Thursday, December 1, 2016

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Dec 1

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for December 1, 2016:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Proposed quantum nano-MRI could generate images with angstrom-level resolution

One day, many ideas: Future of Mind 2016 illuminates NYC (Part 1)

Magnetic brain stimulation can bring back stowed memories: study

A watershed moment in understanding how H2O conducts electricity

How the brain recognizes faces: Machine-learning system spontaneously reproduces aspects of human neurology

Shifts in mating strategies help herbicide-resistant 'superweeds' persist

Hallucinogenic drug psilocybin eases existential anxiety in people with life-threatening cancer

Predation on pollinating insects shaped the evolution of the orchid mantis

Periodic table expands with elements named after Japan, Moscow, Tennessee

University of Toronto team delivers computer-generated Christmas song

New process produces hydrogen at much lower temperature

Black Death 'plague pit' discovered at 14th-century monastery hospital

Pasteurised intestinal bacterium reduces effects of obesity and diabetes

6,000 years ago, the Sahara desert was tropical—what happened?

Researchers demonstrate 'ghost imaging' with atoms

Astronomy & Space news

New observations confirm long-standing theory that stars are copious producers of heavy elements

Galaxies are often thought of as sparkling with stars, but they also contain gas and dust. Now, a team led by UCLA astronomers has used new data to show that stars are responsible for producing dust on galactic scales, a finding consistent with long-standing theory. Dust is important because it is a key component of rocky planets such as Earth.

Unmanned ISS cargo ship burns up on way to ISS: Russia (Update 4)

An unmanned cargo ship travelling to the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere shortly after lauching Thursday, the Russian space agency said, raising concerns over space travel safety.

Tangled threads weave through cosmic oddity

New observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have revealed the intricate structure of the galaxy NGC 4696 in greater detail than ever before. The elliptical galaxy is a beautiful cosmic oddity with a bright core wrapped in system of dark, swirling, thread-like filaments.

Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features

Dramatic climate cycles on early Mars, triggered by buildup of greenhouse gases, may be the key to understanding how liquid water left its mark on the planet's surface, according to a team of planetary scientists.

Embryonic cluster galaxy immersed in giant cloud of cold gas

Astronomers studying a cluster of still-forming protogalaxies seen as they were more than 10 billion years ago have found that a giant galaxy in the center of the cluster is forming from a surprisingly-dense soup of molecular gas.

Image: NASA's Webb Telescope clean room 'transporter'

What looks like a teleporter from science fiction being draped over NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, is actually a "clean tent."

The mystery of coronal heating

Imagine standing around a roaring campfire, roasting s'mores. You feel the warmth of the flames as the marshmallows crackle. Now back away. You get cooler, right?

Japanese company plans artificial meteor shower

A company named Sky Canvas plans to launch a colorful artificial meteor shower barrage via micro-satellite.

Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin evacuated from South Pole to N.Zealand (Update)

Retired astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, has arrived in New Zealand after being medically evacuated from the South Pole while on a tourist trip, officials said Thursday.

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

Machine learning is a powerful tool used for a variety of tasks in modern life, from fraud detection and sorting spam in Google, to making movie recommendations on Netflix.

NASA's Sun-observing IRIS mission

While it seems static from our vantage point on Earth 93 million miles away, the sun is constantly changing. Under the influence of complex magnetic forces, material moves throughout the solar atmosphere and can burst forth in massive eruptions.

Technology news

How the brain recognizes faces: Machine-learning system spontaneously reproduces aspects of human neurology

MIT researchers and their colleagues have developed a new computational model of the human brain's face-recognition mechanism that seems to capture aspects of human neurology that previous models have missed.

University of Toronto team delivers computer-generated Christmas song

(Tech Xplore)—"The Christmas tree is filled with flowers. I swear it is Christmas Eve. I hope that is what you say."

What makes Bach sound like Bach? New dataset teaches algorithms classical music

The composer Johann Sebastian Bach left behind an incomplete fugue upon his death, either as an unfinished work or perhaps as a puzzle for future composers to solve.

Suggestions for you: A better, faster recommendation algorithm

The internet is rife with recommendation systems, suggesting movies you should watch or people you should date. These systems are tuned to match people with items, based on the assumption that similar people buy similar things and have similar preferences. In other words, an algorithm predicts which items you will like based only on your, and the item's, previous ratings.

Perovskite solar cells hit new world efficiency record

They're flexible, cheap to produce and simple to make - which is why perovskites are the hottest new material in solar cell design. And now, engineers at Australia's University of New South Wales in Sydney have smashed the trendy new compound's world efficiency record.

Computer learns to recognize sounds by watching video

In recent years, computers have gotten remarkably good at recognizing speech and images: Think of the dictation software on most cellphones, or the algorithms that automatically identify people in photos posted to Facebook.

Cable operator Altice to launch super-fast fiber in US

European-based cable operator Altice announced plans Wednesday to launch ultra-fast broadband service as part of its expansion in the United States.

IRS seeks names of virtual currency users in tax probe

The IRS obtained a court order Wednesday allowing it to seek the names of people who may have failed to pay taxes on virtual currency exchanged through a San Francisco company.

Super-flexible liquid crystal device for bendable and rollable displays

Researchers at Tohoku University have developed a super flexible liquid crystal (LC) device, in which two ultra-thin plastic substrates are firmly bonded by polymer wall spacers.

Invention takes a new spin on concussion prevention

Some of the best ideas come from drinks at a bar with friends. Theo Versteegh's revolutionary idea to mitigate concussion in sport was no different.

What happens when virtual reality affairs get real?

July 2015 might well be known as the month online infidelity went public. This date coincided with one of the biggest and most revealing hacks in history when the Ashley Madison database was compromised and made available online.

Cement made from steel production by-product can lead to a huge CO2 reduction

Steel production generates some hundred million tons of steel slag worldwide each year. This giant mountain of leftovers is largely dumped. TU/e professor of building materials, Jos Brouwers, will be working with industrial partners to investigate whether he can make cement out of it. If he succeeds, more CO2 emissions can be cut than is produced yearly by all the traffic in the Netherlands.

Virtual reality takes public on history tour of shipwreck island

Thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology, the public can experience and explore Beacon Island, the site of the notorious Batavia shipwreck

Artificial intelligence toolkit spots new child sexual abuse media online

New artificial intelligence software designed to spot new child sexual abuse media online could help police catch child abusers. The toolkit, described in a paper published in Digital Investigation, automatically detects new child sexual abuse photos and videos in online peer-to-peer networks.

