Monday, March 13, 2017

Science X Newsletter Monday, Mar 13

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 13, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Mysterious isolated object investigated by astronomers

Engineers develop a plastic electrode that stretches like rubber but carries electricity like wires

Best of Last Week – Creating time crystals, growing potatoes on Mars and evidence the brain is much busier than thought

Visualizing the genome: Researchers create first 3-D structures of active DNA

Ultrashort light pulses for fast 'lightwave' computers

Radiation from nearby galaxies helped fuel first monster black holes, says study

Early Earth had a hazy, methane-filled atmosphere

400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal

When Android phones empower fight to smash childhood cancers

Longer deadlines make people donate more money

MRI scans can help spot HIV in the brain

Study identifies African-specific genomic variant associated with obesity

Scientists map seawater threat to California Central Coast aquifers

Beckoning self-driving car developers seeking machine readable maps that can be crowdsourced

New research on Northern Lights will improve satellite navigation accuracy

Astronomy & Space news

Mysterious isolated object investigated by astronomers

(—An international team of astronomers led by Philippe Delorme of the Grenoble Alpes University in France has recently investigated a mysterious object designated CFBDSIR J214947.2-040308.9 (CFBDSIR 2149-0403 for short) in order to reveal its true nature. The object is assumed to be a young isolated planetary-mass object or a high-metallicity low-mass brown dwarf. The results of new observations published Mar. 2 in a paper on could help distinguish between these two classes.

Radiation from nearby galaxies helped fuel first monster black holes, says study

The appearance of supermassive black holes at the dawn of the universe has puzzled astronomers since their discovery more than a decade ago. A supermassive black hole is thought to form over billions of years, but more than two dozen of these behemoths have been sighted within 800 million years of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.

Hubble focuses on a hypergiant's home

This beautiful Hubble image reveals a young super star cluster known as Westerlund 1, only 15,000 light-years away in our Milky Way neighborhood, yet home to one of the largest stars ever discovered.

Star in closest orbit ever seen around black hole

Astronomers have found evidence of a star that whips around a likely black hole twice an hour. This could be the tightest orbital dance ever seen by a black hole and a companion star in our own Milky Way galaxy.

Stargazing keeps tourism looking up

With urbanisation gaining pace and air pollution clouding the view in major cities, contemplating the stars in a pitch-black sky is fast becoming a rarity that tour operators are banking on as a new selling-point.

Under Trump, the Moon regains interest as possible destination

Dismissed by former US president Barack Obama as a place explorers had already seen, the Moon has once again gained interest as a potential destination under Donald Trump's presidency.

Slowing down an interstellar spacecraft at Alpha Centauri

While one of the most important challenges for future interstellar travel is to how send a probe to another stellar system relatively quickly, another issue that needs to be resolved is how to successfully slow down such a spacecraft once it gets there. Recently, two German researchers have proposed a solution addressing this problem, presenting a method that could flawlessly decelerate an interstellar craft sent to the neighboring system Alpha Centauri.

Giant Magellan Telescope poised to answer some of humanity's biggest questions

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which is currently being built in Chile, is poised to answer essential questions about the universe, according to the newly appointed president of the organization that manages the GMT project.

Gearing up to track space debris

Space is filling up with junk. "It's not like there's a storm of metal and if you venture into space you're going to get clobbered," says Professor Russell Boyce, Chair of Space Engineering at UNSW Canberra. "But the risk of collisions is increasing."

Nanosatellites for low-cost space flight

The space flight scene is in a state of upheaval. Something along the lines of a democratisation of space is happening – at least as far as the lower orbits are concerned. For several years, numerous universities have been experimenting with so-called nanosatellites. In the coming years, they will probably experience a commercial breakthrough – and Switzerland is playing an important role in it.

NASA studying shared Venus science objectives with Russian Space Research Institute

A team of NASA-sponsored scientists will meet with the Russian Academy of Sciences' Space Research Institute (IKI) next week to continue work on a Joint Science Definition Team study focused on identifying shared science objectives for Venus exploration. The visit comes after a report was recently delivered to both NASA Headquarters in Washington and IKI in Moscow, assessing and refining the science objectives of the IKI Venera-D (Venera-Dolgozhivuschaya) Mission to Venus, Earth's closest planetary neighbor.

Technology news

When Android phones empower fight to smash childhood cancers

Scientists are looking at your phone, yes, your phone, in an attempt to cure cancer. It is an attempt toward smartphone conscription. BBC reported on Friday that the focus is on childhood cancers. And the phone type focus is on Android. "The system is currently not available for iOS," said the BBC's Jane Wakefield, "due to developer rules that govern how apps run on the Apple platform."

Beckoning self-driving car developers seeking machine readable maps that can be crowdsourced

(Tech Xplore)—Plenty of tech talk from startups and big car makers focus on the bright future ahead. With all the buzz about tech-loaded cars able to stop and start and break and see autonomously, however, the specific topic of mapping can no longer be ignored.

