Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jan 18

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 18, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

Three new gas giant exoplanets discovered by SuperWASP-South

How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function

Green Sahara's ancient rainfall regime revealed

In mouse model of Rett syndrome, research reveals how adult learning is impaired in females

Pitching in: Biologists study development of division of labor among bees

New broad-spectrum antiviral protein can inhibit HIV, other pathogens in some primates

Climate change to shift global pattern of mild weather

Birds of a feather flock together to confuse potential predators

BAE Systems looks at Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens concept for battlefield commanders

'Failed' clocks fresh blow for Europe's Galileo satnav (Update)

Firms push hydrogen as top green energy source

Protein isolated from baker's yeast shows potential against leukemia cells

Mars rover Curiosity examines possible mud cracks

Adoptees advantaged by birth language memory

Astronomy & Space news

Three new gas giant exoplanets discovered by SuperWASP-South

(Phys.org)—Astronomers report the discovery of three new gas giant planets using the SuperWASP-South Observatory in South Africa. Two of the newly detected alien worlds were classified as the so-called "warm Jupiters," while one of them is most likely a super-Neptune or a sub-Saturn planet. The findings were presented in a paper published Jan. 13 on the arXiv preprint server.

'Failed' clocks fresh blow for Europe's Galileo satnav (Update)

Europe's beleaguered Galileo satnav has suffered another setback, with clocks failing onboard a number of satellites in space, the European Space Agency said Wednesday.

Mars rover Curiosity examines possible mud cracks

Scientists used NASA's Curiosity Mars rover in recent weeks to examine slabs of rock cross-hatched with shallow ridges that likely originated as cracks in drying mud.

A catalog of habitable zone exoplanets

The last two decades have seen an explosion of detections of exoplanets, as the sensitivity to smaller planets has dramatically improved thanks especially to the Kepler mission. These discoveries have found that the frequency of planets increases to smaller sizes: terrestrial planets are more common than gas giants. The significance of a universe rich in terrestrial sized planets naturally leads to the question about the "habitable zone (HZ)" – the region around a star where a suitable planet could sustain the conditions necessary for life. In this zone, the balance between stellar radiation onto the planet and radiative cooling from the planet allows water on the surface to be a liquid. (The definition also includes consideration of the planet's atmosphere and solid surface.)

Successful deep space maneuver for NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft

New tracking data confirms that NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aced its first Deep Space Maneuver (DSM-1) on Dec. 28, 2016. The engine burn sets up the spacecraft for an Earth gravity assist this fall as it continues its two-year journey to the asteroid Bennu.

Image: e.Deorbit's robotic arm

ESA's proposed e.Deorbit mission, shown left, using a robotic arm to catch a derelict satellite – the baseline capture method for what would be the world's first active space debris removal mission, in 2024.

Extreme space weather-induced blackouts could cost US more than $40 billion daily

The daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study.

Image: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet's first spacewalk

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet completed his first spacewalk last Friday together with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough to complete a battery upgrade to the outpost's power system.

Contracts signed for ELT mirrors and sensors

At a ceremony today at ESO's Headquarters four contracts were signed for major components of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that ESO is building. These were for: the casting of the telescope's giant secondary and tertiary mirrors, awarded to SCHOTT; the supply of mirror cells to support these two mirrors, awarded to the SENER Group; and the supply of the edge sensors that form a vital part of the ELT's huge segmented primary mirror control system, awarded to the FAMES consortium.

NTU successfully launches its 7th satellite into space

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has successfully launched its 7th satellite into space from the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday evening (16 Jan).

Technology news

How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function

Metamaterials—materials whose function is determined by structure, not composition—have been designed to bend light and sound, transform from soft to stiff, and even dampen seismic waves from earthquakes. But each of these functions requires a unique mechanical structure, making these materials great for specific tasks, but difficult to implement broadly.

BAE Systems looks at Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens concept for battlefield commanders

(Tech Xplore)—Future concepts from BAE Systems include a laser developed atmospheric lens. A video shows the concept and explains the thinking behind it.

Firms push hydrogen as top green energy source

Over a dozen leading European and Asian firms have teamed up to promote the use of hydrogen as a clean fuel and cut the production of harmful gasses that lead to global warming.

Engineers eat away at Ms. Pac-Man score with artificial player

Using a novel approach for computing real-time game strategy, engineers have developed an artificial Ms. Pac-Man player that chomps the existing high score for computerized play.

Faster recharging batteries possible after new insights

Faster recharging lithium batteries could be developed after scientists figured out why adding charged metal atoms to tunnel structures within batteries improves their performance.

