Saturday, October 25, 2014

[NASA HQ News] Critical NASA Science Returns to Earth aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

 
October 25, 2014
Critical NASA Science Returns to Earth aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

 This series of images, captured by cameras on the International Space Station (ISS) show the departure from the station of SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft.

This series of images, captured by cameras on the International Space Station (ISS) show the departure from the station of SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft.

Image Credit: NASA

 

SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down at 3:39 p.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 25, in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 300 miles west of Baja California, returning 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the International Space Station (ISS).

A boat will take the Dragon spacecraft to a port near Los Angeles, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA within 48 hours. Dragon will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX's test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

"This mission enabled research critical to achieving NASA's goal of long-duration human spaceflight in deep space," said Sam Scimemi, director of the International Space Station division at NASA Headquarters. "The delivery of the ISS RapidScatterometer advances our understanding of Earth science, and the 3-D printer will enable a critical technology demonstration. Investigations in the returned cargo could aid in the development of more efficient solar cells and semiconductor-based electronics, the development of plants better suited for space, and improvements in sustainable agriculture."

Among the returned investigations was part of the Rodent Research-1 experiment, which also launched last month to space aboard this Dragon. This study supports ongoing research into how microgravity affects animals, providing information relevant to human spaceflight, discoveries in basic biology, and knowledge that may direct affect human health on Earth. NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) are developing spaceflight experiments that will use the Rodent Research Hardware System.

When returned, data from the Fundamental and Applied Studies of Emulsion Stability (FASES) investigation will be processed to help determine the physical principles which play a part in stabilizing different emulsions and the compounds that influenced those emulsions while in orbit. Emulsions are mixtures of two or more liquids where one liquid is present in droplet form and distributed throughout the other liquid; common emulsions include milk, mayonnaise and paint.

NanoRacks-Girl Scouts of Hawai'i-Arugula Plant Growth study was returned to Earth, as well. This study seeks to determine the impact that various nutrients and microgravity have on the growth and nutritious value of arugula seedlings grown in space. The goal of the study is to develop better ways to grow plants with a high nutritional content in the space environment. If the study samples have a high nutrition value, this may enable NASA and astronauts to grow and consume fresh, healthy food during future space travel.

Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return a significant amount of cargo to Earth. The spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sept. 21 carrying almost 5,000 pounds of supplies and elements to support 255 scientific investigations the crew members of Expeditions 41 and 42 will conduct. The mission was the fourth of 12 cargo resupply trips SpaceX will make to the space station through 2016 under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.

For more information about SpaceX's mission to the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacex

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

-end-

Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1100
stephanie.schierholz@nasa.gov

Dan Huot
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111
daniel.g.huot@nasa.gov


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Friday, October 24, 2014

Science X Newsletter Friday, Oct 24

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Phys.org Newsletter for October 24, 2014:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Flatland, we hardly knew ye: Unique 1-D metasurface acts as polarized beam splitter, allows novel form of holography
- Molecular beacons shine light on how cells 'crawl'
- Researchers find ferns communicate with one another to decide gender
- Tomorrow's tablets? Look, no hands
- Powerful new software plug-in detects bugs in spreadsheets
- Ebola's evolutionary roots are more ancient than previously thought, study finds
- Eight months on 'Hawaiian Mars' tests rigors of exploration
- Scientists engineer toxin-secreting stem cells to treat brain tumors
- Li-ion batteries contain toxic halogens, but environmentally friendly alternatives exist
- Team infuses science into 'Minecraft' modification
- Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR
- Icelandic volcano sits on massive magma hot spot
- New compounds reduce debilitating inflammation
- Mycologist promotes agarikon as a possibility to counter growing antibiotic resistance
- Liquid helium offers a fascinating new way to make charged molecules

Astronomy & Space news

Eight months on 'Hawaiian Mars' tests rigors of exploration

Six people have sealed themselves inside a white vinyl dome in Hawaii to embark on an eight-month test of how their mental health might fare during a mission to Mars.

China launches first mission to moon and back

China launched its first space mission to the moon and back early Friday, authorities said, the latest step forward for Beijing's ambitious programme to one day land a Chinese citizen on the Earth's only natural satellite.

Partial solar eclipse sweeps across North America

A partial solar eclipse swept across much of North America on Thursday, triggering floods of blurry pictures of a crescent-shaped sun on Twitter and other social media.

Image: Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1291. Though the galaxy is quite old, roughly 12 billion years, it is marked by an unusual ring where newborn stars are igniting.

