Monday, March 6, 2017

Science X Newsletter Monday, Mar 6

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 6, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Physicists extend quantum machine learning to infinite dimensions

Nanoparticle colloid systems in molten inorganic salts

FORPHEUS robot from Omron is a table tennis coach

Researchers investigate chemical composition of globular cluster NGC 6362

Best of Last Week–New form of matter, world's oldest fossil found and a new opioid that doesn't have any side efffects

IBM announces world's first commercial 'universal' quantum-computing service

Wasp offspring found to take on the personality of the queen

Carmakers rev up emissions cuts as tough rules loom

Elon Musk: tech dreamer reaching for sun, moon and stars

Political affiliation, weight influence your opinion on fighting obesity, study finds

Soy food consumption linked to prolonged survival in some breast cancer patients

CXBN-2 CubeSat to embark on an important X-ray astronomy mission

Electronic energy meters' false readings almost six times higher than actual energy consumption

Gravity wave detection with atomic clocks

Artificial data give the same results as real data—without compromising privacy

Astronomy & Space news

Researchers investigate chemical composition of globular cluster NGC 6362

European astronomers have recently studied the chemical composition of the low-mass globular cluster designated NGC 6362. Their detailed analysis of chemical abundances for 17 elements in the cluster provides important insights into the nature of NGC 6362. The findings were presented March 1 in a paper published online on

CXBN-2 CubeSat to embark on an important X-ray astronomy mission

A university-built small satellite known as the Cosmic X-Ray Background NanoSat-2 (CXBN-2) is being prepared for an ambitious upcoming science mission. The spacecraft – scheduled for launch into space on March 19 – is expected to deliver crucial data that could advance our knowledge about the cosmic X-ray background (CXB).

Gravity wave detection with atomic clocks

The recent detection of gravitation waves (GW) from the merger of two black holes of about thirty solar-masses each with the ground-based LIGO facility has generated renewed enthusiasm for developing even more sensitive measurement techniques. Ground-based GW instruments have widely spaced sensors that can detect sub-microscopic changes in their separation—better than one part in a billion trillion, They suffer, however, from the noise produced by small ground tremors—vibrations from natural or man-made sources that ripple through the precisely tuned detectors. The vibrations most difficult to compensate for are those that change relatively slowly, at frequencies around once a second or less, yet astronomers predict that GW sources producing these slow variations should be interesting and abundant, from compact stellar-mass binary stars to gravitational events in the early universe.

Synthetic biology to help colonize Mars

Shannon Dangle finished her PhD ready to take on a new challenge and set her sights on research to help make Mars colonization possible. But she isn't pursuing research on rocket fuels or space suits. She's using synthetic biology to improve biomanufacturing of needed resources using simple inputs like sunlight, water, and CO2.

NASA's plans to explore Europa and other "ocean worlds"

Earlier this week, NASA hosted the "Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop" at their headquarters in Washington, DC. Running from Monday to Wednesday – February 27th to March 1st – the purpose of this workshop was to present NASA's plans for the future of space exploration to the international community. In the course of the many presentations, speeches and panel discussions, many interesting proposals were shared.

How a mineral found in Martian meteorites may provide clues to ancient abundance of water

Mars may have been a wetter place than previously thought, according to research on simulated Martian meteorites conducted, in part, at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

A new look at the nature of dark matter

The nature of the dark matter which apparently makes up 80% of the mass of the particles in the universe is still one of the great unsolved mysteries of present day sciences. The lack of experimental evidence, which could allow us to identify it with one or other of the new elementary particles predicted by the theorists, as well as the recent discovery of gravitational waves coming from the merging of two black holes (with masses some 30 times that of the Sun) by LIGO the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) have revived interest in the possibility that dark matter might take the form of primordial black holes with masses between 10 and 1000 times that of the Sun.

Star clusters discovery could upset the astronomical applecart

The discovery of young stars in old star clusters could send scientists back to the drawing board for one of the Universe's most common objects.

Cosmic environments and their influence in star formation

The scaffolding that holds the large-scale structure of the universe constitutes galaxies, dark matter and gas (from which stars are forming), organized in complex networks known as the cosmic web. This network comprises dense regions known as galaxy clusters and groups that are woven together through thread-like structures known as filaments. These filaments form the backbone of the cosmic web and host a large fraction of the mass in the universe, as well as sites of star formation activity.

Cryovolcanism on dwarf planet Ceres

Among the most striking features on the surface of Ceres are the bright spots in the center of Occator crater which stood out already as NASA's space probe Dawn approached the dwarf planet. Scientists under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) have now for the first time determined the age of this bright material, which consists mainly of deposits of special mineral salts. With about four million years only, these deposits are about 30 million years younger than the crater itself. This, as well as the distribution and nature of the bright material within the crater, suggests that Occator crater has been the scene of eruptive outbursts of subsurface brine over a long period and until almost recently. Ceres is thus the body closest to the Sun that shows cryovolcanic activity.

Image: BepiColombo solar wing deployment test

The BepiColombo mission to Mercury is undergoing final testing at ESA's technical centre in the Netherlands prior to its launch from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana in October 2018.

Image: Hubble showcases a remarkable galactic hybrid

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image showcases the remarkable galaxy UGC 12591. UGC 12591 sits somewhere between a lenticular and a spiral. It lies just under 400 million light-years away from us in the westernmost region of the Pisces–Perseus Supercluster, a long chain of galaxy clusters that stretches out for hundreds of light-years—one of the largest known structures in the cosmos.

