Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jan 31

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 31, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Brain-computer interface could improve hearing aids

New method for activating Earth-abundant metal catalysts

Moon found to be periodically showered with oxygen ions from Earth

500-million year-old species offers insights into the lives of ancient legged worms

Amateurs can hunt relics with modern 'Indiana Jones'

Apple files patent presenting vaporizer concept, tech watchers explore possible use

Promising new cathode material for low-temperature solid-oxide fuel cells

Tracing the cosmic web with star-forming galaxies in the distant universe

Stars in the halo of the Milky Way often travel in groups

The world's first heat-driven transistor

Japan 'space junk' collector in trouble

Water-based, biocompatible 2-D inks for printed electronics

Bacteria in estuaries have genes for antibiotic resistance

A new material to unearth mysteries of magnetic fields

Keck Observatory planet imager delivers first science

Astronomy & Space news

Moon found to be periodically showered with oxygen ions from Earth

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan, examining data from that country's moon-orbiting Kaguya spacecraft, has found evidence of oxygen from Earth's atmosphere making its way to the surface of the moon for a few days every month. In their paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers describe what data from the spacecraft revealed.

Tracing the cosmic web with star-forming galaxies in the distant universe

A research group led by Hiroshima University has revealed a picture of the increasing fraction of massive star-forming galaxies in the distant universe. Massive star-forming galaxies in the distant universe, about 5 billion years ago, trace large-scale structure in the universe. In the nearby universe, about 3 billion years ago, massive star-forming galaxies are not apparent. This change in the way star-forming galaxies trace the matter distribution is consistent with the picture of galaxy evolution established by other independent studies.

Stars in the halo of the Milky Way often travel in groups

Many stars in the halo that surrounds the Milky Way travel in groups. This is the outcome of a recent analysis of data for millions of stars from the Gaia space mission. Astronomers report their discovery today in the international journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Japan 'space junk' collector in trouble

An experimental 'space junk' collector designed to pull rubbish from the Earth's orbit has run into trouble, Japanese scientists said Tuesday, potentially a new embarrassment for Tokyo's high-tech programme.

Keck Observatory planet imager delivers first science

A new device on the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii has delivered its first images, showing a ring of planet-forming dust around a star, and separately, a cool, star-like body, called a brown dwarf, lying near its companion star.

How stressful will a trip to Mars be on the human body?

Preliminary research results for the NASA Twins Study debuted at NASA's Human Research Program's annual Investigators' Workshop in Galveston, Texas the week of January 23. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned home last March after nearly one year in space living on the International Space Station. His identical twin brother, Mark, remained on Earth.

NASA's new shape-shifting radiator inspired by origami

Japan's ancient art of paper folding has inspired the design of a potentially trailblazing "smart" radiator that a NASA technologist is now developing to remove or retain heat on small satellites.

Scientists prepare for the American total solar eclipse of August 21

The path of totality of the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse, will sweep across the United States from coast to coast for the first time in 99 years, since 1918. Astronomer Jay Pasachoff is leading an international team of astronomers in preparing scientific observations to study the sun's outer layer, the solar corona, and also the effect of the eclipse on the Earth's atmosphere. He is also coordinating visiting astronomers from around the globe, giving reciprocity for their hospitality in decades of past eclipse expeditions. At the American Physical Society meeting, Pasachoff is presenting a paper about scientific observations of solar eclipses and their potential consequences for astrophysics.

SpaceX shuffles Falcon 9 launch schedule

SpaceX announced Sunday (Jan. 29) a significant shuffle to the Falcon 9 launch schedule, saying that a key NASA mission to resupply the space station is moving to the head of the line and will now be their first mission to launch from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center – formerly used to launch space shuttles.

One-year mission investigators debut preliminary results at NASA workshop

Preliminary research results for the NASA One-Year Mission debuted last week at an annual NASA conference. Last March, two men landed back on Earth after having spent nearly one year in space. NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, teamed up for an unprecedented One-Year Mission. One crewmember from each agency lived on the International Space Station for almost one year.

Technology news

Apple files patent presenting vaporizer concept, tech watchers explore possible use

(Tech Xplore)—Apple to the core of the public's brand recognition is primarily phones, laptops, tablets and their varied accessories. So why did Apple file a patent application in July last year, and released on January 26 this year, by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, apparently focused on an apparatus for vaporization?