The abundance of water in asteroid fragments

A new study could provide insights about the abundance of water in fragments from a famous asteroid.

New insights on the origin of the triple asteroid system (87) Sylvia

Combining observations from the world's largest telescopes with those from smaller instruments used by amateur astronomers, a team of scientists has discovered that the large main-belt asteroid (87) Sylvia has a complex interior. This has been deduced by using the motions of the two moons orbiting the main asteroid as probes of the object's density distribution. The complex structure is probably linked to the way the multiple system was formed.

NASA identifies ice cloud above cruising altitude on Titan

NASA scientists have identified an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan that is similar to exotic clouds found far above Earth's poles.

NASA creating a virtual telescope with two small spacecraft

Although scientists have flown two spacecraft in formation, no one ever has aligned the spacecraft with a specific astronomical target and then held that configuration to make a scientific observation—creating, in effect, a single or "virtual" telescope with two distinctly different satellites.

Asteroid 2014 SC324 zips by Earth Friday afternoon

What a roller coaster week it's been. If partial eclipses and giant sunspots aren't your thing, how about a close flyby of an Earth-approaching asteroid?  2014 SC324 was discovered on September 30 this year by the Mt. Lemmon Survey high in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona. Based on brightness, the tumbling rock's size is estimated at around 197 feet (60-m), on the large side compared to the many small asteroids that whip harmlessly by Earth each year.

New rocket propellant and motor design offer high performance and safety

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists recently flight tested a new rocket design that includes a high-energy fuel and a motor design that also delivers a high degree of safety.

Who owns space?

The golden age of planetary exploration had voyagers navigating new sea routes to uncharted territory. These territories were then claimed in the name of the monarchs who had financed the expeditions. All too frequently, this led to conflict between rivals, especially over lucrative trade routes, and piracy was either an occupational hazard or a perk of the job, depending on your point of view.

Europe postpones launch of first 'space plane'

Europe said Friday it was postponing the launch next month of its first-ever "space plane" to give scientists time to finetune the mission's flight plan.

Harvard astronomer Loeb caught up in the thrill of the search

Almost every clear night, Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard's Astronomy Department, steps onto his porch and looks up at the Milky Way. The gleaming stars could be the lights of a giant space ship.

Technology news

UK wind power share shows record rise

The United Kingdom wind power production has been enjoying an upward trajectory, and on Tuesday wind power achieved a significant energy production milestone, reported Brooks Hays for UPI. High winds from Hurricane Gonzalo were the force behind wind turbines outproducing nuclear power plants on Tuesday—supplying 14.2 percent of all electricity, compared with nuclear's 13.2 percent. For a 24-hour period, said the BBC, "spinning blades produced more energy than splitting atoms." Gonzalo brought gusts of up to 70 mph to the northern parts of the UK, according to National Grid.

Tomorrow's tablets? Look, no hands

Engineers in a suburban Chicago office complex have designed a new microphone that they say will be key to the future of smartphone and tablet technology because it gives consumers the ability to operate hand-held devices without touching them.

Powerful new software plug-in detects bugs in spreadsheets

An effective new data-debugging software tool dubbed "CheckCell" was released to the public this week in a presentation by University of Massachusetts Amherst computer science doctoral student Daniel Barowy. He spoke at the premier international computer programming language design conference known as OOPSLA, in Portland, Ore.

Li-ion batteries contain toxic halogens, but environmentally friendly alternatives exist

Physics researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have discovered that most of the electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries—commonly found in consumer electronic devices—are superhalogens, and that the vast majority of these electrolytes contain toxic halogens.

Team infuses science into 'Minecraft' modification

The 3-D world of the popular "Minecraft" video game just became more entertaining, perilous and educational, thanks to a comprehensive code modification kit, "Polycraft World," created by University of Texas at Dallas professors, students and alumni.

Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR

Two messages from Magic Leap: Most of us know that a world with dragons and unicorns, elves and fairies is just a better world. The other message: Technology can be mindboggingly awesome. When the two messages combine, the company's aura becomes evident as movers in newer realms of augmented reality. The people behind this Florida-based company believe that the future of computing should be derived from respecting human biology, physiology, creativity, and community. So why, they ask, can't computing feel completely natural? Why can't computing and technology bend to us, to our experience? Describing their technology, they said "our team dug deep into the physics of the visual world, and dug deep into the physics and processes of our visual and sensory perception." They created what they call a Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal, which is biomimetic. That is the core and they added hardware, software, sensors, core processors! , and, they said, "a few things that just need to remain a mystery." On their site page for developers, they said, "Using our Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal, imagine being able to generate images indistinguishable from real objects and then being able to place those images seamlessly into the real world."

