Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Feb 21

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 21, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Proposed test would offer strongest evidence yet that the quantum state is real

Can a mouse meditate? Why these researchers want to find out

The brightest, furthest pulsar in the universe

Fermi finds possible dark matter ties in Andromeda galaxy

Scientists explore the evolution of a 'social supergene' in the red fire ant

Gene editing mulled for improving livestock

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

Chemists improve batteries for renewable energy storage

Zika may cause miscarriages, thin brain tissue in babies carried to term

Longevity-promoting superstar gets revealed in Caenorhabditis reproducibility project

Smartphone-based solution designed to help people who need to communicate with eye gestures

Researchers show that silicon can reproduce physical phenomena exploited by high-end telecommunications devices

A high-performance, low-energy artificial synapse for neural network computing

Nanostraws sample a cell's contents without damage

Study finds potential marker of drug response in many cancer types

Astronomy & Space news

The brightest, furthest pulsar in the universe

ESA's XMM-Newton has found a pulsar – the spinning remains of a once-massive star – that is a thousand times brighter than previously thought possible.

Fermi finds possible dark matter ties in Andromeda galaxy

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Data from Mars probe suggests possibility of proto-ring development

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with the Physical Research Laboratory in India studying data sent back from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) probe has found possible evidence of the development of rings around the planet. In their paper published in the journal Icarus, Jayesh Pabari and P. J. Bhalodi describe the data, what the probe has measured, and the likelihood that some of the dust that surrounds Mars may one day accumulate into a set of rings encircling the planet.

Tune your radio: Galaxies sing when forming stars

A team led from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has found the most precise way ever to measure the rate at which stars form in galaxies using their radio emission at 1-10 Gigahertz frequency range.

New data about two distant asteroids give a clue to the possible 'Planet Nine'

The dynamical properties of these asteroids, observed spectroscopiccally for the first time using the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, suggest a possible common origin and give a clue to the existence of a planet beyond Pluto, the so-called 'Planet Nine.'

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

New planetary formation models from Carnegie's Alan Boss indicate that there may be an undiscovered population of gas giant planets orbiting around Sun-like stars at distances similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn. His work is published by The Astrophysical Journal.

'Gravitational noise' interferes with determining the coordinates of distant sources

Our galaxy's gravitational field limits the accuracy of astrometric observations of distant objects. This is most apparent for objects that are obscured behind the central regions of the galaxy and the galactic plane, where the deviation can be up to several dozen microarcseconds. And more importantly, the effect of this gravitational "noise" cannot be removed. This means that beyond a certain point, it will no longer be possible to improve the accuracy of determining the position of reference objects that are used to define the coordinates of all other sources.

Technology news

Smartphone-based solution designed to help people who need to communicate with eye gestures

(Tech Xplore)—ALS is a neuro degenerative illness causing the person to lose motor control. The condition is referred to as the person being in a locked-in syndrome, where patients retain cognitive function but cannot speak and cannot write.

A high-performance, low-energy artificial synapse for neural network computing

For all the improvements in computer technology over the years, we still struggle to recreate the low-energy, elegant processing of the human brain. Now, researchers at Stanford University and Sandia National Laboratories have made an advance that could help computers mimic one piece of the brain's efficient design – an artificial version of the space over which neurons communicate, called a synapse.

Likelihood of dieting success lies within your tweets

There is a direct link between a person's attitude on social media and the likelihood that their dieting efforts will succeed.

Unlocking big data: Twitter researchers offer clues as to why Trump won

Jiebo Luo and Yu Wang did not set out to predict who would win the 2016 U.S. presidential election. However, their exhaustive, 14-month study of each candidate's Twitter followers-enabled by machine learning and other data science tools-offers tantalizing clues as to why the race turned out the way it did.

Researchers show US grid can handle more offshore wind power, cutting pollution and power costs

Injecting large amounts of offshore wind power into the U.S. electrical grid is manageable, will cut electricity costs, and will reduce pollution compared to current fossil fuel sources, according to researchers from the University of Delaware and Princeton University who have completed a first-of-its-kind simulation with the electric power industry.

New metamaterial is proved to be the world's first to achieve the performance predicted by theoretical bounds

In 2015 UC Santa Barbara mechanical engineer and materials scientist Jonathan Berger developed an idea that could change the way people think about high-performance structural materials. Two years later, his concept is paying research dividends.

Taiwan 'White Terror' brought back to life for gamers

As the 70th anniversary of a bloody political purge in Taiwan looms, a new horror video game set during the island's "White Terror" is winning rave reviews.

Snapchat Spectacles now sold online

If you didn't race out to Los Angeles to get them, or stand in an endless line in Santa Monica, Calif., or catch a helicopter ride to the middle of the Grand Canyon, or brave the Manhattan cold, or pay a premium on eBay, well, you finally can just go online to buy Spectacles.

Spooked by spike in cyber extortion, businesses are stockpiling bitcoin for payoffs

U.S. corporations that have long resisted bending to the demands of computer hackers who take their networks hostage are increasingly stockpiling bitcoin, the digital currency, so that they can quickly meet ransom demands rather than lose valuable corporate data.

Money-losing Toshiba selling medical leasing unit to Canon

Embattled Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. is selling its stake in a medical equipment leasing company to Canon Inc. for 31.4 billion yen ($277 million).

Solar power lights up lives in Nigeria

The surprise was finding that people dependent on candles, batteries, kerosene and fuel for generators in countries without a secure supply of electricity spend more on power than solar options.

New rules needed as drones crowd the skies

As drones increasingly crowd the skies, the risk of collision with other aircraft has come to the fore. Here's an overview of international regulation aimed at limiting the dangers.

