Friday, April 14, 2017

Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 14

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researchers test 'social contagion' in laboratory setting

Sperm tested as possible candidate for delivering cancer medications in female patients

Study unravels long-held Fermi puzzle tied to nonlinear systems

SAVI camera ditches long lens for distant images

When it comes to your profile picture, let a stranger do the choosing

Immunotherapy for glioblastoma well tolerated; survival gains observed

Hydrostor is re-envisioning compressed air storage

Mars spacecraft's first missions face delays, NASA says

Trapped ions and superconductors face off in quantum benchmark

Researchers design coatings to prevent pipeline clogging

Simulation shows how transporter proteins do their work in cells

Shooting the messenger: how one protein allows germ cells to develop

The dangers of being a saber-toothed cat in Los Angeles 12,000 years ago

The Big Pore Theory could cure chronic pain

Pulsed ion beams reveal nonlinearity of radiation defect dynamics in silicon carbide

Astronomy & Space news

Mars spacecraft's first missions face delays, NASA says

NASA will probably delay the first two missions of its Orion deep-space capsule, being developed to send astronauts beyond earth's orbit and eventually to Mars, the US space agency said.

Cassini gets close-up view of Saturn moon Atlas

These raw, unprocessed images of Saturn's moon, Atlas, were taken on April 12, 2017, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The flyby had a close-approach distance of about 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers).

Hubble sees starbursts in Virgo

Although galaxy formation and evolution are still far from being fully understood, the conditions we see within certain galaxies—such as so-called starburst galaxies—can tell us a lot about how they have evolved over time. Starburst galaxies contain a region (or many regions) where stars are forming at such a breakneck rate that the galaxy is eating up its gas supply faster than it can be replenished!

Large asteroid to hurtle past Earth on April 19

An asteroid as big as the Rock of Gibraltar will streak past Earth on April 19 at a safe but uncomfortably close distance, according to astronomers.

Hubble spots possible venting activity on Europa

When Galileo discovered Jupiter's moon Europa in 1610, along with three other satellites whirling around the giant planet, he could have barely imagined it was such a world of wonder.

Image: Teide Observatory on Tenerife, Spain

ESA operates its Optical Ground Station (OGS) at the Teide Observatory on Tenerife, Spain, where a Zeiss 1 m-diameter telescope is used to survey and characterise objects near the 'geostationary ring' some 36 000 km above the equator. The telescope has Ritchey­Chr├ętien optics and highly efficient digital cameras.

Technology news

Hydrostor is re-envisioning compressed air storage

(Tech Xplore)—Canada-based Hydrostor on Wednesday announced Hydrostor Terra, a bulk energy storage system. The company says the system competes head-to-head with new natural gas plants.

NREL establishes world record for solar hydrogen production

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recaptured the record for highest efficiency in solar hydrogen production via a photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting process.

Researchers capture excess photon energy to produce solar fuels

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a proof-of-principle photoelectrochemical cell capable of capturing excess photon energy normally lost to generating heat.

Apple gets permit to test self-driving cars

Apple has joined the list of companies with permits to test self-driving cars in California, according to an updated roster released on Friday by state officials.

Alphabet's Verily makes smartwatch for health research

Alphabet's life sciences unit Verily on Friday unveiled a wrist-worn "Study Watch" designed to gather complex health data in clinical studies.

Report: Uber used secret program to track Lyft drivers

A new report says Uber used a secret program dubbed "Hell' to track Lyft drivers to see if they were driving for both ride-hailing services and otherwise stifle competition.

Facebook targets 30,000 fake France accounts before election

Facebook says it has targeted 30,000 fake accounts linked to France ahead of the country's presidential election, as part of a worldwide effort against misinformation.

New leak suggests NSA penetrated Mideast banking networks

A new set of documents purportedly lifted from the U.S. National Security Agency suggests that American spies have burrowed deep into the Middle East's financial network, apparently compromising the Dubai office of the anti-money laundering and financial services firm EastNets. The company said Friday the documents were dated and denied that any customer data had been affected.

Helping students learn by sketching

Although sketching exercises can help students learn many subjects, they are woefully underused in classrooms.

Facebook disrupts suspected spam operation

Facebook on Friday said it disrupted an international fake account operation that was firing off inauthentic "likes" and bogus comments to win friends it would then pound with spam.

Apple to begin testing self-driving car tech in California

Apple will begin testing self-driving car technology in California, its first public move into a highly competitive field that could radically change transportation.

