Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Feb 22

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Spotlight Stories Headlines

Physicists investigate erasing information at zero energy cost

B3NO2 ring system serves as a versatile catalyst for amide bond formation

Lowest-frequency accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar found

Temperate earth-sized worlds found in extraordinarily rich planetary system (Update)

Average life expectancy is set to increase in many countries by 2030

How cathedral termites got to Australia to build their 'sky-scrapers'

Cat ownership not linked to mental health problems

It takes two to tango: Beetles are equal partners in mating behavior

Popular heartburn drugs linked to gradual yet 'silent' kidney damage

Scientists create a nano-trampoline to probe quantum behavior

Itch neurons play a role in managing pain

Atmospheric rivers found to carry more wind than thought

Two studies offer evidence suggesting salmonella may have killed off the Aztecs

Brain scans could help doctors predict adolescents' problem drug use before it starts

Unravelling the atomic and nuclear structure of the heaviest elements

Astronomy & Space news

Lowest-frequency accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar found

(—Astronomers have found the lowest-frequency accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar in the X-ray source known as IGR J17062−6143. By analyzing the data provided by the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) spacecraft, the researchers detected 163.65 Hz X-ray pulsations from this source. The findings were presented Feb. 17 in a paper published on

Temperate earth-sized worlds found in extraordinarily rich planetary system (Update)

Astronomers have found a system of seven Earth-sized planets just 40 light-years away. They were detected as they passed in front of their parent star, the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. Three of them lie in the habitable zone and could harbour water, increasing the possibility that the system could play host to life. It has both the largest number of Earth-sized planets yet found and the largest number of worlds that could support liquid water.

SpaceX aborts approach to space station, delivery delayed (Update)

A navigation error forced SpaceX to delay its shipment to the International Space Station on Wednesday, following an otherwise smooth flight from NASA's historic moon pad.

Surprising dunes on comet Chury

Surprising images from the Rosetta spacecraft show the presence of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet Chury. Researchers at the Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes (CNRS/ESPCI Paris/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) studied the available images and modeled the outgassing of vapor to try to explain the phenomenon. They show that the strong pressure difference between the sunlit side of the comet and that in shadow generates winds able to transport grains and form dunes. Their work is published on 21 February 2017 in the journal PNAS.

Russia successfully launches space freighter after crash

Russia on Wednesday successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft taking food and equipment to the International Space Station after the previous such ship crashed to Earth shortly after launch in December.

Astronomers track changes around supermassive black hole in the NGC 2617 galaxy

Members of the Sternberg Astronomical Institute of the Lomonosov Moscow State University have been studying changes in the appearance of emissions from around the supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy called NGC 2617. The center of this galaxy underwent dramatic changes in appearance several years ago, becoming much brighter; astronomers were able to make groundbreaking observations. The results of these investigations have been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

NASA's Europa flyby mission moves into design phase

A mission to examine the habitability of Jupiter's ocean-bearing moon Europa is taking one step closer to the launchpad, with the recent completion of a major NASA review.

Image: European Service Module component of the Orion spacecraft

Even the most complex of systems comes down to properly configured wires and cables, such as those pictured here on the Propulsion Qualification Model of the Orion service module.

Megamovie project to crowdsource images of August solar eclipse

With only six months to go before one of the most anticipated solar eclipses in a lifetime, the University of California, Berkeley, and Google are looking for citizen scientists to document and memorialize the event in a "megamovie," and help scientists learn about the sun in the process.

A geophysical planet definition

In 2006, during their 26th General Assembly, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted a formal definition of the term "planet". This was done in the hopes of dispelling ambiguity over which bodies should be designated as "planets", an issue that had plagued astronomers ever since they discovered objects beyond the orbit of Neptune that were comparable in size to Pluto.

CubeSats: Shaping possibilities in space

For more than a decade, CubeSats, or small satellites, have paved the way to low-Earth orbit for commercial companies, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. These small satellites offer opportunities to conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations in space in such a way that is cost-effective, timely and relatively easy to accomplish.

DC-based for decades, Apollo 11 capsule to go on road trip

The Apollo 11 command module, which traveled more than 950,000 miles to take Americans to the moon and back in 1969, is going on a road trip, leaving the Smithsonian for the first time in more than four decades.

Exoplanets 101: Looking for life beyond our Solar System

Seven Earth-like planets orbiting a small star in our Galaxy called Trappist-1, revealed Wednesday, are the most recent—and arguably the most spectacular—in a string of exoplanet discoveries going back 20 years.

Technology news

Wind turbines with flexible blades found to be more efficient

(Tech Xplore)—A small team of researchers with Sorbonne Université and École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers-ParisTech has found that using flexible blades on a wind turbine can dramatically increase its efficiency. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, the team describes their approach and the results they obtained through physical testing of their idea.

See-through heating pad could help prevent burns from thermotherapy

To soothe aches and pains, many people turn to heating pads, patches or creams. Although a common practice, thermotherapy can cause burns. Now researchers are developing a transparent heating pad that allows users to see through it to monitor their skin's color and prevent such injuries. They report their approach in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Cameras can steal data from computer hard drive LED lights: study

Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Cyber Security Research Center have demonstrated that data can be stolen from an isolated "air-gapped" computer's hard drive reading the pulses of light on the LED drive using various types of cameras and light sensors.

Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties

The human heart beats more than 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime. Now scientists at Vanderbilt University have created a three-dimensional organ-on-a-chip that can mimic the heart's amazing biomechanical properties.