Nokia brand ready for smartphone comeback in 2017

Nokia, once the world's top mobile phone maker, will make a comeback on the smartphone market in the first half of 2017, the company and its licensee said Thursday.

Global police smash huge online crime network (Update)

In one of the biggest takedowns to date, police across the globe have smashed a massive criminal network providing online services including malware attacks that infected half a million computers worldwide, Europol said Thursday.

Nation's largest solar installer to open Florida facility

The largest U.S. solar panel installer is moving into Florida's residential market after the state's voters last month rejected a utility-backed ballot measure that critics said would make going solar more expensive.

EU wants to make e-books, e-newspapers cheaper

The European Union wants to apply the same sales tax rules for digital books and newspapers as their print versions, in a move that would bring down the price of electronic publications.

'One app, two systems' for China app censorship: researchers

China's hugely popular social media app WeChat operates different censorship systems for Chinese- and overseas-based users, a research group found, applying the Communist country's rules to mainland-registered accounts even when their owners are abroad.

Airbnb agrees 60-day limit on Amsterdam home rentals

Amsterdam has reached a pioneering agreement with home rentals website Airbnb to limit the sharing of private homes to 60 days a year, the city and website said Thursday.

Video game goodies are new frontier for Deutsche Boerse

Magic armour and virtual hats will soon join Siemens, Volkswagen and other blue chips in trading on the German stock market.

Internet Archive heads to Canada to be 'safe'

The Internet Archive, which keeps historical records of Web pages, is creating a new backup center in Canada, citing concerns about surveillance following the US presidential election of Donald Trump.

How DirecTV Now compares to other online TV services

DirecTV Now is the latest online TV service to offer an alternative to cable or satellite packages that can easily cost about $100 a month.

Senate takes aim at 'bots' that snap up concert seats

The Senate is cracking down on computer software used by ticket brokers to snap up tickets to concerts and shows.

China's iQIYI and Sony to produce online series in Mandarin

A Chinese online video site announced Thursday it will be working with Sony Pictures Television to produce a Mandarin-language action thriller series for online viewers.

Smart meters to use algorithms to analyze electricity consumption

Using innovative electric meters and smart algorithms, Fraunhofer researchers want to revolutionize energy management in the future. In cooperation with their partners, they have developed a method that breaks down total energy consumption appliance by appliance using a single, high-tech electric meter. A prototype will be exhibited at BAU 2017, and is set to go on sale next summer.

Combination of insulation and thermal mass

When the summer sun burns in the sky, phase change materials (PCM) integrated in building envelopes absorb the heat – it remains cool inside. When it is getting colder outside, the materials give off heat. Several grams of these storage media can protect against overheating and undercooling for a long time. For the first time, researchers have combined insulating characteristics of foams with PCM thermal masses via established procedures of shaping processes. Due to this combination of materials the heat transfer through walls is reduced for hours.

Ceiling panel cools regardless of climate

Poorly maintained air conditioning systems cause mold or other bacteria to spread; they often also generate drafts and are costly to operate. An alternative technology that uses ceiling panels covered in special heat-conducting film operates well below the dew point. Designed by Fraunhofer researchers, the system offers hygienic cooling even in tropical climates, and uses up to 70 percent less energy. The multifunctional system will be launched at the BAU trade fair from January 16-21, 2017 as part of the Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance's special show, "Fraunhofer CityLaboratory – creating living spaces".

A submersible boat for offshore wind structure maintenance

In 2009, a UK SME going by the name of Scubacraft introduced the world to their convertible speedboat/submarine. Seven years later, the project has been granted support under the SME Instrument, and the company is now contemplating new markets including offshore wind farm maintenance.

ChargeLounge E-charging station for IKEA customers

IKEA shoppers in Ludwigsburg can now use a special electric charging station. Werner Spec (Ludwigsburg's mayor), Prof. Wilhelm Bauer (Fraunhofer IAO director), Ulf Wenzig (IKEA Germany sustainability manager), and Anja Heinle (IKEA Ludwigsburg manager) opened Germany's first "ChargeLounge". It features an integrated and speedy e-charging station in the parking lot of IKEA Ludwigsburg.

Olympic hero Michael Phelps looks to dip his toes in tech

Michael Phelps wants to dive into Silicon Valley's investment opportunities as he tries to make the transition from Olympic swimming star and product pitchman to entrepreneur.

Apple turns (RED) for World AIDS Day

Apple is marking World AIDS Day by giving more than 400 of its stores a makeover in red.

Northern Ohio institutions become laboratories for future energy usage

Case Western Reserve University, NASA Glenn Research Center and the University of Toledo will serve as "living laboratories" that demonstrate the value of integrating distributed energy sources with the assortment of devices, equipment and other power consumers within buildings and across the grid.

DOE project to evaluate safety of transporting used nuclear fuel

With more than 74,000 metric tons of used nuclear fuel stored at locations around the United States, ensuring the safety of moving it to more secure disposal sites is a top federal priority.

Self-driving truck hits the road for debut on Ohio Turnpike

A self-driving big rig is rolling down the Ohio Turnpike for the first time.

Medicine & Health news

Magnetic brain stimulation can bring back stowed memories: study

It's clear that your working memory—which holds attention on small things of short-term importance—works, or you wouldn't be able to remember a new phone number long enough to dial it.

Hallucinogenic drug psilocybin eases existential anxiety in people with life-threatening cancer

In a small double-blind study, Johns Hopkins researchers report that a substantial majority of people suffering cancer-related anxiety or depression found considerable relief for up to six months from a single large dose of psilocybin—the active compound in hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms."

Pasteurised intestinal bacterium reduces effects of obesity and diabetes

The intestinal bacterium Akkermansia proves to offer enduring benefits for the intestines of overweight mice and diabetic animals. In experiments, the strengthening effects of this bacterium on the intestinal barrier remained even after pasteurisation. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers of the Louvain Drug Research Institute of the University of Leuven in collaboration with researchers of the Wageningen University & Research and the University of Helsinki in Nature Medicine on 28 November. Their results help to pave the way for treatments against diabetes and obesity, but also against cardiovascular diseases and gastroenteritis.