As Moore's law ends, brain-like computers begin

For five decades, Moore's law held up pretty well: Roughly every two years, the number of transistors one could fit on a chip doubled, all while costs steadily declined. Today, however, transistors and other electronic components are so small they're beginning to bump up against fundamental physical limits on their size. Moore's law has reached its end, and it's going to take something different to meet the need for computing that is ever faster, cheaper and more efficient.

Using a machine-learning algorithm to rate surgeons on suturing skill level

(Tech Xplore)—A team of researchers at the University of Georgia has used a machine-learning algorithm to create a system to accurately rate the suturing skill level of a surgeon. In their paper uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, the team describes what went into development of the algorithm, how it was taught to perform, and how accurate it was compared to human assessors.

Making autonomous car play, Intel offers $15B for Mobileye (Update)

Computer chip maker Intel paid handsomely for a piece of the next big thing Monday as it offered more than $15 billion for Mobileye, an Israeli company at the forefront of autonomous vehicle technology.

Scientists harness solar power to produce clean hydrogen from biomass

A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed a way of using solar power to generate a fuel that is both sustainable and relatively cheap to produce. It's using natural light to generate hydrogen from biomass.

Run Faster! Be Stronger! Can technology make you better?

Technological growth is moving at a rate never seen before—and as it advances, it simultaneously shrinks, moving closer to our bodies, intertwining with the many facets of our lives and positions itself between our experiences of the physical environments around us. When utilizing these technological systems in the context of intense sporting activities, this competition for our focus can lead to problematic scenarios. This is shown in a thesis by Rouien Zarin, Umeå Institute of Design at Umeå University, Sweden.

Women troll on dating apps just as often as men

Online dating is an increasingly popular way for people to find love, but that also makes it an attractive target for those with less than romantic intentions.

Could an auto logic checker be the solution to the fake news problem?

Fake news is not news – that is, it is not in fact news, and the matter of fake news is not a recent revelation. But while fake news is a thorny problem that needs addressing in its own right, it is part of an even bigger issue too. Discourse –- the process by which humanity collectively comes to an understanding of itself, and so shapes its own future –- is fundamentally broken.

A future with robots as companions could be closer than you think

The 2012 movie Robot & Frank described a "near future" that would allow us to spend our golden years living "co-dependently independently," fulfilled by ever-present robot companions that could watch out for loss of balance and falls, prompt us to do constructive home projects like gardening and even become something like our best friends.

Door and window locks are less carbon-costly and more effective than burglar alarms and CCTV, a new study finds

A new study, which estimates the carbon footprint of burglary prevention measures, has found that the best options from both an environmental and security point of view are door and window locks. This is because they are not only more effective at preventing crime, but also more environmentally friendly, having a much lower carbon footprint than other measures, such as burglar alarms or CCTV.

Researchers make dramatic improvement in 3-D printing for home use

Waseda University researchers have developed a process to dramatically improve the quality of 3D printed resin products. The process combines greatly improved surface texture and higher structural rigidity with lower cost, less complexity, safer use of solvent chemicals and elimination of troublesome waste dust.

Yahoo names post-spinoff management team

Yahoo said Monday that board member and former internet executive Thomas McInerney would lead the business that remains after the sale of its core assets to Verizon is completed.

New research urges a rethink on global energy subsidies

The hidden toll that subsidies for electricity, fossil fuels, and transport have on social welfare, economic growth and technological innovation needs to be exposed through better research says a new paper in Ecological Economics by Benjamin K Sovacool.

New technique completely protects internet pictures and videos from cyberattacks

A Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researcher has developed a new technique that could provide virtually 100 percent protection against cyberattacks launched through internet videos or images, which are a growing threat.

Verizon sought $925 million penalty for Yahoo's lax security

Verizon demanded a $925 million discount on its acquisition of Yahoo's online services to help offset the damage from the biggest data breaches in internet history. It ultimately settled on a $350 million concession.

Facebook says its data can't be used for 'surveillance'

Facebook is prohibiting developers from using the massive amount of data it collects on users for surveillance. This includes using such data to monitor activists and protesters.

Pandora starts on-demand music subscription service

Internet radio company Pandora is launching an on-demand music service for $10 a month.

China tries to reassure foreign companies over industry plan

China's industry minister on Saturday defended a manufacturing development plan and rejected complaints foreign makers of electric cars and other goods might be pressured to hand over technology or forced out of promising markets.

Facebook search traps Italian mobster in Mexico

A fugitive Italian mobster who had been living in Mexico under a false identity was behind bars Saturday after being tracked down on Facebook, police said.

Environmentally friendly, almost electricity-free solar cooling—also serves as a heat pump

Demand and the need for cooling are growing as the effects of climate change intensify. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and German company ZAE Bayern have built an emission-free, solar-powered chiller; a pilot system has been tested in Finland and Germany. The potential market is world-wide, particularly in warm countries.