EE helikite solution to bring coverage to rural communities hurt by disasters

(Tech Xplore)—On Tuesday, the EE network operator posted a video showing its latest air mast technology using drones and balloons.

China selfie-app leader seeks to 'beautify the world'

Strolling a tree-lined Shanghai street with friends, Hu Dongyuan pulls out her smartphone and does what millions of Chinese women do daily: take a selfie, digitally "beautify" their faces, and pop it on social media.

Estonian robots headed for US must master crosswalks

A knee-high, black-and-white buggy rolls down a snowy pavement in Estonia's capital Tallinn and, carefully avoiding pedestrians, stops obediently at the red traffic light of a large road junction.

IBM training Watson to identify eye retina abnormalities

IBM Research has today announced new research developments in IBM Watson's ability to detect abnormalities of the eye's retina. The Melbourne based IBM researchers have trained a research version of Watson to recognize abnormalities in retina images, which could in the future offer doctors greater insights and speed in their early identification of patients who may be at risk of eye diseases – such as glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the developed world.

App tracks bikers, reduces urban congestion

Traffic jams are a huge problem for many large U.S. cities. Mismanaged transit in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York City each year leads to billion-dollar losses, as well as hundreds of millions of hours in travel delays.

Scientists develop new high-precision method for analysing and comparing functioning and structure of complex networks

Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and the University of Barcelona (UB) published a paper in Nature Communications presenting a scientific method for identifying, comparing and precisely determining objective differences between large nodes of complex networks.

Here's how to defend net neutrality

Net neutrality is under threat, but you can do something to defend it.

Automated cafe sets up shop in tech-crazy, fancy coffee-loving San Francisco

As Katy Franco waited for her morning coffee, passersby pulled out their phones and snapped photos and video of her barista.

Comcast, Facebook, and Apple Music are making mobile video moves

With Xfinity Stream, Comcast has some new ammunition in the ever-escalating war for mobile viewers' eyeballs.

Against a snowy death: predicting avalanches with self-driving car technology

It's a bountiful winter in the snowy Sierra Nevada, with the biggest snowpack in 22 years. That's great news for skiers and snowboarders, but all that snow can transform in an instant from a beautiful blanket to a deadly shroud when an avalanche hits.

Snap's IPO builds an 'impregnable fortress' where only the founders have power

The founders of Snap Inc. want to take the company public. But that doesn't mean they want to run a public company.

Social information from friends, experts could help reduce uncertainty in crowdfunding

Social information gathered from friends and experts, depending on the complexity of the product, can decrease uncertainty in crowdfunding campaigns, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Apple 'spaceship' headquarters readies for boarding (Update)

Apple on Wednesday announced that workers will start boarding its futuristic new "spaceship" campus in Silicon Valley in April, fulfilling a vision set out by late founder Steve Jobs.

High court ruling limits international reach of patent laws

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with California-based Life Technologies Corp. in a patent infringement case that limits the international reach of U.S. patent laws.

Amazon resists request for Echo info in Arkansas slaying

Amazon is resisting an effort by Arkansas prosecutors to obtain potential recordings from a slaying suspect's Amazon Echo smart speaker, saying authorities haven't established that their investigation is more important than a customer's privacy rights.

GMC cuts size and cost of Acadia mid-size SUV for 2017

GMC has given the Acadia the biggest makeover in its 10-year history, shrinking the size and the price of its best-selling SUV while making it more fuel efficient and giving it new technology.

Tesla slips back into red but revenue grows

Tesla on Wednesday slipped back into the red in the recently ended quarter while revenue revved up, with orders for some of its electric car models hitting record highs.

Bayer says Monsanto deal on track, eyes record 2017

German pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Bayer on Wednesday said it expected further growth this year after a record performance in 2016, as its mammoth takeover of US seedmaker Monsanto remains on track.

Video: Terraformer wind tunnel takes hazards engineering research to a new level

Wind engineer and 13th generation Floridian Forrest Masters knows how to ride out a hurricane. In fact, hurricanes have become his life's work. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Masters and a team at the University of Florida are developing a world-class facility with new technology to help engineers and scientists better understand the high wind storms that batter communities along U.S. coastlines. This facility is part of NSF's $62-million investment in Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI).

Wilders' security officer held for suspected data leak

Dutch police have detained a security official in the group responsible for protecting anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders on suspicion of leaking classified information, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions—promotion or steering?

Policy interventions to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions have a variety of effects on the economy and on households. A study carried out as part of the National Research Programme "Managing Energy Consumption" (NRP 71) has provided the first detailed impact assessment of the efficiency and social balance of the energy policy measures "steering" and "promotion".

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

Gas sensors used for leakage alerts and air quality monitoring are essential in our daily lives. Towards a ubiquitous society, smart gas sensors, which perform signal processing and communication besides sensing, have attracted much attention. In addition, integrating these functions into a single chip leads to low-cost and miniature smart gas-sensing systems.

Russia military acknowledges new branch: info warfare troops

Along with a steady flow of new missiles, planes and tanks, Russia's defense minister said Wednesday his nation also has built up its muscle by forming a new branch of the military—information warfare troops.

Medicine & Health news

Average life expectancy is set to increase in many countries by 2030

Average life expectancy is set to increase in many countries by 2030—and will exceed 90 years in South Korea, according to new research.

Cat ownership not linked to mental health problems

New UCL research has found no link between cat ownership and psychotic symptoms, casting doubt on previous suggestions that people who grew up with cats are at higher risk of mental illness.