UAE grapples drones after airport closures

Dubai authorities are grappling with new ways of keeping the emirate's skies safe after drones halted air traffic at one of the world's busiest airports three times last year.

Buying green doesn't make you green, according to study

Company bosses need to walk the walk when it comes to greening their business with technology, with new QUT research finding that just buying green IT, doesn't make you green.

With net neutrality, researcher says 'not every deal is bad'

Net neutrality advocates want to make sure internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon have minimal control over how users access content on the web. However, new, award-winning research by a Penn State College of Communications faculty member says giving these companies some leeway might not be all bad.

Breakthrough wireless sensing system attracts industry and government agency interest

Less than two years since its release, interest and demand for Waggle, a wireless environmental sensing platform created at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, is flourishing among research groups, industry and government entities, its creators say.

What chess players can teach us about intelligence and expertise

Are experts more intelligent than non-experts or do they just work harder? And why do some people reach high levels of expertise, while others just remain amateurs? These are some of the questions that cognitive scientists have tried to answer for more than a century. Now our new research on chess players has started untangling the problem.

How governments and companies can prevent the next insider attack

Now that they are in office, President Donald Trump and his team must protect the nation from many threats – including from insiders. Insider threats could take many forms, such as the next Edward Snowden, who leaked hundreds of thousands of secret documents to the press, or the next Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood mass killer.

Building privacy right into software code

When I was 15, my parents did not allow me to use AOL Instant Messenger. All of my friends used it, so I had to find a way around this rule. I would be found out if I installed the software on my computer, so I used the web browser version instead. Savvy enough to delete my internet history every time, I thought my chatting was secret.

Smart buildings: energy efficiency at what price?

Automating heating and other environmental controls can bring huge savings to commercial buildings. To what extent is it possible to achieve the same results in residential homes? What is the difference between so called domotics and inmotics?

Yahoo salvages Verizon deal with $350 million discount

Yahoo is taking a $350 million hit on its previously announced $4.8 billion sale to Verizon in a concession for security lapses that exposed personal information stored in more than 1 billion Yahoo user accounts.

Prefecture in China's Xinjiang to track cars by satellite

A prefecture in China's far western Xinjiang region is requiring all vehicles to install a real-time GPS-like tracking system as part of an anti-terror initiative.

Gamification motivates consumers to reduce power consumption peaks - pilot sites in Helsinki, Nice and Vienna

In collaboration with the international CITYOPT project, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed an energy planning tool for experts and an application for consumers. The tools have been piloted in Helsinki, Nice and Vienna, with promising results. Local energy costs were reduced by 15% and carbon dioxide emissions by 30% using the optimal planning feature of the tool for experts. Using the game-like tablet application, almost 80% of the households involved managed to reduce their electricity consumption during peak times.

VTT's vision of the era of smart and consumer-centric food production

We are moving into the era, where food production and digitalisation will merge to form a new food economy. The transition is already under way - led by consumers. Together with companies in the sector, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has created three change paths towards the Food Economy 4.0. They are based on identifed drivers and emerging technologies.

Researchers helping intelligence analysts make smart decisions

Researchers at George Mason University are developing a tool combining intelligent computer software and high-level crowdsourcing that will allow intelligence analysts to give sound advice to decision makers in high-pressure situations.

Waste silicon sawdust recycled into anode for lithium-ion battery

Researchers have created a high performance anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) using waste silicon (Si) sawdust.

DOOMED is new online learning approach to robotics modeling

Robotics researchers have developed a novel adaptive control approach based on online learning that allows for the correction of dynamics errors in real time using the data stream from the robot. The strategy is described in an article published in Big Data.

Historic Manhattan cathedral activates eco-friendly power

The historic St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan has activated a geothermal plant—part of a series of environmentally friendly upgrades.

Medicine & Health news

Can a mouse meditate? Why these researchers want to find out

Can a mouse meditate? A new study suggests the answer is ... kind of.

Zika may cause miscarriages, thin brain tissue in babies carried to term

Johns Hopkins researchers say that in early pregnancy in mice with complete immune systems, Zika virus can cross the placenta—intended to protect the developing fetus—and appears to lead to a high percentage of miscarriages and to babies born with thin brain tissue and inflammation in brain cells.

Longevity-promoting superstar gets revealed in Caenorhabditis reproducibility project

The amyloid dye Thioflavin T emerged as the superstar when age researchers in three independent laboratories tested ten already-promising pro-longevity chemicals across a range of distinctive strains and species of tiny nematode worms known as Caenorhabditis. The project, dubbed the Caenorhabditis Intervention Testing Program (CITP), also tackled reproducibility, which has been a lingering problem in age research. Initial results from the project are published in Nature Communications.

Study finds potential marker of drug response in many cancer types

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have uncovered a novel genetic mechanism of thyroid cancer, as well as a marker that may predict response to a particular class of drugs, not just in patients with thyroid cancer, but in those with many other types of cancer as well. The new findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Long term study suggests personality changes dramatically as people age

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. has conducted the longest study of its kind on human personality traits and how they might change as people age. In their paper published in the journal Psychology and Aging, the researchers describe how they conducted their study and what they found regarding personality changes over time.

Creative people have better-connected brains, research finds

Seemingly countless self-help books and seminars tell you to tap into the right side of your brain to stimulate creativity. But forget the "right-brain" myth—a new study suggests it's how well the two brain hemispheres communicate that sets highly creative people apart.

Maths and maps make you nervous? It could be in your genes

Our genes play a significant role in how anxious we feel when faced with spatial and mathematical tasks, such as reading a map or solving a geometry problem, according to a new study by researchers from King's College London.

