Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Nov 23

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 23, 2016:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Scientists trace 'poisoning' in chemical reactions to the atomic scale

Sliding on flexible graphene surfaces has been uncharted territory until now

Female monkeys use wile to rally troops

Israeli firm can steal phone data in seconds

Hurricane risk to northeast USA coast increasing, research warns

Imaging technique measures toxicity of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's proteins

Nylon fibers made to flex like muscles

Scientists find new way to improve MERS vaccines

A switch to daylight saving time could be lifesaving for koalas, researchers say

Researchers find potential therapy for brain swelling during concussion

Solar cells can be made with tin instead of lead, scientists find

Researchers find students have trouble judging the credibility of information online

Prototype smart cane could transform lives of the blind and visually impaired

Positive language is on the decline in the United States, study finds

New tool uses UV light to control inflammation

Astronomy & Space news

NASA on the hunt for space poop geniuses

When you've got to go, but you're out there in space, zipped up in a spacesuit, with no toilet in sight and a crew of other astronauts around, what do you do?

Hubble spies spiral galaxy

Spiral galaxy NGC 3274 is a relatively faint galaxy located over 20 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion).

Two-year extensions confirmed for ESA's science missions

ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC) has today confirmed two-year mission extensions for nine scientific missions in which the Agency is participating. This secures their operations until the end of 2018.

NASA selects launch services for global surface water survey mission

NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency's Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. Launch is targeted for April 2021 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Technology news

Israeli firm can steal phone data in seconds

It only takes a few seconds for an employee of one of the world's leading hacking companies to take a locked smartphone and pull the data from it.

Solar cells can be made with tin instead of lead, scientists find

A breakthrough in solar power could make it cheaper and more commercially viable, thanks to research at the University of Warwick.

Prototype smart cane could transform lives of the blind and visually impaired

An enterprising researcher from The University of Manchester has developed a prototype tool that could help transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

Gov't wants phone makers to lock out most apps for drivers

The government wants smartphone makers to lock out most apps when the phone is being used by someone driving a car.

How to protect your laptop—even when it's asleep

In the age of WikiLeaks, Russian hacks and increased government surveillance, many computer users are feeling increasingly worried about how best to protect their personal information—even if they aren't guarding state secrets.

Aviation enhancements, better biosensors could result from new sensor technology

Piezoelectric sensors measure changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain or force and are used in a vast array of devices important to everyday life. However, these sensors often can be limited by the "white noise" they detect that can give engineers and health care workers false readings. Now, a University of Missouri College of Engineering research team has developed methods to enhance piezoelectric sensing capabilities. Enhanced sensors could be used to improve aviation, detect structural damage in buildings and bridges, and boost the capabilities of health monitors.

Researchers develop soft, microfluidic 'lab on the skin' for sweat analysis

A Northwestern University research team has developed a first-of-its-kind soft, flexible microfluidic device that easily adheres to the skin and measures the wearer's sweat to show how his or her body is responding to exercise.

Can face classifiers make a reliable inference on criminality?

(Tech Xplore)—Researchers have worked on a new program that they say can pick up criminality just by analyzing facial features.

Whatever happened to bitcoin? Young venture capitalist has the answer

Bitcoin, the virtual currency used by savvy techies and online black market traders, has faded from the public eye in recent months. But investor and cryptocurrency expert Adam Draper says bitcoin still has the potential to play a major role in the financial market - once society figures out exactly what to use it for.

Censorship tool built as Facebook eyes China: report

Facebook has built a tool for geographically censoring posts at the leading social network as it seeks a path back into China, The New York Times reports.

Twitter boss briefly suspended from his own network

The Twitter account of Jack Dorsey, the social network's CEO and co-founder, was briefly suspended Tuesday night because of what he called "an internal mistake."

Long bank queues in India? There's an app for that!

Long queues snaking outside banks have become an ubiquitous sight in India two weeks after the government's shock decision to withdraw the two highest denomination notes from circulation.

