Friday, March 6, 2015

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Mar 5

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Newsletter for March 5, 2015:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Buckybomb shows potential power of nanoscale explosives
- Thermonuclear supernova ejects our galaxy's fastest star (w/ video)
- Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens
- Squeezable nano electromechanical switches with quantum tunneling function
- New paint-like coating makes tough surfaces that repel spills, scratches (w/ Video)
- Immune cells repurpose a stem cell transcription factor as a pathogen sensor
- Research suggests Mars once had more water than Earth's Arctic ocean
- Researchers discover protein's pivotal role in heart failure
- From chick to bedside: Removing the Wnt barrier
- Twin copies of gene pair up in embryonic stem cells at critical moment in differentiation
- Baby mantises harness mid-air 'spin' during jumps for precision landings
- Seven strategies to advance women in science
- Molecule from trees helps female mice only resist weight gain
- Nutrient pollution damages streams in ways previously unknown, ecologists find
- Simulations provide new insight into emerging nanoelectronic device

Astronomy & Space news

Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes.

Research suggests Mars once had more water than Earth's Arctic ocean

A primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth's Arctic Ocean, according to NASA scientists who, using ground-based observatories, measured water signatures in the Red Planet's atmosphere.

Thermonuclear supernova ejects our galaxy's fastest star (w/ video)

Scientists using the W. M. Keck Observatory and Pan-STARRS1 telescopes on Hawaii have discovered a star that breaks the galactic speed record, traveling with a velocity of about 1,200 kilometers per second or 2.7 million miles per hour. This velocity is so high, the star will escape the gravity of our galaxy. In contrast to the other known unbound stars, the team showed that this compact star was ejected from an extremely tight binary by a thermonuclear supernova explosion. These results will be published in the March 6 issue of Science.

NASA Ames reproduces the building blocks of life in laboratory

NASA scientists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. They discovered that an ice sample containing pyrimidine exposed to ultraviolet radiation under space-like conditions produces these essential ingredients of life.

Subaru Telescope observes rapid changes in a comet's plasma tail

Images from a December 2013 observation of the comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) reveal clear details about rapidly changing activity in that comet's plasma tail. To get this image, astronomers used Subaru Telescope's wide-field prime-focus Suprime-Cam to zero in on 0.8 million kilometers of the comet's plasma tail, which resulted in gaining precious knowledge regarding the extreme activity in that tail as the comet neared the Sun. Their results are reported this week in a paper in the March 2015 edition of the Astronomical Journal.

Titan's was atmosphere created by gases escaping the core

A decade ago, a tiny but mighty probe descended into the soupy atmosphere of Titan. This moon of Saturn is of great interest to astrobiologists because its chemistry and liquid cycle remind us of what the early Earth could have looked like before life arose.

Pressure is on to find the cause for vision changes in space

A change in your vision is great when referring to sparking a creative idea or a new approach to a challenge. When it refers to potential problems with sight, however, the cause and possible solutions need to be identified.

ESA experts assess risk from exploded satellite

After studying the recent explosive break-up of a US satellite, ESA space debris experts have concluded this event does not increase the collision risk to nearby ESA missions in any meaningful way.

Testing to diagnose power event in Mars rover

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is expected to remain stationary for several days of engineering analysis following an onboard fault-protection action on Feb. 27 that halted a process of transferring sample material between devices on the rover's robotic arm.

'Planck' puts Einstein to the test

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analysing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). Their results demonstrate that the standard model of cosmology remains an excellent description of the universe. Yet when the Planck data is combined with other astronomical observations, several deviations emerge. Further studies must determine whether these anomalies are due to measurement uncertainties or undiscovered physical correlations, which would also challenge Einstein's theory of gravitation. Thus, the analysis of the Planck data gives major impetus for research during future space missions.

Mysterious dwarf planet Ceres gets ready for the spotlight

The mysterious dwarf planet Ceres is ready for its close-up.

Novel method for identifying rings around extrasolar planets

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of Antioquia (Medellin-Colombia), have devised a novel method for identifying rings around extrasolar planets (exorings).  The method is relatively simple and can be used to rapidly analyze large photometric database and to find a list of exoring candidates deserving further analysis.

Technology news

Facebook artificial intelligence team serves up 20 tasks

In August last year, Daniela Hernandez wrote in Wired about Yann LeCun, director of AI Research at Facebook. His interests include machine learning, audio, video, image, and text understanding, optimization, computer architecture and software for AI.

Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power life on Mars

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research pioneered at Northumbria University, Newcastle. 

Power-generating urinal pioneered in Britain

British scientists on Thursday unveiled a toilet that unlocks energy stored within urine to generate electricity, which they hope could be used to light remote places such as refugee camps.

Paperspace computer aims to resolve hardware distractions

A promotional video for Paperspace made its point quickly. A woman sitting at a computer sighed as she pressed down on the keys impatiently, as the straight-faced announcer noted computers can be such a pain. What if we told you there was a better way, he said, throwing her computer off the table and on to the floor. Paperspace. The difference between a regular computer and Paperspace is that the computer is a piece of hardware and the Paperspace computer is in the cloud. It's like cloud storage, but instead it's your whole computer.

Hackers threaten phone in your pocket, experts warn

The boom in smartphones among often careless users has made happy hunting for hackers, whose virus attacks and hijacking of unprotected mobiles are multiplying, experts warn.

Game makers lured into virtual worlds

Video game makers are being lured into virtual worlds in the hope players will dive in behind.

Health checks by smartphone raise privacy fears

Authorities and tech developers must stop sensitive health data entered into applications on mobile phones ending up in the wrong hands, experts warn.

Experts: Clinton email practices risked data disclosures

Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private email address and private computer server for official State Department business heightened security risks to her communications, such as the inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information and the danger from hackers, several information security experts said.

IPhone 6's popularity drives Apple's China share to record

A consumer survey showed the popularity of the iPhone 6 has driven Apple's market share in China to its highest ever while Samsung has continued to lose ground.

Car industry welcomes Google, Apple but battles loom

It could be the battle of the titans. Auto giants at the Geneva Motor Show say they welcome the potential move of Silicon Valley players into their sector but experts warn of major disruptions.

Public needs convincing that robots can improve their quality of life

New research shows that the majority of the UK public is yet to recognise the potential for robots to improve quality of life for themselves or their ageing relatives.

Why the SIM card has had its day

The small microchips known as "subscriber identity modules" or SIM cards that are required for mobile phones to log on to a phone network will soon be 25 years old. While mobile phones and network technology have progressed in leaps and bounds, SIM cards are still lodged in handsets.

What safeguards are in Australia's data retention plans?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants the mandatory data retention laws passed soon despite a number of concerns still being raised about the proposed legislation.

Researchers take to the skies to assess infrastructure damage

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have become increasingly popular over the last half dozen years or so among amateur aeronautical aficionados, engineers and generally anyone fascinated with relatively inexpensive flying machines.

How bamboo could help build a sustainable future

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin's School of Engineering believe that bamboo could be used to build many things from bicycles to houses in the not-too-distant future.

Online craft market Etsy files for IPO

Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods, has filed for a stock offering to raise at least $100 million.

Cebit 2015: DIY printing custom touch-sensitive displays

Computer scientists from Saarbr├╝cken have developed a technique that could enable virtually anyone to print out customized displays of their own in future—in all shapes and sizes and onto various materials. A regular home printer could be used to print wafer-thin displays onto paper, so these printed displays might present custom-designed icons or even respond to touch.

Reliance on smartphones linked to lazy thinking

Our smartphones help us find a phone number quickly, provide us with instant directions and recommend restaurants, but new research indicates that this convenience at our fingertips is making it easy for us to avoid thinking for ourselves.

Making our highways safer and more efficient

All over the world, gridlock, stop and go driving and constant and sometimes dangerous lane changes are a daily frustration for highway motorists.

Watches, robots suitcases: mobile gadget highlights

Tech companies showcased countless connected gadgets at the world's biggest wireless telecom fair, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which wrapped up on Thursday. Here is a selection of highlights:

Europe vies for lost mobile glory against Asia, US

Once a mobile telecom leader, Europe has lost out in recent years to giant companies in Asia and the United States. Now it wants to get back in the race.

Mandarin Oriental says hackers stole credit card data

Hackers broke into the Mandarin Oriental luxury hotel group's database and stole credit card information from "an isolated number" of its properties in the United States and Europe.

Can Etsy keep its folksy brand and make shareholders money?

If craft seller Etsy goes public later this year it will be a test of how well the company can balance an explicit social mission with shareholder expectations for making money.

Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

Google is helping California drivers shop for car insurance as part of a new service that could foreshadow the Internet company's latest attempt to shake up a long-established industry.

