Monday, March 27, 2017

Science X Newsletter Monday, Mar 27

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 27, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Physicists settle controversy over identical particle entanglement

Astronomers investigate the curious case of PDS 11 binary system

The electric sands of Titan: The grains that cover Saturn's moon act like clingy packing peanuts

Stars born in winds from supermassive black holes

Ancient mice teeth show settled villages made ecological impact long before agriculture

Planetary waves, first found on Earth, are discovered on Sun

Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns

Surprising twist in confined liquid crystals: A simple route to developing new sensors

Stem cell therapy helps some men with erectile dysfunction

Juno spacecraft set for fifth Jupiter flyby

Laptop to smartphone: I feel like an empty shell without you

China win for Apple as court overturns iPhone ruling

New York skyscrapers adapt to climate change

Tech world debate on robots and jobs heats up

Cities and monuments switch off for Earth Hour

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers investigate the curious case of PDS 11 binary system

(—A team of Indian astronomers has recently studied a peculiar binary system designated PDS 11, revealing new insights into the nature of its stars. The findings, presented Mar. 17 in a paper published on, allowed the researchers to reclassify PDS 11 as an old, dusty, wide binary classical T Tauri system in which both components are actively accreting.

The electric sands of Titan: The grains that cover Saturn's moon act like clingy packing peanuts

Experiments led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggest the particles that cover the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, are "electrically charged." When the wind blows hard enough (approximately 15 mph), Titan's non-silicate granules get kicked up and start to hop in a motion referred to as saltation. As they collide, they become frictionally charged, like a balloon rubbing against your hair, and clump together in a way not observed for sand dune grains on Earth—they become resistant to further motion. They maintain that charge for days or months at a time and attach to other hydrocarbon substances, much like packing peanuts used in shipping boxes here on Earth.

Stars born in winds from supermassive black holes

Observations using ESO's Very Large Telescope have revealed stars forming within powerful outflows of material blasted out from supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies. These are the first confirmed observations of stars forming in this kind of extreme environment. The discovery has many consequences for understanding galaxy properties and evolution. The results are published in the journal Nature.

Planetary waves, first found on Earth, are discovered on Sun

The same kind of large-scale planetary waves that meander through the atmosphere high above Earth's surface may also exist on the Sun, according to a new study led by a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Juno spacecraft set for fifth Jupiter flyby

NASA's Juno spacecraft will make its fifth flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on Monday, March 27, at 1:52 a.m. PDT (4:52 a.m. EDT, 8:52 UTC).

The fate of exomoons

When a star like our sun gets to be very old, after another seven billion years or so, it will shrink to a fraction of its radius and become a white dwarf star, no longer able to sustain nuclear burning. Studying the older planetary systems around white dwarfs provides clues to the long-term fate of our Sun and its planetary system. The atmosphere of a white dwarf star is expected to break up any material that accretes onto it into the constituent chemical elements and then to stratify them according to their atomic weights. The result is that the visible, uppermost layers of the atmosphere of a white dwarf should contain only a combination of hydrogen, helium (and some carbon). About one thousand white dwarf stars, however, show evidence in their spectra of pollution by some form of rocky material. This suggests that there is frequent, ongoing accretion onto these white dwarf stars of fragmentary material coming from somewhere - the precise origins are not clear.

Supersonic plasma jets discovered

Information from ESA's magnetic field Swarm mission has led to the discovery of supersonic plasma jets high up in our atmosphere that can push temperatures up to almost 10 000°C.

Evidence of giant tsunami on Mars suggests an early ocean

(—A team of researchers with members from France, Italy and the U.S. has found what they believe is evidence of a giant tsunami occurring on Mars approximately 3 billion years ago due to an asteroid plunging into an ocean. In their paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the group outlines the evidence and why they believe a tsunami is the most likely factor that led to the creation of some unique planetary formations.

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

High above Earth, two giant rings of energetic particles trapped by the planet's magnetic field create a dynamic and harsh environment that holds many mysteries—and can affect spacecraft traveling around Earth. NASA's Van Allen Probes act as space detectives, to help study the complex particle interactions that occur in these rings, known as the Van Allen radiation belts. Recently, the spacecraft were in just the right place, at just the right time, to catch an event caused by the fallout of a geomagnetic storm as it happened. They spotted a sudden rise in particles zooming in from the far side of the planet, improving our understanding of how particles travel in near-Earth space.

Timing a space laser with a NASA-style stopwatch

To time how long it takes a pulse of laser light to travel from space to Earth and back, you need a really good stopwatch—one that can measure within a fraction of a billionth of a second.

Astronomers probe swirling particles in halo of starburst galaxy

Astronomers have used a radio telescope in outback Western Australia to see the halo of a nearby starburst galaxy in unprecedented detail.

Sunrise II: A second look at the Sun

scillating fibrils, explosive increases in temperature, and the footprints of coronal loops: 13 articles published today provide an overview of the results of the second flight of the balloon-borne solar observatory Sunrise.

Citizen search for new planet in solar system

ANU is launching a search for a new planet in our solar system, inviting anyone around the world with access to the Internet to help make the historic discovery.

Image: ESA's ExoMars rover and Russia's stationary surface science platform

ESA's ExoMars rover (foreground) and Russia's stationary surface science platform (background) are scheduled for launch in July 2020, arriving at Mars in March 2021. The Trace Gas Orbiter, which has been at Mars since October 2016, will act as a relay station for the mission, as well as conducting its own science mission.