Popular heartburn drugs linked to gradual yet 'silent' kidney damage

Taking popular heartburn drugs for prolonged periods has been linked to serious kidney problems, including kidney failure. The sudden onset of kidney problems often serves as a red flag for doctors to discontinue their patients' use of so-called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are sold under the brand names Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium and Protonix, among others.

Itch neurons play a role in managing pain

There are neurons in your skin that are wired for one purpose and one purpose only: to sense itchy things. These neurons are separate from the ones that detect pain, and yet, chemical-induced itch is often accompanied by mild pain such as burning and stinging sensations. But when it comes to sending signals toward your brain through your spinal cord, itch and mild pain can go through the same set of spinal cord neurons, researchers report February 22 in Neuron. This finding explains why pain often accompanies intense chemical-induced itch.

Brain scans could help doctors predict adolescents' problem drug use before it starts

There's an idea out there of what a drug-addled teen is supposed to look like: impulsive, unconscientious, smart, perhaps – but not the most engaged. While personality traits like that could signal danger, not every adolescent who fits that description becomes a problem drug user. So how do you tell who's who?

Three-in-one design allows genetic, chemical, optical, and electrical inputs and outputs

For the first time ever, a single flexible fiber no bigger than a human hair has successfully delivered a combination of optical, electrical, and chemical signals back and forth into the brain, putting into practice an idea first proposed two years ago. With some tweaking to further improve its biocompatibility, the new approach could provide a dramatically improved way to learn about the functions and interconnections of different brain regions.

Education does not protect against cognitive decline

A European-wide study published today in the journal Neuroepidemiology has found that whilst older people with a higher level of education have better memory function, it does not protect them from cognitive decline as they age.

Changing the environment within bone marrow alters blood cell development

Researchers at the University of Illinois report they can alter blood cell development through the use of biomaterials designed to mimic characteristics of the bone marrow.

Researchers reverse high blood pressure in offspring of hypertensive rats

Mothers contribute a lot of defining traits to their offspring, from eye color to toe length. But pregnant mothers with health complications, such as diabetes or hypertension, also can pass these symptoms to their children.

We read emotions based on how the eye sees

We use others' eyes - whether they're widened or narrowed - to infer emotional states, and the inferences we make align with the optical function of those expressions, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research reveals, for example, that people consistently associate narrowed eyes - which can enhance visual discrimination - with discrimination-related emotions including disgust and suspicion.

Scientists survey the state of sleep science

Sleep remains an enduring biological mystery with major clinical relevance, according to a review by clinician-researcher Thomas Scammell, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and colleagues. In recent decades, new technologies have allowed neuroscientists to identify multiple brain circuits that govern the sleep/wake cycle, as well as the factors that can influence it, such as caffeine and light. But the brain's complexity is still a stumbling block in understanding this ubiquitous and necessary animal behavior, the researchers wrote. Their review appeared today in the journal Neuron.

Researchers uncover brain circuitry central to reward-seeking behavior

The prefrontal cortex, a large and recently evolved structure that wraps the front of the brain, has powerful "executive" control over behavior, particularly in humans. The details of how it exerts that control have been elusive, but UNC School of Medicine scientists, publishing today in Nature, have now uncovered some of those details, using sophisticated techniques for recording and controlling the activity of neurons in live mice.

Nature study suggests new therapy for Gaucher disease

Scientists propose in Nature blocking a molecule that drives inflammation and organ damage in Gaucher and maybe other lysosomal storage diseases as a possible treatment with fewer risks and lower costs than current therapies.

CAR T cells more powerful when built with CRISPR, researchers find

Researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) have harnessed the power of CRISPR/Cas9 to create more-potent chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells that enhance tumor rejection in mice. The unexpected findings, published in Nature on February 22, uncover facets of CAR immunobiology and underscore the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to advance immunotherapies for cancer.

Autism risk linked to herpes infection during pregnancy

Women actively infected with genital herpes during early pregnancy had twice the odds of giving birth to a child later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study by scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Transplanting good bacteria to kill Staph

Healthy human skin is alive with bacteria. In fact, there are more microorganisms living in and on the human body than there are human cells. Most can live on the human skin without harming the host, but in some people bacteria can negatively alter their health, maybe even become life-threatening.

OCD-like behavior linked to genetic mutation

A new Northwestern Medicine study found evidence suggesting how neural dysfunction in a certain region of the brain can lead to obsessive and repetitive behaviors much like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

First drug-resistant malaria parasite detected in Africa

For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year.

One-off bowel scope cuts cancer risk for at least 17 years

A one-off bowel screening test reduces the risk of developing bowel cancer by more than one third and could save thousands of lives, according to a study published in The Lancet.

UK government plan to prevent child obesity is 'severely limited,' argue experts

The UK's action plan to significantly reduce childhood obesity is "severely limited", argue a team of experts in The BMJ today. They say the government missed an opportunity to take global leadership of child health

Experts raise concern over US advice to screen all adults and all teens for depression

Recent advice on depression screening from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) may lead to overtesting and overtreatment, according to some experts.

Trump's policies set to damage health and science, warns The BMJ

The BMJ today warns that Trump's administration "is acting in ways that will suppress research and limit communication on scientific topics that it deems politically inconvenient."

