Thursday, April 20, 2017

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Apr 20

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 20, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Research team develops technique to control laser polarization electronically, with no moving parts

3-D printing glass objects

First clear image made of accretion disk surrounding young star

Researchers harness mysterious Casimir force for tiny devices

Oceans galore: new study suggests most habitable planets may lack dry land

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

Rare supernova discovery ushers in new era for cosmology

Cycling or walking to and from work linked to substantial health benefits

Scientists uncover mechanism allowing bacteria to survive the human immune system

Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off

Toyota: Hydrogen fuel cell system for truck use to be studied

Black phosphorus holds promise for the future of electronics

Fungi have enormous potential for new antibiotics

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves 'Tribulation'

Chesapeake Bay pollution extends to early 19th century

Astronomy & Space news

First clear image made of accretion disk surrounding young star

(—A team of researchers from the U.S. and Taiwan has captured the first clear image of a young star surrounded by an accretion disk. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how the image was captured and details of their find.

Oceans galore: new study suggests most habitable planets may lack dry land

When it comes to exploring exoplanets, it may be wise to take a snorkel along. A new study, published in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has used a statistical model to predict that most habitable planets may be dominated by oceans spanning over 90% of their surface area.

Rare supernova discovery ushers in new era for cosmology

With the help of an automated supernova-hunting pipeline and a galaxy sitting 2 bil-lion light years away from Earth that's acting as a "magnifying glass,'' astronomers have captured multiple images of a Type Ia supernova—the brilliant explosion of a star—appearing in four different locations on the sky. So far this is the only Type Ia discovered that has exhibited this effect.

Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off

A Soyuz space capsule blasted off Thursday for the International Space Station, carrying an American astronaut making his first space flight and a veteran Russian cosmonaut.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves 'Tribulation'

NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is departing "Cape Tribulation," a crater-rim segment it has explored since late 2014, southbound for its next destination, "Perseverance Valley."

China launches its first unmanned cargo spacecraft

China on Thursday launched its first unmanned cargo spacecraft on a mission to dock with the country's space station, marking further progress in the ambitious Chinese space program.

Hubble celebrates 27 years with two close friends

This stunning cosmic pairing of the two very different looking spiral galaxies NGC 4302 and NGC 4298 was imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The image brilliantly captures their warm stellar glow and brown, mottled patterns of dust. As a perfect demonstration of Hubble's capabilities, this spectacular view has been released as part of the telescope's 27th anniversary celebrations.

Researchers produce detailed map of potential Mars rover landing site

Brown University researchers have published the most detailed geological history to date for a region of Mars known as Northeast Syrtis Major, a spot high on NASA's list of potential landing sites for its next Mars rover to be launched in 2020.

China prepares to launch country's first cargo spacecraft

China is preparing to launch its first unmanned cargo spacecraft on a mission to dock with the country's space station.

Astronomers perform largest-ever survey of high-mass binary star systems

In addition to solo stars like the sun, the universe contains binary systems comprising two massive stars that interact with each other. In many binaries, the two stars are close enough to exchange matter and may even merge, producing a single high-mass star that spins at great speed.

Scientists study the problem of hydrodynamic stability of Keplerian flow

Researches from Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Lomonosov Moscow State University, have focused their efforts on one of the major theoretical issues of modern astrophysical fluid dynamics, which is the stability of Keplerian shear flow of liquid or gas. The results are available in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal.

Here's a plan to send a spacecraft to Venus, and make Venus pay for it

In 2005, the Future In-Space Operations Working Group (FISOWG) was established with the help of NASA to assess how advances in spaceflight technologies could be used to facilitate missions back to the Moon and beyond. In 2006, the FISO Working Group also established the FISO Telecon Series to conduct outreach to the public and educate them on issues pertaining to spaceflight technology, engineering, and science.

Image: Proba-1 images Calanda reservoir

The blue of the Calanda reservoir amid the rugged landscape of northeastern Spain, as seen by ESA's oldest – and one of its smallest – Earth-observing missions, Proba-1, midway through its 15th year of operations.

American, Russian cheered as they reach Intl Space Station

A Soyuz space capsule on Thursday safely delivered an American astronaut making his first space flight and a veteran Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station.

Technology news

Toyota: Hydrogen fuel cell system for truck use to be studied

(Tech Xplore)—Clean automobiles designed to cut down on emissions are one part of the environment story, as the focus presently is also on the future of their highway mates, clean trucks. Toyota has stepped up to the plate.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Flying car to go on sale

It may not be quite like the Jetsons, but for over a million dollars you too can soon fly around in a car.

Google Home's assistant can now recognize different voices

Google's voice-activated assistant can now recognize who's talking to it on Google's Home speaker.

Charge me up: Rural electric drivers face 'range anxiety'

Sunita Halasz has tips for "driving electric" along lonely roads in New York's Adirondack Mountains: know the locations of charging stations, bring activities for the kids during three-hour recharges, turn on the energy-hogging window defroster in just 10-second bursts.

Engineers use Comet supercomputer to develop a plastic fabric that cools the skin

Stanford University researchers, with the aid of the Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer at UC San Diego, have engineered a low-cost plastic material that could become the basis for clothing that cools the wearer, reducing the need for energy-consuming air conditioning.

Most Americans favor flying cars

Despite considerable concerns about the safety of flying cars, two-thirds of Americans say they would like to ride in or operate their own airborne vehicle.

With the rise of autonomous vehicles, hackers pose a serious new threat

The allure of the autonomous vehicle is seductive: a morning commute spent sipping coffee and checking e-mail while the car finds its own way to the office.

System helps racing cyclists adapt sitting position exactly to physical conditions

Participants in the hardest bicycle races in the world, such as the Race Across America (4800 km), the Race Around Austria (2200 km and 30,000 meters difference in altitude) or Cape Epic in South Africa (700 km, 14,500 m difference in altitude and almost insurmountable terrain), should not only prepare their bodies optimally, but also adjust their sports equipment. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now developed a measurement system by means of which cyclists can adapt their sitting position exactly to their physical conditions.