A look at some Israeli high-tech successes

Intel announced Monday it will spend more than $15 billion to acquire Mobileye, an Israeli company that develops technology that essentially gives computers a sense of their physical surroundings—the largest high-tech acquisition in the history of the Jewish State.

Hong Kong team develops the most energy-efficient LED filament lamps

A research team of State Key Laboratory of Ultra-precision Machining Technology (Partner Laboratory in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) and PolyU students has successfully developed the most energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) filament technology with a luminous efficacy of 129lm/W, which represents 1.5 times the efficacy of traditional LED lamps, surpassing all other general lighting tools available in the market.

Internet gambling again helps Atlantic City casinos

Once again, internet gambling has made the difference between an up month and a down one for Atlantic City casinos.

In the digital age, Paris revamps newsstands

A new-look newspaper kiosk appeared on a Paris street Monday, the first of hundreds that will replace the iconic domed structures that have dotted the city since the 1860s.

Medicine & Health news

MRI scans can help spot HIV in the brain

Scientists at UCL have developed a way to use MRI scans to help identify when HIV is persisting in the brain despite effective drug treatment.

Study identifies African-specific genomic variant associated with obesity

An international team of researchers has conducted the first study of its kind to look at the genomic underpinnings of obesity in continental Africans and African-Americans. They discovered that approximately 1 percent of West Africans, African-Americans and others of African ancestry carry a genomic variant that increases their risk of obesity, a finding that provides insight into why obesity clusters in families. Researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their African collaborators published their findings March 13, 2017, in the journal Obesity.

Engineers use CRISPR technology to prevent tissue damage and resulting chronic pain

For millions of sufferers, there is nothing more debilitating than chronic back or joint pain. It can feel like a lifetime of misery.

Researchers publish results of first-of-its-kind iPhone asthma study

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai today published results from a pioneering study of asthma patients in the U.S. conducted entirely via iPhone using the Apple ResearchKit framework and the Asthma Health app developed at Mount Sinai with collaborating organizations. The results demonstrated that this approach was successful for large-scale participant enrollment across the country, secure bi-directional data exchange between study investigators and app users, and collection of other useful information such as geolocation, air quality, and device data. The publication appears today in Nature Biotechnology.

Pre-existing immunity to dengue virus shapes Zika-specific T cell response

Although Zika and dengue are considered different virus "species," they are so closely related that the immune system treats Zika just like another version of dengue, report researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. Their latest study, published in the March 13, 2017, advance online edition of Nature Microbiology, shows that pre-existing immunity to dengue virus modulates the magnitude and breadth of the immune system's T cell response to Zika.

'Good' bacteria is potential solution to unchecked inflammation seen in bowel diseases

Beneficial bacteria may be the key to helping to reverse a cycle of gut inflammation seen in certain inflammatory bowel diseases, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have found.

Neuroimaging technology reveals why we choose sustainable products

Many of your everyday purchases might seem like no-brainers, but according to a new study from Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, your choices are more complex than you might think.

One in five breast cancer patients could benefit from existing treatment, genetic study reveals

Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have discovered that a greater number of breast cancers are genetically similar to rarer cases with faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. The results published today (13 March) in Nature Medicine open up the possibility of up to 20 per cent of women being treated with PARP inhibitors, a class of drug previously only thought to be effective for women with an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Light scattering spectroscopy helps doctors identify early pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate among all major cancers, largely because physicians lack diagnostic tools to detect the disease in its early, treatable stages. Now, a team of investigators led by Lev T. Perelman, PhD, Director of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has developed a promising new tool capable of distinguishing between harmless pancreatic cysts and those with malignant potential with an overall accuracy of 95 percent. The team's preliminary data was published online today in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Early intervention with new treatment enables durable control of HIV-like virus in monkeys

There are more than 25 drugs to control HIV, yet the virus remains one of the world's biggest health problems. One of the many challenges with existing therapies is that a dormant version of the virus is always lurking in the background, ready to attack the immune system as soon as treatment is interrupted.

Parallel cellular pathways activate the process that controls organ growth

There is an old axiom among cell biologists meant to caution against making assumptions about how certain proteins function, and it involves a hypothetical Martian. If that Martian came to Earth and looked down at a school from its spaceship, it would assume the main job of the school buses is to sit in a parking lot all day, because except for a few hours in the morning and afternoon, that's all they do.

Taking B vitamins may reduce epigenetic effects of air pollution

A new study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health showed that B vitamins may play a critical role in reducing the impact of air pollution on the epigenome, further demonstrating the epigenetic effects of air pollution on health. This is the first study to detail a course of research for developing interventions that prevent or minimize the adverse effects of air pollution on potential automatic markers. The results are published online in the journal PNAS.