Most off-label antidepressant prescriptions lack strong scientific evidence

Most off-label antidepressant prescriptions lack strong scientific evidence, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Depression puts psoriasis patients at significantly greater risk of psoriatic arthritis

Psoriasis is a lifelong disease that is associated with significant cosmetic and physical disability and puts patients at increased risk for many major medical disorders. A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Calgary, Canada, have found that psoriasis patients who developed depression were at a 37% greater risk of subsequently developing psoriatic arthritis, compared with psoriasis patients who did not develop depression. Their findings are published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Estrogen therapy shown effective in reducing tooth and gum diseases in postmenopausal women

Estrogen therapy has already been credited with helping women manage an array of menopause-related issues, including reducing hot flashes, improving heart health and bone density, and maintaining levels of sexual satisfaction. Now a new study suggests that the same estrogen therapy used to treat osteoporosis can actually lead to healthier teeth and gums. The study outcomes are being published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Death rates from cancer will fall faster in men than in women in Europe in 2017

Death rates from cancer in the European Union (EU) are falling faster in men than in women, according to the latest predictions for European cancer deaths in 2017, published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology today.

Older adults experience similar improvements following surgery for herniated lumbar disk

Although patients 65 years of age or older had more minor complications and longer hospital stays, they experienced improvements in their conditions after surgery for a herniated lumbar disk that were similar to those of younger patients, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery.

Is insufficient weight gain during pregnancy associated with schizophrenia spectrum disorders in children

Insufficient weight gain during pregnancy was associated with increased risk for nonaffective psychosis - or schizophrenia spectrum disorders - in children later in life in a study that used data on a large group of individuals born in Sweden during the 1980s, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Discovery of a new gene critical in the development of lung and pancreatic cancers

Researchers at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra have identified a critical gene, FOSL1, in the development of lung and pancreatic cancer. The results of the work, a collaboration with researchers in the U.S., U.K. Germany and Denmark, have been published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Risk of Ross River virus global epidemic

Australia's Ross River virus (RRV) could be the next mosquito-borne global epidemic according to a new research study led by the University of Adelaide and The Australian National University.

'Putting people in to hibernation' to cure cancers unsupported by evidence

If you've been browsing the news today chances are that researchers speculating about a surprise potential cure for cancer will have caught your attention.

Enormous promise for new parasitic infection treatment

The human whipworm, which infects 500 million people and can damage physical and mental growth, is killed at egg and adult stage by a new drug class developed at the Universities of Manchester and Oxford and University College London.

Antimicrobial resistance remains high, says EU report

Bacteria found in humans, animals and food continue to show resistance to widely used antimicrobials, says the latest report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The findings underline that AMR poses a serious threat to public and animal health. Infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials lead to about 25,000 deaths in the EU every year.

Trading in the scalpel for a sharper blade

Losing a breast or a lung to cancer leaves a scar, both physical and emotional. But even a biopsy to determine if a tumor is cancerous, or to track a tumor's response to drugs, brings short-term pain and can miss signs of metastasis. So, the possibility of a scalpel-free biopsy has been something of a holy grail—a way to relieve trauma, speed diagnosis and shrink medical bills.

Helping parents understand BMI may lead to positive changes in childhood obesity

Schools are taking a proactive approach to get students to move more and improve their eating habits. But it takes a team effort at both school and home to make a difference, said Greg Welk, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.

Salmonella food poisoning could damage your DNA

Salmonella food poisoning wallops you for several days, but new research by Cornell food scientists indicates that some of its serotypes – variations of the bacterial species – can have permanent repercussions. It may damage your DNA.

Scientists identify chain reaction that shields breast cancer stem cells from chemotherapy

Working with human breast cancer cells and mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have identified a biochemical pathway that triggers the regrowth of breast cancer stem cells after chemotherapy.

tDCS combined with computer games at home reduces cognitive symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Patients with multiple sclerosis had better problem solving ability and response time after training with a technology called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), according to a new study published February 22, 2017 in Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface.

Fighting malnutrition with education

In a recent study published in Frontier in Nutrition, the research team identified the criteria and guiding concepts to be applied in the academic training of human nutrition. This is the first attempt to more clearly define the cultural identity of human nutrition in both an academic and professional orientated perspective. In total, three domains of human nutrition were identified: Basic Nutrition, Applied Nutrition, and Clinical Nutrition.

The never-ending story: Chemicals that outlive—and harm—us

Chemical manufacturers have agreed to pay $670 million in damages to people with cancer and other health harm from exposure to a recently phased-out highly fluorinated chemical. In a peer-reviewed feature article to appear February 22nd in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers highlight that thousands of related chemicals continue to provide water-repellant, stain-resistant, and non-stick properties to furniture, carpets, outdoor gear, clothing, cosmetics, cookware, food packaging, and other products worldwide.

International survey on the use of zebrafish in research highlights opportunities for refinement

Scientists at the University of Plymouth, the NC3Rs and AstraZeneca have conducted the largest survey to date on the use and care of zebrafish in research. The results are published in Journal of Fish Biology and cover anaesthesia and euthanasia methods, housing and husbandry, breeding and production.

A structural analysis of the association between socioeconomic disadvantage and unintended youth pregnancy

Contrary to prevailing thought, first-time mothers who receive more educational advantages at an early age are more likely to have their first birth result from an unintended pregnancy, a new University of Michigan study found.

Genetic variation linked to drug-induced liver damage in some patients

Scientists have discovered an uncommon genetic variation that may identify patients with a higher risk of liver damage associated with a range of commonly-prescribed medications.

