Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Mar 14

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 14, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Nanoscale logic machines go beyond binary computing

Buzzing the brain with electricity can boost working memory

Astronomers discover 16 new high-redshift quasars

World's oldest plant-like fossils discovered

Study casts doubt on whether internet filters in the home protect teenagers online

EPFL team has big appetite for progress in edible robotics

Defect in non-coding DNA might trigger brain disorders such as severe language impairment

Major research project provides new clues to schizophrenia

Power of shared pain triggers extreme self-sacrifice

Louisiana wetlands struggling with sea-level rise four times the global average

Researchers develop technique to track yellow fever virus replication

New studies show how malaria parasite grows and escapes from red blood cells

Research team pioneers two-dimensional polymer breakthrough that could revolutionise energy storage

Fly larvae found to contribute to atmospheric methane pollution

Mouse study helps find genetic causes of human behavioral disorders

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers discover 16 new high-redshift quasars

(Phys.org)—Using a new color selection technique, astronomers have detected 16 new luminous, high-redshift quasars. The discovery could be very important for understanding of the early universe, as such high-redshift, quasi-stellar objects provide essential clues on the evolution of the intergalactic medium, quasar evolution and early super-massive black hole growth. The findings were presented in a paper published Mar. 10 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Starquakes reveal surprises about birth of stars in our galaxy

A study of the internal sound waves created by starquakes, which make stars ring like a bell, has provided unprecedented insights into conditions in the turbulent gas clouds where stars were born 8 billion years ago.

SN2015bh—the end of a star or an 'impostor' supernova?

Massive stars end their lives in supernova explosions, highly energetic events that can be as luminous as the entire starlight from their host galaxies. However, there are events called "supernova impostors" which, despite their intensity, are not the end of the star's life. This could very well be the case of SN 2015bh, a star which had suffered at least 21 years of violent eruptions and which, together with a number of other objects, could be a member of a new class.

Enceladus' south pole is warm under the frost

Over the past decade, the international Cassini mission has revealed intense activity at the southern pole of Saturn's icy moon, Enceladus, with warm fractures venting water-rich jets that hint at an underground sea. A new study, based on microwave observations of this region, shows that the moon is warmer than expected just a few metres below its icy surface. This suggests that heat is produced over a broad area in this polar region and transported under the crust, and that Enceladus' reservoir of liquid water might be lurking only a few kilometres beneath.

Image: Light from an ultra-cool neighbor

This animation shows the amount of light detected by each pixel in a small section of the camera onboard NASA's Kepler space telescope. The light collected from TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star approximately 40 light-years from Earth, is at the center of the image. Not directly visible in the movie are the seven Earth-size planets that orbit TRAPPIST-1.

Image: Noctis Labyrinthus stereo pair

ExoMars was launched on a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on 14 March 2016. Around seven months later, it arrived at Mars.

Fly me to the Moon: Russia seeks new cosmonauts

Russia's space agency on Tuesday announced a recruitment drive for young would-be cosmonauts who it hopes will become the country's first on the Moon. And women are welcome, an official stressed.

Sax in space: French astronaut delighted with birthday gift

This is one cosmically cool sax—and saxophone player.

No obstacles for airports using satellites

Thanks to ESA, airports can now use satellites to identify and manage obstacles that could pose a risk to flight safety.

Looking for signs of the first stars

It may soon be possible to detect the universe's first stars by looking for the blue colour they emit on explosion.

Technology news

EPFL team has big appetite for progress in edible robotics

(Tech Xplore)—Swiss engineers have been working on an edible robot. Their work has served up a number of tech watchers commenting on the wonders of it all: The next robot, suggested writers, could be an edible item crawling through your gut.

Virtual end-of-world game shows people aren't likely to resort to aggression

(TechXplore)—A small international team of researchers has found that when people play a virtual world game, they do not resort to riotous behavior if they know their world is going to end. In their paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, the team describes an experiment they conducted with volunteers playing a virtual game to learn more about how people might actually behave if it became known that the world was going to end.

Sonic cyber attack shows security holes in ubiquitous sensors

Sound waves could be used to hack into critical sensors in a broad array of technologies including smartphones, automobiles, medical devices and the Internet of Things, University of Michigan research shows.

New extension improves inflight Wi-Fi: ScaleUp loads websites up to four times faster

To air travelers who waste precious time inflight staring blankly as your browser struggles to load a page, relief may be a quick download away.

Panel gives small victory to utilities in nuke plant lawsuit

An arbitration panel on Monday awarded California utilities $125 million in a lawsuit claiming that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries supplied faulty steam generators that helped lead to the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant—a hollow victory that was a tiny fraction of the $7.6 billion sought by Southern California Edison and its partners.

Convenient and easy to use glucose monitoring and maintenance

A research group from the Center for Nanoparticle Research within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) has developed a convenient and accurate sweat-based glucose monitoring and maintenance device. The device's pH and temperature monitoring functions enable systematic corrections of sweat glucose measurements. Previously, the researchers developed a wearable graphene-based patch that allows diabetes monitoring and feedback therapy by using human sweat. The research group has advanced its previous study to enhance the efficiency of the sweat collection and its sensing and therapy process. This sweat-based system allows rapid glucose measurement incorporating small and sensitive sensors and also comes in a disposable strip sensor for the convenience of users. This accurate glucose analysis allows physicians to prescribe a multistep, precisely controlled dosage of a drug.

