDay)—Probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy (PPOIT) has a sustained beneficial effect on psychosocial impact of food allergy after end-of-treatment, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in Allergy.

Allopurinol has little benefit in cardiac syndrome X

(HealthDay)—Allopurinol does not appear to improve exercise capacity or peripheral endothelial or coronary function in patients with cardiac syndrome X, according to a study published online Oct. 28 in Cardiovascular Therapeutics.

First-line metformin use for DM up; sulfonylurea use down

(HealthDay)—Among patients with type 2 diabetes initiating antidiabetes drugs (ADDs), first-line use of metformin has increased since 2005, while sulfonylureas have remained the most popular second-line agent, according to a study published online Nov. 6 in Diabetes Care.

Force analysis may help distinguish surgeon skill level

(HealthDay)—Force-sensing bipolar forceps and force analysis may help differentiate surgeon skill level, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in JAMA Surgery.

Docs' preparedness influences exercise recommendations

(HealthDay)—Primary care providers who feel prepared are more likely to recommend physical activity to patients with disabilities, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Attributes of high-value oncology practices identified

(HealthDay)—Attributes that distinguish high-value oncology practices have been identified, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in JAMA Oncology.

AMD risk has dropped by birth cohort throughout 20th century

(HealthDay)—There was a decrease in the five-year risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by birth cohorts throughout the 20th century, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Risk of falls up with mild, moderate diabetic retinopathy

(HealthDay)—Among Asians, individuals with mild and moderate diabetic retinopathy (DR) are more likely to have fallen, and greater perceived barriers to diabetes self-management (DSM) are associated with the severity of DR, according to two studies published online Nov. 16 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Simple checklist can identify useful clinical practice guidelines

(HealthDay)—A simple, easy-to-use checklist, the Guideline Trustworthiness, Relevance, and Utility Scoring Tool (G-TRUST), can identify useful clinical practice guidelines, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Higher positive end-expiratory pressure no benefit in ARDS

(HealthDay)—For patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), higher positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) levels are not likely to improve clinical outcomes, according to a review published in the October issue of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Intensive BP control lacks benefit in chronic kidney disease

(HealthDay)—Intensive blood pressure (BP) control may provide no benefit and may even be harmful for patients with moderate-to-advanced chronic kidney disease, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Many health care providers work while sick

(HealthDay)—More than 40 percent of health care personnel (HCP) with influenza-like illness (ILI) work while ill, according to a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Two out of three parents struggle finding childcare that meets their health, safety standards

The search for the best preschool or childcare option is often a challenging experience - and many parents aren't sure if the one they pick is safe and healthy for their child, according to a new national poll.

Many cancer survivors are living with PTSD

A recent study showed approximately one-fifth of patients with cancer experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) several months after diagnosis, and many of these patients continued to live with PTSD years later. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings highlight the need for early identification, careful monitoring, and treatment of PTSD in cancer survivors.

Changes in young people's sexual practices over the last 20 years revealed

Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study describes changes in young people's sexual practices using nationally-representative data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), the largest scientific studies of sexual health and lifestyles in Britain.

Social mobile gaming boosts rehabilitation for physically impaired patients

The researchers from Imperial have designed a video game called Balloon Buddies, which is a tool that enables those recovering from conditions such as a stroke to engage and play together with healthy volunteers such as therapists and family members as a form of rehabilitation.

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

'It never really leaves you.' Opioids haunt users' recovery

It's hard to say whether businessman Kyle Graves hit rock bottom when he shot himself in the ankle so emergency room doctors would feed his opioid habit or when he broke into a safe to steal his father's cancer pain medicine.

Some cancer therapies may provide a new way to treat high blood pressure

Drugs designed to halt cancer growth may offer a new way to control high blood pressure (hypertension), say Georgetown University Medical Center investigators. The finding could offer a real advance in hypertension treatment because although a number of high blood pressure drugs are now available, they work by different mechanisms that are not suited for all patients.