Audiobooks see boom in digital, multitasking age

Curling up with a paperback may be a forgotten luxury for many thanks to today's busy lifestyles, but listening to a book on the go, while shopping or jogging, is fast becoming the new norm.

Were opportunities for clues from MH370 debris missed?

Three nations shelled out around $160 million and years' worth of work on the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The result: No plane. The only tangible—and arguably most important—clues into what happened to the aircraft have come courtesy of ordinary citizens, who bore the costs themselves.

For driverless cars, a moral dilemma: Who lives or dies?

What if the brakes go out in a driverless car? Does it mow down a crowd of pedestrians or swerve into a concrete wall and sacrifice its passenger?

ASML etches 'remarkable' 2016 profit

ASML, the Dutch maker of machines used to etch computer processors and make memory chips, announced Wednesday a record 6.1 percent jump in full-year net profit.

VW will appeal court order to buy back customer's diesel car

Volkswagen says it will appeal a court ruling that it must buy back a German customer's diesel car rigged to cheat on emissions tests.

A big nano boost for solar cells

Solar cells convert light into electricity. While the sun is one source of light, the burning of natural resources like oil and natural gas can also be harnessed.

Luminescent proteins provide colour to ecological and cheap Bio-displays

Mobile phone, computer and TV displays all use very expensive colour filters and other components that cannot be easily recycled. German and Spanish scientists have designed a new screen, which is cheaper and more ecological as it uses a hybrid material. This material's luminescent proteins can be used in backlighting systems and colour filters made using a 3-D printing technique.

Harnessing the energy of fireworks for fuel

The world relies heavily on gasoline and other hydrocarbons to power its cars and trucks. In search of an alternative fuel type, some researchers are turning to the stuff of fireworks and explosives: metal powders. And now one team is reporting a method to produce a metal nanopowder fuel with high energy content that is stable in air and doesn't go boom until ignited. Their study appears in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

'Hyperloop' rail study for Slovakia-Czech connection

A US startup pursuing Elon Musk's vision for near-supersonic rail transport announced Tuesday an agreement on a feasibility study for a "hyperloop" system connecting two European cities.

Artificial fingertip that 'feels' wins international robotics competition

An open-source 3D-printed fingertip that can 'feel' in a similar way to the human sense of touch has won an international Soft Robotics competition for its contribution to soft robotics research.

Heartbeat could be used as password to access electronic health records

Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have devised a new way to protect personal electronic health records using a patient's own heartbeat.

US sues Oracle alleging discrimination in pay

The US Labor Department on Wednesday sued business software giant Oracle alleging "systemic" discrimination in pay against female, African American and Asian employees.

Study illustrates Facebook's growth as campaign news source

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton voters had different media diets, but a study finds common ground in Facebook as an important news source—even if their individual feeds bore little resemblance to each other's.

Esquire network will transition from cable to online channel

Esquire Network said Wednesday it is shutting down as a cable channel and will transition into a digital online outlet.

Netflix's shrinking DVD service faces uncertain future

Netflix's video streaming service is booming while its steadily shrinking DVD-by-mail business has turned into an afterthought.

Medicine & Health news

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to monitor athlete performance as well as prevent potential injuries. Many of these tracking devices involve around the clock surveillance of athletes' bio signs raising several bioethical questions that apply to everyday users as well.

In mouse model of Rett syndrome, research reveals how adult learning is impaired in females

Neurodevelopmental disorders like autism very likely have their origin at the dawn of life, with the emergence of inappropriate connectivity between nerve cells in the brain. In one such disorder, Rett syndrome, the pathology is traceable to the failure of a specific gene, called MECP2. Today, a team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) publishes results of experiments in mice suggesting how MECP2 mutations further impair affected individuals later on in life.

New broad-spectrum antiviral protein can inhibit HIV, other pathogens in some primates

University of Colorado Boulder researchers have discovered that a protein-coding gene called Schlafen11 (SLFN11) may induce a broad-spectrum cellular response against infection by viruses including HIV-1.

Protein isolated from baker's yeast shows potential against leukemia cells

An enzyme identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as brewer's or baker's yeast, has passed in vitro trials, demonstrating its capacity to kill acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells.

Adoptees advantaged by birth language memory

Language learning very early on in life can be subconsciously retained even when no conscious knowledge of the early experience remains. The subconscious knowledge can then be tapped to speed up learning of the pronunciation of sounds of the lost tongue. A paper describing these results of language scientists from Radboud University, Western Sydney University and Hanyang University has been published in Royal Society Open Science on January 18.