Woman in Silicon Valley sex discrimination suit to testify

The woman at the center of a sex discrimination lawsuit against one of Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture capital firms is set to take the stand in a case that has focused attention on the treatment of women in the high-tech and venture capital fields.

Clinton urges State Department to release her emails (Update)

Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the State Department to release the emails she wrote from a private email account as secretary of state, weighing in on a controversy that has generated negative attention this week for the likely Democratic presidential candidate.

French court says has jurisdiction in Facebook vagina case

A Paris court ruled Thursday that it has jurisdiction to judge a case against US social networking site Facebook which blocked the account of a French teacher who posted an image of a vagina.

Medicine & Health news

Immune cells repurpose a stem cell transcription factor as a pathogen sensor

(Medical Xpress)—Among the most abundant of the immune system's first responders, neutrophil granulocytes comprise up to 75 percent of the body's white blood cells. During the acute phase of inflammation, neutrophils migrate to the site of injury or infection through the circulatory system and interstitial tissues to identify and ingest pathogens. They also release proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines which recruit other immune cells to the inflammatory site to eliminate foreign bacteria.

Brain structure varies depending on how trusting people are of others, study shows

A recent study from the University of Georgia shows differences in brain structure according to how trusting people are of others.

Energetic immune cells are vital for fighting disease

A good immune system relies on a key 'energy producing' protein in immune cells to develop immunity to vaccines and disease, an international team of scientists has found.

Researchers discover protein's pivotal role in heart failure

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a key piece in the complex molecular puzzle underlying heart failure - a serious and sometimes life-threatening disorder affecting more than 5 million Americans.

From chick to bedside: Removing the Wnt barrier

Kick starting a process that might repair the damage done in cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis could begin with disabling a driver that helps block regeneration, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in a report that appears in the journal Neuron.

In vivo CRISPR-Cas9 screen sheds light on cancer metastasis and tumor evolution

For the first time, CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology has been employed in a whole organism model to systematically target every gene in the genome. A team of scientists at the Broad Institute and MIT's David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research have pioneered the use of this technology to "knock out," or turn off, all genes across the genome systematically in an animal model of cancer, revealing genes involved in tumor evolution and metastasis and paving the way for similar studies in other cell types and diseases. The work appears online March 5 in Cell.

Molecule from trees helps female mice only resist weight gain

A molecule found in some plants can combat weight gain induced by a high-fat diet, but only in female mice, not males. 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) is thought to mimic the effects of a growth factor induced by exercise.

Researchers map 'switches' that shaped the evolution of the human brain

Thousands of genetic "dimmer" switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing cerebral cortex, according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine.

New study links BPA exposure to autism spectrum disorder

A newly published study is the first to report an association between bisphenol-A (BPA), a common plasticizer used in a variety of consumer food and beverage containers, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. The study, by researchers at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), shows that BPA is not metabolized well in children with ASD. The research appears online in Autism Research.

Choice of monitoring method could be key for babies with poor growth in the womb

Babies that grow poorly in the womb could have better outcomes if a method for the timing of delivery was used more widely, a study suggests.

Male images seen by left side of the brain, new study finds

A new study published today in the journal Laterality, has found that people are quicker to categorise a face as being male when it is shown to the left side of the brain.

Antiseptic prevents deaths in newborns

A low-cost antiseptic used to cleanse the cord after birth could help reduce infant death rates in developing countries by 12%, a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library suggests. Authors of the review found that when chlorhexidine was used on babies born outside of a hospital, it reduces the number of newborn babies who died or suffer from infections.

Breakthrough to take the pain out of catheters

A new pharmaceutical product that could significantly improve quality of life for catheter users all over the world is to be developed by Queen's University Belfast after it won a national award.

Liberia's last Ebola patient discharged (Update)

Liberia discharged its last confirmed Ebola patient on Thursday, as it reported for the first time in nine months it had gone a full week without any new infections.

Australia challenges 'misleading' Nurofen painkiller

Australia's consumer watchdog Thursday launched court action against drug giant Reckitt Benckiser, alleging false or misleading claims about its popular painkiller Nurofen.

Gut microbial mix relates to stages of blood sugar control

The composition of intestinal bacteria and other micro-organisms—called the gut microbiota—changes over time in unhealthy ways in black men who are prediabetic, a new study finds. The results will be presented Friday at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego.

