Thursday, March 23, 2017

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Mar 23

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 23, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Physicists prove that it's impossible to cool an object to absolute zero

Astronomers study a rare multi-eclipsing quintet of stars

New 3-D-printed device mimics the goldbug beetle, which changes color when prodded

Astronomers observe early stages of Milky Way-like galaxies in distant universe

New study finds that most cancer mutations are due to random DNA copying 'mistakes'

Chemists ID catalytic 'key' for converting CO2 to methanol

Immune study in chickens reveals key hurdle for Campylobacter vaccine effort

An ooh-la-la Hyperloop capsule is being built, next year's big peek in Toulouse

Living 'BioWall' of plants could clean household air, lower energy bills

New tools to study the origin of embryonic stem cells

Researchers find new gene interaction associated with increased multiple sclerosis risk

Research shows that circular RNAs, until now considered non-coding, can encode for proteins

Peptide targeting senescent cells restores stamina, fur, and kidney function in old mice

'Synthetic skin' could lead to advanced prosthetic limbs capable of returning sense of touch to amputees

Study reveals wetlands are susceptible to rapid lowering in elevation during large earthquakes

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers study a rare multi-eclipsing quintet of stars

(—A team of astronomers led by Krzysztof Hełminiak of the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center in Toruń, Poland, has investigated an interesting bright quintuple stellar system in which each of the stars is eclipsed. The quintet, designated KIC 4150611 (also known as HD 181469), given its peculiar pulsations, eclipses, and high-order multiplicity, could provide important information on evolution and structure of multiple-star systems. The new research was published Mar. 2 in a paper on

Astronomers observe early stages of Milky Way-like galaxies in distant universe

For decades, astronomers have found distant galaxies by detecting the characteristic way their gas absorbs light from a bright quasar in the background. But efforts to observe the light emitted by these same galaxies have mostly been unsuccessful. Now, a team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has observed emissions from two distant galaxies initially detected by their quasar absorption signatures, and the results were not what they had expected.

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

Pushing the limits of the largest single-aperture millimeter telescope in the world, and coupling it with gravitational lensing, University of Massachusetts Amherst astronomer Alexandra Pope and colleagues report that they have detected a surprising rate of star formation, four times higher than previously detected, in a dust-obscured galaxy behind a Frontier Fields cluster.

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

Astronomers have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the center of a distant galaxy by what could be the awesome power of gravitational waves.

NASA selects CubeSat, SmallSat mission concept studies

NASA has selected ten studies under the Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies (PSDS3) program, to develop mission concepts using small satellites to investigate Venus, Earth's moon, asteroids, Mars and the outer planets.

Satellite launch shelved over strikes

After three days of delays caused by worker strikes in French Guiana, rocket firm Arianespace opted Thursday to postpone indefinitely the launch of satellites for South Korean and Brazilian clients.

Image: Space Station view of Mount Etna erupting

The Expedition 50 crew aboard the International Space Station had a nighttime view from orbit of Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna, erupting on March 19, 2017.

Technology news

New 3-D-printed device mimics the goldbug beetle, which changes color when prodded

In this age of smartphones and tablet computers, touch-sensitive surfaces are everywhere. They're also brittle, as people with cracked phone screens everywhere can attest.

An ooh-la-la Hyperloop capsule is being built, next year's big peek in Toulouse

(Tech Xplore)—The next chapter in train transport will make it difficult for you even remember there was a last chapter involving units and people by land.

Living 'BioWall' of plants could clean household air, lower energy bills

Homes of the future could have cleaner air and lower energy bills due to a Purdue team's BioWall innovation involving the use of a living wall of air-cleaning plants.

Let there be light: German scientists test 'artificial sun'

Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Thursday on what's being described as "the world's largest artificial sun," a device they hope will help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuels.

Hands-on model helps students understand genetic engineering

A team of faculty and undergraduate researchers have created a physical, interactive model to teach students about genetics and biological processes at the cellular level.

Double filters allow for tetrachromatic vision in humans

(Tech Xplore)—A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin has developed a pair of glasses that allows the wearer to have tetrachromatic vision. In their paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint sever, the group describes the inspiration for their glasses and explain how they work.

WikiLeaks releases CIA hacks of Apple Mac computers

The Central Intelligence Agency is able to permanently infect an Apple Mac computer so that even reinstalling the operating system will not erase the bug, according to documents published Thursday by WikiLeaks.

Protecting web users' privacy

Most website visits these days entail a database query—to look up airline flights, for example, or to find the fastest driving route between two addresses.

'Smart' leg mobility device could provide hands-free, comfortable, effective alternative to conventional crutches

Individuals with lower leg injuries could soon be saying goodbye to traditional crutches with the development of a hands-free alternative that is more comfortable and potentially more effective. The device, developed by Purdue University graduates, could provide ergonomic and natural movement and transmit real-time recovery data to physicians.

Research work on peregrine falcons inspires future aircraft technologies

Scientists at BAE Systems and City, University of London have revealed how research work on how falcons fly is inspiring new technologies for aircraft that could contribute to their safety in the air, aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The technologies could be applied within the next 20 years.

Lab researchers boost truck fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamics

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, as part of a Navistar SuperTruck I team, helped design a new type of tractor trailer truck that improves fuel economy by 124 percent, compared to heavy vehicles on the road today.

