Friday, October 9, 2015

Science X Newsletter Friday, Oct 9

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Newsletter for October 9, 2015:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Scientists convert harmful algal blooms into high-performance battery electrodes
- Water-soluble non-peptide foldamers with tunable higher-order conformations
- Researchers test the brain's number sense perception
- Light introduces multi-aperture computational camera
- Horn of Africa drying ever faster as climate warms
- Chemistry nobel DNA research lays foundation for new ways to fight cancer
- Floppy but fast: Spaghetti-like proteins are surprisingly effective 'keys'
- How we discovered that the Earth's inner core is older than previously thought
- Could 'The Day After Tomorrow' happen?
- Researchers settle long-standing debate about fundamental behavior of shaking particles
- Single atom alloy platinum-copper catalysts cut costs, boost green technology
- Scientists pave way for diamonds to trace early cancers
- Gold nanomembranes resist bending in new experiment
- How the neutrino could solve great cosmic mysteries and win its next Nobel Prize
- Genentech announces favorable results for MS drug ocrelizumab

Astronomy & Space news

Image: Pluto's blue sky

Pluto's haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn's moon Titan. The source of both hazes likely involves sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of nitrogen and methane, leading to relatively small, soot-like particles (called tholins) that grow as they settle toward the surface.

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of NASA and other scientists and engineers recently selected five semifinalists for additional research and development, one or two of which will be launching by the 2020s.

What are white holes?

Black holes are created when stars die catastrophically in a supernova. So what in the universe is a white hole?

New paper shines light on little-understood process in astronomy

A paper coauthored by Tom Maccarone, a Texas Tech University associate professor in the Department of Physics, studies one of the most important but least understood processes in astronomy: accretion, or the growth in mass of an object by gravitationally collecting material from its surroundings.

NASA unveils missing pieces in journey to Mars

NASA has outlined the many challenges that remain before humans can set foot on Mars, calling the problems "solvable" but setting no firm date for an astronaut mission to the Red Planet.

Astronaut brains as beacons for researchers

How astronauts adapt to the stresses of living in space is helping researchers to pinpoint the causes of common disorders on Earth.

Technology news

Scientists convert harmful algal blooms into high-performance battery electrodes

Last August, the seasonal harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie grew so extreme that they poisoned the water system in Toledo, Ohio, leaving nearly half a million residents without drinking water. But a few researchers at the time collected some of the toxic HABs, and have now shown that, by heating them at temperatures of 700-1000 °C in argon gas, the HABs can be converted into a material called "hard carbon" that can be used as high-capacity, low-cost electrodes for sodium-ion (Na-ion) batteries.

Light introduces multi-aperture computational camera

Hold it right there. Say cheese or, more appropriately, wow. The L16 is a small camera that enables professional-quality photos.

On soft ground? Tread lightly to stay fast

These findings, reported today, Friday 9th October, in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomechanics, offer a new insight into how animals respond to different terrain, and how robots can learn from them.

Researchers discover "zombie solar cells" that generate power even after electrolyte evaporation

A group of researchers at Uppsala University has discovered a "zombie solar cell" that continues to generate electricity with unexpected effectiveness although the liquid transferring charges between the electrodes has dried out. The results were recently published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

Researchers develop deep-learning method to predict daily activities

Researchers from the School of Interactive Computing and the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines developed a new method that teaches computers to "see" and understand what humans do in a typical day.

Reddit launches Upvoted, a stand-alone site for original content

Online community Reddit on Tuesday launched Upvoted, a stand-alone website to house original content inspired by or related to posts from the expansive online forum.

Review: IPhone 6s is an upgrade to an already great phone

The end of summer means different things to different people.

Nosedive in number of IPOs this year reflects 'cold market,' but is it thawing?

Just two technology stocks went public this summer - not a good sign for the long list of technology startups eyeing initial public offerings.

Amazon jumps into market for business-data analysis rolled out a new service that lets business customers analyze large amounts of data, putting it into the business intelligence market where it will compete with SAP and Microsoft, as well as younger firms such as Tableau.

