Thursday, March 16, 2017

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Mar 16

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 16, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Quantum shortcuts cannot bypass the laws of thermodynamics

The ethics of recruiting study participants on social media

Test strip able to identify blood type in less than a minute

Forgetting in neural networks just got less catastrophic

Experiments show Titan lakes may fizz with nitrogen

Climate change to worsen drought, diminish corn yields in Africa

Team discovers marker that may help to identify youths at risk of poor outcomes and prevent cognitive decline

Empathy from the sick may be critical to halting disease outbreaks

Running away from Einstein

NASA study confirms biofuels reduce jet engine pollution

Research team warns of mineral supply constraints as demand increases for green technologies (Update)

Poison and mating regulate male roundworm populations

Nanocages for gold particles—What is happening inside?

Novel nozzle saves crystals—double flow concept widens spectrum for protein crystallography

Climate warming gives gecko hatchlings a shaky start in life

Astronomy & Space news

Experiments show Titan lakes may fizz with nitrogen

A recent NASA-funded study has shown how the hydrocarbon lakes and seas of Saturn's moon Titan might occasionally erupt with dramatic patches of bubbles.

Running away from Einstein

Einstein's theory of gravity may have to be rewritten, after researchers at the University of St Andrews found a gigantic ring of galaxies darting away from us much faster than predicted.

ExoMars science checkout completed and aerobraking begins

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has completed another set of important science calibration tests before a year of aerobraking gets underway.

Symphonizing the science: NASA twins study team begins integrating results

It begins with one instrument. Then another joins in. Before you know it a grand symphony is playing before your eyes. NASA Twins Study researchers are eager to integrate their results and create a symphony of science.

SpaceX launches communications satellite into orbit

SpaceX on Thursday successfully launched a communications satellite into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

'Meteor' causes panic in Pakistan's mountainous north

A suspected meteor lit up the skies above Pakistan's mountainous north late Wednesday, officials said, with panicked residents reporting a mysterious light whizzing past and the sound of multiple, powerful blasts.

NASA selects investigations for first mission to encounter the sun

NASA has begun development of a mission to visit and study the sun closer than ever before. The unprecedented project, named Solar Probe Plus, is slated to launch no later than 2018.

Trump's budget would cut NASA asteroid mission, earth science

Under US President Donald Trump's proposed budget, NASA's funding would stay largely intact but the space agency would abandon plans to lasso an asteroid, along with four Earth and climate missions.

Copernicus Sentinel-2B captures Brindisi, Italy

Just over a week after being lofted into orbit, the European Union's Sentinel-2B satellite delivered its first images of Earth, offering a glimpse of the 'colour vision' it will provide for the Copernicus environmental monitoring programme.

Technology news

Forgetting in neural networks just got less catastrophic

(Tech Xplore)—How to add memory to AI: Follow the trail of DeepMind researchers, where reports say the AI system can learn to play one Atari game and then use the knowledge to learn another.

Researchers develop high-precision surgical robot for cochlear implantation

A team of surgeons and engineers of Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern (Switzerland), have developed a high-precision surgical robot for cochlear implantation. In the same way that avionics allow a pilot to fly a plane by instrument solely based on read-outs from the cockpit, the surgical robot developed by the researchers for RCI has the capabilities to perform surgery that a surgeon cannot carry out manually without a robot.

DeepMind-Royal Free deal is 'cautionary tale' for health care in the algorithmic age

Researchers studying a deal in which Google's artificial intelligence subsidiary, DeepMind, acquired access to millions of sensitive NHS patient records have warned that more must be done to regulate data transfers from public bodies to private firms.

Deep learning and stock trading

A study undertaken by researchers at the School of Business and Economics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has shown that computer programs that algorithms based on artificial intelligence are able to make profitable investment decisions. When applied to the S&P 500 constituents from 1992 to 2015, their stock selections generated annual returns in the double digits—whereas the highest profits were made at times of financial turmoil.

Russia runs up cyber score against US with Yahoo, election hacks

US charges that Russia's FSB security service was behind the hacking of Yahoo underscored a worrisome run of successes in Moscow's cyber-efforts against its longtime rival.

More gas guzzlers due to Trump? Not necessarily

The White House clashed with environmentalists over President Donald Trump's retreat from tough future auto emission standards, with both sides predicting potentially big consequences for America's car fleet.

Yahoo breach spotlights links between Russian spies, hackers

A U.S. indictment of two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers alleged to have stolen more than half a billion U.S. email accounts in 2014 has cast a spotlight on the intertwining of the Russian security services and the murky digital underworld.

How to make a driverless car 'see' the road ahead

Microchip manufacturer Intel has invested heavily in the driverless car race with the latest US$15 billion (A$19.5bn) purchase of Israeli tech company Mobileye.

Nuclear researchers seek to extend nuclear fuel life and efficiency through improved fuel pellets

Researchers with the Fuel Cycles and Materials Laboratory within the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University are working to make big impacts on energy efficiency with small materials level changes. The group is creating porous fuel pellets for use in reactors, as opposed to the currently used solid pellets, to extend fuel life, possibly reduce waste and increase the amount of energy the reactor can get out of the fuel.

