Friday, April 17, 2015

Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 17

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Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Phys.org Newsletter for April 17, 2015:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Scientists eye YouTube cave videos to track water levels
- Boron-based atomic clusters mimic rare-earth metals
- ARM set to improve battery life for Internet of Things devices
- Mobile devices contributing to increased time spent watching video
- Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income
- iRobot and Observatory in dispute over radio frequency for use with robot lawnmower
- Invasive parasitic fly on Galapagos Islands probably came from mainland Ecuador
- New genetic mutation could signal start of malaria drug resistance in Africa
- New lab technique reveals structure and function of proteins critical in DNA repair
- Unprecedented germ diversity found in remote Amazonian tribe
- Telling the time of day by color
- How to maximize the superconducting critical temperature in a molecular superconductor
- New paper opens the door to the study of a new class of materials
- Planet formation relied on sweeping up of small glassy beads, new model suggests
- Researchers discover gene that controls melting point of cocoa butter

Astronomy & Space news

White dwarf may have shredded passing planet

The destruction of a planet may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a team of astronomers has found evidence that this may have happened in an ancient cluster of stars at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.

Space treaties are a challenge to launching small satellites in orbit

Until recently the idea of launching a satellite into space was an expensive business and the preserve of governments, international space organisations and multi-million dollar companies.

Planet formation relied on sweeping up of small glassy beads, new model suggests

New research proposes that chondrules, small glassy beads that make up the bulk of the most primitive meteorites, played a crucial role in the formation of planets. Simulations developed by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, Lund University in Sweden, and collaborating institutions show how asteroid-sized planetesimals—the building blocks of planets—can grow to observed sizes by sweeping up chondrules, each only about the size of a grain of sand. The work is published today in the journal Science Advances.

NASA spacecraft achieves unprecedented success studying Mercury

After extraordinary science findings and technological innovations, a NASA spacecraft launched in 2004 to study Mercury will impact the planet's surface, most likely on April 30, after it runs out of propellant.

Image: Multi-utility technology testbed aircraft on the runway

The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed (MUTT) is greeted on an Edwards Air Force Base runway by a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) team member.

Gamma-ray spectrometer prompts researchers to rethink how Mercury formed

A versatile instrument developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and riding on the first spacecraft to ever orbit Mercury is causing researchers to rethink their theories on the planet's formation.

A blueprint for clearing the skies of space debris

An international team of scientists have put forward a blueprint for a purely space-based system to solve the growing problem of space debris. The proposal, published in Acta Astronautica, combines a super-wide field-of-view telescope, developed by RIKEN's EUSO team, which will be used to detect objects, and a recently developed high-efficiency laser system, the CAN laser that was presented in Nature Photonics in 2013, that will be used to track space debris and remove it from orbit.

SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrives at space station

SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship arrived Friday at the International Space Station, carrying a load of food and supplies for the astronauts living in orbit.

Technology news

iRobot and Observatory in dispute over radio frequency for use with robot lawnmower

Robot vacuum maker iRobot, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) are, according to IEEE Spectrum, engaged in a dispute over a radio frequency band. iRobot is apparently working on a way to build a robot similar to its Roomba vacuum, for outdoor use—to cut lawns. While many may consider that an admirable goal considering how much a lot of people hate mowing their lawn, and the obvious technical hurdles, one part of its current design has run afoul of the NRAO.

Mobile devices contributing to increased time spent watching video

Market research company eMarketer has released a report detailing its findings regarding how much time adult Americans spend watching video, and on what sorts of devices. They have found that as Americans have grown more attached to their mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.) they have increased the amount of time they spend watching video—it is now up to five and a half hours each and every day—and the reason for the increase is being attributed to our love affair with our mobile gadgets. Back in 2011, they note, adults in the U.S. spent just twenty one minutes watching video on a mobile device, this year, they project that number will jump to an hour and sixteen minutes.