System sorts granular bulk materials faster and more accurately

Sand, gravel, coal, deicing salt or diamonds, grain, sugar, coffee or grapes and waste – a lot of everyday goods are more or less grainy. To classify this bulk material by quality and size, it must be sorted in a sophisticated process. Tens of thousands of belt-type sorting plants operate in Germany alone. Scientists of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Technology and Image Evaluation (IOSB) have developed a system that is able to sort much faster, more cheaply and more accurately than previous techniques.

Calculating where America should invest in its transportation and communications networks

The American economy is underpinned by networks. Road networks carry traffic and freight; the internet and telecommunications networks carry our voices and digital information; the electricity grid is a network carrying energy; financial networks transfer money from bank accounts to merchants. They're vast, often global systems – but a local disruption can really block them up.

Study of interface thickness evolution on high-capacity battery electrodes

Wouldn't it be nice if lithium-ion batteries lasted as long as a car? Scientists have proposed silicon as a high-capacity negative electrode for lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, the formation and thickening of interface layers on top of silicon electrodes degrades cell performance. The result? You have to replace the battery. Measurements of the thickness of the interface material, known as the solid-electrolyte interphase or SEI, vary by two orders of magnitude. In this research, scientists combined real-time atomic force microscopy, which can measure surface layer thicknesses, with electrochemical cycling and a carefully designed sample geometry to unambiguously measure the SEI evolve. The sample design facilitates clear separation of SEI thickness evolution from the volume changes of the underlying silicon electrode. The measurements can be used to benchmark models of SEI reaction kinetics for different electrolytes.

Rethinking traffic theory in the age of Uber

If you've got the feeling that your morning commute keeps getting longer, chances are you're right.

Taking steps toward the 21st century smart grid

In 2016, the United States experienced 3,879 blackouts of more than 48 minutes that affected over 18 million people. A recent poll says nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the national power grid is vulnerable to a cyber or physical attack; even more say they are unprepared for an extended outage.

Buying drinks for a band: the birth of payment service Venmo

It only took a few drinks—and a much-younger Iqram Magdon-Ismail forgetting his wallet at home one night—for him and his friends to come up with one of the most popular ways of splitting a bill: Venmo.

Poll: Black teens most active on social media apps

Teenagers and their technology are inseparable, but a new poll shows black teens are the most likely to have access to smartphones—which could explain why they're the biggest and most frequent users of mobile-friendly social media apps Snapchat and Instagram.

Italian court rules mobile phone caused tumour

In a potentially landmark case, an Italian court has ruled that excessive, work-related use of a mobile phone caused an executive to develop a benign brain tumour.

Researchers unlock hardware's hidden talent for rendering 3D graphics for science—and video games

When Shuaiwen Leon Song boots up Doom 3 and Half-life 2, he does so in the name of science. Song studies high performance computing at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with the goal of making computers smaller, faster and more energy efficient. A more powerful computer, simply put, can solve greater scientific challenges. Like modeling complex chemical reactions or monitoring the electric power grid.

Flying cars take off on French Riviera

Flying cars might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but two prototypes were launched Thursday on the French Riviera, at an event showcasing "supercars" in Monaco.

Apple touts greater use of recycled metal in gadgets

Apple wants to "one day" end the need to mine materials from the earth to make its gadgets, the technology giant said in its annual environmental responsibility report out Thursday.

France to introduce video refereeing in football play-offs

Video technology will be used for the first time in refereeing in France in the end-of-season football play-offs, league officials announced Thursday.

Medicine & Health news

Cycling or walking to and from work linked to substantial health benefits

Active commuting by bicycle is associated with a substantial decrease in the risk of death from all causes, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD), compared with non-active commuting by car or public transport, finds a study in The BMJ today.

'Eating with the eyes' is hard-wired in the brain

Have you ever wondered why looking at food can make you hungry? By visualizing neuronal activity in specific areas of the zebrafish brain, scientists at the National Institute of Genetics (NIG) in Japan have revealed a direct link between visual perception of food and feeding motivation. The study, published in the April 20, 2017 issue of Nature Communications, suggests that "eating with the eyes" is deeply rooted in evolution.

Scientists discover two repurposed drugs that arrest neurodegeneration in mice

A team of scientists who a few years ago identified a major pathway that leads to brain cell death in mice, have now found two drugs that block the pathway and prevent neurodegeneration. The drugs caused minimal side effects in the mice and one is already licensed for use in humans, so is ready for clinical trials.

Natural experiment, dogged investigation, yield clue to devastating neurological disease

After a 29-year quest, Ian Duncan, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has finally pinpointed the cause of a serious neurologic disease in a colony of rats.

Want to stay mentally healthy in older age? Stimulate your brain in early life

Stimulating the brain by taking on leadership roles at work or staying on in education help people stay mentally healthy in later life, according to new research.

Using RNA sequencing to diagnose patients with rare muscle conditions

(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has developed a way to use RNA sequencing to help in diagnosing patients with rare genetic muscle conditions. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes their technique, how it works, and how effective they found it when testing actual patients.

Ancient enzyme protects lungs from common irritant produced by bugs and mold

The beetle's tough shell and the crab's sturdy armor both owe their strength to a compound called chitin (pronounced "KAI-tin"), one of the toughest known natural materials and also one of most common biological compounds on Earth. New research in mice by UC San Francisco scientists shows that the lungs secrete a specialized enzyme capable of destroying chitin, without which chitin particles inhaled from the environment can accumulate in the airways and trigger inflammatory lung disease.

Study in mice identifies neurons that sense touch and motion

Working with genetically engineered mice—and especially their whiskers—Johns Hopkins researchers report they have identified a group of nerve cells in the skin responsible for what they call "active touch," a combination of motion and sensory feeling needed to navigate the external world. The discovery of this basic sensory mechanism, described online April 20 in the journal Neuron, advances the search for better "smart" prosthetics for people, ones that provide more natural sensory feedback to the brain during use.