Humans are hard-wired to follow the path of least resistance

The amount of effort required to do something influences what we think we see, finds a new UCL study suggesting we're biased towards perceiving anything challenging to be less appealing.

Brain-computer interface advance allows fast, accurate typing by people with paralysis

A clinical research publication led by Stanford University investigators has demonstrated that a brain-to-computer hookup can enable people with paralysis to type via direct brain control at the highest speeds and accuracy levels reported to date.

Understanding how HIV evades the immune system

Monash University (Australia) and Cardiff University (UK) researchers have come a step further in understanding how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) evades the immune system.

'Late-life' genes activated by biological clock to help protect against stress, aging

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered that a subset of genes involved in daily circadian rhythms, or the "biological clock," only become active late in life or during periods of intense stress when they are most needed to help protect critical life functions.

Testosterone treatment improves bone density, anemia in men over 65

Research published today found testosterone treatment improved bone density and anemia for men over 65 with low testosterone. But the treatment didn't improve patients' cognitive function, and it increased the amount of plaque buildup in participants' coronary arteries, according to four studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and JAMA Internal Medicine.

New technique generates high volume of sensory cells needed for hearing

The loss of tiny, sound-sensing cells in the inner ear, known as "hair cells," is a leading cause of hearing loss, a public health problem affecting at least 5 percent of the world population. Hair cells, which do not regenerate on their own, can die away from a variety of factors including excessive noise exposure, certain medications, infection and as part of the natural aging process.

Protein once thought exclusive to neurons helps some cancers grow, spread, defy death

How we think and fall in love are controlled by lightning-fast electrochemical signals across synapses, the dynamic spaces between nerve cells. Until now, nobody knew that cancer cells can repurpose tools of neuronal communication to fuel aggressive tumor growth and spread.

Study finds 'sweet spot' where tissue stiffness drives cancer's spread

In order for cancer to spread, malignant cells must break away from a tumor and through the tough netting of extracellular matrix, or ECM, that surrounds it. To fit through the holes in this net, those cancerous cells must elongate into a torpedo-like shape.

Study uncovers gene that may strongly influence obesity

A University of Toronto (U of T) study on fruit flies has uncovered a gene that could play a key role in obesity in humans.

New insights into the information processing of motor neurons

In a study published in Cell Reports in February 2017, Matt Rowan, Ph.D., a Post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Jason Christie, sought to understand the molecular mechanisms behind a type of short-term neuronal plasticity that may have importance for motor control. The team showed that this type of plasticity can impact neurotransmission in as little as 100 milliseconds and depends upon inactivation of Kv3 channels. Interestingly, the team also found that this type of plasticity occurs more readily in juvenile brains than in mature ones.

Drugs that alter inhibitory targets offer therapeutic strategies for autism, schizophrenia

Memories are formed at structures in the brain known as dendritic spines, which communicate with other brain cells through "synapses." The number of these brain connections decreases by half after puberty in a process termed adolescent "synaptic pruning" that is necessary for normal learning in adulthood. However, the pruning away of unnecessary synapses does not follow the normal process in diseases such as autism and schizophrenia, where the abnormality is thought to underlie many of the cognitive impairments associated with these disorders.

T cells support long-lived antibody-producing cells

If you've ever wondered how a vaccine given decades ago can still protect against infection, you have your plasma cells to thank. Plasma cells are long-lived B cells that reside in the bone marrow and churn out antibodies against previously encountered vaccines or pathogens.

Listeria may be serious miscarriage threat early in pregnancy

Listeria, a common food-borne bacterium, may pose a greater risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy than appreciated, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine studying how pathogens affect fetal development and change the outcome of pregnancy.

Screening MRI benefits women at average risk of breast cancer

MRI screening improves early diagnosis of breast cancer in all women-not only those at high risk-according to a new study from Germany published online in the journal Radiology.

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

A new digital breast tomosynthesis technique has the potential to reduce the rate at which women are called back for additional examinations without sacrificing cancer detection, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

The Internet may be an effective tool for treating chronic knee pain

An online intervention combining home exercise and pain-coping skills training provided substantial clinical benefits for patients suffering from chronic knee pain. This model of care delivery could greatly improve patient access to effective treatments. Results of a randomized, controlled trial are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Teens with PTSD and conduct disorder have difficulty recognizing facial expressions

Adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful, while teens with symptoms of conduct disorder tend to interpret sad faces as angry, finds a study by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

'Tsunami' of Alzheimer's cases among Latinos raises concerns over costs, caregiving

Florence Marquez liked to describe herself as a cannery worker, even though she was best known in her heavily Latino East San Jose neighborhood as a community activist.

They hate doctors. They don't exercise enough. But they want to live forever.

Being middle-aged, sandwiched between the much-lauded millennials and the much-attacked baby boomers, is far from an ideal place on the demographic scale.

Doctors' biases mean black men don't get the same treatment in healthcare

A new qualitative study has shown that previous bias and fear of black men likely result in them not getting the same healthcare as white male patients.

Latest research shows Australia on track to cure hepatitis C

More Australians have been treated for hepatitis C in the past 12 months than the last decade combined, following the listing of a new generation therapy on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Discrimination impacts psychological distress for Arab-American men

Acts of discrimination against Arab-Americans are associated with psychological stress, with an impact 4-5 times larger for men than women, a University of Michigan researcher has found.

A low-cost mechanical device for minimally invasive surgery

Surgeons can now use a new type of mechanical instrument to perform complex, minimally invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery, thanks to researchers and small business entrepreneurs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The technology could lead to less trauma for patients and shorter recovery times after surgery.

