Thursday, December 29, 2016

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Dec 29

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for December 29, 2016:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Concentric rings found in the debris disk of a young nearby star

Can paint strokes help identify Alzheimer's?

Twitter unveils 360-degree live video

Deep learning sound applications could help spot industrial trouble spots

Scientists 3-D print human of the future

Heat-activated penile implant might restore sexual function in men with ED

Mars Odyssey orbiter recovering from precautionary pause in activity

Image: Saturn's north pole basking in light

Streamlining the Internet of Things and other cyber-physical systems

Australian manuka honey a medicinal powerhouse

Possible treatment targets found for pre-malignant bone marrow disorders

Security experts reveal vulnerability with airline reservation systems

Flood threats changing across US: Study finds flood risk growing in the North, declining in the South

Hubble gazes at a cosmic megamaser

Penn experts call for expansion of molecular imaging in precision cancer care

Astronomy & Space news

Concentric rings found in the debris disk of a young nearby star

(—An international team of researchers reports the discovery of a series of concentric rings in the debris disk around a young nearby star known as HIP 73145. These unusual substructures could provide new details about the evolution of circumstellar disks around young stars. The findings were presented in a paper published Dec. 22 on

Mars Odyssey orbiter recovering from precautionary pause in activity

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, which has been in service at Mars since October 2001, put itself into safe mode—a protective standby status—on Dec. 26, while remaining in communication with Earth.

Image: Saturn's north pole basking in light

Sunlight truly has come to Saturn's north pole. The whole northern region is bathed in sunlight in this view from late 2016, feeble though the light may be at Saturn's distant domain in the solar system.

Hubble gazes at a cosmic megamaser

This galaxy has a far more exciting and futuristic classification than most—it hosts a megamaser. Megamasers are intensely bright, around 100 million times brighter than the masers found in galaxies like the Milky Way. The entire galaxy essentially acts as an astronomical laser that beams out microwave emission rather than visible light (hence the 'm' replacing the 'l').

NEOWISE mission spies one comet, maybe two

NASA's NEOWISE mission has recently discovered some celestial objects traveling through our neighborhood, including one on the blurry line between asteroid and comet. Another—definitely a comet—might be seen with binoculars through next week.

Technology news

Twitter unveils 360-degree live video

Twitter on Wednesday began streaming 360-degree video, allowing users to interact and get behind the scenes of live broadcasts.

Deep learning sound applications could help spot industrial trouble spots

(Tech Xplore)—An Israeli startup company called 3DSignals is developing deep learning sound applications that could soon be used in production environments to identify trouble spots before they develop into bigger problems. The company has outlined its current technology and its hope for the future in recent conversations with the press.

Streamlining the Internet of Things and other cyber-physical systems

In an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) keynote paper, computer engineers lay out a framework to improve research on cyber-physical systems.

Security experts reveal vulnerability with airline reservation systems

(Tech Xplore)—A pair of researchers with German security firm Security Research Labs has revealed the results of research they undertook to assess the security strength and weaknesses of airline booking systems. Karsten Noh and Nemanja Nikodijevic have detailed their findings on a company blog post and in a talk they gave at this year's Chaos Communication Congress—and the news is not good for travelers.

Humanoid robot Pepper is amusing, but is it practical?

While merrily chirping, dancing and posing for selfies, a robot named Pepper looks like another expensive toy at a San Francisco mall. But don't dismiss it as mere child's play.

Image-based modeling of body tissues

A team of researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), in collaboration with their colleagues from the University of Oklahoma, have demonstrated a novel, image-based simulation approach that could lead to artificially grown tissues and organs in a hospital setting.

Uber's surge pricing isn't as painful as you may think, according to study

Around New Year's, many people will arrange safe, sober rides utilizing services such as Uber. However, customers might suffer sticker shock when it's time to book those rides: The platform is known for its surge pricing at peak-demand times, such as the holidays.

Study: Ad-tech use shines light on fringe, fake news sites

What distinguishes mainstream news sites from those devoted to fake news or other hyper-partisan takes on events? It's not just the stories they run, but also the way they use online technology that tracks readers and shows them ads, according to a new study by a web analytics firm.