Researchers report on the challenges of co-creation in video games

The fallout from the poorly received ending of the third video game in the popular series Mass Effect could doom the upcoming release of "Mass Effect: Andromeda," say researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Controlling turtle motion with human thought

Korean researchers have developed a technology that can remotely control an animal's movement with human thought.

Phishing scams are becoming ever more sophisticated

Companies are bombarded with phishing scams every day. In a recent survey of more than 500 cyber security professionals across the world, 76% reported that their organisation fell victim to a phishing attack in 2016.

Money-saving small wind turbines—myth or reality?

Small wind turbines promise a decentralised and clean energy source, but what can be done to make them more cost effective? At the moment, better use of feed-in tariffs is recognised as a potentially effective tool for boosting the small wind turbine industry beyond subsidies. Ultimately though, it will be innovation in design that makes small turbines more competitive

Algorithm automatically searches for a child's most probable parents and generates family trees

Aalto University doctoral student Eric Malmi has developed a family tree algorithm called AncestryAI. The algorithm looks for links between 5 million baptisms from the end of the 17th to the mid-19th century and partly to the beginning of the 20th century. To investigate your own family roots, you need to know about your own ancestors, because baptisms in the last hundred years are not public information.

Drones take research to new heights

Is it… a balloon? An airship of some sort, tethered to the turf? A children's pool, blown onto its side?

The future car is driverless, shared and electric

The nation's top transportation experts see rapid change in transportation as a result of three major technology revolutions: shared, electric and automated vehicles. That's according to a survey by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. The group also released a set of policy briefs, described below, which were guest-authored by leading transportation policy experts. 

How artificial intelligence and the robotic revolution will change the workplace of tomorrow

The workplace is going to look drastically different ten years from now. The coming of the Second Machine Age is quickly bringing massive changes along with it. Manual jobs, such as lorry driving or house building are being replaced by robotic automation, and accountants, lawyers, doctors and financial advisers are being supplemented and replaced by high level artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

Canada limits recreational drone use as incidents soar

Canada on Thursday announced limits on the use of drones for recreation following a surge in the number of incidents due to their rapid rise in popularity.

Google hopes to improve search quality with 'offensive' flag

Google is trying to improve the quality of its search results by directing review teams to flag content that might come across as upsetting or offensive.

How to elude Russian hackers with decent password security

Details from the Department of Justice indictment of Russian hackers on Wednesday show that many people are still not taking routine precautions to safeguard their email accounts—and hackers are exploiting that.

Kremlin denies involvement after Yahoo cyberattack charges

The Kremlin on Thursday denied any official Russian involvement in cybercrimes after the US indicted two FSB intelligence agents over cyberattacks on Yahoo that compromised 500 million accounts.

Smartphone technology could combat workplace injuries

Manufacturing industries rely on the efforts of factory employees who work daily to make, package, prepare and deliver the products we find on our shelves.

How online hate infiltrates social media and politics

In late February, the headline of a news commentary website that receives more than 2.8 million monthly visitors announced, "Jews Destroy Another One of Their Own Graveyards to Blame Trump." The story, inspired by the recent desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, was the seething fantasy of an anti-Semitic website known as the Daily Stormer. With only a headline, this site can achieve something no hate group could have accomplished 20 years ago: It can connect with a massive audience.

Coal-burning power stations are becoming more environmentally friendly

In the course of Project SCARLET, scientists at the TU Darmstadt have succeeded in developing the so-called Carbonate Looping process for the reduction of CO2 emissions during power plant operations almost to the point of market readiness.

Taxi drivers in Spain strike against Uber and Cabify

Taxi drivers in Spain's two main cities are striking to urge authorities to protect their regulated service against companies like Uber and Cabify, which offer cheaper services.

Pakistan wants Facebook, Twitter to help it combat blasphemy

Pakistan said Thursday it has asked Facebook and Twitter to help it identify Pakistanis suspected of blasphemy so that it can prosecute them or pursue their extradition.

McDonald's probing hacked tweet slamming Trump

McDonald's is investigating an apparent hack into its Twitter feed following a briefly-posted diatribe against President Donald Trump, the fast-food giant said Thursday.

Medicine & Health news

The ethics of recruiting study participants on social media

(Medical Xpress)—In the recent issue of the American Journal of Bioethics, the target article addresses the ethics of finding participants for clinical trials on social media sites. The authors, from Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School, analyzed the particular ethical issues that occur in the online setting compared to in-person recruitment and provide practical recommendations for investigators and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs).

Test strip able to identify blood type in less than a minute

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at Third Military Medical University in China has developed a test strip that can be used to identify a person's blood type in less than a minute. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team describes how the test strips work, how accurate they are and likely uses for them once they pass more stringent testing.

Team discovers marker that may help to identify youths at risk of poor outcomes and prevent cognitive decline

A new biological marker may help doctors identify children at risk of poor outcomes after a traumatic brain injury, UCLA scientists report in a preliminary study.

Empathy from the sick may be critical to halting disease outbreaks

A little empathy can go a long way toward ending infectious disease outbreaks.