Online daters ignore wish list when choosing a match

Despite having a very clear 'wish list' stating their preference for potential ideal matches, most online daters contact people bearing no resemblance to the characteristics they say they want in a mate, according to QUT research.

Explainer: Why do we get butterflies in our stomachs?

If you have ever been nervous about something that is about to happen, then you may have felt the sensations of nausea and "fluttering" – the recognisable and odd sensation deep in your gut known as having "butterflies in the stomach".

A novel principle to mobilize neurons for brain repair

Restorative neuroscience, the study to identify means to replace damaged neurons and recover permanently lost mental or physical abilities, is a rapidly advancing scientific field considering our progressively aging society. Redirecting immature neurons that reside in specific brain areas towards the sites of brain damage is an appealing strategy for the therapy of acute brain injury or stroke.

Epilepsy gene identified in dogs

Many breeds of dogs are prone to epileptic seizures. Veterinary neurologists and geneticists have now localized the mutation responsible for a specific form of epilepsy in Rhodesian ridgebacks.

Predicting how Alzheimer's disease progresses

Alzheimer's disease is the nation's most expensive, costing an estimated $236 billion dollars in 2017. But for the more than 5 million people living with it, and for their loved ones, no dollar value can account for the day-to-day suffering. It's a disease that robs one in three seniors of their golden years, yet strikingly little is known about it.

Study finds benefits of breastfeeding for mothers, not just babies

Breastfeeding isn't only good for babies. It's also good for the health of mothers. It helps moms bond with their newborns, recover from childbirth and can reduce their risks of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer.

Industry funding biases drug trial studies in favor of sponsors' products

The review, which adds 27 studies to update a previous Cochrane review, confirms earlier analyses by "providing definitive evidence that pharmaceutical industry funding of drug studies biases the results and conclusions to look favourable towards the drug of the sponsor," said senior author, Professor Lisa Bero of the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre.

Researcher uncovers the secret history of self-harm

Dr Chaney, a historian of human emotion, said: "It was in the late Victorian era that people began to make links between different acts that we later categorised as self-harm. On the face of it, there's no obvious reason why someone attempting to cut off their own hand should be the same as someone pulling out their hair. Yet the notion that we can clumsily lump everything together has lingered since the 1880s."

Study links slot-machine addiction to immersion in the game

Gamblers who feel like they enter into a trance while playing slot machines are more likely to have gambling problems, according to new research from the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC.

Listeria infection causes early pregnancy loss in primates

Researchers in Wisconsin have discovered how Listeria monocytogenes, a common foodborne pathogen, travels through the mother's body to fatally attack the placenta and fetus during early pregnancy in a macaque monkey.

Study finds testosterone replacement therapy reduces cardiovascular risk

Men who used testosterone replacement therapy to treat symptoms of androgen deficiency had a 33 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke compared to those who did not receive any hormone therapy. The findings from the Kaiser Permanente study were published in JAMA Internal Medicine today.

Study finds significant limitations of physician-rating websites

An analysis of 28 commercial physician-rating websites finds that search mechanisms are cumbersome, and reviews scarce, according to a study appearing in the February 21 issue of JAMA.

Collaborative care provides improvement for older adults with mild depression

Among older adults with subthreshold depression (insufficient levels of depressive symptoms to meet diagnostic criteria), collaborative care compared with usual care resulted in an improvement in depressive symptoms after four months, although it is of uncertain clinical importance, according to a study appearing in the February 21 issue of JAMA.

Testosterone treatments may increase cardiac risks

A new study suggests testosterone treatments may increase the risk of heart disease in older men. It found a 20% increase in arterial plaque among men aged 65 and older who received testosterone replacement therapy for a year, according to the study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

First breath shapes the lung's immune system

The lung is an important interface between the body and the outside environment: with each breath, a surface of roughly 100 square meters exchanges oxygen for carbon dioxide. More than 10,000 liters of air pass adult lungs every day and with this come numerous viruses, bacteria and pollutants, which need to be prevented from entering the body.

Exercise most important lifestyle change to help reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence

For patients with breast cancer, physical activity and avoiding weight gain are the most important lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and death, according to an evidence-based review published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Research teams hone in on Zika vaccines, but challenges remain

As public health officials warn that spring's warmer temperatures may herald another increase of Zika virus infections in the Caribbean and North and South America, researchers around the world are racing to develop safe and effective measures to prevent the disease. In a review paper published today in the journal Immunity, a group of leading vaccine scientists—including Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)—outline advances in the hunt for a Zika vaccine and the challenges that still lie ahead.

Modern housing associated with reduced malaria risk in sub-Saharan Africa

Modern houses—with metal roofs and finished walls—are associated with a more than 9 percent reduction in the odds of malaria in children in sub-Saharan Africa when compared to more traditional thatched houses, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine by Lucy Tusting of the University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, Durham University, UK, and the University of Southampton, UK.

Seizures tracked with Apple Watch app linked to stress, missed sleep

New research using an Apple Watch app to track seizures in people with epilepsy finds triggers are often stress and missed sleep, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.

Women with mild heart blockage report poorer health, more anxiety and negativity than men

Women with mild blockage of coronary arteries report poorer health, more anxiety and a more negative outlook than men with the same condition, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Biomarker predicts poor prognosis in African-Americans with triple-negative breast cancer

Having high levels of a certain biomarker is linked to poor prognosis in African-American patients with triple-negative breast cancer, while the same biomarker doesn't influence disease outcomes in white patients, according to a new study.