The age of hacking brings a return to the physical key

With all the news about Yahoo accounts being hacked and other breaches of digital security, it's easy to wonder if there's any real way to keep unauthorized users out of our email and social media accounts.

An algorithm that knows when you'll get bored with your favourite mobile game

Researchers from the Tokyo-based company Silicon Studio, led by Spanish data scientist África Periáñez, have developed a new algorithm that predicts when a user will leave a mobile game. This information is useful for game studios so that they can design strategies to maintain the player's interest.

Connected dolls and tell-tale teddy bears: Why we need to manage the Internet of Toys

Action is needed to monitor and control the emerging Internet of Toys, concludes a new report by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). Privacy and security are highlighted as main areas of concern.

Laptop ban creates turbulence for airline profits

A carry-on ban by Washington and London for laptops on flights from some airports will hit the profits of affected airlines, especially the lucrative business class segments of Gulf carriers, analysts said Thursday.

Senate votes to undo privacy rules that protect user data

The Republican-led Senate moved Thursday to undo Obama-era regulations that would have forced internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to ask customers' permission before they could use or sell much of their personal information.

Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry: the facts

South Korea's sunken Sewol ferry emerged from the waters on Thursday, nearly three years after it sank with the loss of more than 300 lives in one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

ABC News says three of its Twitter accounts were hacked

ABC News said three of its Twitter accounts were hacked Thursday morning, sending out profanity-filled tweets to its millions of followers.

17,000 AT&T workers will come back on the job Thursday

Some 17,000 AT&T workers in California and Nevada are returning to their jobs after a one-day walkout. They had been protesting changes in job duties for some employees.

China's ZTE pleads guilty to violating US sanctions on Iran, N.Korea

Chinese telecom giant ZTE has pleaded guilty in a US court to violating US export controls by selling goods to Iran and North Korea over several years.

Kenya sells first ever mobile government bonds

Kenya, a pioneer in mobile money, on Thursday began selling the first ever government bonds via mobile phone, allowing anyone from teachers to shop owners to invest and fund infrastructure projects.

Live sports broadcasting in US braces for disruption

The business of live sports, seen as perhaps the last great firewall for traditional US broadcasters, is facing deepening challenges in the era of mobile and live streaming options.

Analysis: Building a market for renewable thermal technologies

Though a mature technology, renewable thermals occupy a small niche in Connecticut—and in the U.S. at large. A new Yale-led study analyzes the market potential of this technology across the state and provides key insights into spurring consumer demand.

Medicine & Health news

New study finds that most cancer mutations are due to random DNA copying 'mistakes'

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists report data from a new study providing evidence that random, unpredictable DNA copying "mistakes" account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer. Their research is grounded on a novel mathematical model based on DNA sequencing and epidemiologic data from around the world.

Immune study in chickens reveals key hurdle for Campylobacter vaccine effort

New University of Liverpool research reveals that the immune response of farmed chickens does not develop fast enough to fight off Campylobacter during their short lifespan. The findings have important implications in the challenge towards developing a poultry vaccine for the bug, which is the UK's leading cause of food poisoning.

Researchers find new gene interaction associated with increased multiple sclerosis risk

A person carrying variants of two particular genes could be almost three times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis, according to the latest findings from scientists at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Duke University Medical Center.

Peptide targeting senescent cells restores stamina, fur, and kidney function in old mice

Regular infusions of a peptide that can selectively seek out and destroy broken-down cells that hamper proper tissue renewal, called senescent cells, showed evidence of improving healthspan in naturally-aged mice and mice genetically engineered to rapidly age. The proof-of-concept study, published March 23 in Cell, found that an anti-senescent cell therapy could reverse age-related loss of fur, poor kidney function, and frailty. It is currently being tested whether the approach also extends lifespan, and human safety studies are being planned.

Is there a link between telomere length and cancer?

Telomeres are regions of repetitive DNA at the end of human chromosomes, which protect the end of the chromosome from damage. Whilst shorter telomeres are hypothesized biological markers of older age and have been linked to many diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, whether these associations are causal is unknown.

Findings suggest ways to block nerve cell damage in neurodegenerative diseases

In many neurodegenerative conditions—Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and peripheral neuropathy among them—an early defect is the loss of axons, the wiring of the nervous system. When axons are lost, nerve cells can't communicate as they should, and nervous system function is impaired. In peripheral neuropathy in particular, and perhaps other diseases, sick axons trigger a self-destruct program.

Urinary tract infections reveal the importance of interactions between host susceptibility and bacterial gene expression

In the search for a defining feature of the Escherichia coli that cause urinary tract infections, comparative transcriptomics and infection models show that infection depends on both the host environment and gene expression levels in the bacteria.

Sleep deprivation impairs ability to interpret facial expressions

After a rough night's sleep, your ability to recognize whether those around you are happy or sad could suffer, according to a study led by a University of Arizona psychologist.

Team finds another immune system link science said didn't exist

The University of Virginia School of Medicine has again shown that a part of the body thought to be disconnected from the immune system actually interacts with it, and that discovery helps explain cases of male infertility, certain autoimmune diseases and even the failure of cancer vaccines.

Study shows how brain combines subtle sensory signals to take notice

A new study describes a key mechanism in the brain that allows animals to recognize and react when subtle sensory signals that might not seem important on their own occur simultaneously. Such "multisensory integration" (MSI) is a vital skill for young brains to develop, said the authors of the paper in eLife, because it shapes how effectively animals can make sense of their surroundings.

Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat anxiety

Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat disabling emotions, says new research revealing their role in regulating critical brain circuits affecting fear and anxiety.

New stem cell method produces millions of human brain and muscle cells in days

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists and their collaborators at the University of Cambridge have created a new technique that simplifies the production of human brain and muscle cells - allowing millions of functional cells to be generated in just a few days. The results published today (23 March) in Stem Cell Reports open the door to producing a diversity of new cell types that could not be made before in order to study disease.

Scientists unveil a giant leap for anti-aging

UNSW researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary drug that actually reverses ageing, improves DNA repair and could even help NASA get its astronauts to Mars.

Most dengue infections transmitted in and around home

Transmission of the mosquito-borne dengue virus appears to be largely driven by infections centered in and around the home, with the majority of cases related to one another occurring in people who live less than 200 meters apart, new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Florida suggests.

It's really about me, not 'you': People often use the word 'you' rather than 'I' to cope with negative experiences

To cope with negative experiences or to share an insight, people often use the word "you" rather than "I."

New tool for prognosis and choice of therapy for rheumatoid arthritis

In rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies are formed that affect the inflammation in the joints. In an article published today in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, researchers at Uppsala University show that antibodies against the cartilage protein collagen II are associated with a good prognosis.

Moderate drinking linked to lower risk of some—but not all—heart conditions

Moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of several, but not all, cardiovascular diseases, finds a large study of UK adults published by The BMJ today.

Many youths with diabetes not being screened as recommended for diabetic retinopathy

Many youths with type 1 and 2 diabetes are not receiving eye examinations as recommended to monitor for diabetic retinopathy, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

Preterm births more common in mothers who are cancer survivors

For young women facing a new cancer diagnosis, fertility preservation can be an important consideration in treatment planning. Now a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led study has identified potential risks for mothers who are cancer survivors—risks for their newborns' health.

Shape of inner ear helps predict hearing loss for children with rare disorder

It may be possible to predict the severity of hearing loss for children diagnosed with enlarged vestibular aqueduct, according to a new study published in JAMA-Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. This retrospective chart review, authored by physicians and researchers within the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct (EVA) Research Project, is one of the first such studies to find a direct connection between the increasing width of the vestibular aqueduct and the degree of hearing loss a child experiences over time.

A new approach to target an 'undruggable' prostate cancer driver

New research suggests a novel strategy to target a genetic anomaly that occurs in half of all prostate cancers.

Research on 'tip links' signals possible path to better understanding of deafness

At their simplest, the sounds that surround us—from a baby's cry to heavy metal—are merely vibrations in the air. It's the job of the ears to capture those vibrations and convert them into neural signals that can be processed by the brain, enabling us to make sense of our aural environment.

Global rise of multidrug resistant tuberculosis threatens to derail decades of progress

New antibiotics are becoming available for the first time but without accurate diagnostics, clear treatment guidelines, and improved control efforts, their effectiveness could be rapidly lost

Some of the youngest opioid victims are curious toddlers

Curious toddlers find the drugs in a mother's purse or accidentally dropped on the floor. Sometimes a parent fails to secure the child-resistant cap on a bottle of painkillers.

Children and adolescents more severely affected by time change

At 2 o'clock in the morning this coming Sunday the clocks will go forward to 3 o'clock – from winter time to summer time. We will therefore "lose" an hour of our normal sleeping time. Many people don't even notice this "mini jetlag." However, children and adolescents should be prepared for this change, because they are the most severely affected by it. This was stressed by Gerhard Klösch, sleep researcher at MedUni Vienna's Department of Neurology.

How a study about chronic fatigue syndrome was doctored, adding to pain and stigma

The public relies on scientists to report their findings accurately and completely, but that does not always happen. Too often, researchers announce only their most favorable outcomes, while keeping more disappointing results well out of sight.

Hidden workforce of mental health carers saves Australia $13.2b

Carers supporting Australians with mental illness are providing services that would cost governments $13.2 billion to replace, a new report has found.

Three-pronged approach is key to precision medicine

Combining genetic information from a patient's tumor cells with three-dimensional cell cultures grown from these tumors and rapidly screening approved drugs can identify the best treatment approaches in patients for whom multiple therapies have failed, according to a new study led by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators.

Spinal cord stimulation relieves back pain without opioids

Doctors who treat patients suffering from back pain are exploring new approaches that help some patients avoid opioid drugs. The highly addictive prescription painkillers are fueling an epidemic of abuse and overdose deaths.

Mass deworming greatly reduces helminth prevalence among children

A study finds that mass deworming leads to a significantly greater reduction in prevalence in children than targeted deworming.

New tests help better stroke outcomes

Stroke patient rehabilitation can now be improved with a simple process that is helping therapists accurately predict how well their patients will regain the use of their hands and arms after a stroke.

Opinion: Research suggests motherhood has changed my brain

"Mum is it winter soon?"

Androgen plays key role in ovarian development

Scientists have discovered that the male androgen hormone is an important element in the ovarian development of female chicken embryos, more so than in the development of male testes.

MDPV abuse in adolescence increases cocaine addiction vulnerability in adulthood

Consumption of the synthetic drug MDPV in adolescence can increase vulnerability of cocaine addiction during adulthood, according to a study carried out with laboratory animals and led by researchers Elena Escubedo and Olga Valverde.