Cultural values can be a strong predictor of alcohol consumption

Countries with populations that value autonomy and harmony tend to have higher average levels of alcohol consumption than countries with more traditional values, such as hierarchy and being part of a collective. This new research finding, published today in open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, may have important implications for international public health organizations aiming to tackle problems associated with alcohol consumption.

Overweight women may need more frequent mammograms

Women with higher body mass index (BMI) face an increased risk of not detecting their breast tumor until it has become large, according to a new study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Researchers said the findings suggest that women with higher BMI may need shorter intervals between mammography screening exams.

MRI uncovers brain abnormalities in people with depression and anxiety

Researchers using MRI have discovered a common pattern of structural abnormalities in the brains of people with depression and social anxiety, according to a study presented being next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Opioid crisis cost $504B in 2015, higher than once thought

President Donald Trump said Monday that the opioid epidemic is "ravaging so many American families and communities." It also appears to be more expensive than previously thought, according to a government analysis released Monday.

Breast milk found to protect against food allergy

Eating allergenic foods during pregnancy can protect your child from food allergies, especially if you breastfeed, suggests new research from Boston Children's Hospital. The study, published online today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, is the first controlled investigation to demonstrate protection against food allergy from breast milk, while also pointing to a biological mechanism for inducing food tolerance.

Brain astrocytes linked to Alzheimer's disease

Astrocytes, the supporting cells of the brain, could play a significant role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. This is the first time researchers have discovered a direct association between astrocytes and AD. Published in Stem Cell Reports, the study investigated the brain cell function of familial AD patients by using stem cell technologies.

Competition increases risk when exercising in heat

The dangers of exercising in hot conditions can increase when people compete against each other, according to a new study.

Study shows new second line therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer is effective and safe

A randomised trial in 650 patients has confirmed the safety and efficacy of a new second line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer, researchers report at the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress.

Biologists research the mechanism of an auxiliary circadian clock

In December, the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology will be awarded for the identification of genes that control the inner clock in fruit flies. Biochemist Professor Dr. Dorothee Staiger of Bielefeld University has been researching the inner clocks of plants for 20 years. Her team has now published a new study in the research journal Genome Biology reporting, among other things, that in addition to the inner clock, there is also a protein acting as an "auxiliary clock" ensuring that recurring routines take place in the cells.

Researchers find new biomarker for breast cancer

With the support of the FWF, an oncologist found a biomarker for breast cancer having a poor prognosis and developed two viable methods to detect it in tissue samples.

Zika-related nerve damage caused by immune response to the virus

The immune system's response to the Zika virus, rather than the virus itself, may be responsible for nerve-related complications of infection, according to a Yale study. This insight could lead to new ways of treating patients with Zika-related complications, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, the researchers said.

Researchers incorporate talk therapy to help athletes cope with emotional effects of head injuries

When a student-athlete suffers a concussion, one of their biggest concerns is getting back to the playing field as soon as they are well. While the physical symptoms of their brain injury may fade after a week or two, for a small minority of them the emotional recovery is longer and more complicated.

Genome editing enhances T-cells for cancer immunotherapy

Researchers at Cardiff University have found a way to boost the cancer-destroying ability of the immune system's T-cells, offering new hope in the fight against a wide range of cancers.

Exercise aids recovery from brain injury

Exercise is an important part of recovery for people with brain injury, University of Queensland researchers have found.

Foodbank users report benefit delays, adverse life events

The study, published this week in the Journal of Public Health, found benefit-related problems were the most common reason, while recent adverse life events were also associated with food insecurity.

Sleeping position linked to the risk of stillbirth

Pregnant women who go to sleep on their back during the later stages of pregnancy face an increased likelihood of suffering a stillbirth, according to new research.

Sugary drinks linked to reduced DNA protection in Latino preschoolers

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by children between 2 and 3 years of age has been linked to shorter telomeres in a new, preliminary study by researchers from UC San Francisco. The study raises concerns, the researchers say, that if this early-life exposure affects the length of telomeres—the protective end caps for DNA within cells' chromosomes—it may also affect risk for chronic illnesses later in life.

Achilles is more than just one tendon

The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body. It can bear loads exceeding over 900 kilograms during running. Despite its strength, it is prone to injuries and it is not yet well known what factors predict good or bad recovery from injuries.