Cocaine addiction leads to build-up of iron in brain

Cocaine addiction may affect how the body processes iron, leading to a build-up of the mineral in the brain, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. The study, published today in Translational Psychiatry, raises hopes that there may be a biomarker - a biological measure of addiction - that could be used as a target for future treatments.

Growing number of teenagers think getting heroin is 'probably impossible'

Despite reports about the increase in heroin use, more teens believed it was "probably impossible" to get heroin in 2014 than in 2002, according to a Saint Louis University study.

Mindfulness shows promise as we age, but study results are mixed

As mindfulness practices rise in popularity and evidence of their worth continues to accumulate, those who work with aging populations are looking to use the techniques to boost cognitive, emotional and physiological health.

New approach to cervical cancer care in Botswana cuts treatment lag time in half

Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for women low- and middle-income countries, including Botswana, where 75 percent of cervical cancer patients suffer from advanced forms of the disease. These patients can face wait times as long as five months after diagnosis before receiving lifesaving treatment. A new, multidisciplinary model of cervical cancer care developed by a University of Pennsylvania team based in Botswana cut the delay between diagnosis and treatment by more than 50 percent, according to research published this month in the Journal of Global Oncology.

Swedish town councillor proposes sex breaks on work time

Swedes should take a one-hour paid break from work to go home and have sex with their partners, a local councillor suggested in a proposal Tuesday aimed at improving people's personal relationships.

Family focused interventions for at risk children and youth

Children and youth who experience adversity during childhood may suffer serious psychological and psychiatric difficulties as a result. Adversity may range, for example, from chronic poverty to parents' mental health problems. A new special section published in the journal Child Development includes articles from 12 sets of experts on how interventions can be developed to maximize resilience among children experiencing adversity and improve outcomes for their families as well. The special section, "Developmental Research and Translational Science: Evidence-Based Interventions for At-Risk Youth and Families," edited by Drs. Suniya Luthar and Nancy Eisenberg, "distills robust findings to derive top priorities for interventions" intended to help those at-risk for psychological and psychiatric maladjustment.

New Year's resolutions: Have yours gone up in smoke?

It's more than halfway through February and for many those hopeful New Year's resolutions to make some positive changes have fallen by the wayside. A QUT neuroscientist may have the answer to sticking with them long-term.

3,000 steps in 30 minutes improves the prognosis for heart failure

Contrary to what was previously assumed, physical exercise does not lead to harmful ventricular enlargement. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim (NTNU) have disproved this earlier hypothesis and issued recommendations for designing a training program for persons with congestive heart failure.

Study finds link between high EPA and DHA omega-3 blood levels and decreased risk of death

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that higher levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in red blood cells were associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality in postmenopausal women. The study specifically examined associations with the omega-3 index, a measure of EPA and DHA levels in red blood cells. Over a 15-year period, the research found that women ages 65 to 80 with omega-3 blood levels in the highest quartile were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause than those in the lowest quartile.

Youth handball players get injured by sudden increases in training volume

With extra training sessions in the sports hall and more matches on the programme, youth handball players risk getting shoulder injuries. This is the result of new research from Aarhus University.

Immigrants in your lungs? Study showing how bacteria get there could help disease research

They traveled a huge distance, evaded a protective barrier, and found themselves in a strange and unwelcoming land.

Discovery could help doctors to spot cardiovascular disease at an earlier stage

Screening methods for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes could be improved by measuring different biological signposts to those currently being tested, a new study led by researchers from King's College London suggests.

Video: What's the healthiest way to eat your veggies?

Vegetables are chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals, but how should you eat them to get the most nutritious bang for your buck? Raw? Sauteed? Frozen?

Danish discovery opens up for new type of immunological treatment of cancer

Researchers from Aarhus University have found an important piece of the puzzle leading towards an understanding of how our innate immune system reacts against viral infections and recognises foreign DNA, for example from dying cancer cells. The discovery may prove to be of great importance for immunological treatment of cancer as well as autoimmune diseases in the future.

The way breast cancer genes act could predict your treatment

A Michigan State University breast cancer researcher has shown that effective treatment options can be predicted based on the way certain breast cancer genes act or express themselves.

Mediterranean diet may decrease pain associated with obesity

Eating a Mediterranean diet could decrease the chances an overweight person will experience regular pain, new research suggests.

Penn expert calls for shorter radiation use in prostate cancer treatment

Men with prostate cancer can receive shorter courses of radiation therapy than what is currently considered standard, according to Justin Bekelman, MD, an associate professor of Radiation Oncology, Medical Ethics, and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center. In his call for practice change, Bekelman cites research showing the shorter radiation treatment - known as moderate hypofractionation - is just as effective at treating cancer, while costing less and easing the burden on patients. The commentary was published online by the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics and was co-authored by W. Robert Lee, MD, MEd, MS, a professor of Radiation Oncology at the Duke University School of Medicine.

Prostate cancer cells grow with malfunction of cholesterol control in cells

Advanced prostate cancer and high blood cholesterol have long been known to be connected, but it has been a chicken-or-egg problem.

NIH begins study of vaccine to protect against mosquito-borne diseases

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial to test an investigational vaccine intended to provide broad protection against a range of mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as Zika, malaria, West Nile fever and dengue fever, and to hinder the ability of mosquitoes to transmit such infections. The study, which is being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will examine the experimental vaccine's safety and ability to generate an immune response.

Researchers implicate suspect in heart disease linked to diabetes

People with diabetes are at high risk of developing heart disease. Despite knowing this, scientists have struggled to trace the specific biology behind that risk or find ways to intervene. Now, UNC School of Medicine researchers have hunted down a possible culprit - a protein called IRS-1, which is crucial for the smooth muscle cells that make up veins and arteries.