Global boom in hydropower expected this decade

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce the number of our last remaining large free-flowing rivers by about 20% and pose a serious threat to freshwater biodiversity.

Review: Apple Pay is great, at stores that accept it

When Apple Pay launched Monday, my editors decided I needed to go shopping.

Microsoft's expanding cloud platform shines brightly

At a small gathering in San Francisco for reporters and analysts earlier this week, Microsoft announced a number of new cloud products and services.

Glass maker deals to exit Apple, Arizona plant

Nearly 2,000 furnaces installed in a factory to make synthetic sapphire glass for Apple Inc. will be removed and sold under a deal between the tech giant and the company that had been gearing up to produce huge amounts of the product for use in Apple's products.

California startup unveils gun technology for cops

A Silicon Valley startup has developed technology to let dispatchers know when a police officer's weapon has been fired.

Online anonymity isn't as easy as the firms offering privacy apps want you to think

In a post-Snowden world, anonymity is what people want online. Smartphone apps offering anonymous messaging are popping up everywhere – Secret, Whisper and now Yik Yak. The latest additions to privacy-protecting technology, they claim to provide anonymous, location-based confession, expression, and discussion platforms.

Evaluating powerful batteries for modular grid energy storage

Sandia National Laboratories has begun lab-based characterization of TransPower's GridSaver, the largest grid energy storage system analyzed at Sandia's Energy Storage Test Pad in Albuquerque, N.M.

Researchers increase the switching contrast of an all-optical flip-flop

Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York have increased the switching contrast of a particular kind of all-optical flip-flop by 28 dB, resulting in a switching contrast of 36.6 dB. This could provide a huge leap in the performances of a range of photonic techniques, such as all-optical packet switching, all-optical label addressing, and square-wave clock generation, as well as other photonic devices housing semiconductor optical amplifiers or even passive nonlinear media.

New oscillator for low-power implantable transcievers

Arash Moradi and Mohamad Sawan from Polytechnique Montreal in Canada discuss their new low-power VCO design for medical implants. This oscillator was implemented to provide the frequency deviation of frequency-shift-keying (FSK) modulation in implantable radio-frequency (RF) transceivers.

Amazon's loss makes holidays a question mark

Amazon's trademark smile icon is becoming more of a grimace. The world's largest online retailer reported a wider third-quarter loss than analysts expected and gave a disappointing holiday forecast.

Microsoft drops Nokia name from smartphones

Microsoft said Friday it was dropping the Nokia name from its Lumia smartphones, rebranding following the acquisition earlier this year of the Finnish group's handset division.

Microsoft's Garage becomes an incubator of consumer apps

For five years now, The Garage has served as Microsoft's incubator for employees' passion projects, an internal community of engineers, designers, hardware tinkerers and others from all different parts of the company who work on their own or with others on pet projects, some of which could potentially benefit the company.

Yelp adds hotel and winery bookings with new partnerships

Travelers often turn to Yelp to check out consumer reviews of hotels before they go on vacation, and now they can book a room directly through its site and app thanks to a partnership with startup Hipmunk.

Apple to open 25 new stores in China in the next two years

Tim Cook is in China this week, where he announced plans to open 25 new Apple stores in its Greater China region in the next two years.

Can Whisper, an app for anonymous confessions, protect users' identities?

Can an app that people anonymously share confessions on, some of which become fodder for news stories, protect the users' identities? That's the issue surrounding Whisper this week.

States ascend into the cloud

Seven years ago, the state of Delaware started moving computer servers out of closets and from under workers' desks to create a consolidated data center and a virtual computing climate.

New social network for teenagers experiences a growth spurt

The millionaire creator of a Facebook competitor for teenagers, Pascal Lorne needed, well, teenagers.

Hacker gets prison for cyberattack stealing $9.4M

An Estonian man who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a 2008 cyberattack on a credit card processing company that enabled hackers to steal $9.4 million has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a federal judge in Atlanta.

Ericsson profit down 10 pct despite higher sales

Wireless equipment maker Ericsson says its third-quarter earnings slumped 10 percent despite higher sales due to increased operating costs and negative effects from currency hedging.

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, the number of patients experiencing stress has also increased since the disaster. What's more, many of the survivors are now jobless and therefore facing an uncertain future.