Key cause of Parkinson's disease can be treated

A new Australian study that models the early stages of Parkinson's disease has given researchers insight into its causes and a possible treatment.

Noninvasive microscopy technique allows for spotting skin cancer in mitochondria

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from several institutions in the U.S. and one in Spain has developed a new way to test for skin cancer in patients—one that does not rely on taking a biopsy. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers outline their technique and describe how it is able to see irregularities in mitochondria.

Researchers find chemical tag that locks chromosomes together during meiosis 

Chromosomes perform an intricate dance inside the nuclei of cells undergoing meiosis (dividing into sperm and eggs). One stumble can lead to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects or tumor formation.

Psychologists discover brain connections in people with autism show more symmetry between hemispheres

Divvying up tasks between the left and right hemispheres of the brain is one of the hallmarks of typical brain development. The left hemisphere, for instance, is involved in analyzing specific details of a situation, while the right hemisphere is involved in integrating all the various streams of information coming into the brain.

Detailed images of NMDA receptors help explain how zinc and a drug affect their function

The difference between mental health and mental illness can turn on changes in brain cells and their connections that are almost incomprehensibly tiny, at least in physical terms. This irony is brought to light by X-ray crystallography, a method that enables neuroscientists to map the structure of brain proteins atom by atom, using high-energy X-rays.

Zika virus can take multiple routes into developing human nerve cells

Around the world, hundreds of women infected with the Zika virus have given birth to children suffering from microcephaly or other brain defects, as the virus attacks key cells responsible for generating neurons and building the brain as the embryo develops. Studies have suggested that Zika enters these cells, called neural progenitor cells or NPCs, by grabbing onto a specific protein called AXL on the cell surface. Now, scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and Novartis have shown that this is not the only route of infection for NPCs.

Study provides neuronal mechanism for the benefits of fasting

A study from the Buck Institute offers for the first time an explanation for the benefits of fasting at the neuronal level, providing a possible mechanism for how fasting can afford health benefits. Publishing on December 1st in Neuron, researchers used fruit fly larvae to uncover the presence of a molecular pathway that responds to nutrient scarcity and lowers synapse activity at the junctions between neurons and muscle cells. Specific effects in response to changing nutrient availability at the level of the synapse has not been reported before.

Autism-linked protein crucial for feeling pain

Sensory problems are common to autism spectrum disorders. Some individuals with autism may injure themselves repetitively—for example, pulling their hair or banging their heads—because they're less sensitive to pain than other people.

Parkinson's disease linked to microbiome

Caltech scientists have discovered for the first time a functional link between bacteria in the intestines and Parkinson's disease (PD). The researchers show that changes in the composition of gut bacterial populations—or possibly gut bacteria themselves—are actively contributing to and may even cause the deterioration of motor skills that is the hallmark of this disease.

Gut microbe movements regulate host circadian rhythms

Even gut microbes have a routine. Like clockwork, they start their day in one part of the intestinal lining, move a few micrometers to the left, maybe the right, and then return to their original position. New research in mice now reveals that the regular timing of these small movements can influence a host animal's circadian rhythms by exposing gut tissue to different microbes and their metabolites as the day goes by. Disruption of this dance can affect the host. The study appears December 1 in Cell.

Teenagers could see long-term benefits from new treatments for depression

More than two-thirds of adolescents who suffer from depression could see long-term benefits from receiving one of three psychological treatments—of which only one is currently recommended on the NHS - according to research published today in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Preserving fertility in girls and young women with cancer 'haphazard', say experts

Preserving fertility in girls and young women with cancer is "haphazard" across the UK, argue experts in an editorial published by The BMJ today.

Screening to blame for thyroid cancer 'epidemic' in South Korea

The current "epidemic" of thyroid cancer in South Korea is due to an increase in the detection of small tumours, most likely as a result of overdetection by screening, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Most people with depression receive inadequate treatment or no care at all

The vast majority of people with depression across the world are not receiving even minimally adequate treatment for their condition, according to a new study of more than 50,000 people in 21 countries by King's College London, Harvard Medical School and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Patients with cancer history experiencing severe heart attacks benefit from cardiac care

One in 10 patients who come to the hospital with the most severe type of heart attack have a history of cancer, showing that this is an emerging subgroup of heart patients, according to Mayo Clinic research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In addition, the study found that these patients have a three times higher risk of noncardiac death. Meanwhile, their risk of cardiac death is not higher ? both at the time of their acute heart attack and over long-term follow-up.

Strategy for the Trump administration to expand the role of tax-exempt hospitals

A new report recommends that the Trump Administration take action to revise existing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policies governing community benefit spending by tax-exempt hospitals in order to encourage greater hospital involvement in activities that can improve health on a community-wide basis. Research increasingly shows the outsize importance of healthy communities to population health. Affordable and safe housing, safe and welcoming neighborhoods, access to nutritious food, strong child development programs, and quality education together can lead to better health outcomes. Hospitals themselves have recognized the health impact of these broader social, economic and environmental conditions as well as the value of their involvement in activities aimed at improving social conditions.

Science panel urges rewrite of food allergy warning labels

"Made in the same factory as peanuts." ''May contain traces of tree nuts." A new report says the hodgepodge of warnings that a food might accidentally contain a troublesome ingredient is confusing to people with food allergies, and calls for a makeover.

Study of thousands of operations finds overlapping surgeries are safe for patients

A common way of scheduling surgeries to expand patient access to care and improve hospital efficiency, known as "overlapping surgeries," is as safe and provides the same outcomes for patients as non-overlapping surgeries, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Spacing operations so a surgeon has two patients in operating rooms at the same time is a common practice in surgery at Mayo and other leading medical institutions. It gives patients greater access to qualified surgeons, allows more efficient use of operating rooms, and avoids unnecessary downtime for surgeons. A Mayo Clinic study compared the outcomes of thousands of such overlapping surgeries with non-overlapping operations at its Rochester campus and found no difference in the rates of postoperative complications or deaths within a month after surgery between the two groups. The findings are published in the Annals of Surgery.

Alcohol intake associated with increased risk of melanoma

Bottom Line: Alcohol intake was associated with higher rates of invasive melanoma among white men and women. White wine carried the most significant association, and the increased risk was greater for parts of the body that receive less sun exposure.