Researcher invents lip motion password technology

The use of biometric data such as fingerprints to unlock mobile devices and verify identity at immigration and customs counters are used around the world. Despite its wide application, once the scan is stolen or hacked, the owner can't change his/her fingerprints and has to look for another identity security system. With this in mind, a scholar at HKBU has invented a new technology for lip motion password recognition, which utilises a person's lip motions to create a password. This system verifies a person's identity by simultaneously matching the password content with the underlying behavioural characteristics of lip movement. Nobody can mimic a user's lip movement when speaking the password, which can be changed at any time.

An improved tool to keep patients, doctors safe

A medical device used in more than 80 percent of all procedures is getting a much-needed make-over from four biomedical engineering majors.

Innovations in building intelligent cities

Cities. They sprawl and tangle, juxtaposing ancient public squares and glistening skyscrapers. They provide homes for half of humanity, and economic and cultural centers for the rest.

Strengthening cybersecurity through research

Mobile computing has become a fundamental feature in modern day life as people develop an unprecedented reliance on smart phones and tablets. However, along with their ubiquity comes a host of risks that can affect personal privacy, sensitive corporate information and even national security.

The future of online advertising is big data and algorithms

The tech revolution is coming to advertising. Chatbots are replacing humans, data threatens our privacy, and the blockchain is linking it all together. In our series on tech and advertising, we're taking a look at how the industry is being reshaped.

Did artificial intelligence deny you credit?

People who apply for a loan from a bank or credit card company, and are turned down, are owed an explanation of why that happened. It's a good idea – because it can help teach people how to repair their damaged credit – and it's a federal law, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Getting an answer wasn't much of a problem in years past, when humans made those decisions. But today, as artificial intelligence systems increasingly assist or replace people making credit decisions, getting those explanations has become much more difficult.

Soft sensors for smart textiles

Researchers from Empa in St. Gallen have succeeded in producing optic fibers for sensors that are ideal for textiles. This would enable hospitals to monitor whether a patient is developing pressure sores, for instance.

German official wants $53M fines for social media hate posts

Germany's justice minister is proposing fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million) for social networking sites that fail to swiftly remove illegal content, such as hate speech or defamatory "fake news."

Waiting to be sold: Researchers develop model to predict probability of home sales

What is the probability that the house you want to sell—or buy—will be sold within a month, two months, three months or more? Computer scientists from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis have developed what they believe to be the first data-based answer to how long it will take for a house to sell. Their machine-learning solution innovatively draws upon methodology used to predict length of disease survival in patients with life-threatening medical conditions.

African governments learn to block the internet, but at cost

The mysterious Facebook blogger kept dishing up alleged government secrets. One day it was a shadowy faction looting cash from Uganda's presidential palace with impunity. The next was a claim that the president was suffering from a debilitating illness.

Are smart buildings safe from hackers and privacy breaches?

The automated home and office market is predicted to grow quickly in the next few years. But as reports of cyber attacks increase, is it still possible for a home to be a castle in the age of smart buildings, or are we lowering the drawbridge to hackers?

Generating energy from used wood

Switzerland is not fully exploiting a significant source of clean energy: 173,000 tonnes of used wood could be re-used producing valuable heat and power energy today, in addition to the 644,000 tonnes of used wood already being used. This was the conclusion reached by a nationwide survey conducted by the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) among 567 companies in the construction, waste management and transport sectors.

New patterns emerge when the temperature changes

Imagine a single-coloured piece of cloth that suddenly displays a colourful pattern when the ambient temperature changes. Upon further temperature change, a completely different pattern shows up.

Scientists develop a system that predicts the behavior of tsunamis in less than ten minutes

Researchers have created a simulator that predicts in less than 10 minutes the behavior of tsunamis generated by landslides. The system reduces the time spent in calculating different situations up to 60 percent. With this simulator, it is possible to immediately obtain information and thus facilitate more effective performance of authorities and rescue teams.

IBM Watson-powered 'virtual assistant' to provide information and advice to people with arthritis

Arthritis Research UK and IBM today announced the development of a Watson-powered 'virtual personal assistant' to provide information and advice to people living with arthritis. The charity has teamed up with IBM to ensure people seeking help will have access to personalised information from the Arthritis Research UK website, delivered in a form that feels like a natural conversation. The service will be accessible on mobile phones and computers, without the need to download an app. There are currently 300 people with arthritis helping Arthritis Research UK to test and feedback before it is launched publicly on the charity's website later this year.

New multi-device system for handling emergencies with information from social networks

Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have presented a prototype of a multi-device system that can involve citizens in managing emergencies. The system, which can be used through a smart tabletop, can identify individuals in the area of the hazard and communicate directly with them.

Russian man faces US charges related to Citadel malware

Federal prosecutors in Atlanta say a Russian man appeared in court on charges related to malicious software designed to steal personal financial information.

Medicine & Health news

Buzzing the brain with electricity can boost working memory

Scientists have uncovered a method for improving short-term working memory, by stimulating the brain with electricity to synchronise brain waves.