NASA selects mission to study churning chaos in the Milky Way and beyond

NASA has selected a science mission that will measure emissions from the interstellar medium, which is the cosmic material found between stars. This data will help scientists determine the life cycle of interstellar gas in our Milky Way galaxy, witness the formation and destruction of star-forming clouds, and understand the dynamics and gas flow in the vicinity of the center of our galaxy.

Image: Hubble spots two interacting galaxies defying cosmic convention

Some galaxies are harder to classify than others. Here, Hubble's trusty Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured a striking view of two interacting galaxies located some 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The more diffuse and patchy blue glow covering the right side of the frame is known as NGC 3447—sometimes NGC 3447B for clarity, as the name NGC 3447 can apply to the overall duo. The smaller clump to the upper left is known as NGC 3447A.

Something big exploded in a galaxy far, far away—what was it?

At 10:49pm Western Australian time on February 2 this year, cosmic gamma rays hit the NASA satellite, Swift, orbiting the Earth.

NASA test fires new engine controlling 'brain' for first SLS megarocket mission

Engineers carried out a critical hot fire engine test firing with the first new engine controlling 'brain' that will command the shuttle-era liquid fueled engines powering the inaugural mission of NASA's new Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket.

What about a mission to Titan?

As you probably know, NASA recently announced plans to send a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. If all goes well, the Europa Clipper will blast off for the world in the 2020s, and orbit the icy moon to discover all its secrets.

Technology news

Laptop to smartphone: I feel like an empty shell without you

(Tech Xplore)—In patent news, what are all these Apple-centric headers about this week? Something about turning an iPhone and iPad into a laptop? A phone-powered modular MacBook? A superdock?

China win for Apple as court overturns iPhone ruling

A Beijing court has overturned a ruling that Apple's iPhone 6 violated a Chinese manufacturer's patent which saw the US tech giant ordered to cease selling the smartphone in China.

Tech world debate on robots and jobs heats up

Are robots coming for your job?

Magic Calendar has e-ink display that evokes paper

(Tech Xplore)—We generally see paper as something you wrap stuff in. Or paper is what you use in the form of towels to wipe up a mess. We also see paper as the material for print.

Research team uses 3-D printing to engineer model blood vessels

Creating model blood vessels to aid in the study of diseases, such as strokes, can be complicated, costly and time-consuming. And the results may not always be truly representative of a human vessel.

Safer batteries made with wood

Inspired by the structure of wood, engineers at the University of Maryland have used modified wood as a unique architecture for the negative electrode of a lithium (Li) metal battery, seeking to prevent some of the key factors that lead to battery failure.

Renewable energy has robust future in much of Africa: study

As Africa gears up for a tripling of electricity demand by 2030, a new Berkeley study maps out a viable strategy for developing wind and solar power while simultaneously reducing the continent's reliance on fossil fuels and lowering power plant construction costs.

California air regulators vote to keep tough fuel standards

California air regulators voted Friday to keep the state's tough vehicle emissions standards through 2025.

More big brands pull ads from YouTube in widening boycott

An advertising boycott of YouTube is broadening, a sign that big-spending companies doubt Google's ability to prevent marketing campaigns from appearing alongside repugnant videos.

1.4M Illinois job seekers may have had personal data hacked

About 1.4 million job seekers in Illinois may have had their personal information compromised when one of the state's employment security agency vendors was hacked, the governor's office said Friday.

Stephen Hawking appears as hologram in Hong Kong

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has spoken to a Hong Kong audience by hologram, showcasing the growing reach of a technology which is making inroads into politics, entertainment and business.

Tech changes allow greater fan engagement in sports

As technology permits greater interactivity with fans, sports clubs and leagues have consulted sometimes far-flung supporters on everything from a team's name to where games should be played.

UK targets WhatsApp encryption after London attack

The British government said Sunday that its security services must have access to encrypted messaging applications such as WhatsApp, as it revealed that the service was used by the man behind the parliament attack.

Self-driving uber suv struck during Arizona accident

Officials say a self-driving Uber SUV was operating on its own when it was struck by another vehicle making a left turn at an intersection in Arizona, where the company is testing autonomous vehicles.

EU calls for privacy-security balance on message encryption

The European Union's presidency says people's privacy must be protected following British calls for police access to encrypted messages in case of attacks.

Emaar Malls offers $800M for amid Amazon rumors (Update)

The operator of Dubai's largest mall said Monday it made an $880-million offer to purchase the Middle East's biggest online retailer, adding new corporate intrigue to the website's rumored sale to Amazon.

Estonia is putting its country in the cloud and offering virtual residency

Estonia is a small country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe with a population of 1.3 million and a GDP of US $23 billion, roughly 10% of Apple's annual earnings.

35 years of chiptune's influence on electronic music

It can be hard to write about the music of videogames while we are bathed in the projected glory of today's high-definition, 4K, 60-frames-per-second photorealistic graphics. And given that in the roots of videogaming we find an often eerily quiet world, perhaps it's not surprising that we sometimes forget that there's an audio in audio-visual.

New 5G transmitter 20 times more efficient than the previous ones

In the future, the coverage of a single base station has to be reduced because of the rapidly increasing number of mobile devices. This reduces the size of base stations, but increases their number, which makes the price, size and power consumption requirements of base stations and mobile phones converge.

Research group developing a rechargeable magnesium/iodine battery for daily consumer use

Batteries – can you image how cumbersome the world would be without them? Without any moving parts, batteries convert chemical energy into electricity, making everyday life more expedient. However, lengthy charging times and short overall battery life can be a burden.