Caregivers of black stroke survivors spend more time, but report more positive outlook

Despite providing more hours of care, caregivers of black stroke survivors reported a more positive perception of caregiving than caregivers of white stroke survivors, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

African-American women at risk of CVD report more loneliness, financial strain

African-American women at risk for cardiovascular disease face unique factors that cause them to report more loneliness than non-Hispanic white women, according to a small study presented at the Nursing Symposium taking place during the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

A framework for characterizing dendritic cells

Immunological sentinels known as dendritic cells (DCs) help the body eliminate a wide variety of potential threats, from pathogens to cancer—but they are not all created equal. Some DCs are better at fighting bacteria, others at combating viruses, and still others for keeping tumors at bay. Unfortunately, the existing framework for classifying DCs is confusing and inexact, which makes cross-disciplinary research difficult.

Health and engineering scientists create mobile app for patients with heart failure

Interprofessional collaborations between health professionals and engineers can help improve patient care. That's what's happening at USF. A nurse scientist and an engineer worked together to develop a smartphone application for patients with heart failure.

No animal required, but would people eat artificial meat?

Futurists tell us that we will be eating in vitro meat (IVM) – meat grown in a laboratory rather than on a farm – within five to ten years.

Study reveals pre-eclampsia increases risk of heart disease in later life

Research led by Keele University has demonstrated that women who suffered pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are four times more likely to have heart failure in later life.

Precise inactivation of neural messenger receptor wipes out fear memory in mice

The delivery of chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) receptors to the junctions between nerve cells (synapses) is crucial to cognitive processes such as memory. One way of understanding the function of these receptors is to inactivate them and observe the outcome. However, this is only informative if the inactivation is precise with respect to space and time. Many techniques used to block receptor functions affect both cell surface and internal forms of the proteins, yet neurotransmitter receptors typically work at the cell surface. Work at Japanese institutions, including Yokohama City University, Osaka University and the University of Tokyo, modified a light-induced means of producing a burst of destructive oxygen (CALI: chromophore-assisted light inactivation) by incorporating an antibody to achieve specificity in protein inactivation. The study was reported in Nature Biotechnology.

Obesity reprogrammes muscle stem cells

Obesity is associated with reduced muscle mass and impaired metabolism. Epigenetic changes that affect the formation of new muscle cells may be a contributing factor, according to new research from Lund University, Sweden.

Tackling human brain tumors by first growing them in a dish

For doctors and patients, the fight against cancer can be a lot like an exceedingly tricky version of the classic arcade game of whack-a-mole. You might beat back a tumor or part of a tumor, only to have another one pop up. To make matters worse, the "mallet" or treatment that successfully whacks the first tumor cells doesn't always work on those arising later. You might need a new strategy or even an entirely different drug. It's a tough game to win.

CMS rule set to stabilize small health insurance markets

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a rule in relation to new reforms intended to stabilize individual and small group health insurance markets for 2018.

Achoo! The distance germs can travel is nothing to sneeze at

We all do it. Some of us do it quite loudly. Others do it not once, but several times in a row. Sneezes are everywhere these days, during this, the height of cold and flu season. The chorus of achoos in offices, on buses and in homes often sends bystanders scrambling to get out of the line of germ-spreading fire.

New tool developed to reduce adverse drug reactions

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, Alder Hey, University of Central Lancashire and University College London have developed a new tool to help avoid adverse reactions to medicines.

Benefits of cognitive training in dementia patients unclear

Positive effects of cognitive training in healthy elderly people have been reported, but data regarding its effects in patients with dementia is unclear.

A trend reversal in childhood obesity—a decline in the BMI in 8-year-old boys

After decades of increasing childhood obesity, things are now going in the opposite direction. A study from Sahlgrenska Academy shows that among 8-year-old boys in Sweden, the percentage of boys suffering from overweight or obesity has decreased to their lowest levels since the early 1990s.

New discovery toward developing Huntington's disease treatments before symptoms appear

Early warning signs of Huntington's disease have been uncovered in a sheep carrying the human HD mutation, leading the way for new insight into this devastating illness, a new study in Scientific Reports has found.

Doctor and biomedical engineer team up on nerve stimulation device

Daniel Romo and Daniel Gulick, the young scientists behind the Minneapolis-based startup Aucta Technologies, are used to being flexible with their research.

Med-tech startup looks to take physical, financial pain out of brow lifts

Zift Medical has a small footprint, but it's hoping to have a major impact in aesthetic medicine.

Neuroscientists stress importance of the study of sex influences on brain function

A commentary on how to improve sex differences research, by Professor Gina Rippon from the Aston Brain Centre, Aston University and international colleagues, has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research (JNR).

No spoilers! Most people don't want to know their future

Given the chance to see into the future, most people would rather not know what life has in store for them, even if they think those events could make them happy, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Resveratrol may be an effective intervention for lung aging

In a study led by Barbara Driscoll, PhD, of The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, researchers demonstrate, for the first time that inhaled resveratrol treatments slow aging-related degenerative changes in mouse lung. Lung aging, characterized by airspace enlargement and decreasing lung function, is a significant risk factor for chronic human lung diseases. The study is published online in the journal Thorax.

Device will rapidly, accurately and inexpensively detect the Zika virus at airports

About the size of a tablet, a portable device that could be used in a host of environments like a busy airport or even a remote location in South America, may hold the key to detecting the dreaded Zika virus accurately, rapidly and inexpensively using just a saliva sample. While scientists across the world are scrambling to find some sort of immunization, researchers from Florida Atlantic University are working to develop a diagnostic tool to reduce the impact of the outbreak until a vaccine is identified.

Innovative treatment for depression in older people is effective

An innovative psychological treatment can help older people who are suffering from lower-severity depression, say researchers at the University of York. It can also prevent more severe depression from developing.