ARM set to improve battery life for Internet of Things devices

Wearables and IoT gadgets, featuring smart functions in much smaller form factors, pose battery challenges and headaches by their small size. ARM has made moves that might change the story of battery life of many wearables and other small devices, with its recent acquisition of two companies. Reports on Friday about ARM focused on its having acquired two low-power wireless communications companies.

Court monitor: Apple antitrust cooperation has 'declined'

Apple Inc.'s cooperation with efforts to improve its compliance with antitrust laws after a federal judge concluded it colluded with electronic book publishers to raise prices five years ago took on an "adversarial tone" recently, a court-appointed monitor says.

Google embraces 'mobile-friendly' sites in search shake-up

Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that's expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

GOCE gravity satellite produces maps for geothermal energy development

Going far above and beyond its original mission objectives, results from the GOCE gravity satellite are now being used to produce maps for geothermal energy development.

Recreating history with technology of the future

The concept of virtual reality has been heavily used in Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters for decades, but few people have actually experienced it first-hand.

Converting food waste into solid fuels, biodiesel and other products

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that "a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed," totaling about 1.3 billion tons of waste a year. The United States alone wastes 40% of all food, worth an estimated $165 billion.

Researchers use passive UHF RFID tags to detect how people interact with objects

Disney Research has demonstrated that battery-free, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags can be used to cheaply and unobtrusively determine how people use and interact with daily objects, enabling new types of interactive play, smart homes and work environments, and new methods for studying consumer shopping habits.

Apple HealthKit app facilitates doctor-patient communication

(HealthDay)—The latest version of Apple's operating system iOS 8 allows physicians to connect with patients in many ways using the HealthKit app that collects user health and fitness data, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Apple Watch to boost 'glance journalism'

With the Apple Watch expected to sell in the millions, news organizations refocusing their efforts to become part of that tiny screen.

Twitter looks to broaden access with new home page

Twitter is getting a makeover amid concerns that its user growth is slowing.

Don't plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

If you're planning on buying the new Apple Watch, don't expect to walk into a store and leave with one next week.

Bloomberg blames 'internal network issue' for global outage

Bloomberg LP's trading terminals, which are used by most of the world's biggest financial firms, went down for a few hours Friday due to apparent technical problems, a crash that prompted the British government to postpone a planned 3 billion-pound ($4.4 billion) debt issue.

At a Glance: Internet TV options

How other providers stack up against Verizon's new FiOS Custom TV

Facebook strips smiles from fake 'like' sellers

Facebook on Friday said that its war against fake likes is paying off so well that many 'bad actors' who built businesses on the tactic are closing shop.

Cybercrime now 'number one' threat: Europol chief

Cybercrime has become as big a threat to Europe's security as terrorism, the head of the continent's policing agency warned Friday.

SEC questions LA Unified on use of bonds for iPad project

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently questioned Los Angeles Unified School District officials as part of informal inquiry into whether they properly used bond funds for a beleaguered $1.3 billion project to provide an iPad for every student.

Verizon slices up the bundle, lets customers choose

The Pay-TV bundle is finally getting more flexible.

US judge gets 1st chance to vet new NCAA head injury deal

A U.S judge will soon get his first chance to scrutinize a reworked deal in a class-action, head-injury lawsuit against the NCAA.

Taiwan factory workers win $18 mn over cancer deaths

Workers from a factory in Taiwan which leeched toxic chemicals they say resulted in 200 deaths from cancer and more than 1,000 other cases of the disease won a Tw$564.45 million ($18 million) payout from US electronics company RCA on Friday.

Annual Kantor Center report finds 2014 was worst year for anti-Jewish violence people since 2009

An annual report from Tel Aviv University researchers reveals that anti-Semitic incidents rose dramatically worldwide in 2014, with violent attacks on Jews ranging from armed assaults to vandalism against synagogues, schools, and cemeteries.

Medicine & Health news

New genetic mutation could signal start of malaria drug resistance in Africa

Early indicators of the malaria parasite in Africa developing resistance to the most effective drug available have been confirmed, according to new research published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Unprecedented germ diversity found in remote Amazonian tribe

In a remote part of the Venezuelan Amazon, scientists have discovered that members of a village isolated from the modern world have the most diverse colonies of bacteria ever reported living in and on the human body.