Small changes that make a big difference to aged care

With the number of people aged over 65 in Australia forecast to double in the next 20 years the University of South Australia's pioneering research project Quality Jobs Quality Care is delivering the tools aged-care providers need to enhance job and care quality across the aged care sector.

Anticoagulants walk the line between clotting and bleeding risks

Because major surgery increases the risk of venous thrombosis, patients are often treated with anticoagulant medications to prevent thrombosis after surgery. Anticoagulant prophylaxis, however, increases the risk of severe bleeding.

Cardiac lead extractions safer in high volume centres

Cardiac lead extraction is safer in high volume centres, according to the largest study of contemporary practice in Europe published today in European Heart Journal. Extraction in a low volume centre was associated with a doubled risk of death while in hospital.

Letting go of worries during pregnancy associated with healthier birth weight

Attending to the present moment in an accepting way (mindfulness) during pregnancy may be beneficial for both mother and her baby, as mother's subsequent mood is better and baby's birth weight is healthier. That is the main conclusion of new research by Tilburg University.

3-D bioprinted human cartilage cells can be implanted

Swedish researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology have successfully induced human cartilage cells to live and grow in an animal model, using 3-D bioprinting. The results will move development closer to a potential future in which it will be possible to help patients by giving them new body parts through 3-D bioprinting.

Blood fatty acids reveal your child's diet

Eating lots of sugary candy may strain the liver, alter the body's fatty acid metabolism and increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases already in childhood. Children's blood fatty acid composition reflects their diet – but luckily this composition can be influenced by lifestyle interventions, say researchers from the University of Eastern Finland.

Effective one-shot vaccination of newborns moves closer to reality

Newborns are highly vulnerable to infections and don't respond optimally to most vaccines because their young immune systems typically mount weak antibody responses. Now, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital report achieving strong vaccine responses in newborn animals, including monkeys—the final preclinical model before human trials—by adding compounds known as adjuvants that boost the immune response. In two simultaneous papers, they also describe improved adjuvant formulations that could reduce side effects.

Team of scientists demonstrate path for tackling rare cancers with no effective treatment

An international team of scientists led by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and UConn School of Medicine have reported the results of a genome sequencing study for an extremely rare form of cancer. Their findings demonstrate the utility of this approach to open the door for therapy options for rare diseases that are neglected due to scarcity of patients or lack of resources. The paper was published today by JCI Insight, a journal of the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

The mechanism of mucus: Discovery could lead to better cystic fibrosis treatments

People with cystic fibrosis (CF) suffer repeated lung infections because their airway mucus is too thick and sticky to keep bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from causing chronic infection. How mucus becomes abnormal in CF airways has never been fully understood, but researchers from the UNC School of Medicine have now found a major clue, published today in JCI Insight. They determined that mucin proteins, which give mucus its gel-like properties, fail to unfold normally in CF airways, making airway mucus much more thick and sticky than it would be otherwise.

Spiritual retreats change feel-good chemical systems in the brain

More Americans than ever are turning to spiritual, meditative and religious retreats as a way to reset their daily life and enhance wellbeing. Now, researchers at The Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Thomas Jefferson University show there are changes in the dopamine and serotonin systems in the brains of retreat participants. The team published their results in Religion, Brain & Behavior.

A new approach to diagnosing mental disorders could become an alternative to DSM-5

A consortium of psychiatrists and psychologists from universities around the world, co-led by Stony Brook University, University of Minnesota and University of Notre Dame researchers, has proposed a new approach to diagnosing mental disorders. The approach, articulated in a paper published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, is a classification system of a wide range of psychiatric problems based on scientific evidence, illness symptoms and impaired functioning. The diagnostic system addresses fundamental shortcomings of the fifth edition (2013) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the clinicians' and researchers' guidebook to mental illnesses.

Republicans less likely to be critical about Obamacare when thinking of their own medical needs

US Republican voters are less likely to be critical about the performance of the controversial "Obamacare" health reforms when they are reminded about their own medical needs, new research shows.

Diabetes damages small coronary blood vessels and thus increases the risk of heart attacks

Diabetics have a significantly higher risk of suffering a heart attack. A research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now identified one of the causes: Diabetes is associated with the loss of small blood vessels around the heart. This in turn affects the entire cardiac muscle. A genetic therapy that promotes the growth of blood vessels may offer a remedy.

Researchers focus on cell membranes to develop Alzheimer's treatments

Thin parts of the cell membranes of neurons turn out to be particularly vulnerable to a protein that collects in the brain of people with Alzheimer's disease, according to a University of Michigan researcher.

New molecular targets detected in colorectal cancer cells

Growth of colorectal cancer cells can be inhibited with the odorant troenan. This is reported by the research team headed by Prof Dr Dr Dr habil. Hanns Hatt and Dr Lea Weber from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in the journal PLOS ONE. The researchers detected the olfactory receptor OR51B4 in tumour cells taken from the rectum and colon cancer cell lines. They analysed which odorant activates the receptor and in what way the activation affects the cells.

New moms need workout programs that are less structured, more flexible

Often running on empty, new moms may need a bit more flexibility and support to ease back into exercise after giving birth, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Exercising 2.5 hours per week associated with slower declines in Parkinson's disease patients

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive condition that often results in mobility impairments and can lead to decreased health-related quality of life (HRQL) and death. There is evidence that physical activity can delay decline in PD patients. In a study in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, researchers determined that that people who exercised regularly had significantly slower declines in HRQL and mobility over a two-year period.

