Thursday, March 2, 2017

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Mar 2

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 2, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Electrically tunable metasurfaces pave the way toward dynamic holograms

Most complex nanoparticle crystal ever made by design

Scientists create artificial mouse 'embryo' from stem cells for first time

Researchers store computer operating system and short movie on DNA

DeepStack the first computer program to outplay human professionals at heads-up no-limit Texas hold'em poker

Taking earth's inner temperature: Surprising new study finds that the mantle is hotter than we thought

Scientists reveal core genes involved in immunity of honey bees

Newly discovered vulnerability in an aggressive breast cancer provides therapeutic target

The 2013 Bingham Canyon landslide, moment by moment

Hydraulic forces help to fill the heart

Powerful RNA-based technology could help shape the future of therapeutic antibodies

Satellite radar system used to help preserve Angkor Wat temple

Researchers obtain supersolidity state experimentally

Mussel byssus threads produced by a combination of self-assembly processes and biologically active steps

Discovery reveals brain abnormality and mirror movement link

Astronomy & Space news

NASA scientists demonstrate technique to improve particle warnings that protect astronauts

Our constantly-changing sun sometimes erupts with bursts of light, solar material, or ultra-fast energized particles—collectively, these events contribute to space weather. In a study published Jan. 30, 2017, in Space Weather, scientists from NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, or NCAR, in Boulder, Colorado, have shown that the warning signs of one type of space weather event can be detected tens of minutes earlier than with current forecasting techniques - critical extra time that could help protect astronauts in space.

Probing seven worlds with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

With the discovery of seven earth-sized planets around the TRAPPIST-1 star 40 light years away, astronomers are looking to the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to help us find out if any of these planets could possibly support life.

NASA orbiter steers clear of Mars moon Phobos

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft performed a previously unscheduled maneuver this week to avoid a collision in the near future with Mars' moon Phobos.

Fragmented asteroid pair develops twin comet-like tails

Asteroids on the main belt, situated between Mars and Jupiter, move around the sun in quasi circular orbits, so they do not undergo the temperature changes which, in comets, produce the characteristic tails. Nevertheless, some twenty cases have been documented of asteroids which, for various reasons, increase their glow and unfurl a tail of dust. Among the latter stands P/2016 J1, the youngest known "asteroid pair."

Food on Mars, food on Earth: NASA taps USU scientists for space quest

Can earthlings live on Mars? They can if they develop self-sufficiency. NASA is betting on a multi-institution team of the best and brightest, including Utah State University scientists, to create the necessary technology and put it in the hands of future Mars pioneers.

Virgin Galactic makes satellite launch service new company

Virgin Galactic's California-based small satellite launch provider is now a separate company.

Image: Full-circle vista with a linear-shaped Martian sand dune

The left side of this 360-degree panorama from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the long rows of ripples on a linear shaped dune in the Bagnold Dune Field on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. 

Technology news

DeepStack the first computer program to outplay human professionals at heads-up no-limit Texas hold'em poker

A team of computing scientists from the University of Alberta's Computer Poker Research Group is once again capturing the world's collective fascination with artificial intelligence. In a historic result for the flourishing AI research community, the team—which includes researchers from Charles University in Prague and Czech Technical University—has developed an AI system called DeepStack that defeated professional poker players in December 2016. The landmark findings have just been published in Science, one of the world's most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Satellite radar system used to help preserve Angkor Wat temple

(Tech Xplore)—A team of researchers from several institutions in China and one in Cambodia has used a new type of satellite radar system to assess the likelihood of damage to the iconic Angkor Wat temple from higher amounts of water being extracted from the ground in the area. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes the new technology, how it was used and offers opinions on how best to protect the ancient stone structure and those around it.

Researcher develops simulations to enhance an engine's stability and life span

In 1947, Chuck Yeager strapped himself into a rocket-powered airplane and flew faster than the speed of sound, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier. Twenty years later, William J. Knight set a world-record flight speed of Mach 6.72—or 6.72 times faster than the speed of sound, which remains unchallenged to this day for manned airplanes.

New research could trigger revolution in computer electronics manufacturing

A pioneering new technique to produce cutting-edge, versatile microchips could revolutionize the speed, efficiency and capability of the next generation of computers.

Gas mileage up a gallon since early '90s

Despite advancements in fuel-saving technologies over the last 25 years, on-road fuel economy for all vehicles is up only one mile per gallon during that time.

Aging faces could increase security risks

Images of our faces exist in numerous important databases - driver's license, passport, law enforcement, employment—all to accurately identify us. But can these images continue to identify us as we age?