Evidence grows that melanoma drugs benefit some lung cancer patients

A subset of lung cancer patients can derive important clinical benefits from drugs that are more commonly used to treat melanoma, the authors of a new academic clinical trial in Europe have reported at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Local physician recommends World Health Organization retire the term opioid substitution therapy

A Boston researcher and physician caring for individuals with substance abuse disorders, believes the term opioid substitution therapy (OST) has unintended adverse consequences for patients receiving treatment for addiction.

9/11 leaves legacy of chronic ill health among emergency medical services workers

The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001 have left a legacy of chronic ill health among emergency medical services workers who came to the rescue of the victims, reveals research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

New genomics tool could help predict tumor aggressiveness, treatment outcomes

A new method for measuring genetic variability within a tumor might one day help doctors identify patients with aggressive cancers that are more likely to resist therapy, according to a study led by researchers now at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James).

Intersex surgeries spark move away from drastic treatment

She was born to a young Chicago couple, named Jennifer, and grew into a beautiful long-lashed child with wavy dark hair, big brown eyes and a yearning, youthful desire to be just like all the other girls.

Dog flu outbreak gained foothold at urban doggie day cares

Experts say doggie day care contributed to an outbreak of dog flu in Chicago that is spreading in the Midwest.

Effectiveness of new stroke treatment confirmed

A research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) today confirms earlier findings that a procedure called endovascular therapy (ET) for ischemic stroke is the best treatment option for many patients by reducing the incidents of disability. This is the fourth research paper published this year that confirms the efficacy of the treatment.

Young women objectify themselves more browsing Facebook and magazines than media types

Though it is widely believed that the media objectifies women, women further diminish themselves by constantly comparing their bodies to others'. Regardless of how much time young women devote to viewing television, music videos and using the internet, they will compare their appearances more frequently to photos in magazines and on Facebook, finds a new paper published today in Psychology of Women Quarterly.

Mushrooms boost immunity

Could a mushroom a day help keep the doctor away? A new University of Florida study shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks.

New research reveals how our skeleton is a lot like our brain

Researchers from Monash University and St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne have used mathematical modelling combined with advanced imaging technology to calculate, for the first time, the number and connectivity of the osteocyte network in the human skeleton.

New app to detect anxiety and mood disorders in teens

A phone rings in the middle of the night, an anxious teen seeking guidance from a friend. Is it adolescent angst or a serious mental health problem? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell.

Immune cells can promote liver cancer

A team of Newcastle University scientists have found that specialised immune cells in our bodies that normally act to protect us from infections can have a dark side in the development of liver cancer.

New research shows impact treadmill desks have on job performance

Research showing the adverse effects of sedentary office work has given standing desks and treadmill desks new attention.

Uniquely human 'pain of altruism' recruits help in childbirth

Among all the costs of childbirth – routine obstetric care and complications, midwife fees and gratuities, hospital bills longer than the baby itself – pregnant women can expect another "cost," not covered by insurance or experienced by other animal species: high-decibel labor pain and a lengthy recovery, which Cornell psychologist Barbara L. Finlay calls the "pain of altruism."

Climate change is affecting disease-carrying mosquitoes and other insects

Insect-borne diseases—such as malaria, dengue, West Nile and the newly emerging chikungunya—infect a billion people every year; more than a million die each year and many more are disabled. The effects of climate change, according to Edwin Michael, professor of biological sciences and member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame, mean these deadly diseases are no longer reserved for the developing world.

A new treatment eases patient's life-altering seizures

At age 28, Joey Mapp had almost given up hope that his seizures would ever subside.

Study finds genetic link for rare intestinal cancer

Heredity accounts for up to 35 percent of small intestinal carcinoid, a rare digestive cancer, according to findings from a team at the National Institutes of Health. The researchers examined families with a history of the disease. Because the disease has long been considered randomly occurring rather than inherited, people with a family history are not typically screened. Results were published recently in Gastroenterology .