Changing polluting behaviors requires anti-smoking tactics

Just before the delegates for the annual Conference of the Parties on climate change started meeting in Bonn this month, the Lancet, the leading British medical journal, published yet another major study showing that climate change is a growing health hazard.

From Ayurveda to biomedicine—understanding the human body

What is a human body? This may seem a facetious question, but the answer will be very different according to which medical tradition you consult. Take Ayurveda, a traditional system of medical knowledge from India which has enjoyed a renaissance of popularity in the West since the 1980s – and is the subject of a new exhibition at London's Wellcome Collection.

Brain cell advance brings hope for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Scientists have developed a new system to study Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the laboratory, paving the way for research to find treatments for the fatal brain disorder.

Clearer communication by GPs could speed up cancer diagnosis

Deciding when to return to the GP when symptoms do not resolve is something many people struggle with, especially when the symptoms may not appear to be serious or life-threatening. Research with cancer patents in Denmark, England, and Sweden, published today in BMJ Open, indicates that small changes to how doctors conclude consultations with their patient could help to improve both survival rates and efficiency.

Deletion of a stem cell factor promotes TBI recovery in mice

UT Southwestern molecular biologists today report the unexpected finding that selectively deleting a stem cell transcription factor in adult mice promotes recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Pairing cancer genomics with cognitive computing highlights potential therapeutic options

A University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led study has demonstrated the ability of cognitive computing to scour large volumes of data from scientific studies and databases to identify potentially relevant clinical trials or therapeutic options for cancer patients based on the genetics of their tumors.

Pre-diabetes discovery marks step towards precision medicine

Researchers from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre have identified three specific molecules that accurately indicate insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes - a major predictor of metabolic syndrome, the collection of medical conditions that include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.

New oral anticoagulant drugs associated with lower kidney risks

Mayo Clinic researchers have shown a link between which type of oral anticoagulant (blood-thinning medication) a patient takes to prevent a stroke and increased risks of kidney function decline or failure.

Despite majority of US states requiring CPR training, wide variability exists

Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is known to improve survival of cardiac arrest; however, there is a disparate geographic variation in cardiac arrest survival and only a small number of the U.S. population is trained in CPR annually. According to the Institute for Medicine (IOM), high school students may be an excellent target for CPR training. A review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that over half of U.S. states require some form of CPR training in high school, but there is wide variability in instruction.

ACP and CDC issue recommendations for hepatitis B screening, vaccination, and care

Reducing chronic hepatitis B infections by screening at-risk adults, increasing hepatitis B vaccination rates, and linking infected persons to care is a public health priority, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise in a new paper published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Digital pills successfully monitor opioid use after injury

Digital pills - gelatin capsules that contain an ingestible sensor along with medication - can help track patterns of drug use, and Brigham and Women's Hospital clinicians are among the first to explore the application of this new technology among patients being prescribed opioids. In a paper published in the December issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, BWH investigators report on the results from a pilot study of 15 individuals who received a prescription to take oxycodone digital pills as needed following treatment for acute fractures. The team found that the opioid-naïve patients self-administered opioids to manage pain for only a brief period and only took a fraction of the number of pills they were given.

Blueprint to reduce wasteful blood transfusions

By analyzing data from randomized clinical trials comparing blood transfusion approaches, Johns Hopkins experts, along with colleagues at Cleveland Clinic and NYU Langone Medical Center, endorse recommendations for blood transfusions that reduce blood use to improve patient safety and outcomes. Publishing this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, the report also provides a how-to guide for launching a patient blood management program.

Use of Prostate Health Index test reduces unnecessary biopsies

The Prostate Health Index (phi) is a cost-effective tool used by urologists to detect prostate cancer. It reduces the risk of over diagnosis, and cuts down on the need to send men for unnecessary and often uncomfortable biopsies. So says Jay White of Carolina Urology Partners in the US, lead author of a study in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. The research included urologists from four large specialized practices across the US and is the first study to consider the value of the index within a multi-centre private practice setting.