3-D laser printer captures 'maker' movement's attention

Entrepreneur Dan Shapiro has a long history in the high-tech industry. He founded Sparkbuy, a price-comparison site, was CEO of Google Comparison and launched photo-sharing service PhotoBucket.

Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey talks GoPro, 'Minecraft' and eSports

A few years ago, journalism major Palmer Luckey dropped out of Cal State University, Long Beach to work on a device that would wrap a small computer monitor across a person's face.

Inventor's motor aims to save millions in energy costs

On the list of a million things Americans think about, electric motors are probably, oh, number a million and one.

Mobile app connects college students, peer tutors on demand 24-7

Ethan Keiser, 24, is founder of StudyTree, a mobile app that connects college students for on-demand peer tutoring. The student-to-student solution creates a marketplace enabling students to either make money as a tutor or save money as a student. The University Platform allows universities to manage their own tutors on a budget and provide students with flexible tutoring options. Keiser, a 2015 Drexel University graduate, founded StudyTree in January.

High-tech firm's plans to make drones in NY spark questions

A plan to manufacture solar-powered drones at a suburban New York site that once made fighter jets for the U.S. military is sparking questions about whether the aircraft will be used to beam Internet service. So far, company officials are staying mum.

Ex-railroad town, Sparks braces for Tesla, Switch boom

Not since the Southern Pacific railroad rolled into this sleepy high desert town in Nevada more than a century ago has there been such excitement—Tesla Motors and other technology companies are coming, and along with them thousands of jobs.

Scholarly perspectives on Los Angeles gridlock

It probably does not come as a major shock that results of a USC Dornsife/California Community Foundation/Los Angeles Times poll released Oct. 7 reveal traffic and congestion to be the point of greatest concern among L.A. residents who responded to the survey. Of 1,500 people polled, 55 percent indicated that they were concerned more about traffic than any other issue—including crime and gangs, personal finances and substandard housing.

When hackers talk, this research team listens

If you're a hacker, you gather as much data as you can on your targets, in search of something valuable.

The VW scandal exposes the high tech control of engine emissions

As the fallout continues from the emissions scandal engulfing Volkswagen, the car maker has said it will make its vehicles meet the United States emissions standards.

How Syria is becoming a test bed for high-tech weapons of electronic warfare

The relationship between Russia and the West is becoming increasingly dangerous with potential flashpoints developing in both eastern Europe and Syria. After repeated incursions into Turkish airspace by Russian warplanes on bombing raids over Syria, NATO's secretary general Jens Stoltenberg warned Moscow that it stands ready to "defend all allies". Meanwhile Britain announced it would send troops to Baltic states to defend NATO's eastern boundaries against possible Russian aggression beyond Ukraine.

Web users are caught in a tug-of-war between advertisers and ad-blockers

The battle between the advertising industry, mobile phone operators, publishers and privacy advocates has reached new heights, with Apple's decision to allow ad-blocking extensions in its Safari browser sparking fears that the multi-billion dollar mobile ad industry could be about to take an expensive haircut. While third-party ad-blocking apps have been around for a while, few are used on mobile platforms – they are more commonly found on desktop and laptop computers.

Is your digital information more at risk today than 10 years ago?

It's easy to form the mental image of a hacker hunched over a computer, probing a way to get your personal information, whether to sell it, acquire credit cards in your name or use your health insurance.

Instant water heater offers energy and cost savings

Traditional water heaters take time to reach preferred temperatures, thus wasting water and energy. A new instant hot water solution, developed through the EU-funded RAPIDHEAT project, successfully optimised heating and control technologies to develop a lightweight low thermal mass heater that provides full temperature output within two seconds of switch-on.

Alternative energy key to a greener future

Los Alamos National Laboratory is leading a Department of Energy- Fuel Cells Technologies Office-funded project to enhance the performance and durability of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, while simultaneously reducing their cost.

US boosts privacy protection on health insurance website

Responding to criticism from civil liberties advocates, the Obama administration said Friday it has strengthened consumer privacy protections on the government's health insurance website as a new sign-up season nears.