Once overlooked, uninitialized-use 'bugs' may provide portal for hacker attacks on Linux

Popular with programmers the world over for its stability, flexibilityand security, Linux now appears to be vulnerable to hackers.

Fat finger: Typo caused Amazon's big cloud-computing outage

Amazon says an incorrectly typed command during a routine debugging of its billing system caused the five-hour outage of some Amazon Web Services servers on Tuesday.

Indoor security robot reads badges, flags open doors and more

(Tech Xplore)—Can you picture indoor security robots strolling around your workplace tomorrow? You might balk at the idea of militaristic rolling machines making people feel uncomfortable as they hunt for thieves and blunderers. Well Cobalt Robotics has come up with a different kind of indoor security robot.

Snap future debated as popular app makes market debut

As Snapchat's owner makes its Wall Street debut, the key question for investors is whether the vanishing-message app is on its way to glory or despair.

Snap: messages vanish, young billionaires appear

The mobile application Snapchat became a social media star with messages that vanish after viewing, making co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy among the youngest billionaires on the planet.

A new game theory algorithm could one day help detect election tampering

America's president isn't the only one considering the possibility of rigged elections.

New app for matching electric cars to the driver

A new app helps drivers decide if switching from a petrol-driven car to an electric car is a viable solution for them – and which vehicle model would be best suited to their individual requirements. It was developed by engineers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum under the auspices of Prof Dr Constantinos Sourkounis. Using the smartphone app, drivers can record their typical routes while, for instance, using their petrol-driven car. Based on the gathered data, the program generates a list of vehicle models that would meet the driver's requirements, for example cars with sufficient range. Information pertaining to cost saving can also be provided.

SOI wafers are suitable substrates for gallium nitride crystals

In cooperation with Okmetic Oy and the Polish ITME, researchers at Aalto University have studied the application of SOI (Silicon On Insulator) wafers, which are used as a platform for manufacturing different microelectronics components, as a substrate for producing gallium nitride crystals. The researchers compared the characteristics of gallium nitride (GaN) layers grown on SOI wafers to those grown on silicon substrates more commonly used for the process. In addition to high-performance silicon wafers, Okmetic also manufactures SOI wafers, in which a layer of silicon dioxide insulator is sandwiched between two silicon layers. The objective of the SOI technology is to improve the capacitive and insulating characteristics of the wafer.

Critical, contextualised journalism needed in the face of AI-produced copy

In spite of its limitations, automated journalism will expand. According to media researchers, this development underlines the need for critical, contextualised journalism.

High-throughput computing plays pivotal role in knee biomechanics research

Unlike the assembly of a machine, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to medicine. Darryl Thelen, Harvey D. Spangler Professor in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducts research with this notion in mind while using computational models of the musculoskeletal system and high-throughput computing resources to refine knee surgical procedures.

A new way of assessing winter driving conditions and associated risks

A new study, published today in the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, presents a risk-based approach for classifying the road surface conditions of a highway network under winter weather events. This approach includes an explicit account of the driving risk that a motorist may experience on a highway.

Shape-shifting molecular robots respond to DNA signals

A research group at Tohoku University and Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has developed a molecular robot consisting of biomolecules, such as DNA and protein. The molecular robot was developed by integrating molecular machines into an artificial cell membrane. It can start and stop its shape-changing function in response to a specific DNA signal.

Phonemakers focus on flicks on the fly

The mobile phone industry is racing to improve its ability to deliver content as the popularity of watching TV series and films on small screens surges, forcing a shift in focus for the sector.

Welcome to your new office: A stranger's living room

Claire Brynteson had a house, a job and a dining table that was empty once she got her three children out the door every morning.

Researchers can predict terrorist behaviors with more than 90 percent accuracy

Government agencies cannot always use social media and telecommunication to uncover the intentions of terrorists as terrorists are now more careful in utilizing these technologies for planning and preparing for attacks. A new framework developed by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York is able to understand future terrorist behaviors by recognizing patterns in past attacks.

Exploring the world of the Madeleine McCann trolls

A decade has passed since the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann on holiday in Portugal, but activity online regarding the case is constant, with some of this commentary being directed in the form of abuse, a behaviour commonly referred to as 'trolling'. It is estimated that every hour there are more than 100 tweets posted using the McCann hashtag.

Norway 'anti-troll' site makes you read before commenting

Victims of online "trolling", rejoice. A Norwegian site may have found the key to muzzling malicious commenters on the internet: requiring people to read an article before discussing it.

