Monday, January 23, 2017

Science X Newsletter Monday, Jan 23

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 23, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Best of Last Week—Golden mystery solved, drug resistant nightmare bacteria and fast talking doesn't offer more info

Camera able to capture imagery of an optical Mach cone

First big-picture look at meteorites from before giant space collision 466 million years ago

Experiment resolves mystery about wind flows on Jupiter

80-million-year-old dinosaur collagen confirmed

Catalyst adds fluorine-containing groups to make new compounds

Scientists create first stable semisynthetic organism

Starship Technologies draws attention with ground-based robot delivery solution

Facts, beliefs, and identity: The seeds of science skepticism

'Droneboarding' takes off in Latvia

Singapore 2G switchoff highlights digital divide

Ugandans invent 'smart jacket' to diagnose pneumonia

Polynomials without tears thanks to Socratic app

Psychological 'vaccine' could help immunize public against 'fake news' on climate change

Study finds parrotfish are critical to coral reef health

Astronomy & Space news

First big-picture look at meteorites from before giant space collision 466 million years ago

Four hundred and sixty-six million years ago, there was a giant collision in outer space. Something hit an asteroid and broke it apart, sending chunks of rock falling to Earth as meteorites since before the time of the dinosaurs. But what kinds of meteorites were making their way to Earth before that collision? In a new study in Nature Astronomy, scientists have tackled that question by creating the first reconstruction of the distribution of meteorite types before the collision. They discovered that most of the meteorites we see today are, in the grand scheme of things, rare, while many meteorites that are rare today were common before the collision.

One of the brightest distant galaxies known discovered

An international team led by researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) has discovered one of the brightest "non-active" galaxies in the early universe. Finding BG1429+1202 was made possible by the "help" of a massive elliptical galaxy along the line of sight to the object, which acted as a kind of lens, amplifying the brightness and distorting the observed image. The results, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, are part of the BELLS GALLERY project, based on the analysis of one and a half million spectra of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).

Dwarf galaxies shed light on dark matter

The first sighting of clustered dwarf galaxies bolsters a leading theory about how big galaxies such as our Milky Way are formed, and how dark matter binds them, researchers said Monday.

Image: Frost build-up near Mars north pole

This animated gif shows the build up of frosts in a 73 x 41 km section of the north polar ice cap of Mars between November and December 2004.

Air Force missile reconnaissance satellite SBIRS GEO 3 launched

A vital missile reconnaissance satellite for the U.S. Force soared to space atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral at dinnertime Friday night, Jan. 20, 2017.

Technology news

Starship Technologies draws attention with ground-based robot delivery solution

(Tech Xplore)—"Say hello to your personal courier. I'm here to deliver anything you need. Just tell me what, when and where and I'll do the rest."

'Droneboarding' takes off in Latvia

Skirted on all sides by snow-clad pine forests, Latvia's remote Lake Ninieris would be the perfect picture of winter tranquility—were it not for the huge drone buzzing like a swarm of angry bees as it zooms above the solid ice surface.

Singapore 2G switchoff highlights digital divide

When Singapore pulls the plug on its 2G mobile phone network this year, thousands of people could be stuck without a signal—digital have-nots left behind by the relentless march of technology.

Polynomials without tears thanks to Socratic app

(Tech Xplore)—School memories include the downsides as well as the uplifting ones. Not understanding what was written in textbooks and poorly explained by teachers are part of the grimmer recollections.

System that automatically handles database caching in server farms increases speed and reliability

Today, loading a web page on a big website usually involves a database query—to retrieve the latest contributions to a discussion you're participating in, a list of news stories related to the one you're reading, links targeted to your geographic location, or the like.

Your Android device's Pattern Lock can be cracked within five attempts

The popular Pattern Lock system used to secure millions of Android phones can be cracked within just five attempts – and more complicated patterns are the easiest to crack, security experts reveal.

New design strategy for longer lasting batteries

It's always exciting to bring home a new smartphone that seems to do anything, but it can be all downhill from there. With every charge and discharge cycle, the device's battery capacity lowers a little bit more—eventually rendering the device completely useless.

'Net neutrality' foe Ajit Pai is new FCC head

President Donald Trump has picked a fierce critic of the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules to be chief regulator of the nation's airwaves and internet connections.

India turns to AI as cyber warfare threats grow

In the darkened offices of a tech start-up, a handful of computer engineers sifts through a mountain of intelligence data that would normally be the work of a small army of Indian security agents.

Taiwan's Foxconn chief confirms mulling $7 bn US investment

The head of Taiwan's tech giant Foxconn confirmed Sunday he is considering a $7 billion investment to make TV flat panels in the United States in a joint project with Japan's SoftBank.

Samsung blames Galaxy Note 7 fires on faulty batteries (Update)

The world's biggest smartphone maker Samsung blamed faulty batteries on Monday for the fires that hit its flagship Galaxy Note 7 device last year, as it sought to draw a line under the humiliating recall.

China's online population reaches 731 million

The number of internet users in China—already the world's highest—reached 731 million in December, authorities said, as e-commerce drives consumer demand across the Asian giant.

China cracks down on bids to bypass online censorship

China has announced a 14-month campaign to "clean up" internet service providers and crack down on devices such as virtual private networks (VPNs) used to evade strict censorship.

Bringing energy-hungry buildings up to date

As buildings evolve from energy consumers to energy producers, architecture is seeing a major paradigm shift, with building renovations becoming a real challenge. EPFL researchers explore this fundamental issue in a new book and course.

Review: Apple takes innovation to new levels with AirPods

Apple has a knack for examining a product market and introducing its own version that leapfrogs the established competition.

Amid angst, tech industry innovates

CES is nearly a week-long party celebrating the tech industry. But in recent years, the annual tech show, held earlier this month, has had a palpable sense of anxiety as much as excitement.

Paresh Dave: Snapchat in 2017: 7 predictions about what's to come

As Snap Inc. moves toward an expected initial public offering this year, it's natural to expect increased predictability and transparency from a company that has thrived so far without much of either.

Designing a chatbot: male, female or gender neutral?

Picture a virtual assistant that helps find directions, schedules appointments or plays music, and the soothing yet robotic sound of a female voice likely comes to mind.

SEC probing Yahoo over cyberattacks: media

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into whether Yahoo should have informed investors sooner about two major data breaches, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Sprint in streaming deal to boost fledgling Tidal (Update)

Telecom giant Sprint said Monday it would buy one-third of rap mogul Jay Z's Tidal streaming platform, breathing new life into a service whose star power has failed to translate into market dominance.