Development of image-analysis technology with AI for real-time identity detection and tracking

Hitachi, Ltd. today announced the development of a detection and tracking technology using artificial intelligence (AI) which can distinguish an individual in real-time using features from over 100 categories of external characteristics such as sex, color of clothing or carried items, and immediately detect and track the person sought after individual. Using this technology, it will be possible to detect a suspicious individual or a lost child using information from eye-witness accounts to detect a person fitting that description from public security cameras set up in large facilities or city areas. Further, by analyzing the entire image of the person detected, it will be possible to follow the person from camera images where only the rear-view is captured and the face cannot be seen, or the person is captured from a distance. Hitachi will apply this technology to wide-area security and surveillance systems such as those in public areas, contribute to public safety and security.

New safety technology enables teamwork

Until now, heavy-duty robots have always been housed in separate work areas to safeguard factory employee safety. Researchers at Fraunhofer want to change that with an ingenious security concept and intelligent robot control. This technology will enable people and robots to collaborate as a team. The researchers will present this concept at the Hannover Messe from April 24-28 (Hall 17, Booth C18).

Justices won't hear appeal in music copyright dispute

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from record companies that want to pursue copyright infringement claims against music site Vimeo for hosting unauthorized recordings from the Beatles, Elvis Presley and other classic artists.

Uber suspends self-driving car program in 2 states

Uber says its self-driving cars remains suspended in Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, following a crash over the weekend.

Manufacturer: Drones should transmit identifier for security

The world's largest manufacturer of civilian drones is proposing that the craft continually transmit identification information to help government security agencies and law enforcement figure out which might belong to rogue operators.

France's classic 2CV car gets special edition—in wood

A wooden replica of Citroen's iconic "2CV", crafted by a French cabinetmaker using a mix of lumbers including apple, pear and cherry, is ready to hit the road.

Samsung to sell refurbished safety-recalled Note 7 phones

Samsung announced Monday it would sell some Note 7 smartphones that were recalled for safety reasons as refurbished devices, in an effort to manage its stockpile in an "environmentally friendly" manner.

Uber resumes self-driving car program after brief suspension

Uber says it is resuming its self-driving car program in Arizona and Pittsburgh after it was suspended following a crash over the weekend.

Lawsuit: Hackers stole customer data at 1,000 Arby's stores

A Connecticut couple says Georgia-based Arby's restaurants failed to prevent hackers from stealing customer information at hundreds of its stores.

Colombia 'panic buttons' expose activists

It is supposed to help protect human-rights activists, labor organizers and journalists working in risky environments, but a GPS-enabled "panic button" that Colombia's government has issued to about 400 people could be exposing them to more peril.

Owner of Silicon Valley staffing firm charged in visa fraud

The owner of a company that supplied foreign workers to San Francisco Bay Area technology companies is facing visa fraud charges after filing fake documents to bring people to the United States, the U.S Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Archival photos offer research value

A crowdmapping project developed by EPFL and HEIG-VD gives volunteers the chance to compare the Switzerland of the 1960s with that of today through archival photos. An exhibition organized by EPFL's Modern Construction Archives will show the research implications of these historical photos.

Flowing transition between design and simulation

The individualized mass production up to the individual item is a promise of the future delivered by Industrie 4.0. It can only be implemented if there are suitable test methods for the feasibility of individual designs. At the Hannover Messe 2017 from April 24 to 28, 2017, Fraunhofer researchers will present a simulation solution that automatically determines whether the customer's desired design can be realized (Hall 7, Booth D11).

Carnegie Mellon's CyLab challenges high school students to give hacking a try

Carnegie Mellon University aims to build a talent pipeline into the cyber workforce by introducing computer security skills to middle and high school students through picoCTF, a free, online hacking contest that starts March 31, 2017. Now in its third year, the virtual game of capture the flag (CTF) has previously drawn nearly 30,000 people.

Medicine & Health news

Stem cell therapy helps some men with erectile dysfunction

Men unable to have an erection after prostate surgery enjoyed normal intercourse thanks to stem cell therapy, scientists are to report Saturday at a medical conference in London.

Playing to beat the blues: Video games viable treatment for depression

Video games and "brain training" applications are increasingly touted as an effective treatment for depression. A new UC Davis study carries it a step further, though, finding that when the video game users were messaged reminders, they played the game more often and in some cases increased the time spent playing.

Researchers discover brain structure that helps us to understand what others think

By the age of four years we suddenly start to understand what other people think and that their beliefs about the world might differ from our own. We then manage to do what 3-year-olds are not yet capable of – we can put ourselves in someone else's shoes. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig were able to show what supports this milestone in development: the maturation of a critical fibre connection in the brain.

Research suggests a possible role for a storm of 'jumping genes' in ALS

By inserting an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-linked human gene called TDP-43 into fruit flies, researchers at Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory discovered a potential role for 'transposons' in the disease. Transposons, which are also called 'jumping genes' because they jump from place to place within DNA, are virus-like entities that fill most of the spaces between genes in an organism. The new research demonstrates that these transposons are no longer effectively inhibited, resulting in a storm of jumping genes, leading to DNA damage accumulation and cell death. The research, published in the current issue of PLOS Genetics, may be a clue to the genetic processes of ALS and the idea that anti-transposon systems may collapse in individuals with ALS.

Improving memory with magnets

The ability to remember sounds, and manipulate them in our minds, is incredibly important to our daily lives—without it we would not be able to understand a sentence, or do simple arithmetic. New research is shedding light on how sound memory works in the brain, and is even demonstrating a means to improve it.

New genetic risk factors identify two distinct glioma subtypes

An international consortium of researchers led by Dr. Melissa Bondy, professor of medicine, associate director for population sciences at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center and McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine, has conducted the largest study to date of malignant brain tumors looking for genetic markers of glioma, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. In 2017, approximately 24,000 people will be diagnosed with malignant brain tumors and 17,000 will die from the disease in the United States. The most common form of malignant brain tumor is glioblastoma, which has a 5-year survival rate of less than 6 percent.

