Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jul 17

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 17, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Electronic stickers to streamline large-scale 'internet of things'

Mode changing and giant pulses found in a millisecond pulsar

Researchers identify protein essential for making stem cells

Using machine learning for music knowledge discovery

Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'

The ancient armor of fish—scales—provide clues to hair, feather development

Researchers explore how information enters our brains

Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough

How to build efficient organic solar cells

A step closer to quantum computers: Researchers show how to directly observe quantum spin effects

What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?

The immune system: T cells are built for speed

Tackling cancer at ground zero with designer molecules

Astronomers find a famous exoplanet's doppelgänger

Dawn mission to gather more data in home stretch

Astronomy & Space news

Mode changing and giant pulses found in a millisecond pulsar

Canadian astronomers have identified mode changing and giant pulses in the millisecond pulsar known as PSR B1957+20. It is the first time when mode changing mechanism has been observed in a millisecond pulsar. The finding is detailed in a paper published July 4 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'

Twelve new moons orbiting Jupiter have been found—11 "normal" outer moons, and one that they're calling an "oddball." This brings Jupiter's total number of known moons to a whopping 79—the most of any planet in our Solar System.

Astronomers find a famous exoplanet's doppelgänger

When it comes to extrasolar planets, appearances can be deceiving. Astronomers have imaged a new planet, and it appears nearly identical to one of the best studied gas-giant planets. But this doppelgänger differs in one very important way: its origin.

Dawn mission to gather more data in home stretch

As NASA's Dawn spacecraft prepares to wrap up its groundbreaking 11-year mission, which has included two successful extended missions at Ceres, it will continue to explore—collecting images and other data.

Antimatter plasma reveals secrets of deep space signals

Mysterious radiation emitted from distant corners of the galaxy could finally be explained with efforts to recreate a unique state of matter that blinked into existence in the first moments after the Big Bang.

The longest period transiting planet candidate from K2

To discover and confirm the presence of a planet around stars other than the sun, astronomers wait until it has completed three orbits. However, this very effective technique has its drawbacks since it cannot confirm the presence of planets at relatively long periods (it is ideally suited for periods of a few days to a few months). To overcome this obstacle, a team of astronomers under the direction of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) have developed a method that makes it possible to ensure the presence of a planet in a few months, even if it takes 10 years to circle its star: This new method is described for the first time in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Technology news

Electronic stickers to streamline large-scale 'internet of things'

Billions of objects ranging from smartphones and watches to buildings, machine parts and medical devices have become wireless sensors of their environments, expanding a network called the "internet of things."

Using machine learning for music knowledge discovery

Researchers at the University of Pompeu Fabra, Cardiff University and the Technical University of Madrid used machine-learning algorithms to discover new things about the history of music.

Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough

British engine maker Rolls-Royce revealed plans this week to develop a hybrid electric vehicle, dubbed the "flying taxi", which takes off and lands vertically and could be airborne within five years.

EU set to fine Google billions over Android: sources

The EU is set to fine US internet giant Google several billion euros this week for freezing out rivals of its Android mobile phone system, sources said, in a ruling that risks fresh tensions with Washington.

Are you eating your relish with dogs? Testing, testing AI

Testing, testing: DeepMind sits AI down for an IQ test. While the AI performance results are not staggering in trumping or matching human reasoning, it is a start. AI scientists recognize that establishing their capacity to reason about abstract concepts has proven difficult. DeepMind wanted to see how AI could perform and the team proposed a dataset and challenge to probe abstract reasoning.

Japan's growing plutonium stockpile fuels fears

Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 atomic bombs as part of a programme to fuel its nuclear plants, but concern is growing that the stockpile is vulnerable to terrorists and natural disasters.

Amazon's hopes its Prime Day doesn't go to the dogs

Amazon is hoping customers don't see any more dogs, after early problems on Prime Day meant people trying to shop got only images of the cute canines delivering an apologetic message.

Decade of research shows little improvement in websites' password guidance

Leading internet brands including Amazon and Wikipedia are failing to support users with advice on how to securely protect their data, a study shows.

Elon Musk's latest outburst raises doubts on leadership

Elon Musk has had a series of angry social media dust-ups with Wall Street analysts, journalists, employees and others.

Netflix shares dive as subscriber growth misses mark

Netflix shares plunged Monday after the leading streaming television service said subscriber growth fell short of expectations in the recently ended quarter.

Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

Walmart said Tuesday it was entering into a strategic partnership with Microsoft on "digital transformation" for the onetime retail industry leader.

China's Didi teams with Booking.com for $500mn investment

Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing landed a $500 million investment from Booking Holdings, owner of Booking.com and similar sites, in a tie-up that will see the companies offer their services on each other's platforms, they said Tuesday.

Amazon's website crashes for some users as Prime Day kicks off

Amazon's website experienced widespread crashes and problems Monday shortly after the e-commerce company's annual day of sales, Prime Day, began at noon.

Data software firm Snowflake lands on Microsoft's Azure cloud

Snowflake, a California cloud-computing data software company, has launched its products on Microsoft Azure, another boost for the Redmond company as it competes with Amazon's popular cloud service.

They worked at Apple, Amazon and Lyft. Now they're working to get you stoned

For much of her career, Natasha Pecor followed a path well-worn by tech workers. She built her reputation with her first employer in the industry, earning the title head of platform at Yelp. Then she jumped to one of the giants, Amazon, where she worked as a product manager.

Amazon upbeat on Prime Day, despite early glitches

Amazon is hoping customers don't see any more dogs, after early problems on Prime Day meant people trying to shop got only images of cute canines delivering an apologetic message.

As Amazon slashes prices, Bezos sees jump in wealth

As Amazon marked its "Prime Day" with price cuts across a range of products, founder and chief executive saw his net worth hit new peaks, increasing his lead over fellow billionaires.

Why is Facebook keen on robots? It's just the future of AI

Facebook announced several new hires of top academics in the field of artificial intelligence Tuesday, among them a roboticist known for her work at Disney making animated figures move in more human-like ways.

Twitter suspended 58 million accounts in 4Q (Update)

Twitter suspended at least 58 million user accounts in the final three months of 2017, according to data obtained by The Associated Press. The figure highlights the company's newly aggressive stance against malicious or suspicious accounts in the wake of Russian disinformation efforts during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Amazon pokes fun at glitches, says tech gadgets popular

Amazon poked fun at the early glitches it saw with Prime Day, though it said shoppers still found plenty to buy. Analysts, meanwhile, saw other things Amazon could have done better, like discounting more fashion brands and taking more advantage of its acquisition of Whole Foods.

Thyssenkrupp faces 'aggressive restructuring' after bosses quit (Update)

Turmoil has erupted at German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp after a mega deal merging its steelmaking arm with India's Tata, with its bosses quitting amid an acrimonious battle with shareholders on whether to break up the venerable institution.

MagicMark: A marking menu using 2-D direction and 3-D depth information

A recent study presents a novel marking menu, MagicMark, to extend the selection capability of large-screen interactions. By leveraging the 2-D directional information and 3-D depth information, MagicMark supports smooth freehand gestures to complete menu selection without any additional confirmation gesture. It can also provide seamless transition from a novice user to an expert user. Results of an experiment show that MagicMark can significantly improve user performance of command selection in large display interactive environment.

Startup innovates by developing IoT technology for forestry sector

Since its inception in 2016, Brazilian startup Treevia, based in Sao Jose dos Campos, São Paulo State, has been developing a remote forest monitoring system named SmartForest, which uses electronic sensors to monitor forest growth in real time. The system provides forest managers the data required for taking forest inventory by means of remote collection and uses mathematical and statistical methods to estimate forest growth, quality and health.

Semantic concept discovery over event databases

At IBM Research AI, we built an AI-based solution to assist analysts in preparing reports. The paper describing this work recently won the best paper award at the "In-Use" Track of the 2018 Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC).

Using driving simulation to understand driver complacency at passive rail level crossings

In a new Human Factors article, researchers have shown that a validated advanced driving simulator is an effective tool for examining risky behavior at passive rail level crossings, where static signs alert drivers to stop. Such crossings have been the scene of significant global fatalities, but studying driver behavior in the real world to make them safer is not practical—hence the need for simulation.

Tempted to buy an Amazon tablet or Fire TV? Read this first

When it comes to the Amazon Prime Day sales, a frequently discounted staple is the company's line of Fire tablets, Fire TV sticks and boxes.

Rolls-Royce warns about Brexit uncertainty

The boss of British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce warned Tuesday that the government's new Brexit blueprint failed to dispel uncertainty and cautioned over supply pressures.