Smokers underestimate risks of a few cigarettes

Many people still dangerously underestimate the health risks associated with smoking even a few cigarettes a day, despite decades of public health campaigning, French researchers have reported at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Trial shows better function after stroke if clots removed

A technique that removes blood clots from large brain blood vessels reduced disability after stroke in a trial conducted in Catalonia, Spain, and co-led by an expert from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The findings will be announced today at the annual meeting of the European Stroke Organisation in Glasgow, Scotland, and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Self-affirmations may calm jitters and boost performance, research finds

When the stakes are high, people in positions of low power may perform better by using self-affirmations to boost their confidence, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Should they stay or go? Study finds no harm when hospitals allow familes to observe CPR

When a hospital patient's heart stops, the drama starts, as doctors and nurses work furiously at resuscitation. And at many hospitals, that's the cue for someone to pull a curtain and hurry the patient's loved ones out of the room.

Cognitive problems are common after cardiac arrest

Half of all patients who survive a cardiac arrest experience problems with cognitive functions such as memory and attention. This has been shown by a major international study led from Lund University. Surprisingly, however, a control group comprising heart attack patients had largely the same level of problems. This suggests that it is not only the cardiac arrest and the consequent lack of oxygen to the brain that is the cause of the patients' difficulties.

Cardiorespiratory fitness reduces disease risk among smokers

Cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with reduced metabolic syndrome risk among smokers, according to researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. The study was published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Convenience, workplace incentives may increase use of public transit

Transit stops close to home and workplace incentives are associated with higher likelihood that commuters will choose public transportation, according to research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Brain tumors may be new targets of Ebola-like virus

Brain tumors are notoriously difficult for most drugs to reach, but Yale researchers have found a promising but unlikely new ally against brain cancers—portions of a deadly virus similar to Ebola.

How a jab to the ribs jolts the brain into action

A short jab in the ribs instantly arouses a drowsy colleague during a long and dreary work meeting. A new study by Yale neurobiologists describes just what happens in the brain immediately following that jab that allows enhanced information processing.

Support for GPs critical to manage and prevent obesity

New research suggests GPs need more support to help them meet national guidelines to tackle obesity.

Tumors prefer the easy way out

Tumor cells become lethal when they spread. Blocking this process can be a powerful way to stop cancer. Historically, scientists thought that tumor cells migrated by brute force, actively pushing through whatever tissue was in their way, but recent evidence has shown that tumor cells may be more methodical. And in a new study, Cornell University researchers report that tumor cells take advantage of already-cleared paths to migrate unimpeded.

Zebrafish research tests safer, less toxic cancer therapies

Two new cancer studies out of Dalhousie Medical School have shown success in testing safer, less toxic treatments for a rare form of pediatric leukemia called T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (T-ALL). The studies were published by first-year medical student, Victoria Bentley, and Drs. Graham Dellaire and Jason Berman, associate professors in the Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics, respectively.

Turning back the clock on Parkinson's

Like many young people, David Higgins was initially in denial about the possibility of having a serious, lifelong disease.

Dogs sniff out chemicals linked to prostate cancer

Researchers in Italy have published a study suggesting that trained dogs can detect chemicals linked to prostate cancer from urine samples.

Applied physics helps decipher the causes of sudden death

Sudden cardiac death accounts for approximately 10% of natural deaths, most of which are due to ventricular fibrillation. Each year, it causes 300,000 deaths in the United States and 20,000 in Spain. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the transition to calcium alternans, an arrhythmia associated with increased risk of sudden death, has common features with the magnetic ordering of metals. This new finding improves our understanding of the physical causes of sudden death and will advance the design of drugs to prevent it. The article, titled "Calcium Alternans is Due to an Order-Disorder Phase Transition in Cardiac Cells," was published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Bacteria play only a minor role stomach ulcers in cattle

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna investigated whether stomach ulcers in cattle are related to the presence of certain bacteria. For their study, they analysed bacteria present in healthy and ulcerated cattle stomachs and found very few differences in microbial diversity. Bacteria therefore appear to play a minor role in the development of ulcers. The microbial diversity present in the stomachs of cattle has now for the first time been published in the journal Veterinary Microbiology.