How randomness helps cancer cells thrive

In a research effort that merged genetics, physics and information theory, a team at the schools of medicine and engineering at The Johns Hopkins University has added significantly to evidence that large regions of the human genome have built-in variability in reversible epigenetic modifications made to their DNA.

Study provides path for new immunotherapy approaches to prostate cancer

Prostate cancer, notoriously resistant to immunotherapy due to its immunologically cool nature, triggers two pathways to chill an immune attack after one immunotherapy drug fires up the immune system, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report in Nature Medicine.

New tool allows analysis of single-cell RNA data in pre-malignant tumours

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists and their collaborators have developed a new analysis tool that was able to show, for the first time, which genes were expressed by individual cells in different genetic versions of a benign blood cancer.

MicroRNA treatment restores nerve insulation, limb function in mice with multiple sclerosis

Scientists partially re-insulated ravaged nerves in mouse models of multiple sclerosis (MS) and restored limb mobility by treating the animals with a small non-coding RNA called a microRNA.

Insight into cause of brain disorders may aid quest for treatments

Fresh discoveries about a range of neurological disorders may inform the development of new therapies.

A new test to rapidly identify worldwide tuberculosis infections

Tuberculosis (TB), once better known as consumption for the way its victims wasted away, has a long and deadly history, with estimates indicating it may have killed more people than any other bacterial pathogen.

Longer telomeres protect against diseases of aging: A tale of mice and men

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes discovered a key mechanism that protects mice from developing a human disease of aging, and begins to explain the wide spectrum of disease severity often seen in humans. Both aspects center on the critical role of telomeres, protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that erode with age.

Major genetic study identifies 12 new genetic variants for ovarian cancer

A genetic trawl through the DNA of almost 100,000 people, including 17,000 patients with the most common type of ovarian cancer, has identified 12 new genetic variants that increase risk of developing the disease and confirmed the association of 18 of the previously published variants.

'Medicinal food' diet counters onset of type 1 diabetes

Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute researchers have led an international study that found - for the first time - that a diet yielding high amounts of the short-chain fatty acids acetate and butyrate provided a beneficial effect on the immune system and protected against type 1 or juvenile diabetes.

Breast-feeding may not lead to smarter preschoolers

(HealthDay)—Breast-feeding may not make kids sharper or better behaved than their non-nursed peers over the long-term, a new study suggests.

Cookbooks give readers (mostly) bad advice on food safety

A recent study finds that bestselling cookbooks offer readers little useful advice about reducing food-safety risks, and that much of the advice they do provide is inaccurate and not based on sound science.

Psychologists enlist machine learning to help diagnose depression

Depression affects more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, each year. It is the leading cause of disability for those between the ages of 15 and 44.

Detecting mutations could lead to earlier liver cancer diagnosis

In many parts of the world, including Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, exposure to a fungal product called aflatoxin is believed to cause up to 80 percent of liver cancer cases. This fungus is often found in corn, peanuts, and other crops that are dietary staples in those regions.

Study shows potential of stem cell therapy to repair lung damage

A new study has found that stem cell therapy can reduce lung inflammation in an animal model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis. Although, still at a pre-clinical stage, these findings have important potential implications for the future treatment of patients.

Immunotherapy drug becomes first therapy approved by FDA for rare skin cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday granted accelerated approval to the checkpoint inhibitor Bavencio (avelumab) for the treatment of patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), including those who have not received prior chemotherapy. Avelumab is the first FDA-approved treatment for metastatic MCC and the first disease that the drug has ever been approved to treat.

From the classroom to the NICU: Real-world neuroscience opening new avenues

When going to the movies with a group of friends, one small action can make a big difference when it comes to being on the same page after the movie: eye contact. A simple conversation before the movie sets you up to be more in sync with your friends after the movie.

Identifying genes key to human memory: Insights from genetics and cognitive neuroscience

Researchers have identified more than 100 genes important for memory in people. The study is the first to identify correlations between gene data and brain activity during memory processing, providing a new window into human memory.

Children, youth born in Canada at higher risk of unintentional gun injury than immigrants

Children and youth born in Canada are at higher risk of unintentional injury from guns compared with immigrant children and youth, although certain subgroups of immigrants and refugees are at higher risk of assault-related injury, found a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Are tree nut allergies diagnosed too often?

Many patients with a history of a single tree nut allergy are told to avoid all other tree nuts. But is that necessary? If you have a tree nut allergy and were advised to avoid other tree nuts based only on a positive blood or skin prick test, you may not be allergic to the other nuts. New research strongly suggests you should consider having an oral food challenge to properly diagnose additional nut allergies, especially if you've never had a reaction to eating those tree nuts before.

'Scared' father of Bangladesh 'tree girl' ends treatment

A young Bangladeshi girl diagnosed with a rare condition known as "tree man syndrome" has left hospital, her father told AFP Monday, saying he feared she would never be cured.

Simple pre-treatment ensures safe neural cell transplants

Stem cell and progenitor cell neural studies have shown great promise for cell-based treatments of central nervous system disorders. However while transplants have demonstrated initial success in retrieving motor function, tumor-like overgrowth of the cells was found to follow so that the motor function began to deteriorate again. Now Masaya Nakamura, Hideyuki Okano and their colleagues at Keio University have demonstrated a simple treatment that can prevent these tumors forming.