New method offers potential for uncovering how cancer begins

At Baylor College of Medicine, scientists have developed a method that allows them to accurately determine the genes expressed in single cells. Among other applications, this technique can be useful to study how cancerous tumors begin, which could lead to better treatments, diagnosis and prevention in the future. The study appears in Nature Methods.

Study reveals how little people know about each other's intentions

Psychologists from The University of Manchester have shown how difficult it is for us to guess the true intention of each other's behaviour.

MRI study shows consistency in how the brain rewires itself due to deafness

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with affiliations to several institutions in Poland has found that the brains of people born with congenital deafness rewire themselves to repurpose the part of the brain normally used for hearing. They have published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences documenting their findings and its impact on brain research.

Toxic brain cells may drive many neurodegenerative disorders, study finds

While most of us haven't heard of astrocytes, these cells are four times as plentiful in the human brain as nerve cells. Now, a team led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has found that astrocytes, which perform many indispensable functions in the brain, can take on a villainous character, destroying nerve cells and likely driving many neurodegenerative diseases.

'Collateral' lethality may offer new therapeutic approach for cancers of the pancreas, stomach and colon

Cancer cells often delete genes that normally suppress tumor formation. These deletions also may extend to neighboring genes, an event known as "collateral lethality," which may create new options for development of therapies for several cancers.

Technique reveals movements of immune cells as they hunt for tumors

A study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has for the first time demonstrated a way to visualize and monitor the behavior of immune cells used to treat cancer patients.

Soft robot helps the heart beat

Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital researchers have developed a customizable soft robot that fits around a heart and helps it beat, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure.

'Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain': researchers show how human brain decides what's important

The Wizard of Oz told Dorothy to "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" in an effort to distract her, but a new Princeton University study sheds light on how people learn and make decisions in real-world situations.

Gene that enables memories, sense of direction produces schizophrenia-like symptoms when mutated

Mutations in a gene that should enable memories and a sense of direction instead can result in imprecise communication between neurons that contributes to symptoms of schizophrenia, scientists report.

Mandarin makes you more musical?

Mandarin makes you more musical - and at a much earlier age than previously thought. That's the suggestion of a new study from the University of California San Diego. But hold on there, overachiever parents, don't' rush just yet to sign your kids up for Chinese lessons instead of piano.

Study identifies molecular signal for maintaining adult neuron

Humans and other vertebrates depend on a portion of the brain called the hippocampus for learning, memory and their sense of location. Nerve cell structures in the adult hippocampus are sustained by factors whose identities have remained largely mysterious so far.

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ today.

Successful phase 3 trial of drug for liver cancer

An international phase 3 trial has found that the drug regorafenib improved survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a form of liver cancer, giving people who previously had no other options a better chance at survival. Results from the study, which included researchers at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, were recently published online in The Lancet. The trial, funded by Bayer, included 152 sites in 21 countries.

Healthy concession stand makeovers are a game changer

Concession stands at school sporting events are often overlooked by those advocating for healthy school food. However, a new study highlights how concession stands can benefit from adding on healthy items.

Experts urge for wider prescription of statins in treatment and prevention

World-renowned researchers from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University as well as Harvard Medical School address the possible but unproven link between statins and diabetes, as well as the implications of prescription of statins for clinicians and their patients, in a commentary published in the prestigious American Journal of Medicine. The editor-in-chief of the journal published the commentary and an editorial he wrote online ahead of print.

Five-minute chats in the waiting room may prompt families to eat more fruits and vegetables

Low-income families were more likely to use their federal food assistance on nutritious food after learning that their dollars can be doubled for more fruits and vegetables, a new study finds.

New colorectal cancer targeted therapy combination shows promise

New SWOG study results show significantly better outcomes for patients with a treatment-resistant form of metastatic colorectal cancer when the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib is added to a standard treatment. The findings, for the first time, point at an effective treatment for this deadly type of cancer.

The war on drugs causes massive human rights violations

The war on drugs has had devastating effects on human rights and public health worldwide, argue experts in The BMJ today.

Researchers discover a protein that protects against fatty liver

A team co-headed by scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine and the IDIBAPS Biomedical Research Institute has revealed the capacity of the CPEB4 protein to prevent fatty liver disease.

Research team develops treatment algorithm for bionic hand reconstruction

A research group led by Oskar Aszmann of the Department of Surgery at MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital has developed a treatment algorithm or protocol that can be used to establish which patients with global injuries to the plexus brachialis (plexus brachialis syndrome) will most probably benefit from having their numb and non-functioning hand replaced by a myoelectric (bionic) prosthesis.