New California law extends privacy rights to electronic data

California now requires police to get a court order before they can search messages, photos and other digital data stored on phones or company servers in the nation's most-populous state.

New paper explores America's obession with Steve Jobs

A new paper in the International Journal of Communication investigates America's obsession with stories about celebrity CEO's like Steve Jobs, suggesting it says more about our culture than the man. The Steve Jobs movie, opening in theaters on Oct. 9, helps us imagine capitalism as being humane and having moral integrity as opposed to the speculative, predatory kind that reared its greedy head in 2008, according to the paper's author.

Solving the internet's identity crisis

On the Internet, "nobody knows you're a dog," is the joke behind a famous New Yorker cartoon with a canine at the keyboard. But identity trust is a serious problem for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who are responsible for routing billions of users to the right destination every day.

Apple pulls data snooping apps from online shop

Apple on Friday rid its App Store of some applications that it said could snoop on people's data and posed a security threat.

Mobile phones 'transforming' Africa but growth to slow: study

The rapid spread of mobile phones across Sub-Saharan Africa is transforming the region, but record levels of growth are due to slow sharply, an industry report said this week.

EU, US seek 'quick solutions' to data deal void

Brussels and Washington want "quick solutions" to the legal void left by the collapse of a transatlantic data deal on which major companies like Facebook depend, a senior EU official said Friday.

New tool expands tracking of personal data on the Web

Navigating the Web gets easier by the day as corporate monitoring of our emails and browsing habits fine-tune the algorithms that serve us personalized ads and recommendations. But convenience comes at a cost. In the wrong hands, our personal information can be used against us, to discriminate on housing and health insurance, and overcharge on goods and services, among other risks.

Young Palestinians launch hashtag intifada

Videos spread on social media showing Palestinians stabbing Israelis and throwing stones at soldiers are mustering online youth activists to the frontline after days of violence.

HyperAdapt project launched to improve mobile Internet traffic

IMDEA Networks Institute announces the launch of the project HyperAdapt. The overall objective of this research initiative is to improve traffic flow in the mobile Internet in response to increasing private and industrial demand.

Medicine & Health news

Researchers test the brain's number sense perception

Number sense hypothesis holds that the intuitive understanding of numbers is a primary visual property, like color sense or physical orientation. In nature, this refers not to any ability to count, but to visually sense the number of important objects and changes in those numbers—offspring, for instance. In humans, it also encompasses the ability to count, a sense of magnitude, number relationships, and adaptability to mathematical learning.

HIV discovery—biomarkers predict virus return when treatment is stopped

Scientists are now better able to predict how quickly the HIV virus will return after individuals stop treatment following a discovery by researchers at UNSW Australia and the University of Oxford.

Neuropeptide may be real cause of migraines

A pair of researchers, one with New York University College of Dentistry in New York, the other with King's College in the U.K. has found that a neuropeptide may be responsible for the onset of migraines. In their paper published in Science Translation Medicine, Simon Akerman and Peter Goadsby describe their experiments with two neuropeptides on rats and what it could mean for the development of a cure for migraines.

Genentech announces favorable results for MS drug ocrelizumab

Swiss pharmaceutical company Genentech a member of the Roche Group, has released (at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis meeting) findings from Phase III clinical trials for its multiple scleroses drug ocrelizumab, for use in relapsing forms of the disease or in cases of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS)—and the results appear to be very promising.

Elephants provide big clue in fight against cancer

Carlo Maley spends his time pondering pachyderms—and cactuses and whales, and a wide array of non-human species—all in pursuit of the answer to this question: Why do some life forms get cancer while others do not?

Mitochondrial DNA mutations affect male and female fertility and ageing

Research indicates for the first time that mutations within the DNA sequence of mitochondria impact on the energy producing capacity of these cells, with significant effects on fertility and life expectancy - and remarkably different outcomes for males and females.

Chemistry nobel DNA research lays foundation for new ways to fight cancer

Our cells are up against a daily onslaught of damage to the DNA that encodes our genes. It takes constant effort to keep up with the DNA disrepair – and if our cells didn't bother to try to fix it, we might not survive. The DNA damage repair pathways are an essential safeguard for the human genome.