New research links Gulf War Illness to gastrointestinal disturbances

A new study from the University of South Carolina has found a gastrointestinal link that could help explain many of the health issues facing those with Gulf War Illness (GWI) as well as opening new pathways to treatment options that may improve both gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms associated with the disorder.

Possible new target for treatment of multiple sclerosis found

In the relentless battle against multiple sclerosis (MS), U of A researchers recently discovered an entirely new cellular mechanism—an underlying defect in brain cells—that may to be blame for the disease, and a potential hallmark that may be a target for future treatment.

Cracking the code of Huntington's disease

Huntington's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes patients to lose their ability to move, speak, and even think. It is caused by a gene mutation that produces an abnormal form of the protein huntingtin, which aggregates and builds up inside neurons of the cortex and striatum. Small chemical modifications on different parts of huntingtin could reduce its toxicity and aggregation, but as many enzymes already chemically modify the protein in the cell, it has been difficult to determine what chemical modifications could serve as future therapies. EPFL scientists have now developed synthetic methods that allow site-specific chemical modifications on huntingtin while bypassing the need to identify the enzymes behind them. The study is published in Angewandte Chemie.

Study compares hospice care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and patient homes

A new study from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute has found only minimal differences in the intensity of hospice services provided in nursing homes as compared to hospice services provided to patients in assisted living facilities or their homes. However the mix of services did vary by site type.

Encouraging results for patients with aggressive brain cancer

Being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor is devastating news for patients and their loved ones. Whereas some types of tumor respond well to treatment, others such as glioblastomas - the most common and aggressive brain tumors - are known to recur and progress within short times from the diagnosis. Patients diagnosed with this type of cancer, and who undergo current standard treatment, have a median survival of 16 months.

Mass. General team identifies mechanisms behind resistance to FGFR inhibitor drug

Investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center have identified the first genetic mechanisms conferring acquired resistance to a promising group of targeted cancer drugs. In a paper appearing in the March issue of Cancer Discovery, the researchers describe finding novel resistance mechanisms in three patients receiving fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor treatment for a type of liver cancer. While many patients show impressive responses to this treatment, the appearance of new drug-resistant mutations in the FGFR gene as tumors progress- and even several different mutations within samples from individual patients - suggests the need for drugs that block multiple pathways to avoid the resumption of tumor progression.

Team develops first-of-a-kind model to research post-malaria epilepsy

A first-of-its-kind mouse model could lead to an understanding of how cerebral malaria infection leads to the development of epilepsy in children, and to the prevention of seizures. The model—a way for researchers to simulate the effects of malaria in children by using mice—was developed in a collaboration between researchers at Penn State's colleges of medicine, engineering, science and agriculture.

Novel gene therapy experiment offers hope for people with certain hearing loss and dizziness disorder

In a first-of-its-kind study published in the March 1, 2017 edition of Molecular Therapy, researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine showed that gene therapy was able to restore balance and hearing in genetically modified mice that mimic Usher Syndrome, a genetic condition in humans characterized by partial or total hearing loss, dizziness, and vision loss that worsens over time. The hearing loss and dizziness is caused by abnormalities of the inner ear.

Death rates up for middle age whites with little education

A sobering portrait of less-educated middle-age white Americans emerged Thursday with new research showing them dying disproportionately from what one expert calls "deaths of despair"—suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related diseases.

New TB drugs at risk of developing resistance: experts

New drugs for hard-to-treat tuberculosis strains may be fast rendered ineffective themselves if incorrectly used, a report warned Thursday, on the eve of World TB Day.

Fighting malaria through metabolism

EPFL scientists have fully modeled the metabolism of the deadliest malaria parasite. The model offers unprecedented tools for developing a new generation of antimalarial therapies to overcome drug resistance.

Mosquito monitoring has limited utility in dengue control, study finds

Cross-sectional surveys of mosquito abundance carried out in the subtropics and tropics are meant to give researchers an indication of the risk of a dengue virus outbreak in any given area. This type of entomological monitoring, however, is not a good proxy for dengue risk, researchers report this week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Comparison of cross-sectional measures of mosquito density to longitudinal measures demonstrate the limitations of periodic entomological monitoring as households with exposure to Ae. aegypti may be misclassified as unexposed at any single survey visit.

Limiting protein reduces post-heart attack injury in mice

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack each year. Opening a blocked coronary artery to restore blood flow to the heart prevents sudden cardiac death. However, doing so also triggers cardiac damage through oxidative stress and inflammation, which eventually can lead to heart failure. In a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have identified a protein that can be targeted to decrease post-heart attack injury and prevent heart failure in a mouse model.

Weedkiller chemical (glyphosate) safety standards need urgent review

Emerging evidence suggests that the safety standards for glyphosate—a chemical widely used in common weed-killers—may be failing to protect public and environmental health, suggest experts in an essay published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

New study resolves the structure of the human protein that causes cystic fibrosis

Scientists at The Rockefeller University have mapped the three-dimensional structure for one of the more notorious disease-causing molecules in the human body: the protein responsible for the genetic disorder cystic fibrosis. And it looks fishy.