Ebola vaccine tests to begin in Guinea on March 7: WHO

The first large-scale trial of an Ebola vaccine will begin in Guinea at the weekend, the World Health Organization said Thursday, weeks after a similar test kicked off in neighbouring Liberia.

New type of biomarker shows promise in improving prostate cancer care

Many men experience prostate cancer as a curable disease. But in those who recur in the form of metastasis death is inevitable. Pinpointing patients at high risk of relapse is imperative to giving them early treatment options when it's more likely to be effective. Dr. Andrew Hsieh has identified two biomarkers that may improve oncologists' ability to predict which patients' prostate cancer will recur after surgery, long before the development of visible cancer elsewhere in the body. According to Hsieh, "once clinically verified, biomarkers like these have the potential to help clinicians identify patients who are more likely to relapse and therefore may benefit from additional therapy after surgery."

Salt increases physical performance in resistance competitions

Spanish researchers have analysed the effectiveness of salt on sports performance in triathletes. The athletes who added salt supplements to their usual hydration routines during the competition took 26 fewer minutes to complete a medium-distance triathlon course than those who only used sports drinks.

New insight into inflammatory bowel disease

The development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be influenced through a protein in the gut leading to inflammation according to research.

Change in Medicare fee linked to rise of vascular treatment

Federal efforts to curb Medicare costs for unclogging blood vessels in the limbs slowed the growing use of the treatments, but also coincided with a marked increase in doctors using a more expensive approach, according to an analysis by Duke Medicine researchers.

Descent from ancient plough-using societies linked to higher male cancer risk

The ratio of male cancer risk to female risk is significantly higher in populations descended from societies that adopted the plough during the Neolithic period, according to intriguing University of Otago research.

Australia leads world in skin cancer incidence but lacks reporting

Research published this week in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology confirms that Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancers in the world but lacks in national reporting of the statistics.

Stigma of mental illness in India linked to poverty

The stigma surrounding people with severe mental illness in India leads to increased poverty among them, especially women, according to new research led by Jean-Francois Trani, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Students throw away less food with new healthier school lunches

After the U.S. Department of Agriculture's healthier school meal standards went into effect, students ate more fruit and threw away less of their entrees and vegetables than before the changes, according to a study published today in Childhood Obesity.

Study shows benefits of fluoride to children

A study showing that tooth decay in Logan-Beaudesert children has dropped 19 per cent since the introduction of fluoridation has been backed by the Australian Dental Association of Queensland (ADAQ).

Biomarker for fatty liver disease

40 percent of people in the EU suffer from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (fatty liver disease), a disease which is becoming increasingly more frequent as a result of diabetes and excess weight in an affluent society. Currently, it is not possible to forecast the further course of the disease – right up to cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. Furthermore, an increased risk of heart attack and kidney damage exists. In future, this should become possible using a Risk Score with different biomarkers.

Sun damage causes genetic changes that predispose children and adolescents to melanoma

The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital—Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project found that melanoma in some adolescent and adult patients involves many of the same genetic alterations and would likely respond to the same therapy. The research appears in the March issue of the Journal of Investigational Dermatology.

Family interventions reduce smoking rates in children and adolescents

A global review by Canada's University of Calgary and QUT into the effectiveness of family-based programs has found these programs can be highly effective in stopping children from taking up smoking.

Daylight saving time's 'spring forward' can cause problems, expert says

Daylight saving time begins at 2:00 a.m. Sunday—and while you'll only turn the clock ahead one hour, the disruption might be enough to throw you temporarily off kilter.

Largest genome-wide study reveals genes driving obesity

In obesity, some people store fat evenly throughout the body while others store fat around the abdomen. Storing fat around the abdomen places some obese individuals at an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Study shows longer-term cytomegalovirus treatment effective for symptomatic babies

Babies treated for symptomatic cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection for six months, instead of the standard six weeks, have better hearing and developmental outcomes, according to a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Smoking when pregnant increases cancer risk for daughters

A new study has found women who smoke when pregnant are putting their daughters at a greater risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer later in life.

New drug resistance mechanism has implications for breast, ovarian cancer treatment

Research to understand why hereditary cancers develop resistance to a powerful cancer drug has identified an important new pathway key to chemoresistance in BRCA2-mutant cancers. The research, published in the current issue of Genes & Development, is the work of Sharon Cantor, PhD, associate professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology, and colleagues. They used an innovative genome-wide RNA screen to determine why so many instances of ovarian cancers develop resistance to the cancer drug cisplatin.