Finding a needle in the ocean: Professor shares perspective on bringing a systematic approach to big data

Big data is being used in a broad range of applications from targeting customers and improving sports performance to operating self-driving cars and decoding DNA.

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

Scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), CIEMAT (Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research), Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, in collaboration with the firm BioDan Group, have presented a prototype for a 3-D bioprinter that can create totally functional human skin. This skin is adequate for transplanting to patients or for use in research or the testing of cosmetic, chemical, and pharmaceutical products.

US fights Microsoft's bid to tell users when feds take data

The U.S. Justice Department wants a judge to throw out a lawsuit from Microsoft and keep a law that prohibits technology companies from telling customers when the government demands their electronic data.

Sale of core Yahoo assets to Verizon delayed

Yahoo said Monday that the closing of a $4.8 billion deal to sell its core internet assets to US telecom titan Verizon has been delayed several months.

iPhone assembler Foxconn may invest $7B in US display plant

Foxconn, a major assembler of iPhones and other electronics, may invest $7 billion in a plant for manufacturing display panels that would create as many as 50,000 jobs in the U.S.

Trump's victory creates uncertainty for wind and solar power

President Donald Trump has disputed climate change, pledged a revival of coal and disparaged wind power, and his nominee to head the Energy Department was once highly skeptical of the agency's value. What this means for states' efforts to promote renewable energy is an open question.

UNIST embarks on journey to develop ultrafast train

Earlier today, UNIST has signed a multi-year strategic partnership agreement with seven research institutes to accelerate the realization of government's new plan to build a new form of futuristic transportation system.

Judge rules Snapchat immune from distracted driver claim

A judge has dismissed claims against Snapchat that blamed the social media company's "speed filter" for a highway crash. The judge said the Communications Decency Act provides the social media company with immunity.

UNIST researchers get green light to commercialize metal-air batteries

A team of researchers, affiliated with UNIST has recently announced that they have successfully developed a new way to increase energy efficiency of metal-air batteries which are next-generation energy devices by using a conducting polymer.

Using simulation tools to optimize soft robotic systems

Simulation is a valuable tool to improve the energy efficiency of machines and it is now being used to analyze and optimize soft robotic systems to increase their utility, as described in an article published in Soft Robotics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Soft Robotics website until February 20, 2017.

'Net neutrality' foe Ajit Pai is new FCC head

President Donald Trump has picked a fierce critic of the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules to be chief regulator of the nation's airwaves and internet connections.

Medicine & Health news

Ugandans invent 'smart jacket' to diagnose pneumonia

A team of Ugandan engineers has invented a "smart jacket" that diagnoses pneumonia faster than a doctor, offering hope against a disease which kills more children worldwide than any other.

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

Zika virus (ZIKV) interferes with the cellular machinery controlling cell division and alters the expression of hundreds of genes guiding the formation and development of neurons and astrocytes, according to findings released on January 23rd 2017 at Scientific Reports.

Researchers find stomach cancer pathway doesn't work as previously thought

Conventional wisdom holds that the loss of cells that secrete acid in the stomach leads to a condition that eventually can develop into stomach cancer.

Study identifies genomic features of cervical cancer

Investigators with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have identified novel genomic and molecular characteristics of cervical cancer that will aid in the subclassification of the disease and may help target therapies that are most appropriate for each patient. The new study, a comprehensive analysis of the genomes of 178 primary cervical cancers, found that over 70 percent of the tumors had genomic alterations in either one or both of two important cell signaling pathways. The researchers also found, unexpectedly, that a subset of tumors did not show evidence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The study included authors from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both parts of the National Institutes of Health, and appeared January 23, 2017, in Nature.

Research helps explain how B cell metabolism is controlled

B cells, the lymphocytes best known for making antibodies, live a complex life. They start developing in the bone marrow and then move through the spleen, lymph nodes and blood, taking on tasks that range from recognizing foreign substances to replication, quiescence, and generating a lasting memory of pathogens. But little is known about how B cell metabolism adapts to each of these environments, insights that may improve our understanding of B cell diseases, such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Research leads to new treatment recommendations for a high-risk pediatric leukemia

Research led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has identified three genetic alterations to help identify high-risk pediatric patients with acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) who may benefit from allogeneic stem cell transplants.

Autism symptoms improve after fecal transplant, small study finds

Children with autism may benefit from fecal transplants - a method of introducing donated healthy microbes into people with gastrointestinal disease to rebalance the gut, a new study has found.

Kisspeptin hormone enhances brain response to sexual and emotional images

The scientists behind the early-stage study, from Imperial College London, are now keen to explore whether kisspeptin could play a part in treating some psychosexual disorders—sexual problems which are psychological in origin, and commonly occur in patients with infertility. The work was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.

Breast cancer drugs stop working when tumors 'make their own fuel'

The early-stage findings, from an international team led by Imperial College London and the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, reveal some breast tumours evolve to make their own 'fuel supply', rendering treatments powerless.

Cholesterol—Good for the brain, bad for the heart

Healthy brains need plenty of cholesterol for nerve cells to grow and work properly, but diabetes can reduce the amount of cholesterol in the brain, as a Joslin Diabetes Center team has demonstrated. Joslin researchers and their colleagues now have gone on to show that mice that are genetically modified to suppress cholesterol production in the brain show dramatic symptoms of neurological impairment.

Study reveals new genetic mechanism driving breast cancer

Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have discovered 'hotspots' of mutations in breast cancer genomes, where mutations thought to be inactive 'passengers' in the genome have now been shown to possibly drive further cancerous changes. Reported in Nature Genetics today, the study found 33 mutation hotspots, which act like backseat drivers for cancer development.

Regulating 'gasotransmitters' could improve care for sleep apnea

Unbalanced signaling by two molecules that regulate breathing leads to sleep apnea in mice and rats, researchers report in the Jan. 23, 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They show, working with rodents, that injection of a substance that reduces production of one of those signals, hydrogen sulfide, can prevent apneas. This approach has the potential to help people suffering from multiple forms of sleep-disordered breathing.

Genetic risk factors for autism, MS and other diseases differ between the sexes

A pair of studies by researchers at UC San Francisco suggest that genetic variants that have distinct effects on physical traits such as height, weight, body mass, and body shape in men versus women are also linked to men's and women's risk for a range of diseases—including autism, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and others. The results suggest that at least some of the fundamental biological drivers of disease may be significantly different in men and women, an idea that could have significant impacts on disease research and treatment, the authors say.

