Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jun 30

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Phys.org Newsletter for June 30, 2015:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Most internet anonymity software leaks users' details
- Substrates change nanoparticle reactivity
- Study shows Lake Mega-Chad dried up far more quickly than thought
- Researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes
- New model of cosmic stickiness favors 'Big Rip' demise of universe
- New method of quantum entanglement vastly increases how much information can be carried in a photon
- Chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels
- Walking in nature found to reduce rumination
- Research redefines the properties of faults when rock melts
- Researchers develop new biodegradable silicon transistor based on a material derived from wood
- Study of storage material magnesium hydride may give boost to hydrogen cars
- Using muons from cosmic rays to find fraying infrastructure
- How small genetic change in Yersinia pestis changed human history
- Repeated courses of antibiotics may profoundly alter children's development
- NASA missions monitor a waking black hole

Astronomy & Space news

Early Titan was a cold, hostile place for life

Titan is a mysterious orange-socked moon of Saturn that is exciting to astrobiologists because it has some of the same kinds of chemicals that were precursors to life on Earth. It also has a hydrological cycle that allows liquid to move between the ground and atmosphere, providing a cycle that could support life.

Galaxy survey to probe why the universe is accelerating

We know that our universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, but what causes this growth remains a mystery. The most likely explanation is that a strange force dubbed "dark energy" is driving it. Now a new astronomical instrument, called the Physics of the Accelerating Universe Camera (PAUCam), will look for answers by mapping the universe in an innovative way.

Targeted LEDs could provide efficient lighting for plants grown in space

A Purdue University study shows that targeting plants with red and blue LEDs provides energy-efficient lighting in contained environments, a finding that could advance the development of crop-growth modules for space exploration.

NASA missions monitor a waking black hole

NASA's Swift satellite detected a rising tide of high-energy X-rays from the constellation Cygnus on June 15, just before 2:32 p.m. EDT. About 10 minutes later, the Japanese experiment on the International Space Station called the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) also picked up the flare.

Now comes the SpaceX rocket whodunit: A complex mystery

A rocket's dead, blown to bits in public view. Now it's time for "Rocket Science CSI."

Russian cosmonaut sets record for most time in space

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who is the current commander of the International Space Station, has set a new record for most time spent in space, with a total of 803 days, Russian space agency said Tuesday.

Image: Spirals in Saturn's D Ring

Although the D ring of Saturn is so thin that it's barely noticeable compared to the rest of the ring system, it still displays structures seen in other Saturnian rings. Here the spiral structures in the D ring are on display.

What is the habitable zone?

The weather in your hometown is downright uninhabitable. There's scorching heatwaves, annual tyhpoonic deluges, and snow deep enough to bury a corn silo.

Telescopes focus on target of ESA's asteroid mission

Telescopes around the globe recently homed in on one point in the sky, observing the paired Didymos asteroids – the target for ESA's proposed Asteroid Impact Mission.

Don't blink or you might miss the leap second on Tuesday

Tuesday lasts a little bit longer—by a second.

High resolution far-infrared all-sky image data release

A research group led by a University of Tokyo researcher, using the AKARI satellite's Far-Infrared All-Sky data, have created all-sky image maps and released the full database to researchers around the world via the Internet.

Technology news

Most internet anonymity software leaks users' details

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are legal and increasingly popular for individuals wanting to circumvent censorship, avoid mass surveillance or access geographically limited services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Used by around 20 per cent of European internet users they encrypt users' internet communications, making it more difficult for people to monitor their activities.

Images in the air: Researchers turn to femtosecond lasers

Say the word "display" and one easily anticipates an image on a screen or on a table surface or within a next-gen box enclosure. Last year, Aerial Burton went another route reminding everyone that something else is possible. The group demonstrated an aerial 3D display that projects text and images into mid-air.

Solar Impulse reaches quarter way point in Japan-US flight

A solar-powered aircraft on a round-the-world flight was high above the Pacific Ocean Tuesday, over a quarter of the way to Hawaii after leaving Japan, the mission website showed.

EU roaming charges to be abolished in 2017 (Update)

The European Union said Tuesday it had struck a deal to abolish mobile phone roaming charges in 2017, ending fees loathed by millions of holidaymakers and business travellers across Europe.