Fear memories made too quickly may be at heart of memory disorders

Research by neuroscientists at UTS, the University of Sydney and the Garvan Institute has revealed a new insight into fear memories that might help to explain how disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arise and why they are so difficult to treat.

Researchers find a way to track how you feel when it's time for a meal

Many of us lie or can't remember what we ate when asked to reveal our eating habits, and that makes it difficult for doctors and researchers to guide us toward better diets and behaviors. But what if there was a way for them to monitor us?

Immune cell drives heart failure in mice

A new study in mice reveals that eosinophils, a type of disease-fighting white blood cell, appear to be at least partly responsible for the progression of heart muscle inflammation to heart failure in mice.

UK grants first license to make babies using DNA from three people

Britain's Newcastle University says its scientists have received a license to create babies using DNA from three people to prevent women from passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases to their children—the first time such approval has been granted.

Scientists develop light-controllable tool to study CaMKII kinetics in learning and memory

As we learn, the structure of individual neurons in our brains change to strengthen important connections and weaken less important ones, a process known as structural plasticity. In Ryohei Yasuda's laboratory at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), researchers are studying how the many molecules inside neurons work together to make these structural changes happen. One of the most well-studied forms of these changes, long-term potentiation (LTP), is triggered by complex signaling mechanisms in small compartments called dendritic spines. Neurons receive information from other neurons at dendritic spines, and when a specific spine is stimulated, it grows, and the connection between the neurons strengthens. The structural plasticity of dendritic spines is considered a fundamental mechanism of the brain's ability to learn and remember.

A prescription for touch: Early experiences shape preterm babies' brains

Newborn babies experience the world through touch. Now, researchers who have measured the brain responses of 125 infants—including babies who were born prematurely and others who went full-term—show that a baby's earliest experiences of touch have lasting effects on the way their young brains respond to gentle touch when they go home.

Experts explain how economics can shape precision medicines

Many public and private efforts focus on research in precision medicine, the process by which genomic information and other characteristics of a patient's disease are used to predict which treatments will be most effective. Scientific initiatives alone, however, will not deliver such medicines without strong incentives to bring them to market. An article to be published in Science on Friday, March 17, 2017, examines the unique economics of precision medicines in the United States and the factors that impact their development, pricing, and access.

Human antibody for Zika virus promising for treatment, prevention

Researchers have determined the structure of a human antibody bound to the Zika virus, revealing details about how the antibody interferes with the infection mechanism—findings that could aid in development of antiviral medications.

Dietary anti-cancer compound may work by influence on cellular genetics

Researchers have discovered one of the reasons why broccoli may be good for your health.

A blood test for autism: Big Data techniques find biomarkers for Autism Spectrum Disorder

An algorithm based on levels of metabolites found in a blood sample can accurately predict whether a child is on the Autism spectrum of disorder (ASD), based upon a recent study. The algorithm, developed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is the first physiological test for autism and opens the door to earlier diagnosis and potential future development of therapeutics.

Wearable radiation safety devices offer some protection

(HealthDay)—Leaded glasses can offer some radiation protection of the ocular lenses, while a radioabsorbent surgical cap offers minimal protection of the brain, according to a study published in the March 13 issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.

Low self-esteem linked to anxiety/depression in SLE

(HealthDay)—For patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), measures of psychosocial reserve capacity may be associated with depression and anxiety, according to a study published online March 6 in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Smoking cessation programs benefit patients prior to joint replacements

Smokers who needed a hip or knee replacement experienced better surgical outcomes and fewer adverse events including hospital readmissions, surgical site infections and blood clots if they were enrolled in a smoking cessation program prior to surgery, according to preliminary new research that needs to be confirmed by larger studies.

Delirium is associated with five-fold increased mortality in acute cardiac patients

Delirium is associated with a five-fold increase in mortality in acute cardiac patients, according to research published today in European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care. Delirium was common and affected over half of acute cardiac patients aged 85 years and older.

Review confirms link between drug use and poor dental health

A new review published online today in the scientific journal Addiction has found that dental patients with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population, but are less likely to receive dental care. With drug use increasing by approximately three million new users each year, this is a problem that won't disappear anytime soon.

Connection between renal failure and 'bad' mitochondria described

Biologists of the Lomonosov Moscow State University have suggested an approach to prevent kidney injury after ischemia. Moreover, the scientists explain why these mechanisms become non-protective in aging kidneys. The results of the study are published in Scientific Reports.

Cause of thrombosis in patients with malignant brain tumours discovered

Patients with malignant brain tumours have an increased risk of thrombosis. Up until now we did not understand the mechanisms behind this. An interdisciplinary study conducted under the direction of Julia Riedl and Cihan Ay of MedUni Vienna's Department of Medicine I and recently published in the leading journal Blood has now shown for the first time that a special protein called podoplanin is involved in the development of thromboses that form on the surface of tumour cells.

How mapping teenagers' brains has helped us understand more about schizophrenia

When I was studying for my PhD at the University of California at Berkeley, I spent an awful lot of my weekends asking teenagers to lie still in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. While they were lying as still as they could they also had to answer questions they saw on the screen.