Image: Kourou, French Guiana

The Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite takes us over Kourou in French Guiana, with the main town of the same name visible in the lower right.

System to detect and localise all ships in European seas

A European project is coming close to the validation of a prototype of 'Passive bistatic radar' (PBR) technology based on Galileo transmissions. Once finalised, the new system could help relevant authorities to assure better maritime surveillance, detecting and localising, even of non-indexed ships.

World's 1st woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, turns 80

Russia on Monday honored the world's first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, who recalled tense moments of her pioneering mission on her 80th birthday.

Technology news

FORPHEUS robot from Omron is a table tennis coach

These days finding a partner for a good game of table tennis does not mean having to depend on human players; you can play with a robot. However, Omron has developed a table tennis robot that is quite special. OK, it can return the ball but this robot has the edge because it is not just an adept companion. It is an intelligent coach.

IBM announces world's first commercial 'universal' quantum-computing service

IBM has announced its plans to begin offering the world's first commercial universal quantum-computing service—called IBM Q, the system will be made available to those who wish to use it for a fee sometime later this year. The new system will build on IBM's Quantum Experience, a software development platform for programmers and developers interested in designing and building actual quantum-based applications.

Carmakers rev up emissions cuts as tough rules loom

Global carmakers, stung by emissions scandals, are racing to hunt down every gram of harmful CO2 spewed out on the roads as tougher pollution rules kick in.

Elon Musk: tech dreamer reaching for sun, moon and stars

Sending tourists for a trip around the moon is the latest big idea launched by Elon Musk, a Silicon Valley star known for turning his passions into visionary enterprises.

Electronic energy meters' false readings almost six times higher than actual energy consumption

Some electronic energy meters can give false readings that are up to 582% higher than actual energy consumption. This emerged from a study carried out by the University of Twente (UT), in collaboration with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS). Professor Frank Leferink of the UT estimates that potentially inaccurate meters have been installed in the meter cabinets of at least 750,000 Dutch households. The is published in the scientific journal IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Magazine.

Artificial data give the same results as real data—without compromising privacy

Although data scientists can gain great insights from large data sets—and can ultimately use these insights to tackle major challenges—accomplishing this is much easier said than done. Many such efforts are stymied from the outset, as privacy concerns make it difficult for scientists to access the data they would like to work with.

Good news in an era of fake news—the public is becoming wiser about how the media works

Storytelling is a key part of human culture. Where politics and power are concerned, stories become something not only to be told, but to be shaped and influenced – so that, in many cases, they are used to mislead or deceive. Recent research for a lecture on "fake news" led me to wonder if there was a reason why it seems to spike at certain times. I came to the conclusion that three main factors seem to create the conditions for fake news to surge: a step change in communication or communication technology coupled with political uncertainty and armed conflict.

Post-print customization of 3-D prints

Three-dimensional printing makes all conceivable varieties of layered, three-dimensional objects possible, a benefit appreciated by industry and private users alike. However, once an object is printed, any freedom of design is a thing of the past and the workpiece can no longer be modified. To address this restriction, computer scientists at Saarland University are working on the integration of specifically developed components at predefined points within such 3-D objects, a technique that makes alterations to the object possible even after printing. Their novel procedure is being presented at the CeBIT computer fair from March 20 to 24 in Hannover, Germany (Hall 6, Stand E28).

Virtual characters that touch you are seen as being warmer and friendlier

Touch is a basic need. A University of Twente study has shown that virtual characters that can touch you are seen as being warmer and friendlier.

Light the way you were meant to see it

Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis, wasn't looking for enlightenment when he wandered into a Buddhist temple in Thailand a few years ago. He was touring Thailand as a distinguished visiting professor at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi's school of architecture. He'd never been to a temple in his life.

Algorithm identified Trump as 'not-married'

Scientists from Russia and Singapore have created an algorithm that predicts user marital status with 86 percent precision using data from three social networks instead of one. While testing, the program identified Donald Trump, the 45th U.S. President, who is actually married, as single. According to the developers, this inconsistency arose because of Trump's abnormal activity in the media. The businessman seems to use Twitter like a bachelor. The study was reported at the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in San Francisco.

Imaging the inner workings of a sodium-metal sulfide battery for first time

Sometimes understanding how a problem arises in the first place is key to finding its solution. For a team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, taking this approach led them to the cause of degraded performance in an operating sodium-ion battery.

Space energy technology restored to make power stations more efficient

Satellite-powering technology that was abandoned decades ago has been reinvented to potentially work with traditional power stations to help them convert heat to electricity more efficiently, meaning we would need less fossil fuel to burn for power. A new study in Nano Energy presents a prototype energy converter, which uses graphene instead of metal, making it almost seven times more efficient.

A new approach to improving lithium-sulfur batteries

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are the power behind most modern portable electronics, including cell phones, tablets, laptops, fitness trackers, and smart watches. However, their energy density—that is, the amount of energy stored within a given amount of physical space, or mass—will need to be improved for these batteries to see widespread use in smart grid and electric transport applications.

Secret Uber software steers drivers from stings

Uber on Friday acknowledged the use of a secret software program to steer drivers away from trouble, including sting operations by local authorities to catch lawbreakers.

US suspends fast-track processing for highly skilled H-1B visa

US authorities are temporarily suspending the speedy, premium processing of a visa which is often used by tech firms to recruit foreign skilled workers.

Hypercars mingle with station wagons at Geneva auto show

Europe's automakers face huge questions: the impact of Britain's decision to leave the European Union, President Donald Trump's proposed border tax on imports, the uncertain prospects for electric vehicles.