Post-biotics may help shield obese from diabetes

You've heard of pre-biotics and pro-biotics, but now you'll be hearing a lot more about post-biotics. Researchers at McMaster University have begun to identify how post-biotics, or the by-products of bacteria, lower blood glucose and allow insulin to work better.

Macrophages shown to be essential to a healthy heart rhythm

A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-led research team has identified a surprising new role for macrophages, the white blood cells primarily known for removing pathogens, cellular debris and other unwanted materials. In their paper published in Cell the investigators describe discovering that macrophages are also essential to the healthy functioning of the heart, helping conduct the electric signals that coordinate the heartbeat.

Brains of one-handed people suggest new organization theory

In people born with one hand, the brain region that would normally light up with that missing hand's activity lights up instead with the activity of other body parts—including the arm, foot, and mouth—that fill in for the hand's lost function. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on April 20 say that the discovery could shake up scientists' fundamental understanding of how the brain is organized.

Researchers show brain stimulation restores memory during lapses

A team of neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania has shown for the first time that electrical stimulation delivered when memory is predicted to fail can improve memory function in the human brain. That same stimulation generally becomes disruptive when electrical pulses arrive during periods of effective memory function.

Gut bacteria give newborns infection protection, not just digestion, mouse study shows

Hundreds of thousands of babies worldwide die every year from infections that ravage their digestive systems - including those caused by Salmonella and E. coli bacteria. Millions more get sick.

Is soda bad for your brain? (and is diet soda worse?)

Americans love sugar. Together we consumed nearly 11 million metric tons of it in 2016, according to the US Department of Agriculture, much of it in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages like sports drinks and soda.

Recognizing foreign accents helps brains process accented speech

Our brains process foreign-accented speech with better real-time accuracy if we can identify the accent we hear, according to a team of neurolinguists.

Childhood adversity linked to increased suicide risk in adolescence

Exposure to various common childhood adversities - such as parental psychiatric disorder, parental substance abuse or a death in the family - is associated with a substantially increased risk of suicide in adolescence and young adulthood, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

UK: Serious liver disease develops in one-third of young people with childhood acquired HCV

Results from a retrospective review of a UK national Hepatitis C virus (HCV) database found that over one-third of young people (

European countries restrict access to life-saving treatment for hepatitis C

Data presented today demonstrate that there are considerable restrictions in the reimbursement of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy across European countries, particularly with respect to the severity of liver fibrosis (scarring of the liver) and prescribing by specialists. The study, presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, showed that there was evidence that some countries were not following the most recent European HCV treatment guidelines, published by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in 2016.1

Drug created from malaria parasite shows promise as bladder cancer treatment

A drug created from a malaria protein stopped tumour growth of chemotherapy-resistant bladder cancer, offering hope for cancer patients not responding to standard treatments.

Worldwide lack of early referral of patients with alcoholic liver disease

Results from a worldwide analysis of over 3,000 patients highlights that there is significant disparity in the referral of patients with liver disease, and that those with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) are 12 times more likely to present at an advanced rather than early stage. The study, presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, showed that in those patients with two causes of cirrhosis, alcohol abuse also leads to a more advanced stage of presentation.

Review finds no benefit to aspirin for preserving cognitive function

An analysis of published studies found no evidence that low- dose aspirin buffers against cognitive decline or dementia or improves cognitive test scores.

Severe gum disease strongly predicts higher mortality in cirrhosis

Results presented today from a prospective study in patients with irreversible scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) demonstrates that severe periodontitis (an inflammatory gum disease) strongly predicts higher mortality in this population, after adjustments for various risk factors. The study was presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Why children struggle to cross busy streets safely

For adults, crossing the street by foot seems easy. You take stock of the traffic and calculate the time it will take to get from one side to the other without being hit.

Just breathe: Mindfulness may help freshman stress less and smile more

Mindfulness training may be one way to help students successfully transition to college life, according to Penn State researchers.

Is DAA therapy for hepatitis C associated with an increased risk of liver cancer?

According to data from eight studies being presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, there remains continued debate on whether patients are at risk of developing liver cancer after achieving sustained virologic response (SVR) with a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimen for Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Investigators will present the results of their studies that show both sides of the argument - DAA therapy is associated with a higher risk of liver cancer compared with interferon-based therapy, versus there is no difference in liver cancer risk following cure with either therapy.

Few Medicare patients take advantage of free annual wellness visits

In 2011, through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare introduced the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), the first annual health check-up offered by Medicare at no cost to patients. The visits are intended to encourage evidence-based preventive care and mitigate health risks in aging patients. To date, there has been little data about how these visits have been used over time across the country. To examine national trends and patterns of AWV use, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital analyzed billing data of a random 20 percent sample of Medicare beneficiaries and examined visit rates across categories like race, income, and the type of health system where patients got their primary care. The findings are published online April 19, 2017 in JAMA.

Rituximab is not effective for the treatment of fatigue in primary biliary cholangitis

Results from the RITPBC trial demonstrated that rituximab was not effective for treatment of fatigue in unselected patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). The study, presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, showed that rituximab was well tolerated and improved the anaerobic threshold, the level of exercise intensity at which lactic acid builds up in the body faster than it can be cleared away.

Phobia of dentists leads to more decay and tooth loss, new study finds

People who have a severe fear of the dentist are more likely to have tooth decay or missing teeth, according to a new study from King's College London.

Investing in adolescent health and education could bring 10-fold economic benefit

As the World Bank meetings begin, a new study shows that investments in adolescent health and wellbeing are some of the best that can be made towards achieving the SDGs.

Studies examine rheumatoid arthritis patients' prognosis

What's the long-term outlook for today's patients with early rheumatoid arthritis? A new study in Arthritis & Rheumatology that looks at patients' mortality, disease activity, and physical function over the course of 20 years reveals the importance of early treatment. Another study in the journal notes that deaths from arthritis are declining.