Medicine & Health news

Researchers explore how information enters our brains

Think you're totally in control of your thoughts? Maybe not as much as you think, according to a new San Francisco State University study that examines how thoughts that lead to actions enter our consciousness.

The immune system: T cells are built for speed

Without T cells, we could not survive. They are a key component of the immune system and have highly sensitive receptors on their surface that can detect pathogens. The exact way that these receptors are distributed over the surface of the T cells is still not completely understood, but the analyses by TU Wien show that previous ideas are no longer tenable.

Artificial neural networks now able to help reveal a brain's structure

The function of the brain is based on the connections between nerve cells. In order to map these connections and to create the connectome, the "wiring diagram" of a brain, neurobiologists capture images of the brain with the help of three-dimensional electron microscopy. Up until now, however, the mapping of larger areas has been hampered by the fact that, even with considerable support from computers, the analysis of these images by humans would take decades. This has now changed. Scientists from Google AI and the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology describe a method based on artificial neural networks that is able to reconstruct entire nerve cells with all their elements and connections almost error-free from image stacks. This milestone in the field of automatic data analysis could bring us much closer to mapping and in the long term also understanding brains in their entirety.

New drug target for remyelination in MS is identified

Remyelination, the spontaneous regeneration of the fatty insulator in the brain that keeps neurons communicating, has long been seen as crucial to the next big advance in treating multiple sclerosis (MS). However, a lack of understanding of how remyelination is stymied in the disease has hampered these efforts.

Study shows that people most affected by alcohol also most impacted by sleep deprivation

A team of researchers from the German Aerospace Center and Forschungszentrum Jülich has found that people who are most susceptible to alcohol intoxication are also most susceptible to cognitive problems due to sleep deprivation. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes testing volunteers with vodka and sleep deprivation and what they found.

New findings suggest allergic responses may protect against skin cancer

The components of the immune system that trigger allergic reactions may also help protect the skin against cancer, suggest new findings.

Protein found to be key component in irregularly excited brain cells

In a new study in mice, researchers have identified a key protein involved in the irregular brain cell activity seen in autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy. The protein, p53, is well-known in cancer biology as a tumor suppressor.

Digital media use linked to behavioral problems in kids

Are children who spend lots of time using digital devices prone to psychiatric problems? A team of USC scientists says yes in a new study that appears today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The scent of coffee appears to boost performance in math

Drinking coffee seems to have its perks. In addition to the physical boost it delivers, coffee may lessen our risk of heart disease, diabetes and dementia. Coffee may even help us live longer. Now, there's more good news: research at Stevens Institute of Technology reveals that the scent of coffee alone may help people perform better on the analytical portion of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test, or GMAT, a computer adaptive test required by many business schools.

Gene-editing damages DNA more than previously thought: study

A revolutionary gene editing technique hailed as the future of disease eradication and mooted for a Nobel prize may be less precise and cause more cell damage than previously thought, researchers said Monday.

Older kids who abuse animals much more likely to have been abused themselves

Older children who abuse animals are two to three times as likely to have been abused themselves as kids that don't display this type of behaviour, highlights a review of the available evidence published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Anti-obesity drug derived from chili peppers shows promise in animal trials

A novel drug based on capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their spicy burn, caused long term weight loss and improved metabolic health in mice eating a high fat diet, in new studies from the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy. The drug, Metabocin, was designed to slowly release capsaicin throughout the day so it can exert its anti-obesity effect without producing inflammation or adverse side effects.

Jury still out on probiotics

(HealthDay)—Probiotics have become a trendy dietary supplement, with more and more people popping bacteria-laden capsules to try to improve their gut health.

Effective diagnosis of persistent facial pain will benefit patients and save money

Patients with persistent facial pain are costing the economy more than £3,000 each per year, new research has revealed.

How many people die from tuberculosis every year?

The discrepancies between the estimates for global tuberculosis deaths by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is due to different methodologies and data sources used by each institution. These differences are considerable in terms of absolute numbers for a dozen countries, according to a study led by ISGlobal—an institution supported by "la Caixa" Foundation. The results highlight the need to improve the modeling approaches in these countries in order to understand the true burden of the disease and design adequate health policies.