Relationship between oral health and shift from wild to agri diets is nuanced

Findings from the first comprehensive study on the oral health of a population in transition from a foraging, wild-food diet to an agriculture-based diet indicate that oral health is affected not just by diet, but also by gender and behavior differences between men and women.

Scientists create three-dimensional bladder reconstruction

The way doctors examine the bladder for tumors or stones is like exploring the contours of a cave with a flashlight. Using cameras attached to long, flexible instruments called endoscopes, they find that it's sometimes difficult to orient the location of masses within the bladder's blood vessel-lined walls.

Colorectal Diseases Biobank links genetics and colorectal cancer

What if your family's DNA could become the blueprint for your very own precise and personalized treatment for colorectal cancer? Or, better yet, what if it could be used to help doctors screen you earlier for the disease, before it has a chance to strike?

'Backwards step' reveals cancer cells are 'smart little bastards'

It may seem like a backward step, but a discovery by UNSW researchers that a new treatment for liver cancer encourages rather than reduces tumour growth provides valuable insight into the complex biology of cancer cells.

Analysing compounds of bacterial origin in breath may help to identify a serious pneumonia-causing pathogen

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a serious threat to the recovery of patients who are already critically ill and being treated in an intensive care unit (ICU). It is caused by a host of pathogens and diagnosis is difficult and often invasive. Aggressive treatment can lead to antibiotic misuse and ultimately resistance, which only adds to the complexity of treating the condition.

Creating neurons from skin cells to understand autism

Studying brain disorders is complicated for many reasons, not the least being the ethics of obtaining living neurons. To overcome that obstacle, UC San Francisco postdoc Aditi Deshpande, PhD, is starting with skin cells.

Researching how stress among sexual minorities affects health on genetic level

Stress is a natural part of life; everyone experiences it to some degree. But a growing body of research suggests that chronic stress can have a negative effect on health, ranging from relatively mild complaints like sleeplessness to more serious problems like heart disease. Researcher Annesa Flentje, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Systems at UC San Francisco School of Nursing, is looking at ways stress among sexual minorities – those whose sexual orientation, identity or practices differ from the majority – can affect physical and mental health, starting at the genetic level, with a particular focus of late on the effect of stress on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive men.

Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from cognitive decline

Tea drinking reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older persons by 50 per cent and as much as 86 per cent for those who are genetically at risk of Alzheimer's

Researcher studies a peer support group for expectant mothers that lowers the infant mortality rate

The numbers are stark. Research shows that black infants across the United States are more than twice as likely as white infants to die in their first year, regardless of their parents' socioeconomic status.

Better sleep feels like winning the lottery

Improving your sleep quality is as beneficial to health and happiness as winning the lottery, according to research by the University of Warwick.

Researchers create viruses to selectively attack tumor cells

Scientists at the IDIBAPS Biomedical Research Institute and at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) led a study in which they designed a new strategy to get genetically modified viruses to selectively attack tumor cells without affecting healthy tissues. The study, published today by the journal Nature Communications, is part of Eneko Villanueva's work for his PhD and it is co-lead by Cristina Fillat, head of the Gene Therapy and Cancer Group at IDIBAPS, and Raúl Méndez, ICREA researcher at IRB Barcelona.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs are important, especially on the day of coronary bypass surgery

Patients on statins should not stop taking the cholesterol-lowering medication before heart surgery - even on the day of surgery, according to an article posted online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. The new research shows that continuation of statins may significantly improve survival following the operation.

Cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder discovered

An overactive molecular signal pathway in the brain region of the amygdala can lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A research team from Würzburg has established this connection.

A radical rethink is needed to understand the brain

Understanding the human brain is arguably the greatest challenge of modern science. The leading approach for most of the past 200 years has been to link its functions to different brain regions or even individual neurons (brain cells). But recent research increasingly suggests that we may be taking completely the wrong path if we are to ever understand the human mind.

Self-harm risk assessment scales 'unhelpful'

People who come to hospital after self-harm are unlikely to be helped by the use of risk scales when they see mental health staff, according to new research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Study finds the more often people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives

New research from the University of Oxford has revealed that the more often people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives.

Pharmacists with greater role in care prevent repeat hospital visits

Pharmacists given an expanded role in patient oversight can reduce the likelihood of high-risk patients returning to the hospital, according to a new study that underscores a potential cost-saving solution for a growing physician shortage.

Drug and alcohol problems linked to increased veteran suicide risk, especially in women

Veterans who have drug or alcohol problems are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as their comrades, a new study finds. And women veterans with substance use disorders have an even higher rate of suicide—more than five times that of their peers, the research shows.

Study shows tailored physical therapy program reduces bad falls in the elderly

Falls are a leading cause of death and disability in the elderly, and also contribute to rising healthcare costs. In 2012, a research team from Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) in Singapore teamed up with the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Changi General Hospital (CGH) and Agency for Integrated Care, to study the effectiveness of tailored physical therapy programmes for the elderly to prevent falls, also known as the Steps to Avoid Falls in Elderly (SAFE) study. The results of that study are now in.

Treating cocaine addiction by reducing our appetite for drugs?