Know when to fold 'em: AI beats world's top poker players

If you were about to start playing a game of online poker, you might want to think again. Humankind has just been beaten at yet another game, this time Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold'em poker. This is a milestone moment for artificial intelligence (AI).

Convolutional neural network able to identify rare eye disorder

(Tech Xplore)—A team of researchers with Sun-Yat-sen University and Xidian University, both in China, has developed a highly accurate convolutional neural network (CNN) system that is capable of recognizing a rare eye disorder in children. In their paper published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team describes how they developed and built their system and how well it performed under varying circumstances.

FBI: Hacking tool info could be of use to 'hostile entities'

The FBI on Monday defended its decision to withhold documents on how it unlocked an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters, saying the information could be exploited by "hostile entities" if released to the public.

CEOs push back against Trump temporary immigration ban

CEOs of some of the world's biggest companies are fighting back against President Donald Trump's temporary immigration ban, calling it un-American and bad for business.

Cathay Pacific to cut emissions with switch to biofuel

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific will switch to biofuels made from landfill rubbish on select long haul flights, reports said Tuesday, in an effort to cut harmful emissions.

Nintendo's third quarter profit jumps on Pokemon game sales

Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co.'s third-quarter profit more than doubled from a year earlier on healthy sales of Pokemon game software, the company said Tuesday.

Lack of cyber security poses threat to modern cars

Cars are becoming increasingly smarter and are connected with each other and their surroundings to an increasing extent via their on-board systems. From April 2018, it will be mandatory for all new cars manufactured in the EU to be connected via eCall (emergency call). However, these mobile computers are not designed to keep malicious hackers at bay. The automotive industry needs to take the lead in order to improve cyber security. This is the conclusion of Hebert Leenstra derived from his research into the automotive industry conducted at the Cyber Security Academy in The Hague. Herbert Leenstra believes that it is high time for a complete overhaul of the ICT architecture in cars to ensure that consumer safety is guaranteed.

How the drone went from the latest must-have tech toy to a billion-dollar cultural phenomenon

Of the many technologies to have captured our imaginations over the last five years, there have been few with such lofty aspirations as drones. These high-tech flying machines have opened up new cultural pastimes which bring together hobbyist enthusiasm and a simple human curiosity to take to the skies.

What are the minds of non-human creatures really like?

It is often talked about as the ultimate prize of artificial intelligence: a machine that can think like a human. But human minds are only one example of the kinds of minds on earth. So what are those other minds like? How do they work and how can we understand them? Suppose we do create human level cognition in artificial intelligence (AI), does that widen the 'space of possible minds' to include AI alongside humans and animals?

New Cheyenne supercomputer triples scientific capability with greater efficiency

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching operations this month of one of the world's most powerful and energy-efficient supercomputers, providing the nation with a major new tool to advance understanding of the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences.

Austrian hotel ditching key cards after hackers strike

An Austrian luxury hotel says it's ditching electronic room cards for old-fashioned locks and keys after having their systems frozen by blackmail-hungry hackers.

Daimler to supply self-driving cars for Uber

German auto giant Daimler on Tuesday said it had struck a partnership with Uber to supply self-driving cars for the US ride-hailing company.

Slack's messaging service sets sights on big businesses

Slack Technologies, a fast-growing startup trying to wean businesses off email by hooking employees on its more informal messaging service, is now hoping to snare the world's biggest companies as customers.

Spectacles might get the buzz, but for investors Snapchat is all about the advertising

The company behind Snapchat has two offerings - that beloved, 5-year-old app for messaging and video streaming, and Spectacles, a months-old, $130 pair of sunglasses that double as a camcorder.

Review: Wi-Fi systems for the home just keep getting better

It's interesting to watch when enterprise technology makes its way down to the consumer level.

Startup offers car washes on demand that save water, too

Imagine telling your JPMorgan bosses you're leaving a high-finance career to start a car-wash company. "They thought I was crazy," Nathan Bekerman said. "But my years at JPMorgan taught me how to execute and run a business."