Ex-Ericsson executives tell of massive bribery: report

Former executives with Swedish telecoms equipment giant Ericsson say the firm shelled out tens of millions of dollars in bribes between 1998 and 2001, the Swedish media reported Wednesday.

An entertaining holiday gift guide for techies

With the holiday season almost upon us, it's time to start thinking about what to get those special people in our lives.

Coalition seeks to protect internet from weaknesses of many 'connected' devices

As an increasing number of devices—from cars to light bulbs to kitchen appliances—connect with computer networks, experts are raising concerns about privacy and security. Just this fall, attackers used compromised home devices, including security cameras and DVRs, to bombard an internet infrastructure company with traffic, slowing internet access for much of the U.S. East Coast.

Reengineered ear cleaning machine, the 'Earigator,' finds an eager market

Removing ear wax may sound humorous, unless you need it done. Then it can be a personal emergency that can hinder hearing and cause pain. The need is more prevalent among older people.

High renewable electricity growth continued in 2015

The 2015 Renewable Energy Data Book shows that U.S. renewable electricity grew to 16.7 percent of total installed capacity and 13.8 percent of total electricity generation during the past year. Published annually by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on behalf of the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the data book illustrates U.S. and global energy statistics, including renewable electricity generation, renewable energy development, clean energy investments, and technology-specific data and trends.

Fast moving walkways could move 7,000 people per hour

EPFL researchers have been studying futuristic transport solutions for car-free urban centers. They have come up with an optimal design for a network of accelerating moving walkways.

Asking users to tag fake news isn't going to work if they don't know what it is

Fake news is still very much the subject of the news at the moment. There is a growing realisation that there is very little that can be done to stop it.

Changing SIM card number for more secure mobile phone

A continuously changing SIM card number ensures that your mobile phone can no longer be traced and tapped and enables it to check whether it is in contact with an authentic radio tower. Computer scientist Fabian van den Broek came up with this solution to solve the largest security flaw found in mobile phones today, and he is currently in contact with the GSM Association to discuss the possibility of incorporating the innovation into international standards. Van den Broek will be publicly defending his PhD thesis at Radboud University on 14 December.

Re-energizing the lithium-ion battery

High costs, slow recharging rates, and limited lifetimes restrict the utility of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, storing electricity from wind or solar power, and other applications. Scientists are resolving these deficiencies; however, few have focused on a key interaction that influences battery behavior—how the lithium ions move from one electrode to the other. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California-Berkeley have taken up the challenge. Using experiments and theoretical calculations, they showed that the lithium ion's journey involves more intimate contact with the electrolyte molecules than previously thought.

Germany's top court rejects Yahoo case over news royalties

Germany's highest court has rejected a case brought by Yahoo against a law designed to compensate news publishers for the use of their content.

UN agency says China tops world again in patent applications

China continued to set the pace for patent applications last year, filing a record 1 million that nearly all focused on its giant home market, the U.N.'s intellectual property agency said Wednesday.

Researchers run largest known transparent checkpointing process

A team of researchers led by Jiajun Cao, a PhD candidate in the College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS) at Northeastern University, recently completed what appears to be the largest known instance of transparent checkpointing.

Holiday shopping? Bring these four money-saving apps with you

If you're looking to save a few bucks at the mall while holiday shopping, charge up the smartphone and bring these apps with you. The four apps, which I've been using all year, can help find you coupons, compare prices or price match. All are available for Apple and Android devices and are free to download:

Internet of Things will demand a step-change in search solutions

A recent article published in IEEE Intelligent Systems highlights the requirements the IoT will place on search engines and brings together the latest research being carried out in this field. 'On Searching the Internet of Things: Requirements and Challenges' has been written by leading researchers working in the field of next generation communications at the University of Surrey's Institute of Communication Systems (home of the 5G Innovation Centre) and Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge Enabled Computing (Kno.e.sis) at Wright State University (USA).

Statistician calls for audit to address election hacking fears

With the Electoral College set on Dec. 19 to cement the results of Donald Trump's presidential win, UC Berkeley statistician Philip Stark is calling for an audit to double-check that hackers did not manipulate the results.