TSRI-invented compound ozanimod shows positive results in late-stage clinical trial for relapsing multiple sclerosis

Results from a new Phase 3 study conducted by the Celgene Corporation demonstrate that ozanimod, a drug candidate originally discovered and optimized at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), can reduce the frequency of multiple sclerosis relapse.

Don't skip veggies in winter

(HealthDay)—Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't eat fresh, healthy foods.

Reduced endothelium-dependent vasodilation in T2DM

(HealthDay)—Patients with type 2 diabetes have reduced endothelium-dependent vasodilation, regardless of the presence of polyneuropathy, according to a study published online Feb. 15 in Diabetes Care.

Readmission common after hospitalization for heart failure

(HealthDay)—For patients with hospitalization for heart failure, readmission within 30 days is common, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

AAP policy statement focuses on child witness well-being

(HealthDay)—In two policy statements published online Feb. 20 in Pediatrics, guidance is provided for safeguarding the well-being of child witnesses, and recommendations are given for pediatricians relating to expert testimony.

ASCO: Pembrolizumab is good second-line Tx in urothelial CA

(HealthDay)—For patients with advanced urothelial cancer that has recurred or progressed after platinum-based chemotherapy, pembrolizumab is associated with increased overall survival, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research was published to coincide with the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, held from Feb. 16 to 18 in Orlando, Fla.

Postpartum depressive symptoms fell in 2004 to 2012

(HealthDay)—From 2004 to 2012 there was a decrease in postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS), according to research published in the Feb. 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Furosemide plus matched hydration cuts contrast-induced AKI

(HealthDay)—For high-risk patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention or transcatheter aortic valve replacement, furosemide with matched hydration via the RenalGuard system may reduce the incidence of contrast-induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI), according to a meta-analysis published in the Feb. 27 issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.

Model helps explain why some patients with multiple sclerosis have seizures

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that affects nearly 2.3 million people worldwide. MS is triggered when the immune system attacks the protective covering around nerve fibers, called the myelin sheath. The "demyelination" that follows damages nerve cells and causes impaired exchange of information between the brain and body as well as within the brain itself.

Hypertension treatment for females starts with how a high-salt diet affects their blood pressure

Many of us have noted how our hands and feet swell after eating too much salt.

E-cigarettes popular among smokers with existing illnesses

In the U.S. more than 16 million people with smoking-related illnesses continue to use cigarettes. According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, current and former smokers who suffer from disease are more likely to have reported using an e-cigarette, meaning these patients may see e-cigarettes as safer or less harmful than combustible cigarettes and a way to reduce the risks posed by traditional smoking.

Using a rabbit virus to treat multiple myeloma

Treating multiple myeloma (MM) with myxoma virus (MYXV) eliminated a majority of malignant cells in preclinical studies, report investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and elsewhere in an article published online on December 7, 2016 by Molecular Therapy—Oncolytics. Furthermore, introduction of MYXV elicited a strong immune response that eradicated disease in some animals.

Dying patients who received palliative care visited the ER less

Community-based palliative care—care delivered at home, not the hospital—was associated with a 50 percent reduction in emergency department visits for patients in their last year of life. The results of an Australian study were published online February 3rd in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("The Association of Community-Based Palliative Care with Reduced Emergency Department Visits in the Last Year of Life Varies by Patient Factors").

Study shows novel strategic framework improves retention of minority, low-income children

Recruiting and retaining minority participants in randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) continue to be major challenges for researchers. A new study published in the scientific journal, Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, showed that innovative strategies used in the Kids' HELP (Health Insurance by Educating Lots of Parents) trial resulted in significantly better retention of minority, low-income children.

Unlocking the heart-protective benefits of soy

A product of digesting a micronutrient found in soy may hold the key to why some people seem to derive a heart-protective benefit from eating soy foods, while others do not, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health-led study discovered.

Peptide reverses cardiac fibrosis in a preclinical model of congestive heart failure

Cardiac fibrosis, an abnormal thickening of the heart wall leading to congestive heart failure, was not only halted but also reversed by a caveolin-1 surrogate peptide (CSD) in a preclinical model, report researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in an article published online on January 23, 2017 by Laboratory Investigation. CSD was able to decrease the fibrotic ventricular wall thickness and improve heart function, all with apparently no toxicity and minimal off-target effects.

Gut bacteria associated with cancer immunotherapy response in melanoma

Melanoma patients' response to a major form of immunotherapy is associated with the diversity and makeup of trillions of potential allies and enemies found in the digestive tract, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report at the ASCO-Society for Immunotherapy in Cancer meeting in Orlando.

Stop using ultrasound to speed up fracture healing, advise experts

New evidence suggests that receiving low intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) to speed up bone healing after fracture has little or no impact on pain or recovery time, say a panel of international experts in The BMJ today.

Study reveals ways to improve outcomes, reduce costs for common heart procedure

Hospitals can improve patient care and reduce costs associated with coronary angioplasty if cardiologists perform more of these procedures through an artery in the wrist and if they take steps to discharge such patients on the same day, according to a new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Successful insomnia treatment may require nothing more than a placebo

A new study published in Brain indicates that successful treatment for insomnia may not actually require complicated neurofeedback (direct training of brain functions). Rather, it appears patients who simply believe they're getting neurofeedback training appear to get the same benefits.