Shaming overweight kids only makes things worse

(HealthDay)—Overweight kids who are shamed or stigmatized are more likely to binge eat or isolate themselves than to make positive changes such as losing weight, a leading pediatricians' group says.

Teens' painkiller misuse linked to dating violence

(HealthDay)—Teens who abuse prescription drugs, like opioid painkillers, are prone to initiating or being victims of dating violence, a new study finds.

Family vacations that are fun for all

(HealthDay)—Taking a family vacation is a great way to have quality time, but going on a trip that each family member will enjoy takes some planning.

Quickly treating mini-stroke can cut risk for future stroke

(HealthDay)—Prompt treatment of a mini-stroke could reduce the likelihood of having a full-blown stroke by roughly 80 percent, according to a new report.

Fat distribution may influence bone strength in adolescence

(HealthDay)—Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in girls and central adiposity in boys play a role in the acquisition of bone strength during adolescence, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Spinal cord stimulation may reduce neuropathic pain

(HealthDay)—Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) effectively reduces chronic pain symptoms in individuals with painful diabetic polyneuropathy (PDPN), according to a study published online Nov. 6 in Diabetes Care.

Dating violence victimization, nonmedical Rx med use linked

(HealthDay)—For male and female high school students, nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) is associated with experiences of dating violence victimization (DVV), according to a study published online Nov. 20 in Pediatrics.

Distinct features for drug use-related endophthalmitis

(HealthDay)—Patients with injection drug use (IDU) endogenous endophthalmitis (EE) are younger, with fewer comorbidities, and have more improvement in visual acuity after intervention compared with non-IDU EE patients, according to a research letter published online Nov. 16 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Brain glucose responses diminish with diabetes, obesity

(HealthDay)—The rise of brain glucose levels is blunted during hyperglycemia in adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), according to a study published online Oct. 19 in JCI Insight.

Chronic conditions increasing among childbearing women

(HealthDay)—Between 2005 and 2014, the prevalence of chronic conditions increased across all segments of the childbearing population, according to a study published online Nov. 7 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Patient-centered medical home model improves chronic disease management

Data from more than 800 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) primary care clinics revealed that national implementation of a patient-centered medical home model was effective at improving several chronic disease outcomes over time. Findings were published online today in Health Services Research.

Cell cycle proteins help immune cells trap microbes with nets made of DNA

In your bloodstream, there are immune cells called neutrophils that, when faced with a pathogenic threat, will expel their DNA like a net to contain it. These DNA snares are called neutrophil extracellular traps or NETs. Researchers from Germany and the United States describe an important step in how these NETs are released and how they stop a fungus from establishing an infection in mice and human cells in the journal Developmental Cell.

Sleeve gastrectomy, common weight-loss surgery, lowers women's tolerance to alcohol

Women who have had gastric sleeve surgery to lose weight may want to consider limiting the number of alcoholic drinks they consume post-surgery.

Preclinical study demonstrates promising treatment for rare bone disease

Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have led a preclinical study demonstrating that the drug palovarotene suppresses the formation of bony tumors (osteochondromas) in models of multiple hereditary exostoses (MHE). The research, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, is an important step toward an effective pharmacological treatment for MHE, a rare genetic condition that affects about 1 in 50,000 people worldwide.

Simplified method allows CGM users to leverage trend arrow data

Endocrine Society experts have developed a streamlined method for using the Dexcom G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to help individuals with diabetes maintain better control of their glucose levels, according to two perspectives published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Study reveals new mechanism used by cancer cells to disarm attacking immune cells

A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) identifies a substance released by pancreatic cancer cells that protects them from attack by immune cells called macrophages.

Non-fearful social withdrawal linked positively to creativity

Everyone needs an occasional break from the social ramble, though spending too much time alone can be unhealthy and there is growing evidence that the psychosocial effects of too much solitude can last a lifetime.

Mental health mobile apps are effective self-help tools, study shows

When it comes to strengthening your mental or emotional health, would you trust an app?

Simple EKG can determine whether patient has depression or bipolar disorder

A groundbreaking Loyola Medicine study suggests that a simple 15-minute electrocardiogram could help a physician determine whether a patient has major depression or bipolar disorder.