The hypocretin/orexin (HCRT) system of the brain is best known for promoting wakefulness and appetite. A new paper in Biological Psychiatry suggests that blocking hypocretin signaling via the HCRT-1 receptor (HCRT-R1) might also reduce the appetite for cocaine. The study, led by first author Dr. Brooke Schmeichel in George Koob's laboratory at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, Maryland, suggests that blocking hypocretin signaling may provide a new avenue for treating cocaine addiction.

Difficult to get orthodontics to work in younger children

Nagging by parents—and the ingenuity of the child. Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy shows that there are success factors when children with a severe overjet have irregularities of the teeth corrected at an early age. However, the treatment is tough for most children and their families.

Nanoparticle paves the way for new triple negative breast cancer drug

A potential new drug to tackle the highly aggressive 'triple negative' breast cancer - and a nanoparticle to deliver it directly into the cancer cells - have been developed by UK researchers.

When our world turns 'upside-down,' serotonin helps us deal with it

Serotonin, one of the major chemical messengers serving neuronal communication, is usually associated with the direct regulation of affective states and mood in general. But growing evidence suggests that one of the core functions of this neurotransmitter may be to facilitate our adaptation to changes in the world around us - which, in turn, may indirectly impact mood.

Prevention and prediction: Understanding how lung cancer progresses

Treating the brain with a preventative course of radiation may help Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) patients - whose tumors often spread to their brain—live longer, according to a new study from researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. A separate study revealed that the most commonly-targeted mutation of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is most likely to result in progression at the primary site. Both projects will be presented this weekend at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.

To kill ticks, target their animal hosts

An emerging tool in the fight against tick-borne disease, host-targeted bait boxes employ a sneaky trick: turning some of ticks' favorite carriers—small mammals like mice and chipmunks—against them. And a new study in Journal of Medical Entomology shows an improved design has made such bait boxes an increasingly viable addition to integrated tick management practices.

Whole body vibration has same health benefits as treadmill walking in a model of obesity and diabete

A daily dose of whole body vibration- like time on a treadmill—reduces body fat and insulin resistance and improves muscle and bone strength in a mouse model of morbid obesity and diabetes, researchers report.

Repeated eye injections for age-related macular degeneration associated with increased risk for glaucoma

Patients with age-related macular degeneration who received seven or more eye injections of the drug bevacizumab annually had a higher risk of having glaucoma surgery, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

Racial disparities persist in treatment and survival of early stage lung cancer

Analysis of the largest American cancer database indicates that racial disparities persist in the treatment and outcomes of patients diagnosed with stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Despite increased availability of potentially curative treatments for early stage NSCLC, African Americans and American Indians were less likely to receive these treatments and more likely to die from the disease. The study will be presented tomorrow at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium.

Biomarker blood test shows cancer recurrence months before CT scans

Results from a prospective clinical trial showed that a blood test looking at specific biomarkers was able to detect recurrences of lung cancer an average of six months before conventional imaging methods found evidence of recurrence. In the largest prospective clinical trial to date of circulating tumor cells (CTC) as biomarkers for locally advanced lung cancer, the findings indicate that blood tests potentially can be used in conjunction with CT and PET/CT scans to guide personalized treatment planning for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The study will be presented today at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium.

Genetic profile of treatment-resistant lung cancer more variable than previously thought

The genetic mutations underlying treatment resistance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are more complex and dynamic than previously thought. Analysis of 355 biopsied tumors from patients who acquired resistance to EGFR inhibitors, the most common form of targeted therapy for NSCLC, found that mutations frequently varied between biopsies and that nearly one in five patients harbored more than one type of genetic resistance to treatment. Findings will be presented today at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium".

New anti-Wolbachia drug regimen could reduce treatment times of LF and Oncho to 1-2 weeks

This week, scientists from the A·WOL Consortium based at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have published a paper entitled 'Short-Course, High-Dose Rifampicin Achieves Wolbachia Depletion Predictive of Curative Outcomes in Preclinical Models of Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis' in Scientific Reports.

Prostate cancer trial shows treating with precision radiotherapy cuts course of treatment by 50 percent

An Ontario-led international clinical trial with 1,206 men with localized prostate cancer shows that compressing radiation treatments into four weeks from eight delivers similar outcomes.

Genetic association with aggressive prostate cancer discovered

An international study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has identified a genetic connection to the aggressive form of prostate cancer. The study showed a threefold increase in the risk of aggressive prostate cancer for men with the genetic mutation. The frequency of the gene variants varied from 6 to 14% of the population of men with prostate cancer.

Workers' compensation claims offer insight into seafood processing injuries in Oregon

A review of workers' compensation claims indicates that workers in Oregon's seafood processing industry are suffering serious injuries at higher rates than the statewide average, and the rate of injuries appears to be on the rise, researchers at Oregon State University have found.

Conjoined twin sisters born in West Bank share one heart

A Palestinian woman gave birth on Thursday to conjoined twin sisters who share a heart, her husband said, as he launched an urgent search for funds to pay for their surgical separation abroad.

Scientists develop new drug delivery method for cancer therapy

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed a new drug delivery method that produces strong results in treating cancers in animal models, including some hard-to-treat solid and liquid tumors.