Police worried they lack powers to probe phone involvement in crashes: new study

Police officers are worried they lack the right powers and resources to properly investigate whether a mobile phone was being used by a driver at the time of a crash, a new study has found.

Meeting of the minds for machine intelligence

Surviving breast cancer changed the course of Regina Barzilay's research. The experience showed her, in stark relief, that oncologists and their patients lack tools for data-driven decision making. That includes what treatments to recommend, but also whether a patient's sample even warrants a cancer diagnosis, she explained at the Nov. 10 Machine Intelligence Summit, organized by MIT and venture capital firm Pillar.

Health diagnosis through bio-signal measuring electrodes on IoT devices

Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology announced that Professor Kyung-in Jang's research team from the Department of Robotics Engineering succeeded in developing bio-signal measuring electrodes that can be mounted on Internet of Things (IoT) devices through joint research with a research team led by professor John Rogers of the University of Illinois, USA.

New tool to show advertising revenue generated by each Facebook user

Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, as part of a European research project, have developed a new software tool which allows Facebook users to visualize the advertising revenue they generate while browsing in this online social network.

Medicine & Health news

Imaging technique measures toxicity of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's proteins

Researchers have developed a new imaging technique that makes it possible to study why proteins associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases may go from harmless to toxic. The technique uses a technology called multi-dimensional super-resolution imaging that makes it possible to observe changes in the surfaces of individual protein molecules as they clump together. The tool may allow researchers to pinpoint how proteins misfold and eventually become toxic to nerve cells in the brain, which could aid in the development of treatments for these devastating diseases.

Scientists find new way to improve MERS vaccines

Since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was identified in 2012, more than 1,800 people have been infected with the virus that causes MERS, and the fatality rate is a concerning 36 percent. There's still no approved MERS vaccine for humans. However, promising new research reported in Nature Communications this week may help pave the way for a human vaccine – and give hope for a new era of protection against similar viral infections.

Researchers find potential therapy for brain swelling during concussion

A team of biomedical engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have identified a cause of fluid swelling of the brain, or cellular edema,that occurs during a concussion.

Study in rats finds low blood alcohol levels have no effect on total calories consumed

Laboratory rats will drink alcohol if it's available, and may even get a little tipsy, researchers report in a new study. But they won't voluntarily drink until they're drunk. And while ethanol is calorie-rich, rats that drink it eat less food and their total energy intake remains steady, the research team found.

Fibroblasts could provide new target for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

A study led by researchers at the University of Birmingham reveals the key role of different types of fibroblast cells in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), opening up a new avenue for research into treatment of the disease.

Changes in the diet affect epigenetics via the microbiota

You are what you eat, the old saying goes, but why is that so? Researchers have known for some time that diet affects the balance of microbes in our bodies, but how that translates into an effect on the host has not been understood. Now, research in mice is showing that microbes communicate with their hosts by sending out metabolites that act on histones—thus influencing gene transcription not only in the colon but also in tissues in other parts of the body. The findings publish November 23 in Molecular Cell.

Major finding identifies nitrogen as key driver for gut health

Scientists are one step closer to understanding the link between different diet strategies and gut health, with new research presenting the first general principles for how diet impacts the microbiota.

Jet lag and obesity share similar pathways to liver cancer

Since 1980, the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, has nearly tripled, and obesity related liver disease is one of the driving forces behind the increasing number of cases. Baylor College of Medicine researchers are now examininng how other lifestyle factors may affect your health. Using mice, the scientists show that repeated jet lag increases both obesity related liver disease and the risk of liver cancer. The study appears November 23 in Cancer Cell.

Researchers put mouse embryos in suspended animation

UC San Francisco researchers have found a way to pause the development of early mouse embryos for up to a month in the lab, a finding with potential implications for assisted reproduction, regenerative medicine, aging, and even cancer, the authors say.

Going beyond genetics yields clues to challenging childhood brain cancer

Cancer is often seen as a disease of genetic changes. But one type of childhood brain tumor has stymied efforts to identify a recurring genetic defect.