Patients and families aren't comfortable with 'overlapping surgeries,' survey finds

Patients and family members are either neutral or uncomfortable with the idea of "overlapping" or "concurrent" surgery, where the attending surgeon isn't present in the operating room for part of the procedure, according to survey results published in the November 15, 2017 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

For adults younger than 78, risk for heart disease linked to risk for problems walking

Problems with balance, walking speed, and muscle strength become more common as we age, and can lead to disability. In fact, studies show that for older adults, having a slower walking speed can help predict chronic illness, hospitalization, and even death.

Researchers discover a new target for 'triple-negative' breast cancer

So-called "triple-negative" breast cancer is a particularly aggressive and difficult-to-treat form. It accounts for only about 10 percent of breast cancer cases, but is responsible for about 25 percent of breast cancer fatalities.

In DR Congo, fight for sanitation is also a fight for dignity

From crouching over a small hole with a sheet for privacy to defecating in the open air, for millions of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo going to the toilet is a daily act of misery.

National cooperative group trial seeks to cut in half early mortality rates for rare leukemia

A national cooperative group trial is making a handful of the country's experts in a rare leukemia available around the clock, with the goal of cutting by more than half the high mortality rates that occur in the difficult first few weeks of treatment.

Hard to believe: Some consumers find free health insurance

Consumers are getting the word that taxpayer-subsidized health plans are widely available for next year for no monthly premium or little cost, and marketing companies say they're starting to see an impact on sign-ups.

Benzodiazepines increase mortality in persons with Alzheimer's disease

Benzodiazepine and related drug use is associated with a 40 percent increase in mortality among persons with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Managing cancer treatment and holiday season expectations

During the holiday season, it can be difficult to manage family meals, social gatherings and a healthy diet, but it can be especially exhausting for people undergoing treatment for cancer and their family and friends. Experts from Baylor College of Medicine provide guidance to help manage cancer during the holidays, as both a patient and a caregiver.

Realistic rodent model of drug addiction

Drug addiction may not require a habitual relationship with a substance, suggests findings from a new model of cocaine administration in rats that better captures the human experience of obtaining and using drugs. The research, published in Journal of Neuroscience, represents a step towards a translational animal model of addiction that challenges widely held views about drug users.

Diagnosing the impacts of health policy

A new statistical technique offers a better way to gauge the effectiveness of complex healthcare interventions.

New approach to share clinico-genomic data

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have developed a new tool that provides standard and shared clinico-genomic data among European healthcare institutions.

Understanding toilet training around the world may help parents relax

Are two-year-olds too young to start toilet training?

Can you taste carbohydrates? Beware, they may end up on your waist

Turns out some people can detect carbohydrates as a particular taste. Now it seems this ability may be linked to larger waist sizes.

Bilateral tinnitus in men may be hereditary

European researchers have discovered that genetic factors play a role in some cases of tinnitus, particularly in men who have the condition in both ears.

Mainstreaming genetic counselling for ovarian cancer could support screening, in Malaysia and beyond

A study that looked at mainstreaming genetic counselling for ovarian cancer to support screening programmes in Malaysia was presented at the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress. The preliminary results of the MaGiC study show that most patients counselled by a well-trained but not necessarily an expert in genetics were satisfied or just as satisfied with their experience as compared to those being counselled by a genetic counsellor or clinical geneticist.

Study finds all Myanmar mouth cancer patients chew betel quid

A study in Myanmar has found that all mouth cancer patients use smokeless tobacco, researchers report at the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress. Betel quid chewing often starts in adolescence and is associated with smoking and drinking alcohol, which are also risk factors for oral cancer.

Study reveals inequality in access to treatment in Asia

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) opened its 3rd ESMO Asia Congress today, once again in Singapore, attracting close to 3000 regional and international cancer doctors with leading researchers and experts to promote advances in science, diagnosis, treatment, and best practices for cancer patients in Asia.