New function of obesity gene revealed

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown mechanism behind how the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene promotes obesity. Their findings may have important implications for future therapeutic strategies to combat obesity.

Droperidol is safe for agitated ER patients, despite black box warning

Droperidol is safe and effective for calming violent and aggressive emergency patients, and the negative effects that garnered a black box warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are actually quite rare. A new study of the once ubiquitous, now scarce, sedating agent was published online Wednesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

New research finds smoking and mother's genetics combine to increase likelihood of twins

African American mothers who smoke and have a genetic profile that includes a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the TP53 gene have an increased likelihood of having twins, concluded a team of researchers from the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Spring allergy season could be a bloomin' nightmare

(HealthDay)—If you've got seasonal allergies, you probably already know that spring has finally arrived. And, some experts are predicting that this allergy season may be one of the worst in years.

U.S. boy's death highlights rare mosquito-borne infection

(HealthDay)—The death from encephalitis of a 6-year-old Tennessee boy has led researchers to a better understanding of the mosquito-borne virus that killed the child.

Cross-protective T cells could explain asymptomatic influenza

(HealthDay)—Naturally occurring cross-protective T-cell immunity may protect against disease in polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed influenza, according to a study published online April 6 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

FDA: generic copaxone approved for multiple sclerosis

(HealthDay)—The first U.S. generic version of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat multiple sclerosis.

Text messages a good way to support mothers with postpartum depression, research finds

ST. LOUIS ¬- A Saint Louis University research paper published online March 16 in JMIR Mental Health explores the feasibility of helping low-income mothers through postpartum depression using text messages.

Diabetes perceptions vary according to risk factors, researchers find

Recent research published in The Diabetes Educator by Dr. Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU's Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry, along with a team of NYU researchers, reveals differing perceptions among adult populations at-risk for diabetes that may offer new approaches to diabetes education and prevention.

2 drugs reduce teacher-rated anxiety, in addition to ADHD, aggression, study shows

Previous research published by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and three other institutions showed that when children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and serious physical aggression were prescribed both a stimulant and an antipsychotic drug, along with teaching parents behavior management techniques, they had a reduction of aggressive and serious disruptive behavior.

Fruit fly studies shed light on adaptability of nerve cells

An international team of researchers at German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have revealed in a collaborative study - published today in NEURON, that neurons in the eye change on the molecular level when they are exposed to prolonged light. The researchers could identify that a feedback signalling mechanism is responsible for these changes. The innate neuronal property might be utilized to protect neurons from degeneration or cell death in the future.

Mouth, as well as gut, could hold key to liver disease flare-ups

In a recent study, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers predicted which cirrhosis patients would suffer inflammations and require hospitalization by analyzing their saliva, revealing a new target for research into a disease that accounts for more than 30,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Large measles outbreak traced to Disneyland is declared over

California health authorities on Friday declared an end to a large measles outbreak that started at Disneyland and triggered a national debate about vaccinations.

Hydration during PCI cuts risk of contrast-induced nephropathy

(HealthDay)—Hydration during primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) is associated with a reduction in the risk of contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN), according to a study published in the May 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Apremilast effective for oral ulcers in behçet's syndrome

(HealthDay)—For patients with Beh├žet's syndrome, the oral phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor apremilast is effective for treating oral ulcers, according to a study published in the April 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

AAN: phenytoin neuroprotective in optic neuritis

(HealthDay)—Phenytoin appears to be neuroprotective in acute optic neuritis (AON), according to a study scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

Suboptimal prescribing attitudes could signal personal distress

(HealthDay)—Medical students in personal distress may be more likely to have suboptimal attitudes about self-prescribing and personal responsibility for reporting impaired colleagues, according to a study published in the April issue of Academic Medicine.