Ligament reconstruction effective in treating kneecap instability from trochlear dysplasia

While a first time kneecap dislocation can usually be treated non-surgically, recurring dislocations often necessitate surgical intervention. MPFL (medial patellofemoral ligament) reconstructions have become a common surgical option and have seen improved outcomes and a high rate of return to sport.

Electroacupuncture releases stem cells to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, study finds

A study led by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers demonstrates how electroacupuncture triggers a neurological mechanism that can help promote tissue repair and relieve injury-induced pain.

'Do no harm' vs. 'legitimate use of force'

Should a military doctor obey an order to not treat an enemy combatant? Or certify a sick soldier as fit to fight? Should a nurse take part in interrogations? Ride along on medical caravans to build trust with locals? Violate patient privacy for military ends? These and other questions are being studied by Canadian researchers with the Ethics in Military Medicine Research Group, led by University of Montreal bioethicist Bryn Williams-Jones with colleagues at McGill and McMaster universities.

58 million Americans are exposed to loud, frequent noises, including firearms, at work and home

Loud noise exposure is a common environmental hazard in the United States that can lead to hearing loss and other conditions such as sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In a study published today in The Laryngoscope, Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers found that substantial noise exposures, with potential long-term hearing effects, commonly occur in occupational and recreational settings and only a small percentage of those exposed are consistently wearing recommended hearing protection. Additionally, the study found that for the almost 35 million Americans who use firearms, only 58 percent use hearing protection.

Reduced dose of warfarin alternative may help prevent strokes in dialysis patients

New research suggests that an alternative to warfarin, when given at a low dose to dialysis patients, can be maintained in the blood at safe levels for potentially preventing strokes. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), indicate that additional research is warranted on the benefits of apixaban in patients with kidney failure.

Opioid dependence can start in just a few days

(HealthDay)—Doctors who limit the supply of opioids they prescribe to three days or less may help patients avoid the dangers of dependence and addiction, a new study suggests.

U.S. suicide rates rising faster outside cities

(HealthDay)—Although the U.S. suicide rate has been rising gradually since 2000, suicides in less urban areas are outpacing those in more urban areas, according to a new federal report.

'Optimal' facelifts do make you look younger, study finds

(HealthDay)—The time, money and pain spent on a facelift may be worth it, a small, new study suggests.

Nursing discharge plan promotes therapeutic adherence

(HealthDay)—A nursing discharge plan is effective for promoting therapeutic adherence for patients discharged from the psychiatric intensive care unit, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Thiamine may reduce progression to renal replacement therapy

(HealthDay)—For patients in septic shock, thiamine is associated with a lower rate of progression to renal replacement therapy (RRT), according to research published online Feb. 16 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Supervised self-injection ups teens' comfort with approach

(HealthDay)—For food-allergic adolescents at risk for anaphylaxis, supervised self-infection with an empty syringe is associated with improved comfort levels with self-injection, according to a study published in the March-April issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Foreign body ingestion can result in movement disorder

(HealthDay)—Ingestion of a foreign body can result in sudden onset of movement disorder in young children, according to a case report published online March 15 in Pediatrics.

Mixed results for stem cell treatments of AMD

(HealthDay)—Stem cells may offer new hope for patients with age-related macular degeneration, but that promise can come with some risks, according to research published in the March 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Catastrophic neonatal outcome ups unscheduled C-section rates

(HealthDay)—Catastrophic neonatal outcome is associated with a transient increase in the rate of unscheduled cesarean deliveries, according to research published in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Poll shows majority of floridians want to keep or expand Obamacare

A majority of Floridians would like to expand the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) or keep the law as is, while nearly three-quarters of them are concerned that people would lose their health insurance if the law is repealed, according to a statewide survey by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).

Working towards a drug to limit brain injury

UNSW medical researchers in the Translational Neuroscience Facility are partnering with a drug development company to discover new treatments to limit the damage of traumatic brain injury.

Too many antibiotics for New Zealand children

Almost all New Zealand children have taken antibiotic medications by the time they are five years of age, according to new research from the University of Auckland's Centre for Longitudinal Research – He Ara Ki Mua.

New braces clinical trial sheds metal brackets

The use of terms like "metal mouth" and "brace face" may soon be a thing of the past.

Precision medicine platform now open for collaborative discovery about cardiovascular diseases

The American Heart Association Precision Medicine Platform—a global, secure data discovery platform, recently developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS)—is now open for use. Researchers, physicians, computational biologists, computer engineers and trainees from around the globe can leverage this cloud-based resource to access and analyze volumes of cardiovascular and stroke data to accelerate the care of patients at risk of the number one killer in the United States and a leading global health threat.

Giving birth may be riskier today than in the past

A new article explores how the double burden of malnutrition and the global obesity epidemic may be reshaping obstetrical difficulties experienced by women.

How do Ebola virus proteins released in exosomes affect the immune system?