More care is needed for cancer supportive care

The relentless efforts devoted to improving prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in more and more cancer survivors worldwide. In fact, there is a decrease in overall cancer mortality rate of about 1% per year. However, a cure or control of cancer does not necessarily mean a full restoration of health. Cancer-related effects and the treatment itself can have a significant psychosocial impact on cancer survivors.

Only one in five Indonesian women are aware of cervical cancer screening

Just one in five Indonesian women are aware of cervical cancer screening, according to a study presented at the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress. The research in nearly 5,400 women also found that only 5% knew about mammography for early detection of breast cancer.

Osimertinib improves progression-free survival in Asian EGFR-mutated lung cancer patients

Osimertinib improves progression-free survival compared to standard first line therapy in Asian patients with EGFR-mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to the Asian subset analysis of the FLAURA trial presented at the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress, sumultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

French choke up over proposal to ban smoking in films

A proposal to ban smoking in French films has been met with splutters of indignation in a land raised on images of puffing, pouting silver-screen stars.

Testing for specific proteins significantly improves sensitivity of stool-based colorectal cancer screening

Testing for novel protein biomarkers in stool finds significantly more colorectal cancers (CRC) and advanced adenomas (precursors to cancer) compared to testing for hemoglobin alone. The proteins can be detected in a small sample of the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), which suggests that they can be applied in population screening. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Bill to make medical marijuana available in Malta proposed

Malta's government has proposed allowing all doctors in the country to prescribe medical marijuana.

NeuroExpresso: Web app enables exploration of brain cell types

An online database of gene expression profiles for 36 major types of brain cells from 12 brain regions, based on mouse data from multiple laboratories, is reported in a new paper published in eNeuro. The tool is provided as a resource for neuroscientists at neuroexpresso.org/ and will be presented on Wednesday November 15 at Neuroscience 2017, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Do women receive appropriate counseling when they freeze their eggs?

Oocyte cryopreservation is on the rise, and whether a woman freezes her eggs before undergoing medical treatment that could leave her infertile or undergoes an elective procedure to avoid concerns about reproductive aging, extensive counseling should be the norm. This is not the case, however, and a proposed universal outline of key counseling points and risk factors should be provided to all women, regardless of age and reason for pursuing oocyte cryopreservation, as described in a new study published in Journal of Women's Health.

Amsterdam wins battle to host EU medicines agency after Brexit

Amsterdam on Monday won a fierce fight to host the European Medicines Agency after it leaves London, securing one of the most prized spoils of Britain's decision to leave the EU.

Most older adults prefer to participate in medical decisions

Although most older Americans prefer to actively participate in making health care decisions, those with four or more chronic conditions are less likely to prefer active decision making.

Biology news

Scientists discover most blue whales are 'right-handed'—except when they swim upward

A team of scientists that used motion-sensing tags to track the movements of more than five dozen blue whales off the California coast discovered that most have a lateralization bias - in other words, they essentially are "right-handed" or "left-handed."

The strange case of the scuba-diving fly

More than a century ago, American writer Mark Twain observed a curious phenomenon at Mono Lake, just to the east of Yosemite National Park: enormous numbers of small flies would crawl underwater to forage and lay eggs, but each time they resurfaced, they would appear completely dry.

Recovery of West Coast marine mammals boosts consumption of chinook salmon

Recovering populations of killer whales, sea lions and harbor seals on the West Coast have dramatically increased their consumption of chinook salmon in the last 40 years, which may now exceed the combined harvest by commercial and recreational fisheries, a new study finds.

What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA

Ever wondered what makes a soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden?

What makes tissue soft and yet so tough

Engineers at ETH Zurich have discovered that soft biological tissue deforms very differently under tension than previously assumed. Their findings are already being put to use in medical research projects.

Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency

The top leaves of crops absorb far more light than they can use, starving lower leaves of light. Scientists designed plants with light green leaves with hopes of allowing more light to penetrate the crop canopy and increase overall light use efficiency and yield. This strategy was tested in a recent modeling study that found leaves with reduced chlorophyll content do not actually improve canopy-level photosynthesis, but instead, conserve a significant amount of nitrogen that the plant might be able to reinvest to improve light use efficiency and increase yield.