Study casts doubt on whether internet filters in the home protect teenagers online

Internet filters are widely used in homes, schools and libraries throughout the UK to protect young people from unpleasant online experiences. However, a new study by Oxford casts doubt on whether such technologies shield young teenagers after finding no link between homes with internet filters and the likelihood of the teenagers in those households being better protected. The research paper, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, says the effectiveness of internet filters is 'dubious' and suggests that resources would be better spent trying to develop the resilience of teenagers to such experiences.

Defect in non-coding DNA might trigger brain disorders such as severe language impairment

Genetic variation in the non-coding DNA could give rise to language impairments in children and other neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University in Nijmegen found. Molecular Psychiatry publishes their work based on a new approach on March 14.

Major research project provides new clues to schizophrenia

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet collaborating in the large-scale Karolinska Schizophrenia Project are taking an integrative approach to unravel the disease mechanisms of schizophrenia. In the very first results now presented in the prestigious scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry, the researchers show that patients with schizophrenia have lower levels of the vital neurotransmitter GABA as well as changes in the brain's immune cells.

Mouse study helps find genetic causes of human behavioral disorders

Scientists studying the role of a protein complex in the normal development of the mouse brain unexpectedly created a mouse model that replicates clinical symptoms of patients with complex neurological disorders such as hyperactivity, learning deficits and social behavior abnormalities. Careful study of this mouse model led to the discovery of the genetic cause of the human neurological condition of five patients who, until now, had not received a genetic diagnosis. The team, which includes researchers, from Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital and other institutions, has published the results in Nature Genetics.

Gene ABL1 implicated in both cancer and a developmental disorder

ABL1, a human gene well-known for its association with cancer now has been linked to a developmental disorder. The study, which was carried out by a team of researchers from institutions around the world, including Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor Genetics and Texas Children's Hospital, appears in Nature Genetics.

New nano-implant could one day help restore sight

A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego and La Jolla-based startup Nanovision Biosciences Inc. have developed the nanotechnology and wireless electronics for a new type of retinal prosthesis that brings research a step closer to restoring the ability of neurons in the retina to respond to light. The researchers demonstrated this response to light in a rat retina interfacing with a prototype of the device in vitro.

The molecular underpinnings of T cell exhaustion

One reason we survive into adulthood is that cell-killing T cells usually recognize and eliminate cancerous or pathogen-infected cells. But prolonged overactivity of immune cells summoned to a tumor or infection site can render them useless to dispatch invaders, a cellular state immunologists call "exhaustion." Fortunately, cancer researchers are devising effective immunotherapies to counter exhaustion and re-motivate immune cells to eradicate a patient's tumor.

Scientists deploy CRISPR to preserve photoreceptors in mice

Silencing a gene called Nrl in mice prevents the loss of cells from degenerative diseases of the retina, according to a new study. The findings could lead to novel therapies for preventing vision loss from human diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and was published online today in Nature Communications.

Specialized compound could lead to chronic pain relief without the use of opioids

Purdue researchers have discovered a compound that could lead to the treatment of chronic pain without the need for patients to rely on opioids.

3-plus hours daily screen time linked to diabetes risk factors for kids

Daily screen time of three or more hours is linked to several risk factors associated with the development of diabetes in children, finds research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Physical activity levels may start tailing off by age of 7 in both boys and girls

Physical activity levels may start tailing off as early as the age of 7, rather than during adolescence as is widely believed, reveals a long term study of British children, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Parenthood linked to longer life

Parenthood is associated with a longer life than childlessness, particularly in older age, when health and capacity may start to decline, finds research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Vaccines do work for pandemic flu, says study

Vaccines are successful in preventing pandemic flu and reducing the number of patients hospitalised as a result of the illness, a study led by academics at The University of Nottingham has found.

First physiological test for schizophrenia and depression

Researchers have found a new way of using proteins in nerve cells to identify people with depression and schizophrenia. The method, reported in Experimental Physiology, will help identify people whose depression or schizophrenia involves signalling via a receptor called NMDAR, and differentiate between the two diseases. At present, there are no diagnostic tests to help distinguish them.

Contraceptive use up for women with congenital heart disease

(HealthDay)—Women with congenital heart disease (CHD) use a spectrum of contraceptive methods, with barrier methods and oral contraception (OC) preferred, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Risk of T2DM at different BMIs varies with ethnicity

(HealthDay)—The risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) associated with body mass index (BMI) varies between ethnic groups, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Musculoskeletal symptoms predict psoriatic arthritis

(HealthDay)—For patients with psoriasis, nonspecific musculoskeletal symptoms, including joint pain, fatigue, and stiffness, predict the development of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), according to a study published in the March issue of Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Confidentiality issues impact use of STD services for youth

(HealthDay)—For adolescents and young adults, confidentiality-related concerns are associated with less use of sexually transmitted disease (STD) services, according to a report published in the March 10 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Postcode stress, PTSD seen after unsuccessful resuscitation

(HealthDay)—Critical care nurses who experience unsuccessful cardiopulmonary resuscitation may experience moderate levels of postcode stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to a study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Critical Care.