Snapchat parent rockets higher in Wall Street debut

The company behind Snapchat is trading sharply higher in its Wall Street debut.

Wearable computing market grows as gadgets evolve: IDC

The global market for "wearable" computing such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, and software-infused ear pieces is growing strong, according to figures release Thursday by International Data Corporation.

Protectionism would be 'disaster' for autos: Renault-Nissan's Ghosn

Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn warned Thursday that protectionist trade policies could spell "disaster" for an automotive sector that depends on open borders for a complex supply chain.

Five trends at Mobile World Congress

The phone industry's largest annual trade fair, the Mobile World Congress which wrapped up in Barcelona on Thursday, was dominated by fast-charging phone batteries, virtual reality and connected objects, from toothbrushes to cars.

Team develops sustainable, high energy density battery

Researchers at The City College of New York-based CUNY Energy Institute announce the development of a novel low cost, rechargeable, high energy density battery that makes the widespread use of solar and wind power possible in the future. It is based on manganese dioxide (MnO2), an abundant, safe and non-toxic material.

Snapchat parent rockets higher in Wall Street debut

The company behind Snapchat closed on a high note in its Wall Street debut, proof, at least for a day, that there's investor demand for young but still unproven tech companies.

Drivers rebel against Uber's price-cutting quest for growth

The face-off between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and driver Fawzi Kamel illustrated a conflict between Uber, with its effort to grow by cutting prices to beat competitors, and drivers who have seen their pay reduced.

Nintendo launches new Switch game console

Nintendo's Switch console goes on sale Friday in a global launch seen as key for the Japanese videogame giant to reverse flagging sales and compete with Sony's top-selling PlayStation 4.

China seeks global support for cyber sovereignty framework

China, which tightly censors the internet, called on Thursday for a new model for governing the web based on rules and order rather than the unfettered access seen in democratic societies.

New projects to make geothermal energy more economically attractive

Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California's total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

New system estimates traffic from mobile device signals

A team of scientists from the universities of Granada and Jaén has designed a new computer method to monitor the movement of people or vehicles using the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals emitted by their mobile devices.

Fukushima cleanup chief urges better use of probe robot

The head of decommissioning for the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant said Thursday that more creativity is needed in developing robots to locate and assess the condition of melted fuel rods.

Don't fear your mobile wallet

Smartphones have replaced lots of other accessories—cameras, flashlights, calculators. But many people are still reluctant to swap the wallets in their pockets for their digital counterparts.

Medicine & Health news

Newly discovered vulnerability in an aggressive breast cancer provides therapeutic target

Physicians currently have no targeted treatment options available for women diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer known as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), leaving standard-of-care chemotherapies as a first line of defense against the disease. However, most women with TNBC do not respond to these broadly-targeted chemotherapies, and those who do often develop resistance to the drugs. Investigators at the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have discovered a vulnerability that offers a new strategy to combat TNBC. Their findings are published online today in the journal Cancer Discovery.

Powerful RNA-based technology could help shape the future of therapeutic antibodies

Using antibodies to treat disease has been one of the great success stories of early 21st-century medicine. Already five of the ten top-selling pharmaceuticals in the United States are antibody products. But antibodies are large, complex proteins that can be expensive to manufacture. Now, a team led by scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates in an animal model a new way to deliver safer and more cost-effective therapeutic antibodies. The technique involves the injection of messenger RNAs (mRNAs), the "blueprint" molecules that cells use to manufacture proteins. The mRNA molecules are taken up by cells in the body, which then become factories for making the therapeutic proteins—in this case, antibody proteins—encoded by the mRNAs.

Discovery reveals brain abnormality and mirror movement link

A condition forcing people to involuntarily mirror movements in opposing limbs has been linked to a common developmental brain disorder.

MicroRNAs show promise for revealing radiation exposure and likelihood of survival

Ionizing radiation incidents—nuclear war, nuclear accidents or terrorist dirty bombs, for example—can cause mass fatalities. Since resources for medical countermeasures are limited, it's critically important to swiftly and accurately triage those victims most likely to benefit from treatment. A new study that published online today in Science Translational Medicine found that microRNAs (miRNAs) in serum may help in that effort.

BPA replacement BHPF found to also cause estrogen related problems in mice

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from China and Japan has found that BHPF, a replacement chemical for BPA in plastics, can also cause estrogen-related problems in mice. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes tests they conducted on the impact the compound had on yeast cells and pregnant mice, the likelihood of it being released from plastic products and the prevalence of it in the blood of random college students.