Toshiba's 'scorpion' robot will look into Fukushima reactor

A new robot that raises its tail like a scorpion is scheduled to look at melted nuclear fuel inside one of the three wrecked Fukushima reactors in Japan.

Appeals court affirms e-book ruling against Apple

A US appeals court on Tuesday upheld a 2013 ruling that Apple led an illegal conspiracy to fix prices of e-books in violation of anti-trust laws.

Hexagonal battery from LG Chem boosts smartwatch wear

LG Chem has battery news for the smartwatch, in the form of a hexagon-shaped battery boosting storage capacity by 25 per cent.

Microsoft sheds some of its ad business, mapping service

Microsoft is handing off some its digital advertising business to AOL and selling its street-image mapping operation to Uber, as the giant software company tries to focus on activities more relevant to its core business.

How emerging technologies can monitor environment, prevent disasters

Their goal was to show how emerging technologies can help Canada's lakes, rivers and freshwater sources – starting with the Ottawa River.

Researcher develops artificial-intelligence tools for environmental research

In pre-computer times, engineers, environmental planners and scientists alike relied heavily on detailed topographic maps to do everything from plan projects to survey areas at risk of flooding or landslides.

Algorithm accounts for uncertainty to enable more accurate modeling

A notable error source in modeling physical systems is parametric uncertainty, where the values of model parameters that characterize the system are not known exactly due to limited data or incomplete knowledge. In this situation, a data assimilation algorithm can improve modeling accuracy by quantifying and reducing such uncertainty. However, these algorithms often require a large number of repetitive model evaluations that incur significant computational resource costs. In response to this issue, PNNL's Dr. Weixuan Li and Professor Guang Lin from Purdue University have proposed an adaptive importance sampling algorithm that alleviates the burden caused by computationally demanding models. In three test cases, they demonstrated that the algorithm can effectively capture the complex posterior parametric uncertainties for the specific problems being examined while also enhancing computational efficiency.

Collaboratively exploring virtual worlds

Today's students are accustomed to highly stimulating and interactive content, whether in the form of video games or mobile apps. As a result, they respond to a higher level of interactivity and engagement with educational content as well.

New study models path for achieving state's renewable energy targets

The Hawai'i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at UH Mānoa, in partnership with GE Energy Consulting, has completed an analysis identifying various scenarios that would allow the islands of O'ahu and Maui to surpass Hawai'i's 2020 renewable energy targets while lowering electricity costs.

Smart phones spot tired drivers

An electronic accelerometer of the kind found in most smart phones that let the device determine its orientation and respond to movement, could also be used to save lives on our roads, according to research to be published in the International Journal of Vehicle Safety.

New approach to online compatibility

Many of the online social networks match users with each other based on common keywords and assumed shared interests based on their activity. A new approach that could help users find new friends and contacts with a greater likelihood of their becoming positive connections is reported this month in the International Journal of Social Network Mining.

New capability takes sensor fabrication to a new level

Operators must continually monitor conditions in power plants to assure they are operating safely and efficiently. Researchers on the Sensors and Controls Team at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory can now fabricate prototype optical sensors that demonstrate superior properties in comparison to traditional sensors using a new laser-heated pedestal growth (LHPG) system. According to NETL researcher Michael Buric, "The new sensors have broader functional temperature ranges, increased durability, and reduced cost. Sensors produced using LHPG will be capable of operating in the high temperature and harsh environments associated with advanced power systems."

Dubai plans to build 3-D printed office building

Fast-growing Dubai, where something new is always being added to the skyline, may have found a way to make construction move even faster.

Apple Music goes live as tech giant bids on streaming

Apple's new streaming service went live Tuesday with a flashy radio station and artist exclusives as the company that had dominated digital music through iTunes looks to the future.

Canada spy agency website hacked

Hackers shut down the Canadian intelligence agency's website Tuesday, officials said.

Investors bet on e-sports wagering startup Unikrn

Start-up Unikrn on Tuesday announced a fresh round of funding that valued the e-sports wagering company at $40 million.

Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks in Israeli spy expo

Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks and mini-drones were among the gadgets on display Tuesday at an exhibition of Israeli surveillance technology, offering a rare peek into the secretive world of Israeli espionage.