Queen sends her first tweet, signed 'Elizabeth R'

Queen Elizabeth II has sent her first tweet—though she kept things traditional, signing off with "Elizabeth R."

Students win challenge for real-time traffic app

Three University of Texas at Arlington Computer Science and Engineering students have won a $10,000 prize in the NTx Apps Challenge for a smart traffic light network that adjusts traffic light schedules to make traffic flow more efficient.

Beyond GoPro: Skiers and snowboarders can measure everything with apps, hardware

At the end of a long day on the slopes, there's only one reward as sweet as a cold beer and a fireplace to warm your toes - recounting your epic moves through the powder.

Ambitious EU targets for renewable energies make economic sense

The European heads of governments are currently in Brussels negotiating the targets for the European climate and energy policy for the year 2030. There seems to be a fundamental consensus for tightening the binding climate target. Yet, there are still significant differences of opinion as to the further development of the target for renewable energies: How far should the share of renewable energies in total energy consumption be increased by 2030? And should renewables targets also be specified for individual member states or only for the EU overall?

NBCUniversal settles with unpaid interns for $6.4M

NBCUniversal will pay $6.4 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by unpaid interns who worked on "Saturday Night Live" and other shows who claim they are owed wages, according to court documents.

Medicine & Health news

Australian doctors transplant 'dead' hearts in surgical breakthrough (Update)

Australian surgeons said Friday they have used hearts which had stopped beating in successful transplants, in what they said was a world first that could change the way organs are donated.

FLRT proteins direct precursors of pyramidal cells to their destination by attractant and repellent signals

During brain development, the precursors of nerve cells sometimes have to migrate long distances from their place of origin to their destination. In this process, proteins, such as FLRTs (pronounced "flirts"), act as guide molecules. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, together with colleagues at the Universities of Oxford and Frankfurt have now discovered that FLRT proteins on the surface of progenitor cells can induce repellent and attractant signals depending on its binding partner. The scientists used X-ray crystallography to reveal the structural bases for both FLRT-mediated adhesion and repulsion. They applied this knowledge to elucidate how these opposed signals control cellular migration. Which signal predominates depends on the particular type of cell migration. The results further show that FLRTs also exert attractant and repellent effects in the walls of blood vessels and therefore co! ntrol the development of other tissue types as well.

Scientists identify a promising target for HIV/AIDS treatment

Like a slumbering dragon, HIV can lay dormant in a person's cells for years, evading medical treatments only to wake up and strike at a later time, quickly replicating itself and destroying the immune system.

Scientists engineer toxin-secreting stem cells to treat brain tumors

Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have devised a new way to use stem cells in the fight against brain cancer. A team led by neuroscientist Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, who recently demonstrated the value of stem cells loaded with cancer-killing herpes viruses, now has a way to genetically engineer stem cells so that they can produce and secrete tumor-killing toxins.

Ebola's evolutionary roots are more ancient than previously thought, study finds

A new study is helping to rewrite Ebola's family history. The research shows that filoviruses—a family to which Ebola and its similarly lethal relative, Marburg, belong—are at least 16-23 million years old.

New compounds reduce debilitating inflammation

Six Case Western Reserve scientists are part of an international team that has discovered two compounds that show promise in decreasing inflammation associated with diseases such as ulcerative colitis, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The compounds, dubbed OD36 and OD38, specifically appear to curtail inflammation-triggering signals from RIPK2 (serine/threonine/tyrosine kinase 2). RIPK2 is an enzyme that activates high-energy molecules to prompt the immune system to respond with inflammation. The findings of this research appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Treating ill health might not be enough to help homeless people get off the streets

Health care providers should recognize that any effective strategy to address homelessness needs to include both interventions to improve the health of homeless individuals as well as larger-scale policy changes, according to a paper published today.

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according to a paper published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

'Swingers' multiple drug use heightens risk of sexually transmitted diseases

People who engage in heterosexual group sex and partner swapping are increasing their risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases if they engage in multiple drug use, says a study published online in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Roman-Britons had less gum disease than modern Britons

The Roman-British population from c. 200-400 AD appears to have had far less gum disease than we have today, according to a study of skulls at the Natural History Museum led by a King's College London periodontist. The surprise findings provide further evidence that modern habits like smoking can be damaging to oral health.

Beware claims that activated charcoal can cure gut troubles

(HealthDay)—A man who hoped to detoxify his body with a supplement known as activated charcoal may have instead triggered a case of the intestinal disorder known as colitis.