E. coli found in water at Tennessee ziplining facility

(HealthDay)—Health officials say they found Escherichia coli in water at a ziplining facility in Tennessee that has been linked to an outbreak affecting at least 500 people.

Hidden blood in feces may signal deadly conditions

(HealthDay)—Even if it's not visible to the naked eye, blood in the stool can be serious—a sign of a potentially fatal disease other than colon cancer, new research suggests.

FDA: illnesses tied to fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela

(HealthDay)—There have been 12 reported cases of people in the United States becoming sick after eating fresh crab meat from Venezuela, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

HIV treatment-as-prevention is effective in homosexual male couples, study finds

A study led by the Kirby Institute at UNSW supports evidence that treatment-as-prevention allows people living with HIV to have effectively zero chance of sexually transmitting the virus to others.

Insights into new corneal surgery

An innovative vision-restoring procedure performed in Australia for less than 10 years has been reported on in detail for the first time.

Long shift patterns lead to higher sickness absence risk for hospital-based Registered Nurses and Healthcare Assistants

A new study has found that consistently working long shifts on hospital wards can lead to a higher risk of sickness absence for Registered Nurses (RNs) and Healthcare Assistants (HCAs).

The brain distinguishes causes of errors to perform adaptation

Practice is necessary to improve motor skills. Even if one performs poorly at first, one's athletic performance improves through repeated exercise due to the reduction of motor errors as the brain learns.

Are HIV self-tests an economically feasible method of testing?

HIV testing is a first step and key to stemming the rate of HIV infections around the world. In sub-Saharan African countries, HIV testing rates continue to be suboptimal, creating an urgent need to explore strategic and cost-effective approaches to increase the uptake of HIV testing, particularly among high-risk populations.

Service dogs may reduce suicidal impulses, stress among veterans

Trained service dogs may reduce stress symptoms, including suicidal thoughts, in American military veterans, according to a recent study co-authored by researchers at Georgia State University School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanente.

Does nicotine exposure harm kids? Some tobacco users don't think so

Users of tobacco products are less likely than the public to agree that nicotine exposure is dangerous for children, according to a study by a group of tobacco researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

How nursing mothers can help protect their babies from food allergies

Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ward off food allergies in babies, but there are ways to make mother's milk even better.

New ways to target gambling harm identified

New insights into gambling addiction from those experiencing its harmful effects will help inform more effective treatment and interventions.

Researchers discover new genes associated with heart function

A new study from an international research team, led by Dr. Yalda Jamshidi at St George's, University of London, has identified new genes associated with heart function and development.

Why Ryanair passengers were bleeding from the ears

A Ryanair flight from Dublin to Croatia had to make an emergency landing in Frankfurt recently after the cabin lost pressure. Following the ordeal, 33 passengers were treated in hospital, with some bleeding from their ears.

World's largest study on allergic rhinitis reveals new risk genes

An international team of scientists led by Helmholtz Zentrum München and University of Copenhagen has presented the largest study so far on allergic rhinitis in the journal Nature Genetics. The data of nearly 900,000 participants revealed loci in the human genome whose changes significantly increase the risk of disease.

New research helps address problem of hospital bed blocking

A new study has questioned assumptions about the best way to stop unnecessary admissions and extended hospital stays for frail, elderly people.

How man and machine can work together to diagnose diseases in medical scans

With artificial intelligence, machines can now examine thousands of medical images – and billions of pixels within these images – to identify patterns too subtle for a radiologist or pathologist to identify.

Suicide must not appear to be the only escape for some victims of abuse, warns new study

In one of the largest studies of its kind, and the first in the UK, experts from Refuge and the University of Warwick School of Law looked at the experiences of more than 3500 of Refuge's clients with the aim of informing policy and practice in relation to victims of abuse who are at an increased risk of suicide.

What psychological science can offer to reducing climate change

For some years, there is a good deal of consensus among scientific experts that climate change is real, and that it is caused by human behavior. The consequences of climate change are immense, and believed by many experts to be largely irreversible (and exponential), causing threats coming from heat waves, flooding, declines in agriculture, and decreasing biodiversity, to name a few. Given that climate change, at least in part, is rooted in human behavior, an obvious question to ask is: Can psychological science offer evidence-based solutions to climate change?