Researchers develop novel theoretical approach to reduce antibiotic resistance

It is estimated that each year in the United States 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to one or more types of antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people will die because of these infections. This problem is being exacerbated by overuse of antibiotics for livestock and also in community clinical practice. This overuse, combined with the slow pace of novel drug discovery is a growing threat to public health. In response to this, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have developed a novel mathematical method inspired by Darwinian evolution to use current antibiotics to eliminate or reduce the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Dying at home leads to more peace and less grief, but requires wider support

Dying at home could be beneficial for terminally ill cancer patients and their relatives, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

Lasting outcomes similar for carpal tunnel release surgeries

(HealthDay)—For patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), long-term outcomes are similar for open and endoscopic release surgery, according to a research letter published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Low awareness of DVLA safe driving guidelines among hospital doctors

New research published today by JRSM Open concludes that medically disqualified patients may wrongly assume themselves fit to drive on discharge from hospital because of inadequate knowledge among doctors of DVLA guidelines relating to commonly occurring medical conditions. 140 junior doctors and senior house officers at six hospitals across five centres in England took part in the study which established that only 21% of doctors knew how long a patient should stop driving for after a stroke and less than 40% knew how long a person must stop driving for after a first episode of epileptic seizure. Only 15% of doctors knew when a patient can recommence driving after an acute coronary syndrome treated with elective angioplasty.

Immune gene prevents Parkinson's disease and dementia

An estimated seven to ten million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's disease (PD), which is an incurable and progressive disease of the nervous system affecting movement and cognitive function. More than half of PD patients develop progressive disease showing signs of dementia similar to Alzheimer's disease. A research team at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, has discovered that non-inheritable PD may be caused by functional changes in the immune regulating gene Interferon-beta (IFNβ). Treatment with IFNβ-gene therapy successfully prevented neuronal death and disease effects in an experimental model of PD. The results have just been published in prestigious scientific journal Cell.

Excellence in research to transform health

A new partnership which harnesses world-class expertise will ensure patients benefit sooner from new treatments, diagnostics and prevention strategies.

Smoking set to kill one in three young men in China

One in three of all the young men in China will eventually be killed by tobacco, unless a substantial proportion stop smoking, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Researchers gauge heritability of childhood-onset autoimmune diseases

Scientists have calculated more precise measurements of heritability—the influence of underlying genes—in nine autoimmune diseases that begin in childhood. The research may strengthen researchers' abilities to better predict a child's risk for associated autoimmune diseases.

Researchers compare direct gene vs. blood cell-mediated therapy of spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to complex pathological changes that include the death of neurons and glial cells and degeneration of nerve fibers.

Cardiologist transforms care of patients with rare heart disorder

In 1970, a woman with a history of fainting spells was referred to Arthur J. Moss, M.D., a young and well-regarded cardiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Little did anyone know, including Moss, that this meeting was the start of a decades-long journey that would transform the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of patients with a rare and potentially fatal heart rhythm disorder called long QT syndrome (LQTS).

Teen sleep deprivation at epidemic level

Carolyn Walworth, 17, often reaches a breaking point around 11 p.m., when she collapses in tears. For 10 minutes or so, she just sits at her desk and cries, overwhelmed by unrelenting school demands. She is desperately tired and longs for sleep. But she knows she must move through it, because more assignments in physics, calculus or French await her. She finally crawls into bed around midnight or 12:30 a.m.

Study reveals neuron-firing patterns that underlie time measurement

Keeping track of time is critical for many tasks, such as playing the piano, swinging a tennis racket, or holding a conversation. Neuroscientists at MIT and Columbia University have now figured out how neurons in one part of the brain measure time intervals and accurately reproduce them.

The trick to finding allergy-safe Halloween treats

Hershey bars, Snickers and Reese's may be trick-or-treat night staples, but for children who have food allergies, these type of treats can be dangerous.