Scientists find a molecule to fight chemoresistant cancer

A team of Russian scientists led by MIPT's Prof. Alexander Kiselyov has synthesized an antitumor compound that could be used to fight chemoresistant cancer. The research findings were published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments

Researchers at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute have described the methylation profile of Ewing's sarcoma (ES), a cancer of bone and soft tissues that mainly affects children and teenagers. Their analysis has unveiled the potential of the PTRF gene as a prognostic marker of the disease and as a possible future therapeutic target in conjunction with the new genomic editing tools available.

Smartphones could be ruining your love life

The majority of our relationships are in shambles.

Reactivation of embryonic genes leads to muscle aging

Developmental genes and pathways strictly regulate embryogenesis. The process is strongly driven by so-called Hox-genes. Now, researchers from the Leibniz Institute on Aging (FLI) in Jena, Germany, can show that one of these genes, Hoxa9, is re-activated in old age. This limits the functionality of muscle stem cells and, hence, the regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle. Ironically, these findings show that the same genes that control embryo-developmental processes also impair stem cell functionality and regeneration in the elderly. Nonetheless, it is a process which can be rescued by compounds inhibiting the epigenetic activation of Hoxa9; pointing to novel targets for regenerative therapies in aging. The study is published in the scientific journal Nature on November 30, 2016.

Why male couples should think about HIV in their relationships

In a relationship there are myriad issues to manage. Who walks the dog? Does his mother like me? Whom are we supporting to win RuPaul's "Drag Race All Stars 2"? But there is one issue that can often be harder to manage – how do we as a couple deal with HIV?

Researchers pioneer HIV research with 'kick and kill'

As his title implies, for David Margolis, MD, director of the UNC HIV Cure Center, treating the virus and its symptoms simply isn't enough.

Elusive protein acts as manager, addressing pH imbalance by transporting acid in and out of cells

For more than a decade, researchers have tried to figure out the role of a membrane transport protein involved with a rare, hereditary condition that results in vision loss. Numerous papers have been published, but no single strong hypothesis has emerged.

Complications arise from mesh used in pelvic surgeries

A synthetic mesh commonly used to treat a form of urinary incontinence as well as the weakening of the female pelvis's walls can lead to complications that increase in frequency with the amount of mesh used, new Weill Cornell Medicine research suggests.

Researcher claims attending the symphony reverses cognitive decline in people with dementia

A program that delivers the gift of live classical music to people with dementia has been shown to have strikingly positive effects on mood, cognitive function and relationships.

Silent rising HIV epidemic needs action

The world's most dangerous infectious disease epidemic of the modern era is reviving, but are we prepared in New Zealand?

Experts make the case for 'housing first' approach to homelessness

In a new perspective published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, five experts, including Dr. David Buck with Baylor College of Medicine, make the argument for Housing First as an approach to end homelessness across the country.

The power of precision genomics to understand unique causes of disease in individual patients

A UC San Francisco-led research team has identified the rare genetic mutation responsible for a unique case of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a deadly immune system disorder also known as "boy in the bubble" disease. In addition to defining the latest of more than two dozen known genetic causes of SCID, the study—published online November 30, 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine—revealed an unexpected role for the mutated gene in the normal processes of immune system development.

Parkinson's disease and cognitive decline—a genetic connection revealed

Although the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) – such as involuntary shaking, slowness of movement and muscle rigidity – are related to movement, recent evidence has suggested that memory impairment plays an outsized role in diminished quality of life and the burden placed on caregivers. A new study led by investigators in the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital finds that mutations in the gene for glucocerebrosidase (GBA), known to be a risk factor for PD, also have a powerful influence on the development of cognitive decline. The study is available online and published in the November edition of Annals of Neurology, the journal of the American Neurological Association.

Expert offers tips on managing anxiety during crowded holiday shopping

With the holiday season in full swing, many people have already started their shopping. However, for some people who suffer from anxiety, crowds can make holiday shopping daunting. One Baylor College of Medicine expert offers his tips on how people can manage their anxiety so that they can shop til they drop.

Will we ever be able to bring cryogenically frozen corpses back to life? A cryobiologist explains

A teenager who tragically died of cancer recently has become the latest among a tiny but growing number of people to be cryogenically frozen after death. These individuals were hoping that advances in science will one day allow them to be woken up and cured of the conditions that killed them. But how likely is it that such a day will ever come?

Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified

Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial–mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread. The finding highlights the value of targeting D-2HG to establish new therapeutic approaches against colorectal cancer.

Synthetic rice odour blend lures gravid malaria mosquitoes

The increased use of irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa has benefited the Anopheles arabiensis mosquito – an important malaria vector – particularly in rice paddies. A research team led from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences now shows that rice odours attract females, and elicit egg laying. The team has also produced a synthetic odour blend that triggers the same behaviour. Their findings may be an important step in the development of novel and cost-effective control measures.

Neuroscience hasn't been weaponized – it's been a tool of war from the start

What could once only be imagined in science fiction is now increasingly coming to fruition: Drones can be flown by human brains' thoughts. Pharmaceuticals can help soldiers forget traumatic experiences or produce feelings of trust to encourage confession in interrogation. DARPA-funded research is working on everything from implanting brain chips to "neural dust" in an effort to alleviate the effects of traumatic experience in war. Invisible microwave beams produced by military contractors and tested on U.S. prisoners can produce the sensation of burning at a distance.

Researcher finds optical illusion garments can improve body image

A dress with optical illusion patterns such as stripes or color blocking can alter how women see their bodies, according to a new study by a Florida State University researcher.

Obesity among adolescents with bipolar disorder is linked to increased illness severity

Bipolar disorder is one of the most disabling medical conditions among adolescents worldwide. Similarly, being overweight or obese is common in adolescents and is known to confer risk for cardiovascular disease and other poor health outcomes in adulthood. As a result, the intersection of bipolar disorder and overweight is a matter of clinical and public health concern. Previous studies have demonstrated that overweight and obesity are more prevalent among adults with bipolar disorder as compared to the general population, and that overweight and obesity are associated with proxies of increased bipolar disorder severity, such as suicide attempts and greater symptom burden. Thus far, little is known about overweight among adolescents with bipolar disorder.

IPM's ring study results published

The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) announced today that The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has published results from The Ring Study, a Phase III clinical trial of IPM's vaginal ring to prevent HIV. The study's key findings, announced earlier this year, show that a vaginal ring that slowly releases the antiretroviral drug (ARV) dapivirine over the course of one month safely helps reduce the risk of HIV infection in women.