Epilepsy drug behind up to 4,100 'severe birth defects' in France

The epilepsy medication valproate is responsible for "severe malformations" in 2,150 to 4,100 children in France since the drug was first marketed in the country in 1967, according to a preliminary study by French health authorities.

Breast cancer survivors who receive tailored health plans are more likely to get recommended care

Physicians of low-income breast cancer survivors are more likely to implement recommended survivorship care if the survivors also receive counseling and a tailored survivorship care plan, a study led by UCLA researchers has found.

Marrying an asthma inhaler to a wireless monitor and a smartphone app

What do you get by marrying an asthma inhaler to a wireless monitor and a smartphone app? Plenty, says David Van Sickle, a medical anthropologist who specializes in respiratory disease.

Why your child still needs vaccines, even if you may not know someone with the disease

At the turn of the 21st century, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article about the 10 greatest public health achievements over the past 100 years, from 1900-1999. One of them was vaccination, which likely has saved millions of lives over the past 100 years.

Skip the soda, opt for the stairs to feel more energized

A midday jolt of caffeine isn't as powerful as walking up and down some stairs, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

Three-dimensional images of a network of the smallest blood vessels

An interdisciplinary team from the Universities of Bayreuth and Marburg has accomplished a feat that was not previously possible, even using the newest medical imaging techniques: a high-definition image of the smallest blood vessels, which are found in organs such as the spleen or bone marrow of human beings. The researchers have developed a process for visualizing the highly complicated network of such blood vessels in tissue samples in 3-D. On how the new technique works, they report in Medical Image Analysis and PLOS ONE.

Study finds children with ADHD have questions for their doctor but don't ask them

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder want to ask their physicians about their condition and medications but often don't, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study could help doctors and parents leverage this interest to help children better manage their ADHD.

Linking human genome sequences to health data will change clinical medicine, says expert

The value of intersecting the sequencing of individuals' exomes (all expressed genes) or full genomes to find rare genetic variants—on a large scale—with their detailed electronic health record (EHR) information has "myriad benefits, including the illumination of basic human biology, the early identification of preventable and treatable illnesses, and the identification and validation of new therapeutic targets," wrote Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of the Department of Genetics, in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in Science this week, with Scott M. Damrauer, MD, an assistant professor of Surgery at Penn and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Old bones vulnerable to long-term use of oral corticosteroids

A review of data by University of South Australia researchers has found many older people taking oral corticosteroids long-term are not having the recommended bone density tests or fracture prevention therapy, leaving them at much greater risk of fractures.

New weapon in fight against antibiotic resistance discovered

Scientists at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre and the University of Manitoba have developed a drug that combats 2 of the top 10 "priority pathogens" recently defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as antiobiotic-resistant bacteria requiring new interventions. The drug, dubbed PEG-2S, has received a provisional patent, and its development is highlighted in a study published today in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (CJPP). Without affecting healthy cells, the drug prevents the proliferation of a harmful bacteria that possesses a specific type of energy supply shared by a number of other bacteria.

Protecting stethoscopes with a noble metal

The stethoscope is an invaluable tool for fighting diseases. Unfortunately, it can also help spread them. A 2014 study in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that, when it comes to collecting bacteria (including MRSA, a serious problem in many hospitals), stethoscopes are as bad as hands. The trouble is, stethoscopes aren't cleaned nearly so often. They also have plenty of crevices in which bad bugs can hide. Some 722,000 people are readmitted to hospitals each year due to infections they acquired while hospitalized. An unknown, but potentially substantial, percentage of those patients were infected through infectious agents carried on stethoscopes.

Targeting cancer cells with an implantable drug delivery system

An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine (Volume 242, Issue 7, March, 2017) describes a new drug delivery system for the treatment of cancer. The study, led by Dr. Horst A. von Recum from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio, reports that an implantable local delivery system, which is activated by the acidic environment surrounding a tumor, provides sustained drug release without damaging healthy tissues.

Pre-kindergarten effects – what the science says

How well are we preparing young children to enter kindergarten ready to learn? Educators in K-12 school systems are faced with wide disparities in skill levels of entering kindergarteners, which means many children are already far behind many of their peers.

Researchers use smartphones and machine learning to measure sleep patterns

Despite spending at least one quarter to one third a day sleeping, good sleep can elude many people, and the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders remains primitive. Osaka University researchers have designed new technology that uses machine learning to model a personal sleep pattern based on the sounds made during sleep. Because the sounds can be recorded at home with no fancy devices, it is expected that doctors using this technology could diagnose patients under normal sleeping conditions, which is expected to lead to better treatment.

New research suggests that Phonics is the best way to teach reading

Research published today in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General has shown that learning to read by sounding out words (a teaching method known as phonics) has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of reading aloud and comprehension.

Periodic model predicts the spread of Lyme disease

Lyme disease is among the most common vector-borne illnesses in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia. A spirochete bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi causes the disease, and blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are responsible for the majority of North American transmissions. Commonly known as deer ticks, blacklegged ticks exhibit two-year life cycles with the following four stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. Larvae primarily attack white-footed mice, then become nymphs upon obtaining a blood meal. At the beginning of their second year, nymphs transform into adults and prey almost solely on white-tailed deer. Female ticks produce approximately 2,000 fertile eggs throughout their lives, nearly all of which hatch and continue the sequence.

Milk study improves understanding of age-related diseases

A new study on UHT milk is helping scientists to better understand Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and type 2 diabetes, opening the door to improved treatments for these age-related diseases.

One in every 15 non-obese older Filipino Americans has diabetes

A new study released today found that non-obese Filipino Americans aged 50 and over have a much higher prevalence of diabetes than non-Hispanic white Americans (7.6% vs. 4.3%). The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, University of Victoria, and University at Albany, SUNY.

Children at greater risk for complications from brown recluse spider bites

Medical complications of brown recluse spider bites are uncommon but they can be severe, particularly in children, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) reported today.