Professor canvasses LGBT community to help health advocates fight a meningitis outbreak

It's the Tuesday night before Christmas as Ian W. Holloway tucks his 2-year-old daughter Sofía into bed and prepares to leave his home.

How estrogen modulates fear learning—molecular insight into PTSD

Low estrogen levels may make women more susceptible to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some points in their menstrual cycles or lifetimes, while high estrogen levels may be protective.

Fat degrading enzyme implicated in type 2 diabetes

Investigators at Karolinska Institutet have identified a potential therapeutic target for treatment of obesity-associated metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis. The work, performed in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and Danderyd Hospital, is published in Cell Reports.

Poll finds strong support for providing treatment over criminalization of opioid abuse

The 2017 Public Policy Poll: Public Safety, Substance Use and Mental Health—conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University—found strong support for providing treatment to opioid users.

Piling on the pregnancy pounds does no harm to baby in the long-term

A study from the University of Aberdeen has found that mothers' weight gain in pregnancy is not linked to increased risk of premature death in their adult children.

Tips to grocery shop like a cardiologist

Many of us vowed to eat more healthfully in the new year but don't know how to begin. Here are some grocery store guidelines to reduce the amount of dietary fat, sugar and salt that is associated with a higher risk for obesity, heart attack, diabetes and other diseases.

The science of replacing mitochondrial DNA and what remains unknown

Mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) has now been used in humans to conceive a "three-parent baby" to prevent inherited mitochondrial disorders, but there remain questions about the effectiveness of the process.

Researcher seeks to bridge breastfeeding disparity

Breastfeeding rates in the United States are rising, and that's good news for babies, because breastfeeding provides babies with protection from certain infections during infancy and, potentially, from some chronic conditions later in life. But African American babies are less likely to be breastfed than other babies in the U.S., a disparity that not only contributes to poorer health outcomes among African American infants and children, but also sets the stage for inequalities that can continue throughout life.

Patients with severe mental illnesses slip between cracks in HIV testing

People with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression with psychosis may be up to 15 more likely than the general population to be HIV positive, but are only marginally more likely to be tested for the virus, according to a study headed by UC San Francisco.

Affordable Care Act made some cancer screenings more accessible, study says

The Affordable Care Act helped make recommended cancer screening more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans, according to new University of Virginia research.

New insights in genetic defect allow prevention of fatal illnesses in children

A team of scientists led by prof. Adrian Liston (VIB–KU Leuven) and prof. Isabelle Meyts (UZ Leuven – KU Leuven) were able to characterize a new genetic immunodeficiency resulting from a mutation in a gene named STAT2. This mutation causes patients to be extremely vulnerable to normally mild childhood illnesses such as rotavirus and enterovirus. Prof. Liston's comprehensive analysis of the genetic defect allows clinicians to provide children with the proper therapies before illnesses prove fatal. The findings of the research have been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Heavy alcohol use in adolescence alters brain electrical activity

Long-term heavy use of alcohol in adolescence alters cortical excitability and functional connectivity in the brain, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital. These alterations were observed in physically and mentally healthy but heavy-drinking adolescents, who nevertheless did not fulfil the diagnostic criteria for a substance abuse disorder. The findings were published in Addiction Biology.

Smart textiles project improved anxiety in mental health patients

A smart textiles research project which involved people with mental health conditions in the design process found it helped participants experience lower levels of anxiety.

Skin cancer model boost for prevention and treatment

Researchers at the University of Dundee have found that skin cancers in mice can closely mirror those found in humans, offering a model that could be used to help develop new drugs and find new ways of preventing the disease.

Preventing achilles tendon injuries

Nia Dennis could tell something was wrong as she began her tumbling routine during a gymnastics event. "When I started to launch into the air, I felt a pop, and my whole calf got tingly and cold," says Dennis, a former member of the U.S. women's national gymnastics team.

New avenue for anti-depressant therapy discovered

Researchers have made a ground-breaking discovery revealing new molecular information on how the brain regulates depression and anxiety. In so doing, they identified a new molecule that alleviates anxiety and depressive behaviour in rodents. The research, led by Eleanor Coffey, Research Director at Åbo Akademi University in Finland is a collaborative effort between scientists in Finland and the US.

Nanofibres developed for healing bone fractures

In the future, it may be possible to use nanofibres to improve the attachment of bone implants, or the fibres may be used directly to scaffold bone regeneration. This would aid the healing of fractures and may enable the care of osteoporosis. This is detailed in a new dissertation.