Study finds new mechanism to control information flow in the brain

Specialized nerve cells, known as somatostatin-expressing (Sst) interneurons, in the outer part of the mammalian brain (or cerebral cortex)—play a key role in controlling how information flows in the brain when it is awake and alert. This is the finding of a study published online in Science March 2 by a team of neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Neuroscience Institute.

To understand others' minds, 'being' them beats reading them

We tend to believe that people telegraph how they're feeling through facial expressions and body language and we only need to watch them to know what they're experiencing—but new research shows we'd get a much better idea if we put ourselves in their shoes instead. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Saving brain cells from stroke

Researchers from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have shown that a neuroprotective compound tested in rats provides two-pronged protection for brain cells during stroke and improves physical and cognitive outcomes in the treated animals.

Sex differences in brain activity alter pain therapies

A female brain's resident immune cells are more active in regions involved in pain processing relative to males, according to a recent study by Georgia State University researchers.

In a bad flu season, high-dose flu vaccine appeared better at preventing deaths in seniors

The high-dose flu vaccine appeared to be more effective at preventing post-influenza deaths among older adults than the standard-dose vaccine, at least during a more severe flu season, according to a large new study of Medicare beneficiaries published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The findings build on earlier research suggesting that the high-dose vaccine may be better at preventing influenza virus infections and other flu-related outcomes in seniors, including office visits and hospitalizations, compared to the standard-dose vaccine.

Scientists discover metabolic pathway that drives tumor growth in aggressive cancers

Mount Sinai researchers have discovered that a rheumatoid arthritis drug can block a metabolic pathway that occurs in tumors with a common cancer-causing gene mutation, offering a new possible therapy for aggressive cancers with few therapeutic options, according to a study to be published in Cancer Discovery.

While most melanoma survivors limit sun exposure, some report getting suntans and sunburns

Survivors of melanoma were more likely to limit exposure to the sun than people who had never had the disease, but some still reported seeking out suntans and getting sunburns.

Too many patients get liver tests they don't need, which can raise fears and costs

It can start with the quick check of a box. A doctor orders a range of blood tests all at once, hoping to figure out what's causing a patient to show signs of liver damage. It sounds harmless enough - and faster and more convenient than making the patient get more blood tests later.

Experts ask: Can cannabis be made safer?

As cannabis laws become liberalised in many countries, experts writing in The Lancet Psychiatry argue that there is an urgent need to explore how cannabis use can be made safer.

New treatment option for difficult-to-treat rheumatoid arthritis patients

Between 3 and 5 percent of the population suffers from a form of inflammatory rheumatism. It affects approximately 250,000 to 400,000 people in Austria. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common and also the most dangerous forms of this inflammatory rheumatic disease. Around 30 percent of patients achieve remission, described as successful control of symptoms, after just one or two years. However, despite frequent changes in treatment, many patients endure the active form of the disease on an ongoing basis. A multicentre, multinational study headed up by rheumatologist Daniel Aletaha of MedUni Vienna as principal investigator has now shown that a new drug (sirukumab) is a promising treatment option for these "refractory" patients. The study has now been published in The Lancet.

Elderly people who choose the wrong shoes have a lower quality of life

As people get older, they experience changes in their foot morphology. If they do not change their shoe size along with these transformations, older people—most of whom choose the wrong shoes—suffer, among other things, anxiety, apathy, loss of balance and falls, according to a study by the University of A Coruña.

Looking for relief, pregnant women turn to marijuana despite medical advice

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Vital Statistics Reports, more than one in five U.S. births now occur in states where marijuana is legal. That's triggered a concern among health professionals about the use of marijuana by pregnant women.

Study reveals complication predictors in children with Crohn's disease

Researchers have successfully identified biological signatures in pediatric patients with newly diagnosed Crohn's disease (CD) capable of predicting whether a child will develop disease-related complications requiring major surgery within three to five years. The results of this research, "Prediction of complicated disease course for children newly diagnosed with Crohn's disease: a multicentre inception cohort study," have been published in the journal, The Lancet.

Increased survival with new treatment for aggressive form of childhood cancer

An international team of scientists, including researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, have conducted a clinical study on a new treatment for high-risk neuroblastoma, an exceedingly aggressive form of cancer that only develops in babies and young children. According to the researchers, the results demonstrate that the new treatment both increases survival and reduces undesirable effects.

Researchers use glass to limit spread of drug-resistant bacteria

As G20 health experts meet this week to discuss the need for new antibiotics to combat drug-resistant bacteria, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology are looking to an unusual material – glass – to limit the spread of drug-resistant bugs in humans.