Cells infected by the deadly Ebola virus may release viral proteins such as VP40 packaged in exosomes, which, as new research indicates, can affect immune cells throughout the body impairing their ability to combat the infection and to seek out and destroy hidden virus. The potential for exosomal VP40 to have a substantial impact on Ebola virus disease is examined in a review article published in DNA and Cell Biology.

Having athletic trainers could benefit youth football organizations

Youth football organizations can benefit from the presence of a certified athletic trainer at their practices and games, according to an anecdotal report by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Medicaid expansion linked to increased prescribing of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment

States where Medicaid coverage was expanded under the Affordable Care Act have had a significant increase in prescribing of buprenorphine—a medication that plays an important role in addressing the opioid epidemic, reports a study in the April issue of Medical Care.

How were female patients perceived after face-lift surgery?

Face-lift surgery is among the most common facial cosmetic procedures performed. Lisa Ishii, M.D., M.H.S., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and coauthors conducted a web-based survey of casual observers who were shown photographs of female patients who had face-lifts to assess perceptions of age, attractiveness, success and health.

Combination of radiation and immune checkpoint therapy holds potential for lung cancer

An emerging approach for cancer treatment seeks to combine radiation therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPIs) to more effectively control tumors in the chest with an acceptable risk of severe treatment-related side effects. Ten percent of patients in a retrospective analysis of metastatic lung cancer experienced severe toxicity as a result of the combination therapy. Findings will be presented tomorrow at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium.

Proton therapy offers new treatment possibility for recurrent lung cancer

A new study offers hope for patients with recurrent lung cancer, who historically have been considered ineligible for curative treatment. In the largest analysis to date of reirradiation using intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) for lung and other thoracic tumors, more than three-fourths of patients were free from local recurrence at one year following retreatment, and fewer than one in ten patients experienced severe side effects. The study will be presented today at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium.

Zeroing in on the Zika virus

For more than a year, Tom Hobman and his research team have devoted most of their waking hours to a headlong pursuit of knowledge about the Zika virus. Hobman, a professor of Cell Biology in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is one of thousands of researchers across the globe racing to stop the rapid spread of the mosquito-borne virus that first came into the global spotlight in late 2015. His focused efforts have not gone unnoticed.

SBRT offers curative option for lung cancer patients age 80 and older

Patients in their 80s and 90s who have early stage lung cancer but cannot undergo an operation can be treated safely and effectively with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), according to research presented today at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium. The advanced form of radiation therapy (RT) was well tolerated among this relatively understudied elderly population, indicating that SBRT is a viable option for patients who may otherwise be offered no curative treatment.

US health plan advances, showdown vote next week in Congress

The future of US health care faces a moment of truth next week when lawmakers are expected to vote on the Republican plan to replace Obamacare, after the measure cleared a key hurdle Thursday in Congress.

Falls are taking a huge and rising toll on elderly brains

Elderly people are suffering concussions and other brain injuries from falls at what appear to be unprecedented rates, according to a new report from U.S. government researchers.

America's porky pets face health woes, too, FDA says

(HealthDay)—America's weight problem extends to its pets, with a majority of cats and dogs dangerously overweight, a federal government veterinarian warns.

Biology news

Poison and mating regulate male roundworm populations

In many species, mating comes at the steep price of an organism's life, an evolutionary process intended to regulate reproductive competition. But males of certain roundworm species have doubled down with two methods of checking out after mating, including one in which the males poison each other, according to new research.

Climate warming gives gecko hatchlings a shaky start in life

Velvet gecko hatchlings born in a future warming climate may be slower learners and have lower overall survival rates, new research suggests.

Lizards keep it local when it comes to colour change

Driving out in the Australian desert you may come across a bright orange two-foot long lizard perched on a tree stump. It will be a bearded dragon, surveying its territory. But if you stop and get out of your car, it will transform into a dull colour and try to escape notice using his new camouflage.

Rare cricket family sheds light on extinct Jurassic species' acoustics

World-first research into a rare family of insects will help scientists understand how the common bush-crickets we are familiar with today developed their highly specialised acoustic functions.

New plant research solves a colorful mystery

Research led by scientists at the John Innes Centre has solved a long-standing mystery by deducing how and why strange yet colourful structures called 'anthocyanic vacuolar inclusions' occur in some plants.

Tardigrades use unique protein to protect themselves from desiccation

Tardigrades, the microscopic animals also known as water bears and moss piglets, have captured the imagination of scientists for almost 250 years, thanks to their Muppet-like appearance and their ability to survive extreme environments that would destroy most other living things. One of these skills is the ability to endure being dried out for up to a decade or longer. In Molecular Cell on March 16, a team of scientists report that this knack for survival is due to a unique set of proteins they dubbed tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins (TDPs).

Operation of ancient biological clock uncovered

A team of Dutch and German researchers has discovered the operation of one of the oldest biological clocks in the world, which is crucial for life on earth as we know it. The researchers applied a new combination of cutting-edge research techniques. They discovered how the biological clock in cyanobacteria works in detail. Important to understand life, because cyanobacteria were the first organisms on earth producing oxygen via photosynthesis. The results of their research will be published in Science.

Mating mix-up with wrong fly lowers libido for Mr. Right

If you've ever suffered through a nightmare date and were hesitant to try again, fruit flies can relate.