Female soccer players suffer the most concussions in high school sports

High school girls have a significantly higher concussion rate than boys, with female soccer players suffering the most concussions, according to new research presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Medication to treat anxiety, depression may reduce hip, knee replacement revision risk

Patients who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), commonly prescribed medications used to treat anxiety and depression, may experience a reduced risk of revision surgery following total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR), according to new research presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Increased risk of postop infection when surgery closely follows epidural steroid injection

Research conducted at the University of Virginia suggests that patients may wish to take a 1 to 3 month break from lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESIs) before undergoing lumbar spinal fusion surgery. Why? An increased risk of infection has been identified when LESIs are administered within 3 months prior to surgery. Full details can be found in the article "The impact of preoperative epidural injections on postoperative infection in lumbar fusion surgery" by Anuj Singla, M.D., and colleagues, published online today in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Noninvasive imaging helps predict heart attacks

Noninvasive CT angiography and stress tests can help predict which patients are likely to suffer a heart attack or other adverse cardiovascular event, according to a new study appearing online in the journal Radiology.

Study paves the way for Clostridium difficile treatment in pill form

Frozen and freeze-dried products for Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) are nearly as effective as fresh product at treating patients with Clostridium difficile (C-diff) infection, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health and Kelsey Research Foundation. A new study, which proves that a pill form of treatment could be effective and more convenient for patients and physicians, was published in the most recent issue of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Recommendations developed to reduce radiation exposure in pediatric orthopedic patients

Pediatric patients are particularly vulnerable to radiation exposure from medical imaging, according to numerous studies, potentially raising their risk to develop cancer later in life. And orthopaedic surgeons are often at the forefront in deciding if a pediatric patient needs medical imaging.

High rate of return to running following arthroscopic hip surgery

Ninety-six percent of patients who were recreational or competitive runners prior to developing hip bone spurs returned to their sport within nine months of arthroscopic surgery, according to research presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Nearly all shoulder replacement patients under age 55 return to sports

A new study being presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), found that 96.4 percent of recreational athletes, age 55 and younger, who underwent total shoulder replacement surgery returned to at least one sport, on average, within seven months of surgery.

Home may be the best place to recover after total joint replacement surgery

Despite higher costs, many doctors recommend and some patients prefer, recovery at an in-patient rehabilitation facility following total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. And yet a new study to be presented Thursday, March 16, at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), found that even patients who live alone can recover effectively and safely at home.

Nearly half of today's high school athletes specialize in one sport

Youth single sport specialization—training and playing just one sport, often year round and on multiple teams—is a growing phenomenon in the U.S. A new study presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), found that 45 percent of high school athletes specialize in just one sport, two years earlier than current collegiate and professional athletes say they did.

Benchmark database of lifespan-extending drugs announced

Scientists from the Biogerontology Research Foundation (BGRF) and University of Liverpool have announced a landmark database of lifespan-extending drugs and compounds called DrugAge. The database has 418 compounds, curated from studies spanning 27 different model organisms including yeast, worms, flies and mice. It is the largest such database in the world at this time. Significantly, the study found that the majority of age-related pathways have not yet been targeted pharmacologically, and that the pharmacological modulation of aging has by and large focused upon a small subset of currently-known age-related pathways. This suggests that there is still plenty of scope for the discovery of new lifespan-extending and healthspan-extending compounds.

For Asian-Americans, daily racial slights invade the nights

Asian-Americans are often seen as "model" minorities whose success is often attributed to a lack of barriers, such as racism and discrimination, that might prevent upward mobility.

Gene mutation found to drive prostate cancer subtype

A newly discovered genetic mutation that is found in a subtype of prostate cancer is integral to the disease's development and growth, according to research from Weill Cornell Medicine scientists. Their findings could pave the way for new targeted treatment approaches.

African-Americans must be proactive and reactive to fight heart disease

Sixteen years ago, Kinzo Evans was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. His stomach was swollen. At night, he couldn't lay prostrate to sleep because it was hard for him to breathe. He was also fatigued. Evans' deteriorating condition eventually necessitated a heart transplant, which he had at VCU Health in December 2016.

Banning unvaccinated kids from child care may have unforeseen consequences

The federal government's push for all state and territories to ban unvaccinated children from child care is a coercive measure that may disadvantage working parents and their children, and may have other unintended consequences.

Scientists develop scoring system to calculate prognosis for breast cancer patients

What if a simple genetic test could tell cancer patients what their odds of survival are? It's an approach that researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing, and they have made significant inroads in several types of cancer, most recently for breast cancer.

Women suffering severe pregnancy sickness are not getting required support, new research shows

New research suggests that more than half of women suffering with severe pregnancy sickness – Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) – are not given the help they need to deal with the condition; leaving some with no choice but to terminate wanted pregnancies.

Study finds new class of androgens play key role in polycystic ovary syndrome

Scientists led by the University of Birmingham have discovered that a new class of male sex hormones known as androgens plays a key role in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Air pollution increases the risk of allergies and asthma

This year, the pollen season started later but more abruptly, which caused greater problems in some cases. At a press conference of MedUni Vienna's Pollen Monitoring Service, allergy experts, together with the IGAV (special interest group for allergen prevention) information platform, presented a forecast of this year's pollen count and unveiled a new service that is the only one of its kind in the world: you can now use the popular Pollen App to call up a 3-day forecast for environmental pollutants, which have an impact upon the development of allergic conditions. You can then combine the pollution level with the current pollen count in the air to find the allergy risk. This service is the only one of its kind in the world and is testament to the innovative capability of the Austrian research and service facility at MedUni Vienna's Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases.

Eating lots of cheese does not raise cholesterol, study shows

Irish people who eat a lot of cheese do not have higher cholesterol levels than those who don't, according to research carried out at University College Dublin.