Museum getting a massive geodesic dome with 61 glass eyes

A massive geodesic dome with 61 glass eyes is coming to Arkansas' Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Review: These Bluetooth speakers can be life of the party anywhere

We are becoming a nation of people who take our music wherever we go.

How Amazon Echo listens and what it stores

Can Amazon's Echo speaker really be a witness to a murder?

Medicine & Health news

Can paint strokes help identify Alzheimer's?

A new University of Liverpool study published today in Neuropsychology shows that it may be possible to detect neurodegenerative disorders in artists before they are diagnosed.

Scientists 3-D print human of the future

Interactive 3-D models of human joints, showing how common medical complaints have arisen and how we are likely to evolve in the future, have been created at Oxford University.

Heat-activated penile implant might restore sexual function in men with ED

The basic technology for penile implants hasn't improved much in 40 years.

Possible treatment targets found for pre-malignant bone marrow disorders

Cincinnati Children's researchers report in Nature Immunology a new mechanism that controls blood cell function and several possible molecular targets for treating myelodysplasia syndromes (MDS) - a group of pre-malignant disorders in which bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells.

Penn experts call for expansion of molecular imaging in precision cancer care

New molecular imaging technologies can make it easier to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancers while potentially saving patients from undergoing therapies that are likely to be ineffective and playing a role in minimizing side effects, according to experts from the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In a review published online today in JAMA Oncology, the Penn team says finding a way to use these techniques more widely in clinical settings should be a top priority.

Your microbiota's previous dining experiences may make new diets less effective

Your microbiota may not be on your side as you try improving your diet this New Year's. In a study published December 29 in Cell Host & Microbe, researchers explore why mice that switch from an unrestricted American diet to a healthy, calorie-restricted, plant-based diet don't have an immediate response to their new program. They found that certain human gut bacteria need to be lost for a diet plan to be successful.

Inactivity in obese mice linked to a decreased motivation to move

Starting a regular program at the gym is a common New Year's resolution, but it's one that most people are unable to stick with for very long. Now a study done in mice is providing clues about one of the reasons why it may be hard for so many people to stick with an exercise program. The investigators found that in obese mice, physical inactivity results from altered dopamine receptors rather than excess body weight. The report appears in Cell Metabolism on December 29.

Gut microorganisms affect our physiology

Researchers have found evidence that could shed new light on the complex community of trillions of microorganisms living in all our guts, and how they interact with our bodies.

Scientists uncover new way to defeat therapy-resistant prostate cancer

A new study led by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) sheds light on a signaling circuit in cells that drives therapy resistance in prostate cancer. The researchers found that targeting the components of this circuit suppresses advanced prostate cancer development.

Scientists engineer gene pathway to grow brain organoids with surface folding

One of the most significant ways in which the human brain is unique is the size and structure of the cerebral cortex. But what drives the growth of the human cortex, likely the foundation for our unique intellectual abilities?

Bell's palsy tied to quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine

(HealthDay)—Bell's palsy is the only prespecified adverse event associated with the MenACWY-CRM quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, according to a study published online Dec. 26 in Pediatrics.

Severe symptoms, ocular pain linked to dry eye persistence

(HealthDay)—Severe dry eye symptoms and ocular pain at baseline are associated with persistent severe dry eye symptoms one year later, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Ciprofloxacin plus fluocinolone more effective for peds AOMT

(HealthDay)—For children with acute otitis media with tympanostomy tubes (AOMT), ciprofloxacin plus fluocinolone is more effective than ciprofloxacin or fluocinolone alone, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Case report: Ustekinumab for Crohn's continued in pregnancy

(HealthDay)—Good outcome has been reported in a pregnant woman who continued ustekinumab (UST) therapy for Crohn's disease during pregnancy, according to a case report published online Dec. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Disabled children face bullying throughout school years

(HealthDay)—Bullying is a problem that affects almost all students in some ways, but for disabled children it's a problem that seems to last throughout their school years.