Stem cell 'marking' study offers alterative hypothesis of cancer metastasis

Stem cells are among the most energetically activated, migratory and proliferative sub-populations of tumour cells, according to observations by scholars at the Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Salford.

Can good fat boost your fitness level?

Fish oil supplements may seem like a relatively recent health fad but they have actually been produced in the UK on a large scale since 1935 by the company Seven Seas Ltd. Since then, the fish oil supplement market has continued to grow, with many beneficial effects claimed for health.

Teenagers who access mental health services see significant improvements, study shows

Young people with mental health problems who have contact with mental health services are significantly less likely to suffer from clinical depression later in their adolescence than those with equivalent difficulties who do not receive treatment, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. This comes as Prime Minister Theresa May announced measures to improve mental health support at every stage of a person's life, with an emphasis on early intervention for children and young people.

Moderate exercise can improve outcomes for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, study shows

Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer may be able to lower the risk of the disease worsening, and improve their chances of survival, if they engage in moderate daily exercise, according to new research by investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Research makes leap with frog models

UC biologists have turned to amphibian sources—specifically frogs and tadpoles—to help shed light on how early stressors in the womb and shortly after birth may play a part in the onset of adult diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Plastic surgeons often miss patients' mental disorders

(HealthDay)—Nearly one in 10 patients seeking facial plastic surgery suffers from a mental illness that distorts their perception of physical defects, but doctors often don't spot the problem, new research suggests.

Delirium could accelerate dementia-related mental decline

When hospitalised, people can become acutely confused and disorientated. This condition, known as delirium, affects a quarter of older patients and new research by UCL and University of Cambridge shows it may have long-lasting consequences, including accelerating the dementia process.

Comparing beach umbrella vs. SPF 100 sunscreen to protect beachgoers from sun

How did sun protection compare for people who spent 3½ hours on a sunny beach with some under an umbrella and others wearing SPF 100 sunscreen? A new article published online by JAMA Dermatology reports neither method used alone completely prevented sunburn, although the SPF 100 sunscreen was more efficacious in the randomized clinical trial.

High percentage of gunshot injuries in Chicagoland not treated at designated trauma centers

In Cook County, Illinois, which has 19 trauma centers, nearly one-third of gunshot wounds from 2009 to 2013 were treated outside of designated trauma centers, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery.

Iron-fortified nutrition bars combat anemia in India

An iron supplement bar given to anemic women in and around Mumbai, India, led to increased hemoglobin and hematocrit levels, reducing anemia with no reported side effects, according to a study by Duke University researchers and collaborators in India.

Protein from injured neurons predicts brain recovery after out-of-hospital heart attack

The biomarker neuron-specific enolase is a strong predictor of brain recovery in heart attack patients who are unconscious for three or more days, according to a study published January 18, 2017, in the journal PLOS ONE by Sebastian Wiberg from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark and colleagues.

Mapping brain in preemies may predict later disability

Scanning a premature infant's brain shortly after birth to map the location and volume of lesions, small areas of injury in the brain's white matter, may help doctors better predict whether the baby will have disabilities later, according to a new study published in the January 18, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Protein involved in blood clotting stimulates liver repair

A team of Michigan State University researchers, led by James Luyendyk in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has uncovered a new pathway in the body that stimulates liver repair.

New data show heightened risk of birth defects with antidepressants

A new Université de Montréal study in the British Medical Journal reveals that antidepressants prescribed to pregnant women could increase the chance of having a baby with birth defects.

Mothers of socially anxious children take involvement to the next level

When mothers of children with social anxiety disorder try to support their children, it often backfires. The results of an experiment involving building difficult puzzles indicate that, even at home, mothers of children with the disorder are more involved with their offspring than mothers of healthy control children. These findings indicate behavioral control on the part of the mother, says Julia Asbrand of the Institute of Psychology in Freiburg, Germany, in Springer's journal Cognitive Therapy and Research.

UVA slashes opioid use while improving pain scores, study finds

A study of more than 100,000 surgical cases at University of Virginia Health System found patients' pain scores improved even as doctors gave fewer opioids.

A new prognostic classification may help clinical decision-making in glioblastoma

New research shows that taking molecular variables into account will improve the prognostic classification of the lethal brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM).