PBS' 'Nova' seeking periodic-table fans to fund TV special

Geeks of America, PBS' "Nova" wants you to open up your minds and wallets for a sequel to its sleeper 2012 hit film on the periodic table.

iPhone sales lift Apple to record quarter

Apple on Tuesday reported a rebound in iPhone sales to lift the tech giant to record revenue in the past quarter in quarterly results that topped most forecasts.

India IT stocks slip amid worries about stricter H-1B visas

The shares of top Indian IT companies sank Tuesday in response to news of proposed U.S. legislation that could make it harder for companies to replace American workers with those from countries like India.

Device to start heavy equipment at temperatures as cold as −60 C

Together with TEEMP (a company in the RENOVA group), a group of NUST MISIS scientists led by Professor Mikhail Astakhov, head of the NUST MISIS Department of Physical Chemistry, has completed the testing of an innovative starter system based on supercapacitors. The autonomous system is able to start the engines of heavy-wheeled trucks, tractors, other Caterpillar equipment, and aviation equipment at extremely low temperatures (up to -60 °C).

Researchers from the UGR develop a new software which adapts medical technology to see the interior of a sculpture

A student at the University of Granada (UGR) has designed software that adapts current medical technology to analyze the interior of sculptures. It's a tool to see the interior without damaging wood carvings, and it has been designed for the restoration and conservation of the sculptural heritage.

Czech foreign minister: Emails hacked by foreign state

The Czech Republic's foreign minister said Tuesday that his email account and the accounts of dozens of ministry officials have been successfully hacked.

Tech firms unite to challenge Trump on immigration

A broad coalition of US technology firms has begun planning a joint legal strategy challenging President Donald Trump's executive order barring refugees and many Muslims from American soil, sources say.

3 arrests over breach claimed by 'Phineas Fisher' hacker

Spanish police have arrested three people over a data breach linked to a series of dramatic intrusions at European spy software companies—feeding speculation that the net has closed on an online Robin Hood figure known as Phineas Fisher.

Trump pledges beefed up cybersecurity but doesn't sign order

President Donald Trump pledged Tuesday to strengthen the government's ability to protect its computer networks, but then canceled plans to sign an executive order on cybersecurity without explanation.

US travel 'extreme vetting' to include social media, phone contacts

Travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries singled out for "extreme vetting" will face scrutiny of their social media footprint and phone records, the new Homeland Security secretary said Tuesday.

Explainer: Tech companies worry about cherished tech visas

Next on the immigration chopping block? U.S. tech companies fear the Trump administration will target a visa program they cherish for bringing in programmers and other specialized workers from other countries.

Medicine & Health news

Air pollution may lead to dementia in older women

Tiny air pollution particles—the type that mainly comes from power plants and automobiles—may greatly increase the chance of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, according to USC-led research.

Autism may begin early in brain development

Autism is not a single condition, but a spectrum of disorders that affect the brain's ability to perceive and process information. Recent research suggests that too many connections in the brain could be at least partially responsible for the symptoms of autism, from communication deficits to unusual talents.

Brain-computer interface allows completely locked-in people to communicate

A brain-computer interface that can decipher the thoughts of people who are unable to communicate could revolutionize the lives of those living with completely locked-in syndrome, according to a new paper publishing January 31st, 2017 in PLOS Biology. Counter to expectations, the participants in the study reported being "happy", despite their extreme condition. The research was conducted by a multinational team, led by Professor Niels Birbaumer, at the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland.

Discovery helps explain why only some people develop life-threatening dengue infections

For most people who contract it, dengue fever is a relatively mild-mannered disease—at least the first time around. For some, however, a subsequent infection by the virus unleashes a vicious and potentially deadly illness.

Reservoir divers: Select antiviral cells can access HIV's hideouts

When someone is HIV-positive and takes antiretroviral drugs, the virus persists in a reservoir of infected cells. Those cells hide out in germinal centers, specialized areas of lymph nodes, which most "killer" antiviral T cells don't have access to.

People infected with HIV may be more susceptible to diabetes

People infected with HIV may be more susceptible to developing diabetes, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

Physically active children are less depressed

Previous studies have shown that adults and young people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing depression. But the same effect has not been studied in children - until now.