Union sues feds over hack, says agency had ample warning

The largest federal employee union filed a class action lawsuit Monday against the federal personnel office, its leaders and one of its contractors, arguing that negligence contributed to what government officials are calling one of the most damaging cyberthefts in U.S. history.

Solar heating combined with a ground heat pump is a cost-efficient, ecological solution

The energy-efficiency and cost-efficiency of buildings and areas can be improved by combining different heating methods locally. The DESY project, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, used ecological hybrid solutions to enhance the efficiency of heat and electricity production in buildings. Cost-efficient energy investments entail heating and heat recovery. A hybrid solution combining a ground heat pump with solar heating turned out to be the most efficient solution with the lowest life-cycle costs.

Using video games to model real life outbreaks

Those of you who know me know that I'm a video game nerd. And comic book nerd. And just nerdy nerd in general. So when I read an article that used World of Warcraft to model disease outbreaks, I jumped on it.

VMWare, Carahsoft pay $75.5M to settle overcharging claims

VMware Inc. and Carahsoft Technology Corporation have agreed to pay $75.5 million to settle claims they overcharged the government.

Medicine & Health news

Study reveals bone-building protein's impact on bone stem cells

A new study by UCLA researchers shows that administering the protein NELL-1 intravenously stimulates significant bone formation through the regenerative ability of stem cells.

Failure of cells' 'garbage disposal' system may contribute to Alzheimer's

Lysosomes, the "garbage disposal" systems of cells, are found in great abundance near the amyloid plaques in the brain that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have long assumed that their presence was helpful—that they were degrading the toxic proteins that trigger amyloid plaque formation.

Walking in nature found to reduce rumination

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at Stanford University has found that people walking in a "natural" environment tend to engage in less rumination. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes an experiment they conducted to measure one type of self-destructive behavior, and what they learned from it.

Repeated courses of antibiotics may profoundly alter children's development

A new animal study by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers adds to growing evidence that multiple courses of commonly used antibiotics may have a significant impact on children's development.

A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

Mice that have a genetic version of mitochondrial disease can easily be mistaken for much older animals by the time they are nine months old: they have thinning grey hair, osteoporosis, poor hearing, infertility, heart problems and have lost weight. Despite having this disease at birth, these mice have a "secret weapon" in their youth that staves off signs of aging for a time.

Longer acquaintance levels the romantic playing field

Partners who become romantically involved soon after meeting tend to be more similar in physical attractiveness than partners who get together after knowing each other for a while, according to new findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

What effect does marijuana really have on weight gain?

While cannabis alters the functions of neurobiological circuits controlling appetite, its effect on weight gain is complex since several factors appear to be involved, says Didier Jutras-Aswad, University of Montreal professor and researcher at the CHUM Research Centre.

Third day with no new MERS cases in S. Korea

South Korea said Tuesday it had gone three days without any new cases of the deadly MERS virus, in a welcome boost to efforts to tackle the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia.

Can orange juice, grapefruit raise your melanoma risk?

(HealthDay)—People who enjoy a glass of orange juice or some fresh grapefruit in the morning may face a slightly increased risk of melanoma—the least common but most deadly form of skin cancer.

Low-calorie diet may improve heart rate variability in diabetes

(HealthDay)—A low-calorie diet may improve heart rate variability (HRV) in obese patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online June 12 in Diabetes Care.

CDC examines prevalence of undiagnosed HIV

(HealthDay)—Many people have undiagnosed HIV, with the prevalence varying by geographic area, according to a report published in the June 26 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Reduction of preventable risk factors could reduce cardiovascular-related deaths

Researchers from Emory's Rollins School of Public Health have determined that despite decades of progress in reducing cardiovascular deaths, preventable risk factors continue to account for half of heart disease deaths.

Study focuses on heart health of AJC Peachtree Road Race runners

Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine are teaming up with the Atlanta Track Club to study the effects of exercise on the heart.

Why does the teen brain value reward over risk?

Why does the promise of a reward—basically any kind of fun—cause teens to hurl caution into the wind?

Age with optimism and live longer

It pays to look on the bright side as you get old: Flinders University psychologist Professor Mary Luszcz says that optimism – expressed as confidence about living for another decade – is proving to be a good indicator for longevity.