A-fib recurrence common five years after ablation

(HealthDay)—Most patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and systolic heart failure who undergo ablation have AF recurrence at five years, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Review explores challenges of ocular antioxidants for cataracts

(HealthDay)—Delivery of antioxidants to the eye may be a therapeutic option for cataracts, but considerable challenges need to be resolved, according to a review published in the April issue of the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

Artificial blood vessel lets researchers better assess clot removal devices

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have created an in vitro, live-cell artificial vessel that can be used to study both the application and effects of devices used to extract life-threatening blood clots in the brain. The artificial vessel could have significant implications for future development of endovascular technologies, including reducing the need for animal models to test new devices or approaches.

From beef tongue to beef on weck, menus tell culinary story

Before beef on weck and chicken wings became staples of the city's restaurants, there was beef tongue and woodcock.

Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn, study says

For decades, frustrated parents and teachers have barked at fidgety children with ADHD to "Sit still and concentrate!"

New approaches for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's

Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, may be one of Alzheimer's earliest signs. The subtle changes of MCI include problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment and a subjective sense that mental function is getting worse. MCI is seldom severe enough to impair day-to-day activities and is sometimes ignored as "normal aging." Though it doesn't always progress to Alzheimer's or another dementia, it should always be investigated further.

Families make videos to reassure patients with dementia

A new program designed to comfort nursing home residents afflicted with dementia was inspired by an Adam Sandler movie.

UCLA demographer produces best estimate yet of Cambodia's death toll under Pol Pot

The death toll in Cambodia under Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot was most likely between 1.2 million and 2.8 million—or between 13 percent and 30 percent of the country's population at the time—according to a forthcoming article by a UCLA demographer.

Monitoring maternal and children health in rural India

Imagine community health workers fanning out across rural villages and muddy fields to survey villagers in West Bengal, the fourth-most populous state in India.

Artificial meat tipped to flood low-end market

Steaks and chops could be pushed to the high-end of the meat market in future, with artificial meats supplying the bulk, cheap end, research suggests.

Experts warn the Ebola epidemic could return with a vengeance

Health experts have warned that a greater flexibility must be brought to medical trials to combat diseases like Ebola to avoid facing another nightmare outbreak.

Older people's oral health improved through new research

Toothaches and mouth problems in elderly people are to be tackled in a health initiative launched this month.

24 new HIV cases reported in Indiana outbreak, 130 total

Indiana health officials say there are two dozen new HIV cases in southeastern Indiana, bringing the outbreak's total cases to 130.

Romania to make special flak jackets for its female soldiers

A Romanian research institute is developing a bulletproof vest for the growing number of female soldiers signing up to serve in the country's army.

FDA approves corlanor for chronic heart failure

(HealthDay)—Corlanor (ivabradine) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat chronic heart failure, the agency said in a news release.

One in 4 advanced lung cancer patients started on firstline treatment before EGFR test results available

Almost one in four patients (24%) with advanced lung cancer in Europe, Asia and the US are not receiving EGFR test results before being started on treatment, researchers report at the European Lung Cancer Conference.

Ebola-hit countries call for $8 bn for 'Marshall Plan'

The three West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola epidemic called for an $8 billion "Marshall Plan" on Friday to help rebuild their economies and boost prevention efforts.

DNA blood test detects lung cancer mutations

Cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream of lung cancer patients can provide doctors with vital mutation information that can help optimise treatment when tumour tissue is not available, an international group of researchers has reported at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Journal tackles aging policy issues raised by White House

In anticipation of the forthcoming 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has produced a special issue of The Gerontologist that outlines a vision for older adults' economic and retirement security, health, caregiving, and social well-being for the next decade and beyond. And because this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, articles within the issue also explore ways to safeguard the continuing success of these programs.

Key to better sex ed: Focus on gender & power

A new analysis by Population Council researcher Nicole Haberland provides powerful evidence that sexuality and HIV education programs addressing gender and power in intimate relationships are far more likely to be effective than programs that do not. The research appears in the March 2015 issue of International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, published by the Guttmacher Institute.

World Bank to give $650 million to 3 African countries

The World Bank announced Friday that it will give three West African countries at least $650 million over the next 12 to 18 months to help them recover from the devastating effects of Ebola.