Inflammatory disease trigger revealed

Institute scientists have revealed a potent inflammatory molecule released by dying cells triggers inflammation during necroptosis, a recently described form of cell death linked to inflammatory disease.

Asthma drugs could prevent prevent deadly form of pneumonia, research suggests

Two drugs used to treat asthma and allergies may offer a way to prevent a form of pneumonia that can kill up to 40 percent of people who contract it, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have found.

Study finds that improvements are needed for edible marijuana product labels to ensure safety

Pot brownies may be a thing of the past as there are new edible marijuana products, or edibles, on the market, including chocolates, candies, and cookies. These products are legally sold in Colorado and Washington, and according to a new study conducted by RTI International, changes to their labels are needed to ensure people know what they are consuming and that they are safely consuming the products.

Equation makes it harder to 'outsmart' concussion tests

An equation that combines multiple subtest scores into one could make fooling a concussion protocol nothing more than a fool's errand, says a recent study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Proteins in your runny nose could reveal a viral infection

It may seem obvious, but the key to confirming whether someone is suffering from a cold or flu virus might lie at the misery's source—the inflamed passages of the nose and throat.

Brain-machine interfaces: Bidirectional communication at last

A prosthetic limb controlled by brain activity can partially recover the lost motor function. Neuroscientists at UNIGE asked whether it was possible to transmit the missing sensation back to the brain by stimulating neural activity in the cortex. They discovered that not only was it possible to create an artificial sensation of neuroprosthetic movements, but that the underlying learning process occurs very rapidly. These finding were obtained by resorting to imaging and optical stimulation tools.

Measuring patients' muscles to predict chemotherapy side effects

Chemotherapy has long been standard treatment for many cancers, but its clinical benefits can also come with well-documented side effects. Doctors say the challenge is knowing which patients will experience these side effects, and to what extent.

Incarceration linked to excess burden of cancer, new study finds

People who spend time in jails and prisons are more likely to develop certain types of cancer than the general population in Ontario, according to a study published today in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Bleeding stroke survivors at higher risk of depression, dementia

People who survive brain bleeds - the most lethal form of stroke - are at significantly higher risk of later developing depression and dementia, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

Headache far more common stroke symptom in children than adults

Children are far more likely than adults to report headache when having a stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

Heart risks in middle age boost dementia risk later in life

People who have heart disease risks in middle age - such as diabetes, high blood pressure or smoking - are at higher risk for dementia later in life, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

Exercise can significantly improve brain function after stroke

Structured exercise training can significantly improve brain function in stroke survivors, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

Study finds prolonged sleep may predict dementia risk

Data from the Framingham Heart Study has shown that people who consistently sleep more than nine hours each night had double the risk of developing dementia in 10 years as compared to participants who slept for 9 hours or less. The findings, which appear in the journal Neurology, also found those who slept longer had smaller brain volumes.

In rare disorder, novel agent stops swelling before it starts

An early-stage clinical trial has found that, compared to a placebo, a novel medication significantly reduces potentially life-threatening episodes of swelling of the airway as well as the hands, feet, and abdomen of patients affected by a rare genetic disorder. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Respiratory syncytial virus vaccine enters clinical testing

A Phase 1 clinical trial to test the safety and tolerability of an investigational vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has begun at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The trial also will assess the vaccine's ability to prompt an immune response in healthy adult participants. The investigational vaccine was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH.

Accepting and adapting are keys to sustaining a career after acquired hearing loss

For adults who acquire severe hearing loss, accepting and adapting to the loss play key roles in sustaining a career and thriving in the workplace, new research from Oregon State University indicates.

Does payer type—commercial insurance or Medicare—affect the use of low-value care?

In a first-of-its-kind national study, researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice examined the connection between payer type and low-value care to determine what effect insurance design (commercial insurance vs. Medicare) may have on medical overuse and waste. For most providers and services, the profit margins for delivering care to commercially insured patients are higher so the incentives to recommend services are stronger (all else being equal). However, in a paper recently published in Health Services Research, the researchers speculated that overuse may be more prevalent in the older Medicare population as this group has more contact with the health care system.

New study to document Alzheimer's disease risk factors in Latinos

Rush University Medical Center has launched a unique, cohort study called Latino Core to learn about the aging process and risk factors for Alzheimer's disease in older Latino adults.

Follow-up imaging significantly less when initial ED ultrasound is interpreted by radiologists than

According to new research by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, the use of follow-up imaging is significantly less when initial emergency department (ED) ultrasound examinations are interpreted by a radiologist than a nonradiologist. The study is published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR).

FDA urged to let abortion pill be sold at pharmacies

The so-called abortion pill—now dispensed only in clinics, hospitals and doctors' offices—should be made available by prescription in pharmacies across the U.S., according to a group of doctors and public health experts urging an end to tough federal restrictions on the drug.

The value of nutrition and exercise, according to a moth

Quick! Name the top-performing athletes in the animal kingdom. Cheetah? Try again. Blue whale? Nope.

Brainy teens may be less likely to smoke, but more likely to drink and use cannabis

Brainy teens may be less likely to smoke, but more likely to drink alcohol and use cannabis, than their less academically gifted peers, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Experts: Science behind 'abortion reversal' is flawed

Lawmakers in several states are considering requirements for doctors to inform women seeking medical abortions about an unproven procedure called "abortion reversal."