Enlarged prostate later in life could stem from fetal development early on

New research from Michigan State University indicates that embryonic tissue, key to the development of a baby's gender, could contribute to an enlarged prostate, or BPH, in men later in life.

Dietary kit reduces baby blues, a precursor to postpartum depression

A dietary supplement kit, created to counter mood-altering brain changes linked to depression, virtually eliminated the "baby blues" among women in a new study at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Researchers predict crime knowledge states in the human brain

Judges and juries always ponder whether people act "knowingly" or "recklessly" during criminal activity—and neuroscience has had little to add to the conversation.

A novel protein regulates cancer immunity and could offer a therapeutic target

In an article published online ahead of print on March 13, 2017 by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) investigators report preclinical research showing that moesin, a membrane-domain organizing protein, controls regulatory T cell (Treg) function as well as the abundance and stability of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) receptors on the surface of cells, providing a potential therapeutic target for cancer immunotherapy.

New method enables creation of better therapeutic antibodies

Antibodies are the foot soldiers of our immune system. These specialized, Y-shaped proteins attach to bacteria and viruses, where they either block the pathogen's activity directly, or signal the immune system's cells to destroy the invader. The second function—the ability to target invaders for destruction—makes antibodies a tempting target for cancer and disease therapies.

Mystery of memory cells answered through mouse study

When an infection attacks the body for the first time, T cells of the immune system help fight off that specific pathogen. After the infection has cleared, some of the T cells that fought the microbe transition into "memory" cells that remember the pathogen and are ready to protect the body from future infections. Previous research has found that memory T cells are critical for long-term immunity, but the quantity and quality of the cells mysteriously declines with time, making some individuals more likely to be reinfected. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have identified a molecular mechanism that operates in memory T cells that could be manipulated to produce and maintain more memory T cells in the body, a finding that could improve vaccinations and cancer immunotherapies.

Patients take flight as medical tourism booms

Medical tourism has grown into a healthy travel sector as people shop beyond their borders for everything from dental work to plastic surgery, say experts at Berlin's ITB travel fair.

7 in 10 U.S. workplaces hit by opioid abuse: survey

(HealthDay)—Prescription drug abuse has seeped into the American workplace, with 70 percent of businesses saying it affects their workers, a new survey reveals.

Better outcomes in T2DM with no delay in tx intensification

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes, not delaying intensification of oral antidiabetic drugs (OADs) is associated with greater reductions in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and with reduced risks of cardiovascular events and amputations, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Most doctors recommend FDA-approved drugs before E-cigs

(HealthDay)—Most primary care physicians and pulmonologists recommend use of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved smoking cessation medications before use of electronic cigarettes, according to a letter to the editor published online March 2 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

QI project ups jet injection of lidocaine in IV placements

(HealthDay)—A quality improvement project can increase jet injection of lidocaine (JIL) use with intravenous (IV) placements in the emergency department, according to a quality report published online March 9 in Pediatrics.

ATA guidelines available as pocket cards, mobile apps

(HealthDay)—Two additional quick-reference tools, which offer guidance on management of various thyroid disorders, have been launched by the American Thyroid Association.

Depression, alcohol, and marijuana linked to later use of synthetic marijuana among teens

In the first prospective study of synthetic cannabinoids or SCs - the group of chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana - researchers have found that symptoms of depression, drinking alcohol, or using marijuana was linked to an increased risk of SC use one year later.

Failed fertility therapy associated with increased risk of later cardiac disease

Women who undergo fertility therapy, but do not get pregnant, have a higher risk of developing long-term cardiovascular disease, compared with women who become pregnant, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Nursery product-related injuries on the rise among young children

Parents of young children use nursery products daily but these products are associated with injury more often than you might think. A new study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that about every 8 minutes in the U.S., a child three years of age or younger is treated in a hospital emergency-department for a nursery product-related injury - which is approximately 66,000 children each year.

Older adults make riskier decisions, study finds

A study has shown that—contrary to popular belief—older people make riskier decisions than younger adults. Older people's generally more positive emotions make them more optimistic when gauging risks. In addition, older adults are less deterred by the risk of losses than younger adults are. These are the findings of a study conducted by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and published in the journal Psychological Science.

Why endocrine disruptors are scary – and what you can do about it

You may have read stories about concerns that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) used in baby bottles may pose developmental problems for youngsters. Those concerns were based on the fact that BPA is an endocrine disrupting compound, or EDC. And while many BPA-free bottles are now on the market, there are thousands of other EDCs out there. And there's a lot we don't know about them.

More support needed for mums after perinatal loss

More support services for pregnant women who have previously suffered miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a newborn are needed, according to University of Queensland researchers.

Joint efforts toward treating paralysis

EPFL scientists Stéphanie Lacour and Grégoire Courtine report on the status of their research and share their vision about the future of wearable neuroprosthetics at this year's edition of South by South West in Austin, Texas, on March 12th. Courtine shares some preliminary impressions about clinical trials addressing paralysis that are currently underway at the Lausanne University Hospital.