Study finds effective interventions to prevent alcohol use among American Indian and rural youth

Community-based and individual-level prevention strategies are effective ways to reduce alcohol use among American Indian and other youth living in rural communities, according to a new study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also provided support for the study.

Multicenter study finds no benefit to treating mild thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy

A large national study suggests that treating pregnant women for mildly low thyroid function does not improve the IQs of their babies or reduce preterm births or other negative outcomes.

Screening may reduce risk of advanced ovarian cancer diagnosis

Screening women at high risk of ovarian cancer every four months may reduce the likelihood of them being diagnosed with advanced cancer, according to the results of the UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening Study (UK FOCSS), which is led by UCL.

Downward trend in disaster events causing mass deaths in NZ (1900 to 2015)

Fewer New Zealanders are now dying in large-scale disaster events but that is not the case across the Tasman, a University of Otago, Wellington study has found.

Professor discusses how to help a picky eater

Many parents and caregivers are distressed by what their children eat—or don't eat. However, most kids get plenty of variety and nutrition in their diets over the course of a week, according to Lee Murphy, a nutrition professor at UT.

Ketamine eases severe depression, but questions of dosage, duration remain

Recent studies have confirmed observations made by Yale clinicians decades ago—the anesthetic ketamine provides rapid and robust relief to those suffering from the most severe forms of depression. However, there is also limited research to advise doctors on best doses and length of ketamine treatment, which patients will most benefit from treatment, and whether ketamine can provide long-lasting relief for depression without dangerous side effects, according to a report published March 1 in the Journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The placenta's role in protecting the fetus from infection

The mammalian placenta is a sort of armored car protecting a developing fetus. All manner of infectious agents attempt to break in, but few of them can.

New autoimmune disease triggered by thymomas

A Japanese research group has discovered that a newly-identified autoimmune endocrine disease that leads to hypopituitarism is caused by thymomas (a type of tumor originating from the thymic gland). These underlying mechanisms could help to understand and develop a treatment for similar autoimmune diseases. These findings were published on February 20 in the online edition of Scientific Reports.

New treatment for fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes burns up fat in liver

Researchers in Sweden are planning the clinical trial of a new treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes which harnesses liver cells' own ability to burn accumulated fats.

Study finds plain packaging helps smokers quit

Plain tobacco packaging in Australia reduced smoking and increased smoker attempts to quit the habit because it led to a fall in the way they identified with their brand, a study led by ANU has found.

Getting a bad night's sleep could be increasing some people's likelihood of becoming obese

According to a study led by the University of Glasgow, and published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), abnormal sleeping habits increase the risk of obesity for those who are genetically predisposed to being overweight.

Veterans not at higher risk of leukaemia, finds study

People who have served in the Armed Forces do not have an increased risk of leukaemia or other blood cancers, according to a study by the University of Glasgow.

Cigarette smoke curbs lung's self-healing

Smoke from cigarettes blocks self-healing processes in the lungs and consequently can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), and their international colleagues have reported this in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

New study reveals air pollution can alter the effectiveness of antibiotics and increases the potential of disease

Interdisciplinary research at the University of Leicester has explored the impact of black carbon on bacteria in the respiratory tract

How camber in roads affects runners

Camber in a road is tremendously useful—unless you happen to be running, not driving, on that street.

Unprecedented study of hearing aid outcomes in older adults released today

The first-ever placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial of hearing aid outcomes published today in the American Journal of Audiology shows that older adults benefit from hearing aid use.

Acupuncture improves outcomes in carpal tunnel syndrome in part by remapping the brain

Though the practice of acupuncture predates current understanding of physiology by several millennia, it often provides measureable improvements in health outcomes, particularly in the area of chronic pain. Now, in a study reported in the journal Brain, a team of investigators based at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) sheds new light on the question of how.

Scientists wage fight against aging bone marrow stem cell niche

As people get older so do the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that form their blood, creating an increased risk for compromised immunity and certain blood cancers. Now researchers are reporting in the scientific journal EMBO that the bone marrow niche where HSC's form also ages, contributing to the problem.

Ovarian cancer target molecule may be key to blocking its spread

Blocking a protein found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells could prevent or reduce the spread of the disease to other organs, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Virtual reality hopes to treat mental health problems

Virtual reality headsets are often associated with video games and fun, but companies are also working to use them for mental health therapies, to treat phobias, anxiety or addictions.

From mother to baby: 'Secondhand sugars' can pass through breast milk

Add breast milk to the list of foods and beverages that contain fructose, a sweetener linked to health issues ranging from obesity to diabetes.