Missed connections: As people age, memory-related brain activity loses cohesion

Groups of brain regions that synchronize their activity during memory tasks become smaller and more numerous as people age, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Cancer signaling pathway could illuminate new avenue to therapy

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Carbone Cancer Center have better defined a pro-growth signaling pathway common to many cancers that, when blocked, kills cancer cells but leaves healthy cells comparatively unharmed.

In highly lethal type of leukemia, cancer gene predicts treatment response

Patients with the most lethal form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) - based on genetic profiles of their cancers - typically survive for only four to six months after diagnosis, even with aggressive chemotherapy. But new research indicates that such patients, paradoxically, may live longer if they receive a milder chemotherapy drug.

Rare thunderstorm asthma kills 4 people in Australian city

A rare condition known as thunderstorm asthma sent hundreds of people to hospitals in Australia's second-largest city, and four deaths had been confirmed by Wednesday.

Study shows low-dose chemotherapy regimens could prevent tumor recurrence in some cancers

Conventional, high-dose chemotherapy treatments can cause the fibroblast cells surrounding tumors to secrete proteins that promote the tumors' recurrence in more aggressive forms, researchers at Taipei Medical University and the National Institute of Cancer Research in Taiwan and University of California, San Francisco, have discovered. Frequent, low-dose chemotherapy regimens avoid this effect and may therefore be more effective at treating certain types of breast and pancreatic cancer, according to the murine study "Metronomic chemotherapy prevents therapy-induced stromal activation and induction of tumor-initiating cells," which will be published online November 23 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Researchers discover novel mechanism to stop the spread of breast cancer

A team of researchers from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found that controlling the levels of the TIP60 protein, which is a tumour suppressor, could potentially prevent the spread of breast cancer cells.

The key to determining the right treatment for breast cancer

The Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital has received the highest accolade for its research work in the field of breast cancer: top medical journal The Lancet commissioned Michael Gnant, Head of the Department of Surgery, Head of the Breast Health Center and Deputy Head of the CCC, and Nadia Harbeck, Head of the Breast Center at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, to write a paper reviewing the very latest standards in the treatment of breast cancer. The main finding: For breast cancer as well, it's all about precision medicine, the most significant trend in 21st century medicine.

Nurses keep hospital patients moving with help from UW researchers

Laughter may get a lot of credit, but Barbara King makes walking sound like the best medicine.

Cooking stuffing this holiday? Here's a simple way to help ward off foodborne illness

This is a guest post from Ben Chapman, a food safety researcher and holiday meal enthusiast. He has some food safety tips to help you avoid making loved ones sick this holiday season—because nothing ruins a get-together like projectile vomiting.

Hand, foot and mouth disease: What is it and how can it be prevented?

As winter approaches and outside temperatures drop, illnesses usually begin to increase. This is especially true in children and one of the most common and contagious childhood illness is hand, foot and mouth disease. Tiffany Kimbrough, M.D., assistant professor of general pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, answered questions about this virus and how to prevent children from contracting it.

Why air pollutants make some people vulnerable to atopic dermatitis

Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo) are pleased to announce the published results of a study into why air pollutants cause some people to be more susceptible to atopic dermatitis, a kind of skin inflammation.

Don't spoil the holidays by ignoring fire safety

While the holidays should be a time of joy, there are many potential fire hazards that could ruin them if people don't take adequate precautions to protect themselves, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

New device to monitor pelvic floor

A world-first innovative device that can measure pelvic floor muscle changes in women is being developed at the University of Auckland.

MRI successful new test for liver damage, experts say

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) could offer a new non-invasive test for liver damage that could transform the care of patients with cirrhosis, say experts in Nottingham.

Surgery or not—the health care system and reimbursement model decide

Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a potentially fatal disease which is treated with surgery or minimally invasive repair. Through a unique international collaboration, researchers have assessed how this disease is treated in eleven countries over three continents. Surprising variations in treatment patterns across and within countries was found, indicating opportunities for harmonization of best practices.