Pharmacies should proactively offer naloxone to all patients who meet evidence-based criteria

Pharmacies should proactively offer naloxone, a drug that blocks or reverses the effects of overdose, to patients taking opioid medications through universal opt-out strategies in an effort to get the life-saving drug into the hands of more people who need it, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center (BMC).

OTUD6B gene mutations cause intellectual and physical disability

An international team of researchers from institutions around the world, including Baylor College of Medicine, has discovered that mutations of the OTUD6B gene result in a spectrum of physical and intellectual deficits. This is the first time that this gene, whose functions are beginning to be explored, has been linked to a human disease. The study appears in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey may reduce rates of malnutrition in hospitals

University of Waterloo researchers have created a tool aimed at decreasing the rate of malnutrition in hospitals.

After a clinical trial on Midazolam for seizures, emergency use of the drug rises

For status epilepticus patients who experience seizures outside of the hospital, treatment administered on an ambulance is an important component of their overall care.

Poor oral health and food scarcity major contributors to malnutrition in older adults

UNC School of Medicine researchers led a study to determine risk factors associated with malnutrition among older adults receiving care in the emergency department. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, suggests that food scarcity and poor oral health are major risk factors for malnutrition that leads an older adult—already at high risk of functional decline, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality—to land in the emergency department.

What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?

Even as the Zika virus becomes more prevalent—the Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of U.S. infants born with microcephaly and other birth defects is 20 times over the normal rate—researchers are still trying to fully pin down the identifying consequences of the viral infection.

Freestanding emergency departments in Texas deliver costly care, 'sticker shock'

The rapid growth of freestanding emergency departments in Texas has been accompanied by an equal increase in use at relatively high prices that lead to sizable out-of-pocket costs to patients, according to new research by experts at Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX).

Scientists take aim at diabetes and obesity with exercise in a pill

With a series of new grants, Saint Louis University researchers will tackle the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity by tapping into the potential of two nuclear receptors that control muscle metabolism. The scientists will optimize two promising drug compounds, moving a step closer toward capturing the benefits of exercise in pill form.

Cooking family meals, skipping TV during those meals linked to lower odds of obesity

Adults who don't flip on the TV during dinner and those who eat home-cooked meals are less likely to be obese, a new study has found.

Facial recognition software help diagnose rare genetic disease

Researchers with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their collaborators, have successfully used facial recognition software to diagnose a rare, genetic disease in Africans, Asians and Latin Americans. The disease, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, also known as DiGeorge syndrome and velocardiofacial syndrome, affects from 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 6,000 children. Because the disease results in multiple defects throughout the body, including cleft palate, heart defects, a characteristic facial appearance and learning problems, healthcare providers often can't pinpoint the disease, especially in diverse populations.

Scientists spot gene for rare disorder causing deafness, blindness

(HealthDay)—Researchers say they have found the genetic cause of a rare disorder that causes children to be born with deafness, blindness, albinism and fragile bones.

Exercise a great prescription to help older hearts

(HealthDay)—Regular exercise is potent medicine for older adults with heart disease, a new American Heart Association scientific statement says.

Fruit juice for kids: A serving a day OK

(HealthDay)—Pediatricians have long suggested that fruit juice may prompt weight gain in children, but a new review finds it harmless when consumed in moderation.

Bavencio approved for rare skin cancer

(HealthDay)—Bavencio (avelumab) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat a rare but aggressive form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), the agency said Thursday in a news release.

CANA/PHEN aids weight loss in obese without type 2 diabetes

(HealthDay)—For obese or overweight individuals without type 2 diabetes, coadministration of canagliflozin (CANA) and phentermine (PHEN) is associated with considerable weight loss and is well tolerated, according to a study published online March 13 in Diabetes Care.

DEX doesn't reduce mortality in those with sepsis on ventilator

(HealthDay)—For patients with sepsis requiring mechanical ventilation, dexmedetomidine is not associated with a reduction in mortality or ventilator-free days, according to a study published online March 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research was published to coincide with the annual International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, held from March 21 to 24 in Brussels.

C1 inhibitor use reduces attacks in hereditary angioedema

(HealthDay)—Prophylactic use of the subcutaneous C1 inhibitor CSL830 is associated with a reduction in the frequency of acute attacks in patients with hereditary angioedema, according to a study published in the March 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Review: treatment options for benzodiazepine dependence

(HealthDay)—Effective treatment of benzodiazepine dependence includes cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational approaches, according to a study published in the March 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Single dose of SSRI prompted healthy food choices during test

(HealthDay)—The serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram is associated with making more healthy food choices, according to a study published online recently in Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience.

New 'budget impact test' an unpopular and flawed attempt to solve a political problem

A new "budget impact test", to be applied by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), is an unpopular and flawed attempt to solve a fundamentally political problem, argue experts in The BMJ today.

Republican plan to replace Obamacare: what's new in it?

The House of Representatives votes Thursday on long-awaited legislation endorsed by US President Donald Trump that replaces his predecessor's health care reforms.

New era in precision medicine for pancreatic cancer

The development of new treatments for pancreatic cancer is set to be transformed by a network of clinical trials, aiming to find the right trial for the right patient, after a £10 million investment from Cancer Research UK.

Tonsillotomy: Fewer adverse effects at first, but renewed inflammation/surgery possible

Repeated acute inflammation and enlargement of the palatine tonsils (in short: tonsils) especially affect children and adolescents. In Germany, no uniform indication for surgical removal of the tonsils has so far been established, either as partial (tonsillotomy) or complete (tonsillectomy) removal. Regional differences in the frequency of surgery are sometimes considerable.