American businesses relied on technology to buoy firms during crisis

Data from human resources departments across the country suggest that U.S. businesses recovered from the recent financial crisis by leaning on technology to ride out the upheaval, according to researchers.

Study compares traditional and modern views of aging

A new study tests the idea that traditional societies see aging in a more positive light than modern societies, a presumption supported by anecdotes and personal narratives but lacking systematic cross-cultural research.

A pediatric cancer drug three decades in the making

By the age of 4, Matthew Haemsch had undergone 16 rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on his adrenal gland.

Researchers aim to refocus wandering minds

We're all guilty of it at times. Whether it's reading a report, sitting through a meeting or listening to a classroom lecture, we've all realized, with a start, that our minds have wandered.

Child care's role in fight against obesity

Policy changes are needed to address childhood obesity in child care settings and help child care providers to reinforce healthy eating and physical activity, according to new research from the University of Connecticut.

New research shows that stroke prevention guidelines are outdated and need modernising

Associate Professor Dr Anne Abbott, from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM) at Monash University, has led a team of 16 experts in a systematic review of international stroke prevention guidelines and found that recommendations for surgical procedures to prevent stroke are outdated and over-utilised.

Despite advances, breast cancer patients eschew potentially life-saving radiation

Accelerated partial breast irradiation was designed to be a faster, more convenient and potentially safer way for many women with breast cancer to reduce their mortality risk and help keep their cancer from returning after surgery. But a new study shows that the availability of the approach is failing to reduce the percentage of early-stage breast cancer patients who do not receive the radiation treatment that could save their lives.

Your phone and watch could warn you of deadly heart problems. So why don't they?

The heart rate measurement feature in the Apple Watch was intended as an aid to those using the device during exercise sessions. For a teenage boy it proved a lifesaver as a high heart rate reading prompted him to seek medical help which led to the discovery that he was suffering from a condition called rhabdomyolysis which can lead to kidney damage.

Navigating our way through computer files uses the same brain structures as a dog finding its bone

More than 95 per cent of us waste time navigating through computer files rather than using efficient search tools because of the way our brains are structured, according to a new study.

A practical intervention to reduce salt intake in Perú

High salt intake is associated with high blood pressure, which left untreated increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Despite these harmful effects on health, many populations consume twice the WHO-recommended salt intake. In response, many countries have attempted to reduce salt intake by adopting strategies that target the quantity of salt added to processed foods, during cooking, and at the table.

Survivor's guilt often a byproduct of those who live through tragic events

Survivor's guilt can often be a byproduct of those who survive shootings like the most recent one in Oregon, says Josh Klapow, Ph.D., associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and a clinical psychologist.

Kidney failing? Grow a new one

Kidneys are not romanticised like the heart, or held on high like the brain. But these fist-sized organs are integral to our ability to filter waste and excess fluid from our bodies.

Changing the target of tuberculosis therapies

Almost one in four of the world's cases of tuberculosis (TB) are in India and the disease is constantly adapting itself to outwit our medicines. Could the answer lie in targeting not the bacteria but its host, the patient?

When should pediatric residents consult supervisors on issues that come up after hours?

In most teaching hospitals, after-hours patient responsibility is covered by resident physicians, who are always able to call a supervising senior physician for advice on handling situations that may come up. But which situations require immediate consultation and which can wait until the next day can sometimes be unclear. A new study from the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), published in the Journal of Pediatrics, finds significant discrepancies between pediatric residents and their supervising physicians regarding when supervisors should be called to help deal with specific after-hours situations. For some situations, even the supervisors disagreed among themselves regarding whether immediate consultation was required.

Novel compound turns off mutant cancer gene in animals with leukemia

A compound discovered and developed by a team of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers that halts cancer in animals with Ewing sarcoma and prostate cancer appears to work against some forms of leukemia, too. That finding and the team's latest work was published online Oct. 8 in Oncotarget.

Tripped up by a bug: Infection may cause falls, especially in older people, study suggests

People who end up in the emergency room because of a fall often are tripped up by an infection, rather than a loose throw rug or poor eyesight, suggests a study being presented at IDWeek 2015.