Switching off the brain: Study implements an optogenetic tool that inhibits neural activity

Switching off specific brain regions in a laboratory animal is an important type of experiment used to better understand how the brain works. A study published in Nature Methods by Singapore-based researchers identified effective inhibitors of brain activity in the important animal model Drosophila melanogaster, the common vinegar fly. These new tools are enabling researchers to better understand the relationship between neural circuits and behaviour, expanding our knowledge of the brain.

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

Scientists face a conundrum in their quest to understand how microRNAs regulate genes and therefore how they influence human disease at the molecular level: How do these tiny RNA molecules find their partners, called messenger RNAs, on a crowded cellular dancefloor?

Researchers detail novel underlying mechanism involved in PTSD and other anxiety disorders

University of Alabama at Birmingham neurobiologist Lynn Dobrunz, Ph.D., has discovered a novel mechanism for how stress-induced anxiety—the type of experience that can produce post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD—affects circuit function in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where aversive memories are formed.

Jet lag impairs performance of Major League Baseball players

Major League Baseball (MLB) managers trying to find an edge should pay close attention to their players' body clocks, according to a new Northwestern University study of how jet lag affects MLB players traveling across just a few time zones.

Nicotine normalizes brain activity deficits that are key to schizophrenia

A steady stream of nicotine normalizes genetically-induced impairments in brain activity associated with schizophrenia, according to new research involving the University of Colorado Boulder. The finding sheds light on what causes the disease and why those who have it tend to smoke heavily.

On target: Researchers arm platelets to deliver cancer immunotherapy

After surgery to remove a cancerous tumor—even if the surgery is considered "successful"—it's nearly impossible to ensure that all microtumors have been removed from the surgical site. Cancer recurrence is always a major concern.

Online media use shows strong genetic influence

Online media use such as social networking and gaming could be strongly influenced by our genes, according to a new study by researchers from King's College London.

Researchers discover what makes drug for ulcerative colitis tick

For approximately 70 years, physicians have used a medication containing the active agent mesalamine to treat ulcerative colitis, but little was known about how the drug targeted the inflammatory bowel disease.

Sepsis trumps CMS's four medical conditions tracked for readmission rates

Sepsis accounts for considerably more hospital readmissions and associated costs than any of the four medical conditions tracked by the federal government to measure quality of care and guide pay-for-performance reimbursements, according to an analysis led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

For health and happiness, share good news

Service members, including both active and recently separated, have been called upon to fight overseas and to assist during natural disasters at home. They can face unique challenges when they return in both the workplace and at home. New research, focused on service member couples in Oregon, confirms supportive, responsive partners provide a buffer to loneliness and sleep deficits among military couples.

Brazil investigating dozens of suspected yellow fever cases

Brazilian authorities say they've now confirmed 47 cases of yellow fever, and 25 deaths.

E-cigarettes are expanding tobacco product use among youth: study

E-cigarettes - thought by some to be responsible for a decline in youth cigarette smoking - are actually attracting a new population of adolescents who might not otherwise have smoked tobacco products, according to a new UC San Francisco study.

Cervical cancer mortality rates may be underestimated

A woman's risk of dying of cervical cancer is higher than long believed, particularly among older and black women, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests.

Most women don't know age heart screenings should begin, survey finds

A new national survey by Orlando Health found that most women are unaware of the age at which heart screenings should begin. The American Heart Association recommends women begin undergoing regular heart screenings at age 20, but the survey found the majority of women, 60 percent, thought screenings didn't need to begin until after age 30, at least a full decade later.

Smokers unleash harms on their pets

(HealthDay)—Secondhand smoke not only harms people, it also poses a danger to dogs, cats and other pets, a veterinarian warns.

Basivertebral nerve ablation beneficial for chronic back pain

(HealthDay)—For patients with chronic lumbar back pain, ablation of the basivertebral nerve (BVN) improves self-reported outcome at three months and through one year, according to a study published in the February issue of The Spine Journal.

People with dementia need more support managing their medication

New research funded by Pharmacy Research UK published today, 20 January, reveals people with dementia may struggle with managing their medication – exposing them to side-effects, medication errors and an increased risk of non-adherence to drug treatment.

New drug cocktail unlocks potential of new leukemia treatment

A new combination of drugs, tested by University of Manchester scientists, has significantly enhanced the survival of laboratory mice with lymphoma.

Meditation and music may help reverse early memory loss in adults at risk for Alzheimer's disease

In a recent study of adults with early memory loss, a West Virginia University research team lead by Dr. Kim Innes found that practice of a simple meditation or music listening program may have multiple benefits for older adults with preclinical memory loss.

Binge drinking may quickly lead to liver damage

Alcohol consumed during just seven weeks of intermittent binge drinking harms the liver in ways that more moderate daily drinking does not, according to researchers at UC San Francisco.

How do you know if you're obsessed with your health?

Most of us worry about our health at some point. You may notice a new symptom or change in your body and become convinced it's a sign of a horrible illness; a loved one might become ill and you might worry it may also happen to you.

MicroRNAs shown to improve hyperglycemia

A study by Japan's Tokohu University researchers has identified two new types of microRNA (miRNA) that improved hyperglycemia in a mouse model of diabetes by stimulating the proliferation of insulin-producing pancreatic beta (β) cells. This is a key finding that may lead to the development of new diabetes treatment strategies.

​A new principle for epigenetic changes discovered

In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University have found evidence of a new principle for how epigenetic changes can occur. The principle is based on an enzyme, tryptase, that has epigenetic effects that cause cells to proliferate in an uncontrolled manner.

Earthquake experiences of visually impaired documented

Recent earthquakes in the lower North and upper South Islands have been a stark reminder of the challenges residents confronted during the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010/2011.

Getting closer to treatment for Parkinson's

More than 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson's disease. The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown and thus no effective treatments exist. A study from the University of Bergen (UiB) suggests that the secret of the disease may lie in the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell.

New biomarker allows better prediction of survival for patients with colorectal metastases

Liver metastases are formed from cancer cells that have originated in other organs and migrated to the liver via the bloodstream. Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon/rectum) can be successfully treated by surgical resection of the metastases in combination with chemotherapy. In collaboration with the University of Southern California (USA), a MedUni Vienna research team has now identified a new biomarker that allows better prediction of survival following surgical removal of the metastases, as well as a change in the clinical significance of the biomarker following chemotherapy.

Where does innate fear come from?