Albatross populations in decline from fishing and environmental change

The populations of wandering, black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses have halved over the last 35 years on sub-antarctic Bird Island according to a new study published today (20 November) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Genome sequencing reveals extensive inbreeding in Scandinavian wolves

Researchers from Uppsala University and others have for the first time determined the full genetic consequences of intense inbreeding in a threatened species. The large-scale genomic study of the Scandinavian wolf population is reported in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Chimp females who leave home postpone parenthood

New moms need social support, and mother chimpanzees are no exception. So much so that female chimps that lack supportive friends and family wait longer to start having babies, according to researchers who have combed through the records of Jane Goodall's famous Gombe chimpanzees.

Tiger bones? Lion bones? An almost extinct cycad? On-the-spot DNA checks at ports of entry

Wildlife traffickers do their best to make animal and plant parts unidentifiable. When customs officials find bones, maybe all they can say, is that the bones belonged to large cats. Then they have to ask: are those tiger bones? Tigers are threatened with extinction and an international convention (CITES) forbids any trade of any parts. Or are those African lion bones? No parts from wild populations of African lions may be traded, but a global quota for captive-bred animals is still to be determined.

Research reveals a new survival strategy in key bacteria

New research shows that a bacteria and promising microbial cell factory will not immediately shut down when deprived of nitrogen – instead 'waiting' until absolutely necessary to stop functioning.

Study shows plant growth regulators can benefit onion establishment, production

A study by researchers at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde shows the use of externally introduced plant growth regulators can have a positive effect on onion germination and root structure.

Growing cannabis with modern science and technology

In Canada and around the world, legal cannabis producers face many challenges: varying government regulations, high security requirements and a lack of reliable information on how to grow their crops.

Creative management of grazing through the use small fires

Creative management of grazing through the use small fires can draw back herbivores to grazing areas that are avoided by animals.

What's in your wheat? Scientists piece together genome of most common bread wheat

Johns Hopkins scientists report they have successfully used two separate gene technologies to assemble the most complete genome sequence to date of Triticum aestivum, the most common cultivated species of wheat used to make bread.

Diabetes drug helps repair UV-damaged DNA in cells of 'Moon children'

The severe and debilitating genetic disease Xeroderma pigmentosum impedes cells to repair UV-induced DNA damage. Scientists from CeMM found a drug approved for diabetes treatment to alleviate the impact of the gene defect in cell culture, which led to the discovery of a previously unknown DNA repair mechanism. The study was published in Molecular Cell.

Robotic device tracks plant growth at the cellular level

Determining how various treatments and conditions affect the mechanical properties of plant cells could allow scientists to understand plant growth at the cellular level and devise ways to enhance it. In a breakthrough report published in The Plant Cell, a team of researchers introduces an innovative robotic tool that measures the mechanical properties of plant cells with cellular resolution.

What genes and genomes reveal about our health

But unlike magic crystal balls, our genome can reveal some actual facts about our inner workings.

Fixated on food?

Contrast has an impact on the optokinetic reflex, which enables us to clearly perceive the landscape from a moving train. Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now shown that visual features that modulate this ability are encoded in the retina.

Uncovering essential enzymes for plant growth during nitrogen starvation

A study led by researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) has found that two key enzymes in plants called PAH1 and PAH2 are critical for survival and growth under nitrogen-depleted conditions. The study sheds new light on how plants could be modified in future to boost tolerance to nutrient-poor environments.

Protein intentionally terminates own synthesis by destabilizing synthesis machinery—the ribosome

A joint research group of Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Kyoto Sangyo University has discovered that a protein, during its synthesis, may destabilize the structure of the ribosome and end its own synthesis prematurely, and found that this phenomenon is used for adapting the cell to its environment.

How antibiotic use in animals is contributing to antibiotic resistance

The overuse of veterinary antibiotics in animal production and the subsequent land applications of manure contribute to increased antibiotic resistance in soil. A new review published in the European Journal of Soil Science examines the results of recent studies on veterinary antibiotic use, the concentrations of antibiotics, and the abundance and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in animal manure and in soil that receives manure or manure composts.


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