Bangladesh treats first case of 'tree girl' syndrome

A young Bangladeshi girl with bark-like warts growing on her face could be the first female ever afflicted by so-called "tree man syndrome", doctors studying the rare condition said Tuesday.

Expert explains the importance of respecting other cultures

With approximately 190 countries and seven billion people on Earth, it is not hard to imagine that many diverse cultures exist. Given this, one Baylor College of Medicine expert explains the importance of respecting other cultures and offers tips on how people can learn more about different cultures.

Study shows early brain changes in Fragile X syndrome

A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is giving researchers a first look at the early stages of brain development in patients with Fragile X syndrome, a disorder that causes mild to severe intellectual disability and is the most common genetic cause of autism spectrum disorder.

MRI scans for suspected prostate cancer could improve diagnosis

A researcher from Hull York Medical School (HYMS) has helped design and set up a study which has been hailed as the biggest leap in diagnosing prostate cancer in decades.

World first trial of shark inspired drug

La Trobe University scientists are preparing to run a world-first clinical trial of a new drug inspired by shark antibodies. The drug, AD-114, is a human protein that is based on the shape of an antibody of a Wobbegong shark.

Three ways you can just say no to antibiotic drug abuse

Nevada officials in January reported the death of a woman from an infection resistant to every antibiotic available in the U.S, the type of news we will likely hear more about in the future unless health care providers and consumers change their ways.

Virtually painless – how VR is making surgery simpler

Surgeons and their patients are finding that virtual reality can relieve the pain and stress of operations – and it's safer and cheaper than sedatives. Jo Marchant travels to a Mexican mountaintop village to visit a clinic with a difference.

Compensation call for people injured during clinical trials

A legal academic and health law expert is calling for a change in the law to protect all New Zealanders who are injured during clinical trials.

New technology to speed up testing of cancer drugs

A new technology that could speed up the testing of drugs and reduce the use of animals in the lab has been developed by scientists at The University of Nottingham.

Vitamin E deficiency linked to embryo damage, death

Researchers for the first time have explained how deficient levels of vitamin E can cause neurologic damage to an embryo, failure to normally develop and ultimately death – a process that in women can be one cause of miscarriage.

Drinking in moderation - is it good for you?

Moderate drinking is commonly assumed to be good for your health, but new research from Massey University's College of Health shows this might not be the case.

Fewer grains and more fruits and vegetables may keep your bones strong

Stroll through your local grocery store, and you'll immediately notice America's love affair with grain. Entire aisles are devoted to breakfast cereals, bread, rolls, crackers and cookies. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of grain most Americans consume has grown by nearly 40 percent since the 1970s, adding up to 500 extra calories to our diets each day.

Scientists aim to reduce animals killed in drug testing

That's the hope of Associate Professor Noriyuki Yanaka and researchers at Hiroshima University who have developed a non-invasive way to assess the anti-inflammatory properties of fortified health foods and medications.

Mom's weight gain likely caused by parental lifestyle, age—not pregnancy

Pregnancy has long been blamed for causing permanent weight gain and obesity in childbearing women, but the real culprit seems to be lifestyle and age.

Children's BMI can predict future weight

Children suffer increasingly from obesity both in Sweden and globally. A European research team – including a researcher from Halmstad University – has mapped younger children's health in eight countries. The results show that children's BMI development and weight curve can be predicted with two measure points, at age one and age five.

New research points to potential treatment for memory loss activating a protein dysregulated in dementia

A new study, published on the cover of the scientific journal Biological Psychiatry and lead by Dr Carlos Saura from the Institut de Neurociències (INc) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), reveals a new molecular mechanism essential for associative memory encoding in the hippocampus. This brain region is highly affected pathologically at early stages of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer´s disease.

Research study testing new treatment for Sanfilippo disease progressing well

A study into a new treatment for Sanfilippo disease, a rare and fatal condition which causes progressive dementia in children, is progressing well with results set to be published later this year.

Inbuilt body clocks link breast stiffness to cancer risks

University of Manchester biologists have discovered that breast tissues have 24-hour body clocks, and that several hundred genes are regulated in a daily cycle.