Mechanism of T cell self / non-self "education"

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have demonstrated that a protease only found in the thymus produces special peptides that promote positive selection of T cells that can detect non-self antigens, a process that allows immature T cells to develop to maturity. This finding may further contribute to the development of therapies for infectious diseases, cancers and immune diseases.

Pupillary reflex enhanced by light inside blind spot

University of Tokyo researchers have found that the light reflex of the pupil is modulated by light stimulation inside the blind spot in normal human observers, even though that light is not perceived.

New Zealand children still suffer rickets from lack of Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency continues to cause rickets in young New Zealanders, new University of Otago research has found. The researchers say that their finding suggests that at-risk mothers and children should be better targeted for Vitamin D supplementation.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives for adolescents advocated

Senior lecturers in bioethics, and obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Otago have called for a free, universal LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive) programme to be made available to teens before they become sexually active.

Study to identify what helps rural mothers manage mental health difficulties

A Monash University study is looking for participants to find out what factors contribute to helping rural women with children manage mental health difficulties and get better.

Sensing danger signals in the kidney may help acute kidney disease

Latest research from the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health provides novel insights into how the body's danger signals work to protect against inflammation, potentially paving the way to improved outcomes for people with acute kidney injury.

Men and women could use different cells to process pain

We have known for some time that there are sex differences when it comes to experiencing pain, with women showing a higher sensitivity to painful events compared to men. While we don't really understand why this is, it seems likely that both biological and psycho-social factors are involved. However, a new study published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that there may be a sex difference in the immune cells involved in the processing of pain signals. The results show that it is time to stop ignoring sex differences in research.

Small RNAs found to play important roles in memory formation

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found that a type of genetic material called "microRNA" plays surprisingly different roles in the formation of memory in animal models. In some cases, these RNAs increase memory, while others decrease it.

Majority of men who use violence toward partners struggle with serious mental health issues

The majority of men who use violence towards their partner struggle with serious mental health issues. We need to look at more than just the power relations between the sexes in order to understand and prevent domestic violence, says researcher.

Molecular switch for a healthy metabolism discovered

The protein complex mTORC1 is a central regulator of cell metabolism. In the active state, it stimulates anabolic processes and increases the production and storage of proteins and lipids. Researchers from the German Leibniz Institute for Age Research in Jena and the Dutch Ageing Institute ERIBA in Groningen discovered how mTORC1 regulates metabolism: It controls the expression of a specific variant of the transcriptional regulator C/EBPβ. Elimination of this variant in mice results in a healthy metabolism, leanness and improved insulin sensitivity. The study may provide a basis for novel strategies for the treatment of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type II diabetes.

Reassurance can be as important as waiting times for ambulance patients

Ambulance services should be assessed on how reassured patients and their families feel during an emergency as well as on response times, researchers have found.

Patient access to cardiovascular devices delayed by bureaucracy

Patients are experiencing significant delays in access to approved cardiovascular devices due to bureaucratic inefficiencies, reveals a Devices White Paper from the Cardiovascular Round Table (CRT) published today in European Heart Journal.

Particulate matter from modern gasoline engines damages our lungs

Particulate matter from gasoline engines is harmful to our airways, regardless of whether the engines are a bit older or comply with recent EU standards. Fine dust particles allow pathogens to enter the lungs easier. Researchers at the University of Bern and the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have shown this conducting a realistic laboratory experiment.

Why are some children more giving than others?

Parents and educators are acutely aware that children can be both excessively self-oriented and overwhelmingly generous. For every preschooler refusing to share his toy truck, there's an 8-year-old who insists on giving all of his allowance money to the homeless. Kids can also enjoy their altruism. One study found that even two-year-olds were happier giving something away than receiving a gift.

New genetic form of obesity and diabetes discovered

Scientists have discovered a new inherited form of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.

Efficacy of topical benzoyl peroxide on the reduction of propionibacterium acnes during shoulder surgery

A new paper to be published in The Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery evaluates the effect that topical benzoyl peroxide (BPO), with chlorhexidine skin preparation, has on the presence of Propionibacterium acnes cultured at the time of shoulder surgery. The authors hypothesized that adding topical BPO, the active ingredient in Clearasil, to the pre-operative skin preparation would reduce the number of positive P. acnes cultures identified during surgery.