Medicine & Health news

When it comes to your profile picture, let a stranger do the choosing

When trying to pick the most flattering pictures for online profiles, it may be best to let a stranger do the choosing, a study published in the open access journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications suggests.

Immunotherapy for glioblastoma well tolerated; survival gains observed

A phase one study of 11 patients with glioblastoma who received injections of an investigational vaccine therapy and an approved chemotherapy showed the combination to be well tolerated while also resulting in unexpectedly significant survival increases, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute report.

The Big Pore Theory could cure chronic pain

Cornell University researchers have produced for the first time an image of P2X7, a receptor associated with chronic pain. Visualizing the shape of the receptor has also allowed them to make a second groundbreaking discovery: They observed that five painkiller molecules they tested did not bind the receptor at the place they expected, which could explain why these painkillers lack efficacy in human patients.

Oxytocin is being tested for treatment of PTSD and alcohol abuse

Nightmares. Obsessive thoughts. Avoiding particular places. Sudden outbursts. Fearing you're in danger. Survivor guilt.

3-D-printed patch can help mend a 'broken' heart

A team of biomedical engineering researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has created a revolutionary 3D-bioprinted patch that can help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack. The discovery is a major step forward in treating patients with tissue damage after a heart attack.

Immunity against melanoma is only skin deep

In a newly published study, researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center find that unique immune cells, called resident memory T cells, do an outstanding job of preventing melanoma. The work began with the question of why patients with melanoma who develop the autoimmune disease called vitiligo, have such a good prognosis. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin condition against normal healthy melanocytes, which causes the loss of skin pigmentation in blotches. Using mouse models of melanoma and vitiligo, the research team found that resident memory T cells permanently reside in vitiligo-affected skin, where they kill melanoma cells. Although resident memory T cells were previously known to prevent skin viral infection, it was not known that they could fight tumors.

Th17 cells could facilitate wider clinical use of adoptive immunotherapy

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) investigators report that long-term expansion protocols for adoptive cancer immunotherapy do not compromise Th17 cells' effectiveness against large tumors, in the March 9, 2017 issue of JCI Insight. This finding is important because rapid expansion protocols (REPs) that are used to produce sufficient CD8+ T cell numbers for adoptive cell therapy (ACT) degrade their effectiveness. These findings underscore that Th17 cell durability offers promise for next-generation ACT trials.

Swiss oasis for legal cannabis, without the high

A grey-haired woman in her early 60s daintily lifts small trays topped with different varieties of marijuana to her nose, sniffing each of them carefully.

Smoking to kill 200 million in China this century: WHO

Smoking-related diseases will claim 200 million lives in China this century and plunge tens of millions into poverty, a report said Friday.

People sensitive to sexual disgust more likely to be Kantian thinkers

Every person has both utilitarian (consequentialist) and Kantian (duty- or rule-based) moral intuitions, which are activated in different situations in different ways. The field of moral psychology studies these types of intuitions and the psychological factors behind them. The emotion of disgust has been found to influence the formation of moral judgements. According to a recent study in moral cognition, individuals who are sensitive to sexual disgust are more likely to make duty-based moral judgements. The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports, hosted by Nature Publishing Group.

Why addressing loneliness in children can prevent a lifetime of loneliness in adults

The Republicans' controversial effort to repeal the perhaps optimistically named Affordable Care Act because of rising premiums may be fatally stalled. But there are other ways to rein in health care costs that have been almost entirely overlooked. Making a serious effort to reduce loneliness could make a real difference.

New insights into the molecular processes of immune regulation

Researchers from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology have made an important discovery that might lead to novel therapies to combat chronic inflammation.

Cause of fatal childhood disorder revealed in gene study

A gene involved in brain development that can lead to severe disability and infant death has been identified by scientists.

New study proves one lung cancer subtype can switch to another

A new study co-authored by a researcher starting her laboratory at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center shows that in certain genetic situations, one non-small cell lung cancer subtype can change into another subtype.

Baby with eight limbs gets new lease on life in India

A baby born with eight limbs, including two protruding from his stomach, has undergone surgery in India to successfully remove the extra arms and legs, in an operation being hailed as a world first.

High stakes, high risk, and a bad bet: Study shines new light on the brains of gambling addicts

You've been losing all night, and now another bad hand. So why raise?

Water outperforms sports drinks for young athletes

(HealthDay)—Water is a better bet than sports drinks for young athletes, sports medicine specialists say.