Simple intervention proves effective in reducing suicide among active-duty soldiers

Suicidal behavior among active-duty service members can be reduced for up to six months with a relatively simple intervention that gives them concrete steps to follow during an emotional crisis, according to a new study from the University of Utah's National Center for Veterans Studies.

Glucose deprivation in the brain sets stage for Alzheimer's disease, study shows

One of the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease is a decline in glucose levels in the brain. It appears in the early stages of mild cognitive impairment—before symptoms of memory problems begin to surface. Whether it is a cause or consequence of neurological dysfunction has been unclear, but new research at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University now shows unequivocally that glucose deprivation in the brain triggers the onset of cognitive decline, memory impairment in particular.

Paracetamol study could open door for way to treat liver damage

Scientists have shed new light on how the common painkiller paracetamol causes liver damage.

Drug candidate stabilizes essential transport mechanism in nerve cells

Tau is a key brain protein involved in Alzheimer's disease and other brain diseases. Aggregates of Tau known as "neurofibrillary tangles" have been associated with nerve cell death and cognitive decline.

Females no longer neglected in obesity research

One of the environmental factors that promote obesity, and the consequent health problems, are energy dense diets. Intense research is ongoing, looking for the mechanisms behind and ways to prevent this. But a recent review published in Frontiers in Nutrition shows that the typical male rat model used for investigating diet-induced obesity is too limited. The work discusses how the common neglect of sex differences can make the prediction and treatment of long-term obesity in females very difficult.

Brain scans may shed light on bipolar disorder-suicide risk

(HealthDay)—Among teens and young adults with bipolar disorder, researchers have linked brain differences to an increased suicide risk.

Link between sleep and cognitive impairment in the elderly

Daytime sleepiness is very common in the elderly with prevalence rates of up to 50 percent. Caused by sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), a disruption of normal breathing during sleep, these cause recurrent awakenings and subsequent excessive daytime sleepiness.

Updated cystic fibrosis diagnosis guidelines can help in diagnosis, personalized treatment

An international research group of 32 experts from nine countries has updated the guidelines for diagnosing the genetic disease cystic fibrosis. The researchers expect that these guidelines will provide better direction for clinicians looking at patients with symptoms of the disease to make a correct diagnosis and recommend personalized treatment.

Yeast mutants unlock the secrets of aging

Yeast—it's more than just a fungus. It can also tell us a lot about growing older.

Researchers generate rat model of autism

Researchers at The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai have generated and characterized a genetically modified rat model of autism and intellectual disability, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published January 31 in the journal eLife. Researchers report that in this novel rat model, the hormone oxytocin significantly improved social memory, attention, and nerve cell activity.

Changes in gene contribute independently to breast and ovarian cancer

Defects in a key gene - long thought to drive cancer by turning off the protection afforded by the well-known BRCA genes - spur cancer growth on their own, according to a study led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center.

Mind reader: A consumer EEG device serves up rich new troves of scientific data

A consumer device designed to help users focus their thoughts is also generating valuable data for neuroscience research.

Existing reprocessing techniques prove insufficient for flexible endoscopes

Current techniques used to clean endoscopes for reuse are not consistently effective, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). The findings of this study support the need for careful visual inspection and cleaning verification tests to ensure that all endoscopes are free of damage and debris before they are high-level disinfected or sterilized and used on another patient.

Therapeutic family presence key in Tx of acute deterioration in ER

(HealthDay)—For deteriorating adult patients in the emergency department, no family presence and physical family presence result in predominantly negative clinician-family-patient interactions, while therapeutic family presence results in positive clinician-family-patient interactions, according to a study published online Jan. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Insulin glargine 300 U/mL beats glargine 100 U/mL in T1DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 1 diabetes, receipt of insulin glargine 300 U/mL (Gla-300) is associated with better glucose control than glargine 100 U/mL (Gla-100), regardless of injection time, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in Diabetes Care.

Azithromycin given in labor cuts maternal, neonatal infections

(HealthDay)—Administration of azithromycin during labor is associated with a reduction in maternal and neonatal clinical infections, according to a study published online Jan. 27 in Pediatrics.