Researchers discover severe side effects of approved multiple sclerosis medication

The multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy alemtuzumab can trigger severe, unpredictable side effects. This was the finding by a team led by Prof Dr Aiden Haghikia and Prof Dr Ralf Gold from the Department of Neurology of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum at St. Josef's Hospital. In the journal Lancet Neurology, the scientists report on two patients for whom the infusion of alemtuzumab significantly worsened symptoms. The team also describes a treatment that successfully curbed the harmful side effects.

Gestational diabetes increases risk for postpartum depression

Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Karolinska Institutet have found that gestational diabetes raises the risk of postpartum depression (PPD) in first-time mothers. This is the largest study of its kind to date, including more than 700,000 women. The results were published online today in the journal Depression and Anxiety.

Researcher examines effect of exercise on breast cancer survivors

A researcher at Syracuse University has simple advice for breast cancer survivors struggling with the side effects of Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs): exercise.

NIAID flu experts examine evolution of avian influenza

Few influenza viruses are as widespread and adaptable as avian influenza viruses, and scientists are not entirely sure why.

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging: study

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary.

Small intestine GIST associated with better prognosis in younger patients

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are tumors that arise is the wall of the digestive tract, and most often occur in the stomach or small intestine. Though more common in later in life, GISTs can occur in adolescents and young adults (AYA) under 40 years old as well.

Changes in blood-brain barrier, intestinal permeability found in individuals with autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has the dubious distinction of being the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With 1 in every 68 children born in this country diagnosed with ASD, parents are looking everywhere for answers about best treatments. Along with selective medication to treat certain symptoms, traditional treatments include intensive behavioral approaches. But with no "one-size-fits-all" treatment approach, parents often turn to diverse complementary and alternative therapies.

Researchers identify novel mechanism that protects pancreas from digestive enzymes

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have uncovered the mechanism by which the stress hormone FGF21 keeps digestive enzymes from damaging the pancreas.

Could better eye training help reduce concussion in women's soccer?

With the ever-growing popularity of women's soccer, attention to sports-related concussions is also a growing concern, as the act of heading the ball is thought to contribute to increased incidence of concussion.

'Three-parent' baby born in Ukraine using new technique

A baby boy has been born in Ukraine to an infertile couple after the first ever use of a new technique using the DNA of three parents, the head of a Kiev fertility clinic said Wednesday.

Biosimilars create opportunities for sustainable cancer care

Biosimilars create opportunities for sustainable cancer care, says the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in a position paper published in ESMO Open.1 The document outlines approval standards for biosimilars, how to safely introduce them into the clinic, and the potential benefits for patients and healthcare systems.

Rural America, already hurting, could be most harmed by Trump's promise to repeal Obamacare

The health of rural America is failing, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without adequate replacement could prove disastrous. A December, 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that for the first time in 20 years, life expectancy in the United States has declined, particularly in small cities and rural areas, where people are dying at much higher rates. This shocking trend is driven in part by increasing mortality rates for white, working-class Americans, many of whom live in rural America.

New dental implant with built-in reservoir reduces risk of infections

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) has developed a dental implant that gradually releases drugs from a built-in reservoir. This helps prevent and fight infections.

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hikers provide data for Sandia study of health, performance

It takes a special type of person to hike from one rim of the Grand Canyon to the other in a single day. These motivated, resilient athletes now are helping researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM) to collect and study biometric data to determine if declines in physical or cognitive functions can predict a medical emergency.

More sprints in top-class football necessitates new and individualized training routines

Today's top-class football is characterised by more short sprints than in the past. In English Premier League, high-intensity running has increased by 50% in the last 10 years, presenting new challenges to the players in terms of fatigue resistance and ability to recover quickly. The change has also resulted in greater variation in the tempo of matches, and this new pattern calls for revised training routines. This is the conclusion of new research from the University of Gothenburg and the University of Southern Denmark.

Researchers discover cancer treatment for transplant patients

Kenar D. Jhaveri, MD, and Richard Barnett, MD, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research scientists and Northwell Health Department of Internal Medicine nephrologists, published a Letter to the Editor in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, which profiles a novel drug combination with the potential to help prevent rejection of a donor kidney in transplant patients undergoing cancer treatment. The novel drug combination allows the rapidly emerging cancer therapies called immune checkpoint inhibitors to be incorporated into a transplant patient's cancer treatment regimen. This observation shows promise for people undergoing cancer therapy who have also had a kidney transplant.

Poll: Americans of all stripes say fix health care

Sylvia Douglas twice voted for President Barack Obama and last year cast a ballot for Democrat Hillary Clinton. But when it comes to "Obamacare," she now sounds like President-elect Donald Trump. This makes her chuckle amid the serious choices she faces every month between groceries, electricity and paying a health insurance bill that has jumped by nearly $400.