Even severe Ebola cases can be treated with intensive care

(HealthDay)—Even severe Ebola virus disease (EVD), with multiple complications, can be treated effectively with routine intensive care, according to a case study published online Oct. 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

New York confirms first Ebola case

New York confirmed the first case of Ebola in the largest city in the United States as the EU dramatically ramped up aid Friday to contain the killer epidemic ravaging west Africa.

Renewing health insurance should take more than 15 minutes, specialist says

Consumers spend more time picking out a television than picking out health insurance—and that could be a costly mistake, says a Kansas State University community health specialist.

Improve chemical testing on mammary glands to reduce risk of breast cancer

A new commentary by Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) researchers, published in Reproductive Toxicology, covers the emerging evidence that chemical exposure may contribute to breast cancer risk. It recommends improving test protocols to investigate how chemicals increase breast cancer risk and alter mammary gland structure and function.

New support method improves health of kidney disease patients

A healthcare intervention developed by researchers at the University of Manchester and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Greater Manchester has been shown to have significant health benefits for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Testing time for stem cells

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic cells for drug screening.

Genomic sequencing more efficient in predicting breast cancer risk than previously thought

Using genomic sequencing data on all currently known genetic alterations in breast cancer, it is possible to identify a woman's genetic risk for the disease, and this approach can bring greater gains in disease prevention than previously estimated, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Emotional adjustment following traumatic brain injury

Life after a traumatic brain injury resulting from a car accident, a bad fall or a neurodegenerative disease changes a person forever. But the injury doesn't solely affect the survivor – the lives of their spouse or partner and other family members often are also turned inside out.

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a selection of hand blenders which are available on the Swedish market. Chlorinated paraffins are included in the subject group of persistent organic pollutants which humans and animals should be protected from.

Researchers identify new target for treating childhood cancers

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at the University of Liverpool have uncovered a new target for drugs that could battle a lethal childhood cancer known as neuroblastoma.

How the spread of Ebola is calculated

The number of reported Ebola cases is doubling roughly every five weeks in Sierra Leone, and in as little as two to three weeks in Liberia.

South African "Mentor Mothers" lower HIV infection rates among pregnant women

The incidence of HIV infection in South Africa tops that of any nation in the world, with some 6 million of the country's nearly 50 million residents infected. Sadly, young women—and particularly young pregnant women—suffer some of the highest rates of HIV infection. More than one-fourth of pregnant South African women are infected with the virus; in some communities, the infection rates are even higher.

Almost 2,000 lung cancer patients missing out on surgery every year

Around 1,800 lung cancer patients may be missing out on life-saving surgery each year, according to the latest regional cancer statistics from Cancer Research UK.

Prompt diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis crucial

Research led by Conway Fellow, Professor Oliver FitzGerald in St Vincent's University Hospital shows that a delay of more than 6 months from initial symptoms to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis leads to poorer outcomes for patients.

Neurons can be reprogrammed to switch the emotional association of a memory

Memories of experiences are encoded in the brain along with contextual and emotional information such as where the experience took place and whether it was positive or negative. This allows for the formation of memory associations that might assist in survival. Just how this positive and negative encoding occurs, however, has remained unclear.

Bilingualism over the lifespan

It's a scene that plays out every day in Montreal. On the bus, in schools, in the office and at home, conversations weave seamlessly back and forth between French and English, or one of the many other languages represented on this multicultural island. It's increasingly common to hear not two, but three different languages spoken in one short conversation.

Researchers use social media to raise awareness of norovirus season

October is often associated with Halloween candy and trick-or-treating, but it's also the start of the norovirus season – when public health officials see a jump in the number of cases. Since norovirus usually causes vomiting and diarrhea that can lead to hospitalization, or even death, a team of researchers led by NC State is trying to raise awareness through a novel (and cute) social media campaign.

At what age should we put babies on a digital media diet?

A recent New York Times article points to a glaring inconsistency between the amount of "screen time" toddlers have using tablets, phones and computers – and the advice of many early years specialists.

Receiving gossip about others promotes self-reflection and growth

Gossip is pervasive in our society, and our penchant for gossip can be found in most of our everyday conversations. Why are individuals interested in hearing gossip about others' achievements and failures? Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands studied the effect positive and negative gossip has on how the recipient evaluates him or herself. The study is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Hundreds of thousands of Ebola vaccine doses could reach Africa by mid-2015: WHO

Ebola vaccine trials could start in west Africa in December, with hundreds of thousands of doses potentially being rolled out by mid-2015, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Growing a blood vessel in a week

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown in a new study from The University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, published in EBioMedicine.