Virtual reality training for 'safety-critical' jobs

New virtual reality training could help prevent accidents in "safety-critical" industries like the NHS, aviation, the military and nuclear power.

Russian library digitizes collection of the oldest printed books

Scientists at the TSU Research Library have digitized and issued a collection of 26 incunabula—early printed books published in Europe before 1501. One of these books, a medieval textbook about poetic dimensions published in 1500, is very rare. Only two copies of this edition are known in the world.

The promise of driverless cars

If you happen to live Pittsburgh in the US or Milton Keynes in the UK, then you may occasionally see one of the driverless, or self-driving, cars that are currently being tested around the world.

New approach for matching production and consumption of renewable electricity

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is coordinating the BALANCE project, which brings together leading European research institutes in the field of electrochemical conversion. The project aims to demonstrate a technology that enables flexible storage of large amount of renewable power. Such technologies are needed for the further integration of additional wind and solar power. The European Commission funds the project by 2.5 million euros.

Descriptions of cloud services affect our reality

Cloud services are now quite taken for granted in many people's everyday lives. What most people probably do not realise is that how we talk about these services is related to how they are actually perceived and taken for granted. Maria Lindh, new doctor at the University of Borås, has analysed these relationships.

From teenager to pensioner—the green energy crowdfunders

Boosting the use of renewable energy has long been an ambition in Europe, but some efforts have powered down amid an ever-changing political landscape and dwindling finances. Now, crowdfunding is pulling in a new generation of green investors

Crunching "sustainable" cookies

The bakery industry is a large supplier of jobs and revenue, but on the other side of the coin, it is hungry for energy.

The Darknet protects itself by being more robust against attacks

The Darknet is a part of the internet that people can access and use anonymously. This privacy and the ability to work away from prying eyes means that the network is frequently used for anonymous exchanges of sensitive information and for illegal activities such as drug trafficking, sharing child pornography or exchanging protected intellectual property free of charge.

New deep learning techniques analyze athletes' decision-making

Sports analytics is routinely used to assign values to such things as shots taken or to compare player performance, but a new automated method based on deep learning techniques - developed by researchers at Disney Research, California Institute of Technology and STATS, a supplier of sports data - will provide coaches and teams with a quicker tool to help assess defensive athletic performance in any game situation.

Fitbit tracks your steps; now it wants to chart your Zs, too

Fitbit, whose devices encourage people to walk 10,000 steps each day, now wants to put them to sleep as well.

Norway says half of new cars now electric or hybrid

Norway, which already boasts the world's highest number of electric cars per capita, said Monday that electric or hybrid cars represented half of new registrations in the country so far this year.

Google vows fix for 'inappropriate' search results

Google said Monday it was working to fix a search algorithm glitch that produced "inappropriate and misleading" results from its search engine and connected speaker.

One in 5 residents overuses electricity at neighbors' expense

Household electricity use falls by more than 30% when residents are obliged to pay for their own personal consumption. This is shown in a new study by researchers at Uppsala University's and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Robot uses social feedback to fetch objects intelligently

If someone asks you to hand them a wrench from a table full of different sized wrenches, you'd probably pause and ask, "which one?" Robotics researchers from Brown University have now developed an algorithm that lets robots do the same thing—ask for clarification when they're not sure what a person wants.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats resist ransom in cyberattack

Pennsylvania's top state Senate Democrat said Monday that no ransom has been paid to resolve a cyberattack that shut down the caucus' network and prompted an FBI investigation.

GM sells European brands to France's Peugeot

General Motors is selling its unprofitable European car business to the French maker of Peugeot, marking the American company's retreat from a major market and raising concerns of job cuts in the region.

Medicine & Health news

Political affiliation, weight influence your opinion on fighting obesity, study finds

People's political leanings and their own weight shape opinions on obesity-related public policies, according to a new study by two University of Kansas researchers.

Soy food consumption linked to prolonged survival in some breast cancer patients

New research indicates that dietary soy products are safe and even beneficial for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings may help resolve controversies over soy's potential link to breast cancer outcomes.

Scientists show cognitive enhancing drugs can improve chess play

The first study to both show and measure the effects of cognitive-enhancing drugs such as modafinil, methylphenidate (best known under the trade name Ritalin), and caffeine, on chess play is being published in the March edition of the peer-reviewed journal European Neuropsychopharmacology. This shows significant cognitive improvements for modafinil and methylphenidate, and may have influence how these drugs are used off-label in a range of activities.

Pupillary response signals uncertainty during decision-making

Whether it involves stopping at a traffic light or diving into freezing water to save someone from drowning: many of our everyday problems require snap decisions in the face of uncertainty. When making decisions, it has been suggested that neurochemicals rapidly flood the brain and signal how uncertain somebody is about a choice. Researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf have now found evidence of such signalling using measurements of human pupil size. Their results are published in the latest edition of Nature Communications.

Fluciclovine PET/CT improves radiotherapy targeting for recurrent prostate cancer

The featured clinical investigation article of the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine demonstrates that the PET radiotracer fluciclovine (fluorine-18; F-18) can help guide and monitor targeted treatment for recurrent prostate cancer, allowing for individualized, targeted therapy.

New method rescues donor organs to save lives

A multidisciplinary team led by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences at Columbia Engineering, and Matt Bacchetta, associate professor of surgery at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian has—for the first time—maintained a fully functional lung outside the body for several days. In a study published today on Nature Biomedical Engineering's website, the researchers describe the cross-circulation platform that maintained the viability and function of the donor lung and the stability of the recipient over 36 to 56 hours. They used the advanced support system to fully recover the functionality of lungs injured by ischemia (restricted blood supply), and made them suitable for transplant.