Rheumatology leaders say FDA biosimilar interchangeability guidance a balanced approach

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a draft guidance on biosimilar interchangeability titled "Considerations in Demonstrating Interchangeability With a Reference Product" that leaders at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) believe may address many of the safety and efficacy concerns physicians have raised over the past year.

Cholera kills 11 in war-ravaged Yemen: UN

The death toll of a cholera outbreak in war-torn and impoverished Yemen has reached 11, out of 180 confirmed cases, a UN-led action group said Wednesday.

High-donor-volume hospitals recover more transplantable organs per donor

Hospitals that manage the highest volume of deceased organ donors are 52 percent more likely to recover an above-average number of transplantable organs per donor compared with low-volume hospitals, according to results from a new study conducted across three U.S. donation regions. The findings appear online as an "article in press" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website in advance of print publication.

Three companies receive seed funds to develop medical devices for children

The Philadelphia Pediatric Medical Device Consortium (PPDC) has announced seed grants to three companies developing medical devices for children. The Consortium chose those companies from eight finalists in a competition to receive seed grants of $50,000 each.

Advanced stage NSCLC patients receiving treatment have better OS than untreated patients

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with advanced disease receiving standard of care treatment have a higher overall survival (OS) than similar patients not receiving treatment.

New guidelines seek to promote family-centered care in the ICU

Critical illness is a stressful and traumatic experience that may have lasting effects on the health of patients and families, even months after discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU). A new set of guidelines for promoting family-centered care in neonatal, pediatric, and adult ICUs will be presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine's (SCCM) 46th Critical Care Congress, to be held January 21 to 25, 2017, at the Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu. The guidelines also appear in Critical Care Medicine, SCCM's official journal.

Special issue highlights research at UM Schools of Medicine and Dentistry

New research by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) and the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UM SOD), is highlighted in a special issue of Pathogens and Disease.

Biology news

Pitching in: Biologists study development of division of labor among bees

Social bees are celebrated for their cooperative industry, but how did their innovative division of labor evolve? A starting point for examining this question may be study of their solitary cousins, say Utah State University biologists.

Birds of a feather flock together to confuse potential predators

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Groningen, in The Netherlands, have created a computer game style experiment which sheds new light on the reasons why starlings flock in massive swirling groups over wintering grounds.

Different recombination rates keep highly selfish genes in check

The hamlet fish can be both the father and mother of its offspring – a characteristic that is helping researchers to understand why genes often undergo recombination more readily in one sex.

Decoded microbial metabolism explains biofuel yield

To unravel how intricate waste biomass converts to biofuels, a Cornell professor studied the bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum to decipher its metabolism. Understanding the bacterium's sugar-processing complexities may lead to improved biofuel yields.

New study challenges understanding of salinity impacts on freshwater biodiversity

New research exploring the impact of salinity on insects in freshwater environments has led to a discovery that seems to contradict long-held theories about mechanisms for salt regulation in invertebrates.

'Molecular scissors' could point the way to genetic cures

Guan-En Graham is determined to find out exactly what happened to her father. When she was a child, he developed brain cancer. Since then, she has worked to understand the intricate genetic mechanisms that trigger brain diseases so that one day, perhaps, she can shut them down for good.

System holds promise for study of biological systems, biosensors and bio-hybrid devices

Researchers from the University of Maryland (UMD) are working to develop an electrogenetic device to direct gene expression, an achievement that holds promise for controlling biological systems and could help shape the future of biosensors, as well as wearable – and possibly implantable – bio-hybrid devices.

Male baboons found to engage in feticide

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from several institutions in the U.S., some with ties to the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya, has found that male baboons in the wild at times engage in feticide. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers describe their observations and offer some theories on why they believe it occurs.

Survival of many of the world's nonhuman primates is in doubt, experts report

A report in the journal Science Advances details the grim realities facing a majority of the nonhuman primates in the world - the apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises inhabiting ever-shrinking forests across the planet. The review is the most comprehensive conducted so far, the researchers say, and the picture it paints is dire.

The Tasmanian tiger had a brain structure suited to a predatory life style

Scientists have used an imaging technique to reconstruct the brain architecture and neural networks of the thylacine—better known as the Tasmanian tiger—an extinct carnivorous marsupial native to Tasmania. The study, published in PLOS ONE, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to scan postmortem specimens of two thylacine brain specimens, both of which were about 100 years old.