Ethics of testing for preterm birth risk weighs uncertain harms and benefits

A new blood test being developed at UC San Francisco may be able to predict a woman's risk for preterm birth with 80 percent accuracy, but knowing such information could also create stress for a woman, which is potentially harmful during pregnancy.

Opinion: Why young women need to be given a louder voice in the obesity debate

Young women are at the centre of myriad public health concerns about their bodies. Fears about obesity, inactivity, unhappiness and social media have driven policy responses that target young women and their "problem" behaviours. But far too often these issues are seen as having competing agendas. In this complex environment, isn't it time for more joined-up thinking and for the voices of young women to be more clearly heard?

How blood cell genetic variations impact on common diseases

In a guest blog, Professor David Roberts from the Nuffield Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences at Oxford University explains the role of non-DNA genetic information in disease and development.

Another failure in search for treatment to slow Alzheimer's

An experimental treatment for Alzheimer's failed again in a widely anticipated study, disappointing many who had hoped drugmaker Eli Lilly had finally found a way to slow the progression of the mind-robbing disease.

Average lifespan in EU tops 80: study

The average lifespan of people in the EU has topped 80 for the first time, but preventable illnesses caused by smoking, alcohol and obesity are taking a huge toll, a study said Wednesday.

Benzodiazepine and related drug use increases hip fractures in persons with Alzheimer's disease

The use of benzodiazepines and related drugs increases the risk of hip fracture by 43% in persons with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The hip fracture risk was investigated in community-dwelling Finnish persons with Alzheimer's disease. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

Your recipe for a healthy, delicious holiday season

(HealthDay)—The holidays can become one big pig out, but experts say it's possible to maintain healthy eating habits while you celebrate.

Survival tips for holiday road trips

(HealthDay)—If you're among the millions of Americans planning to hit the highway over the Thanksgiving holiday, it's important to anticipate bumps in the road, according to a group dedicated to public education and advocacy.

Computer order entry system ups antimicrobial policy compliance

(HealthDay)—Use of a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system can improve compliance with antimicrobial restriction policies, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research.

A new tool to find latent HIV will advance the current treatment strategies

A group of researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain, have developed a new technology that sheds light on the HIV infection and offers a first glance at the expression landscape of the HIV in the human genome.

New study evaluates national trends in enteral access procedures

According to a new study by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, the last two decades have seen a substantial decline in new enteral access procedures in the Medicare population. The study, published online in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (JVIR), also found that maintenance services have increased, with radiologists and emergency physicians surpassing gastroenterologists and surgeons as the leading providers of those procedures.

Study suggests home-based telemental health delivers better quality of life for veterans

Home-based telemental health for depression is well received by patients and delivers as good a quality of life as in-person visits, according to the results of a clinical trial in 241 depressed elderly veterans reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry by investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.

Juno Therapeutics halts study after more patient deaths

Juno Therapeutics again halted its study of an experimental leukemia treatment Wednesday after two more patients died of complications.

Substantial percentage of patients surveyed report new visual symptoms following LASIK surgery

In a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology, Malvina Eydelman, M.D., of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Md., and colleagues examined the frequency of patient-reported visual symptoms, dry eye symptoms, satisfaction with vision, and satisfaction with laser insitu keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery in the Patient-Reported Outcomes With LASIK (PROWL) studies.

Depression prevalence in patients with mild cognitive impairment

Depression commonly occurs in patients with mild cognitive impairment and a new review of the medical literature suggests an overall pooled prevalence of 32 percent, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Educational intervention improves rate of knee replacement among black patients

A decision aid that consisted of a video that describes the risks and benefits of total knee replacement surgery significantly increased the rate of this surgery among black patients, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery.

Active-duty military find PTSD relief through individual cognitive therapy

Although both group and individual therapy can ease post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in active-duty military service members, individual therapy relieved PTSD symptoms better and quicker, according to a study led by a Duke University School of Medicine researcher.