Scientists discover how obesity stops 'guardian immune cells' from doing their job

Scientists have uncovered the physiological mechanics underlying inflammation and obesity by tracking the actions of 'guardian immune cells' in response to changes in diet. They believe their work may herald a new era of research now that they have new therapeutic targets to prevent and control obesity-related inflammation and metabolic disease.

Horse-riding can improve children's cognitive ability

Recent research published in Frontiers in Public Health shows that the effects of vibrations produced by horses during horse-riding lead to the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which improves learning in children.

Number of people in US with hearing loss expected to nearly double in coming decades

In a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Adele M. Goman, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., and colleagues used U.S. population projection estimates with current prevalence estimates of hearing loss to estimate the number of adults expected to have a hearing loss through 2060.

Research shows exercise is a boon for cancer patients

Exercise and/or psychological therapy work better than medications to reduce cancer-related fatigue and should be recommended first to patients, according to a Wilmot Cancer Institute-led study published in JAMA Oncology.

Boosting a cell-protecting protein may help slow Alzheimer's disease progression

A new study of Alzheimer's disease by Fiona Kerr and Linda Partridge at University College London, uses mouse and fruit fly models to show that Keap1, which inhibits the protective protein Nrf2, is a promising target for new preventative drugs for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Their findings are reported in a study published March 2nd, 2017 in PLOS Genetics.

Scientists discover new mechanism that leads to inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis

New research findings published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, suggest that synovial CD4+ T cells that produce IL-21 contribute to joint inflammation by activating synovial fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Understanding the mechanisms of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is important for the design of new therapies for this disease.

Study identifies how cancer cells may develop resistance to FGFR inhibitors

A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) has identified a mechanism by which cancer cells develop resistance to a class of drugs called fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors.

'Red hair' gene variant may underlie association between melanoma and Parkinson's disease

A gene variant that produces red hair and fair skin in humans and in mice, which increases the risk of the dangerous skin cancer melanoma, may also contribute to the known association between melanoma and Parkinson's disease. In their paper appearing in the March issue of Annals of Neurology and previously published online, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators report that mice carrying the red hair variant of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene have reduced production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the substantia nigra—the brain structure in which dopamine-producing neurons are destroyed in Parkinson's disease (PD)—and are more susceptible to toxins known to damage those neurons.

Risk & reward: Stopping a cancer drug to see if you're cured

Imagine you had a life-threatening cancer that a wonder drug had kept in remission for years. Would you risk quitting?

Cause of killer cardiac disease identified by new method

A team of researchers have invented a new method to identify the origin of irregular electrical 'storm waves' in the heart. This new research, published in PLOS Computational Biology, could have major implications for the future treatment of a killer cardiac disease.

Physical therapy proves as effective as surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome

Physical therapy is as effective as surgery in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, according to a new study published in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT).

New avalanche and snow burial practice guidelines released

With the growing popularity of backcountry snow activities, it is increasingly important to understand the best techniques for avalanche rescue. Each year, there are over 150 avalanche fatalities in the US and Europe, with most deaths occurring among recreational groups that include skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and mountaineers. The Wilderness Medical Society has issued new practice guidelines to help medical professionals, as well as the public, understand the latest techniques and recommendations for avalanche risk management and rescue protocols. These guidelines are published in the March issue of Wilderness & Environmental Medicine.

Study finds not all women get appropriate care for cervical cancer

Women with locally advanced cervical cancer whose treatment follows national guidelines for care have better survival, regardless of race, ethnicity or stage of cancer.

Researchers report first known case of CTE in patient with no known head trauma

Researchers at Toronto Western Hospital's Canadian Concussion Centre (CCC) have discovered the presence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brain of a deceased patient with no known history of traumatic brain injury or concussion, the first known case of its kind.

FDA approves new treatment for dust mite allergies

(HealthDay)—A new treatment for dust mite allergies has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

New eczema drug promising in early trial

(HealthDay)—An experimental drug may significantly reduce the itching and improve the appearance of moderate to severe eczema, a new, preliminary trial finds.

Skin diseases take big slice out of America's health, economy

(HealthDay)—Skin diseases have a major impact on Americans and the U.S. economy, a new report finds.

Reduced health care use for exenatide regimens in T2DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes, treatment with exenatide is associated with reduced health care resource use and costs compared with basal insulin (BI) regimens, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Pre-op phone consult doesn't cut anxiety before mohs surgery

(HealthDay)—Receiving a preoperative educational telephone call does not reduce anxiety or improve satisfaction for patients undergoing same-day office consultation and Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS), according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Trump's policy changes put women's sexual and reproductive health at risk, argues expert

Donald Trump's sexual and reproductive health policy changes threaten women in the USA and across the world, warns an expert in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Assisted fertilisation has become natural

The debate concerning reproductive technology in Norway challenges the limits for what is considered natural pregnancy.