Hormonal maintenance therapy may improve survival in women with chemo-resistant rare ovarian or peritoneum cancer

For women with a rare subtype of epithelial ovarian or peritoneum cancer, known as low-grade serous carcinoma (LGSC), hormone maintenance therapy (HMT) may significantly improve survival, according to a new study from researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Hispanic cancer mortality varies among ethnic groups

Cancer mortality rates vary considerably within the growing Hispanic population in the United States, with significant differences among the major Hispanic ethnic groups.

Inmates are excluded from Medicaid—here's why it makes sense to change that

The incarcerated population in federal and state prisons has risen from about 200,000 to over 1.5 million since Medicaid was passed in 1965. That is a 650 percent increase.

New behavioral therapy to support Japanese mothers of children with ADHD

OIST researchers have successfully adapted a parent-training program for ADHD for use with families in Japan, where ADHD-specific behavioral interventions are limited.

The art of non-deterministic behaviour

From the dreams of a mouse to real snail email, "boredomresearch" extract the poetic dynamics of natural complex systems.

UN health agency 'vigilant' about China bird flu outbreak

The World Health Organization says an increase in bird flu cases in China this year has not shown sustained human-to-human transmission, but it vows to remain "vigilant" over the puzzling outbreak in which affected fowl don't show any symptoms.

Neuronal stimulation regulates appetite and glucose levels in mice

Drugs that target signaling by glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) in the gut and pancreas are commonly used to regulate hypoglycemia in patients with type II diabetes. However, these drugs are associated with a number of unpleasant side effects that may be linked to other targets of GLP-1 signaling. A subset of neurons in the brain also produces GLP-1 and related peptides, but how brain-mediated GLP-1 signaling influences metabolism and appetite is not clear.

Anti-epilepsy medicine taken by pregnant women does not harm the child's overall health

Children whose mothers have taken anti-epilepsy medicine during pregnancy, do not visit the doctor more often than children who have not been exposed to this medicine in utero. This is the result of a new study from Aarhus.

Immune research advances understanding of autism spectrum disorder

In the Biological Psychiatry special issue "Neuroimmune Mechanisms in Autism Spectrum Disorder", guest editor Professor Kimberley McAllister of the University of California, Davis, presents five reviews and three original research articles highlighting advances that are transforming the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research.

Improvements in ACL surgery may help prevent knee osteoarthritis

Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee frequently leads to early-onset osteoarthritis, a painful condition that can occur even if the patient has undergone ACL reconstruction to prevent its onset. A new review looks at the ability of two different reconstruction techniques to restore normal knee motion and potentially slow degenerative changes.

Can North American animals such as rabbits, cows, or pigs serve as hosts for Zika virus?

The mosquito-borne Zika virus might be able to infect and reproduce in a variety of common animal species, and a new study looked at 16 different types of animals, including goats, pigeons, raccoons, and ducks, to determine their potential to serve as hosts for Zika virus. Understanding possible transmission routes and the role that animal infections could play in the transmission and spread of Zika virus is crucial for effective surveillance and prevention efforts, as described in an article published in Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.

Negative health impact of economic recession unevenly distributed among groups in Spain

A study carried out in Andalusia, Southern Spain, following the 2007/2008 economic recession detected increasing inequalities in male mortality rates. Men with lower educational levels saw an increase in mortality compared to men with university level education. In addition, 5,000 additional suicide attempts were registered among middle aged men and women between 2008 and 2012. High unemployment and financial strain played a key role in these findings, according to a doctoral dissertation at Umeå University.

Osteopathic technique helps locate ectopic pregnancies when imaging fails

The location of an ectopic pregnancy can be determined using a simple, noninvasive physical examination technique used by osteopathic physicians, researchers say. Ectopic pregnancies account for nearly 2 percent of all pregnancies in North America and are the leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester.

The short- and long-term prognosis for Obamacare

(HealthDay)—As confusing as it may be for health insurance buyers and taxpayers, the latest moves on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) don't spell its imminent collapse, according to experts who follow the law.

Rise in premiums lays bare two Americas on health care

Michael Schwarz is a self-employed business owner who buys his own health insurance. The subsidized coverage "Obamacare" offers provides protection from life's unpredictable changes and freedom to pursue his vocation, he says.

State lawmakers channel grief into fight against opioids

In statehouses across the country, lawmakers with loved ones who fell victim to drugs are leading the fight against the nation's deadly opioid-abuse crisis, drawing on tragic personal experience to attack the problem.

Biology news

Scientists explore the evolution of a 'social supergene' in the red fire ant

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered that the chromosome responsible for the social organisation of colonies of the highly invasive fire ant is likely to have evolved via a single event rather than over time.

Gene editing mulled for improving livestock

Gene editing, which has raised ethical concerns due to its capacity to alter human DNA, is being considered in the United States as a tool for improving livestock, experts say.

Unlocking crop diversity by manipulating plant sex

Researchers have discovered a key gene that influences genetic recombination during sexual reproduction in wild plant populations. Adding extra copies of this gene resulted in a massive boost to recombination and diversity in plant offspring. This finding could enable plant breeders to unlock crop variation, improve harvests and help ensure future food security.

Start codons in DNA may be more numerous than previously thought

For decades, scientists working with genetic material have labored with a few basic rules in mind. To start, DNA is transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA), and mRNA is translated into proteins, which are essential for almost all biological functions. The central principle regarding that translation has long held that only a small number of three-letter sequences in mRNA, known as start codons, could trigger the production of proteins. But researchers might need to revisit and possibly rewrite this rule, after recent measurements from a team including scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Study details ringed structure of ORC in DNA replication

An international collaboration of life scientists, including experts at Van Andel Research Institute, has described in exquisite detail the critical first steps of DNA replication, which allows cells to divide and most advanced life, including human, to propagate.