Hawaiian biodiversity has been declining for millions of years

Hawaii's unique animal and plant diversity has been declining on all but the Big Island for millions of years, long before humans arrived, according to a new analysis of species diversity on the islands by University of California, Berkeley, evolutionary biologists.

Temperature and humidity of ancestral environment are linked to differences in nostril width across human populations

Big, small, broad, narrow, long or short, turned up, pug, hooked, bulbous or prominent, humans inherit their nose shape from their parents, but ultimately, the shape of someone's nose and that of their parents was formed by a long process of adaptation to our local climate, according to an international team of researchers.

How improved valves let grasses 'breathe,' cope with climate change

New work from a joint team of plant biologists and ecologists from Carnegie and Stanford University has uncovered the factor behind an important innovation that makes grasses—both the kind that make up native prairies and the kind we've domesticated for crops—among the most-common and widespread plants on the planet. Their findings may enable the production of plants that perform better in warmer and dryer climate conditions, and are published by Science.

Agriculture, dietary changes, and adaptations in fat metabolism from ancient to modern Europeans

Good vs bad cholesterol. Margarine vs butter. Red meat vs. vegan. The causal links between fats and health have been a hotly debated topic for scientists, physicians and the public.

The energetic cost of swimming at high speed when startled may be a factor in strandings of dolphins and whales

Dolphins swimming at top speed use more than twice the amount of energy per fin beat than dolphins swimming at a more relaxed pace, according to a study by scientists at UC Santa Cruz. The researchers also found that startled beaked whales fleeing human noises use 30.5 percent more energy during the flight, suggesting that the high cost of escape could contribute to recent dolphin and whale strandings.

De novo synthesis of five yeast chromosomes

"What I cannot create, I do not understand."

Monitoring programmes underestimate human impact on biodiversity

Whether orchids or mammals, insects or slugs and snails: nowadays there are a large number of animals and plants under observation. Researchers and dedicated activists work meticulously to record their distribution, count their numbers, and document every increase or decrease. Unfortunately, the collection of this data began only very recently. For this reason, it is very difficult for ecologists to assess how much biological diversity has actually been lost due to modern civilisation. The fact that the human impact on biodiversity is likely to be greatly underestimated is the warning sent out by an international research team headed by the UFZ in a recent study published in Scientific Reports.

First large-scale interactome map of the largest membrane receptors group in humans

A team of the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona has participated in the design of the first large-scale interaction map of G-protein-coupled receptors in humans, the largest group of membrane proteins that control essential functions of cells (metabolism, proliferation, differentiation, etc.).

UA part of international alliance to address African antivenom crisis

Venomous snakebites kill an estimated 150,000 people around the world each year—amid severe shortages of fair-priced antivenom and health providers trained to use the lifesaving treatment.

Better barcoding: New library of DNA sequences improves plant identification

The ability to identify individual plant species from tiny amounts of material has a surprising range of uses, from monitoring bee populations to assessing the contents of food and nutritional supplements, as well as working out what a herbivore had for breakfast. Classifying fragments of plants can be tricky, so researchers at Emory University have developed a new database of genetic information that can be used with the latest DNA sequencing technologies to improve the accuracy of plant identification.

Outwitting climate change with a plant 'dimmer'?

Plants possess molecular mechanisms that prevent them from blooming in winter. Once the cold of win-ter has passed, they are deactivated. However, if it is still too cold in spring, plants adapt their blooming behavior accordingly. Scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have discovered genetic changes for this adaptive behavior. In light of the temperature changes resulting from climate change, this may come in useful for securing the production of food in the future.

Cyprus poachers kill 2.3 million songbirds in 2016

Poachers in Cyprus killed an estimated 2.3 million birds in autumn 2016, including 800,000 on a British military base, conservation groups said Thursday.

Securing the future of cattle production in Africa

A 'world-first' study of the genomes of indigenous cattle in Africa has revealed vital clues that will help secure the future of cattle production on the continent.

Animal behaviorist looks through the eyes of peafowl

Flock, muster ostentation, cluster, lek, pulchritude, pride or bawl, no matter what a group of peacocks is called, Texas A&M University at College Station is now home to 40 of them, thanks to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

Malaysia raises alert as bird flu virus hits more birds

Malaysian authorities raised an alert for a northeastern state after the virulent H5N1 bird flu virus was found to have spread to poultry in more villages.

Why US communities should be designing parks for older adults

As America grays, healthy aging becomes essential. Physical activity or exercise is an important piece of this. Getting regular exercise of just 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week has been linked to a reduction in heart disease, cancer, falls and cognitive impairment due to dementia, including Alzheimer-type dementia.

Website to preserve backyard wildlife in Australia

A new digital information and advice hub will tackle the unintentionally harmful human behaviour that puts Australia's incredible native wildlife at risk.

Zoo: Country's oldest gorilla probably died of heart attack

An Ohio zoo says necropsy results for the world's first gorilla born in a zoo indicate she probably died of a heart attack.

Third case of bird flu detected in Tennessee

A third commercial poultry breeding operation in Tennessee has tested positive for avian flu.


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