Wastewater study flushes out drug habits

In the first wastewater study of drug use in New Zealand, methamphetamine was the most commonly detected illegal drug in Auckland.

Research explores lasting effects of early preventive dental care in Medicaid-enrolled children

Research out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health suggests preventive dental care provided by a dentist for children before the age of 2 enrolled in Medicaid in Alabama may lead to more care long-term.

Most effective vocabulary learning technique revealed

UCL and language learning app Memrise have announced the winner of the first 'Memprize', a competition to find the world's most efficient and effective vocabulary learning technique.

Reported 'Odyssean' malaria cases not linked to new malaria vector discovery

A new malaria vector discovered in South Africa is not linked to the 'Odyssean' malaria cases reported in two provinces this week.

How technologies are personalizing surgical procedures

Before Sonia Ramamoorthy, M.D., chief of colon and rectal surgery at UC San Diego Health, took a scalpel to Larry Smarr, Ph.D., director of Calit2 and Harry E. Gruber Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego, she first took a virtual tour of his large intestine. It encompassed an entire room.

Never before seen images of early stage Alzheimer's disease

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have used the MAX IV synchrotron in Lund – the strongest of its kind in the world - to produce images that predate the formation of toxic clumps of beta-amyloid, the protein believed to be at the root of Alzheimer's disease. The unique images appear to contradict a previously unchallenged consensus. Instead of attempting to eliminate beta-amyloid, or so-called plaques, the researchers now suggest stabilizing the protein.

Tackling depression by changing the way you think

A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality. New research shows that learning how to ruminate less on thoughts and feelings has a positive effect for individuals with depression.

'Preventable' asthma attacks in Houston cost millions

"Preventable" asthma attacks among schoolchildren cost millions in health care dollars over 10 years, according to a new study by the city of Houston, Rice University and the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

Help for chocoholics

Does a bowl full of luscious Lindt balls make you drool? Or can you learn to turn those cravings into other thoughts?

Doctors and patients often disagree on pain treatment goals

Disagreements between doctors and patients over the priorities of pain treatment are common during primary care office visits, new research from UC Davis Health shows. Patients hope to reduce pain intensity and identify the cause, while physicians aim to improve physical function and reduce medication side effects, including dependency.

Protein proves influential to healthy immune system

Researchers have discovered that the protein Myb plays a vital role in keeping our immune system healthy, and preventing the development of immune and inflammatory diseases.

Making resistant superbugs sensitive to antibiotics

New research is paving the way for the development of innovative drugs that restore antibiotic susceptibility in antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as Klebsiella pneumoniae, a main cause of fatal lung and bloodstream infections worldwide.

Highly pathogenic A(H7N9) virus mutation does not change risk to humans

In February 2017, a new A(H7N9) virus—indicating high pathogenicity in poultry—was detected in three patients connected to Guangdong, China, as well as in environmental and poultry samples. This is an important development to be monitored, however, ECDC's updated rapid risk assessment concluded that the risk of the disease spreading within Europe via humans is still considered low, as there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission. Although the genetic changes in A(H7N9) may have implications for poultry, to date, there is no evidence of increased transmissibility to humans or sustainable human-to-human transmission.

Accountable Care Organizations reduced medical costs without increasing drug costs

A key component of the Affordable Care Act successfully saved Medicare $345 per person in medical costs in its first year without driving up prescription drug coverage costs, according to an analysis led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

For hospitalized patients, spending more on care doesn't buy better health

Hospitalized patients treated by physicians who order more or more expensive tests and procedures are just as likely to be readmitted or to die as patients treated by doctors who order fewer or less expensive tests, according to research led by Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

To screen or not to screen for lung cancer?

Lung cancer screening using a low-dose CT scan can be a lifesaving test for high-risk patients. While it offers clear benefits, incidental findings and radiation exposure mean there are some potential risks associated with yearly screening. Most patients do not fully understand the benefits or potential harms of a screening program, nor are they clear on exactly who should undergo testing. A new study in CHEST determined that a structured prescreening counseling and shared decision-making visit with health care professionals leads to a better understanding of the benefits and risks, as well as the eligibility criteria.

More transparency at FDA needed, researchers say

As the new administration considers the future direction of the Food and Drug Administration, a group of leading researchers has created a Blueprint for Transparency at the agency to advance the development of safe and effective new products.

Researcher finds mechanism triggering spread of prostate cancer to bones

A Washington State University researcher has found a way that prostate cancer cells hijack the body's bone maintenance, facilitating the spread of bone cancers present in some 90 percent of prostate-cancer fatalities.Working with colleagues at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and elsewhere, Jason Wu found that the process appears to respond to the same drugs found in certain antidepressants. The findings appear in the journal Cancer Cell.