Majority of older adults with probable dementia are likely unaware they have it, study suggests

A Johns Hopkins Medicine analysis of information gathered for an ongoing and federally sponsored study of aging and disability adds to evidence that a substantial majority of older adults with probable dementia in the United States have never been professionally diagnosed or are unaware they have been.

Active surveillance of lung subsolid nodules reduces unnecessary surgery and overtreatment

Subsolid nodules (SSN) can be considered a biomarker of lung cancer risk and should be managed with long-term active surveillance. Conservative management of SSN will reduce unnecessary surgery and overtreatment in patients with multiple comorbidities and aggressive lung cancer arising from lung sites other than the SSN.

New findings for diagnosing rare genetic disorders

Recent research undertaken by University of Otago Cure Kids Professor Paediatric Genetics, Stephen Robertson, highlights the world-leading discoveries he is making regarding rare genetic disorders affecting children and the opportunity genomic analysis is providing.

Four rules to avoid regaining lost weight

(HealthDay)—Have you reached your ideal weight? Congratulations! You're halfway to winning the weight loss battle.

Brain scans yield more clues to autism

(HealthDay)—Children with autism show abnormalities in a deep brain circuit that typically makes socializing enjoyable, a new study finds.

As ticks reach record numbers, take precautions

(HealthDay)—As the tick population surges across the United States this summer, one doctor says the best way to avoid being infected with the nasty illnesses the tiny bugs carry is to wear protective clothing and to check your body thoroughly after every trip into the woods.

FDA recalls heart medication valsartan, citing cancer concerns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a voluntary recall of several medications that contain the active ingredient valsartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Retooled vaccine raises hopes as a lower-cost treatment for Type 1 diabetes

For Hodalis Gaytan, 20, living with Type 1 diabetes means depending on an assortment of expensive medicines and devices to stay healthy. Test strips. Needles. A glucose meter. Insulin.

Childhood adversity increases susceptibility to addiction via immune response

Childhood adversity permanently alters the peripheral and central immune systems, increasing the sensitivity of the body's immune response to cocaine, reports a study by researchers at the IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation and University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy.

Brain iron levels may predict multiple sclerosis disabilities

A new, highly accurate MRI technique can monitor iron levels in the brains of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and help identify those at a higher risk for developing physical disability, according to a study published in the journal Radiology.

FDA plans to ease OTC approvals for some prescription drugs

The Food and Drug Administration wants to make it easier for some common medicines to be sold without a prescription.

Broadly acting antibodies found in plasma of Ebola survivors

Recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks, including the 2013-2016 epidemic that ravaged West Africa and the 2018 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, highlight the need for licensed treatments for this often-deadly disease. ZMapp, an experimental therapy comprising three monoclonal antibodies, has shown promise in a clinical trial, but it targets only one of the five known species of Ebola virus.

Molecular tracer, seen with PET scan, shows concentrations of abnormal proteins

In a small study of military personnel who had suffered head trauma and had reported memory and mood problems, UCLA researchers found brain changes similar to those seen in retired football players with suspected chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

Free malaria tests coupled with diagnosis-dependent vouchers for over-the-counter malaria treatment

Coupling free diagnostic tests for malaria with discounts on artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) when malaria is diagnosed can improve the rational use of ACTs and boost testing rates, according to a cluster-randomized trial published this week in PLOS Medicine by Wendy Prudhomme O'Meara of Duke University, and colleagues.

While men lose more weight on low-carb diets, women show improved artery flexibility

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 out of 3 American adults live with higher than normal blood sugar levels known as prediabetes. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine recently found that while men may lose more weight on low-carb diets, women actually see better improvements in artery flexibility. It's a finding that may help pre-diabetic women reduce their risk for heart disease through a low-carb diet.

Incarceration of parents impacts health of their children into adulthood

A new study published in Pediatrics found that young adults who had a parent incarcerated during their childhood are more likely to skip needed healthcare, smoke cigarettes, engage in risky sexual behaviors, and abuse alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs. These findings have a potentially broad impact, as more than five million U.S. children have had a parent in jail or prison.

As we get parched, cognition can easily sputter, dehydration study says

Anyone lost in a desert hallucinating mirages knows that extreme dehydration discombobulates the mind. But just two hours of vigorous yard work in the summer sun without drinking fluids could be enough to blunt concentration, according to a new study.