New understanding of chronic lung inflammatory diseases unfolding

Researchers studying chronic inflammation that can lead to the development of lung diseases such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and cancer, are focusing on the role cytokines play in regulating the behavior of fibroblast cells and the extracellular matrix. The most recent evidence on cytokine regulation of inflammatory disease in the lung is presented in a comprehensive review article published in Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research.

Are arm measurements better than BMI to assess nutrition status in child cancer survivors?

Arm anthropometry is a simple method to determine if a person is overweight or obese, and because it can distinguish between fat and muscle mass, unlike body mass index (BMI), it is a valuable method for assessing muscle loss in long-term survivors of childhood cancer. A new study that compares two arm anthropometry measures to BMI to determine the nutritional status of leukemia survivors is published in Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology.

Virtual environment education reduces anxiety prior to radiation therapy

Radiation therapists and physicians know that education can reduce anxiety before radiation treatment but lack a standardized tool. In an effort to solve this problem, a multidisciplinary team from Jefferson College of Health Professions and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University conducted a pilot study to see if a virtual environment education program could reduce some of the anxiety their patients face. They published their results in the Journal of Radiation Oncology.

UN aims to immunize more than 115 million kids against polio

The World Health Organization says it's aiming to vaccinate more than 115 million children against polio across Africa next week, in its continuing bid to wipe out the crippling disease.

Physician adherence to clinical decision tools suggests potential benefit to PE patients

A review paper published in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) suggests a potential benefit to the use of clinical decision tools in the diagnostic work-up of suspected pulmonary embolism (PE) patients. The finding could impact the traditional use of pulmonary CT angiography (CTA) as the imaging modality of choice for evaluating patients believed to suffer from PE.

New CDISC data standard aids development of therapies for Ebola virus

The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO) announce the availability of a new standard to assist in the collection, aggregation and analysis of Ebola virus disease (EVD) research data. This standard is for use in EVD trials, leading to potential treatments and public health surveillance for this disease.

Community champions: Collaborating with communities strengthens nursing and leadership skills

Service learning is a pedagogical approach that has proven valuable in helping undergraduate nursing students better understand specific needs of diverse populations and gives them opportunities to apply their knowledge to meet those needs. The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) has provided its students with dynamic service learning opportunities since 2014 though a unique student-established program called Community Champions, featured in a recent article published online in the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice.

Study: Oregon high schools lacking 'best practices' for athletic emergencies

A survey of Oregon high school athletic directors on their school's preparedness for a catastrophic injury or health event found that only 11 percent of those responding had implemented three primary "best-practice" recommendations for treating their student-athletes.

Overcoming workplace barriers to breastfeeding—review and recommendations in The Nurse Practitioner

For mothers of new infants, going back to work may pose a number of obstacles to continued breastfeeding. Workplace policies affecting the ability to breastfeed—and the role of nurse practitioners (NPs) in helping to overcome those obstacles—are the topic of a special article in The Nurse Practitioner.

Reduced risk of pressure injuries at hospitals with nurses certified in wound, ostomy, and continence care

Hospitals that employ nurses who have specialty certification in wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) care have lower rates of hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs), reports a study in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing.

Biology news

New tools to study the origin of embryonic stem cells

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have identified cell surface markers specific for the very earliest stem cells in the human embryo. These cells are thought to possess great potential for replacing damaged tissue but until now have been difficult to distinguish from classical embryonic stem cells. The study is published in the prestigious journal Cell Stem Cell.

Research shows that circular RNAs, until now considered non-coding, can encode for proteins

A group of scientists in Israel and Germany, led by Prof. Sebastian Kadener from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have discovered a protein-encoding function for circular RNA. This kind of RNA molecule is highly active in brain cells and could play an important role in neurodegenerative diseases.

Female guppies with larger brains found to favor more colorful mates

(—A team of researchers with members from Sweden and the U.K. has found that female guppies with larger than average brains preferred to mate with males that were more colorful than average compared to smaller brained females. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how they bred guppies to develop larger brains and used them for comparison purposes in specially constructed fish tanks.

Study reveals mass extinction event 35 million years ago

Australian National University biologists have found the first evidence of mass extinction of Australian animals caused by a dramatic drop in global temperatures 35 million years ago.

Single nucleotide change responsible for allowing H7N9 flu to jump from birds to humans found

(—A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Hong Kong and mainland China has isolated a change in a single nucleotide that is responsible for allowing the H7N9 flu virus to replicate in both birds and humans. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the team describes their efforts in searching for the factors involved when avian flu jumps to humans and what their findings could mean for reducing the spread of future flu epidemics.

Non-breeding ravens live in highly dynamic social groups

Ravens have impressive cognitive skills when interacting with conspecifics – comparable to many primates, whose social intelligence has been related to their life in groups. An international collaboration of researchers led by Thomas Bugnyar, Professor at the Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, could uncover for the first time the group dynamics of non-breeding ravens. The results help to understand the evolution of intelligence in this species and were published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.

Scientists use parasite's internal clock to attack sleeping sickness

The parasite that causes deadly sleeping sickness has its own biological clock that makes it more vulnerable to medications during the afternoon, according to international research that may help improve treatments for one of Africa's most lethal diseases.