Intervention program helps prevent high-school dropouts

New research findings from a team of prevention scientists at Arizona State University demonstrates that a family-focused intervention program for middle-school Mexican American children leads to fewer drop-out rates and lower rates of alcohol and illegal drug use.

Overweight kids misinterpret asthma symptoms, potentially overuse medication

New research shows obese children with asthma may mistake symptoms of breathlessness for loss of asthma control leading to high and unnecessary use of rescue medications. The study was published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), the official scientific journal of the American Association of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Teens who dine with their families may be slimmer adults

(HealthDay)—For those teens who try to avoid spending time with their parents and siblings, new research suggests that sitting down for family meals might help them stay slim as adults.

T2DM-linked hypoglycemia doesn't impact brain pathology

(HealthDay)—Hypoglycemia related to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) doesn't appear to impact brain pathology, according to a study published online Sept. 29 in Diabetes Care.

Use of BMP doesn't impact nonunion rates post spine fusion

(HealthDay)—The use of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is not associated with operative nonunion rates after spinal fusion, according to a study published in the Oct. 15 issue of Spine.

Aspirin may cut mortality in nonmetastatic prostate cancer

(HealthDay)—Daily aspirin use, even at low doses, may reduce mortality among men with high-risk nonmetastatic prostate cancer, according to research published online Oct. 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Relationships benefit when parents and adult children use multiple communication channels

'Call your mother' may be the familiar refrain, but research from the University of Kansas shows that being able to text, email and Facebook dad may be just as important for young adults.

Shutting off blood supply to an extremity to protect the heart

In a study just published in the International Journal of Cardiology, researchers from the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine – Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim, Norway have shown that shutting off the blood supply to an arm or leg before cardiac surgery protects the heart during the operation.

New findings will improve the sex lives of women with back problems

Newly published findings from the University of Waterloo are giving women with bad backs renewed hope for better sex lives. The findings—part of the first-ever study to document how the spine moves during sex—outline which sex positions are best for women suffering from different types of low-back pain. The new recommendations follow on the heels of comparable guidelines for men released last month.

Breast cancer markers commonly used for routine surveillance

(HealthDay)—Breast cancer tumor markers are frequently used for routine surveillance in nonmetastatic breast cancer, and their use has been found to increase the number of diagnostic procedures performed as well as the total cost of care, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

NT-proBNP modestly improves CVD risk prediction in women

(HealthDay)—N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) modestly improves cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction for women, according to a study published in the Oct. 28 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Neurophysiological assessment aids in identifying back injury

(HealthDay)—For patients with lumbosacral disc herniation, neurophysiological tests together with neuroimaging and clinical examination allow for accurate preoperative assessment of injury, according to a study published in the Oct. 1 issue of Spine.

New treatment approved for rare form of hemophilia

(HealthDay)—Obizur (antihemophilic factor recombinant) has been approved to treat a rare, non-inherited form of hemophilia in adults.

New hope for drug discovery in African sleeping sickness

In early drug discovery, you need a starting point, says Northeastern University associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology Michael Pollastri.

Clues to genetics of congenital heart defects emerge from Down syndrome study

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality in humans, involving a third copy of all or part of chromosome 21. In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with Down syndrome have a high risk of congenital heart defects. However, not all people with Down syndrome have them – about half have structurally normal hearts.

For brain hemorrhage, risk of death is lower at high-volume hospitals

For patients with a severe type of stroke called subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), treatment at a hospital that treats a high volume of SAH cases is associated with a lower risk of death, reports a study in the November issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

'Clever' Japan firm donates high-tech masks for Ebola fight

A little-known Japanese company has donated 10,000 high-tech face masks to several Ebola-hit African nations and says it is now getting calls from New York City, which confirmed its first case of the virus Thursday.

First case of Ebola confirmed in Mali

Mali's health ministry on Thursday said the country had its first confirmed case of Ebola after a two-year-old girl who had recently been in Guinea tested positive for the virus.

Speech and language therapist to trial innovative new technology for stroke rehabilitation based on patient needs

Of the 152, 000 individuals in the UK to survive a stroke each year, approximately 20-30% of them will experience slurred speech (dysarthria). Dysarthria is caused by muscle weakness and is known to impact significantly on psychological well-being and recovery after stroke.

British woman dies during Thai cosmetic surgery

A British woman has died under anesthesia during a cosmetic procedure by an uncertified surgeon at a clinic in Thailand's capital, authorities said Friday.