Use of opioid pain medications may affect liver transplant patients' survival

An analysis of nearly 30,000 patients undergoing liver transplantation in the United States between 2008 and 2014 found elevated death and organ loss rates in the first 5 years after transplantation among recipients with the highest use of opioid pain medications while on the waiting list.

Call for nurses to employ ethical framework during new administration's policy adjustments

The inauguration of a new United States president is heralded as a peaceful transition of power. However, when a new administration actually takes office, the fast change in healthcare policy direction and ideological political viewpoints that accompanies a new administration can be anything but tranquil. New administrations select directors, secretaries, and advisors to lead the new administration and start to set in motion agendas based on the winning party's platform plans and campaign promises.

New study examines gender differences in PTSD among military personnel

A study of U.S. Navy healthcare personnel has shown that when comparing the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women and men who had similar deployment experiences, and especially combat experience, the risk of PTSD was significantly higher among women. PTSD risk rose for both men and women with an increasing number of combat exposures, as reported in Journal of Women's Health.

New in vitro toxicology research on health risk assessment wins PETA award

Researchers have demonstrated the ability to use two new mechanistic models called Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs)—one for decreased lung function and the other for hypertension—to assess the toxicological risk of chemicals without the need for animal testing. The novel AOPs, developed jointly by scientists at British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International, received an award from the PETA International Science Consortium for contributing to non-animal approaches to predicting adverse health effects. The studies are published today in Applied In Vitro Toxicology.

Taking stock: Where does Europe stand in the elimination of hepatitis B and C?

In 2016, a regional action plan for Europe contributing to the implementation of the global viral hepatitis elimination strategy was developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. In an article published today in Eurosurveillance, the authors take a closer look how Europe is doing according to the ten indicators and targets outlined in this plan. In short: Europe still has some way to go if it wants to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

Palbociclib in advanced breast cancer: Disadvantages predominate in certain patients

Palbociclib (trade name: Ibrance) has been approved since November 2016 for the treatment of women with advanced hormone receptor-positive breast cancer who are not eligible for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or further surgery. In an early benefit assessment, the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) investigated whether this drug offers advantages for patients over the appropriate comparator therapies.

Ebola worker dies after childbirth as husband blames stigma

Salome Karwah survived Ebola after it killed both her parents and seven other relatives, then returned to her clinic to help countless others as she had become immune to the deadly virus. Her face graced the cover of Time magazine when it recognized the brave health care workers battling Ebola in 2014.

Timing of anti-donor antibody responses affects the survival of kidney transplants

New research provides insights on transplant recipients' antibody responses against donor kidneys and how the timing of those responses can have important implications. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Researchers discover how breast cancer spreads to the brain

Ninety percent of cancer deaths are from cancer spread. Breast cancer patients, for example, typically do not die because cancer returns in their breast, they die because it spreads to other parts of their body. The most dangerous of which is the brain. Approximately 40 percent of all women with HER2-positive breast cancer will develop brain metastases. Now City of Hope researchers have found how this happens.

Horseback riding interventions have therapeutic benefits for people with disabilities

Physical activities incorporating horseback riding can help to improve strength, balance, and other outcomes for children and adults with a range of neuromotor, developmental, and physical disabilities, according to a report in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Biology news

Scientists create artificial mouse 'embryo' from stem cells for first time

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have managed to create a structure resembling a mouse embryo in culture, using two types of stem cells - the body's 'master cells' - and a 3D scaffold on which they can grow.

Researchers store computer operating system and short movie on DNA

Humanity may soon generate more data than hard drives or magnetic tape can handle, a problem that has scientists turning to nature's age-old solution for information-storage—DNA.

Scientists reveal core genes involved in immunity of honey bees

A core set of genes involved in the responses of honey bees to multiple diseases caused by viruses and parasites has been identified by an international team of researchers. The findings provide a better-defined starting point for future studies of honey-bee health, and may help scientists and beekeepers breed honey bees that are more resilient to stress.