New blood test could help detect and locate cancer early on

Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a new blood test that could detect cancer—and locate where in the body the tumor is growing.

One-two punch may floor worst infections

McMaster University researchers have found a new way to treat the world's worst infectious diseases, the superbugs that are resistant to all known antibiotics.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's—a key discovery about human memory

As Superman flies over the city, people on the ground famously suppose they see a bird, then a plane, and then finally realize it's a superhero. But they haven't just spotted the Man of Steel - they've experienced the ideal conditions to create a very strong memory of him.

Available drug may protect ovaries and fertility from damage by chemotherapies

A drug already used to slow tumor growth may also prevent infertility caused by standard chemotherapies, according to a study published online March 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Patients with OCD have difficulty learning when a stimulus is safe

People who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are poorer at learning about the safety of a stimulus than healthy volunteers, which may contribute to their struggles to overcome compulsive behaviour, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

Cargo-carrying red blood cells alleviate autoimmune diseases in mice

Using red blood cells modified to carry disease-specific antigens, scientists in the laboratories of Hidde Ploegh (former Whitehead Member, currently Boston Children's Hospital) and Harvey Lodish (Whitehead Founding Member) have prevented and alleviated two autoimmune diseases—multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes—in early stage mouse models.

Brain cells show teamwork in short-term memory

Nerve cells in our brains work together in harmony to store and retrieve short-term memory, and are not solo artists as previously thought, Western-led brain research has determined.

Longer addiction treatment is better, study confirms

(HealthDay)—The longer patients receive treatment for addiction, the greater their chances of success, a new study finds.

Judgement bias in medical device recall decisions

(HealthDay)—The characteristics of the signal in user feedback of adverse events associated with medical devices and the situated context of decision makers correlate with judgement bias in reacting to these adverse events, according to research published online Jan. 29 in Production and Operations Management.

Tolerance develops in NSAID-induced urticaria/angioedema

(HealthDay)—Patients with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced urticaria/angioedema (NIUA) may develop tolerance to NSAIDs over time, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in Allergy.

Speech pathology telepractice beneficial in head, neck cancer

(HealthDay)—For patients with head and neck cancer, a multisite speech pathology telepractice service is associated with higher service efficiency and treatment satisfaction compared with standard care, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in Head & Neck.

Innovative treatment offers relief to children with frequent migraine headaches

A minimally invasive treatment for migraine headaches used for adults is also proving to be a safe and effective treatment for children and teenagers, and only takes minutes for a child to feel relief, according to new research being presented today at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting.

Push for healthier nail salons in California finding success

It was the swag-bags that convinced community health organizer Julia Liou to redraw the battle plan in a fight to reduce the hazardous chemical exposures of nail-salon workers, most of them low-paid Asian immigrant women.

Study identifies common gene variants associated with gallbladder cancer

By comparing the genetic code of gallbladder cancer patients with those of healthy volunteers at nearly 700,000 different locations in the genome, researchers say they have found several gene variants which may predispose individuals to develop the disease.

Minimally invasive, less expensive treatment for uterine fibroids underutilized

A large nationwide study examining the treatment of uterine fibroids shows that the uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive, image-guided treatment performed by interventional radiologists, is vastly underutilized, compared to hysterectomies—especially in rural and smaller hospitals. In fact, there were more than 65 times as many hysterectomies performed than UFEs, despite data showing that UFEs result in substantially lower costs and shorter hospital stays than hysterectomies, according to research presented today at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting.

Early periods associated with risk of gestational diabetes

The age at which girls start menstruating could flag a later risk of diabetes during pregnancy, according to a University of Queensland study

Smartphone interruptions: Are yours relentless and annoying?

Does your smartphone spew a relentless stream of text messages, push alerts, social media messages and other noisy notifications?

Zika virus in Canadian travellers more severe than expected

A new study sheds light on the acquisition and features of Zika virus in Canadian travellers, indicating it was as commonly confirmed as dengue in people returning from the Americas and the Caribbean but more severe than expected, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Ageing cheerleaders offer glimpse of world's longest-living women

Waving white pom poms in the air, dozens of grey-haired cheerleaders in matching red and white uniforms hop and skip to K-pop music that fills the practice room.

Social rejection by close relations can lead to subsequent drinking

The need to belong and experience social connections is a fundamental human characteristic. Prior research has shown that social rejection is linked to increases in negative emotions, distress, and hostility. This study examined the impact of social rejection on alcohol use, and whether the impact differed when the social rejection was by close others, such as friends, spouses or family members, or by strangers or acquaintances.

How mood and eating behaviour are connected

While fear and aggression tend to curb our appetite, sadness and frustration seem to stimulate it. A project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF looks into the connections between mood and overeating in healthy and bulimic individuals.

Health effects of air pollution go beyond lung disease

Since 2000, the last year the American Thoracic Society issued a statement on the effect of air pollution on lung diseases, a growing body of research reveals links between air pollutants and other illnesses, including heart disease, nervous system conditions and newborn infant outcomes such as low birthweight.

Why artificial turf may truly be bad for kids

If you want to get a soccer mom's attention, bring up the subject of artificial turf, the preferred playing surface for children from pre-K to college – or at least preferred by school boards and parks and recreation departments.

How traditional medicine can play a key role in Latino health care

In the U.S., many undocumented individuals and other vulnerable groups in the Latino immigrant population, such as indigenous language speakers, are already marginalized from mainstream health services. Increased scrutiny and a growing atmosphere of tension and discrimination could deter even documented Latino immigrants from seeking proper care.