Researchers discover the cause of coeliac disease

Professor Ludvig M. Sollid and his colleagues at the University of Oslo have found the cause of coeliac disease. To do so required really going into depth, right down to molecular level. 

Research reveals new insights into a key antibiotic target in the fight against TB

Scientists at the University of Sussex have unraveled a key process in the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB), potentially paving the way for new antibiotics to fight the disease. 

How old you feel matters (and it changes day to day)

New research finds that how old you feel changes on a daily basis – and that has very real ramifications for your well-being.

Minor heart feature may mean trouble at high altitude

A common heart feature long thought to have negligible effects on human health and performance may be problematic at high altitude, according to University of Oregon researchers.

Colon cancer: Taking a step back to move forward

Recent Weizmann Institute studies are revealing a complex picture of cancer progression in which certain genes that drive tumor growth in the earlier stages get suppressed in later stages - taking a step back to move forward. Current research in the lab of Prof. Avri Ben-Ze'ev of the Molecular Cell Biology Department suggests that the tumor cells at the invasive front of later-stage human colorectal cancer may take an even bigger step back: Some of their gene expression patterns are shared with those of healthy intestinal stem cells.

Virus-carrying mosquitoes are more widespread than ever, and spreading

Scientists behind the first global distribution maps of two species of dengue and chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes warn they are spreading to new areas where they could cause disease.

Seniors surf online for sex information

Older adults are using online communities to dish about the joys of sex and swap advice about keeping their mojos working, a new study by a Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researcher (BGU) has found.

Hantaviruses are highly dependent on cell membrane cholesterol to infect humans

Hantaviruses use cholesterol in cell walls to gain access into cells and infect humans, according to laboratory research published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Human urine helps prevent bacteria from sticking to bladder cells

Human urine contains factors that prevent a common culprit in urinary tract infections (UTIs), uropathogenic Escherichia coli bacteria, from properly attaching to bladder cells, a necessary step for infection. The research, published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, reveals a weakness that could be exploited to develop more effective, non-antibiotic treatments for UTIs.

Epidemic of obesity and overweight linked to increased food energy supply

Obesity - a global health problem - is increasing in many countries in step with increases in the food energy supply, according to a study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization today.

A healthy body often equals a healthy brain

(HealthDay)—People who want to stay sharp as they age often turn to brain teasers, puzzles and games, figuring correctly that they'll lose it if they don't use it.

Lack of research funding could leave health care training 'to chance,' says BMJ editorial

Health care education researchers, led by Dr. Julian Archer from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, have penned a heartfelt editorial in The BMJ calling for more research funding to support the evidence base for medical training.

Hello, gorgeous! 'Pulse' technology may replenish skin's collagen

Americans spend over $10 billion a year on products and surgery in their quest to find a "fountain of youth," with little permanent success. Botulinum toxin—notably Botox—which smoothes lines and wrinkles to rejuvenate the aging face has been the number one nonsurgical procedure in the U.S. since 2000. But injections of this toxic bacterium are only a temporary solution and carry many risks, some neurological.

Similarities between embryos and breast tumors identified

It may seem incredulous, but breast tumors may have something in common with embryos ... at least in mice, say researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Offering healthier options at carryout stores improves bottom line

A pilot program designed to encourage mom and pop carryout shops in Baltimore to promote and sell healthier menu items not only improved eating habits, but also increased the stores' gross revenue by an average 25 percent, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research found.

Report urges major steps to help victims of cardiac arrest

Would you know what to do if you see someone collapse, not breathing—a loved one at home, a co-worker at the office, a stranger on the street? Far too many Americans die of cardiac arrest, and now a major new report urges a national campaign to improve survival in part by making sure more bystanders know how to help.

Cardiac survival rates around six percent for those occurring outside of a hospital

Cardiac arrest strikes almost 600,000 people each year, killing the vast majority of those individuals, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Every year in the U.S., approximately 395,000 cases of cardiac arrest occur outside of a hospital setting, in which less than 6 percent survive. Approximately 200,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in hospitals, and 24 percent of those patients survive. Estimates suggest that cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind cancer and heart disease.