Researcher advocates cost-effectiveness analyses for improving healthcare management

In healthcare management, cost-effectiveness analyses based on scientific evidence may bring significant benefits for patients and for the healthcare system by improving clinical practice and enabling more efficient use of resources. So they should be applied systematically to already established procedures and also prior to introducing new techniques or treatments'.

Kids with heart defects face learning challenges, inadequate school support

Children with all types of congenital heart defects face learning challenges in elementary school, but many may not be receiving adequate education assistance, according to a new study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

Male caregivers report more positives in caring for stroke survivors

In a small study, male caregivers reported the ability to overcome problems during the first year of caring for stroke survivor wives/partners, according to research presented at the Nursing Symposium taking place during the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

Norwegian superfluid is now helping brain surgeons

According to the Cancer Registry of Norway, around 1,000 people in Norway are diagnosed with brain tumours every year.

Autonomic neuropathy after chemotherapy—is it permanent?

Dear Mayo Clinic: After six months of chemotherapy, I developed autonomic neuropathy. I have been done with chemotherapy for a few months, but the neuropathy has not gone away. Is there a chance it could be permanent?

High indoxyl sulfate levels caused by acute kidney injury damages lungs

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is sudden kidney failure or damage lasting from a few hours to several days. During this time, the kidney's ability to maintain a proper balance of bodily fluids is compromised and causes a buildup of waste products in the blood. There are several causes of AKI including decreased blood flow to the kidneys, direct kidney damage, and blockage of the urinary tract. The mortality rate for AKI is relatively high and is often exasperated by complications with the respiratory system. Unfortunately, the relationship between lung injury and AKI is not completely understood.

National dose levels established for 10 common adult CT examinations

Using data from the world's largest CT dose index registry, researchers have established national dose levels for common adult CT examinations based on patient size. Healthcare facilities can optimize these exam protocols so that dose is commensurate with the size of the patient, avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure.

Health care's future: Turning patients into savers, shoppers

The U.S. government may soon lean on someone new to help lower health care costs: you.

What is high lipoprotein(a), and should I be concerned?

A team of researchers from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center (RI-MUHC) found that elevations in a unusual form of cholesterol, called Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a), as responsible for 1 in 14 heart attacks and 1 in 7 cases of aortic valve disease.

Biology news

How cathedral termites got to Australia to build their 'sky-scrapers'

They build among the tallest non-human structures (proportionately speaking) in the world and now it's been discovered the termites that live in Australia's remote Top End originated from overseas - rafting vast distances and migrating from tree-tops to the ground, as humans later did.

It takes two to tango: Beetles are equal partners in mating behavior

Beetles that copulate with the same mate as opposed to different partners will repeat the same behaviour, debunking previous suggestions that one sex exerts control over the other in copulation, new research has found.

Ants stomp, termites tiptoe—predator detection by a cryptic prey

Termites and ants are mortal enemies and will fight to the death if necessary. Yet armies of sightless termites carry out their work within millimetres of ant nests thanks to an incredible talent that could be of interest to the defence and counter-espionage industries.

New method helps researchers piece together the puzzle of antibiotic resistance

Researchers from The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) have developed a faster and more accurate method for assembling genomes which could help clinicians rapidly identify antibiotic-resistant infections.

'Smart' bacteria remodel their genes to infect our intestines

Infectious diarrhea, a common disease of children, is responsible for over 2 million infant deaths annually in developing counties alone. A primary cause of this and other devastating conditions is enteropathogenic bacteria, which attack the intestinal tract when contaminated food is consumed.

A close look at sharp vision in eye structure seen only in humans and other primates

Vision scientists have uncovered some of the reasons behind the unusual perceptual properties of the eye's fovea. Only humans and other primates have this dimple-like structure in their retinas. It is responsible for visual experiences that are rich in colorful spatial detail.

Blood ties fuel cooperation among species, not survival instinct

Cooperative breeding, when adults in a group team up to care for offspring, is not a survival strategy for animals living in extreme environments. It is instead a natural result of monogamous relationships reinforcing stronger genetic bonds in family groups. Siblings with full biological ties are more likely than others to stay with their family and help day to day, a new Oxford University study has found.

Researchers aim to disrupt egg production in dengue- and Zika-spreading mosquito

The mosquito Aedes aegypti, which can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, and yellow fever virus, requires a blood meal to develop eggs. One way to control the spread of these diseases is to tamper with the reproductive events that follow this mosquito's blood meal.

In hot water: Climate change harms hot spots of ocean life

The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds.

Sophisticated optical secrets revealed in glossy buttercup flowers

Buttercup flowers are known for their intense, shiny yellow colour. For over a century, biologists have sought to understand why the buttercup stands out. University of Groningen scientists have now brought together all that was known about the buttercup and added some new information too. The results will be published by the Journal of the Royal Society Interface on 22 February 2017.

Wintering ducks connect isolated wetlands by dispersing plant seeds

Plant populations in wetland areas face increasing isolation as wetlands are globally under threat from habitat loss and fragmentation. Erik Kleyheeg and Merel Soons of Utrecht University show that the daily movement behaviour of wintering mallards is highly predictable from the landscape they live in and that their daily flights contribute to maintaining the connections between wetland plant populations across increasingly fragmented landscapes. The researchers and co-authors are publishing their results today in the academic journal Journal of Ecology.

Laws crucial to preserve biodiversity threatened

The mounting threats posed to the global environment by harmful human activities cannot be averted without effective legislation controlling those activities. However, the environmental laws designed for this purpose are themselves under global attack, warns an international team of scientists including Arie Trouwborst of Tilburg University in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Seabirds foraging habits revealed

A study of seabirds' foraging habits has found that they have strong long term preferences for the habitat in which they forage, and that those that can repeatedly go to the same place to find food have a better chance of fledging a chick than those who have to visit many locations.