In young bilingual children two languages develop simultaneously but independently

A new study of Spanish-English bilingual children by researchers at Florida Atlantic University published in the journal Developmental Science finds that when children learn two languages from birth each language proceeds on its own independent course, at a rate that reflects the quality of the children's exposure to each language.

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

When the kidneys - vital organs for filtering the body's entire blood supply - become injured, it can set in motion an unfortunate chain of events that leads to a decline in health. Sometimes, in response to chronic injury, the body begins an aberrant repair process known as fibrosis, in which normal fibroblast cells transform into myofibroblasts, proliferate out of control, migrate and form scar tissue. Once scar tissue begins to form, functional cells begin to die, and the scar tissue multiplies. Investigators have been looking for a way to break this cycle, and new findings indicate that a gene known as SMOC2 may point the way to a new intervention that could prevent this cascade of events.

Protection for the gut barrier: New approach may prevent graft-versus-host disease

Stem cell transplants can save lives, for example in patients with leukemia. However, these treatments are not free of risks. One complication that may occur is graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), basically donor-derived immune cells attacking the recipient's body. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has identified molecular mechanisms that may protect patients against this dangerous response in the future. The key to preventing GVHD is in the gut.

Immune discovery points to therapies to improve stroke recovery

Having a stroke damages immune cells as well as affecting the brain, research has found.

Mindfulness class helped women, but not men, overcome 'negative affect'

In a new study of a Brown University scholarly course on mindfulness that also included meditation labs, researchers found that the practice on average significantly helped women overcome "negative affect"—a downcast mood—but did not help men. The finding, the authors said, should call more attention to considering gender as a potential factor in assessing mindfulness efficacy.

More Americans being hospitalized for a hypertensive emergency, but fewer are dying

A new article published in the American Journal of Hypertension finds a rising trend in hospitalization for hypertensive emergency with reduction in hospital mortality during the last decade. The presence of acute cardiorespiratory failure, chest pain, stroke, acute chest pain, and aortic dissection were most predictive of higher hospital mortality among other complications.

Second cancers deadlier in young patients

Second cancers in children and adolescents and young adults (AYA) are far deadlier than they are in older adults and may partially account for the relatively poor outcomes of cancer patients ages 15-39 overall, a new study by UC Davis researchers has found.

'Genetic scalpel' can manipulate the microbiome, study shows

The gut microbiome is crucial to health, encompassing bacterial communities that possess a hundred times more genes than the human genome. Its complexity has hampered investigation of possible roles of the microbiome in a host of maladies, including infectious and autoimmune diseases, obesity, and even behavioral disorders.

Supplement can lessen kidney damage linked to genetic mutations in transgenic fruit flies

An off-the-shelf dietary supplement available for pennies per dose demonstrated the ability to reverse cellular damage linked to specific genetic mutations in transgenic fruit flies, an experimental model of genetic mutation-induced renal cell injury that features striking similarities to humans, a Children's National Health System research team reports April 20 in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Can virtual reality help us prevent falls in the elderly and others?

Every year, falls lead to hospitalization or death for hundreds of thousands of elderly Americans. Standard clinical techniques generally cannot diagnose balance impairments before they lead to falls. But researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University have found evidence that virtual reality (VR) could be a big help - not only for detecting balance impairments early, but perhaps also for reversing those impairments and preventing falls.

Q&A: Could the Henrietta Lacks case happen today?

What happened in the 1951 case of Henrietta Lacks, and could it happen again today?

Research uncovers life-saving benefits in the battle against viruses

At-risk patients, such as those with HIV or transplant recipients, could benefit from potentially life-saving study carried out by a University of Surrey led group of international researchers.

Researchers provide evidence linking 'leaky gut' to chronic inflammation

With the help of genetically engineered mice, scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are moving closer to establishing the role that increased intestinal permeability, sometimes called a "leaky gut," plays in chronic inflammatory conditions. Regulated by a protein called zonulin, elevated intestinal permeability has been associated with several chronic conditions including autoimmunity, metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and even cancer.

Bringing the 'magic' of ultrasound to rural Uganda to reduce pregnancy complications

In a collaborative study from Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson), Western University (Western), Bridge to Health Medical and Dental, and Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (KIHEFO), a team of researchers found that radio advertising for free ultrasounds in rural Uganda increased the number of pregnant women who attended modern medical care by 490 per cent.

Risk of psychosis from cannabis use lower than originally thought, say scientists

The research, published in the journal, Addiction, also showed for the first time that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that for patients who already have schizophrenia, cannabis makes their symptoms worse.

Pretreatment HIV, immune activation levels determine their persistence during treatment

A study led by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigator may have answered a major debate in HIV research - whether the tiny amounts of HIV that persist in patients receiving long-term antiretroviral treatment (ART) cause or are caused by the elevated levels of inflammation and immune system activation that also persist during ART. In a report published in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens, a research team from the NIH-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) describes finding that pretreatment viral levels and immune activation appear to determine the extent of HIV persistence and inflammation during ART. They also found that the low levels of HIV in the blood - below what can be detected using commercial tests - did not seem to influence persistent inflammation in people on treatment.

New statistical analysis reveals thousands of rare mutations linked with cancer

Scientists have identified thousands of previously ignored genetic mutations that, although rare, likely contribute to cancer growth. The findings, which could help pave the way to new treatments, are published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Scientists ID two molecules that inhibit proteins involved in chronic inflammatory disease

Scientists have identified two small molecules that could be pursued as potential treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases. According to a paper published in PLOS Computational Biology, the researchers singled out the molecules using a new drug screening approach they developed.

On the brink of eradication: Why polio research matters

In the decades since Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine, cases of polio have exponentially declined. Though once widespread epidemic, the highly infectious childhood disease is now close to global eradication. The question remains: why would researchers spend time and resources studying a virus already on the brink of total eradication?