Sialic acid: A key to unlocking brain disorders

A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that a common molecule found in higher animals, including humans, affects brain structure. This molecule may play a significant role in how brain cells communicate, possibly shedding light on the underlying causes of certain brain disorders. The study, involving mice, shows that small changes in how sialic acid attaches to cell surfaces result in damaging effects on brain structure, poor motor skills, hyperactivity, and difficulty in learning.

Vitamin A supplementation may cause the immune system to 'forget' past infections

Although vitamin A supplementation can have profound health benefits when someone is deficient, new evidence is emerging to show that vitamin A supplementation above and beyond normal levels may have negative health consequences. A new research report published in the July 2015 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology may help to explain why too much vitamin A can be harmful. Too much vitamin A shuts down the body's trained immunity, opening the door to infections to which we would otherwise be immune. This study adds to the arguments that vitamin A supplementation should only be done with clear biological and clinical arguments. Furthermore, it also suggests that low vitamin A concentrations in certain situations may even be "normal."

Omega-3 supplements and antioxidants may help with preclinical Alzheimer's disease

Here's more evidence that fish oil supplementation and antioxidants might be beneficial for at least some people facing Alzheimer's disease: A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal describes the findings of a very small study in which people with mild clinical impairment, such as those in the very early stages of the disease, saw clearance of the hallmark amyloid-beta protein and reduced inflammation in neurological tissues. Although the findings involved just 12 patients over the course of 4 to 17 months, the findings suggest further clinical study of this relatively inexpensive and plentiful supplement should be conducted.

Osteopathic manipulative therapy significantly improves low back pain in postpartum women

German researchers found osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMTh) decreased postpartum low back pain by over 70 percent in women who had given birth at least three months before beginning treatment, according to a new study published in July issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Review of vegetarian diet studies highlights benefit of vegan-eating plans

People on a vegetarian diet, and especially those following a vegan one that includes no animal products, see better results than dieters on other weight-reducing plans. In fact, they can lose around two kilograms more on the short term, says Ru-Yi Huang of E-Da Hospital in Taiwan after reviewing the results of twelve diet trials. The findings appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Bisexual men and women report poorer health than gays, lesbians and heterosexuals

Bisexual males and females report poorer health than gays, lesbians and heterosexuals, according to a new study from sociologists at Rice University.

Cheek muscles hold up better than leg muscles in space

It is well known that muscles need resistance (gravity) to maintain optimal health, and when they do not have this resistance, they deteriorate. A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, however, suggests that this might not be true for all muscles, offering hope that there may be ways to preserve muscle mass and strength for individuals in low-resistance environments, whether it be the microgravity of space, extended periods in a hospital bed, or a 9-5 job behind a desk.

For women with bipolar disorder, sleep quality affects mood

Poor sleep is associated with negative mood in women with bipolar disorder, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and University of Michigan Medical School.

Women's faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can't pick up on it

Previous studies have shown that men find female faces more attractive when the women are ovulating, but the visual clues that allow this are unclear. Now, new research investigating whether it might be to do with subtle changes in skin colour has shown that women's faces do increase in redness during ovulation, but the levels of change are just under the detectable range of the human eye.

Innovative imaging study shows that the spinal cord learns on its own

The spinal cord engages in its own learning of motor tasks independent of the brain, according to an innovative imaging study publishing on June 30th in Open Access journal PLOS Biology. The results of the study, conducted by Shahabeddin Vahdat, Ovidui Lungu, and principal investigator Julien Doyon, of the University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, may offer new opportunities for rehabilitation after spinal cord injury.

UGA researcher leads comprehensive international study on folate

A University of Georgia researcher is lead author on an international paper on folate biomarkers as part of an initiative to provide evidence-based guidance for the global nutrition and public health community.

Liberian official says corpse tests positive for Ebola

The corpse of a 17-year-old man has tested positive for Ebola in Liberia, but no other cases have been reported, the country's deputy health minister said late Monday.

Liberia announces return of Ebola (Update)

Liberia announced the return of Ebola on Tuesday following the death of a 17-year-old boy, dealing a worrying blow to the country's recovery three months after its last known case.