Why men might recover from flu faster than women

Men may recover more quickly from influenza infections because they produce more of a key lung-healing protein, a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

Childhood abuse linked to greater risk of endometriosis, study finds

Endometriosis, a painful condition that affects one in 10 reproductive-age women in the U.S., has been linked to childhood physical and sexual abuse, according to findings published today in the journal Human Reproduction.

Higher risk of in-situ breast CA, ovarian tumors with fertility Tx

(HealthDay)—For women undergoing assisted reproduction, there is no increased risk of corpus uteri or invasive breast cancer, but there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer and in situ breast cancer, according to a study published online July 11 in The BMJ.

Multiple factors to consider when selecting NSAID for arthritis

(HealthDay)—Factors to be considered when choosing the correct nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for arthritis include effectiveness, concurrent health conditions, and frequency of use, according to a blog post published by the Arthritis Foundation.

Brief safety plan intervention in ER can cut suicidal behavior

(HealthDay)—Use of the Safety Planning Intervention (SPI) plus follow-up phone calls for suicidal patients presenting in the emergency department cuts suicidal behavior and increases the likelihood of outpatient mental health treatment over the next six months, according to a study published online July 11 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Shared decision-making approach to Zika best for travelers

(HealthDay)—An approach to shared decision-making that stratifies risk might be most appropriate for preventing Zika infection, according to an Ideas and Opinion piece published online July 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Evidence of clinical inertia in management of T2DM

(HealthDay)—Many patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who have a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level expected to trigger treatment intensification often have treatment inappropriately delayed, according to a research letter published in the July issue of Diabetes Care.

Preoperative opioids used by 23.1 percent of surgical patients

(HealthDay)—Preoperative opioid use is reported in 23.1 percent of patients undergoing surgery, according to a study published online July 11 in JAMA Surgery.

Insight without incision: Advances in noninvasive brain imaging offers improvements to epilepsy surgery

About a third of epilepsy sufferers require treatment through surgery. To check for severe epilepsy, clinicians use a surgical procedure called electrocorticography (ECoG). An ECoG maps a section of brain tissue to help clinicians identify areas damaged by seizures.

Almost half of US adults who drink, drink too much, and continue to do so

A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers has found that about 40 percent of adults in the United States who drink alcohol do so in amounts that risk health consequences, and identifies a range of factors associated with starting or stopping drinking too much.

Algorithm identifies patients best suited for antidepressants

McLean Hospital researchers have completed a study that sought to determine which individuals with depression are best suited for antidepressant medications. Their findings, published in Psychological Medicine on July 2, 2018, have led to the development of a statistical algorithm that identifies patients who may best respond to antidepressants—before they begin treatment.

Researchers find that hunger hormones offer promising avenue for addiction treatment

Hormones that signal the body's state of hunger and fullness could be the key to new treatments for drug and alcohol addiction. That is the consensus of an expert panel convened this week at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study Ingestive Behavior, the leading international research conference on food and fluid intake. Gut hormones have received considerable attention from scientists seeking to understand overeating and obesity, which led the panelists to discover that those hormones are also involved in addiction. They expressed optimism about the potential for rapid progress toward new addiction treatments, since several drugs that affect these hormones are already approved or in the FDA pipeline.

Researchers identify brain area linked to motivational disruptions in binge eating

Scientists at Rutgers Brain Health Institute have discovered that a small group of brain cells in the hypothalamus called 'orexin' neurons could be a promising target for medications for controlling binge eating episodes in individuals with obesity. These neurons, named for the chemical messenger they use to communicate with other brain cells, have previously been shown to be important for addiction to several drugs, including cocaine.

Diabetes drug with better side-effect tolerance could improve treatment

Improved medications for Type 2 diabetes are one step closer thanks to a new discovery reported this week by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Syracuse University. By modifying the key ingredient in current diabetes drugs, the researchers produced a compound that was effective for hyperglycemia in animal trials, yet without the most problematic side effects of current drugs.

Brain changes responsible for the appetite effects of cannabis identified in animal studies

New research on how cannabis use alters eating behavior could lead to treatments for appetite loss in chronic illness, according to experts at Washington State University. Using a new procedure to dose lab rats with cannabis vapor, the researchers found how the drug triggers hunger hormones. They also identified specific brain regions that shift to 'hungry' mode while under the influence, according to a report they shared this week at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, an international meeting of scientific experts on eating.