No 'weekend admission effect' for the elderly sustaining broken hips in the NHS

New research has found NHS patients admitted to hospital at the weekend with a hip fracture are at no greater risk of death compared to weekdays. In fact, the risk of death during the hospital stay was lower at the weekend than in the week. Only a delay to surgery; undergoing surgery on a Sunday, when provision for operations in many hospitals is less, being discharged from hospital on a Sunday; or out of hours were associated with an increased risk of death at 30 days.

Restaurants pledged to make kids' meals healthier – but the data show not much has changed

Chain restaurants are not known for serving up healthy kids' meals. Most entrees on a kids' menu are either fried, breaded or doused in cheese. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rare side dish options, and French fries abound.

Pay people to stop smoking? It works, especially in vulnerable groups

Cigarette smoking in the U.S. has dropped dramatically since the landmark publication of the 1964 U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking and health. This has led to improved health for millions of Americans.

Drug could slow motor neuron disease

A drug with the potential to delay the progression of motor neuron disease (MND) could be in human trials within three years.

Tuberculosis—the disease of antiquity

In the time it takes to read this article, half a dozen people will have died from tuberculosis (TB).

Moderate drinkers not at risk when taking a widely-used arthritis medicine

People taking a common rheumatoid arthritis medicine are not at increased risk of liver damage if they stick to 14 units of alcohol a week or fewer, a new study from The University of Manchester has found.

Millions of Australian adults are unvaccinated and it's increasing disease risk for all of us

Public attention has recently focused on improving vaccination rates in Australian infants and children. But actually the largest unvaccinated group of people recommended for immunisation are adults.

Study finds parents' perceptions play key role in teens' driving preparedness

Preparing teens for safe independent driving could save lives, though historically there has been very little research to guide parents of teens with learner permits.

Cell therapy approach could lead to novel treatments for asthma

The incidence of asthma is increasing steadily, especially in developed countries. One of the reasons given for this rise is excessive levels of hygiene. Epidemiological studies have, indeed, shown that exposure to a so-called "non-hygienic" environment, rich in microbes, plays a protective role against the development of allergies, including asthma. Conversely, an excessively hygienic environment predisposes children to asthma, although the reasons are not known. In allergic reactions such as asthma, the immune system does not function properly and overreacts to harmful allergens present in the environment (pollens, mites, etc.).

Which drugs effectively treat diabetic nerve pain?

A federal health agency has found certain antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs are among medications that effectively treat diabetic nerve pain. The research is being published simultaneously in the March 24, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and in a more comprehensive report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Children with poor vitamin B12 status early in life struggle more with tasks, recognition and interpreting feelings

Small children with low levels of vitamin B12 had more difficulties solving cognitive tests, such as the ability to do puzzles, recognize letters and interpret other children's feelings.

Medicine, engineering researchers use facial expression software to help measure pain felt by newborns

For generations, nurses tending to newborns have been able to tell the subtle difference between a baby's cry of hunger and that of pain.

Hepatitis C drug faces fresh battle

Medical groups mounted a new legal bid Monday to break a US pharma giant's hold on a hepatitis C drug whose price—costing thousands of dollars for a typical course—has unleashed a fierce patent battle.

Malaria kills 150 in Zimbabwe after heavy rains

At least 150 people have died of malaria in Zimbabwe over the past two months, with nearly 90,000 infections recorded, a government official said Monday, blaming the upsurge on intense rains.

High burden of iodine deficiency found in Israel's first national survey

62 percent of school-age children and 85 percent of pregnant women in Israel have low iodine intakes, according to the country's first national iodine survey. Government funding and legislation, and a government-regulated program of salt or food iodization, are essential to reducing the deficiency, which poses a high risk of impaired neurological development.

Impact report shows healthy return on public medical research spending

Today the MRC has published its 2015/16 Economic Impact Report, detailing the positive impact on health, the wider society and the economy of investing in medical research.

Model simulates biliary fluid dynamics in the liver and predicts drug-induced liver injuries

The liver is crucial for the detoxification of the human body. The exposure to toxins makes it particularly prone to drug-induced injury. Cholestasis, the impairment of bile flow, is therefore a common problem of drug development and occurs for example upon drug overdose. For this reason new active substances must be tested using animal research to prevent liver toxicity. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden have developed a multi-scale model that can simulate the fluid dynamic properties of bile in the liver. The model can help to characterize liver diseases as well as drug-induced injuries. The research team is now working on a strategy to calibrate this model to human biliary fluid dynamics. Although animal research will continue to be necessary, the model could contribute to reducing the need for animal research in the future.

Rare genetic forms of obesity more numerous, diverse than previously thought

A new study led by researchers from McMaster University has shown that, while relatively rare in the general population, there are a large number of varied, genetic syndromes associated with obesity.

Researchers warn of hazards of smoking and need for wider use of varenicline to quit

More than 35 million Americans are trying to quit smoking. Smoking cigarettes causes 480,000 premature deaths each year due mainly to a two-fold risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20-fold risk of lung cancer. In a commentary published in the current issue of the American Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University reassure clinicians and their patients that varenicline, whose brand name is Chantix, is a safe and effective way to achieve smoking cessation and that failure to use this drug has caused preventable heart attacks and deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Proteomics helps to understand the influence of genetic variations

How does type 2 diabetes develop? A team of researchers headed by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich has come closer to finding an answer to this problem. The team examined the functional effects of exemplary genetic variations relevant for type 2 diabetes. Their approach can be applied to many clinical pictures.

Scientists discover mechanism that causes cancer cells to self-destruct

Many cancer patients struggle with the adverse effects of chemotherapy, still the most prescribed cancer treatment. For patients with pancreatic cancer and other aggressive cancers, the forecast is more grim: there is no known effective therapy.