Women unaware of specialist phone services in late pregnancy

Researchers in England have found women are accessing advice via out-of-hours services when they could be accessing maternity services directly. Also, the out of hours service receives many inquiries from women in the first trimester reflecting a lack of specific maternity services in early pregnancy .

Antibodies to brain proteins may trigger psychosis

Antibodies defend the body against bacterial, viral, and other invaders. But sometimes the body makes antibodies that attack healthy cells. In these cases, autoimmune disorders develop.

Relief for diabetics with painful condition

Walking barefoot on sand "felt like walking on glass" for Keith Wenckowski, who has lived with type-one diabetes for more than two decades.

Human brains age less than previously thought

Older brains may be more similar to younger brains than previously thought.

No link between psychedelics and mental health problems

The use of psychedelics, such as LSD and magic mushrooms, does not increase a person's risk of developing mental health problems, according to an analysis of information from more than 135,000 randomly chosen people, including 19,000 people who had used psychedelics. The results are published today in Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Effect of follow-up of MGUS on survival in patients with multiple myeloma

Patients with multiple myeloma (MM) appear to have better survival if they are found to have monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) first, the state that precedes MM and which is typically diagnosed as part of a medical workup for another reason, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Trends of 21-gene recurrence score assay use in older patients with breast cancer

A genetic test for patients with breast cancer that helps to predict the risk of developing metastatic disease and the expected benefits of chemotherapy has been adopted quickly into clinical practice in a study of older patients and it appears to be used consistently within guidelines and equitably across geographic and racial groups, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Botox to improve smiles in children with facial paralysis

Injecting botulinum toxin A (known commercially as Botox) appears to be a safe procedure to improve smiles by restoring lip symmetry in children with facial paralysis, a condition they can be born with or acquire because of trauma or tumor, according to a report published online by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Researchers examine effect of experimental Ebola vaccine after high-risk exposure

A physician who received an experimental Ebola vaccine after experiencing a needle stick while working in an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone did not develop Ebola virus infection, and there was strong Ebola-specific immune responses after the vaccination, although because of its limited use to date, the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine is not certain, according to a study appearing in JAMA.

Semi-veggie diet effectively lowers heart disease, stroke risk

A pro-vegetarian diet - one that has a higher proportion of plant-based foods compared to animal-based foods is linked to lower risks of dying from heart disease and stroke, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.

Phthalates potentially alter levels of a pregnancy hormone that influences sex development

Exposure to hormone-altering chemicals called phthalates - which are found in many plastics, foods and personal care products - early in pregnancy is associated with a disruption in an essential pregnancy hormone and adversely affects the masculinization of male genitals in the baby, according to research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Drug to control appetite could also fight anxiety

Did you know that our body produces its own marijuana-like compound to protect us against anxiety? A study led by Ottawa researchers, published today in Neuron, reveals a new biological pathway that regulates this system and suggests that a drug currently in clinical trials to treat obesity might also provide an attractive way to combat anxiety disorders.

If you come from a family with relatives who have lived long lives, you will too?

Recent research from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) confirms that severe mortality-associated diseases are less prevalent in the families of long-lived individuals than in the general population.

Abnormal brain rhythms tied to problems with thinking in schizophrenia

By studying specially bred mice with specific developmental and cognitive traits resembling those seen in schizophrenia, UC San Francisco researchers have provided new evidence that abnormal rhythmic activity in particular brain cells contributes to problems with learning, attention, and decision-making in individuals with that disorder.

Mutation in APC2 gene causes Sotos features

Sotos syndrome is a congenital syndrome that is characterized by varying degrees of mental retardation and a large head circumference etc. It is known that 90% of Sotos syndrome patients have mutations in the NSD1 gene. This time, an international research group has revealed that mutation in the APC2 gene causes symptoms of Sotos syndrome related to the nervous system, from analyses of the Apc2-knockout mouse. They also showed that the APC2 gene is a crucial downstream gene of the NSD1 gene.

Maker of device in 'superbug' outbreak lacked FDA clearance (Update)

The manufacturer of a medical instrument at the center of a recent "superbug" outbreak in Los Angeles did not receive federal clearance to sell an updated version the device, according to officials from the Food and Drug Administration.