Protecting students from homophobic bullying

Students who are bullied because of sexual orientation have willing defenders in their classmates - motivated by leadership, courage, their beliefs in justice, altruism and having lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender friends, according to a Boston College professor and co-author of a new report on bullying at school.

Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

GlaxoSmithKline is recalling remaining doses of a popular four-in-one flu vaccine because of effectiveness problems.

USDA confirms bird flu at 5th South Dakota turkey farm

Five commercial turkey farms in South Dakota have now been infected with a bird flu strain that's led to the deaths of more than 250,000 turkeys in the state and over 2.4 million birds in the Midwest.

Biology news

Researchers discover gene that controls melting point of cocoa butter

The discovery of a gene involved in determining the melting point of cocoa butter—a critical attribute of the substance widely used in foods and pharmaceuticals—will likely lead to new and improved products, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

DNA 'spool' modification affects aging and longevity

Research on a modified protein around which DNA is wrapped sheds light on how gene regulation is linked to aging and longevity in nematodes, fruit flies and possibly humans.

Aphrodisiac for fish and frogs discovered

A supplement simply added to water has been shown to boost reproduction in nematodes (roundworms), molluscs, fish and frogs – and researchers believe it could work for humans too.

Invasive parasitic fly on Galapagos Islands probably came from mainland Ecuador

Philornis downsi is a parasitic muscid fly that is native to mainland South America. Decades ago, it was accidentally introduced to the Galápagos Islands, where it harms Darwin's finches and other land birds.

New lab technique reveals structure and function of proteins critical in DNA repair

By combining two highly innovative experimental techniques, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have for the first time simultaneously observed the structure and the correlated function of specific proteins critical in the repair of DNA, providing definitive answers to some highly debated questions, and opening up new avenues of inquiry and exciting new possibilities for biological engineering.

Telling the time of day by color

Research by scientists at The University of Manchester has revealed that the colour of light has a major impact on how the brain clock measures time of day and on how the animals' physiology and behavior adjust accordingly. The study, for the first time, provides a neuronal mechanism for how our internal clock can measure changes in light colour that accompany dawn and dusk.

Expanding rubber plantations 'catastrophic' for endangered species in Southeast Asia

Demand for natural rubber fuelled by the tyre industry is threatening protected parts of Southeast Asia - according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Tagging and scanning for feral pigs

Innovative research using GPS tracking and thermal imagery is being used in an attempt to manage the destructive behaviour of feral pigs in the south-west.

Evolution puts checks on virgin births

It seems unnatural that a species could survive without having sex. Yet over the ages, evolution has endowed females of certain species of amphibians, reptiles and fish with the ability to clone themselves, and perpetuate offspring without males. Researchers at the at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) found that in species where females have evolved the ability to reproduce without males relatively recently, fertilization is still ensuring the survival of the maximum number of healthy offspring and thus males are still needed. The research was published online in The Science of Nature.

Scientists invent rain-resistant coating that cuts cherry cracking in half

A tissue-thin, food-grade film developed at Oregon State University acts like a raincoat for sweet cherries, cutting rain-related cracking of the fruit in half and potentially saving a whole season's crop.

Roadkill hot spots identified in California

An interactive map shows how California's state highway system is strewn with roadkill "hot spots," which are identified in a newly released report by the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis. The data could help state highway planners take measures to protect both drivers and wildlife.

Fish found in suspected tsunami debris boat quarantined

The wreckage of a fishing boat that appears to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami was carrying some unexpected passengers—fish from Japanese waters—when it was spotted off the Oregon coast.

Mexico boosts protection of near-extinct porpoise

Mexico is greatly expanding a protected area of the Gulf of California and boosting navy patrols in an effort to save the vaquita marina, a small porpoise facing imminent extinction.

Vietnam customs make massive seizure of rhino horns, elephant tusks

Vietnamese customs have seized elephant tusks and rhino horns worth millions of dollars on the black market from a flight arriving from France, officials said Friday.


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