Want more crop variety? Researchers propose using CRISPR to accelerate plant domestication

Out of the more than 300,000 plant species in existence, only three species—rice, wheat, and maize—account for most of the plant matter that humans consume, partly because in the history of agriculture, mutations arose that made these crops the easiest to harvest. But with CRISPR technology, we don't have to wait for nature to help us domesticate plants, argue researchers at the University of Copenhagen. In a Review published March 2 in Trends in Plant Science, they describe how gene editing could make, for example, wild legumes, quinoa, or amaranth, which are already sustainable and nutritious, more farmable.

Genome editing: Pressing the 'delete' button on DNA

Until recently, genomics was a "read-only" science, but scientists have developed a tool for quick and easy deletion of DNA in living cells. This software, published in PLOS Computational Biology, will boost efforts to understand the vast regions of non-coding DNA, or "Dark Matter", in our DNA and may lead to discovery of new disease-causing genes and potential new drugs.

Saving the Underworld: Clarifying the stygofauna classification for improved conservation

Inevitably, many habitats, including the particularly vulnerable subterranean ones, will continue being erased from our planet as a result of human activities and interests. The challenge is to protect the ones that are the sole habitats to certain organisms, so that their species are safe from extinction. Hence, it is essential that the distribution of every each one of them is clearly defined.

Cannons, lasers, drones: New hope to save birds at toxic pit

After thousands of snow geese died in the toxic water of a former open-pit mine in Montana last fall, the companies responsible for the pit are bringing out the big guns. Literally.

Scientists explain uneven color of spotted animals

Researchers at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences and colleagues have proposed a new mechanism for the dynamic self-organization of spatial structures in embryogenesis. Using mathematical modeling methods, the researchers have demonstrated that this self-organization may be due to a significant difference in the mutual penetration rates (diffusion) of morphogen proteins, which occurs due to differently binding biologically active substances (morphogens) in the extracellular matrix. The results of this research, which were published in PLOS ONE, create the preconditions for new models describing the variety of forms in the early stages of organism development.

Researchers discover new penis-lacking microworm species

Found in the most arid areas in which there is little to no water, nematodes of no more than 1 mm feed on bacteria and help to mineralise soil and produce nutrients. In an orchard of Jaén, researchers have discovered a new species with a feature that makes them unique on the Iberian Peninsula: the males lack penises.

Housefly's love of manure could lead to sustainable feed

Could the common housefly, which has evolved to recycle nutrients from waste products, help address the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' warning that food production will need to double by 2050 to feed a growing world population?

When mammals took to water they needed a few tricks to eat their underwater prey

Have you ever watched a dog retrieve a ball thrown into water? On land, dogs are swift and agile, but in water they become slow and ungainly.

The evolution of Japanese color vocabulary over the past 30 years

Color plays an important role in conveying visual information. For example, color can help the observer find an object in a cluttered environment. Although the human eye can distinguish millions of colors, human languages have only a few color terms, such as "red," "green," "blue" and "yellow," which speakers can use to communicate about colors in everyday life. These color terms change over time as a language evolves, and the Japanese language is no exception.

Moonlighting function for mitochondrial-calcium influx machinery MCU complex

Mitochondria - the energy-generating powerhouses of cells - are also a site for oxidative stress and cellular calcium regulation. The latter two functions have long been suspected of being linked mechanistically, and now new research at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) shows precisely how, with the common connection centering on a protein complex known as the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU).

Parasitic worm gene regulates behaviors used to track down new insect hosts

Researchers have developed and demonstrated the potential of a method that could be used to study how genes influence host-sensing behaviors in a parasitic worm, according to a new study in PLOS Pathogens.

Zoo's pregnant giraffe, April, is a live-streaming sensation

A pregnant giraffe has its own website, a GoFundMe page, an apparel line and millions of people worldwide watching live-streaming video waiting for it to give birth.

Recalls protect animals from low-quality and tainted food

Pet food recalls have made headlines in recent weeks, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that eight brands of cat, dog and rabbit food have been pulled from store shelves since the start of 2017. These foods have been recalled for containing possibly low levels of vitamin B1 and for carrying disease-causing bacteria, pieces of metal, and traces of the animal euthanasia agent pentobarbital.

Newborn harbour porpoises have the fastest hearing development among mammals

All mammals can hear—but it is not an ability that is fully developed at birth. Some mammals like humans take years to fully develop their hearing abilities, but for a newborn harbour porpoise it takes less than 30 hours. This is the fastest in any studied mammal.

Researchers find positive long-term colic surgery results in horses

Many horse owners and equine veterinarians find themselves facing a difficult decision when it comes to treating a horse surgically for colic, with concerns including postoperative performance and expense. Now, a recently published study funded by Morris Animal Foundation shows that colic surgery results in overwhelmingly positive outcomes for both horses and owners.

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