The 20th century has seen an explosion of scientific efforts made to reveal the biological substrates of cognitive functions. Emotions and cognitive processes interact to build up complex behavioural responses and to drive environmental adaptations. Fear, one of our noble and sophisticated brain functions, requires a perfect integration of emotional and cognitive inputs. Memory, leaning and emotions play altogether to shape our actions. As mentioned by Gabriel Gasque, Associate Editor of PLOS Biology, "Cognition – the term that includes mental processes such as attention, memory, problem-solving, planning, and language – stopped being exclusively a philosophical subject approached by introspection and became a matter of empirical investigation and objective quantification".

Why vaccines don't cause autism (Update)

I have a unique perspective on the recent headlines surrounding vaccines and their alleged links to autism. I serve as President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to vaccines and immunization. In that role I am director of its product development partnership (PDP) based at Baylor College of Medicine – the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, which makes vaccines for neglected tropical diseases – a group of poverty-promoting parasitic and related infections – including new vaccines for schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis, among others.

Medical assistance in dying will not increase health care costs in Canada

Providing medical assistance in dying to people in Canada will not increase health care costs, and could reduce spending by between $34.7 and $138.8 million, according to a new research paper in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). The savings exceed the $1.5M to $14.8M in direct costs associated with implementing medical assistance in dying. The authors caution that cost reduction should not be a factor in individual decision-making by patient and physicians.

Natural compound found in herbs, vegetables could improve treatment of triple-negative breast cancer in women

More than 100 women die from breast cancer every day in the United States. Triple-negative breast cancers, which comprise 15 to 20 percent of all breast tumors, are a particularly deadly type of breast disease that often metastasize to distant sites. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that luteolin, a natural compound found in herbs such as thyme and parsley, and vegetables such as celery and broccoli, could reduce the risk of developing metastasis originating from triple-negative breast cancer in women.

Exercise helps prevent falls in Parkinson's patients

Statistics show that 25 per cent of recently diagnosed patients suffered a fall in the first year. That came as a surprise to researchers. They had thought that falls tended to occur during later stages of the disease.

Research highlights issues for parents caring 24/7 for children with complex care needs

A new research report has been published by the charity WellChild which explores parents' experiences of managing care for children with complex care needs throughout the 24-hour day.

Robot reduces need for open brain surgery to map epileptic seizures

A minimally invasive robotic device is eliminating the need for some patients to undergo open brain surgery to pinpoint the origin of their epileptic seizures. The device, in use at Duke and a small handful of epilepsy centers across the country, means neurosurgeons only need to make a few small incisions. The procedure is more precise, procedure time is shortened dramatically, and patients recover faster.

Researching threats to adolescent survival

Dr Nicole De Wet is a lecturer in demography and population studies at Wits. Her research is on adolescent health outcomes in South Africa.

Hayling Island scientist sheds light on factors driving Alzheimer's

Cassidy Fiford, a native of Hayling Island and a PhD student at University College London, has celebrated after making a discovery showing that damage to blood vessels in the brain can drive shrinking of the hippocampus, an area of the brain critical for memory. Her findings are helping researchers shed more light on what drives damage in the brain in Alzheimer's and how it can be stopped.

Transplanted neurons incorporated into a stroke-injured rat brain

Today, a stroke usually leads to permanent disability – but in the future, the stroke-injured brain could be reparable by replacing dead cells with new, healthy neurons, using transplantation. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have taken a step in that direction by showing that some neurons transplanted into the brains of stroke-injured rats were incorporated and responded correctly when the rat's muzzle and paws were touched.

Opinion: How dangerous is burnt toast?

A new campaign is warning people that burning some food, such as toast, is a potential cancer risk. Here, the evidence for this claim is explored by David Spiegelhalter, Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the new Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication.

What is good quality sleep? National Sleep Foundation provides guidance

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recently released the key indicators of good sleep quality, as established by a panel of experts.

Sex toys 'safer' than kids' toys: Swedish study

Fewer sex toys contain dangerous chemicals than children's toys, a Swedish inspection authority said in a report published on Monday.

Britons sizzle over chips and toast cancer warnings

A government health warning over the potential dangers of toast, roast potatoes and chips—all traditional staples of the British diet—had the country's tabloids hitting out Monday.

Measles outbreak grows in L.A despite California's strict new vaccination law

Six months after California's strict vaccine law took effect, a measles outbreak has infected 20 people, most of them in Los Angeles County, prompting a search for others who may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.

Home remedies: a case of the common cold

The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). It's usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Children younger than six are at greatest risk of colds, but healthy adults can also expect to have two or three colds annually.

New mouse model helps in search for better COPD and CF treatments

Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan have succeeded in producing a mouse model that faithfully reproduces the pathologies of two intractable lung diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF). Experiments using this new research model revealed that two pathogenic pathways, oxidative stress and protease-antiprotease imbalance, matched those found in human COPD and CF. It is a major achievement that could lead to the development of new medication therapies.

Does 'juvy' confinement jeopardize long-term health?

(HealthDay)—Young people in juvenile detention or jail may suffer health effects that last well into adulthood, a pair of new studies suggests.

Study reveals areas of the brain impacted by PTSD

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the VA Boston Healthcare System are one step closer to understanding the specific nature of brain changes associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Trusting relationship with counselor vital to successful alcohol treatment

A positive, trusting relationship between counselor and patient, known as a "therapeutic alliance," can be key to successful treatment of alcohol use disorder, a new study finds.

When non-adherence to guidelines is a good thing: Study on COPD yields surprising results

A just-published study at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Island, New York, offers a glimpse at what happens when doctors' clinical intuition collides with the guidelines they are supposed to follow.

Researchers invent a faster and more accurate test for diagnosing Zika

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center, have developed a new detection test for Zika that is faster and more accurate than currently available tests. The new test can detect Zika in a very small sample of blood in less than four hours. The new test is detailed in EBioMedicine.

India court orders daily TB treatment for millions

Millions of tuberculosis patients in India will receive daily treatment after the Supreme Court Monday ordered the government to change the current dosing practice amid activist claims it was endangering lives.

To find disease risk, genetics provides mother of all shortcuts

In a new study in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, Vanderbilt University's Jonathan Mosley, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues use genetic correlation to link two unrelated biomedical data sets, one from a longstanding prospective epidemiological cohort and the other from electronic health records.