Fractional CO2 beats silicone gel for elective surgery scars

(HealthDay)—For elective surgery scars, application of super-pulsed fractional CO2 laser application improves the aesthetic quality of scars more than silicone gel, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

Team urges use of evidence-based medicine to avoid overtreatment of type 2 diabetes

UT Southwestern Medical Center research supports an evidence-based medicine (EBM) approach that embraces individualized care to prevent overtreatment, specifically for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Study examines sexual risk-taking, HIV prevention among older adults in Africa

One of the most common myths around older adults is that they are not sexually active. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Indiana University found that older men and women do maintain sexual relationships even into their 80s and beyond. Since older adults are often ignored in sexual health education, the possibility for HIV transmission is heightened.

New e-tool provides wake-up call for parents of children with excess weight

Sometimes we see only the best in our kids—even when a potential health risk is physically apparent.

Sound Off! The Navy, haring protection and mobile devices

Noise is an unavoidable fact of life on U.S. Navy vessels and during naval operations. Jets roar as they take off and land. Engine room machinery churns in an ear-splitting cacophony of sound. Weapons fire deafening rounds.

For bonding and breastfeeding, newborns benefit from a cheek full of dextrose

Newborns with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, are becoming more common worldwide, a result of the growing number of mothers who are overweight, obese or diabetic. Breastfed newborns may be treated with supplementary formula feedings or, if that fails, with intravenous fluids, which requires mother and baby to be separated for hours or days at a time. Both processes interfere with mother-baby bonding and reduce the chances that exclusive breastfeeding will be established upon discharge from the hospital.

Abnormally fast heart rate technique study showcased for NIHR 10th anniversary

A trial of a simple, safe and cost-free modification to a technique used to treat patients in the emergency department with an abnormally fast heart rate, carried out in the South West, has been chosen as one of eight showcase projects for the 10th anniversary of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Poor mental health in the West Midlands region costs more than GBP3000 per person, study finds

A new study has estimated the financial impact of poor mental health on the West Midlands region to be over £12 billion per year, including nearly £2 billion a year as a direct cost to the NHS – equivalent to more than £3000 for every person living in the area.

Re-assessing 'at risk' cutoffs for birth weight

A research article published in PLOS Medicine contributes to the evidence base regarding the use of population charts for detection of fetal growth disorders and how best to determine risk of complications.

First stem cell study in the world for cystic fibrosis opens

A 39-year-old man with cystic fibrosis (CF) made history by becoming the first person in the world to receive human adult stem cells in a new research study that researchers hope will someday lead to the development of a therapy to reduce the inflammation and infection caused by CF.

Continuous glucose monitoring lowers blood sugar in the long term for type 1 diabetes

Significantly decreased blood sugar levels over time - and increased well-being. These are just some of the results of a long-term study at Sahlgrenska Academy of continuous glucose monitoring in persons with type 1 diabetes.

Reversing the HIV epidemic: Europe needs to scale-up prevention, testing and treatment

Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union Conference and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), HIV experts from across the European Union discuss how to reverse the HIV epidemic and how to prepare Europe to achieve the set target of ending AIDS by 2030.

Valo Therapeutics develops a novel virus-based cancer immunotherapy

A spin-out from the University of Helsinki, Valo Therapeutics is developing novel oncolytic viral vaccines for the treatment of multiple forms of cancer. The therapeutic platform is projected to target cancer by recruiting the body's own defense mechanisms to clear the cancer and subsequently to give patients a lasting resistance to recurring disease (vaccination).

Are prebiotics or probiotics effective against dermatitis?

Evidence supporting a key role for an altered gut microbiome in the development of atopic dermatitis (AD) would suggest that the use of probiotics or prebiotics to correct microbial imbalances in the gut could help prevent or treat AD. A comprehensive review examining clinical studies of probiotics and prebiotics, given separately or combined, and factors affecting their efficacy is published in Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology.

Study finds children exposed to complications at birth at risk of autism

Children who were exposed to complications shortly before or during birth, including birth asphyxia and preeclampsia, were more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the American Journal of Perinatology.

Tuesday night deadline for 'Obamacare' coverage

Overnight Tuesday is the deadline to sign up for coverage under the federal health care law. Even if the ultimate fate of "Obamacare" is uncertain, there's been no change for this year. About 11.5 million people had enrolled as of Dec. 24.