Post-lunch napping tied to better cognition in elderly

(HealthDay)—Moderate post-lunch napping is tied to better cognition in older adults, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Fish-oil fatty acids in pregnancy cut wheeze, asthma risk in child

(HealthDay)—For women in the third trimester of pregnancy, supplementation with n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) is associated with a reduction in the risk of persistent wheeze and asthma in offspring, according to a study published in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Investigation into new molecules for potential Alzheimer's treatment

Two significant research studies have been published in Molecular Pharmaceutics and Current Alzheimer Research regarding molecules that could potentially treat Alzheimer's disease. The chief researcher in both studies was Yan Ivanenkov, the head of the Laboratory of Medical Chemistry and Bioinformatics at MIPT. Mark Veselov, another MIPT employee, also participated in the second study.

New nutritional strategy gives a boost to tiny premature babies

The tiniest premature babies – weighing less than 1 kg at birth – often fail to gain weight during their long stay in hospital, which impacts upon their subsequent growth. Now, however, a retrospective data analysis conducted at MedUni Vienna's Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine has shown that more aggressive nutrition, especially including more protein, brings about a significant improvement in nutritional status, development and growth of these tiny infants.

Chemo-brain among women with breast cancer is pervasive, study shows

The largest study to date of a condition known as "chemo-brain" shows that women with breast cancer report it's a substantial problem after chemotherapy for as long as six months after treatment, according to investigators at UR Medicine's Wilmot Cancer Institute.

Omega-3 supplements can prevent childhood asthma

Taking certain omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of childhood asthma by almost one third, according to a new study from the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) and the University of Waterloo.

Most doctors ignore one of the most potent ways to improve health, experts say

Leveraging existing relationships with friends and family may be a more effective way to improve patients' health and encourage new healthy habits and behaviors than increasing interactions with physicians or other clinicians. In a new perspective published by the New England Journal of Medicine, Penn Medicine behavioral economists suggest a five-step ladder to effectively engineering social engagements that promote health and to test their acceptability and effectiveness.

Genes and the environment equally affect language-related brain activity

Osaka University-led researchers examine brain activity in monozygotic and dizygotic Japanese twins and show that environmental and genetic influences affect language-related brain activities in left frontal area of the brain.

Iron deficiency anemia associated with hearing loss

In a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Kathleen M. Schieffer, B.S., of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa., and colleagues examined the association between sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss and iron deficiency anemia in adults ages 21 to 90 years in the United States.

The rhythm that makes memories permanent

Every time we learn something new, the memory does not only need to be acquired, it also needs to be stabilized in a process called memory consolidation. Brain waves are considered to play an important role in this process, but the underlying mechanism that dictates their shape and rhythm was still unknown. A study now published in Neuron shows that one of the brain waves important for consolidating memory is dominated by synaptic inhibition.

Debbie Reynold's death puts spotlight on 'broken heart syndrome'

(HealthDay)—A stroke claimed the life of actress Debbie Reynolds, 84, on Wednesday—just a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died from a heart attack.

Many misuse OTC sleep aids: survey

(HealthDay)—People struggling with insomnia often turn to non-prescription sleep remedies that may be habit-forming and are only intended for short-term use, according to a new Consumer Reports survey.

Zika fears, opioid abuse crisis top health news for 2016

(HealthDay)—When news reports first began to emerge of mysterious, severe birth defects in Brazilian newborns, few could have imagined these isolated tragedies would explode into the leading health news story of 2016: the Zika virus.

Luseogliflozin effective for T2DM with low-carb, high-carb diet

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), the SGLT2 inhibitor luseogliflozin has similar efficacy when meals contain 40 to 55 percent total energy from carbohydrate (TEC), according to a study published online Dec. 19 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Triple-negative breast CA risk up for blacks with benign breast Dz

(HealthDay)—African-American (AA) identity is associated with increased risk of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) among women with a prior diagnosis of benign breast disease (BBD), according to a study published online Dec. 22 in JAMA Oncology.