Student-athletes not sleeping enough, intervention could help

College athletes are not getting enough sleep, but a simple intervention built around education and support could go a long way in improving sleep quality and, in turn, athletic performance, University of Arizona researchers said during the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Patients with severe chronic rhinosinusitis show improvement with Verapamil treatment

A clinical trial studying the use of Verapamil (a drug currently in use for cardiovascular disease and cluster headache) in alleviating chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with nasal polyps revealed significant improvement in the symptoms of this subset of patients. It is the first study of its kind to explore treatment for CRS by inhibiting P-glycoprotein, a protein pump within the nasal lining that Mass. Eye and Ear researchers previously identified as a mechanism for these severe cases of CRS marked by the presence of nasal polyps. The clinical trial results, published online today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, suggest that Verapamil represents a promising novel therapy for the treatment of CRS with nasal polyps.

ACOs serving high proportions of minority patients lag in quality performance

New research by The Dartmouth Institute finds that Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) serving a high proportion of minority patients performed significantly worse on many quality-of-care measures than other ACOs. While previous research has shown ACOs have improved quality of care during the first three years of performance, little was known about the impact ACOs and similar payment reforms are having on existing racial and ethnic health disparities.

Serum micoRNAs may serve as biomarkers for multiple sclerosis

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that influence basic cellular processes and have been proposed as biomarkers for the diagnosis, progression and treatment of multiple sclerosis. In a new study conducted at the Ann Romney Center of Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital, researchers have found that serum microRNAs are linked to MRI findings in the brain and spinal cord in patients with MS. These findings suggest that microRNAs could serve as promising biomarkers for monitoring the progression of MS and could help to identify distinct underlying disease processes, such as inflammation and tissue destruction.

Smoking increases substantially during military service, research shows

In new research published in the peer-reviewed journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research (embargoed until January 23 at 14:00 GMT), researchers in Israel found that cigarette smoking increased by almost 40% during compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In a systematic sample of nearly 30,000 soldiers from 1987 to 2011, the prevalence of smoking grew from 26.2% at recruitment to 36.5% at discharge, a 39.4% increase.

Where belief in free will is linked to happiness

Western and Asian cultures tend to have different core beliefs around free will. In a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology, Jingguang Li, professor at Dali University, and his research team show the link between belief in free will and happiness exists in Chinese teenagers.

Occult practices feed both depression and psychopathy

As occult practices are on the rise, contemporary theologians become increasingly interested in psychology, with many Christian authors wrestling with the question of how demons can influence mental disorders.

Intervention reduces fear of recurrence in breast CA survivors

(HealthDay)—For breast cancer survivors, the Attention and Interpretation Modification for Fear of Breast Cancer Recurrence (AIM-FBCR) intervention shows promise for reducing fear of cancer recurrence (FCR), according to a study published online Jan. 5 in Cancer.

QI initiative cuts health care use in children with epilepsy

(HealthDay)—A quality improvement (QI) initiative can reduce emergency department and health care utilization for children with epilepsy, according to a report published online Jan. 20 in Pediatrics.

Age modifies impact of resting heart rate on death, CV events

(HealthDay)—The effect of resting heart rate (RHR) on all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events varies with age, according to a study published online Dec. 30 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Anti-Mullerian hormone predicts menopause in women with HIV

(HealthDay)—For HIV-infected women, anti-müllerian hormone is associated with age of menopause onset, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Nadir platelet counts tied to AKI in pediatric open-heart surgery

(HealthDay)—For pediatric patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), postoperative nadir platelet counts are associated with the severity of acute kidney injury (AKI), according to a review published online Jan. 18 in Pediatric Anesthesia.

Extending Rx exclusivity could boost study for rare diseases

(HealthDay)—Extending the market exclusivity for existing drugs that are granted subsequent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a new rare disease indication would provide manufacturers with substantial compensation, often in excess of the cost of conducting the trials, according to research published in the January issue of Health Affairs.

Psoriasis impacts QoL for parents of affected children

(HealthDay)—Childhood psoriasis impacts parents' quality of life in multiple domains, especially their emotional well-being, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Exenatide, pioglitazone effective for poorly controlled T2DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with long-standing poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) on metformin plus a sulfonylurea, combination therapy with exenatide and pioglitazone is effective and safe, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in Diabetes Care.

Nutritional considerations for healthy aging and reduction in age-related chronic disease

Improving dietary resilience and better integration of nutrition in the health care system can promote healthy aging and may significantly reduce the financial and societal burden of the "silver tsunami." This is the key finding of a "Nutritional Considerations for Healthy Aging and Reduction in Age-Related Chronic Disease," a new paper initiated under the auspices of the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science Working Group on Nutrition for Aging Population, and published in Advances in Nutrition.

What matters most to Huntington's disease patients? New survey

Huntington's disease (HD) has no cure and no therapies to slow the course of this fatal disease. HD patients can experience a wide range of cognitive, physical, and psychiatric symptoms. In an effort to gather the perspectives of both HD and Juvenile Huntington's disease (JHD) patients and their caregivers, the Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA), in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), conducted two surveys. The first assessed symptoms and their impact on daily life and the second gathered opinions about current approaches to treating HD. Insights gained as the result of these surveys are published in the current issue of the Journal of Huntington's Disease.

To improve health and exercise more, get a gym membership, study suggests

If your New Year's resolution was to exercise more in 2017, chances are you've already given up or you're on the verge of doing so. To reach your goal, you may want to consider joining a gym, based on the results of a new study from a team of Iowa State University researchers.

World still 'grossly underprepared' for infectious disease outbreaks

The world remains "grossly underprepared" for outbreaks of infectious disease, which are likely to become more frequent in the coming decades, warn a team of international experts in The BMJ today.

Later start times could help teens' grades and health, research indicates

Delaying school start times could help Canadian teenagers sleep better - giving them a better chance for success, according to McGill University researchers.

Engaging fathers in parenting intervention improves outcomes for both kids and fathers

A parenting program where fathers engage with their children through reading was found to boost the fathers' parenting skills while also improving the preschoolers' school readiness and behavior, finds a study led by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Clinical trial testing new technique to treat life-threatening ventricular tachycardia

Loyola Medicine is the only center in the Midwest enrolling patients in a landmark clinical trial of a new procedure to treat a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder called ventricular tachycardia.

How race consciousness influences your likelihood of getting a flu shot

African American adults are less likely than Whites to get an annual flu shot (39% vs. 47%), and public health efforts to address this racial disparity have had little impact on increasing vaccination rates to date. A study led by Professor Sandra Crouse Quinn in the University of Maryland School of Public Health is the first to explore racial factors and how they may influence vaccine attitudes and behaviors. The findings are published in the journal Vaccine.