How do we get young men in vocational schools to eat healthy?

It is well-documented that young people in vocational schools eat less healthy than students in upper secondary schools, and many of these habits continue into adulthood. This pattern is particularly pronounced in men. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has therefore asked researchers at the MAPP Centre to examine how this group relates to healthy food, and how they can be motivated to improve their eating habits.

Liver fully recovers from a low protein diet

Damage caused to the liver by a low protein diet can be repaired, a new study just published in the prestigious journal Nutrition has found.

Analysis of antibiotics, appendectomy for uncomplicated appendicitis in kids

An analysis of several studies including 404 pediatric patients suggests antibiotic treatment for acute uncomplicated appendicitis was safe and effective in the majority of patients but the risk that antibiotic treatment would fail increased in patients with appendicolith, a calcified deposit in the appendix, according to a new article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Requirements for AEDs in US schools need improvement

Automated external defibrillators are associated with increased survival of sudden cardiac arrest when installed in schools, yet only 17 out of 50 U.S. states require AED installation in at least some of their schools, according to an analysis published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Gastric medications increase risk for recurrence of Clostridium difficile infection

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found patients who use gastric suppression medications are at a higher risk for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C-diff) infection. C-diff is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Less salt, fewer nighttime bathroom trips?

(HealthDay)—Lowering your salt intake could mean fewer trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, a new study suggests.

Is MRI the 'mammography' of prostate cancer screening?

(HealthDay)—MRI screening might greatly reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer in older men, a preliminary study suggests.

Advanced age need not deter surgery for cutaneous tumors

(HealthDay)—Surgery for cutaneous tumors under local anesthesia is as well tolerated in elderly patients 90 years and older as it is in patients aged 75 to 80 years old, according to a study published online March 21 in the International Journal of Dermatology.

Long-term thrombolytic Tx no benefit in intermediate-risk PE

(HealthDay)—Among patients with intermediate- to high-risk pulmonary embolism (PE), thrombolytic treatment with tenecteplase does not affect long-term mortality rates or rates of other complications, according to a study published in the March 28 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Surgical glue reinforcement OK for lap sleeve gastrectomy

(HealthDay)—Surgical glue is safe and cost-effective, compared to standard stapling, during laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, according to a study published online March 21 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Genetic hyperglycemia raises risk of coronary artery disease

(HealthDay)—Genetic predisposition to hyperglycemia raises the odds of coronary artery disease (CAD), independent of type 2 diabetes and other CAD risk factors, according to research published online March 15 in Diabetes Care.

Increased use of newer meds for diabetic nephropathy in the U.S.

(HealthDay)—From 2010 to 2014 there was an increase in use of diabetes medications, including sulfonylureas and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4 inhibitors), among patients with diabetic nephropathy, according to a study published online March 15 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Protein that regulates brain cell connections could be new target for treating Alzheimer's disease

In experiments with a protein called Ephexin5 that appears to be elevated in the brain cells of Alzheimer's disease patients and mouse models of the disease, Johns Hopkins researchers say removing it prevents animals from developing Alzheimer's characteristic memory losses. In a report on the studies, published online March 27 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers say the findings could eventually advance development of drugs that target Ephexin5 to prevent or treat symptoms of the disorder.

Internists issue recommendations for preventing and treating substance use disorders

The American College of Physicians (ACP) today released a paper with a comprehensive set of public policy recommendations for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders involving illicit and prescription drugs. The paper is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Health problems may increase as young people infected with HIV at birth get older

A new study has found that U.S. youth infected with HIV around the time of their birth are at higher risk throughout their adolescence and young adulthood for experiencing serious health problems, poor control of the HIV virus or death. The report, led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), has been published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

Paid medical malpractice claims decrease

Using data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a centralized database of paid malpractice claims that was created by Congress in 1986, physicians at Brigham and Women's Hospital analyzed the trends in paid medical malpractice claims for physicians in the United States from 1992 to 2014. This is the first analysis to evaluate paid claims by physician specialty at the national level. The findings are published in the March 27, 2017 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Brain activity can be used to predict reading success up to two years in advance

By measuring brainwaves, it is possible to predict what a child's reading level will be years in advance, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Researchers predict Zika hot spots in the US

Where in the continental United States is Zika most likely to occur?

Researchers show p300 protein may suppress leukemia in MDS patients

Scientists at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have shown that p300, a protein that increases gene expression by attaching acetyl molecules to DNA, may stop myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) from developing into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The study was published in the journal Leukemia.

Public-private research to develop more accurate ways of measuring cancer progression

Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian, in coordination with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) Biomarkers Consortium, is launching a three-year research collaboration to develop new methods for analyzing digital images that track a patient's response to cancer therapy.

Scientists discover new class of anti-diabetes compounds that reduce liver glucose production

Scientists may have found a new tool for studying—and maybe even treating—Type 2 diabetes, the form of diabetes considered responsible for close to 95 percent of cases in the United States.

A little nudge may provide a big boost to flu vaccination rates

Currently, only 44 percent of adults in the United States receive an annual flu vaccination. Though the rate has increased in recent years, the change has been slow and marginal. But, a new study suggests that a simple behavioral economics technique known as "active choice" may be able to help. In the study, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania programmed electronic health records (EHR) to alert care providers when a patient was eligible, and prompt them to choose to "accept" or "decline" a flu vaccination order. Results showed a six percent increase over clinics that did not use the alert system, representing a 37 percent relative increase in vaccinations from the prior year. The study is published online this month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Minority colorectal cancer patients report higher burden of poor quality-of-life

A study of racial disparities in health-related quality of life of colorectal cancer patients revealed among several findings, that Hispanics and blacks had a higher burden of poor health-related quality-of-life (HR-QoL) than white patients and that poor HR-QoL resulted in shorter median survival. Yet Hispanics had an average survival time of 85.4 months as compared to blacks at 47.8 months and whites at 43.2 months.