Exposure to endocrine disruptors during pregnancy affects the brain two generations later

Prenatal exposure to low doses of the environmental contaminants polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, change the developing brain in an area involved in metabolism, and some effects are apparent even two generations later, a new study finds. Performed in rats, the research will be presented Friday at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego.

Autistic features linked to prenatal exposure to fire retardants, phthalates

Exposure during pregnancy to a combination of fire retardant chemicals and phthalate chemicals—both present in the average home—can contribute to autistic-like behaviors in the offspring, according to an animal study to be presented Thursday at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego.

Oxytocin nasal spray causes men to eat fewer calories

A synthetic nasal formulation of the hormone oxytocin reduced caloric intake in healthy men, particularly consumption of fatty foods, after a single treatment, a new study finds. The results, to be presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego, confirm those of animal studies showing oxytocin reduces food intake.

How healthy is genetically modified soybean oil?

Soybean oil accounts for more than 90 percent of all the seed oil production in the United States. Genetically modified (GM) soybean oil, made from seeds of GM soybean plants, was recently introduced into the food supply on the premise that it is healthier than conventional soybean oil.

Unregulated web marketing of genetic tests for personalized cancer care raises concerns

Websites that market personalized cancer care services often overemphasize their purported benefits and downplay their limitations, and many sites offer genetic tests whose value for guiding cancer treatment has not been shown to be clinically useful, according to a new study from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Irregular sleeping pattern may affect how teens eat

Day-to-day changes in how long your teen sleeps at night might be affecting how much they eat, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.

Products advertised on personalized cancer care websites: True or false claims?

Although there are only a few validated genetic tests specifying individual risks for certain cancers or which can help to select genomically targeted cancer therapies, the Internet is already a major source of marketing for both legitimate tests as well as those of dubious value, according to a study published March 5 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

New study links antidepressants with improved cardiovascular outcomes

A new study by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute has found that screening for and treating depression could help to reduce the risk of heart disease in patients with moderate to severe depression.

Improving your fitness could improve your spouse's fitness

Your exercise regimen isn't just good for you; it may also be good for your spouse.

Study bolsters link between heart disease, excessive sitting

Sitting for many hours per day is associated with increased coronary artery calcification, a marker of subclinical heart disease that can increase the risk of a heart attack, according to research scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States.

Hot flashes at younger age may signal greater cardiovascular risk

Women who experience hot flashes earlier in life appear to have poorer endothelial function—the earliest sign of cardiovascular disease—than women who have hot flashes later in life or not at all, according to two new studies scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Women don't get to hospital fast enough during heart attack

Women suffering a heart attack wait much longer than men to call emergency medical services and face significantly longer delays getting to a hospital equipped to care for them, putting women at greater risk for adverse outcomes, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Research highlights differences in how young men and women learn about sex and relationships

More young people than ever are getting most of their information about sexual matters from school, but the majority feel they are not getting all the information they need, and men in particular are missing out, according to new research published in BMJ Open.

FDA study finds little evidence of antibiotics in milk

In an encouraging development for consumers worried about antibiotics in their milk, a new Food and Drug Administration study showed little evidence of drug contamination after surveying almost 2,000 dairy farms.

Chain of kidney transplants begins at San Francisco hospital (Update)

Zully Broussard thought she was going to help one person by donating a kidney.

Freshwater algae can infect wounds, study shows

(HealthDay)—The cases of two men who got injured while enjoying the great outdoors in Missouri and Texas are giving insight into a freshwater algae that can infect wounds.

Many U.S. households include someone with failing memory

(HealthDay)—As many as one in eight U.S. households may have an adult with worsening memory loss or confusion, a new survey shows.

Teen suicides by hanging on the rise across U.S.

(HealthDay)—Doctors and parents should be aware of the increased use of hanging as a means of teen suicide and take preventive measures, U.S. health officials say.

Just a half hour of lost sleep linked weight gain

(HealthDay)—Think twice the next time you don't get as much sleep as you need: A new study suggests that missing just 30 minutes of shuteye during weeknights could boost your weight and disrupt your metabolism.

Exercise may boost size of some brain regions

(HealthDay)—Exercise may increase the size of brain regions that contribute to balance and coordination, preliminary research suggests.

Minorities more likely to gain weight in childhood, report shows

(HealthDay)—Minorities may be more prone than whites to gaining weight during childhood, which puts them at greater risk for becoming overweight or obese adults, new research says.