Attempted suicide rates and risk groups essentially unchanged, new study shows

Johns Hopkins investigators report that their analysis of a national database representing more than 1 billion emergency department visits shows that over a recent eight-year period, nothing much has changed in the rates of unsuccessful suicide attempts, or in the age, gender, seasonal timing or means used by those who tried to take their lives in the United States.

Multiple sclerosis: Newly discovered signal mechanism causes T cells to turn pathogenic

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the patient's own cells. In this case, modified T cells destroy the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells. Myelin protects the neural pathways and is thus essential to the ability of nerve cells to transmit information.

Findings show significant progress against HIV epidemic in Africa; 90-90-90 goals in reach

National surveys in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia reveal exceptional progress against HIV, with decreasing rates of new infection, stable numbers of people living with HIV, and more than half of all those living with HIV showing viral suppression through use of antiretroviral medication. For those on antiretroviral medication, viral suppression is close to 90 percent. Thirty-five years into the global HIV epidemic, these findings are a clear sign of progress and source of hope for the rest of the world.

Proposed biosimilar drug shows potential as breast cancer treatment

Among women with metastatic breast cancer, treatment with a drug that is biosimilar to the breast cancer drug trastuzumab resulted in an equivalent overall response rate at 24 weeks compared with trastuzumab, according to a study published online by JAMA.

Increased UVB exposure associated with reduced risk of nearsightedness, particularly in teens, young

Higher ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation exposure, directly related to time outdoors and sunlight exposure, was associated with reduced odds of myopia (nearsightedness), and exposure to UVB between ages 14 and 29 years was associated with the highest reduction in odds of adult myopia, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

With promising results from emerging therapies, research yields hope for amyloidosis

Two new treatments are showing promise and overall survival is on the rise for AL amyloidosis, according to a series of studies involving researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. They will present their findings at this week's 58th Annual American Society of Hematology Meeting and Exposition in San Diego.

First structural map of cystic fibrosis protein sheds light on how mutations cause disease

Rockefeller scientists have created the first three-dimensional map of the protein responsible for cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease for which there is no cure. This achievement, described December 1 in Cell, offers the kinds of insights essential to better understanding and treating this often-fatal disease, which clogs the lungs with sticky mucus, leading to breathing problems or respiratory infections.

New form of autism found

Autism spectrum disorders affect around one percent of the world's population and are characterized by a range of difficulties in social interaction and communication. In a new study published in Cell today, a team of researchers led by Gaia Novarino, Professor at IST Austria, has identified a new genetic cause of ASD.

Study reveals new role for Hippo pathway in suppressing cancer immunity

Previous studies identified the Hippo pathway kinases LATS1/2 as a tumor suppressor, but new research led by University of California San Diego School of Medicine scientists reveals a surprising role for these enzymes in subduing cancer immunity. The findings, published in Cell on December 1, could have a clinical role in improving efficiency of immunotherapy drugs.

Breakthrough in diabetes research: Cells produce insulin upon artemisinin treatment

It promises to be a simple and elegant strategy to heal diabetes type 1: Replacing the destroyed beta-cells in the bodies of patients with newly-produced insulin-secreting cells. For years, researchers around the globe tried various approaches with stem- or adult cells in order to induce this transformation. Their effort lead to a fundamental understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of beta cells - however, a compound capable of doing the trick was missing.

Study finds hearing 'meaningful' sounds decreases performance on cognitive tasks

Open office plans are becoming increasingly common in the workplace—offering a way to optimize available space and encourage dialogue, interaction and collaboration among employees. However, a new study suggests that productive work-related conversations might actually decrease the performance of other employees within earshot—more so than other random, meaningless noises.

Researchers identify link between brain and bone in Alzheimer's disease

Researchers at NEOMED have just identified a major connection between areas of the brainstem - the ancient area that controls mood, sleep and metabolism - and detrimental changes to bone in a preclinical model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study, titled "Early Evidence of Low Bone Density and Decreased Serotonergic Synthesis in the Dorsal Raphe of a Tauopathy Model of Alzheimer's Disease," is led by Christine Dengler-Crish, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and anatomy and neurobiology, and will be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, an international multidisciplinary journal that reports progress in understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Alzheimer's.

Four weeks to prepare cancer patients for surgery

Just four weeks of prehabilitation may be enough to help some cancer patients get in shape for surgery. That's according to a recent study of close to 120 colorectal cancer patients in Montreal. This potentially means that, barring unforeseen circumstances that stem from the surgery itself, their recovery is likely to be speedier too, according to earlier research from the same McGill-led team.

Narcissistic individuals use social media to self-promote

A new statistical review of 62 studies with over 13,000 individuals found that narcissism has a modest but reliable positive relationship with a range of social media behaviors. The largest effects were with the number of friends/followers narcissists had and frequency of status updates, followed by selfie postings, according to University of Georgia psychology researchers.

Study: Restaurants not good at explaining risks of undercooked meat to customers

Front-line staff, such as servers in restaurants, are often trusted with providing customers with food safety information regarding their meals. A challenge to the food-service industry is that these positions have high turnover, relatively low wages and servers are focused primarily on providing patrons with a positive experience. And new research shows that this poses a problem.

Scientists identify novel compound to alleviate pain and itch

In a new study, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a possible drug candidate that suppresses pain and itch in animal models. Their new approach also reduces the potential for drug abuse and avoids the most common side effects—sedation and anxiety—of drugs designed to target the nervous system's kappa opioid receptors (KORs).

Disabling critical 'node' revs up attack when cancer immunotherapies fall short

An existing drug known as a JAK inhibitor may help patients who don't respond to the so-called checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy drugs overcome that resistance, suggests a new preclinical study published online in Cell today by Penn Medicine researchers. Importantly, the results demonstrate that shutting down the interferon pathway, shown here to be critical to a tumor's resistance to immunotherapy, with a JAK inhibitor may improve checkpoint inhibitor drugs and even bypass the need for combinations of these drugs, which often come with serious side effects.