The looming threat of Asian tobacco companies to global health

There are already one billion tobacco smokers worldwide, and this number is likely to rise further with Asian tobacco companies poised to enter the global market, according to SFU health sciences professor Kelley Lee.

E-cigarettes a gateway to smoking? Not likely, according to new published research

Are e-cigarettes a gateway product that lead more people, especially teens, to smoke regular cigarettes? No, according to public health researchers from the University at Buffalo and the University of Michigan writing in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Hodgkin lymphoma survivors at high risk of second cancers

Patients who are cured of Hodgkin lymphoma are at a high risk of developing a second type of cancer, particularly if they have a family history of the disease, a major new study reports.

Fish oil supplements may help prevent death after MI but lack evidence of CV benefit for general population

Omega-3 fish oil supplements prescribed by a healthcare provider may help prevent death from heart disease in patients who recently had a heart attack and may prevent death and hospitalizations in patients with heart failure, but there is a lack of scientific research to support clinical use of these supplements to prevent heart disease in the general population, according to a new science advisory from the American Heart Association.

Study finds differences in lifespan between Canadians and Americans with cystic fibrosis

People with cystic fibrosis are living longer than ever before, but their lifespan is almost 10 years longer in Canada than in the United States, according to research published March 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Genetic analysis better explains how uterine cancers resist treatment

Researchers have charted the complex molecular biology of uterine carcinosarcoma, a rare and aggressive gynecologic cancer, according to a study published on March 13 in Cancer Cell.

Children experience long wait times for developmental and behavioral specialists

An estimated one in six children in the United States have development disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or cerebral palsy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children can benefit from the care of developmental pediatricians who are specially trained in the field. However, a new study from Rutgers offers evidence confirming what many parents already know: the wait to see one of these experts - only 1,000 of whom exist nationally - is lengthy and delays diagnostic evaluations that could be important for early intervention strategies that help families manage behavioral, emotional, social and educational struggles. In addition, the study found that there is an insufficient number of programs that offer accommodations for non-English speaking families.

Study indicates promising new approach to prevent and treat cholesterol gallstones

According to current estimates, 20 to 25 million Americans have or will develop gallstones, representing almost 15% of adults. Although only a small percentage of individuals with gallstones develop symptoms, more than 700,000 individuals annually undergo surgical gallbladder removal and many more take medications to manage the condition or undergo stone-dissolving procedures. A new study in The American Journal of Pathology reports on a promising new approach to prevent and treat cholesterol gallstone disease (CGD) that reduces the biliary output of cholesterol via activation of receptors present in tissues of the liver and small intestine.

FDA OKs new Novartis drug for type of advanced breast cancer

U.S. regulators have approved a new drug as an initial treatment for postmenopausal women with a type of advanced breast cancer.

CDC: Don't donate sperm in three Florida counties due to Zika

U.S. health officials say men from three Florida counties shouldn't donate sperm because of the risk of spreading Zika.

Refugees deserve health care, compassion, U.S. pediatricians say

(HealthDay)—The U.S. government should treat immigrant and refugee children with compassion and provide them with appropriate health care, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says in a new policy statement.

Skin prick, sIgE have moderate agreement for allergic disease

(HealthDay)—For 10-year-old children, skin prick test (SPT) and specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) have moderate agreement for allergic diseases, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in Allergy.

HBV reactivation seen with DAA treatment of chronic hep C

(HealthDay)—For patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) treated with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation may occur in those with current HBV infection, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Mother-to-child HIV transmission low, but more progress possible

(HealthDay)—A small proportion of HIV-infected women continue to transmit the virus to their neonates despite access to high-quality care, according to research published in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Chorioretinal lesions secondary to zika virus observed

(HealthDay)—Acute-onset, self-resolving, placoid or multifocal non-necrotizing chorioretinal lesions may be caused by Zika virus infection, according to a case report published online March 9 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

2 critically ill in San Francisco after drinking toxic tea

Two people are critically sick in San Francisco after drinking tea from the same Chinatown herbalist.

Measles outbreak in Romania has killed 17 children

A measles outbreak in Romania has killed 17 children and infected thousands more since September due to poverty and an anti-vaccination movement, local media reported Saturday.

Antibiotic-free meat gets a foothold in US

Facing pressure from environmentalists and shareholder activists, major US food companies and restaurant chains are moving to limit antibiotics in farm animals raised for meat.

Rio de Janeiro announces mass yellow fever vaccination

Rio de Janeiro said Saturday it plans to vaccinate the state's entire population against yellow fever in response to an outbreak that has killed at least 113 people around Brazil.

Trump open to tweaking Republican health care bill: official

President Donald Trump is open to adapting a proposed replacement for Barack Obama's health care law, his political allies said Sunday, insisting that the measure—which is facing serious Republican pushback—is merely a "framework."