Experts: California vaccine bill would prevent new outbreaks

If California's strict school vaccine bill becomes law, experts believe it could help prevent another outbreak like the one that occurred at Disneyland.

Closing the Australian eye health gap may be in sight

Three years after the launch of the roadmap to close the gap for vision, progress has been made but "much remains to be done", according to the authors of a Perspective published online today by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Targeting Pacific Islander women for type 2 diabetes management study

Pacific Islanders in Australia are paying a heavy price for swapping their traditional diet for highly processed foods, with increasing obesity levels leading to skyrocketing rates of Type 2 diabetes among the local population.

Photodynamic therapy for persistent/recurrent esophageal cancer using Laserphyrin and semiconductor laser

An investigator-initiated clinical trial led by Professor Manabu Muto of the Graduate School of Medicine (involving the seven institutions listed below) has demonstrated that photodynamic therapy (PDT) using Laserphyrin (talaporfin sodium) and semiconductor laser can be effective as a salvage treatment for esophageal cancer patients with local failure after chemoradiotherapy (CRT) or radiotherapy (RT); the procedure achieved a high complete response rate without serious side effects.

Sleep apnea therapy treats patients through upper airway stimulation

A state-of-the-art implant designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is now being offered at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The device is the first of its kind approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the current standard of care for OSA.

The implications of medical tourism for patients and health systems

Patients who travel abroad for medical treatment risk returning with complications or infections that require costly treatment on the NHS and is one of the issues highlighted in a new handbook exploring medical tourism.

Vision screening in preschool-aged children: Benefit and harm still unclear

It remains unclear whether a special ophthalmological examination of all children younger than 6 years (and potential follow-up treatments) would reduce the frequency and severity of visual impairment (amblyopia) in the population. An update search conducted for a benefit assessment of the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) from 2008 identified no new screening study. No benefit of vision screening in preschool-aged children could be derived from the only new treatment study. This is the finding of a rapid report prepared by IQWiG on behalf of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) and published on 17 June 2015.

Spouses and relatives of celiac disease patients at risk for autoimmune diseases

Both spouses and first-degree relatives of patients with celiac disease are at increased risk of nonceliac autoimmune disease, according to a study in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. This risk represents a mixture of genetic, environmental and ascertainment bias mechanisms.

Pinaverium shows promising results for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

Pinaverium offers quick and effective relief of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, according to clinical trial results published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Targeting mistreatment of women during childbirth

In a new systematic review appearing this week in PLOS Medicine, Meghan Bohren and colleagues of the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research, including HRP, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health synthesize qualitative and quantitative evidence to form a clearer picture of the extent and types of mistreatment that occurs during childbirth in health facilities. Such initiatives are key to developing policies to reduce and ultimately eliminate this inhumane and degrading phenomenon.

California governor signs strict school vaccine legislation

Gov. Jerry Brown wasted no time Tuesday in signing a contentious California bill to impose one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the country following an outbreak of measles at Disneyland late last year.

OxyContin maker bows out of meeting on harder-to-abuse drug

The makers of the potent painkiller OxyContin have pulled out of a federal meeting to review the company's harder-to-abuse version of the much-debated drug.

Two techniques of temporal migraine surgery are 'equally effective'

Two migraine surgery techniques targeting a specific "trigger site" are both highly effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, according to a randomized trial in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Biology news

Stanford team develops technique to magnetically levitate single cells

Remember the levitating frog? That feat—the levitation of a live frog using a powerful magnet—was awarded the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize. Fascinating to watch, the demonstration also cemented a longstanding belief that levitating anything smaller than 20 microns was flat-out impossible. Much less something alive.

End of the dinosaurs gave rise to the modern 'Age of Fishes,' researchers find

A pair of paleobiologists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego have determined that the world's most numerous and diverse vertebrates – ray-finned fishes – began their ecological dominance of the oceans 66 million years ago, aided by the mass extinction event that killed off dinosaurs.