Regenstrief tEMR gives medical students rare real world experience in patient care

With the goal of transforming medical education to include real world electronic medical record experience, clinician-informaticians from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine have developed the Regenstrief tEMR.

Antiviral compound provides full protection from Ebola virus in nonhuman primates

Rhesus monkeys were completely protected from the deadly Ebola virus when treated three days after infection with a compound that blocks the virus's ability to replicate. These encouraging preclinical results suggest the compound, known as GS-5734, should be further developed as a potential treatment, according to research findings to be presented tomorrow at the IDWeek conference.

Nurses could help cut smoking rates in China, study finds

China has a big smoking problem. Three-hundred-fifty million Chinese people smoke and 1 million deaths a year in China are attributed to smoking-related illnesses. By 2020, that's expected to double to 2 million Chinese people dying annually from using tobacco.

Pain is in the brain

Chronic pain results from disease or trauma to the nervous system. Damaged nerve fibres with heightened responses to normal stimuli send incorrect messages to pain centres in the brain. This phenomenon, called "peripheral and central sensitization" is one of the key mechanisms involved in the condition which touches people with diabetes, cancer, and those suffering from multiple sclerosis, among others.

Vaccines: Don't leave home without them

While Americans should be fully vaccinated before travelling internationally to avoid infection with highly contagious diseases such as measles and hepatitis A, many are not, suggest two studies being presented at IDWeek 2015. The findings suggest the lack of pretravel vaccination was a factor in illness outbreaks.

Teens value results of genetic tests to inform future life decisions

The majority of adolescents in grades 7-12 would prefer to know the results of unanticipated findings found in whole exome sequencing genetic testing, even if the findings are not medically actionable until adulthood, according to survey data presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore. The survey addressed secondary findings - genetic findings unrelated to the initial indication that prompted the test - gleaned from sequencing the protein-coding regions of a person's genome.

Carbohydrate-binding proteins mitigate parasitic infection in heart tissue

Chagas disease is the main cause of infectious heart disease in Latin America. Researchers from the INGEBI and IBYME Institutes in Argentina explored the effect of glycan binding protein interactions between the human host and Typanosoma cruzi parasite. They found that a glycan binding protein expressed in humans modified the infection in cells of the heart muscle, showing the importance of galectins in the response to parasite infection.

Blood clotting protein triggers immune attack on the brain

A new study from the Gladstone Institutes shows that a single drop of blood in the brain is sufficient to activate an autoimmune response akin to multiple sclerosis (MS). This is the first demonstration that introduction of blood in the healthy brain is sufficient to cause peripheral immune cells to enter the brain, which then go on to cause brain damage.

Researchers use gut bacteria composition to genetically classify colorectal tumors

By analyzing the types of gut bacteria present around colorectal tumors, researchers have found a way to predict key genetic mutations in the tumors themselves, a method that could eventually inform the development of colorectal cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Their findings were presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

Researchers study costs of integrating genetic sequencing into clinical care

Integrating whole genome sequencing into primary care and heart disease care is unlikely to substantially increase the costs of health care utilization and follow-up tests, according to research presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

Maine expanding probe into E. coli after 1-year-old boy dies

Maine public health authorities confirmed Friday that one child—identified by his father as a 20-month-old boy from the town of Poland—has died and another was hospitalized after both attended a county fair and then showed symptoms of E. coli infection.

Geneticists reconstruct population history of New York City

By combining genetic data, ancestry information, and electronic health records, scientists are able to identify neighborhood-level patterns of migration in the New York City area, according to research presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore. In addition to supplementing historical and census data, these sorts of findings can inform biomedical and public health efforts in New York and other locations, the study authors said.

Psoriasis, cold sores most stigmatized skin disorders: survey

(HealthDay)—Psoriasis and cold sores top the list of stigmatized skin conditions, a new survey indicates, but experts say much of the ill will directed at sufferers is misguided.