Intense heat causes health problems among sugar cane workers

Hard work under hot sun causes health problems for sugar cane workers in Costa Rica, such as headache, nausea, and renal dysfunction. The presence of symptoms is also expected to increase in line with ongoing climate changes, according to a dissertation from Umeå University.

EU boosts Ebola aid for west Africa to 1.0 billion euros

European Union leaders agreed Friday to boost aid to combat the deadly Ebola virus in west Africa to one billion euros ($1.26 billion), EU president Herman Van Rompuy said.

Research explores role of timing, aggression in lung cancer

Western-led research has discovered that timing, in combination with aggression, are possible keys to long-term survival for patients with limited metastatic lung cancer.

Book details epidemic of alcohol abuse among retirees

After studying 1,100 retirement-age blue collar workers, Peter Bamberger urges Baby Boomers to "anticipate things happening unexpectedly so that you are more psychologically prepared … if you're pushed out [of a job] … especially if you like your job."

Research team makes progress on system to screen for trauma in foster youths

Researchers in the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare have completed initial efforts to learn more about adoption and the foster care system in Kansas, particularly about the challenges and facilitators of successful adoptions. The efforts are part of the Kansas Adoption Permanency Project, created to enact trauma screening and functional assessment for all children who enter foster care and improve adoption outcomes for children, families and the state.

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, have determined the mineral profile of 167 persimmons produced between 2010 and 2011 and coming from different Spanish regions: 4 from Alicante, 11 from Andalucía, 10 from Castellón, 3 from Extremadura, 13 from Valencia, 113 from La Ribera (a region within Valencia) bearing the protected designation of origin (PDO) Kaki Ribera del Xúquer, and 13 from outside the PDO area within La Ribera.

Video: Is that double mastectomy really necessary?

When Angeline Vuong, 27,was diagnosed with cancer in one breast earlier this year, her first reaction was "A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY. NOW. " Turns out, she's far from alone: a recent JAMA study of 190,000 breast cancer cases in California between 1998 and 2011 found a six-fold increase in the percentage of women with early-stage cancer in one breast who were choosing double mastectomies.

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly complex disorders.

Mali scrambles to trace Ebola toddler's contacts: WHO

Health authorities in Mali are monitoring at least 43 people who had contact with a toddler declared the country's first Ebola case, the World Health Organization said Friday.

WHO: Millions of Ebola vaccine doses ready in 2015

The World Health Organization says millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines will start being tested in March.

WHO eyes mass Ebola vaccines by mid-2015

Hundreds of thousands of Ebola vaccine doses could be rolled out to west Africa by the middle of next year, the World Health Organization said Friday, after new cases of the killer virus were reported in New York and Mali.

Aid group: Ebola contagion risk can't be zero

Despite stringent infection-control measures, the risk of Ebola's spread cannot be entirely eliminated, Doctors Without Borders said Friday after one of its doctors caught the dreaded disease while working in Guinea and went to New York City.

Endurance athletes at risk of swimming-induced pulmonary oedema

Endurance athletes taking part in triathlons are at risk of the potentially life-threatening condition of swimming-induced pulmonary oedema. Cardiologists from Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, say the condition, which causes an excess collection of watery fluid in the lungs, is likely to become more common with the increase in participation in endurance sports. Increasing numbers of cases are being reported in community triathletes and army trainees. Episodes are more likely to occur in highly fit individuals undertaking strenuous or competitive swims, particularly in cold water.

US lawmaker: New case raises questions on Ebola

The new case of Ebola diagnosed in New York City has raised "even more questions about procedures in treating patients and risks to Americans," a Republican committee chairman said Friday.

Volunteer guidelines for clinicians in the Ebola epidemic

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness Journal has released a novel, informative article that speaks to volunteers within the Ebola epidemic. The article, contributed by a consortium of Boston-based hospitals, is entitled Sign Me Up: Rules of the Road for Humanitarian Volunteers during the Ebola Outbreak. The authors paint an honest picture of volunteer circumstances, and ask those considering volunteering to not make the decision lightly. They insist that the "global healthcare community must and will rise to serve."

Mass Ebola vaccines for Africa within eight months, says WHO

Ebola vaccine trials could start in west Africa in December, with hundreds of thousands of doses potentially being rolled out by mid-2015, the World Health Organization said Friday.

New York on alert over first Ebola case

New York went on alert Friday as authorities sought to calm fears among the city's 8.4 million residents after a doctor tested positive for Ebola.