Could technology improve the lives of people living with dementia?

Being able to tell your family you love them, order a meal at a cafe, and talk to friends are all things most people take for granted— but for people living with dementia, communication difficulties can lead to isolation.

Specific immune cells predict bowel cancer outcomes

A pilot study by University of Otago researchers suggests that people with colorectal cancer that have a certain type of immune cell in their tumour may have increased survival rates.

Ketamine no 'wonder drug' for depression

There is no added benefit to using ketamine over a standard anaesthetic during electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.

Almost half of stroke survivors suffer fatigue, study reveals

Almost half of people who experience a stroke suffer from fatigue in the early days of their recovery, a landmark new study has found.

Society needs a clear criterion for death for such issues as organ donation

Egal,Regardless of whether we die early by accident, or whether we reach a biblical age before our demise: at some point, our heart will stop for good. At some point, we shall also stop breathing. And at some point, our brain will also cease to function.

Boosting your own defenses against heart disease

A protein found in the heart that is known to be involved in cellular stress responses in cancer cells is now believed to play a critical role in the ability of cardiac cells to combat heart disease and recover from a heart attack. A new study led by San Diego State University molecular cardiologist Christopher Glembotski, director of the SDSU Heart Institute, found that the protein appears to promote the natural ability of heart cells to ward off stress-induced damage. This finding suggests a novel treatment and prevention strategy for people at risk of heart disease, according to Glembotski's research.

Precision targeting provides new insights into therapy-resistant cancers

The National Cancer Institute's "cancer moonshot" tasks researchers with, among advancing other new biotechnologies, delving into immunotherapy and epigenomic analysis.

Uncovering genetic links to the development of pulmonary disease

Building on EU-funded research, scientists have identified genetic traits that heighten the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Research into palliative care top priority for cancer patients

How and when people are referred to palliative care should be prioritised according to cancer patients, a new study in the Oncology Nursing Forum has found.

Research challenges idea that birth weight is a good proxy for population health

Despite dramatic improvements in human health, babies' average birth-weights have not increased over the last 150 years reveals new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Cerebrospinal fluid shows promise as autism biomarker

Researchers from the UC Davis MIND Institute, University of North Carolina (UNC) and other institutions have found that altered distribution of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in high-risk infants can predict whether they will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study appears March 6 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Infant MRIs show autism linked to increased cerebrospinal fluid

A national research network led by UNC School of Medicine's Joseph Piven, MD, found that many toddlers diagnosed with autism at two years of age had a substantially greater amount of extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at six and 12 months of age, before diagnosis is possible. They also found that the more CSF at six months - as measured through MRIs - the more severe the autism symptoms were at two years of age.

Becoming tobacco-free is feasible, boosts safety in a mental health hospital

A new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) showed positive changes in attitudes and a reduction in patient agitation after implementing a fully tobacco-free environment at Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. The findings, which appear in the March 2017 issue of The American Journal on Addictions, are contrary to perceptions that eliminating access to tobacco in mental health and addiction centres may have negative outcomes.

How molecular machines may drive the future of disease detection and drug delivery

University of Alberta scientists have pulled into the lead in a race to use nanomachines for improved disease detection and drug delivery in patients.

Easier diagnosis of esophageal cancer

The Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging at Helmholtz Zentrum München is heading the "Hybrid optical and optoacoustic endoscope for esophageal tracking" (ESOTRAC) research project, in which engineers and physicians together develop a novel hybrid endoscopic instrument for early diagnosis and staging of esophageal cancer. The device may reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and, importantly, facilitate early-disease detection leading to earlier start of therapy, which improves therapeutic efficacy over late-disease treatment and leads to immense cost-savings for the health care system. ESOTRAC has been awarded four million Euros from Horizon 2020, the EU framework program for research and innovation.

One in three Australians report health problems from fragranced consumer products

A University of Melbourne researcher has found that one-third of Australians report health problems—ranging from migraine headaches to asthma attacks—when exposed to common fragranced consumer products such as air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies, and personal care products.

Patients more likely to refuse drug therapy than psychotherapy for mental health

People seeking help for mental disorders are more likely to refuse or not complete the recommended treatment if it involves only psychotropic drugs, according to a review of research published by the American Psychological Association.

Environmental risks kill 1.7mn kids under 5 a year: WHO

More than one in four deaths in children under five are linked to polluted environments, according to two new World Health Organization reports published Monday.

New reconstructive surgery for female genital mutilation

There is new hope for the hundreds of millions of women worldwide who have been subjected to genital mutilation. A surgeon in Penn Medicine's Center for Human Appearance has developed a reconstructive procedure that can increase sexual function and, patients' early experiences suggest, help heal the emotional and psychological wounds associated with the mutilation. Ivona Percec, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Surgery in the division of Plastic Surgery and associate director of Cosmetic Surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, reports on her use of the technique in three patients this month in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. She also calls for greater awareness of this human rights issue in support of women who've suffered these experiences across the world.

Research survey evaluates attitudes toward microfluidics-based cell culture

Organ-on-chip and 3D cell culture technology have been highlighted as promising ways to ease the cost and inefficiency of the drug development process. A wide range of technology in this arena has been developed; however, what comprises an 'ideal' 3D culture model has not been defined and translation has proven difficult.

New study sheds light on the darker side of business travel

A new study, 'The dark side of business travel: A media comments analysis', by academics at the University of Surrey and Lund University, published today in the journal Transportation Research Part D, analyses first hand responses on the impacts that frequent business travel can have on individuals.