Decrease seen in epidural-related complications for C-sections

(HealthDay)—Expectant mothers hoping to stay awake during a cesarean-section delivery can find comfort in the latest study on epidurals and spinal blocks: Complications from those anesthetic procedures dropped 25 percent over 10 years.

Many doctors admit difficulty in treating unexplained stroke: poll

(HealthDay)—More than half of American doctors do not feel confident that they can spot the reason for a stroke that strikes in the absence of a clearly established cause.

Doctors offer fall clean-up safety advice

(HealthDay)—Fall clean-up often means it's time to drag out your ladder and rake. But what may seem like an easy task can lead to serious injury if you don't take proper precautions.

Wound irrigation pressure doesn't affect outcome

(HealthDay)—For patients with an open fracture, irrigation effects are similar regardless of irrigation pressure, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with the annual meeting of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, held from Oct. 7 to 10 in San Diego.

High rate of concussion linked to isolated mandible fractures

(HealthDay)—The rate of concussions associated with isolated mandible fractures is high, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Research beefing up steaks, hamburgers with healthy omega-3s

Health-conscious consumers might be persuaded to eat more beef if it was fortified with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids naturally found in salmon and walnuts, according to researchers and some ranchers who are feeding cattle flaxseed—even marine algae—with an eye to offering another wholesome dinner choice.

British Ebola survivor nurse treated for 'unusual' complication

A British nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone was flown to a specialist London hospital unit on Friday, nearly nine months after she was discharged, due to an "unusual late complication".

House bill targets health law, Planned Parenthood funds

The House Budget Committee approved Republican legislation Friday that would scuttle President Barack Obama's health care law, block federal payments to Planned Parenthood—and likely lead to a presidential veto.

Johnson & Johnson starts Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone

Johnson & Johnson has begun clinical trials for an Ebola vaccine in Sierra Leone.

"This enormous burden" : controlling cervical cancer in Latin America

The latest special issue from ecancermedicalscience collects four new research articles on the topic of cervical cancer prevention in Latin America.

Probe into mold at UPMC transplant hospital completed

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has finished its on-site review of a mold problem at the transplant intensive care unit at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

UV light robots cut c. diff transmissions by 25 percent on cancer patient floors

Robots are capable of all sorts of tasks to help better treat cancer: They connect oncologists to patients remotely, make incisions, staple them shut, deliver "nano" therapies—and they clean rooms. New research from Penn Medicine infection control specialists found that ultraviolet (UV) robots helped reduce the rates transmission of the common bacterial infection known as Clostridium difficile among cancer inpatients - mostly blood cancer patients, a group more vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections - by 25 percent. The interventions also saved about $150,000 in annual direct medical costs.

Antibiotic stewardship reduces C. diff in hospitalized children

Hospitalized children were three times less likely to become sick with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a serious bacterial infection that can occur after prolonged antibiotic use, following implementation of an antibiotic stewardship program, a new study found. These programs reduce the misuse of antibiotics and therefore C. diff, and also result in antibiotic cost savings, according to research being presented at IDWeek 2015.

Engineers assist Bank of America Chicago Marathon with technology

Thousands of participants in this Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon will run the race as marathon organizers, with key assistance from a Northwestern University and Chicago Marathon research team, will utilize big data—both historic and real-time—to supply a comprehensive picture of the race as it unfolds.

Chile to allow sale of marijuana-derived drugs

Chile plans to allow the sale of marijuana-derived medication in pharmacies, a government health official said Friday.

Biology news

Boom in gene-editing studies amid ethics debate over its use

The hottest tool in biology has scientists using words like revolutionary as they describe the long-term potential: wiping out certain mosquitoes that carry malaria, treating genetic diseases like sickle cell, preventing babies from inheriting a life-threatening disorder.

ZomBee Watch helps scientists track honeybee killer

Call them "The Buzzing Dead."

Mapping the protein universe

To understand how life works, figure out the proteins first. DNA is the architect of life, but proteins are the workhorses. After proteins are built using DNA blueprints, they are constantly at work breaking down and building up all parts of the cell—ferrying oxygen around the body, sending signals to patch wounds, transmitting thoughts across neurons, breaking down oil or cellulose, and creating biofuels for energy.