Preliminary study suggests possible new treatment for MS

A small, preliminary study may show promise of a new type of treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Results from the first six people enrolled in the phase 1 study, a study designed to enroll 10 people, are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.

Engagement with natural environment a significant contributor to life satisfaction

Looking to improve your overall life satisfaction? Try regularly hiking in a forest or otherwise engaging with the natural environment.

Scientists uncover details on the rise of a tick-borne disease on Long Island

Scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health report elevated levels of a pathogen responsible for the tick-borne disease babesiosis in Suffolk County, New York, where rates are the highest in the state. Results are published in the journal mSphere.

White wine may do no favors for a woman's skin

(HealthDay)—Could that glass of Chardonnay affect the condition of your skin?

Stronger muscles may pump up kids' memory skills

(HealthDay)—Here's yet another reason to make sure your kids are active: New research shows those with stronger muscles may have better working memory.

Slow processing speed predicts falls in elderly

(HealthDay)—Slow processing speed predicts future falls in older adults with a history of falls, according to a study published online April 8 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

QI intervention aids medication safety for elderly in ER

(HealthDay)—A quality improvement initiative that combines education, electronic clinical decision support, and individual provider feedback can positively influence prescribing behavior and improve medication safety for older adults in the emergency department, according to a study published online April 7 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Circulating exosomes have distinct RNA profile in MS

(HealthDay)—Circulating exosomes have a distinct RNA profile in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), according to a study published online April 15 in the Annals of Neurology.

Electronic drug administration record app cuts errors

(HealthDay)—Use of an electronic medication administration record (eMAR) application can reduce the rate of medication errors in medication administration recording (ME-MAR), according to a study published online April 18 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Ophthalmology patients interested in online notes

(HealthDay)—Ophthalmology patients are strongly in favor of accessing doctors' notes online, according to a study published online April 17 in Ophthalmology & Physiological Optics.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome risk up for some populations

(HealthDay)—Individuals in certain occupations and in certain populations may be more at risk of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, according to research published in the May issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.

FDA OKs vagus nerve stimulator to treat cluster headaches

(HealthDay)—A new noninvasive device, gammaCore, which works to reduce cluster headache pain by transmitting mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve through the skin on the neck, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Nurse-led intervention helps with diabetes control

(HealthDay)—Nurse-led interventions including education and cognitive behavioral therapy can improve hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) control, according to a study published online April 11 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Effects of alcoholism on the brain's reward system may be different in women than in men

A collaborative study between researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has found evidence implying that alcoholism may have different effects on the reward system in the brains of women than it does in men.

Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system

New research by scientists at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA overturns a long-standing paradigm about how axons—thread-like projections that connect cells in the nervous system—grow during embryonic development. The findings of the study, led by Samantha Butler, associate professor of neurobiology, could help scientists replicate or control the way axons grow, which may be applicable for diseases that affect the nervous system, such as diabetes, as well as injuries that sever nerves.

Giardiasis may be a disease of the ecology of the GI tract

Colonization by the human and animal parasite, Giardia, changed the species composition of the mouse microbiome in a way that might be harmful. The research is published in Infection and Immunity, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Germ in raw milk, poultry now tops food poisoning list

The U.S. government's latest report card on food poisoning suggests that a germ commonly linked to raw milk and poultry is surpassing salmonella at the top of the culprit list.

Medical history reveals multiple sclerosis begins to impact patients sooner

People with multiple sclerosis can show signs of something wrong five years before the onset of disease, much earlier than previously thought, according to a new analysis of health records from people with the condition.

Increased funding for geriatrics education essential, study says

Without a substantial increase in federal funding for geriatrics education and research we risk further decimating a workforce that is essential to training health professionals on the unique healthcare needs of older adults, say researchers reporting on the impact that Geriatrics Academic Career Awards (GACAs) have had on geriatrics academic careers, health professional training, and the care of older adults. In an article for the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, interprofessional experts looked at the impact of the GACA program, which served as a vital resource for more than 200 geriatrics clinicians and educators before it was eliminated as part of a consolidation of several geriatrics training programs in 2015.

Long-term antibiotic prophylaxis reduces mortality in people with advanced liver disease

A multicentre, randomised, controlled study presented today found that long-term oral antibiotic therapy with norfloxacin improved the prognosis of people with life-threatening advanced liver disease. The study, presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, showed that norfloxacin administration for 6 months was associated with a reduced risk of death and infection at 6 months in patients with Child-Pugh class C cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), a very severe and advanced stage of liver disease.

New EASL clinical practice guidelines on the management of hepatitis B virus

The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) today published their revised Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) on the management of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The CPGs, which will also be presented in a session at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, are designed to help physicians and healthcare providers optimise the management of patients with either acute or chronic HBV.

Investigational DAA treatment combination effective and improves patient-reported outcomes

Analysis of patient outcome data from the POLARIS-1, 2, 3 and 4 studies presented today demonstrate that patients with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and cirrhosis experience the greatest improvement of patient-reported outcome (PRO) scores when taking treatment with sofosbuvir (SOF) + velpatasvir (VEL), with or without voxilaprevir (VOX), an anti-HCV regimen that has been shown to be safe and effective against all HCV genotypes in different populations. The analysis of the four studies, presented at The International Liver Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, showed that achievement of sustained virologic response at 12 weeks (SVR12) was associated with significant improvements in PROs, which were more prominent in patients with cirrhosis than those without.

Stimulants may have detrimental effects on muscle control

Researchers have found that current or past use of methamphetamine or other stimulants may lead to psychomotor control deficits, or a reduced ability to control physical movement.

New insights may help protect against snake venom toxicity

New research may be useful for protecting against the toxic effects of snake venom.

3-D printing helps treat woman with spinal condition

Clinicians recently used 3D printing to help treat a woman with a degenerative condition of the spinal column.

Type of treatment for prostate cancer affects quality of life

Quality of life after prostate cancer treatment varies by the type of treatment patients receive, a new study reveals.