NYC toddlers exposed to potentially harmful flame retardants

Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) within the Mailman School of Public Health report evidence of potentially harmful flame retardants on the hands and in the homes of 100 percent of a sample of New York City mothers and toddlers. The study also found that on average toddlers in New York City had higher levels of common flame-retardants on their hands compared to their mothers.

Nurse practitioners step in to fill growing need for house calls

Nurse practitioners are increasingly providing house calls for frail and elderly patients, eclipsing any other specialties in number of home visits in 2013, new research reveals. However, regulations are hindering the profession's growth in many states even as demand for in-home care climbs, one researcher reports.

Researcher finds potential way to reduce drug cravings

A new preclinical study led by a University of Texas at Dallas researcher shows that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy might have the potential to help people overcome drug addiction by helping them learn new behaviors to replace those associated with seeking drugs.

Post-concussion, peripheral vision reaction times substantially impaired

After a concussion occurs, symptoms most commonly experienced are headache, dizziness, memory problems and sleep disturbances, as well as visual dysfunction. Such symptoms can be difficult to quantify and follow in patients on a long-term basis.

This man is revolutionizing our understanding of motor neuron diseases and dementias

It was when Xinglong Wang, PhD, received a call from a desperate father of a middle-aged son with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that he realized the extraordinary importance of his work. "Can you help save my son's life?" the parent asked. On that day, Wang, assistant professor of pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, felt the weight of human suffering on his shoulders. But this is a weight that Wang can bear. He may be in the process of entirely upending the current scientific view of ALS and other neuronal diseases. He may be a pioneer who forces scientists to discard years of medical dogma and leads clinicians to significantly improved treatments.

Study suggests that yoga and exercise fail to improve sleep in midlife women

A new study indicates that yoga and aerobic exercise interventions did not significantly reduce objectively measured sleep disturbances among midlife women who were experiencing hot flashes.

New research highlights the importance of culturally safe care for Indigenous patients with diabetes

In Canada, rates of Type 2 diabetes are three to five percent higher in Indigenous peoples when compared to non-Indigenous peoples. Not only this, but Indigenous Canadians typically have poorer health outcomes during treatment of diabetes.

Comparing skin closure options for cesarean delivery

In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, will present their findings in a study titled, Comparison of subcuticular suture type in post-cesarean wound complications: a randomized controlled trial. In the study researchers tested two types of sutures—poliglecaprone 25 (monocryl suture) and polyglactin 910 (vicryl suture). Monocryl is an absorbable, single filament suture with low tissue reactivity which dissolves slowly and loses strength. Vicryl is an absorbable, braided suture with low tissue reactivity which dissolves quickly but maintains strength.

Study finds recurrent hypertensive disease of pregnancy associated with early mortality

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral plenary session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Intermountain Healthcare and the Huntsman Cancer Institute (all in Salt Lake City, Utah), will present the study, Long-term mortality risk and life expectancy following recurrent hypertensive disease of pregnancy.

Study finds an association between day of delivery and maternal-fetal mortality

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, presented the study titled Association between day and month of delivery with maternal-fetal mortality: weekend effect and July phenomenon in current obstetric practice.

Reduction of the most common cause of maternal death worldwide

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, based at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Ca., will present Reduction of Severe Maternal Morbidity from Hemorrhage (SMM-HEM) Using a State-Wide Perinatal Collaborative.

Evaluation of the effects of laser tissue welding for spina bifida repair

In a study to be presented Saturday, Jan. 28, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas; IBEX, Logan, Utah; and Laser Tissue Welding Inc., Houston, Texas collaborated on a study titled, Evaluation of the effects of laser tissue welding on the spinal cord and skin in a 30 day study of simulated spina bifida repair in rabbits.

Evaluation of the use of human umbilical cord for in-utero spina bifida repair

In a study to be presented Saturday, Jan. 28, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers evaluated a possible regenerative patch by using human umbilical cord in two studies titled Cryopreserved Human Umbilical Cord (HUC) vs Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM) for In-Utero Spina Bifida Repair and the study Conventional vs cryopreserved human umbilical cord (HUC) patch based on repair for in-utero spina bifida in a sheep model.

Study looks at a new method for filtering results from genetic studies

In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers verified genetic results from one large study of women with spontaneous preterm birth, and highlighted 13 key genes in both mothers and babies which may be involved in preterm birth while also identifying 123 genes as top candidates for further study.

Use of fetal genetic sequencing increases the detection rate of genetic findings

In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral plenary session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the Columbia University Medical Center in New York found that, in preliminary data, fetal genomic (whole exome) sequencing (WES) as a diagnostic test for women with pregnancies complicated by major fetal congenital anomalies increased the detection rate of genetic findings by between 10 to 30 percent.

Glucose supplementation significantly reduces length of induced labor in childbirth

In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the Université de Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada will present their findings in a study titled, Reduction of total labor length through the addition of parenteral dextrose solution in induction of labor in nulliparous: results of DEXTRONS prospective randomized controlled trial. The study investigated the use of glucose to shorten induced labor in nulliparous (first time giving birth). The primary outcome studied was the total length of active labor.

Skin closure options for cesarean delivery: Glue vs. subcuticular sutures

In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers will present their findings in a study titled, Comparison of skin closure at cesarean delivery, Glue (Dermabond) versus Intra-cuticular (Monocril) sutures: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Limiting gestational weight gain did not improve pregnancy complications

In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral plenary session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, will present their findings for a study titled, MOMFIT: A randomized clinical trial of an intervention to prevent excess gestational weight gain in overweight and obese women.

Crohn's and colitis study to probe factors that worsen disease

People with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are being invited to take part in a study to better understand the diseases.

Diabetes medication adherence, language, glycemic control in Latino patients

JAMA Internal Medicine is publishing two articles and an editorial focusing on Latino patients with type 2 diabetes.

Egypt's military to form pharmaceutical company

The Egyptian government has given the military the go-ahead to establish a pharmaceuticals company in a market hit by shortages and a dollar crunch that has driven up prices.

Strategies designed to reduce excessive body temperature during exercise are explored

Doing exercise in hot environments leads to early fatigue owing to a range of physiological factors including high body temperature. The ability to maintain body temperature in an atmosphere of high temperatures declines with age, which is why people over 60 are the most vulnerable population during heat waves.

Here's why you shouldn't get a massage after drinking alcohol

Don't schedule that relaxing Saturday-morning massage the day after partying.