Florida officials: Aggressive efforts to stop Zika continue

Florida officials say they're continuing aggressive efforts to stop the spread of the Zika virus.

Curbing sleep apnea might mean fewer night trips to bathroom

(HealthDay)—Millions of Americans battle bothersome nighttime conditions, such as sleep apnea or the need to get up frequently to urinate.

UNC to create and test injectable long-acting implant to prevent HIV/AIDS

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have received a three-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new implantable drug delivery system for long-lasting HIV-prevention.

Health care law works in some ways, comes up short in others

Once again, "Obamacare" has survived a near-death experience. It won't be the end of the political debate, but House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledges, "We're going to be living with 'Obamacare' for the foreseeable future."

Some win and some lose with 'Obamacare' still around

The old and the poor made out great when House Republicans failed Friday to dismantle Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The rich and the almost rich didn't do so well.

New blow for Trump as Obamacare repeal bid collapses

President Donald Trump faced the biggest blow yet to his young presidency as his bid to repeal Obamacare went down in flames at the hands of rebel Republican lawmakers.

A novel animal model for analysing human natural killer cell functions in vivo

Natural killer (NK) cells which belong in innate immunity, play an important role for defense against invading pathogens and microbes. NK cells make up around 5-20% of the white blood cells circulating in the bloodstream and are also critical cells for 'immunosurveillance' in the process of cancer development. They are highly potent, and are capable of directly attacking tumors. Indeed, cancer treatments using this capacity of NK cells have already been developed.

Chronic imaging of brain activity in conscious monkeys

Observation of brain activity in the awake state is of great interest to scientists, particularly those studying progressive neurological disorders. Marmosets, small primates inhabiting South America, are very useful animal model for neuroscience research because of ease of handling with a small body size and high reproductive rate, but until recently it has proven difficult to image animal brains in awake state.

Living well in care homes

Treating elderly people in long-term care facilities with respect and dignity significantly increases their quality of life, according to new research from Massey University, in partnership with Metlifecare.

An increasing proportion of women who are 60+ years of age are drinking

Most older Americans drink alcohol. Given that this segment of the population is projected to almost double by 2050, reaching 112 million, in the future, there will likely be many more older drinkers in the United States than currently. Importantly, older individuals are more sensitive to alcohol's effects than their younger counterparts, and are also more likely to take prescription medications that can interact negatively with alcohol, potentially leading to falls and other injuries. This study examined trends in drinking status among U.S. adults 60 years of age and older.

Team develops 'calculator' to predict risk of early hospital readmission

Patients who are discharged after a hospital stay will want to stay away from the hospital for as long as possible. However, in Singapore, approximately 15 per cent of patients who have been discharged from hospitals will succumb to a readmission within 30 days, while globally, readmission rates within 30 days can be as high as 20 per cent.

The skin cancer screening paradigm: Reviewing current guidelines for detecting melanoma in the US

The Future Science Group (FSG) journal Melanoma Management, today announces the publication of a new perspective article, in which over 50 leaders in the dermatology field critically assess current screening practice for melanoma in the US.

Do patients want complementary and alternative treatments and will they pay cash for them?

While complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine treatments such as acupuncture and massage therapy are usually offered in outpatient settings, a new study has shown that the majority of hospitalized patients perceived such integrative services to be helpful. The study, which also examined whether patients would pay out of their own pockets for these services, is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

New collaboration looks for trans-Atlantic common ground in geriatrics

Healthcare professionals across the Atlantic and around the world need to think beyond single-disease guidelines as they look to provide high-quality, person-centered care for more and more older adults living with multiple chronic conditions, so say editors from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatrics Society's (BGS's) Age and Ageing in the first from a series of joint editorials launched today. The series will look for common ground in geriatrics "across the pond," beginning here with the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on multimorbidity, the medical term for those living with several chronic health concerns.

Implementing large-scale teleretinal diabetic retinopathy screening program

Can a large-scale, primary care-based teleretinal diabetic retinopathy screening (TDRS) program reduce wait times for screening and improve the timeliness of care in the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the largest publicly operated county safety net health care system in the United States?

A virtual glucose management service significantly improved glycemic control in hospitalized patients

Implementation of a virtual glucose management service (vGMS) was associated with significant improvements in glycemic control among hospitalized patients. The system utilized electronic medical records (EMRs) to review patient insulin/glucose charts and dispatch recommendations for managing patients with hyper- or hypoglycemia. The findings of an observational study are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Emotion: An important link to HIV prevention in Black adolescents with mental illnesses

Nearly half of all US adolescents aged 13 to 19 are sexually active. But black adolescents, who represent only 14 percent of that population, account for 63 percent of new cases of HIV among adolescents. In addition, it's estimated that more than 2 million adolescents, many of whom are sexually active, experience a major depressive episode. Could unique psychological factors that hamper emotional regulation help explain differences in HIV/STI risk-related sexual behaviors among heterosexually active black youth with mental illnesses?

Research addresses the threat of Zika virus to the US blood supply

Investigators have shown that certain screening methods that detect the genetic material of Zika virus can be used to ensure that donated blood supplies remain free of the virus.