Professional pest management no more effective than do-it-yourself allergen reduction in improving asthma symptoms

The results of a new study reveal that a professional pest management intervention was no better in decreasing asthma symptoms in children allergic to mice than teaching families how to reduce the level of allergens shed by mice in the home on their own.

Break the two-hour marathon record? It could be done today

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has laid out a series of mathematical calculations showing how one or more of the world's elite men marathoners could break the storied two-hour mark, shaving about four and a half minutes off the current world record.

Study finds knee surgery holds even in heavier patients

Meniscal repairs are one of the most common orthopedic surgeries in the U.S., but about 15 percent of them fail, requiring the patient to undergo a second surgery. Many have assumed that an increased body mass index (BMI) is a good predictor of whether a meniscal repair will fail, since more weight translates to more pressure on the knee joint.

Statistics method shows networks differ in epileptic brains

A novel statistical approach to analyzing patients with epilepsy has revealed details about their brains' internal networks. The findings may lead to better understanding and treatment of the disease, according to Rice University researchers.

Simple tool can predict serious adverse events in acute heart failure patients

More than one million patients are admitted to the hospital with heart failure each year. A prospective clinical validation found the Ottawa Heart Failure Risk Scale (OHFRS) tool to be highly sensitive for serious adverse event in acute heart failure patients and can now be used in clinical practice to estimate the short-term risk of SAEs in acute heart failure patients. Further, when available, the prediction tool works even better when adding a simple blood test (NT-ProBNP). The OHFRS may therefore be useful to allow the safe discharge of patients with heart failure in the emergency department without hospital admission. That is the main finding of a study to be published in the March 2017 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), a journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

Random process analysis could give a woman more information about which infertility treatment is best

It's been used to study automobile cruise control systems and population growth of certain animal species, and now researchers think Markov modeling could one day help a woman and her physician better peruse infertility treatment options.

Study looks to prevent obstetric hemorrhage

In a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology researchers with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, based at Stanford University Palo Alto, California, found that using a series of maternal safety toolkits and collaborating across multiple professional health care organizations could effectively reduce obstetric hemorrhage—the most common cause of maternal death worldwide. The study, Reduction of Severe Maternal Morbidity from Hemorrhage (SMM-HEM) Using a State-Wide Perinatal Collaborative was presented in January at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting.

Study finds disruptive children do not inspire similar behavior in their siblings

A new Tel Aviv University study published in Child Development finds that the disruptive behavior of an individual child does not encourage similar behavior in their brothers and sisters.

Study IDs 90 genes in fat that may contribute to dangerous diseases

A sweeping international effort is connecting the dots between genes in our fat cells and our risk for obesity and cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The researchers have identified approximately 90 genes found in fat that could play important roles in such diseases - and could be targeted to develop new treatments or cures.

What's the real extent of industry payments to doctors?

More than three in every five Americans see a doctor who receives some form of payment from industry. This is according to a new survey led by Genevieve Pham-Kanter of Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health in the US. It is the first nationally representative study to examine the prevalence of industry payments among the general population of patients. The survey in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer, also shows that very few Americans know whether their own doctor in fact received industry-backed payments or gifts, or that such information is publicly available.

Extended use of MAO-B inhibitors slows decline in Parkinson's disease patients

There has long been interest in whether monoamine oxidase type B (MAO-B) inhibitors slow progression of Parkinson's disease (PD) and improve long-term outcomes. They have shown neuroprotective effects in cell culture and animal studies of PD, but clinical trial results have been mixed and have failed to convincingly demonstrate disease modifying effects in people with PD. In a retrospective analysis by Hauser et al. in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, researchers looked at the results from a large study and found that participants who received an MAO-B inhibitor for a longer period of time experienced slower clinical decline.

Study finds racial disparities in top medical society membership

Black and Asian medical school students are less likely to be selected for membership in a prestigious medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha (AA), than white medical school students, according to a Yale-led study. The disparity suggests bias in the AA membership selection process, which could negatively affect opportunities for minority medical school students, note the researchers.

Women less likely to be academic grand rounds speakers than men

Women are less likely than men to be chosen as speakers during grand rounds, the academic mainstay of expert-delivered lectures used to share patient-care guidelines and cutting-edge research within clinical departments. Those findings by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine were published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Evaluation of emergency medicine residents points to gender bias

Although female doctors training to become emergency medicine specialists scored as well as their male colleagues during the first year of their three-year programs, by the end of the third year, male residents, on average, received higher evaluations on all 23 emergency medicine training categories - including medical knowledge, patient safety, team management and communication - than female residents.

Examining whether migraine is associated with cervical artery dissection

A new study published online by JAMA Neurology examines whether a history of migraine is associated with cervical artery dissection (CEAD), a frequent cause of ischemic (blood vessel-related) stroke in young and middle-age adults, although the causes leading to vessel damage are unclear.

Researchers discover new variant on notorious resistance gene

Polymyxin antibiotics are used as a last resort to treat certain multidrug resistant bacteria. A team of investigators in China has discovered a new variant on a well-known gene that causes resistance to polymyxins and others. More troubling, the gene containing this mechanism was found in a healthy individual during a routine medical examination, suggesting that other healthy carriers may be spreading this resistance unknowingly. Unlike any other members of its class, the gene was found in the food-borne pathogen, Salmonella. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Screening for heart disease may lead to prevention, better treatments

Through computed tomography (CT) images of the heart and other types of imaging, build-up of dangerous coronary plaques—which restrict the flow of blood to the heart—can be detected, even before a person develops symptoms of heart disease. Because of this, there is increasing interest in using these imaging techniques to screen for heart disease. According to a review published today in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, a simple CT imaging technique called a coronary artery calcium (CAC) scan—often referred to as a "calcium scan"—may be particularly useful when screening for coronary artery disease.