Mindset during meal planning changes food choices and brain responses to food

A simple instruction to change your thinking as mealtime approaches can help cut calories, according to new research from the University of Tübingen, Germany. By encouraging study participants to concentrate on different types of information when planning their meal, the experimenters saw portion sizes shift. Adopting a health-focused mindset produced better outcomes than focusing on pleasure or the desire to fill up. These new findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, an international conference of experts on eating research.

Homogeneous BTK occupancy assay

In a new SLAS Discovery article, Helen Yu and a team of researchers at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Foster City, CA) present a time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) occupancy assay that can measure target engagement in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in lymph-node and bone-marrow samples. The assay provides accurate, quantitative assessment of BTK occupancy and currently is in use in ongoing tirabrutinib clinical studies.

Killer immunotherapy—fighting cancer with genetic engineering

Finding a cure for cancer is no easy feat, but Dr. Misty Jenkins has built her career in immunotherapy to do just that.

Working toward personalized cancer treatment

"We don't just want to find the genes involved in cancer," says Prof. Yardena Samuels of the Weizmann Institute of Science's Department of Molecular Cell Biology, "we want to understand what those genes do. We want to reveal the complete picture of a cancer genome."

New GSA resource provides guidance for safe use of OTC analgesics by older adults

The latest issue in the From Policy to Practice report series from The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) addresses recent labeling changes for OTC analgesics and highlights important considerations when recommending the use of these products in older adults.

Pediatric NEXUS head CT DI reliably guides blunt trauma imaging decisions

The Pediatric NEXUS Head Computed Tomography (CT) Decision Instrument (DI) reliably identifies blunt trauma patients who require head CT imaging and could significantly reduce the use of CT imaging. Those are the findings of a to be published in the July issue of Academic Emergency Medicine, a journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).

Discrepancies found in prescription drug labeling pregnancy information across four countries

A study comparing the evidence and recommendation levels of pregnancy information in new prescription drug labeling found significant discrepancies in labeling information among the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Korea. Inconsistent labeling information may hinder informed decision making and optimal patient care, according to the authors of the study published in Journal of Women's Health.

For professional baseball players, faster hand-eye coordination linked to batting performance

Professional baseball players who score higher on a test of hand-eye coordination have better batting performance - particularly in drawing walks and other measures of "plate discipline," reports a study in the July issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

The rise of secondary imaging interpretations

A new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study assesses the increased growth of secondary interpretations of diagnostic imaging examinations in the Medicare population. The study is publishing online in the Journal of American College of Radiology (JACR).

Protect your heart and health during 'dog days' of summer

Summer is a time for barbecues and other outdoor fun, but it's also a time for sweltering heat. And experts say everyone, especially the elderly and very young, need to know how to limit the potentially deadly effects of high temperatures.

Biology news

Researchers identify protein essential for making stem cells

Researchers at the School of Medicine have identified a new protein critical to the production of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells.

The ancient armor of fish—scales—provide clues to hair, feather development

When sea creatures first began crawling and slithering onto land about 385 million years ago, they carried with them their body armor: scales. Fossil evidence shows that the earliest land animals retained scales as a protective feature as they evolved to flourish on terra firma.

Technique may improve lung delivery of bacteria-killing phage

A new delivery system for bacteriophages—viruses that selectively attack harmful bacteria—could help give doctors a new way to battle lung infections that threaten older patients and people with cystic fibrosis.

Variations of a single gene drive diverse pigeon feather patterns

In a new study, a team led by University of Utah biologists has discovered that different versions of a single gene, called NDP (Norrie Disease Protein), have unexpected links between color patterns in pigeons, and vision defects in humans. These gene variations were likely bred into pigeons by humans from a different pigeon species and are now evolutionarily advantageous in wild populations of feral pigeons living in urban environments.

Social isolation: Animals that break away from the pack can influence evolution

For some animals—such as beetles, ants, toads, and primates—short-term social isolation can be just as vital as social interaction to development and long-term evolution. In a review published July 17 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, two evolutionary biologists describe approaches for testing how an animal's isolation might impact natural selection and evolution. This framework can help design more effective breeding, reintroduction, and conservation strategies.