What humans and primates both know when it comes to numbers

For the past several years, Jessica Cantlon has been working to understand how humans develop the concept of numbers, from simple counting to complex mathematical reasoning. Early in her career at the University of Rochester, the assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences began studying primates in her search for the origins of numeric understanding.

New study examines how China maintains large catches and what it means for fishery management elsewhere

China, the world's largest seafood producer, has done something extraordinary. For the past 20 years, despite minimal management and some of the most intense industrial fishing in the world, it has maintained large catches of key species in its most productive waters.

Finally, an explanation of strange African 'fairy circles'?

The forces behind the mysterious "fairy circles" that dot a desert in southern Africa do not appear to be supernatural, but they are intricate and complex.

Swamphens signal dominance through fleshy faces

What's in a face? In addition to their plumage, Pukeko—large purple swamphens found in New Zealand—convey information about their status through their faces. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows that the strongest predictor of male dominance in Pukeko is the size of their frontal shield, a fleshy ornament on their bill that can change quickly.

Mitochondrial DNA shows past climate change effects on gulls

To understand the present and future, we have to start with the past. A new study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses the mitochondrial DNA of Heermann's Gulls to draw conclusions about how their population has expanded in the Gulf of California since the time of the glaciers—and, by extension, how human-caused climate change may affect them in the future.

Professor uses drones to track human impact on rainforest

Dr. Anthony Cummings sat down with leaders of an indigenous community in Guyana last summer to share an unconventional idea to help them conserve the land their people have lived on for thousands of years.

Severe inbreeding threatens Long Island's little spotted kiwi

A population of rare little spotted kiwi (LSK) that was thought to be thriving in a Marlborough island sanctuary is actually seriously threatened by the silent effects of inbreeding, new research led by a University of Otago scientist suggests.

A frog in kingfisher's clothing

A coastal survey in western India has spawned the discovery of a new species hiding in plain sight.

Retrieval strains the forelimbs of hunting dogs

Hunting dogs such as the popular breed retriever are ideally suited for retrieving birds or small game. However, the weight the dogs carry strains their locomotor system. A motion study by experts from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna showed that the dogs tilt forwards like a seesaw when they carry the prey in their mouths. This can make already existing joint and tendon damage worse. Therefore, adjusted weights should be used for the training of puppies and adult dogs. Furthermore, the joints should be checked regularly by specialists. The study was published in the journal BMC Veterinary Research.

What will the wasp plague be like this year?

New research from Victoria University of Wellington has revealed the population of the common wasp is amplified by spring weather, with warmer and drier springs often meaning more wasps and wasp stings in summer.

Shot hole borers threatening Ventura County avocado orchards

There's a new pest in town and it's threatening one of the area's top crops: avocados. First discovered in Los Angeles County in 2003, six-legged Asian shot hole borers have been found by UC Santa Barbara researchers in their own backyard.

States argue in court for more say over endangered species

A battle over how to save endangered wolves in the Southwest moves to a federal appeals court Wednesday as judges hear arguments on whether states can block the federal government from reintroducing wildlife within their borders.

Options discussed for farmers battling cotton root rot

Cotton root rot disease continues to be a major threat to Texas cotton, but there are options available to farmers to fend off potential threats or lessen the potential economic hardship, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist in College Station.

Baby elephant rescued near Indonesian palm oil plantation

A baby elephant found terrified and malnourished near a palm oil plantation is being nursed back to health at a conservation centre on Indonesia's Sumatra island.

Molecular characterization of the autotransport process of Yersinia adhesin A (YadA)

Adhesins are surface structures of bacteria that facilitate their attachment to host cells or non-living materials. Most adhesins do not just bind to any surface; rather, they recognize specific molecules or receptors on the target surface.

Bacterium named after UQ researcher

University of Queensland microbiologist Emeritus Professor John Fuerst has a new bacterial genus (a group of related organisms) named in his honour.

Kenya, Rwanda ban poultry from Uganda over bird flu

Kenyan and Rwandan authorities said Wednesday they had banned poultry products from neighbouring Uganda, where a virulent H5 strain of avian flu has broken out.

International effort announced to try to save the world's most endangered marine mammal

An ambitious, emergency plan to help save the vaquita porpoise from extinction in the northern Gulf of California has been recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA). The plan involves relocating some of the remaining vaquitas to a temporary sanctuary, while crucial efforts aimed at eliminating illegal fishing and removing gillnets from their environment continue. The emergency action plan will be led by the Mexican government and supported by a consortium of marine mammal experts from more than a dozen organizations around the world.


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