New research suggests bowel cancer medication could help combat early-onset Parkinson's disease

People with certain forms of early-onset Parkinson's disease could potentially benefit from taking a medication used to treat certain forms of cancer, according to new research by University of Leicester scientists and funded by the Medical Research Council.

Epigenetic alteration a promising new drug target for heroin use disorder

The past few years have seen an explosion of heroin abuse and deaths from opiate overdose. But little is known about the molecular underpinnings of heroin addiction. A new study in Biological Psychiatry found that heroin use is associated with excessive histone acetylation, an epigenetic process that regulates gene expression. More years of drug use correlated with higher levels of hyperacetylation. The study, led by Dr. Yasmin Hurd of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, provides the first direct evidence of opiate-related epigenetic alterations in the human brain.

Zebrafish without stripes

Dowling-Degos disease is a hereditary pigmentation disorder that generally progresses harmlessly. However, some of those affected also develop severe skin inflammation. An international team of researchers under the leadership of the University of Bonn has now found a cause for this link. Their knowledge comes thanks to an animal that is known among aquarium owners for its characteristic pigmentation: the zebrafish. The results have now been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Study reveals how genetic defects can lead to childhood epilepsy

New King's College London research reveals how genetic defects can lead to epilepsy in children.

Money, not access, key to resident food choices in 'food deserts'

A new study from North Carolina State University and Campbell University finds that, while access to healthy foods is a significant challenge, the biggest variable limiting diet choices in so-called "food deserts" is limited financial resources.

Intensive speech therapy improves everyday communication in chronic stroke patients, finds study

Intensive speech and language therapy can significantly help stroke patients who have been struggling to communicate for six months or more, according to newly published research.

Young adults on the verge of a gambling habit

Young males and people who use drink or drugs are at greater risk of developing a gambling habit, according to new research from the University of Bristol. Experts say it is an indication of an area that needs more attention if primary care services are to help those in need.

New study links opioid epidemic to childhood emotional abuse

A study by researchers at the University of Vermont has revealed a link between adult opioid misuse and childhood emotional abuse, a new finding that suggests a rethinking of treatment approaches for opioid abusers.

Experts find strong case for over-the-counter oral contraceptives for adults and teens

After reviewing decades of published studies, a team of pediatric, adolescent and women's health experts concludes that regulatory, behavioral and scientific evidence supports switching oral contraceptives from prescription-only status to over-the-counter (OTC) availability.

Probiotics may not always be a silver bullet for better health

To combat the effects of a poor diet, probiotics may be just the thing. However, surprising new research from UNSW suggests probiotics are much less effective when taken alongside a balanced diet, and could even impair certain aspects of memory.

Antibiotics not effective for clinically infected eczema in children

Estimates suggest that 40 percent of eczema flares are treated with topical antibiotics, but findings from a study led by Cardiff University suggest there is no meaningful benefit from the use of either oral or topical antibiotics for milder clinically infected eczema in children.

Rethinking the use of warnings with transcript and video evidence in trials

New research from the University of Liverpool examining the impact multiple forms of evidence has on juror perceptions during criminal trials has found the use of video material could be detrimental without the use of a judicial warning.

Conducting the milgram experiment in Poland, psychologists show people still obey

A replication of one of the most widely known obedience studies, the Stanley Milgram experiment, shows that even today, people are still willing to harm others in pursuit of obeying authority. The study is published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Scientists say they are a step closer to solving chronic bladder diseases

Using human cells, they have mapped how different proteins bind along the DNA to control which genes are active during barrier formation.

Mozambique cholera outbreak infects over 1,200

Mozambique is battling a cholera outbreak that has infected 1,222 people and killed two, the country's health ministry said Tuesday, warning that it has been unable to slow its spread.

700 dead as malaria 'epidemic' hits Burundi

About 700 people have died from malaria in Burundi so far this year, the health minister said, with the authorities having registered 1.8 million infections in a rising epidemic.

Most atrial fibrillation patients don't get preventive drug before stroke

More than 80 percent of stroke patients with a history of atrial fibrillation either received not enough or no anticoagulation therapy prior to having a stroke, despite the drugs' proven record of reducing stroke risk, according to a Duke Clinical Research Institute study.

Portable 3-D ultrasound will enable fieldside, roadside screening of head injury

The thin, flexible sheath that protects and insulates our optic nerve is also a window into whether we've had a head injury.

Two common tests aren't effective in predicting premature births, says new national study

Two screening tests often used to try to predict which pregnant women are likely to deliver prematurely aren't effective in low-risk women, according to a national collaborative study of more than 10,000 women, led by clinician-researchers at University of Utah Health Sciences and Intermountain Healthcare.

For surgeons in the OR, a way to fight bad posture

The psychological stress that surgeons face is well-documented. Less understood is the physical stress they endure from spending hours in awkward positions in the operating room.

Ebola vaccines provide immune responses after one year

Immune responses to Ebola vaccines at one year after vaccination are examined in a new study appearing in the March 14 issue of JAMA.

Less than half of elderly hip fracture patients take vitamin D supplements

Despite national recommendations for daily vitamin D intake, a new study presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) found that just 45.7 percent of patients reported consistently taking vitamin D supplements following a hip fracture, a known treatment and preventative strategy for osteoporosis.