Aflibercept rescues vision after laser for diabetic macular edema

(HealthDay)—For eyes experiencing substantial visual loss after macular laser photocoagulation treatment for diabetic macular edema (DME), intravitreal aflibercept improves visual and anatomic outcomes, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Case report: Adoptive T-cell Tx shows promise in glioblastoma

(HealthDay)—Treatment with autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered T cells targeting the tumor-associated antigen interleukin-13 receptor alpha 2 (IL13Rα2) is associated with tumor regression in recurrent multifocal glioblastoma, according to a case report published in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Chair yoga helps older adults manage osteoarthritis pain

(HealthDay)—Chair yoga may produce sustained improvements in pain interference among older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Increase in HPV prevalence seen after renal transplant in women

(HealthDay)—An increase in human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence after renal transplantation (RT) may result from reactivation of latent HPV infections in women, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Reoperation risk for nonpalpable breast lesions higher for DCIS

(HealthDay)—For women undergoing wire-guided breast conserving surgery (BCS) for nonpalpable breast lesions, the risk of reoperation is higher for those with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) than those with invasive breast cancer (IBC), according to a study published online Dec. 21 in JAMA Surgery.

Weight gain worsens post-discharge prognosis in acute HF

(HealthDay)—For patients with acute heart failure (AHF) who experience minimal weight loss or weight gain, increasing body weight is associated with worse post-discharge prognosis, according to research published in the Jan. 1 issue of JACC: Heart Failure.

Age-adjusted cut-offs in D-dimer testing for PE cause concern

(HealthDay)—D-dimer unit type should be clarified and laboratories interested in implementing age-adjusted D-dimer (AADD) cut-offs should use only specific D-dimer assays that have been adequately assessed in clinical studies, according to an Ideas and Opinions piece published online Dec. 27 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Selumetinib active in children with neurofibromatosis type 1

(HealthDay)—The oral selective inhibitor of MAPK kinase 1 and 2, selumetinib, is active in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 and inoperable plexiform neurofibromas, according to a study published in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Miracle fruit comes to the rescue; thousands of cancer patients taste food again

Her water tasted like rusty pennies; the pepperoni pizza like metallic cardboard.

New Medicare rules should help 'high need' patients get better treatment

Doctors have complained for years that they're not paid adequately for time-consuming work associated with managing care for seriously ill older patients: consulting with other specialists, talking to families and caregivers, interacting with pharmacists and more.

Breast and cervical cancer screening rates are low in women with advanced kidney disease

A new study indicates that many women with advanced kidney disease are not receiving recommended breast or cervical cancer screening, even though they face a higher risk of developing cancer than women in the general population. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Psychiatric conditions linked to increased risk of long-term opioid use

A wide range of pre-existing psychiatric and behavioral conditions and the use of psychoactive drugs could be important risk factors leading to long-term use of opioid pain medications, reports a study in Pain, the official publication of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

Many smokers with serious mental illness want to kick habit

Among American adults who have a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or clinical depression, 57 percent are smokers. In contrast, only 15 percent of U.S. adults overall smoke.

Anti-aging therapies targeting senescent cells: Facts and fiction

It's an exciting time to be an elderly mouse. Researchers believe that by removing senescent cells (cells with a persistent damage response), which naturally accumulate with age, senior rodents can regrow hair, run faster, and improve organ function. This strategy may bring us one step closer to the "fountain of youth," but it's important to be cautious and not hype, says researcher of aging Peter de Keizer of the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. In an Opinion published December 29 in Trends in Molecule Medicine, he discusses the milestones the field still needs to hit before translation in humans is ready for discussion.

Researchers develop potential oral treatment for hemophilia

(HealthDay)—People with hemophilia have to endure painful injections every few days to stay alive, but a newly developed treatment may one day offer a simpler, cheaper and less painful alternative.

Gastro issues may be downside to weight-loss surgery

(HealthDay)—While weight-loss surgery can help obese people drop unwanted pounds, a new study suggests the procedure may also trigger long-lasting tummy troubles for many patients.

Aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer: Advantages over tamoxifen in early-stage disease

The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) investigated whether and what advantages drugs from the drug class of aromatase inhibitors offer compared with other breast cancer treatments or with each other. The final report was published on 15 November.