The evidence base for hormone replacement therapy

The 'facts' that most women and clinicians consider in making the decision whether to use hormone replacement therapy are frequently wrong or incorrectly applied says Professor Robert D Langer in a paper titled "The evidence base for HRT: what can we believe?" which will be published in the forthcoming April edition of the journal of the International Menopause Society, Climacteric. It raises serious questions about the 'facts' that have led women and their doctors to believe hormone therapy (often called HRT) is unsafe.

Media multitasking linked to distractibility among youth

The aim of Mona Moisala's doctoral dissertation was to study patterns of activity in cortical networks related to attention and working memory, as well as to investigate associations between performance in working memory and attention tasks and the extent of daily technology-mediated activities in 13–24-year-old subjects from Finland.

Are military physicians ready to treat transgender patients?

A small survey of military physicians found most did not receive any formal training on transgender care, most had not treated a patient with known gender dysphoria, and most had not received sufficient training to prescribe cross-hormone therapy, according to a new research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Keeping pitchers in the game: Potential in osteopathic medicine to prevent shoulder injury

The Spencer technique, in which a clinician guides the shoulder joint through its full range of motion (ROM), may prevent injury in baseball pitchers, according to research in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

A healthy diet improves sperm quality and fecundability of couples

Infertility is a global public health issue and affects 15% of all couples of reproductive age. Male factors, including decreased sperm quality, are responsible for approximately 25% of these cases. Researchers at the Universitat Rovira I Virgili and the Pere i Virgili Health Research Institute (Tarragona-Spain) have conducted the first systematic review of all observational studies on sperm quality and male fecundability and their relationship with diet, food and nutrient consumption

Study questions benefits of long-term use of ADHD medications

In a study that followed more than 500 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood, extended use of stimulant medication was linked with suppressed adult height but not with reduced symptoms of ADHD.

Pinpointing the mechanisms that underlie emotional responses to pain

Pain serves as a warning signal to indicate the intensity and location of damage to the body. In addition to unpleasant sensations, painful events trigger negative emotional responses that may serve to reinforce pain-avoiding behaviors. However, in chronic inflammatory conditions, negative emotional states associated with long-term pain can put affected individuals at a higher risk for psychiatric complications such as depression or substance abuse.

United States has highest rate of poor primary care coordination among 11 high-income countries

Care coordination has been identified as a key strategy for improving the effectiveness, safety and efficiency of the U.S. health care system. In new research published in the March/April issue of Annals of Family Medicine, researchers examine care coordination in 11 high-income countries and find one out of every three respondents experienced at least one coordination gap in primary care, but the overall percentage reporting poor primary care coordination was low. Notably, among the 11 countries evaluated, the United States had the highest rate of poor primary care coordination.

ADA recommends metformin as the preferred drug treatment for type 2 diabetes

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends metformin as the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. Metformin monotherapy should be initiated at the time of diagnosis for most patients unless there are contraindications. A synopsis of the ADA's recommendations on pharmacologic approaches to glycemic treatment of type 2 diabetes is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Novel technique helps diagnose swimming-induced respiratory condition

Exercise-induced obstruction of the larynx, or voice box, is often a cause of respiratory symptoms in athletes and is particularly prevalent in swimmers. A new report reveals a method to accurately diagnose this condition, using a flexible laryngoscope.

14 mn more uninsured under Republican plan in 2018: US budget office

About 14 million fewer Americans will have health insurance next year under the new Republican plan to replace the Obamacare reforms, Congress's nonpartisan budget analysis office projected Monday.

Biology news

Visualizing the genome: Researchers create first 3-D structures of active DNA

Scientists have determined the first 3D structures of intact mammalian genomes from individual cells, showing how the DNA from all the chromosomes intricately folds to fit together inside the cell nuclei.

Phage therapy shown to kill drug-resistant superbug

Scientists from the University of Liverpool's Institute of Infection and Global Health have shown that phage therapy could offer a safe and effective alternative to antibitotics in the treatment of cystic fibrosis lung infections.

Common Cuckoos can distinguish the calls of their neighbors from a stranger's

Male cuckoos appear to have a unique call that makes them distinguishable to and from other males. A new study appearing in Animal Behaviour shows that an individual cuckoo call may determine how a male responds to an interloper in his territory—behaving more tolerantly towards neighbors and more aggressively towards strangers.

Atomic map gives malaria drug new lease on life

Researchers have for the first time mapped how one of the longest-serving malaria drugs works, opening the possibility of altering its structure to make it more effective and combat increasing malaria drug resistance.

Cellular 'garbage disposal' has another job

A subset of protein complexes whose role has long been thought to consist only of chemically degrading and discarding of proteins no longer needed by cells appears to also play a role in sending messages from one nerve cell to another, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report.