Medicare beneficiaries face high out-of-pocket costs for cancer treatment

Beneficiaries of Medicare who develop cancer and don't have supplemental health insurance incur out-of-pocket expenditures for their treatments averaging one-quarter of their income with some paying as high as 63 percent, according to results of a survey-based study published Nov. 23 in JAMA Oncology.

Suicide rates drop among members of White Mountain Apache tribe

Deaths by suicide among the White Mountain Apache in Arizona dropped by nearly 40 percent between 2006 and 2012 compared to the previous six-year period, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the tribe finds.

Scientists discover neuron-producing stem cells in the membranes covering the brain

In a cross-domain study directed by professor Peter Carmeliet (VIB - KU Leuven), researchers discovered unexpected cells in the protective membranes that enclose the brain, the so called meninges. These 'neural progenitors' - or stem cells that differentiate into different kinds of neurons - are produced during embryonic development. These findings show that the neural progenitors found in the meninges produce new neurons after birth - highlighting the importance of meningeal tissue as well as these cells' potential in the development of new therapies for brain damage or neurodegeneration. A paper highlighting the results was published in the leading scientific journal Cell Stem Cell.

Malaria elimination in Sub-Saharan Africa predicted to be possible under right conditions

Malaria elimination in historically high transmission areas like southern Africa is possible with tools that are already available, provided those tools are deployed aggressively - according to new research published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Mutant prion protein could help reveal neurodegenerative disease mechanisms

For the first time, scientists have isolated a mutated prion protein that can multiply in the lab but not in living animals, according to a PLOS Pathogens study. The mutant prion provides new insights into the mechanisms that make prions infectious, says co-author Ilaria Vanni of the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, and colleagues.

Diet quality low but steadily improving among US kids

On the whole, the diet of U.S. children improved markedly between 1999 and 2012 but it remains poor, said the authors of a new study that examined diet quality data from more than 38,000 kids. Moreover, disparities remain among key subgroups.

Stuttering related to brain circuits that control speech production

Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) have conducted the first study of its kind, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to look at brain regions in both adults and children who stutter.

CDC: US abortion rate falls to lowest level in decades

The number and rate of abortions tallied by federal authorities have fallen to their lowest level in decades, according to new data released Wednesday.

An Alzheimer's drug fails, but many others still in testing

Another major Alzheimer's drug study has failed, leaving patients and families wondering if there ever will be a treatment to slow or reverse the most common form of dementia, which afflicts more than 5 million in the United States alone.

Study suggests that parental health behaviors may influence children's sleep

A new study indicates that children's sleep duration may be influenced by parental sleep duration and confidence, which suggests that efforts to address insufficient sleep among children may require family-based interventions.

Study finds link between surgery and Guillain-Barre syndrome

A new study suggests that having surgery may be linked to developing Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) for people with cancer or autoimmune disorders. The study, published in the November 23, 2016, online issue of Neurology Clinical Practice, a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, showed that 15 percent of those who developed the syndrome had a surgical procedure within two months prior to developing the disease.

Experts call for fair vaccine pricing, not 'random acts of charity'

Drug companies should stop using donations to atone those who cannot afford expensive vaccines and instead lower prices, argue experts in The BMJ today.

Generation X at greater risk of stroke than baby boomers, study finds

Older baby boomers—those born between 1945 and 1954—can proudly boast a new label: the "stroke-healthiest generation," according to a Rutgers study that found the lowest incidence of ischemic stroke in this age group within the past 20 years. In contrast, the rate of stroke more than doubled among Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1974, during the same time period.

Creative activities promote day-to-day wellbeing

Everyday creative activity may lead to an "upward spiral" of increased wellbeing and creativity in young adults, new research from New Zealand's University of Otago suggests.

Mercury levels dropping in north Atlantic tuna

(HealthDay)—Mercury levels in one tuna species have decreased along with industrial emissions of the dangerous chemical element, a new study finds.

Can protein in common skin bacteria offer disease protection?

(HealthDay)—Our most common skin bacteria may help shield us from some skin diseases, a new study suggests.