Inhaled steroids may increase pneumonia risk in people with asthma

Use of inhaled corticosteroids was linked with an increased risk of pneumonia in a study of individuals with asthma.

Health care leaders predict patients will lose under President Trump's health care plans

According to a newly released NEJM Catalyst Insights Report, health care executives and industry insiders expect patients - more than any other stakeholder - to be the big losers of any comprehensive health care plan from the Trump administration. Over 1,000 knowledgeable and influential executives, clinical leaders, and clinicians were surveyed ahead of last month's release and rejection of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Sexist and anti-gay jokes: It's all about men feeling threatened

Why do some men crack sexist and anti-gay jokes or find them funny, while others do not? According to Emma O'Connor of the Western Carolina University in the US, such disparaging jokes are a way for some men to reaffirm their shaky sense of self, especially when they feel their masculinity is being threatened. Interestingly, in such situations men do not revert to neutral jokes or ones containing anti-Muslim sentiments, comments O'Connor, lead author of a study in Springer's journal Sex Roles.

Study shows rapid growth in neuroscience research

A study of the impact and research topics of neuroscience papers from 2006-2015 has shown that the number of papers and highly-productive core neuroscience journals has grown, while psychology and behavioral sciences have become more popular research areas. China has emerged as a major neuroscience contributor, jumping from 11th place in 2006 to 2nd place in 2015 on the list of the most productive countries for neuroscience research.

Dutch bid to be new home for EU medicine agency

The Netherlands on Thursday made a formal bid to become the new home of the European Medicines Agency which will likely have to relocate from London after Britain leaves the EU.

AATS issues new consensus statement for treatment of empyema

Although treatable, empyema is a potentially deadly accumulation of pus around the lungs, occurring most commonly as a complication of pneumonia. To better manage this disease in the face of rising demand for treatment, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) Guidelines Committee called for the formation of the Empyema Management Guidelines Working Group. Comprised of experts from a variety of disciplines including thoracic surgery, pulmonary and critical care medicine, infectious diseases, and interventional radiology, the group was tasked with analyzing the latest literature about empyema and issuing new evidence-based clinical guidelines. The resulting Consensus Statement is published in the

Discrimination contributes to pediatric asthma rates in African American and Latino youth

Asthma is a debilitating, yet common childhood ailment. It is estimated that one in ten children in the United States suffer from asthma, but the condition disproportionately affects African American and Latino children. In a new study published in CHEST, investigators found that African American children who reported experiencing discrimination had almost twice the probability of having asthma than their peers who did not experience/report discrimination. Among African American children with asthma, discrimination was also associated with a greater probability of having poorly controlled asthma. For Mexican American children, discrimination and socioeconomic status (SES) act together with discrimination having an effect on asthma only among low-SES children.

Scientists find risk of lead exposure comes from both ends of firearms

Risks from firearms actually come from both ends of the barrel, according to an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis study.

Recruitment begins for world's first ovarian cancer vaccine trial

UConn Health is beginning to recruit patients for the world's first personalized genomics-driven ovarian cancer vaccine clinical trial. The goal: to prevent an often deadly relapse of the disease in women diagnosed at advanced stages.

New behavioral intervention targets Latino men at high risk of HIV infection

Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for two thirds of all new HIV infections in the United States, with 26 percent occurring in Latinos, according to 2014 data. If those rates continue, it is estimated that one in four Latino MSM may be diagnosed with HIV during his lifetime.

Study evaluates how well fellowship training prepares kidney specialists

A recent study examines how new kidney specialists feel their training has prepared them to care for patients. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), provide important information on how to improve the education of future nephrologists.

Niger declares hepatitis E epidemic in Diffa region

Niger's Ministry of Health has declared an epidemic of hepatitis E in the Diffa region, where 25 people have died among the 86 cases recorded since the beginning of April.

What to know about online dating sites

(HealthDay)—If you're looking for love, chances are you'll at least consider—if not turn to—online dating sites. But how can you make a successful romantic computer connection?

Medicaid expansion linked with increase in prescriptions filled for chronic conditions

During the first one and a half years of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of prescriptions filled by adults using Medicaid coverage increased by 19% in states that expanded Medicaid compared to states that did not, according to a new study from a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher and colleagues. The largest increases were for medications to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, and for birth control.

Biology news

Scientists uncover mechanism allowing bacteria to survive the human immune system

Researchers have uncovered molecular details of how pathogenic bacteria fight back against the human immune response to infection.

Fungi have enormous potential for new antibiotics

Fungi are a potential goldmine for the production of pharmaceuticals. This is shown by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, who have developed a method for finding new antibiotics from nature's own resources. The findings—which could prove very useful in the battle against antibiotic resistance—were recently published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

Bees face heavy pesticide peril from drawn-out sources

Honeybees - employed to pollinate crops during the blooming season - encounter danger due to lingering and wandering pesticides, according to an analysis of the bee's own food.

Genetic evidence suggests that early mammals had good night-time vision, suggests they were nocturnal

Our earliest mammalian ancestors likely skulked through the dark, using their powerful night-time vision to find food and avoid reptilian predators that hunted by day. This conclusion, published by Stanford researchers April 21 in Scientific Reports, used genetic data to support existing fossil evidence suggesting that our distant relatives may have adapted to life in the dark.

Bergamotene—alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta

The tobacco hawkmoth Manduca sexta is an important pollinator of the wild tobacco species Nicotiana attenuata; yet hungry larvae hatch from the eggs these moths lay on the leaves. An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, has described a gene in Nicotiana attenuata which enables the plant to solve the dilemma that arises when a pollinator is also a dangerous herbivore. The gene NaTPS38 regulates the production of the volatile compound (E)-α-bergamotene. At night, the tobacco flowers produce this odor which is attractive to adult tobacco hawkmoths, while during the day, the tobacco leaves emit the compound to lure predatory bugs to feed on Manduca sexta larvae and eggs.