Women dissatisfied with long process to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome

A large international survey of women with a common condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized by reproductive and metabolic problems, found nearly two in three were dissatisfied with the length of time they waited and the number of healthcare professionals they had to see before they received a diagnosis, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

High-resolution brain imaging could improve detection of concussions

High-resolution brain scans analyzed by machine learning algorithms could determine whether a patient has a concussion, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Immune system cells cause severe malaria complication in mouse brain

Immune system cells known as cytotoxic T cells attack blood vessels and cause fatal swelling in the brains of mice with a condition that mirrors a severe complication of malaria in humans. These are the findings of a new study published in PLOS Pathogens.

Antibody test gauges mosquito exposure

How many mosquitoes live in your neighborhood? How many mosquito bites have you and your neighbors gotten this week? Answering these questions—and gauging how mosquito populations change over time or after a control strategy is implemented—has historically been difficult. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have described a blood test that can be used to assess human exposure to Aedes mosquitos. The test, which measures antibodies to an Aedes salivary peptide, showed decreased human exposure to mosquito bites after a vector control program.

Unique strains of Brazilian leishmaniasis set apart by genetics

Some of the roughly 1 million cases a year of the parasitic disease leishmaniasis don't fit with the standard definition of the disease—the patients have unusual symptoms and front-line medicines don't work. Now, researchers have discovered why many of these cases are so different—they're caused by parasites with distinct genetic variations. The finding, reported in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, was made by studying patients in northeast Brazil but may hold true elsewhere around the world.

Recovering Latina breast cancer patients report big gaps in 'survivorship' care

Breast cancer patients in one of the United States' largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority groups are likely to experience numerous gaps in care following their primary treatment, research from Oregon State University suggests.

Sweet news: Nestle discovers low-sugar chocolate

Nestle has said it has discovered a way to cut the amount of sugar that goes into its Kit Kat, Butterfinger and other candy bars, but without affecting the taste.

Vegetarian diets called good for people and the planet

(HealthDay)—Vegetarian diets are healthy for people of all ages, as well as the environment, according to a new update of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (AND) position on vegetarian diets.

PCPs order more food allergen panels than allergists

(HealthDay)—Primary care providers (PCPs) order significantly more food allergen panels and generate higher costs per patient than allergists, according to a review published online Nov. 30 in Pediatrics.

ABT-494 effective for patients with rheumatoid arthritis

(HealthDay)—A novel selective JAK-1 inhibitor, ABT-494, is effective for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX) or to at least one anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agent, according to two studies published online Nov. 28 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's

A new scientific discovery may provide a future avenue for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

Phantom movements in augmented reality helps patients with intractable phantom limb pain

Dr Max Ortiz Catalan at Chalmers University of Technology has developed a novel method of treating phantom limb pain using machine learning and augmented reality. This approach has been tested on over a dozen of amputees with chronic phantom limb pain who found no relief by other clinically available methods before. The new treatment reduced their pain by approximately 50 per cent, reports a clinical study published in The Lancet.

Rare childhood disease linked to major cancer gene

A team of researchers led by a University of Rhode Island scientist has discovered an important molecular link between a rare childhood genetic disease, Fanconi anemia, and a major cancer gene called PTEN. The discovery improves the understanding of the molecular basis of Fanconi anemia and could lead to improved treatment outcomes for some cancer patients.

'Nudges' an inexpensive, effective way to increase completion of health promotion programs

Keeping messages brief and simple can produce gains when trying to encourage patients to complete a health care program, says research co-written by a University of Illinois expert in social psychology.

New test can diagnose 416 viruses from tropical regions

Researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP) at Ribeirão Preto in Brazil have developed a platform that analyzes clinical samples from patients to diagnose infection by 416 viruses found in the world's tropical regions.

Research finds white deaths exceed births in one-third of U.S. states

More whites died than were born in a record high 17 states in 2014 compared to just four in 2004, according to new research from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Some 121 million people representing 38 percent of the U.S. population reside in these states: California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Arkansas, Delaware, Nevada, Maine, Alabama, Connecticut, New Mexico, West Virginia and Rhode Island.

House OKs bill bolstering medical research, drug approvals

The House easily approved a sweeping biomedical bill Wednesday that would help drug and medical device companies win swifter government approval of their products, boost disease research and drug-abuse spending and revamp federal mental health programs.

Results from three ground-breaking cancer studies show early benefit to patients

The "revolution in the understanding of cancer at the molecular level" has led to dramatic responses in cancer patients to new therapies that are targeted precisely at their particular type of tumours, according to an expert.

Surgeons remove thyroid gland through hidden incision underneath the lip

A team of surgeons at Mount Sinai Beth Israel (MSBI), led by William B. Inabnet III, MD, the Eugene W. Friedman, MD, Professor of Surgery and Chair for the Department of Surgery at MSBI and Chief of Endocrine Surgery Quality for the Mount Sinai Health System, have performed the first endoscopic transoral thyroidectomy in New York, and one of the first of its kind in the nation. Their initial case, which is the first published report in the United States, was recently described in the journal Surgical Endoscopy.

Promising results from new drug combination in patients with advanced solid tumors

Munich, Germany: An experimental drug called TAS-114, which has the potential to increase the anti-cancer effects of chemotherapy without increasing adverse side effects, has shown promising results in patients with hard-to-treat cancers in a phase I clinical trial.

How highs and lows in testosterone levels 'shock' prostate cancer cells to death

Munich, Germany: A strategy of alternately flooding and starving the body of testosterone is producing good results in patients who have metastatic prostate cancer that is resistant to treatment by chemical or surgical castration, according to new findings.

NYC court hears appeal against salt-warning fines

An appeals court has heard arguments on New York City's first-of-its-kind rule that requires chain restaurants to use menu icons to warn patrons of salty foods.

'Riskiest city' for HIV, Miami opens first needle exchange

Homeless men curl up on mattresses along a broken sidewalk littered with trash and syringes in Miami, a city struggling with the highest rate of new HIV infections of any big American metropolis.

Blood, flies, agony: inside Venezuela's hospital hell

Plumber Freddy Herrera broke his leg in four places when he crashed his motorbike nine months ago. But his real troubles started when he got to hospital.

Seeing through the brain

The brain is a complex and mysterious organ, which performs many functions and the proper functioning of this precious machine is important for well-being. There are about 86 billion neurons in the brain and they interact by forming circuits. Therefore, it is critical to understand the structural organization and the neural circuits underlying brain functions. However, a major obstacle to study and understand the brain lies in the fact that it is densely composed of lipids, due to which the light is scattered and cannot penetrate inside. Thus, the high lipid content makes it difficult to image the whole brain. The traditional method to image the brain is to slice it into thin sections (µm) followed by histological staining and imaging but this is a time-consuming, error-prone process, and there is/might be loss of information as only the surface of sections can be imaged.