Biology news

Researchers discover 'switch' that allows microbes to recognize kin

How one-celled microbes recognize their kin is described in a paper by University of Wyoming scientists and published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Proteins hiding in proteins take an evolutionary shortcut

How a drug-like protein ring evolved in sunflowers has been pieced together by Australian and US scientists in a study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution. Although the evolutionary process took some 45 million years, the researchers are still calling it a shortcut.

Breakthrough in 'amphibian plague': Deadly fungus genes identified

Scientists have identified the genes of a deadly fungus that is decimating salamander and newt populations in Northern Europe.

Bigger brains help social primates to make up after a fight, study says

Social primates with bigger brains are likely to use their added cerebral power to cope with conflict, a study from The University of Manchester has revealed.

New rice strain could help farmers predetermine harvest time

A new strain of rice that flowers within a certain period of time after being sprayed with commercial chemicals commonly used to protect rice from fungal diseases is now available, say Japanese scientists. This new strain could one day allow rice farmers to dictate the timing of their harvest regardless of weather, temperature and other conditions that currently affect cultivation.

Friction shapes zebrafish embryos

A simple ball of cells is the starting point for humans—and zebrafish. At the end of embryonic development, however, a fish and a human look very different. The biochemical signals at play have been studied extensively. How mechanical forces on the other hand shape the embryo is the subject of a study by Carl-Philipp Heisenberg, Professor at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), and his group, including first author and postdoc Michael Smutny.

Why are primates big-brained? Researchers' answer is food for thought

Brain size in primates is predicted by diet, an analysis by a team of New York University anthropologists indicates. These results call into question "the social brain hypothesis," which has posited that humans and other primates are big-brained due to factors pertaining to sociality.

Trail cams used to monitor predators of deer fawns

Deer fawns in Pennsylvania face a cruel reality—only half of them survive until their first birthday, and much of that mortality results from predation.

Conflict between the sexes maintains diversity in brain hormones

Men are from mars and women are from venus? Whiles this stereotype is extreme and controversial, gender differences in behaviour nonetheless are common in nature. Much variation in animal, including human, behaviour is regulated by expression of hormones and their receptors in brains.

Seabed conditions key to survival of juvenile cod, haddock and whiting

Links between seabed type and quality are closely related to the abundance and size of young commercially fished species such as cod, haddock and whiting.

Unrestricted improvements in fishing technology threaten the future of seafood

A study conducted by ICTA-UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) researcher Eric Galbraith shows that future improvement of fishing technology poses a threat for the global fishery that could be greater than climate change. The results suggest that we may have recently passed the peak of global catch, but could potentially maintain present levels through improved regulation of fisheries.

Adapting to changes in partner abundance

Many ant species live in often highly specific symbiotic relationships with plants from which both partners benefit. LMU researchers now reveal that such selective interactions can break down over the course of evolution.

Nitrogen foraging ability of plants relies on mobile shoot–root hormone signal

Nagoya University researchers discovered the molecular mechanisms underlying the shoot-to-root stage of nitrogen-demand signaling in plants. The team found that genes encoding CEPD polypeptides are switched on in the shoots in response to nitrogen starvation in the roots. These polypeptides then descend into the roots, and activate a nitrate transporter gene only if sufficient nitrate is available in the surrounding soil. These findings have implications for maximizing plant nutrient acquisition and improving agricultural productivity.

Scientists overcome inaccessibility of caves through molecular genetic approach

An international group of scientists has used a novel highly sensitive method for detection of environmental DNA in groundwater to extend the poorly known range of the rare subterranean amphibian from the Dinaric Karst. With this highly sensitive non-invasive method they discovered 12 new localities of the olm (Proteus anguinus). Their findings were published on 27th March 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports.

Wall lizard becomes accustomed to humans and stops hiding

Habituating to predators or fleeing and hiding are tactics that vary between species. Scientists from two research centres in Italy and Spain have observed that adult male common wall lizards sharing their living spaces with humans become accustomed to them and hide less when humans approach them. Yellow lizards were the most "daring".

Transgenic plants against malaria

Scientists have discovered a gene that allows to double the production of artemisinin in the Artemisia annua plant.The artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is the standard treatment for malaria worldwide, endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).The paper, published in The Plant Journal, represents an important step towards reducing artemisinin production costs.

Unique wheat passes the test

A unique, patented wheat can have significant importance to agriculture, the environment and undernourished people in developing countries. Animal tests recently demonstrated that this special wheat increases P and Ca digestibility.

Of Star Trek, Mark Twain and helmets: 15 new species of wasps with curious names

A total of fifteen new species of parasitic wasps have been described from across the Neotropical region. Apart from belonging to a peculiar group of wasps distinct with large and elongated bodies, the new insects also draw attention with the curious names they have been formally assigned with.

The first crowdfunded study in Japan: Micro X-ray observation of a fleshy brittle star

Not only have scientists from Japan performed the first non-destructive morphological observations on the Fleshy brittle star, Asteronyx loveni, using micro X-ray tomography, but they also published their research as the first study supported via crowdfunding in the Asian country.

For the birds: New prediction method sheds brighter light on flight

Resembling a feathered flying ace with his miniature protective goggles and chinstrap, the parrotlet named Obie stood ready to take off. On signal, Obie propelled into the air, flapped through a laser field infused with microparticles and landed on another perch three feet away.

Satellites reveal bird habitat loss in California

Drought and reduced seasonal flooding of wetlands and farm fields threaten a globally important stopover site for tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds in California's Sacramento Valley, a new Duke University-led study shows.

Bird flu found in chicken flock at northwest Georgia farm

About 18,000 chickens were destroyed at a northwest Georgia poultry farm after tests confirmed avian influenza in the flock, the first time the disease has been detected in commercial birds in the state, authorities said Monday.

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