New PET imaging technique may help monitor neurological disease progression

Olfactory neurons in the nasal cavity are the primary source of our sense of smell. Unlike many types of neurons, olfactory neurons are continuously generated throughout the adult lifespan. This uniquely high rate of neuronal birth and death makes olfactory neurons particularly sensitive to the detrimental effects of progressive neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disease.

A single episode of high fat intake injures liver metabolism

Diets that are consistently high in saturated fat are linked to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and insulin resistance, but it's not clear how high fat foods initiate the changes that lead to disease.

The ACA increased coverage and access for the chronically ill, but many still face barriers to care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased insurance coverage and access to care for patients with chronic medical conditions, but a year after the law took full effect, many remained without coverage and faced significant barriers to getting regular medical care. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Geriatrics experts highlight how Trump and Congress can support older adults

Two new articles in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society address what the new leadership in the White House and continued Republican leadership of both houses of Congress can do to ensure that Americans continue to receive the care they need as they age.

Measurement of fractional flow reserve offers advantages for certain patients with CHD

Whether the measurement of the myocardial fractional flow reserve (FFR) in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) can contribute to an appropriate decision for or against the widening of coronary arteries was the subject of an investigation by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). The final results are now available. According to these findings, the new function test offers advantages for patients in whom the widening of blood vessels by means of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is planned. In contrast, this is not the case for patients with stable CHD.

Identifying early markers of cardiac dysfunction in pregnancy

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the Maternal and Child Health Research Center and the Department of Cardiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, will present findings of a study titled Cardiac Dysfunction in Preeclampsia is Present at Diagnosis and Persists Postpartum.

Opportunities for addiction care and HIV prevention in Russia

Opioid agonist therapy using methadone is regarded as one of the most effective treatments for opioid use disorders as well as helping to reduce HIV risks. Such therapy, however, is not yet available in Russia.

Evaluation of recombinant antithrombin versus placebo in preterm preeclampsia

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the late breaking oral session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with The PRESERVE-1 Study Group University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston—McGovern Medical School, Houston, Texas, and Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, present findings of a study titled Randomized double-blind placebo controlled evaluation of the safety and efficacy of recombinant Antithrombin versus placebo in preterm preeclampsia. The study was sponsored by rEVO Biologics, Inc.

New Jersey set to hand over millions in tobacco cash

Gov. Chris Christie has dedicated his final year in office to addressing the opioid epidemic, but the state's failure to spend on smoking cessation efforts when thousands of people still die annually from tobacco-related illnesses has drawn derision from advocates and public health officials.

Two republican senators to unveil Obamacare alternative

(HealthDay)—Two Senate Republicans plan to propose a bill Monday that they say would serve as a replacement for Obamacare.

Convincing food truck operators to improve nutritional offerings is possible, study finds

Convincing low-cost lunch truck operators and their customers to embrace healthier food is possible, but regulation of menus and better marketing may be needed to make long-lasting changes, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Scientists say mom's cervical bacterial may be key to preventing premature birth

A team of researchers that has confirmed the presence of bacteria in a woman's vagina and cervix may either increase the risk of premature birth or have a protective effect against it, has won the March of Dimes Award for Best Abstract on Prematurity at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting. The findings will be presented Thursday, January 26, at Caesars Palace Augustus Ballroom in Las Vegas.

New health care model cut costs and reduced need for medical services for pregnant women and newborn

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers will present their findings for a study titled, Pregnancy medical home: Outcomes and cost-savings.

Study looks at how changes in maternal diet impact human milk oligosaccharides and the milk microbio

In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral plenary session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, will present their findings on a study titled, Maternal Diet Structures the Breast Milk Microbiome in Association with Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Gut-Associated Bacteria.

Improving birthing deliveries with less physical trauma to mom and baby

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral concurrent session at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with Community Medical Center in Missoula, Montana; Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.; and Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgery Center, San Antonio, Texas, will present their study titled, SAFE PASSAGES implementation reduces perineal trauma.

Study found brain abnormalities in fetuses exposed to Zika

In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Houston, Texas partnered with the Maternal-Fetal Unit, CEDIFETAL, Centro de Diagnostico de Ultrasonido e Imagenes, CEDIUL, Barranquilla, Columbia and the Unidad De Fertildad Y Genetica De Cartagena, Cartagena de Indias, Columbia, to create the study, Characterization of brain malformations and volume assessment in fetuses with Zika Virus infection using MRI.

Long-term gains with early epilepsy surgery

There are important, long-term gains from hastening the processes around surgical interventions against epilepsy - before the disease has had too much negative impact on brain functions and patients' lives. These are some of the findings of a thesis for which more than 500 patients were studied and followed up.

Federal judge swats Aetna-Humana insurer combo

A federal judge has rejected health insurer Aetna's bid to buy rival Humana on grounds that the deal would hurt competition in hundreds of Medicare Advantage markets, ultimately affecting the price consumers pay for coverage.

Colorado moves to crack down on black-market pot ads online

Weed on Craigslist? It is widely for sale in Colorado, but legislation moving through the state Legislature aims to crack down on those who sell marijuana illegally using online ads.

Biology news

Scientists create first stable semisynthetic organism

Life's genetic code has only ever contained four natural bases. These bases pair up to form two "base pairs"—the rungs of the DNA ladder—and they have simply been rearranged to create bacteria and butterflies, penguins and people. Four bases make up all life as we know it.

Shape-shifting nucleosomes open new avenues for epigenetics research

The textbook description of chromatin, the condensed form DNA takes when it is not in use, consists of rigid building-blocks called nucleosomes, which act as spindles on which inactive DNA can be spooled and archived. But a new UCSF study promises to overturn this understanding, demonstrating that nucleosomes actively change their shape as part of the larger process of epigenetic regulation of gene expression.

Immune defense without collateral damage

Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have clarified the role of the enzyme MPO. In fighting infections, this enzyme, which gives pus its greenish color, produces a highly aggressive acid that can kill pathogens without damaging the surrounding tissue. The findings, published in the current issue of Nature Microbiology, may provide new approaches for immunity strengthening therapies.

Provocative prions may protect yeast cells from stress

Prions have a notorious reputation. They cause neurodegenerative disease, namely mad cow/Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. And the way these protein particles propagate—getting other proteins to join the pile—can seem insidious.

Lab charts the anatomy of three molecular channels

Using a state-of-the-art imaging technology in which molecules are deep frozen, scientists in Roderick MacKinnon's lab at Rockefeller University have reconstructed in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional architecture of three channels that provide a path for specific types of ions to travel across a cell's protective membrane. Because such ions are central to biochemical messaging that allows cells to communicate with one another, the findings have implications for understanding how muscles contract, how the heart maintains its rhythm, and many other physiological processes.