Gene therapy to prevent vision loss: Studies in primates needed to optimize human trials

Many gene therapy-based approaches are in development to combat genetic and other causes of blindness and vision loss, and much can be learned about the safety and effectiveness of these promising new therapies by studying them first in non-human primates before initiating clinical trials, as shown by the results of a study published in Human Gene Therapy.

Biomarker tests in breast cancer: Decision on chemotherapy remains difficult

The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) investigated the benefit of biomarker tests to support the decision for or against adjuvant systemic chemotherapy in certain breast cancer patients, that is, women with primary hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer and up to 3 affected lymph nodes.

Puerto Rico receives $2M to fight Zika epidemic in mountains

Puerto Rico has been awarded more than $2 million in federal funds to fight Zika across mountain communities in the U.S. territory's interior.

Home remedies: helping a hoarse voice

You've likely had days when your voice sounds excessively husky, raspy or weak. You may have even lost your voice for a short time laryngitis. Laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation or infection. Inside the larynx are your vocal cords - two folds of mucous membrane covering muscle and cartilage. Normally, your vocal cords open and close smoothly, forming sounds through their movement and vibration.

Racial disparities exist in children's access to kidney transplantation

Researchers have uncovered a higher risk of death in black vs. white children with kidney failure over the last two decades that seems to be mediated by differences in access to kidney transplantation. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), point to the need to develop strategies that will ensure equal access to transplantation for children.

Is patient satisfaction relevant? Plastic surgeons call for better rating tools

Patient satisfaction has become an important quality measure in the US healthcare system. But some plastic surgeons question the value of subjective patient satisfaction ratings—suggesting that they might even lead to lower-quality care in some situations, according to a special topic article in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Round or 'shaped' breast implants? Even plastic surgeons can't tell the difference

Looking at before-and-after photos, plastic surgeons and nurses can't tell whether breast augmentation surgery was done using conventional round implants or newer anatomically shaped implants, reports a study in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Biology news

Australian manuka honey a medicinal powerhouse

Australian manuka honey is at least as powerful against bacteria as the more commonly known New Zealand variety, researchers have found.

New tool shines light on protein condensation in living cells

A tool that uses light to manipulate matter inside living cells has begun to explain how proteins assemble into different liquid and gel-like solid states, a key to understanding many critical cellular operations.

Off-switch for CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system discovered

UC San Francisco researchers have discovered a way to switch off the widely used CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system using newly identified anti-CRISPR proteins that are produced by bacterial viruses. The technique has the potential to improve the safety and accuracy of CRISPR applications both in the clinic and for basic research.

Varmint hunters' ammo selection influences lead exposure in avian scavengers

Varmint hunters' choice of ammunition plays a role in the amount of lead that scavengers such as golden eagles could ingest, a new study shows, and offers a way to minimize the lead exposure to wildlife.

Secrets of human protein interactions unveiled by massive sequencing and coevolution

Cells operate like incredibly well-synchronized orchestras of molecular interactions among proteins. This molecular network is essential not only to understanding how an organism functions, but also to determining the molecular mechanisms responsible for a multitude of diseases. In fact, it has been observed that protein interaction regions are preferentially mutated in tumours.

Role of climate in the population dynamics of Eurasian reindeer

Exploitation of natural resources, such as forestry or gas and oil extraction, and management practices may have faster and greater impacts on reindeer populations than does climate change, a study finds. However, climate change should not be forgotten or underestimated, since reindeer are adapted to cold temperatures and therefore susceptible to temperature increases.

World's oldest male panda dies

The world's oldest male panda, with more than 130 descendants—a quarter of all the captive-bred pandas on the planet—has died aged 31, officials said.

Rare Rothschild's giraffe calf born in Chester Zoo

A British zoo was celebrating after the birth of a rare Rothschild's giraffe calf, whose number has dwindled to fewer than 1,600 in its native Kenya and Uganda.

Maimed lions show challenges of recovery in Mozambican park

They are amputees, lions that lost paws to wire snares or metal-jaw traps set by poachers.

Why are these birds falling from the sky in South Jersey?

Weather-wise, it had been a fairly typical November day, two days before Thanksgiving, in the western Cumberland County agricultural community of Stow Creek Township - mostly sunny, with a bit of a nip in the air.

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