Mammal's microbiome shares characteristics with both plant eaters and predators, study finds

The great whales are carnivores, feeding on tiny, shrimp-like animals such as krill. Moreover, the microbes that live in whales' guts—the microbiome—resemble those of other meat-eaters.

Floppy but fast: Spaghetti-like proteins are surprisingly effective 'keys'

Inside cells, communication between the nucleus, which harbours our precious genetic material, and the cytoplasm is mediated by the constant exchange of thousands of signalling molecules and proteins. Until now, it was unknown how this protein traffic can be so fast and yet precise enough to prevent the passage of unwanted molecules. Through a combination of computer simulations and various experimental techniques, researchers from Germany, France and the UK have solved this puzzle. A very flexible and disordered protein can bind to its receptor within billionths of a second. Their research, led by Edward Lemke at EMBL, Frauke Gräter at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, and Martin Blackledge at Institut de Biologie Structurale, is published in Cell this week.

Is the eco-tourism boom putting wildlife in a new kind of danger?

Many tourists today are drawn to the idea of vacationing in far-flung places around the globe where their dollars can make a positive impact on local people and local wildlife. But researchers writing in Trends in Ecology & Evolution on October 9th say that all of those interactions between wild animals and friendly ecotourists eager to snap their pictures may inadvertently put animals at greater risk of being eaten.

A better way to read the genome

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

Moray eels in knots over food

Research carried out by scientists from The University of Western Australia, the University of California and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has revealed unusual feeding behaviour in moray eels, one of the most elusive and important predators on coral reefs.

Fish species in Lake Tana genetically surprisingly similar

The different species of barbels in Lake Tana in northern Ethiopia have evolved from a common ancestor. When biologists from Wageningen University first described the fifteen species over twenty years ago, it was not yet possible to examine the precise genetic differences between these carp species. Now, together with a colleague from Portugal, they have mapped the genetic basis of the diversity. Their work has been published in the Journal of Fish Biology.

Damsel fish's secret communication channel reliant on reef experience

The Ambon damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis) have been found to need exposure to the natural environment to develop the ultraviolet (UV) facial markings reef fish use as a covert communication system to potentially avoid predators.

Controllable protein gates deliver on-demand permeability in artificial nanovesicles

Researchers at the University of Basel have succeeded in building protein gates for artificial nano-vesicles that become transparent only under specific conditions. The gate responds to certain pH values, triggering a reaction and releasing active agents at the desired location. This is demonstrated in a study published in the journal Nano Letters.

A study shows the relationship that exists between carnivorous plants and fire

One of the most striking and unusual species of all Iberian flora is the carnivorous plant Drosophyllum lusitanicum, known as the 'fly-trap' and to which Charles Darwin directed his attention in the book Insectivorous Plants, published in 1875. In spite of this, little is known about this species that is currently being studied in detail by Maria Paniw and Fernando Ojeda, researchers from the Biology department of the University of Cadiz, in collaboration with Roberto Salguero-Gómez, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Queensland (Australia) and graduate of the University of Cadiz. Specifically, María Paniw has focused the contents of her doctoral thesis on the biology and population ecology of Drosophyllum, detecting among other things a close ecological relationship between this species and fire or the direct link that exists between the smell that it gives off and its feeding method.

A cure for vitamin B6 deficiency

In many tropical countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, cassava is one of the most important staple foods. People eat the starchy storage roots but also the leaves as a vegetable. Both have to be cooked first to remove the toxic cyanide compounds that cassava produces.

Green sea turtles nest in record numbers in Florida

A record number of endangered green sea turtles nested in the US state of Florida in 2015, suggesting that conservation efforts are paying off, authorities said Friday.

California agency votes to ban SeaWorld orca breeding

The California Coastal Commission on Thursday approved a $100 million expansion of the tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego—but it banned breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them.

Tokyo district tries to reel in tourists with whale meat

When tourists think of Japan, images of dramatic landscapes, futuristic cities and world class sushi might spring to mind.

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