Research describes missing step in how cells move their cargo

Every time a hormone is released from a cell, every time a neurotransmitter leaps across a synapse to relay a message from one neuron to another, the cell must undergo exocytosis. This is the process responsible for transporting cellular contents via lipid-encapsulated vesicles to the cell surface membrane and then incorporating or secreting them through membrane fusion. Insights into this cellular cargo transport system won three Americans the Nobel Prize in 2013.

New steps in the meiosis chromosome dance

Where would we be without meiosis and recombination? For a start, none of us sexually reproducing organisms would be here, because that's how sperm and eggs are made. And when meiosis doesn't work properly, it can lead to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and developmental disorders.

The skin cure fad threatening Myanmar's elephants

Under the shadow of Myanmar's famed "Golden Rock" punters haggle for the latest traditional medicine cure—slices of skin from the country's fast disappearing wild elephants sold for a few dollars a square inch.

Conserved role for Ovo protein in reproductive cell development in mice and fruit flies

Germline cells are the only cells that develop into eggs or sperm, while somatic cells develop into the body. Progenitors of the germline, known as primordial germ cells (PGCs), differentiate into eggs or sperm after embryonic development. The expression of a select group of genes occurs in the PGCs of a number of different animal groups, indicating a possible conserved mechanism of germline gene activation. Indeed, the conserved transcription factor protein Ovo is required for expression of these genes, but it was previously unclear if Ovo was needed for normal germline development of the fruit fly (Drosophila) or whether the related mouse protein played a similar role in mouse embryos.

Surprise emergence of the first cabbage white butterfly of 2017

The emergence of the first cabbage white butterfly of 2017 was a surprise even to the researcher who has been charting their flight since 1972.

Study of round worm that returns to life after freezing

The first molecular study of an organism able to survive intracellular freezing (freezing within its cells) is published this week by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), in collaboration with researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand. The paper represents a milestone in scientists' understanding of an extraordinary adaptation.

To better understand animals, borrow from human language research, says paper

Humans have a remarkable ability to tailor our speech to our audience. In many cases, these changes can improve communication. For example, humans often change their speaking voices to a higher-pitched "baby talk" when communicating with their young or their pets, and this higher pitch serves to attract and maintain the recipient's attention.

How plant cells regulate growth shown for the first time

Researchers have managed to show how the cells in a plant, a multicellular organism, determine their size and regulate their growth over time. The findings overturn previous theories in the field and are potentially significant for the future of agriculture and forestry - as it reveals more about one of the factors which determine the size of plants and fruits.

New research debunks honey bee pesticide study

A study by a global agrochemical company that concluded there was only a low risk to honey bees from a widely used agricultural pesticide has been described as "misleading" in new research published by statisticians at the University of St Andrews.

New crab species shares name with two 'Harry Potter' characters and a hero researcher

While not much is known about the animals living around coral reefs, ex-Marine turned researcher Harry Conley would often take to the island of Guam, western Pacific Ocean, and dig deep into the rubble to find fascinating critters as if by magic learnt at Hogwarts. Almost 20 years after his discoveries and his death, a secret is revealed on the pages of the open access journal ZooKeys—a new species and genus of crab, Harryplax severus.

New research on wine fermentation could lead to better bouquet

The taste of wine arises from a symphony of compounds that are assembled as yeast ferment the must from grapes. But much of what happens in this process remains obscure. Now a team of researchers from France, a country that is synonymous with good wine, has begun to unveil the outlines of how yeast manage nitrogen, an essential element that comprises about 16 percent of proteins, and four percent of all organic matter. The research is published January 23rd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Bioinvasion is Jeopardizing Mediterranean Marine Communities

Non-indigenous species (NIS) are harming indigenous species and habitats in the Mediterranean Sea, impairing potentially exploitable marine resources and raising concern about human health issues, according to a new Tel Aviv University study.

How do people choose what plants to use?

There are about 400,000 species of plants in the world. Humans use approximately 10-15% of them to cover our basic needs, such as food, medicine and shelter, as well as other needs, such as recreation, art, and craft. But why and how have humans selected only a small fraction of all plants to utilize? A new study published in today's Nature Plants sheds new light on these questions by investigating how people use palms in South America. The overall conclusion is that people are very selective when it comes to plants used to cover basic needs, but less so when it comes to using plants for needs with no physiological underpinnings.

Crop achilles' heel costs farmers 10 percent of potential yield

Scientists assumed leaves at the top of a plant would be the best at turning higher levels of light into carbohydrates—through the process of photosynthesis—while the lower shaded leaves would be better at processing the low light levels that penetrate the plant's canopy of leaves. Turns out that in two of our most productive crops, these shaded leaves are less efficient than the top leaves, limiting yield.

Wasps, ants, and Ani DiFranco

A University of California, Riverside graduate student has discovered several news species of wasps, including one that she named after musician Ani DiFranco.

Researchers identify receptor that has key role in umami or amino acid taste in insects

Insects, like mammals including humans, sort chemicals by taste into a few categories and use this information to decide whether to ingest or reject food.

Sharks gather off Israel in pilgrimage to warm waters

Sharks have gathered off a coastal electricity plant in northern Israel where the Mediterranean waters are warmer, prompting authorities on Monday to warn people to keep away.

Mammal testing could be cut by moth larvae

The number of mammals used in animal testing could be cut dramatically and replaced with moth larvae.Last year two University of Exeter scientists founded BioSystems Technologies Ltd, which provides moth larvae to researchers—offering a cheap and effective way to carry out tests that would normally be done on mammals such as mice.Now a £12,000 grant from the NC3Rs CRACK IT Solutions scheme will support a partnership with contract research organisation Envigo and will be used to assess whether the larvae can reduce the number of mammals used for testing the toxicity of chemicals.

Peruvian potatoes to join world's largest banana collection in Belgium

For 30 years, KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) has been home to an impressive collection of bananas that already contains over 1,500 varieties and is the biggest in its kind. The collection is recognised as world heritage and will soon be expanded with another food crop: 8,000 potato varieties of the International Potato Centre in Peru are coming to Leuven.

Wildlife-snaring crisis in Asian forests

A very important article co-authored by WCS scientist Tony Lynam has been published in this week's Science about a crisis emerging in Asia from snaring, which is wiping out wildlife in unprecedented numbers.

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