High vinculin levels help keep aging fruit fly hearts young

Our cells tend to lose their shape as we grow older, contributing to many of the effects we experience as aging. This poses particular problems for the heart, where aging can disrupt the protein network within muscle cells that move blood around the body. A new discovery in how heart muscles maintain their shape in fruit flies sheds light on the crucial relationship between cardiac function, metabolism, and longevity.

The freediving champions of the dolphin world

For the first time, researchers have explored the physiological adaptations that enable different populations of the same species of dolphin to vary in diving ability by almost 1000m. The research, published in two complementary studies in Frontiers in Physiology, compared the lung mechanics and metabolic rates of bottlenose dolphin populations known for their different hunting depths. Using theoretical estimates of gas management, the results support a new hypothesis that lung architecture and the management of blood flow allow the dolphins to access oxygen in the lungs while preventing uptake of nitrogen, thereby avoiding decompression sickness.

CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing scissors are less accurate than we thought, but there are fixes

CRISPR gene editing technology is revolutionising medicine and biology. This technique allows scientists to edit DNA with more precision and greater ease than previous gene editing technology.

Cranes here to stay, new model predicts

The UK's tallest bird – the common crane – is here to stay and we could have as many as 275 breeding pairs within 50 years, according to the latest population model from scientists at the University of Exeter, WWT and RSPB published in Animal Conservation.

The depths of the ocean and gut flora unravel the mystery of microbial genes

Understanding the functions of genes in bacteria that form part of the human microbiome—the collection of microbes found inside our bodies—is important because these genes might explain mechanisms of bacterial infection or cohabitation in the host, antibiotic resistance, or the many effects—positive and negative—that the microbiome has on human health.

Study demonstrates impact of temperature on mitochondrial DNA evolution

A new study by researchers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), provides evidence towards selection in mtDNA due to variations in temperature.

New shark species could be swimming toward UK as seas warm

University of Southampton research suggests new types of sharks could be heading to UK waters as a result of warming seas.

Newly discovered shark species honors female pioneer

Eugenie Clark was a pioneer in shark biology, known around the world for her illuminating research on shark behavior. But she was a pioneer in another critical way, as one of the first women of prominence in the male-dominated field of marine biology.

Nitric oxide tells roundworms to avoid bad bacteria

Nitric oxide gas produced by a type of harmful bacteria lets roundworms know to stay away from it, says a new study published in eLife.

A single genetic change in gut bacteria alters host metabolism

Scientists have found that deleting a single gene in a particular strain of gut bacteria causes changes in metabolism and reduced weight gain in mice, according to a study in the journal eLife.

Sap-sucking bugs manipulate their host plants' metabolism for their own benefit

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany, show for the first time that free-living, sap-sucking bugs can manipulate the metabolism of their host plants to create stable, nutritious feeding sites.

Study: Blowhole spray can provide fast data on whale health

Scientists no longer have to collect poop to get key data on the health of endangered right whales. A new study indicates that under the right conditions, scientist can get real-time hormonal data by collecting the spray from whales' blowholes.

It takes just six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car

The soaring temperatures in Europe and North America have seen a rise in reports of dogs being rescued from hot cars. Police across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Canada have all saved dogs from certain death. But in the US, a Great Dane in Juneau, Alaska, a Pitbull Boxer mix in Trussvile, Alabama, and three Rottweilers in Long Island, New York were not so lucky.

Anatomy of a protein kinase spine and how to break it

The post-translational addition of phosphate groups to serine, threonine and tyrosine residues is a fundamental strategy for regulating protein activities in eukaryotes. Eukaryotic protein kinases—the enzymes that catalyze these modifications—are critical to cellular function, and aberrant kinase activities are associated with many diseases including cancer, inflammation, infection, diabetes, hypertension, and neurodegeneration.

Michigan's most endangered species nears extinction in one county

At an idyllic, quiet, tranquil patch of fen and prairie in Oakland County's Springfield Township, a tragedy is unfolding.

Ninth rhino dead after failed move to new park in Kenya

A ninth critically endangered black rhino has been reported dead after a botched operation to move the animals to a new reserve in southern Kenya, the country's tourism minister said on Tuesday.

Study shows 5,000 percent increase in native trees on rat-free Palmyra Atoll

New research published in PLOS ONE this week demonstrates dramatic positive benefits for native trees following rat removal at Palmyra Atoll, a magnificent National Wildlife Refuge and natural research laboratory located about 1000 miles south of Hawaii.


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