Lung ultrasound can help doctors see other diseases that mask as lethal clots in lung

A pretest risk stratification enhanced by ultrasound of lung and venous performs better than Wells score in the early diagnostic process of pulmonary embolism (PE). That is the main finding of a study to be published in the March 2017 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), a journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

Endocrine society experts issue clinical practice guideline on pediatric obesity

The Endocrine Society today issued a Clinical Practice Guideline advising healthcare providers on how to prevent and treat childhood obesity with lifestyle changes.

Biology news

Bacteria in estuaries have genes for antibiotic resistance

An international group of researchers, including Professor Michael Gillings from Macquarie University, have reported that pollution with antibiotics and resistance genes is causing potentially dangerous changes to local bacteria in estuaries.

Substance in crude oil harms fish hearts, could affect humans as well

Research from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station has identified a substance in oil that's to blame for the cardiotoxicity seen in fish exposed to crude oil spills. More than a hazard for marine life exposed to oil, the contaminant this team identified is abundant in air pollution and could pose a global threat to human health.

New study connects running motion to ground force, provides patterns for any runner

Researchers at Southern Methodist University in Dallas have developed a concise new explanation for the basic mechanics involved in human running.

Chimps' behavior following death disturbing to ISU anthropologist

Shocking is one word Jill Pruetz uses to describe the behavior she witnessed after a chimp was killed at her research site in Fongoli, Senegal. The fact that chimps would kill a member of their own community is extremely rare - most aggression is between communities - but the abuse that followed was completely unexpected.

Dutch experiment with 'Tinder for orangutans'

An animal reserve in the Netherlands is having apes respond to images of their fellow creatures on a tablet, a programme dubbed "Tinder for orangutans" by the Dutch press.

Lost in translation: Traffic noise disrupts communication between species

Research by scientists at the University of Bristol has found that man-made noise can hinder the response of animals to the warning signals given by other species, putting them at greater risk of death from predators.

Phylogeography of cladocerans in the Northern Palearctic

A group of scientists, including the researchers from the White Sea Biological Station, Lomonosov Moscow State University has studied dispersal routes of cladocerans through Northern Eurasia, which are a food for many fish species. The scientists have shown that at least several cladoceran taxa began colonization of the whole Palearctic from its north, and some of them from the Beringian region. The Bering Strait has closed numerous times in the past; modern-day Kamchatka, Chukotka, Alaska and a part of the Aleutian Islands were once a part of Beringia. The results of this study are published in PLOS ONE.

Study identifies the Southeast's most diverse and imperiled waterways

After more than a year of data collection, analysis and mapping, the University of Georgia River Basin Center and the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute recently published a comprehensive survey of Southeastern watersheds and the diverse aquatic wildlife that live in these freshwater ecosystems.

Boxer crabs acquire anemones by stealing from each other, and splitting them into clones

Researchers have described a little known yet fascinating aspect of the behavior of Lybia crabs, a species which holds sea anemones in each of its claws (behavior which has earnt it the nickname 'boxer' or 'pom-pom' crab). In a series of experiments, they showed that when these crabs need an anemone, they will fight to steal one from another crab and then both crabs will split their anemone into two, creating identical clones.

Horizontal transfer of nuclear DNA between vascular plants

A Czech-German team of researchers around Dr. Václav Mahelka from the Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Dr. Frank Blattner from the Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) publishes findings in the scientific journal PNAS suggesting that the transfer of nuclear genes from one vascular plant species to another without sexual fertilization is not a rare event.

Genetically modified insects could disrupt international food trade

"There's a fly in my soup." This statement conjures up the image of a dead fly in a bowl of soup rather than a genetically modified insect being served up with organic vegetables. However, this is not a totally unrealistic scenario as experimental releases of genetically modified insects have been approved by US regulators in 2014 very near farming areas. The question is whether fruit and vegetables exported from the USA to Europe and China can be sold under the "organic" label if genetically modified insects have developed on them. Guy Reeves from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany and Martin Phillipson Dean of Law at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, are drawing attention to this problem. In their view, clarifying statements on the part of US regulators is required to ensure that producers of organic commodities do not have to fear for their reputation.

Once-dried tiny tributary serves as shelter for wintering fish

Hokkaido University researchers have found that more than 10,000 stream fish migrated to a small tributary only four months after it had dried out during the summer, suggesting that even remnant tributaries are critical wintering habitats.