Tripeptide/hexapeptide system effective after laser resurfacing

(HealthDay)—Use of a tripeptide/hexapeptide topical system following fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing is effective and well tolerated, according to a study published online March 31 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

24-hour urine collection of unclear benefit in stone formers

(HealthDay)—Despite guidelines, it has not been established whether all recurrent kidney stone formers benefit from 24-hour urine collection, according to a review published in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.

Mortality up with depression just before breast cancer diagnosis

(HealthDay)—Women with newly-developed depression before a breast cancer diagnosis have a modestly, but significantly, increased risk for death, according to a study published online April 7 in Cancer.

Continuous glucose monitoring improves quality of life in T1DM

(HealthDay)—Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) contributes to significant improvements in diabetes-specific quality of life (QOL) measures among adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), according to a study published online April 7 in Diabetes Care.

Six variables can predict mortality risk in cardiogenic shock

(HealthDay)—Six variables can be combined to predict short-term mortality risk in patients with cardiogenic shock (CS), according to a study published in the April 18 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Physicians resist requests from immigrants for female ob-gyns

(HealthDay)—While health care providers are sympathetic to immigrant women's requests for female obstetricians, they resist accommodating these requests and place greater value on maintaining gender equity, according to a study published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Favorable physiological effect for ularitide in acute heart failure

(HealthDay)—Ularitide has a favorable physiological effect in patients with acute heart failure, according to a study published online April 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Study finds worse survival when specific thyroid cancers spread to bone

When cancer metastases, bone unwittingly offers a friendly place for tumor cell growth—only to have its hospitality betrayed by pathologic fractures, spinal cord compression, the need for bone surgery or irradiation, and an increased risk of death.

Assessing heart disease risk is within arm's reach

Atherosclerosis, commonly known as hardening of the arteries, has long been seen as a strong indicator of coronary artery disease, as compared to the traditional risk factors of race, age, gender and metabolic profile. Unlike other diseases that affect many people, atherosclerosis currently has no simple way to diagnose or monitor response to treatment.

Traces of Zika Found in Asian tiger mosquito in Brazil

In a recent test of Asian tiger mosquitoes collected in Brazil, researchers found fragments of Zika virus RNA, raising concerns that it may be carried by species other than Zika's known primary vector, the yellow fever mosquito.

Lilly's rheumatoid arthritis pill rejected by regulators

Eli Lilly said U.S. regulators have rejected its much-anticipated pill for the immune disorder rheumatoid arthritis, the drugmaker's second drug development setback since November.

Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school

Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

ATV-related injuries in children remain large public health problem

All-terrain vehicle-related injuries remain a large public health problem in this country, with children more adversely affected than adults. According to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the major risk factors for young riders also are entirely preventable.

AASM position: Delaying middle school, high school start times is beneficial to students

A new position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) asserts that the school day should begin at 8:30 a.m. or later for middle school and high school students.

3-D-printed model of stenotic intracranial artery enables vessel-wall MRI standardization

A collaboration between stroke neurologists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and bioengineers at the University of Massachusetts has led to the creation of a realistic, 3D-printed phantom of a stenotic intracranial artery that is being used to standardize protocols for high-resolution MRI, also known as vessel-wall MRI, at a network of U.S. and Chinese institutions, according to an article published online March 9, 2017 by the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

Insurers say Trump must do more to stabilize 'Obamacare'

"Obamacare" is proving more of a challenge than the Trump administration bargained for.

Timely augmentation to triple oral antihyperglycemic therapy

The goal of the management of type 2 diabetes is to achieve and maintain blood glucose levels close to the normal range in order to delay or prevent the development of the long-term complications of the disease, such as myocardial infarction, stroke, vision loss and kidney failure. For most patients, the treatment goal is to keep the glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) < 7 percent.

Researcher studying air pollution and risk for heart attack and stroke

In a report released in 2016, the World Health Organization revealed that more than 90 percent of the world's population live in areas with high levels of air pollution, and that every year, close to three million deaths are linked to outdoor air pollution. Many of those deaths are due to cardiovascular disease or stroke, and now a UNT assistant professor of Biological Sciences, Amie Lund, is researching that connection.

New research opens a window on eye health

Poets see the eyes as a window to the soul. Scientists increasingly view the eyes as a window to the inner workings of the body.

Genetic testing rates for ovarian cancer low across Ontario

Nearly 3,000 Canadian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. Often undetected, until it progresses to late stages, the disease is the fifth most common – and the most serious – cancer in women.