How cells communicate to move together as a group

When an individual cell needs to move somewhere, it manages just fine on its own. It extends protrusions from its leading edge and retracts the trailing edge to scoot itself along, without having to worry about what the other cells around it are doing. But when cells are joined together in a sheet of tissue, or epithelium, they have to coordinate their movements with their neighbors. It's like walking by yourself versus navigating a crowded room. To push through the crowd, you have to communicate with others by talking ("Pardon me") or tapping them on the shoulder. Cells do the same thing, but instead of verbal cues and hand gestures, they use proteins to signal to each other.

Genetic key to salt-tolerance discovered in tilapia fish

Most fish live either in fresh water or salt water, but others, including tilapia, have the remarkable ability to physiologically adjust to varying salinity levels—a trait that may be critically important as climate change begins to alter the salinity of ocean and coastal waters as well as the water in desert lakes and creeks.

Flowering times shift with loss of species from a grassland ecosystem

Scientists have documented many cases in which the timing of seasonal events, such as the flowering of plants or the emergence of insects, is changing as a result of climate change. Now researchers studying a grassland ecosystem in California have discovered that reducing the number of species in the system can also cause a significant shift in when the remaining species flower.

The controversial origin of a symbol of the American west

New research by Professor Beth Shapiro of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute and University of Alberta Professor Duane Froese has identified North America's oldest bison fossils and helped construct a bison genealogy establishing that a common maternal ancestor arrived between 130,000 and 195,000 years ago, during a previous ice age.

More great white sharks appear to be visiting off Cape Cod

Great white sharks are discovering what tourists have known for years: Cape Cod is a great place to spend the summer.

Novel mechanism that detains mobile genes in plant genome

A team of Hokkaido University researchers has discovered a hitherto-unknown mechanism that detains transposable elements or "mobile genes" - which can move and insert into new positions in plant genomes.

Slackers turned saviours

Japanese scientists show that lazy ant workers step in to replace fatigued workers, improving colony long-term persistence.

How do animals see in the dark?

On a moonless night, light levels can by more than 100m times dimmer than in bright daylight. Yet while we are nearly blind and quite helpless in the dark, cats are out stalking prey, and moths are flying agilely between flowers on our balconies.

A virus lethal to amphibians is spreading across Portugal

A new strain of ranavirus is currently causing mass mortality in several species of amphibian in the Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in continental Portugal. This infectious agent is hypervirulent and also affects fish and reptiles, which complicates the situation, according to a study boasting the collaboration of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.

Flipping happy: Coin swallowing Thai turtle on the mend

A sea turtle dubbed 'Piggy Bank' for swallowing nearly 1,000 coins took swimming lessons Monday as she embarked on a rehabilitation programme following the removal of the treasure trove by Thai surgeons.

Tick tock: Time to sleep? Sleeping parasite has own internal clock

A team of researchers from iMM Lisboa led by Luísa Figueiredo and in collaboration with Joe Takahashi's group from Southwestern University has shown for the first time that the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness, Trypanosoma brucei, has its own internal clock, which allows it to antecipate daytime alterations of its surrounding environment and become more virulent.

Legitimacy of reusing images from scientific papers addressed

It goes without saying that scientific research has to build on previous breakthroughs and publications. However, it feels quite counter-intuitive for data and their re-use to be legally restricted. Yet, that is what happens when copyright restrictions are placed on many scientific papers.

With flying colors: Top entomology students honoured with wasp species named after them

The highly divergent parasitic wasps have long been causing headaches to scientists. At one point, taxonomists began using some genera as "dumping grounds for unplaced members", simply to organise the species.

Study finds that humans can interact with sharks without long-term behavioral impacts for the ocean's top predators

Swimming with metaphorical sharks is one thing, but actually getting into the water with the razor-toothed ocean predators? Crazy, right? Not according to the masses of shark-obsessed scuba divers who travel great distances—and pay big money—to get face time with the giant fish.

Some genetic variations difficult to evaluate using current stem cell modeling techniques

Some heritable but unstable genetic mutations that are passed from parent to affected offspring may not be easy to investigate using current human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) modeling techniques, according to research conducted at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published March 14, in the journal Stem Cell Reports. The study serves to caution stem cell biologists that certain rare mutations, like the ones described in the study, are difficult to recreate in laboratory-produced stem cells.

Belgian zoo shortens rhinos' horns after French killing

A Belgian zoo said Saturday it will shorten its rhinos' horns as an anti-poaching measure following the grisly killing of a white rhino in France this week.

The Jamaica cherry that fights infections

A small roadside flowering tree introduced to South-East Asia from Latin America exhibits both antimicrobial and antifungal activity. Researchers at the University of the Philippines, Diliman analysed the leaves and stems of Muntingia calabura for the presence of biologically active compounds called phytochemicals. They also tested leaf and stem ethanol extracts from the tree against four different types of bacteria and a fungus.

Supplemental fat not necessary when canola meal is fed to weanling pigs

New research from the University of Illinois shows that adding supplemental dietary fat is not necessary to avoid reduced growth performance when replacing soybean meal with canola meal in diets fed to weanling pigs.

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