Model of CRISPR, phage co-evolution explains confusing experimental results

A Rice University study suggests that researchers planning to use the CRISPR genome-editing system to produce designer gut bacteria may need to account for the dynamic evolution of the microbial immune system.

Enabling high-throughput image-based phenotyping

Nathan Miller, a scientist in the Spalding Lab at the University of Wisconsin–Madison's Department of Botany and Center for High Throughput Computing, works closely with CyVerse as he writes computer code to develop software programs that analyze images and videos of plants to determine plant phenotype, the measurable physical characteristics of plants.

Japan zoo culls 57 monkeys carrying 'invasive' genes

A Japanese zoo has culled 57 native snow monkeys by lethal injection after finding that they carried genes of an "invasive alien species", officials said Tuesday.

Cars and chlamydia killing Queensland koalas

Cars and chlamydia were the top causes of a dramatic rise in south-east Queensland koala deaths over the past two decades, according to a new University of Queensland-led study.

Mole study shows anyone can be backyard scientist

Scientific findings are awaiting discovery in your backyard. The requirement? A keen sense of observation and patience.

Secret lives of microbats investigated

The secret lives of microbats in the mid-west region of Western Australia are being revealed through a new research project at Murdoch University.

Deep learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development

Autonomous driving, automatic speech recognition, and the game Go: Deep Learning is generating more and more public awareness. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and their partners at ETH Zurich and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now used it to determine the development of hematopoietic stem cells in advance. In 'Nature Methods' they describe how their software predicts the future cell type based on microscopy images.

Seven new species of night frogs from India including four miniature forms

Scientists from India have discovered seven new frog species belonging to the genus Nyctibatrachus, commonly known as Night Frogs. This find is a result of five years of extensive explorations in the Western Ghats global biodiversity hotspot in India. Four out of seven of the new species are miniature-sized frogs (12.2-15.4 mm), which can comfortably sit on a coin or a thumbnail. These are among the smallest known frogs in the world.

Scientists find genetic mutations that drive antibiotic resistance

Scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have identified novel mutations in bacteria that promote the evolution of high-level antibiotic resistance.

How habitat destruction figures in long-term survival plans

Some organisms might have an interesting strategy for long-term survival: switching between two unsustainable forms of behaviour that, when kept unchecked, can actually cause them to wipe out their own homes.

Cutting-edge cameras reveal the secret life of dolphins

A world-first study testing new underwater cameras on wild dolphins has given researchers the best view yet into their hidden marine world.

Scientists present the smallest member of the CRISPR-Cas9 family developed to date

Scientists at the Center for Genome Engineering, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), in collaboration with KIM Eunji (ToolGen Inc.) and KIM Jeong Hun (Seoul National University) have engineered the smallest CRISPR-Cas9 to date, delivered it to the muscle cells and in the eyes of mice via adeno-associated viruses (AAV) and used it to modify a gene causing blindness. Published on Nature Communications, this CRISPR-Cas9 system, originated from Campylobacter jejuni (CjCas9), is expected to become a useful therapeutic tool against common and "undruggable" disease targets.

Scientists remove reliance on seasonality in new broccoli line, potentially doubling yield

Scientists at the John Innes Centre are developing a new line of fast-growing sprouting broccoli that goes from seed to harvest in 8-10 weeks. It has the potential to deliver two full crops a season in-field or it can be grown all year round in protected conditions, which could help with continuity of supply, as growers would no longer be reliant on seasonal weather conditions.

Researchers document second case of 'Down syndrome' in chimps

Japanese researchers have confirmed the second case known to science of a chimpanzee born with trisomy 22, a chromosomal defect similar to that of Down syndrome (or trisomy 21) in humans. The report on Kanako, a 24-year-old female chimp born into captivity, was led by Satoshi Hirata of Kyoto University in Japan, and appears in the journal Primates, published by Springer. The authors also describe their attempts to improve the quality of life of this chimpanzee, through providing and managing opportunities for normal social interaction. Such efforts are seen as key in caring for disabled chimpanzees in captivity.

Prides, protection and parks: Africa's protected areas can support four times as many lions

New York, NY-Africa's protected parks and reserves are capable of supporting three to four times as many wild lions if well funded and managed, according to a new report led by Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization.

Science vs. the sea lamprey

Of all the fishy predators in the Great Lakes, few are more destructive than the sea lamprey. There's something of a horror movie in their approach: jawless, they attach to prey such as salmon, whitefish or trout with a sucker mouth and drain the victim of its blood and lymph.

Researchers recalibrate shark population density using data they gathered during eight years of study on Palmyra atoll

Many shark populations around the world are known to have declined over the past several decades, yet marine scientists lack important baseline information about what a healthy shark population looks like. A clearer picture is now coming into focus—thanks to a team of scientists who investigated the size of an unfished community of reef sharks.

Winners, losers among fish when landscape undergoes change

As humans build roads, construct buildings and develop land for agriculture, freshwater ecosystems respond ? but not always in the ways one might expect.

Bye Bye, Bao Bao: Panda leaves Washington for China

One of Washington's most popular residents left town on Tuesday: Bao Bao, the National Zoo's uber-popular young female panda, headed to her new home in China.

Florida wildlife officials encouraged by high manatee count

Florida wildlife officials are encouraged by the results of a recent survey that counted 6,620 manatees in the state.

France slaughtering all ducks in key region due to bird flu

France's agriculture ministry has ordered all remaining 600,000 ducks in a key poultry-producing region slaughtered to try to stem a growing outbreak of bird flu.

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