Take a free test that could possibly save your life

As part of #CheckIt, the American Heart Association (AHA) ) – the world's leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease – wants people to check their own blood pressure by May 17, World Hypertension Day, which is part of National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Through World Hypertension Day, the American Heart Association is joining other organizations in striving to reach 25 million blood pressure checks globally (5 million in the U.S.). Also, participants are encouraged to log their action and learn about high blood pressure.

Unraveling the mechanism of skin barrier formation

Scientists have identified the gene responsible for generating acylceramide, the key lipid in forming the skin barrier that protects us from pathogens, allergens and other harmful substances. This finding could prove crucial in developing medicines for treating atopic dermatitis and ichthyosis.

Preventing tooth decay in children

Applying fluoride varnish to children's teeth is just as effective at preventing tooth decay as the alternative method of sealing teeth and could save the NHS money, concludes a study led by Cardiff University.

Hyland's teething tablets recalled over levels of toxic herb

Hyland's teething tablets are being recalled nationwide due to inconsistent levels of toxic belladonna, which U.S. regulators say makes them a serious health hazard to young children.

Opioid use disorder in pregnancy—Medication treatment improves outcomes for mothers and infants

Medication for addiction treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine or methadone is an appropriate and accepted treatment for pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD), according to a research review and update in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Biology news

Simulation shows how transporter proteins do their work in cells

Inside every plant or animal, proteins called transporters act as cellular doorkeepers, letting nutrients and other molecules in or out as need be. Although transporter proteins are critical for normal cell function – and are key targets for many drugs – scientists have never really understood how they open and close.

Shooting the messenger: how one protein allows germ cells to develop

The first days of an embryo's development are a busy time for the molecules that regulate gene expression. A vast number of specific genes need to be turned on and off at precisely the right time for cells to end up in the proper place and in the appropriate quantity.

The dangers of being a saber-toothed cat in Los Angeles 12,000 years ago

Saber-toothed cats that roamed Los Angeles 12,000 years ago had many injuries to their shoulders and backbones that likely occurred when they killed large herbivore prey such as bison and horses, UCLA biologists report in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

New whole genome amplification method reduces biases introduced by other methods

(—A team of researchers working at Harvard University has developed a new whole-genome amplification method that outperforms other methods currently being used. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their technique and how well it performed when used to measure single-nucleotide variations in a human cell after exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Lice and their bacterial sidekicks have evolved together for millions of years

A Florida Museum of Natural History study provides new insights into the complex, shared history between blood-sucking lice and the vitamin-producing bacterial sidekicks that enable them to parasitize mammals, including primates and humans.

New method for tapping vast plant pharmacopeia to make more effective drugs

Cocaine, nicotine, capsaicin. These are just three familiar examples of the hundreds of thousands of small molecules (also called specialized or secondary metabolites) that plants use as chemical ammunition to protect themselves from predation.

Terpenes are the world's most widespread communication medium

If you're small, smells are a good way to stand out. A team of researchers led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) has demonstrated for the first time that two different types of micro-organisms—bacteria and fungi—use fragrances, known as terpenes, to hold conversations. And that's not all: "We actually believe that terpenes are the most popular chemical medium on our planet to communicate through," they report.

Researchers develop new tools to optimize CHO cell lines for making biologic drugs

Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the most commonly used cells to produce biologics—protein-based drugs for treating cancers, autoimmune diseases and much more. CHO cells are the workhorses behind more than half of the top-selling biologics on the market today, including Humira, Avastin and Rituxan, to name a few.

Biological sensor can identify and quantify the activity of a little-known class of plant hormones

Strigolactones are an important and diverse class of plant hormones. Now, an international team led by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Associate Professor Salim Al-Babili and Professor Matias Zurbriggen from the University of Dusseldorf has developed a strigolactone sensor that can be genetically encoded into plant cells to help our understanding of plant development.

Scientists seek citizens' help in first-ever census of Weddell seals

Scientists are asking for the public's help to look through thousands of satellite images of Antarctica in the first-ever, comprehensive count of Weddell seals. Documenting the seals' population trends over time will help scientists better understand the effects of climate change and commercial fishing in the Antarctic.

Wisconsin turns to Minnesota for new blood to restore grouse

The entertaining springtime ritual of male sharp-tailed grouse twirling, nodding and strutting their stuff on the prairie to impress the ladies isn't as common a sight in Wisconsin as it used to be. So biologists are bringing in new blood from Minnesota to provide an isolated flock with a shot at survival.

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