Scientists name the deepest cave-dwelling centipede after Hades—the Greek god of the underworld

An international team of scientists has discovered the deepest underground dwelling centipede. The animal was found by members of the Croatian Biospeleological Society in three caves in Velebit Mts, Croatia. Recorded as deep as -1100 m the new species was named Geophilus hadesi, after Hades, the God of the Underworld in the Greek Mythology. The research was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

How small genetic change in Yersinia pestis changed human history

While studying Yersinia pestis, the bacteria responsible for epidemics of plague such as the Black Death, Wyndham Lathem, Ph.D., assistant professor in microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, found a single small genetic change that fundamentally influenced the evolution of the deadly pathogen, and thus the course of human history.

Where the wild things aren't: Cats avoid places coyotes roam

Domestic cats might be determined hunters, but they stick mostly to residential areas instead of venturing into parks and protected areas where coyotes roam. That's the key finding from a North Carolina State University analysis of more than 2,100 sites - the first large-scale study of free-ranging cats in the U.S. published in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Team programs solitary yeast cells to say 'hello' to one another

For centuries, humans have been playing with yeast. But these simple fungal cells usually do their jobs—making bread rise or converting sugar into alcohol—without having to communicate or work together.

Improving rice flour to aid food poverty

A new, high-quality rice flour could help towards aiding global food poverty. "This rice flour serves not only as an alternative to wheat flour for those with wheat intolerance, but could also help to overcome the global food problem in the future", says Dr Yayoi Onda at Yamagata University, Japan, one of the researchers behind this work.

The inside story: MRI imaging shows how plants can inspire new engineering materials

3-D imaging of plant branching structures is allowing researchers to see how exactly their internal tissues respond under stress, giving new insights into the design of potential new engineering materials, such as those used in aircraft and sports equipment.

Can pollution help trees fight infection?

Trees that can tolerate soil pollution are also better at defending themselves against pests and pathogens. "It looks like the very act of tolerating chemical pollution may give trees an advantage from biological invasion", says Dr Frederic E. Pitre of the University of Montreal and one of the researchers behind the discovery.

Rare case of wallaby fostering tree kangaroo in pouch

Australian zookeepers Tuesday said they had successfully fostered an orphaned tree kangaroo with a surrogate wallaby in a rare case after its mother was crushed by a branch.

Developing disease-resistant poultry may be solution for multiple virus issues

Poultry disease is an international issue, especially when there is an outbreak close to home. However, it's a particularly costly problem in developing countries.

Why haven't Madagascar's famed lemurs been saved yet?

Lemurs are cute – there is no denying it. Their big eyes and fluffy faces mean they really are the poster animals of Madagascar, an island known internationally for its unique flora and fauna. But the plight of Madagascar's lemurs has made international headlines once again after experts warned the animals may be entirely extinct in the wild within 25 years.

Researcher seeks to maximize the health of native plants in restored environments

With its desolate hills and slopes overrun by non-native grasses and black mustard, the West Loma Ridge isn't much to look at as you're speeding down the 241 toll road. But closer inspection reveals an ambitious ecological effort to restore its native grasslands and shrubs.

OU student use nation's weather radar network to track bird migration at night

Using the nation's weather radar network, two University of Oklahoma doctoral students have developed a technique for forecasting something other than the weather: the orientation behavior of birds as they migrate through the atmosphere at night. The students have discovered a way to use the latest dual-polarization radar upgrade to measure broad-scale flight orientation of nocturnal migrant birds—a promising development for biologists and bird enthusiasts.

Restored streams take 25 years or longer to recover

New research has found that the number of plant species growing just next to restored streams can take up to 25 years to increase above those channelized during the timber floating era. This is according to doctoral student, Eliza Maher Hasselquist, and other researchers from Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

Mountain near Vegas gains blue butterfly habitat protection

A scarce and endangered butterfly found only on Mount Charleston near Las Vegas is getting a kind of habitat insurance policy, under an agreement announced Monday by the federal government and a conservation group.

Europeans have unknowingly contributed to the spread of invasive plant species in the US

Halle (Saale). The role of plant traits might be overestimated by biologists in studies on plant invasiveness. Anthropogenic factors such as whether the spcies was being cultivated proved to be more important. These conclusions were made from a study on Central European plants that were introduced by humans to North America and over time became naturalised in this continent. Naturalisation of new plant species, a process that makes it a permanent member of the local flora, most strongly depends on residence time in the invaded range and the number of habitats occupied by species in their native range, researchers reported in the journal Ecology.


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