IU Center for Aging Research develops novel ICU delirium severity assessment tool

Millions of intensive care unit patients in the United States experience delirium, an acute brain failure resulting in confusion and long-term memory problems. Researchers from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research have developed and validated a novel easy-to-administer tool to score and track delirium severity in the ICU, enabling clinicians to make better decisions about the brain health of ICU patients.

Study identifies molecular clues for age-related intestinal issues

Intestinal stem cells rejuvenate daily so bowels will stay healthy and function normally, but a new study in Cell Reports suggests they also age along with people and lose their regenerative capacity.

Researchers create model of anorexia nervosa using stem cells

An international research team, led by scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, has created the first cellular model of anorexia nervosa (AN), reprogramming induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from adolescent females with the eating disorder.

3-D visualization of the pancreas—new tool in diabetes research

Umeå researchers have created datasets that map the three-dimensional distribution and volume of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The wealth of visual and quantitative information may serve as powerful reference resource for diabetes researchers. The Umeå University researchers are now publishing their datasets in Scientific Data.

Low levels of 'anti-anxiety' hormone linked to postpartum depression

In a small-scale study of women with previously diagnosed mood disorders, Johns Hopkins researchers report that lower levels of the hormone allopregnanolone in the second trimester of pregnancy were associated with an increased chance of developing postpartum depression in women already known to be at risk for the disorder.

Study finds little consistency in doctor reviews on three physician rating websites

When looking for a doctor, many consumers turn to websites that post physician ratings and reviews. A study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) found that reviews for individual sports medicine doctors were inconsistent when compared on three popular physician rating websites.

Now hear this: Loud sound may pose more harm than we thought

Matt Garlock has trouble making out what his friends say in loud bars, but when he got a hearing test, the result was normal. Recent research may have found an explanation for problems like his, something called "hidden hearing loss."

Immune molecule protects against Zika virus infection in animal models

A molecule naturally produced by the immune system protects mice and monkeys against Zika virus infection, an international team of researchers has found. Administering the molecule, called 25-hydroxycholesterol or 25HC, to pregnant mice reduced Zika virus infection in the fetal brain and protected against Zika-induced microcephaly. The work was supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Study: Most athletic patients return to sports, highly satisfied with ACL reconstruction

A study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) finds that most athletic patients who have reconstructive surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are highly satisfied with the procedure and able to return to sports.

Topical curcumin gel effective in treating burns and scalds

What is the effect of Topical Curcumin Gel for treating burns and scalds? In a recent research paper, published in the open access journal BioDiscovery, Dr. Madalene Heng, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, stresses that use of topical curcumin gel for treating skin problems, like burns and scalds, is very different, and appears to work more effectively, when compared to taking curcumin tablets by mouth for other conditions.

Barriatric surgery impacts joint replacement outcomes in very obese patients

A study from Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) finds that in morbidly obese patients, bariatric surgery performed prior to a total hip or knee replacement can reduce in-hospital and 90-day postoperative complications and improve patient health, but it does not reduce the risk of needing a revision surgery.

Encouragement to consult GPs for memory concerns did not ensure earlier dementia diagnosis

Encouraging patients with potential memory deficits to seek early advice from a general practitioner (GP) empowered more of them to consult their GP, but GPs did not change their behavior and refer more to memory services or for earlier overall diagnosis of dementia, according to a trial publishing this week in PLOS Medicine by Gill Livingston, of University College London, and colleagues.

'No one dies alone' program offers comfort at life's end

(HealthDay)—Millions of older Americans live out their final hours alone in a hospital bed.

Internet CBT ups sexual function in breast cancer survivors

(HealthDay)—For breast cancer survivors (BCSs) with sexual dysfunction, an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention can improve sexual functioning, according to a study published online Feb. 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Visceral fat differentiates crohn's from intestinal tuberculosis

(HealthDay)—Visceral fat (VF) quantification can differentiate Crohn's disease (CD) and intestinal tuberculosis (ITB), according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Rx improves nasal symptoms in laryngopharyngeal reflux

(HealthDay)—For patients with laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), anti-reflux medication is associated with improvement in nasal parameters, according to a study published online March 9 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Risk of heart failure up for rheumatoid arthritis patients

(HealthDay)—Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have increased risk of heart failure, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Technology advances help to prevent, lessen impact of colon cancer

Approximately 140,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S. each year. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Hip dysplasia: When is surgery required?

Dear Mayo Clinic: What causes hip dysplasia in adults, and can it be treated without a total hip replacement?

Is Alzheimer's treatment of injecting stem cells into the brain a breakthrough or quackery?

More than eight years after he realized something was wrong, after, as he described it, "My brain went ...

By law, hospitals now must tell Medicare patients when care is 'observation' only

Under a new federal law, hospitals across the country must now alert Medicare patients when they are getting observation care and why they were not admitted - even if they stay in the hospital a few nights. For years, seniors often found out only when they got surprise bills for the services Medicare doesn't cover for observation patients, including some drugs and expensive nursing home care.