Don't get stuffed on Thanksgiving

(HealthDay)—Weight gain is a common problem during the holiday season, but it can be avoided if you have a plan and a bit of self-discipline, a nutrition specialist says.

Many nursing home residents not taking beta-blockers after AMI

(HealthDay)—Many nursing home (NH) residents do not initiate beta-blocker use after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), according to a study published online Nov. 15 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Mental distress common in survivors of teen, young adult CA

(HealthDay)—Survivors of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer are more likely to have mental distress than individuals without cancer, but most do not talk to mental health professionals, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in Cancer.

Lean six methodology can cut health care-linked infections

(HealthDay)—Application of the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology can reduce the risk of health care-associated infections (HAI) among patients undergoing surgical procedures, according to a study published online Nov. 18 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Antidepressants + exercise beneficial in late-life depression

(HealthDay)—For older adults with late-life major depression (LLMD), the combination of antidepressants (AD) and physical exercise (PE) seems beneficial, especially for individuals with specific characteristics, according to research published online Nov. 21 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Review suggests yoga beneficial in irritable bowel syndrome

(HealthDay)—Yoga is associated with decreased bowel symptoms, disease severity, and anxiety in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a review published in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

S. Korea's presidential office explains Viagra purchase

A scandal over South Korean President Park Geun-Hye's shadowy confidante took an even more bizarre turn Wednesday when Park's office was forced to explain a mass purchase of Viagra.

Data reveals more managers boost hospital performance

Ian Kirkpatrick, Professor of Healthcare Improvement & Implementation Science, will reveal how data shows hospitals in England need more managers not less to improve performance at Acute & General Medicine 2016.

German court: Breast implants no hindrance to police work

A German court has ruled breast implants are no impediment to a woman becoming a police officer.

Keep kids in mind when politics intrude at Thanksgiving

(HealthDay)—This Thanksgiving, especially, political differences could spark dinner-table debates that quickly escalate.

Innovative techniques for IVC filter removal result in 100 percent removal rate

Most filters—whether for water or a furnace—eventually need to be removed or replaced to avoid complications.

In the EU, death comes sooner in Latvia than Spain

Death in the European Union will be coming a lot earlier in Latvia than Spain.

Biology news

Female monkeys use wile to rally troops

Female vervet monkeys manipulate males into fighting battles by lavishing attention on brave soldiers while giving noncombatants the cold shoulder, researchers said Wednesday.

A switch to daylight saving time could be lifesaving for koalas, researchers say

The population of wild koalas in the southeast portion of Australia's Queensland state has plunged by 80 percent in less than two decades, but researchers are offering a simple plan to save them. They can sum it up in three words: daylight saving time.

Single enzyme controls two plant hormones

Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis isolated an enzyme that controls the levels of two plant hormones simultaneously, linking the molecular pathways for growth and defense.

Study finds some female fish evolve bigger brains when males have bigger genitals

Despite what you might think, evolution rarely happens because something is good for a species. Instead, natural selection favours genetic variants that are good for the individuals that possess them. This leads to a much more complicated and messy world, with different selective forces pushing in many directions, even within a single species.

Researchers use parkour athletes to test energy demands of tree dwelling apes

(—A team of researchers with the Universities of Roehampton and Birmingham in the U.K. has found a unique way to measure the energy spent by tree-dwelling apes when faced with gaps in a jungle canopy. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the team describes how they created an artificial canopy and enlisted the assistance of parkour athletes to find out how the different approaches to dealing with canopy gaps compared.

Genomics reveals hen harrier is two distinct species

The study, published as the cover article in BioMed Central's Avian Research, led by the Earlham Institute and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, explores the phylogenetic relationship between two forms of Harriers (Circus cyaneus); the Eurasian Hen Harrier (C. c. cyaneus) and the American Northern Harrier (C. c. hudsonius) to distinguish their ancestry and evolution.

Your dog remembers what you did

People have a remarkable ability to remember and recall events from the past, even when those events didn't hold any particular importance at the time they occurred. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on November 23 have evidence that dogs have that kind of "episodic memory" too.