Foodborne salmonella infections in Denmark reach historic low

A record low number of foodborne salmonella cases were registered in Denmark in 2015. While travel remains the leading cause of salmonella infections, no cases have been attributed to Danish eggs for the first time in the almost 30-year history of the salmonella source account. These are some of the findings of the annual report on the occurrence of diseases that can be transmitted from animals and food to humans. The report was prepared by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, in cooperation with Statens Serum Institut – the national institute of public health – and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

2016-2017 Airline Food Study results revealed

There will more than 38 million passengers traveling during this holiday season. Knowing what are the 'best' and 'worst' choices is a valuable tool for any traveler, so Dr. Charles Platkin, the director of the NYC Food Policy Center at HUNTER COLLEGE and editor of once again studied the best 'Calorie Bargains' and "Calorie Rip-offs" at 35,000 feet.

US public divided over food science: survey

The way Americans eat has become a source of potential social, economic and political friction as people follow personal preferences reflecting their beliefs about how foods connect with their health, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

Study examines association of asbestos exposure, mesothelioma in Eastern China

A new research letter published online by JAMA Oncology looks at asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma in Eastern China.

French MPs debate ban on 'false' anti-abortion websites

The French parliament on Thursday began debating a bill to ban pro-life websites from spreading "false information" about abortion, with rightwing lawmakers arguing it would contravene freedom of expression.

Can DXA be used to predict fracture risk in people with diabetes?

Increased risk of fracture has been shown to be one of the complications arising from longstanding diabetes. With the worldwide increase in Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), in part due to aging populations, there is also increasing concern about how to identify and manage patients with diabetes who are at high risk of osteoporotic fracture.

ACS and Surgical Infection Society announce guidelines for prevention, treatment of SSIs

Newly released guidelines for the prevention, detection, and management of surgical site infections (SSIs) issued by the American College of Surgeons and the Surgical Infection Society provide a comprehensive set of recommendations clinicians can use to optimize surgical care and educate patients about ways to contribute to their own well-being. The guidelines are based on a review of the best available research and clinical practice experience and update previous sets of recommendations on detecting and preventing SSIs from professional clinical and hospital societies. The guidelines were presented at the Surgical Infection Society meeting, Palm Beach, Fla., in May 2016 and are published as an "" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website in advance of print publication.

Could ambulatory surgical centers help bend the cost curve in US health care?

U.S. healthcare costs have more than tripled since the 1960s1. Nearly one of every five dollars of national expenses1,2 are spent on health care. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)—signed into law in 2010—aims to decrease healthcare delivery costs, improve quality and value of care, and improve population health. New research, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), looked at one of the ACA's newer tactics. Could greater use of ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) create cost savings and improve care for outpatient surgical bone and joint procedures compared to costs at a university-based hospital (UH)?

For one Egyptian with HIV, the stigma is too much to bear

In his bedroom, there's a drawer full of his medications—along with CDs of a popular Egyptian Muslim preacher. On the walls of the home are two paintings by his father. They've had a strained relationship. He opens an album and shows pictures of his mother.

Simple walking program provides physical and mental benefits to dialysis patients

In a recent study, a simple exercise program carried out at home improved dialysis patients' walking performance and quality of life. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Ohio pulls license of 1 of state's last few abortion clinics

Ohio has revoked the operating license of one of the state's few remaining abortion clinics on the grounds that it failed to obtain a required transfer agreement with a nearby hospital for emergencies.

Demi Lovato wants to change the face of mental illness

(HealthDay)—Since her 2008 breakthrough role in the Disney Channel musical "Camp Rock," singer and actress Demi Lovato has released five best-selling albums and a slew of hit singles. Numerous music awards have followed, as has a stint as a judge on the TV megahit "The X Factor."

Obese children should be screened for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease—new NASPGHAN guidelines

A screening test for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—a serious condition that may have lifelong health consequences—is recommended for all obese children aged nine to eleven years, according to clinical practice guidelines developed by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) and published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (JPGN).

Scientists discover new method to restore function of white blood cells in septic patients

New research findings published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, suggest that treating the white blood cells of sepsis patients with antibodies that block programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and programmed cell death ligand (PD-L1) molecules may restore their function and ultimately their ability to eradicate deadly bacteria.

Biology news

Shifts in mating strategies help herbicide-resistant 'superweeds' persist

Herbicide-resistant "superweeds" change their mating strategies over time, an evolutionary shift that helps them hold onto valuable genes and outcompete other plants, according to a new study from University of Michigan researchers.

Predation on pollinating insects shaped the evolution of the orchid mantis

A team of scientists at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Australia, and Germany discovered that the orchid mantis looks like a flower due to the exploitation of pollinating insects as prey by its praying mantis ancestors. By studying the evolutionary relationships of the orchid mantis and its distant relatives, the team discovered that females in the orchid mantis lineage increased in size and changed color over their evolutionary history to gain advantage over large pollinating insects, such as bees, as well as the ability to attract them for predation. However, the morphologically dissimilar males are small and camouflaged, enabling them to live a life of predator avoidance and mate finding. The team found that this difference in males and females, termed sexual dimorphism, was likely the result of female predatory success that favored larger and more conspicuously colored individuals. This result challenges the traditional explanation for sexual dimorphism in arthropods as an increase in female egg production and suggests female predation strategy led to the differing male and female ecologies in the orchid mantises.

A new model for microbial communities in the hyporheic zone

Ecological processes govern seasonal changes in microbial communities living along rivers in the hyporheic zone, where groundwater and surface water mix. These processes have been well-studied in plant and animal communities. But the extent to which they govern riverine microorganisms that regulate ecosystem carbon and nutrient availability is unknown.

Researchers detail what makes costly ruminant bacteria so infectious

An Iowa State University research team has identified the specific mutations that have led to the virulence of a major bacterial threat to ruminant animals such as cattle and sheep.

Researchers discover way to make surfaces less vulnerable to disease-causing bacteria

Microbes, specifically disease-causing bacteria, can cause all sorts of havoc when they take hold on surfaces.