Novel antibody-drug conjugate shows promising results in patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer

A clinical trial of an antibody-drug conjugate that combines the active portion of a chemotherapy drug with an antibody targeting a molecule expressed on tumor cells appears promising for the treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. Results from a phase 2 clinical trial of sacituzumab govitecan - also called IMMU-132 - were published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Reducing radiation could safely cut breast cancer treatment costs

Over half of older women with early stage breast cancer received more radiation therapy than what might be medically necessary, adding additional treatment and health care costs, according to a study led by Duke Cancer Institute researchers.

25 million US women lack access to infertility services, study shows

New research from the University of Pittsburgh shows that nearly 40 percent of reproductive-aged women in the United States—approximately 25 million—have limited or no nearby access to assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics, which provides services that are vital to many women aiming to become pregnant. Results of the study were published today in Fertility & Sterility.

Cooking at home tonight? It's likely cheaper and healthier, study finds

Researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health have been peeking into kitchens - via interviews - for years now. They've just published results showing people who cook at home more often are likely to eat a healthier overall diet.

Emotional intelligence helps make better doctors

Among the qualities that go into making an excellent physician is emotional intelligence.

AASM publishes new guideline for diagnostic testing for adult sleep apnea

A new clinical practice guideline from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine establishes clinical practice recommendations for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea in adults.

Study cautions against use of bone morphogenetic proteins in children's spine surgery

Bone morphogenetic proteins, commonly used off-label to enhance pediatric spinal fusion (spinal arthrodesis), did not improve revision rates for pediatric spinal fusion, according to a study presented on March 14 at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Study finds no benefit, but possible harm, from drug used to prevent preterm births

A drug commonly prescribed to pregnant women with a history of delivering babies early provides no benefit. In fact, this drug may even increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes.

High cholesterol levels linked with rotator cuff surgery failure

Patients with higher cholesterol levels face a significantly greater risk for failure of minimally invasive (arthroscopic) rotator cuff surgery, according to a new study to be presented on Friday, March 17, at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). According to the study, commonly-used cholesterol lowering drugs, called statins, diminish this risk.

Shared doctor-patient orthopaedic treatment decisions improve outcomes, patient experience

Well-informed patients who decide with their orthopaedic surgeon what treatment is best for them have better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction rates, according to new study presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Men face greater risk of death following osteoporosis-related fractures

Men face a greater risk of mortality following a fracture related to osteoporosis, a common disease where the bones become weak and brittle, according to new research presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Leisure-time physical activity is related to cartilage health and quality health in knee osteoarthritis

Higher leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) level promotes cartilage health in postmenopausal women with mild knee osteoarthritis (OA). This was observed in a study carried out in the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at University of Jyväskylä, Finland. This study investigated the relationship between 12-month LTPA level and changes in estimated biochemical composition in tibiofemoral cartilage.This study was conducted in cooperation with the Central Finland Central Hospital, the Department of Medical Technology, Institute of Biomedicine in University of Oulu, Finland and the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in University of Helsinki, Finland.

Is the dark really making me sad?

The inhabitants of Rjukan in southern Norway have a complex relationship with the sun. "More than other places I've lived, they like to talk about the sun: when it's coming back, if it's a long time since they've seen the sun," says artist Martin Andersen. "They're a little obsessed with it." Possibly, he speculates, it's because for approximately half the year, you can see the sunlight shining high up on the north wall of the valley: "It is very close, but you can't touch it," he says. As autumn wears on, the light moves higher up the wall each day, like a calendar marking off the dates to the winter solstice. And then as January, February and March progress, the sunlight slowly starts to inch its way back down again.

White House funds songbird study to unlock mystery of vocal learning

A young songbird sings an intricate melody from its caged perch, trying to echo the mating song heard so many times from his father.

New strategy may help combat Alzheimer's disease

Researchers have uncovered a mechanism that helps block the accumulation of proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease. Tapping into this natural process may therefore help prevent or treat the condition.

Compared to home-based program, in-patient rehab following knee replacement does not improve mobility

Among patients with osteoarthritis undergoing total knee replacement and who have not experienced a significant early complication, the use of inpatient rehabilitation compared with a monitored home-based program did not improve mobility at 26 weeks after surgery, according to a study appearing in the March 14 issue of JAMA.

Kenyan doctors sign deal to end crippling 100-day strike

Kenyan doctors signed a deal on Tuesday to end a strike over pay and working conditions that has crippled public hospitals for 100 days.

Does an early winter warmup help or hurt those with seasonal depression?

Chicagoans have been blessed with warm weather early this year. Record-breaking temperatures in February had people playing tennis, flocking to the lake path and even sunbathing in swim trunks.

One-third of costs prior to knee replacement for non-recommended therapies

In the year prior to total knee replacement (TKR) surgery, almost one-third of the costs for treatment of arthritis symptoms went toward strategies not recommended by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), according to new research presented today at the 2017 AAOS Annual Meeting. Costs could decrease by an estimated 30 percent if treatments that are not recommended are no longer utilized.

Location of spinal correction influences risk of PJK development

The surgical correction of adult spinal deformities often involves realigning the lower portion of the spine, or the 'lumbar' spine. Yet despite significant advances in spinal surgery, modifying the curvature of the lower spine through surgical fusion increases the risk of abnormal spinal curvature above the level of the operation, a condition called proximal junctional kyphosis - or PJK.

Interview: US hails UN plan to monitor fentanyl market

The chief U.S. State Department counter-narcotics official on Tuesday hailed a pending United Nations move to control substances used to make a deadly synthetic drug, but acknowledged it will not put an immediate dent in illegal trafficking of the chemicals.