Early deaths from childhood cancer up to 4 times more common than previously reported

Treatments for childhood cancers have improved to the point that 5-year survival rates are over 80 percent. However, one group has failed to benefit from these improvements, namely children who die so soon after diagnosis that they are not able to receive treatment, or who receive treatment so late in the course of their disease that it is destined to fail. A study published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology explores this challenging population, finding that death within a month of diagnosis is more likely in very young children and those from minority racial and ethnic groups even independent of low socioeconomic status. The study uses a large national database to find that the rate of deaths within one month of diagnosis has been previously under-reported in clinical trial data, with early deaths from some pediatric cancer subtypes up to four times as common as had been implied by clinical trial reports.

Electronic system lowers wait times for access to specialists

Low-income patients served by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) waited significantly less time to receive specialty care after DHS implemented an electronic system aimed at expediting access to specialists, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Blood pressure could be more effectively controlled as new treatment target is discovered

New more effective treatments for high blood pressure could be possible thanks to the discovery that the nitric oxide that regulates blood pressure is formed in nerves rather than in the walls of blood vessels.

Only 1 in 5 patients seeking specialist for resistant HBP take meds as prescribed

Only one in five patients seeking specialty care for hard-to-control high blood pressure (resistant hypertension) are taking all their prescribed medications, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

Study finds the cost-savings promise of the approach may not be realized

Direct-to-consumer telehealth services—touted as a convenient and less-expensive way to get care for minor ailments—appears to prompt new use of medical services and thus may drive up medical spending rather than trimming costs, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

A kidney disease's genetic clues are uncovered

Researchers have uncovered new genetic clues to understanding IgA nephropathy (IgAN), or Berger's disease, an autoimmune kidney disease and a common cause of kidney failure. The findings are relevant to IgAN as well as other diseases with similar underlying molecular defects, such as inflammatory bowel disease and certain types of blood disease and cancer.

Head injuries can alter hundreds of genes and lead to serious brain diseases

Head injuries can harm hundreds of genes in the brain in a way that increases people's risk for a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders, UCLA life scientists report.

Fighting blindness: Scientists bring a key protein into focus

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered how a protein called α2δ4 establishes proper vision. Their research helps explain why mutations in the gene encoding α2δ4 lead to retinal dystrophy, a disease characterized by defective color vision and night blindness.

Cancer 'hot spots' in Florida may be associated with hazardous waste sites

Studies have shown that hazardous waste sites have the potential to adversely affect human health and disrupt ecological systems. Florida has the sixth highest number of hazardous waste sites, known as Superfund sites, in the United States. In 2016, the state was projected to have the second largest number of new cancer cases in the country. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the University of Florida studied cancer incidence rates in relation to Superfund sites and found a possible association. Researchers believe this discovery could help direct public health efforts in the state.

Skin testing, computerized support tool can improve antibiotic use in hospital inpatients

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) investigators have developed two approaches to increasing the use of penicillins and cephalosporins - highly effective antibiotics that are not as problematic as many alternatives - in hospitalized patients previously believed to be allergic to penicillin. Their report, which has been published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, describes how both tested protocols—use of penicillin allergy skin tests or a computerized guideline/decision support tool—safely increased the use of penicillin and penicillin-related antibiotics in inpatients.

Proper movements in Muslim prayer ritual can reduce lower back pain

Five times a day, roughly 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, bow, kneel, and place their foreheads to the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salat. The ritual is one of the five obligatory elements of the faith set forth by the holy book, the Qur'an.

Study participants—especially women—less willing to ride in driverless ambulances

Would you ride in a driverless ambulance? In three separate studies, about half of 1,028 U.S. adults were significantly less willing to be lifted into an automated ambulance, compared with a conventional one, researchers from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Florida Institute of Technology reported on March 6.

Medicaid payment reform linked to fewer early elective deliveries

It's well documented that infants born at full term have better health outcomes. However, one in ten babies in the United States are born via a medically unnecessary early elective delivery, such as an induction of labor, cesarean section, or both. New findings published in Health Affairs indicate that state-level Medicaid payment reform is linked to fewer unnecessary early deliveries and, in turn, better health outcomes for infants.

Thousands rally for England's health service

Thousands of protesters marched in London on Saturday in support of England's state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Liver transplant surgical pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl dies

Dr. Thomas Starzl, the pioneer of liver transplantation and the driving force behind the world's first baboon-to-human liver transplants and research on anti-rejection drugs, has died. He was 90.

Continuous pain is often not assessed during neonatal intensive care

In an analysis of 243 neonatal intensive care units from 18 European countries, investigators found that only 2113 of 6648 (31.8%) newborns were assessed for prolonged, continuous pain. Daily assessments of continuous pain occurred in only 10.4% of newborns.

What if there's no affordable insurance to buy?

Leslie Kurtz needed three plates, eight screws and a big assist from her insurer after breaking every bone in her ankle while white water rafting.

Biology news

Wasp offspring found to take on the personality of the queen

A small team of researchers with members from the University of California and the University of Michigan has found that some personality traits unique to a queen wasp are passed down to her offspring, the worker wasps. In their paper published in the journal Animal Behaviour, the team describes how they collected wasp nests in the wild and brought them back to their lab for personality trait studies and what they found.