Researchers discover new molecular details about protein sorting in the cell

The targeted incorporation of proteins into the membrane is a vital process for cell maintenance; these membrane proteins ensure the proper functioning of the cell's metabolism, communication with its environment, and energy supply. Protein-sorting mechanisms ensure that membrane proteins are specifically recognized among thousands of different proteins – and are sent to the membrane, where they're needed. A team headed by Kärt Denks, a doctoral candidate in Professor Hans-Georg Koch's working group at the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Freiburg, describes this molecular mechanism in detail in the journal Nature Microbiology, using the gut bacterium Escherichia coli. The researchers showed that the signal recognition particle (SRP), present in all living organisms, identifies correct proteins already during their synthesis.

Habitat features and social behavior impact how baboons move as a group

When deciding what path to take during collective movement, individual baboons will likely follow the road most travelled by their group mates, according to new findings published in eLife.

Rarely-seen event of ant brood parasitism by scuttle flies video-documented

While many species of scuttle flies are associated with ants, their specific interactions with their hosts are largely unknown. Brood parasitism (attacking the immature stages, rather than the adult ants), for example, is an extremely rarely observed and little-studied phenomenon. However, a research team from the USA and Brazil, led by Dr. Brian Brown, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, have recently video-documented two such occasions. The observations are published in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal.

Scat sniffer dogs tell York U researchers a lot about endangered lizards

Dogs can be trained to find almost anything (people, drugs, weapons, poached ivory) but one York University researcher had them detect something a little unusual - the scat of endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizards. The scat detection dogs helped biology PhD student Alex Filazzola discover not only scat, but the importance of shrubs in preserving lizard populations in the face of climate change.

Large marine protected areas effectively protect reef shark populations

Researchers at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station investigated the role of expanded marine protected areas (MPAs) on grey reef sharks and found that the aquatic no-fishing zones were an effective tool for protecting this near-threatened species.

Exploring the brain/fat connection to identify key differences amongst humans and monkeys

Among the greatest unanswered questions in all of evolutionary biology is what were the molecular forces that gave rise to the unique cognitive abilities of the human brain? Which, among the constellation of neurons, expanded amongst the myriad folds of gray and white matter in the cerebral cortex to vault humans over monkeys after the last common ancestor split some 6-8 million years ago?

Catching a glimpse at enzymes on the job

AAA+ ATPases are a large family of ubiquitous enzymes with multiple tasks, including the remodelling of the cellular proteome, i.e. the ensemble of proteins in a biological cell. A subfamily, so-called unfoldases, recognize, unfold, and address misfolded or dysfunctional proteins towards proteolytic complexes which eliminate these potentially toxic proteins in order to assure a healthy, functional state of the cellular proteome. Given the intrinsic flexibility of ATPases and the transient character of the interaction with their protein substrates, it is challenging in structural biology to follow the conformational changes of these enzyme-substrate complexes during the active unfolding process.

Research from the University of Bristol has developed new insights into how farmers treat their sheep for disease

Farmers who don't treat their sheep to avoid infection are often blamed for the national increase in disease. However an economic study, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has found that, in some scenarios, this is the most economically sensible decision to take.

Sugarcane aphid research outlines economical control methods

Sorghum producers can reduce input costs and improve their bottom line in the battle against sugarcane aphids in the Texas High Plains through the use of selected varieties and early planting and scouting, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study.

Mechanism for photosynthesis already existed in primeval microbe

A Japanese research group led by Associate Professor ASHIDA Hiroki (Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University), Academic Researcher KONO Takunari (Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University), and Professor MATSUMURA Hiroyoshi (Ritsumeikan University) has discovered an evolutionary model for the biological function that creates CO2 from glucose in photosynthesis. They found the mechanism in a primitive, non-photosynthesizing microbe.

Cincinnati Zoo names prematurely born hippo—Fiona

A baby hippo born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo has a name—it's Fiona (fee-OH'-nuh).

Lobstermen question need for restrictions to help species

Some lobster fishermen expressed skepticism Tuesday about a plan to try to revive the dwindling southern New England lobster stock through new fishing restrictions.

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