Using waste biomass for the sustainable production of industrial chemicals

Each year more than half a billion tons of oil—more than an eighth of the total global oil consumption—are used to produce chemicals and plastics. The demand for oil leaves the petrochemical industry, with a market value slated to exceed US$758 Billion by 2022, critically exposed to oil price fluctuations and the uncertainty of dependence on a finite fossil resource. Researchers and chemical engineers around the world have been trying to find ways to use alternative raw materials such as agricultural waste or 'biomass' to replace petroleum in the production of common industrial chemicals as a step toward a more sustainable chemical industry.

Animals know when they are being treated unfairly (and they don't like it)

Humans beings appear to be hardwired to have a sense of fairness. This is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective, which you would have thought would mean we were predisposed to seek advantage for ourselves and our families wherever possible. But in fact a sense of fairness is important for humans to be able to help each other. Human cooperation is based on reciprocal altruism – we help people because they've either helped us in the past or they may help us in the future.

The first Iberian lynx infected by the pseudorabies virus

Matojo, the nine-month-old Iberian lynx cub found dead in 2015 in Extremadura, did not die from natural causes. His necropsy shows that it was the pseudorabies virus that triggered his sudden demise. Before this case, contagion of this infectious disease was only known in one wild cat in the world, a Florida panther.

Honey bee parasite genome sequenced to aid in fight against bee colony destruction

Published today in the open-access journal GigaScience is an article that presents the genome of a parasitic mite, Tropilaelaps mercedesae, that infects bee colonies, which are facing wide-spread devastation across the entire world. The research was carried out by an international team of researchers at Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Liverpool University and focused on mites as they are one of the major threats to honey bee colonies. The work revealed that there were specific features in the T. mercedesae mite genome that had been shaped by their interaction with honey bees, and that current mechanisms to control mites are unlikely to be useful for T. mercedesae. The genome sequence and findings provide excellent resources for identifying gene-based mite control strategies and understanding mite biology.

New method reveals how proteins stabilize the cell surface

To withstand external mechanical stress and handle trafficking of various substances, a cell needs to adjust its surrounding membrane. This is done through small indentations on the cell surface called caveolae. In order to stabilize its membrane, cells use the protein EHD2, which can be turned on and off to alternate between an inactive closed form and an active open form. The discovery, made by Umeå University researchers and colleagues, was recently published in the journal PNAS.

Birds of a feather mob together

Dive bombing a much larger bird isn't just a courageous act by often smaller bird species to keep predators at bay. It also gives male birds the chance to show off their physical qualities in order to impress females. This is according to a study in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology on predator mobbing behavior of birds where potential prey approach and harass would-be predators such as owls. The study was led by Filipe Cunha of the University of Zurich in Switzerland and the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Brazil.

Historic cultural records inform scientific perspectives on woodland uses

Scientists at the University of York and University College Cork have investigated how cultural records dating back 300 years could help improve understanding of the ways in which science interprets the many uses of woodland areas.

The genetics behind being Not Like Daddy

A common strategy to create high-yielding plants is hybrid breeding - crossing two different inbred lines to obtain characteristics superior to each parent. However, getting the inbred lines in the first place can be a hassle. Inbred lines consist of genetically uniform individuals and are created through numerous generations of self-crossing. In maize, the use of so-called "haploid inducers" provides a short cut to this cumbersome procedure, allowing to produce inbred lines in just one generation. A study by Laurine Gilles and colleagues, published today in The EMBO Journal, sheds light on the genetics behind haploid induction. "Knowing the molecular identity of haploid induction represents an important breakthrough to fully understand the fertilization process in plants, and hopefully will allow to translate this breeding tool to other species," said the study's senior author Dr. Thomas Widiez, an INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) researcher at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France.

I.Coast hosting bid to save its last chimpanzees

Ivory Coast, which has seen a 90 percent decrease in its chimpanzees in just 20 years, is to host international talks in July in a bid to save the primates.

How migratory birds respond to balmier autumns?

Around the world, no matter where we are, we can usually expect the weather to change from one season to the next. In North America, the warm days of summer eventually turn into the cooler days of autumn, and these changes are vital to a lot of the animals that inhabit the region as they trigger the urge of animals to prepare for winter. Migratory animals, like songbirds, use these predictable weather changes as environmental cues to tell them when it's time to migrate south. But with the earth now getting hotter and hotter each year, birds can no longer rely on the once predictable climate. As autumns are becoming milder, ornithologists keep pondering on how it could be affecting birds' migratory decisions. Now, a new paper published this week in an online journal Animal Migration, has experimentally investigated how birds use temperature as a signal to migrate.

Up to 600 waterfowl die in western Idaho from avian cholera

An estimated 500 to 600 ducks and geese have died due to avian cholera in western Idaho.

Hidden no more: First-ever global view of transshipment in commercial fishing industry

Transshipment, the transfer of goods from one boat to another, is a major pathway for illegally caught and unreported fish to enter the global seafood market. It has also been associated with drug smuggling and slave labor. Illegal in many cases, transshipment has been largely invisible and nearly impossible to manage, because it often occurs far from shore and out of sight. Until now.

Saving Simba and Lula, last two survivors of Mosul zoo

Simba the lion and Lula the bear are the Mosul zoo's only survivors—the other animals were killed by shelling, starved to death or ate each other during the fighting.

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