Scientists use new technology to assemble genome of Zika virus mosquito

A team spanning Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, Texas Children's Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has developed a new way to sequence genomes, which can assemble the genome of an organism, entirely from scratch, dramatically cheaper and faster. While there is much excitement about the so-called "$1000 genome" in medicine, when a doctor orders the DNA sequence of a patient, the test merely compares fragments of DNA from the patient to a reference genome. The task of generating a reference genome from scratch is an entirely different matter; for instance, the original human genome project took 10 years and cost $4 billion. The ability to quickly and easily generate a reference genome from scratch would open the door to creating reference genomes for everything from patients to tumors to all species on earth. Today in Science, the multi-institutional team reports a method - called 3D genome assembly - that can create a human reference genome, entirely from scratch, for less than $10,000.

Saiga antelopes much more flexible than originally thought

Senckenberg scientists have discovered that the Saiga Antelope, which is currently threatened with extinction, used to be much more flexible in its habitat and food choices in the past than previously assumed. Based on carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the collagen from the antelopes' bones, the scientists compared the diets of fossil versus modern-day Saiga. In their study, recently published in the scientific journal "Quaternary Science Reviews," they reached the conclusion that today's populations are not obligatorily bound to their current habitat. This insight offers new hope for this endangered species.

Research highlights potential way to combat toxoplasmosis parasite

It lives inside one third of the UK population and is a common infection in cats, however until now scientists knew little about how the toxoplasmosis parasite communicated with its host.‌

New research may beat back bedbug epidemic

A new biopesticide developed by Penn State scientists has the potential to turn the bedbug control market on its ear, thanks to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem taking root at Penn State that's helping to push crucial discoveries out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.

Bee expert discusses bumblebee, now officially listed as endangered

Populations of the rusty patched bumblebee, a once-common bee species, have dramatically declined during the past three decades. Many scientists who study bees believe the species may be headed toward extinction

Research shows some viruses can infect even after major mutations

Portland State University researchers have found that only about half the genes in a specific virus affecting single cell organisms is needed to infect a host. This means the virus can undergo major mutations without losing its ability to survive and infect.

Livestock grazing effects on sage-grouse

Effects of livestock grazing on greater sage-grouse populations can be positive or negative depending on the amount of grazing and when grazing occurs, according to research published today in Ecological Applications. The research was conducted by scientists from the United States Geological Survey, Colorado State University and Utah State University.

Membrane lipids hop in and out of rafts in the blink of an eye

Researchers in Japan, India and France have found that molecules move into and out of a specialized region of the cell membrane, called the 'raft domain', at unexpectedly fast rates. The discovery was made possible by developing fluorescent compounds that are structurally similar to a special class of lipids called sphingomyelins, and by using a home-built fluorescent microscope sensitive enough to detect single fluorescent molecules.

Strong interaction between herbivores and plants

A research project conducted at the University of Cologne's Zoological Institute reveals important findings on the interaction between nutrient availability and the diversity of consumer species in freshwater environments. A better understanding of this interaction will contribute to developing possibilities to maintain biodiversity in all kinds of ecosystems.

Stress may protect—at least in bacteria

Antibiotics harm bacteria and stress them. Trimethoprim (TMP), an antibiotic, inhibits the growth of the bacterium Escherichia coli and induces a stress response. This response also protects the bacterium from subsequent deadly damage from acid. Antibiotics can therefore increase the survival chances of bacteria under certain conditions. This is shown in a study by researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), carried out by Karin Mitosch, Georg Rieckh and Tobias Bollenbach, which was published in the journal Cell Systems.

Discovery of new ginger species spices up African wildlife surveys

Scientists from WCS have discovered a new species of wild ginger, spicing up a wave of recent wildlife discoveries in the Kabobo Massif - a rugged, mountainous region in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dairy farmers should rethink a cow's curfew

Dairy cows housed indoors want to break curfew and roam free, suggests new research from the University of British Columbia, published today in Scientific Reports.

Novel virus breaks barriers between incompatible fungi

Scientists have identified a virus that can weaken the ability of a fungus to avoid pairing with other incompatible fungi, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens. By promoting fungal pairing, the virus could aid transmission of additional unrelated viruses between fungi.

Scientists reveal hidden structures in bacterial DNA

DNA contains the instructions for life, encoded within genes. Within all cells, DNA is organised into very long lengths known as chromosomes. In animal and plant cells these are double-ended, like pieces of string or shoelaces, but in bacteria they are circular. Whether stringy or circular, these long chromosomes must be organised and packaged inside a cell so that the genes can be switched on or off when they are required.

Big-game jitters: Coyotes no match for wolves' hunting prowess

It may have replaced the dwindling eastern wolf atop many food chains, but the eastern coyote lacks the chops to become the big-game hunter of an ecosystem, new research led by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln ecologist shows.

Minitablets help medicate picky cats

Of all pets, cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate. Very small minitablets with flavours or flavour coatings can help cat owners commit to the treatment and make cats more compliant to it, while making it easier to regulate dosage and administer medication flexibly.

A new web of life

For the first time biologists have made a full family tree of the world's spiders, giving us knowledge about venoms that can be useful in medicine. And we might be able to develop silk just as good as the spider's.

New tools to increase the accuracy of biodiversity monitoring

An EU funded project, has created a range of tools to give a more accurate picture of current biodiversity, aiding efforts for sustainable governance of natural resources.

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