The evolution of turtle neck retraction

One of the unique and most iconic features of many modern turtles is that they can withdraw their neck and head to hide and protect them within their shells. The group name of species which do this, Cryptodira, even means 'hidden-necked turtles' to reflect this unusual adaptation.

Bird spiders detectives: The solution to a 200-year-old hairy mystery

Three species and three genera of birdeater spiders are described as new to science in a paper recently published in the open access journal ZooKeys. In their study, the Brazilian spider experts, Drs. Caroline Fukushima and Rogério Bertani, Laboratory of Ecology and Evolution, Instituto Butantan, report the diversity of the oldest tarantula genus (Avicularia), whose name derives from a famous 18th-century illustration depicting a bird caught by a spider.

Computational method makes gene expression analyses more accurate

A new computational method can improve the accuracy of gene expression analyses, which are increasingly used to diagnose and monitor cancers and are a major tool for basic biological research.

Scientists discover how animals measure time of year to reproduce

Animals need to measure the time of year so that they can anticipate and adapt to the arrival of a new season to align reproduction, as well as other vital functions critical for survival. A new study, conducted at the University of Bristol, has identified how animals measure annual time to control seasonal fertility.

Vesicle formation findings could pave way for liquid biopsies, drug delivery devices

Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University and biomedical researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Research Institute have established a framework for understanding the mechanics that underlie vesicle formation. Their findings, published in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, can be used to help develop liquid biopsies for a range of diseases and to develop new drug delivery vehicles.

Study shows how skates, rays and sharks sense electrical fields

Sharks, rays and skates can hunt for prey hidden in the sandy sea floor by "listening" for faint traces of bioelectricity—they can literally sense their prey's heart beating. The basic anatomy of the electro-sensory organs that accomplish this feat has been known for decades, but the biological mechanisms - how electrosensory cells pick up faint electrical signs of life—has remained a puzzle.

Unique protein partly to blame for worm's digestive distress

A protein unlike any other appears to be partially responsible for upsetting the stomachs of the most common animal on the planet.

Michigan to offer prize in fight against invasive Asian carp

Faced with the threat that Asian carp could enter the Great Lakes, Michigan is turning to the public for new ideas and plans to offer a prize to whoever comes up with a way to stop the voracious fish.

Dutch treat: Philadelphia Flower Show celebrates Holland

Visitors arriving at the Philadelphia Flower Show this year will feel as if they're stepping into the endless flower fields of Holland.

Chickadees lose weight in the summer

In 2016, TSU scientists studied almost 3000 birds of 67 species in the Tomsk region. At the same time, 300 big titmice (chickadees) in the university grove received individual colored labels. The intensive bird banding allowed the researchers to evaluate aspects of their lives in the autumn-winter period. For example, the scientists found that there are more females in the city than in the surrounding villages, and that the weight of titmice is associated with the length of daylight.

New database of DNA viruses and retroviruses debuts

There are more microbes in, on, and around the planet than there are stars in the Milky Way. Microbes affect food production; air quality; natural breakdown of plants, trees and biomass; soil quality for agriculture; and much more. To work with these microbes, scientists need to learn more about how microbes and viruses interact. Viruses influence microbes' abilities to work. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute built the largest publicly available database for viruses. This single effort increases the number of known viral genes by a factor of 16. Further, in a series of four articles published in Nucleic Acids Research, DOE Joint Genome Institute researchers report on the latest updates to several other publicly accessible databases and computational tools. These databases and tools will benefit the global community of microbial researchers.

Pushing the boundaries of DNA sequencing

A young company developing technology created at the University of New Mexico (UNM) is on a mission to disrupt the landscape of DNA sequencing.

Power lines offer environmental benefits, according to study

Power lines, long considered eyesores or worse, a potential threat to human health, actually serve a vital role in maintaining the health of a significant population, according to new research out of the University of Connecticut.

Untapped potential for Ugandan beekeepers

Despite the large economic potential for honey production, many beekeepers in Uganda fail to produce and market enough honey to make a living from it.

Gehry's Biodiversity Museum—favorite attraction for the butterflies and moths in Panama

Ahead of Gehry's Biodiversity Museum's opening in October 2014, PhD candidate Patricia Esther Corro Chang, Universidad de Panama, studied the butterflies and moths which had been attracted by the bright colours of the walls and which were visiting the grounds of the tourist site.

Surgeons remove 915 coins swallowed by Thai sea turtle

Tossing coins in a fountain for luck is a popular superstition, but a similar belief brought misery to a sea turtle in Thailand from whom doctors have removed 915 coins.

Shadow-loving insect named after Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish

Tuomas Holopainen, the multi-talented musician and founder of the symphonic metal band Nightwish, is also a full-blooded nature person. This gave conservation biologist Jukka Salmela of Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland an idea for the name of a new species he found in Finland. Discovered in eastern Lapland during an insect survey, the fungus gnat was given the scientific name Sciophila holopaineni after Tuomas. The new species is described in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal.

US: 11 of 27 reef fish species in Hawaii are overfished

U.S. officials say the first-ever assessment of Hawaii's reef fish shows that 11 of 27 species are experiencing some level of overfishing.

Bird flu found at Tyson Foods chicken supplier

Tens of thousands of chickens have been destroyed at a Tennessee chicken farm due to a bird flu outbreak, and 30 other farms within a six-mile radius have been quarantined.

Poachers kill rare giant elephant in Kenya

One of Africa's oldest and largest elephants was killed by poachers in Kenya on Monday, according to a conservation group that protects the dwindling group of giant "tuskers".

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