Gut germs may influence success of weight loss surgery

(HealthDay)—How many pounds someone loses after weight-loss surgery is linked to the types of germs they have in their gut, new research suggests.

Suicides by US girls and young women continue to climb

The suicide rate for girls and young women in the U.S. continues to rise, at a pace far faster than for young males, health officials said Thursday.

AbbVie to buy leukemia drugmaker Pharmacyclics for $21B

AbbVie will spend about $21 billion to buy fellow drugmaker Pharmacyclics and add another major revenue producer to a portfolio that already includes the world's top-selling drug.

Robots for stroke rehabilitation

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire and a team of European partners have developed a prototype of a robotic glove which stroke suffers can use in their own home to support rehabilitation and personal independence in receiving therapies.

Researcher examines impact of service dogs on returning vets

With scores of military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus researcher is examining the therapeutic impacts of service dogs on their mental and physical health.

Dental students warn about hidden sugar in energy drinks and snacks

A team of dental students from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have been working with sport students from the University of St Mark and St John, to raise awareness of the hidden dangers to teeth of sugary energy drinks and snacks.

Elevated childhood weight may increase susceptibility to eating disorders

What causes people to develop eating disorders?

US must respond to global health outbreaks, say bioethicists

Last summer, West Africa fell into the grip of a deadly outbreak of Ebola that has thus far taken the lives of more than 9,500 people. The fear swept up by the epidemic quickly jumped across the Atlantic and landed in the United States as people who had been in Africa traveled home.

Study to examine computer-based decision aids to help in lupus therapy

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are enrolling patients for a study designed to help minority women with lupus nephritis make informed decisions on their treatment. The study is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Community nurses urged to highlight dangers of female genital mutilation

In their trusted professional capacity, community nurses are well placed to develop effective collaboration with patients and families to tackle the harmful and illegal procedure of female genital mutilation, say academics.

GBP10 billion GP incentive scheme has no impact on premature deaths

A study conducted at The University of Manchester's Health eResearch Centre found that there was no link between a £10 billion pay-for-performance incentive scheme aimed at GP's and a reduction in premature deaths.

Understanding how the stomach responds to injury could help target therapy against gastric damage

A better understanding of the stomach's immune response to Helicobater pylori (H. pylori) infection could lead to new therapies targeting damage in the stomach, report researchers in the March issue of Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the basic science journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

AbbVie shares sink after $21 bn deal for Pharmacyclics

AbbVie shares sank Thursday after the US pharmaceutical firm announced it will buy leukemia drug maker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal.

Estimated costs of endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure exceed $209 billion annually

A new economic analysis found exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion) a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential, according to a new series of studies published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Male partner's healthier lifestyle may help infertile obese female conceive

Male partners of infertile obese females may increase the odds of conceiving a child by improving their own weight and dietary habits, preliminary results from a pilot study from Canada suggest. The results will be presented Thursday, March 5, at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego.

Study reveals how dietary phosphate can increase heart disease risk

A new study has found that high phosphate levels can cause a stress signal inside the cells that line blood vessels, leading to the release of microparticles that promote the formation of blood clots. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), provide new insights into how phosphate in the diet can impact heart health.

Dialysis patients may have faulty 'good' cholesterol

Kidney disease patients on dialysis often have impaired high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings may lead to advances to help protect kidney disease patients' heart health.

Study examines palliative care in cardiac intensive care units

(HealthDay)—Increased palliative care education and training among clinicians who are involved in cardiac critical care could benefit care, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Serious strain of bird flu found in Minnesota turkey flock

Federal officials say a serious strain of bird flu has been found in a Minnesota commercial turkey flock.

States on edge about the future of health insurance markets

Mixed signals from the Supreme Court have states on edge about the future of health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans. And a summer decision from the justices leaves little time for backup planning.

Biology news

Protecting crops from radiation-contaminated soil

Almost four years after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, farmland remains contaminated with higher-than-natural levels of radiocesium in some regions of Japan, with cesium-134 and cesium-137 being the most troublesome because of the slow rate at which they decay. In a study published in Scientific Reports, a group at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan led by Ryoung Shin has identified a chemical compound that prevents plants from taking up cesium, thus protecting them—and us—from its harmful effects.