Who wins, who loses in US Republican health care plan

The Republican plan to ditch "Obamacare" and implement new reforms to the US health care system would leave millions of Americans without insurance. Its effect would vary depending on people's age, income and employment.

Biology news

Researchers develop technique to track yellow fever virus replication

Researchers from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have developed a new method that can precisely track the replication of yellow fever virus in individual host immune cells. The technique, which is described in a paper published March 14 in the journal Nature Communications, could aid the development of new vaccines against a range of viruses, including Dengue and Zika.

New studies show how malaria parasite grows and escapes from red blood cells

Two new studies from the Francis Crick Institute shed light on how the malaria parasite grows inside a host's red blood cells and breaks out when it's ready to spread to new host cells.

Genome-based diets maximise growth, fecundity, and lifespan

A moderate reduction in food intake, known as dietary restriction, protects against multiple ageing-related diseases and extends life span, but can also supress growth and fertility. A research group from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne has now developed a diet based on the model organism's genome, which enhances growth and fecundity with no costs to lifespan.

Surface ozone pollution damages rice production in China

High levels of surface ozone are damaging rice yields at an alarming rate in China, the world's largest agricultural producer and one of its most polluted nations, report researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in China.

How cobras developed flesh-eating venom

A University of Queensland-led international study has revealed how one of the world's most feared types of snakes – cobras – developed their potent venom.

Naturally fluorescent amphibian found in Amazon basin

(Phys.org)—A team of Brazilian researchers has found a naturally fluorescent tree frog living in the Amazon basin and it represents the only known fluorescent amphibian. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their study of the frog, their surprise at finding it was fluorescent and their plans for further study to learn why it has such a remarkable feature.

Leap onto land saves fish from being eaten

Fish on the South Pacific island of Rarotonga have evolved the ability to survive out of water and leap about on the rocky shoreline because this helps them escape predators in the ocean, a ground-breaking new study shows.

Spiders eat 400-800 million tons of prey every year

It has long been suspected that spiders are one of the most important groups of predators of insects. Zoologists at the University of Basel and Lund University in Sweden have now shown just how true this is - spiders kill astronomical numbers of insects on a global scale. The scientific journal The Science of Nature has published the results.

In times of plenty, penguin parents keep feeding their offspring

Humans are not alone in continuing to support offspring who have "left the nest." It happens in Galapagos penguins, too.

Overuse of antibiotics brings risks for bees—and for us

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found that honeybees treated with a common antibiotic were half as likely to survive the week after treatment compared with a group of untreated bees, a finding that may have health implications for bees and people alike.

Neighboring termite colonies re-invade, expose themselves to deadly bait

Even after an insecticide bait weakens Formosan subterranean termites, a neighboring colony will invade the same area and meet the identical lethal fate, new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research shows.

Researcher uses infrared light to explore how fungal associations help plants thrive

Tiny strands of fungi weave through the roots of an estimated nine out of 10 plants on Earth, an underground symbiosis in which the plant gives the fungus pre-made sugars and the fungus sends the plant basic nutrients in return. Scientists are interested in enhancing this mechanism as a way to help plants grow on nutrient-poor lands. Their success could lead to increased production of plant-based biofuels without having to compete with food crops for fertile farmland.

Where the few jaguars still alive are hiding

The survival of the jaguar (Panthera onca) is critically endangered in Brazil. Scientists have recently found signs that there are only about 300 of these top predators left in the biome—a tiny number. There are many reasons for the virtual disappearance of the largest feline in the Americas.

At mealtime, honey bees prefer country blossoms to city blooms

Hungry honey bees appear to favor flowers in agricultural areas over those in neighboring urban areas.

Flies and bees act like plant cultivators

Pollinator insects accelerate plant evolution, but a plant changes in different ways depending on the pollinator. After only nine generations, the same plant is larger and more fragrant if pollinated by bumblebees rather than flies, as a study conducted by evolutionary biologists from the University of Zurich reveals.

Milkweed losses may not fully explain monarch butterfly declines

Steep declines in the number of monarch butterflies reaching their wintering grounds in Mexico are not fully explained by fewer milkweeds in the northern part of their range, researchers report in a new study.

Research will examine whether other methods can replace animal testing

A team at the Johns Hopkins University aims to determine how useful testing on dogs, mice and other animals is in predicting whether drugs and chemicals are toxic to humans.

Saving catfish by understanding their genetics

Researchers in the Philippines are studying the genetics of local catfish to help protect them from becoming endangered.

Breathtaking gene discovery in Dalmatian dogs

University of Helsinki researchers have uncovered a novel gene associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in dogs. The new research on this fatal disease may also help us understand the mechanisms of respiratory diseases in humans.

Micro-organisms will help African farmers: Soil microbes to the rescue

Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, many farmers rely on this grain for food and feed. But Striga, a parasitic weed, can have a devastating impact on crop yield. With an 8-million-dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an international team will now explore the potential of soil microbes to offer crop protection. The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is coordinating this 5-year project.

Vietnam seizes 100 kgs of rhino horn from Kenya

Vietnam police seized more than 100 kilograms of rhino horn smuggled into the country in suitcases from Kenya on Tuesday, the latest illegal haul in the wildlife trafficking hub.

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