In roundworms, fats tip the scales of fertility

Proper nutrition can unleash amazing powers, moms have always assured us, frequently citing Popeye the Sailor Man as evidence. Now, two University of Colorado Boulder scientists have confirmed just how potent some nutrients can be.

New tools visualize where bacterial species live in the gut, control their activity

Gut microbes play wide-ranging roles in health and disease, but there has been a lack of tools to probe the relationship between microbial activity and host physiology. Two independent studies in mice published April 20 in the journal Cell have overcome this hurdle, making it possible to simultaneously visualize multiple bacterial strains in the gut by making them express unique combinations of fluorescent proteins. This approach allowed the researchers to pinpoint the location of the bacteria in the gut based on the rainbow of colors they emitted. Additionally, these tools also allowed precise control of the activity of bacterial genes in real time and in specific locations.

Using venomous proteins to make insect milkshakes

Nematodes are microscopic worms that fall into an often ignored corner of the animal kingdom. While many of them are parasitic, meaning they live inside other organisms, they also help control diseases in humans and kill insects that damage agricultural crops.

Naked mole-rats turn into plants when oxygen is low

Deprived of oxygen, naked mole-rats can survive by metabolizing fructose just as plants do, researchers report this week in the journal Science.

Environmental 'memories' passed on for 14 generations

Scientists at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona and the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute and The Institute for Health Science Research Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP) in Badalona, Spain, have discovered that the impact of environmental change can be passed on in the genes of tiny nematode worms for at least 14 generations—the most that has ever been seen in animals. The findings will be published on Friday, April 21, in the journal Science.

Bugs for dinner? New Aussie food trend has legs (and wings)

With a twist of lime and a dash of salt Sydney chef Nowshad Alam Rasel flavours a hot pan full of crickets, tossing them over a flaming stove.

Radical collaboration protects Colombia's birds, coffee farmers

The traditional approach to environmental conservation goes something like this: A particular landscape or species, usually somewhere in the developing world, is deemed important and, therefore, countries are encouraged to rope off big chunks of land and keep people out.

Plant scientists identify aphid-destroying wasps in cup plants

Entomologists will find it easier to identify parasitic wasps and their host aphids, thanks to the work of entomologist Paul Johnson and forage breeder Arvid Boe. Both are professors in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science.

Declines in sharks drive 'fatter' fish

New research from The University of Western Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) suggests that reef fishes eat differently when sharks are around. To avoid unwanted attention from large predators, these fishes may consume less energy-rich food and as a result become 'leaner', leading to significant knock-on effects in the reef environment.

Arctic expedition to uncover the secrets of an ancient and mysterious shark

An international team of scientists, including a physiologist from The University of Manchester, will head to the largest island in the world later this month to investigate the Greenland shark – believed to be the longest-lived vertebrate animal.

Looping the genome—how cohesin does the trick

Twenty years ago, the protein complex cohesin was first described by researchers at the IMP. They found that its shape strikingly corresponds to its function: when a cell divides, the ring-shaped structure of cohesin keeps sister-chromatids tied together until they are ready to separate.

Recovering species must be celebrated or we risk reversing progress, says leading expert

A failure to celebrate conservation successes means we miss vital opportunities to convince the public of "real and practical solutions" they can engage with, says a leading conservationist.

These amazing creative animals show why humans are the most innovative species of all

Of all the many millions of species on the planet, only humans have sequenced genomes, invented smart phones and composed moonlight sonatas. To an evolutionary biologist like me, who studies the complex behaviour of animals, this is an uncomfortable observation that demands an evolutionary explanation.

Deadly amphibian plague can infect young zebrafish, scientists discover

The deadly chytrid fungus has for the first time been found to infect and kill species other than amphibians, giving clues on how it causes disease.

Open-source mungbean genetic information website enables better varieties

Scientists and mungbean growers around the world now have access to an open-source website containing the latest genetic information on the qualities of 560 accessions of mungbean.

Stink bug traps perform poorly during winter invasions

Score one for the brown marmorated stink bug, again.

Scientists develop a new method to understand what and where the DROSHA protein is cutting

Each cell of our body is the result of an orchestra of sophisticated mechanisms that control which genes are and are not expressed at any given time. Partly, this is possible thanks to the coordination of several types of RNA molecules, like microRNAs (miRNAs). Researchers at the Center for RNA Research, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), developed a new technique called fCLIP-seq that analyzes the miRNA fragments created by the RNA-cleaving protein DROSHA. Several processes are regulated by DROSHA, such as neuronal development, bone marrow formation, and inhibition of RNA-viruses. Therefore, it is expected that this study will open up new pathways to understand the role of DROSHA in such important biological phenomena. The full description of the findings is available in Molecular Cell.

Researchers uncover a mechanism of how bacteria with the same genotype can show a different phenotype

Bacterial populations pose an intriguing puzzle: in so-called isogenic populations, all bacteria have the same genes, but they still behave differently, for example grow at different speeds. Researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) now solved a part of this puzzle by studying how the bacterium Escherichia coli divides up a protein complex that detoxifies cells by pumping multiple drugs such as antibiotics out of the cell.

Busy harvest time in China's bamboo forests

It's springtime in the bamboo-forested hills surrounding eastern China's Lin'an city, and that means busy mornings of harvesting, packing and selling tonnes of the edible bamboo shoots that the region is famous for.

Endangered Galapagos tortoises saved from suspected traffickers

Nearly three dozen Galapagos tortoises considered vulnerable to extinction will return to Ecuador after being rescued in Peru from alleged traffickers, the Galapagos National Park said.

It's an orca! Last killer whale is born at a SeaWorld park

The last orca has been born in captivity at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio just over a year after the theme park decided to stop breeding orcas following animal rights protests and declining ticket sales.

Antarctica's biodiversity is under threat from tourism, transnational pollution and more

A unique international study has debunked the popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in much better ecological shape than the rest of the world.

Activists sue to force Canada to protect caribou

A wildlife group filed a lawsuit against Canada's environment ministry on Thursday over its alleged failure to protect critical caribou habitats.

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