Researchers put mouse gene in cattle to make them less susceptible to TB

( —A team of researchers working at Northwest A&F University in China has found that introducing a particular mouse gene into cattle can give them better protection against tuberculosis. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how they moved the gene and then their tests to see how well the cattle with the new gene were able to ward off a TB infection.

Twin copies of gene pair up in embryonic stem cells at critical moment in differentiation

Imagine a pair of twins that everyone believed to be estranged, who turn out to be closer than anyone knew. A genetic version of this heartwarming tale might be taking place in our cells. We and other mammals have two copies of each gene, one from each parent. Each copy, or "allele," was thought to remain physically apart from the other in the cell nucleus, but a new study finds that alleles can and do pair up in mammalian cells.

Baby mantises harness mid-air 'spin' during jumps for precision landings

The smaller you are, the harder it is not to spin out of control when you jump. Miniscule errors in propulsive force relative to the centre of mass results in most jumping insects - such as fleas, leafhoppers and grasshoppers - spinning uncontrollably when they jump.

Transport molecule forms a protective structure to guide proteins to cell membrane

The molecular complex that guides an important class of proteins to correct locations in cell membranes does so by forming a dimeric structure with a protective pocket, report scientists from the University of Chicago in Science on Mar. 5. This structure shields tail-anchored membrane proteins - which have roles in a wide variety of cellular functions from neurotransmitter release to insulin production - from harmful aggregation or misfolding as they move through the inner environment of a cell. The findings clarify the mechanism behind a fundamental biological process.

Scientists discover new roles for viral genes in the human genome

Research on the expression of viral DNA within the human genome furthers our understanding of human evolution and embryonic development

Lichen to thrill as rare Golden-eye is discovered in South Wales

A rare, bright yellow lichen, which until recently was believed to be extinct in the UK, has been found by University of Bristol postgraduate students during a recent field trip to South Wales.

New flavors for lager beer—successful generation of hybrid yeasts

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd has been the first to publish a scientific study on the successful generation of hybrid lager yeasts. For centuries the same few yeast strains have been used in the production of lager beer, in contrast to ale, whisky, wine and cider, for which there is a wide range of yeast strains available to produce different nuances of flavour. VTT has been developing hybrid lager yeasts so as to impart new flavour to the beer and accelerate the production process.

Menopausal whales are influential and informative leaders

Menopause is a downright bizarre trait among animals. It's also rare. Outside of the human species, only the female members of two whale species outlive their reproductive lives in such a major way. Female killer whales typically become mothers between the ages of 12 and 40, but they can live for more than 90 years. By comparison, males of the species rarely make it past 50. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on March 5 have new evidence to explain why, evolutionarily speaking, these select female whales live so remarkably long.

Biomolecular force generation based on the principle of a gas spring

Scientists at Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden have now been able to add another piece to the puzzle of cell biological mechanisms, as they report in the latest issue of the renowned scientific journal Cell on March 5, 2015.

New baby orca, other discoveries made by tracking team

A new baby orca wasn't the only interesting discovery researchers made while tracking endangered killer whales.

Five business models for urban farming

There is good money to be made in urban farming. Wageningen UR research into business models found five different options and showed how smart urban farmers can best choose for a combination.

Tulips free of stem nematodes thanks to hot water treatment

Tulip bulbs are susceptible to stem nematodes. Growers live in fear of the small pathogens as just one affected bulb can be disastrous for an entire batch. Moreover, until, very recently the standard hot water treatment remedy for daffodils, crocuses and other bulb plants did not work for tulip bulbs. Wageningen UR scientist Martin van Dam discovered that an improved process using hot water can ultimately have the desired effect.

Turning a vole into a mighty rodent

Take a wild, common forest-dwelling mouse-like rodent, known as a vole, and subject it to 13 rounds of selection for increased aerobic exercise metabolism, and what do you get? A mighty "mouse" with a 48 percent higher peak rate of oxygen consumption and an increased basal metabolic rate, compared to unselected controls.

Synbreed project bridges the gap between animal and plant breeding

From healthier cattle to corn that is better adapted to climate change, the Synbreed project has made major breakthroughs in animal and plant breeding. The methods used are based on DNA analysis, which allows scientists to identify characteristics in animals and plants that are particularly advantageous for breeding. In contrast to other common processes, genome-based breeding is a much faster - and predictable - route to success.

Ringling elephants say goodbye to the circus

Across America through the decades, children of all ages delighted in the arrival of the circus, with its retinue of clowns, acrobats and, most especially, elephants.

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