Aid group: No need to isolate staff treating Ebola

Doctors Without Borders insisted Friday, after one of its doctors who worked in Guinea came down with Ebola in New York, that quarantines of health workers returning from the hot zone are not necessary when they do not show symptoms of the disease.

APIC Ebola readiness survey: US hospitals lack infection prevention personnel and resources to confront disease

Only 6 percent of U.S. hospitals are well-prepared to receive a patient with the Ebola virus, according to a survey of infection prevention experts at U.S. hospitals conducted October 10-15 by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Two US nurses are declared cured of Ebola

Two American nurses were declared cured of Ebola on Friday, and one was healthy enough to leave hospital and make plans to meet President Barack Obama.

New York 'fully prepared' to handle Ebola case: mayor

New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading, after a doctor tested positive for the disease.

CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

Johns Hopkins Medicine has been tasked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead a group and to design an interactive Web-based learning program that guides health care workers, nurses and physicians through government-approved protocols to aid clinicians as they provide care to patients who may be at risk of contracting the Ebola virus. The program trains health care providers in three critical areas: proper donning of personal protective equipment (PPE), the safe removal of gear and active monitoring skills. All three modules will be available for free on the CDC's website in the coming weeks and later available to the millions of iOS users on iTunes U.

WHO: Mali case may have infected many people

The World Health Organization says a toddler who brought Ebola to Mali was bleeding from her nose during her journey on public transport and may have infected many people.

Biology news

Researchers find ferns communicate with one another to decide gender

(Phys.org) —A combined team of researchers from Nagoya University and the University of Tokyo has discovered that a certain type of fern plant communicates with others of its kind using pheromones as a means of choosing the gender of maturing plants. In their paper published in the journal Science, the researchers describe how their study of the Japanese climbing fern, led to a better understanding of the role that the pheromone gibberellin plays in its reproduction process. Tai-ping Sun, with Duke University offers a perspective piece in the same journal edition, providing a more in-depth analysis of the work the team has done.

Mycologist promotes agarikon as a possibility to counter growing antibiotic resistance

(Phys.org) —Mycologist Paul Stamets is espousing the health benefits of agarikon, a fungus that grows on trees in old growth forests in North America and Europe. He's written and published a blog piece in the Huffington Post, describing the known antibacterial and antiviral abilities of the fungus and suggesting we take better care of our old growth forests as a means of survival in an uncertain future.

Sex-loving, meat-eating reptiles have shorter lives

The health risks and benefits of vegetarianism have long been discussed in relation to the human diet, but newly published research reveals that it's definitely of benefit to the reptile population. That, and being less sexually active! The research team investigated how longevity of 1,014 species of scaled reptiles is influenced by key environmental characteristics and by their feeding and sexual habits.

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of the California vole to near extinction, leaving only a few hundred clinging to existence. It is now one of the most critically endangered mammals in North America. But the vole's luck may be changing with the birth of the first pups from a new captive breeding program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Research predicts how the squirrelpox virus could spread in grey squirrel populations

New research involving a Heriot-Watt scientist predicts how the squirrelpox virus could spread in grey squirrel populations in Scotland, and will be useful in planning how best to protect red squirrels.

How can we help endangered vultures?

Zoologists from the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin are proposing an ingenious idea to help conserve populations of African white-backed vultures. The iconic birds, which play a critical role in sustaining healthy ecosystems, may need to dine for free in human-staffed 'vulture restaurants' if they are to survive spells of food scarcity in Swaziland and neighbouring countries. 

Climate change impacts countered by stricter fisheries management

A new study has found that implementing stricter fisheries management overcame the expected detrimental effects of climate change disturbances in coral reef fisheries badly impacted by the 1997/98 El Niño, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Decrease of genetic diversity in the endangered Saimaa ringed seal continues

The critically endangered Saimaa ringed seal, which inhabits Lake Saimaa in Finland, has extremely low genetic diversity and this development seems to continue, according to a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland. In her doctoral dissertation, Mia Valtonen, MSc, analysed the temporal and regional variation in the genetic diversity of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. The population is only around 300 individuals divided into smaller sub-populations and with very little migration among between them.

Cat dentals fill you with dread?

A survey published this year found that over 50% of final year veterinary students in the UK do not feel confident either in discussing orodental problems with clients or in performing a detailed examination of the oral cavity of their small animal patients. Once in practice, things don't always improve and, anecdotally, it seems many vets dread feline dental procedures.


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