Harnessing the power of predatory bacteria as a 'living antibiotic'

A naturally occurring predatory bacterium is able to work with the immune system to clear multi-drug resistant Shigella infections in zebrafish, according to a study published today in Current Biology.

Pioneering study of invertebrates discovers 1,445 viruses including several new families

A groundbreaking study of the virosphere of the most populous animals - those without backbones such as insects, spiders and worms and that live around our houses - has uncovered 1445 viruses, revealing people have only scratched the surface of the world of viruses - but it is likely that only a few cause disease.

Coconut crab claws pinch with the strongest force of any crustacean

The claws of coconut crabs have the strongest pinching force of any crustacean, according to a study published November 23, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Shin-ichiro Oka from Okinawa Churashima Foundation, Japan, and colleagues.

Just add water: New discovery in plant-disease mechanism

We all know that when it rains, plants grow. When it doesn't, they don't.

What messages do female birds' markings send?

Both male and female birds use traits like plumage brightness to size each other up, but a new study on Northern Cardinals in The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows that the meanings of female birds' markings may vary from one place to another, even within the same species.

DNA analysis of bluebird feces reveals benefits for vineyards

Do bluebirds nesting in California's vineyards help grape growers by eating agricultural pests, or hurt them by eating insects that are beneficial? The researchers behind a new study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances found that bluebirds' presence is likely a net positive—and they did it by analyzing DNA in bird poop.

Poisonous amphibian defenses are linked to higher extinction risk

Research published by a Swansea University scientist has found amphibians which have a toxic defence against predators—such as the iconic poison dart frogs—have a much higher risk of extinction than species which use other types of defence mechanisms.

New research could make ethanol production more efficient and economic

New research at the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus could significantly change ethanol production by lowering operating costs and simplifying the dry grind process.

Bright red fluorescent protein created

After years of trying, biologists have succeeded in creating an extremely bright red fluorescent protein in the lab. This is good news for researchers, including cancer and stem cell researchers, who use fluorescent proteins to track essential cellular processes. The researchers at the University of Amsterdam, the Institut de Biologie structurale and the European Synchrotron in Grenoble describe their approach in the latest edition of the journal Nature Methods.

Asian building boom threatens tigers, study says

Poaching and habitat loss have devastated tiger populations but in the coming years, the new threat of infrastructure projects could pose the biggest risk to the imperilled cats, a report said Wednesday.

Starch from yeast

Researchers at ETH Zurich have produced starch in yeast—the first time this has been achieved in a non-plant organism. The new model system now makes it easier for them to investigate how starch is formed and what role is played by the enzymes involved. In future, it may be possible to use yeast to trial specific modifications of starch.

Electronic tracking of song birds shows roads and urban features influence their choice of gardens

Birds prefer to fly between the gardens of leafy suburban neighbourhoods to visit bird feeders than city terraces or new-build estates, a ground-breaking study tracking the behaviour of hundreds of garden birds has found.

Molecular chameleons reveal bacterial biofilms

Molecules that change colour can be used to follow in real-time how bacteria form a protective biofilm around themselves. This new method, which has been developed in collaboration between researchers at Linköping University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, may in the future become significant both in medical care and the food industry, where bacterial biofilms are a problem.

In a pond called Wreck, a new creation helps fish breed

For years, the conflicting goals of protecting the environment and some of the New Jersey shore's priciest real estate from storms have bedeviled a body of water known as Wreck Pond.

Panda twins baptised at Vienna zoo

Two pandas conceived naturally and born at Vienna zoo, Fu Feng and Fu Ban, were officially baptised on Wednesday, 100 days after their birth.

Sri Lanka bans use of young elephants for work

Sri Lanka unveiled tougher laws Wednesday, including a ban on using young elephants for logging and other physical work, as part of a crackdown on cruelty to domesticated wild animals.

Ailing humpback whale stuck on New York sandbar euthanized

An ailing humpback whale that became grounded on a sandbar off New York has been euthanized.

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