Neural stem cells serve as RNA highways too

Duke University scientists have caught the first glimpse of molecules shuttling along a sort of highway running the length of neural stem cells, which are crucial to the development of new neurons.

Natural alternatives to protect plants inspired by pharmaceutical research

The bacteria Streptomyces—which is commonly used in human antibiotics and found in the natural environments of wild plants as well as crops—could be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides, scientists in France write in an Opinion published December 1 in Trends in Plant Science. In addition to protecting plants from fungal and other threats, Streptomyces has been shown to keep roots healthy and promote plant growth. Streptomyces or their derived metabolites are already being used in six different agricultural products.

Research team discovers a pathogen's motility triggers immune response

Until now, a pathogen's ability to move through the body has been overlooked as a possible trigger of immune response, but new research from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine found that motility will indeed alarm the host and activate an immune response.

'Bickering' flies make evolutionary point

When a male fruit fly gets aggressive, he rears up on his back four legs and batters his foe with his front pair. Neither fly seems particularly damaged by the encounter, but their subsequent actions are telling about the ways of social evolution, according to Rice University evolutionary biologist Julia Saltz.

Collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble

Ribosomes—macromolecular machines consisting of RNA and proteins that twist, fold and turn—are responsible for making all of the protein within a cell and could hold the key to deciphering a range of diseases. Despite the intricacies of ribosomes, cells are able to churn out 100,000 of them every hour. But because they assemble so speedily, researchers haven't been able to figure out how they come together.

Brown's influential biomechanics X-ray technology grows ever more powerful

It's right there in the word "discovery"—the idea of removing whatever cover may obscure a particular phenomenon from observation. And that's exactly what Brown University's X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology technology does to reveal the inner workings of people and animals.

Towards therapeutic applications of mRNA—new insights into translation and decapping

Gene therapy gives hope to millions of patients. Researchers from the University of Warsaw have been working on mRNA containing a modified fragment that initiates protein biosynthesis. Recently published results reveal that new compounds designed and synthesized at the University of Warsaw are more stable and effective than their natural equivalents, and their synthesis is simpler. The compounds lend a better understanding of the mechanisms of protein biosynthesis in cells, which in turn could lead to better therapeutics.

Songbirds sound the alarm about traffic noise

A new study led by Pacific University biologist Chris Templeton demonstrates that the alarm calls of songbirds are dramatically impaired by road traffic noise. Research by Templeton and colleagues has shown that signals critical for the survival of animals are compromised when birds live near even moderately busy roads.

Genetic studies toward plants that resist parasitic weeds

Sneaky parasitic weeds may steal genes from the plants they are attacking and use those genes against the host plant, according to a team of scientists.

Habitats important for juvenile shark survival, but not adequately protected

After analysing more than 2000 hours of coastal shark sightings, researchers from The University of Western Australia and other collaborators have warned that habitats important for juvenile shark survival are not adequately protected.

Predatory bacterium that kills to obtain bioplastic

Spanish researchers have designed a method that uses a predatory bacterium to extract bioplastic materials from other bacteria. The system, already patented, will make it possible to obtain bioplastics at low cost and at industrial scale in bacterial cell factories.

Protective barrier inside chromosomes helps to keep cells healthy

Fresh insights into the structures that contain our genetic material could explain how the body's cells stay healthy.

New computational model provides a tool for improving the production of valuable drugs

An extensive study involving partners from five continents has resulted in a model describing the metabolism of Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO). This model can be used to improve and accelerate the production of biotherapeutics, cancer drugs, and vaccines.

Science historians mark 150 years of 'the tree of life' in Nature article

How can we depict diversity? Biologists of the 19th century faced this question as they became aware not only of the huge variety of plant and animal species, but also of the connections between these species. Ultimately it was the acclaimed German biologist Ernst Haeckel who provided the answer.

New chemistry of life: Novel ubiquitination mechanism explains pathogenic effects of Legionella infection

A team of scientists under the lead of Ivan Dikic, Director of the Institute of Biochemistry II at Goethe University Frankfurt, has now discovered a novel mechanism of ubiquitination, by which Legionella bacteria can seize control over their host cells. Legionella causes deadly pneumonia in immunocompromised patients.

Model explains barred owls' domination over northern spotted owls

Barred owls - unrivaled nocturnal predators and procreators - are moving into the Pacific Northwest. They're encroaching on northern spotted owl territories and outcompeting this smaller, threatened cousin.

Scientists create first viable mathematical model of a key anti-Salmonella defense system

Scientists have created the first validated mathematical model of an important cellular defense mechanism against the bacterium Salmonella, according to a new study in PLOS Computational Biology.

Researchers report large-scale changes in insect species inhabiting streams, rivers

Scientists from Utah State University and the US Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the frequencies of occurrence of hundreds of insect species inhabiting streams have been altered relative to the conditions that existed prior to wide spread pollution and habitat alteration. Results were similar for the two study regions (the Mid-Atlantic Highlands and North Carolina), where frequencies of occurrence for more than 70 percent of species have shifted. In both regions, nearly all historically common species were found in fewer streams and rivers than expected. The study was recently published in Freshwater Science. The authors of the study are Charles (Chuck) Hawkins of Utah State University and Lester Yuan of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Japan culling 230,000 more birds over avian flu

Japan has mobilised its military to help with a second mass cull of 230,000 chickens amid a spreading outbreak of a highly contagious strain of avian flu, officials said.

As Australian shipping grows, how can we avoid collisions with marine animals?

Living largely on the fringes of a giant island continent, Australians rely on sea transport for the exports and imports that sustain our economy and lifestyle. Australians also have a strong affinity with the ocean, as reflected in the growth in recreational boating and cruise shipping. But these numbers risk putting people on a collision course – literally – with whales, turtles and other marine life.

Watching gene-editing at work to develop precision therapies

University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have developed methods to observe genome editing in action—and they're putting those capabilities to work to improve genetic engineering techniques. With support from a five-year, $1.8 million award from the National Institutes of Health, the new project could pave the way toward personalized treatment for genetic diseases.

Museum of Natural Science researchers publish the first birds of Bolivia field guide

Bolivia has more species of birds than any other land-locked country in the world. It is sixth in the world in terms of diversity of bird species, which is notable given that it has no marine birds. LSU Museum of Natural Science researchers and research collaborators in Bolivia have authored the first field guide book to birds of Bolivia.

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