Thursday, April 6, 2017

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Apr 6

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 6, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A flexible faster swimming manta-ray like robot

Study identifies 'night owl' gene variant

Crystalline material could replace silicon to double efficiency of solar cells

Ceres' temporary atmosphere linked to solar activity

Coming to a lab bench near you: Femtosecond X-ray spectroscopy

Study finds ancient Earth's fingerprints in young volcanic rocks

Neuroscientists identify brain circuit necessary for memory formation

The monster galaxy that died too quickly

Chile desert combed for clues to life on Mars

For horseshoe bats, wiggling ears and nose makes biosonar more informative

Scientists show how species diversity can pay dividends

GERDA experiment ready to discover rarest radioactive decay

Paywall browser extension lets users read some paywalled papers for free

Experiments test how easy life itself might be

Experiments validate models predicting failure modes in miniaturized lightweight structures

Astronomy & Space news

Ceres' temporary atmosphere linked to solar activity

Scientists have long thought that Ceres may have a very weak, transient atmosphere, but mysteries lingered about its origin and why it's not always present. Now, researchers suggest that this temporary atmosphere appears to be related to the behavior of the sun, rather than Ceres' proximity to the sun. The study was conducted by scientists from NASA's Dawn mission and others who previously identified water vapor at Ceres using other observatories.

The monster galaxy that died too quickly

An international team of astronomers has, for the first time, spotted a massive, inactive galaxy from a time when the Universe was only 1.65 billion years old.

Chile desert combed for clues to life on Mars

Chile's Atacama desert may seem to contain little besides red-grey rocks and sand—but scientists are busy searching here for clues to life in a place it much resembles: Mars.

Craters suggest impacting body that may have broken into three before it hit Mars

At first glance this scene may seem nothing out of the ordinary, but the large elongated crater marks the imprint of an impacting body that may have broken into three before it hit Mars.

Atmosphere around super-Earth detected

Astronomers have detected an atmosphere around the super-Earth GJ 1132b. This marks the first detection of an atmosphere around a low-mass super-Earth, in terms of radius and mass the most Earth-like planet around which an atmosphere has yet been detected. Thus, this is a significant step on the path towards the detection of life on an exoplanet. The team, which includes researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, used the 2.2-m ESO/MPG telescope in Chile to take images of the planet's host star, GJ 1132, and measured the slight decrease in brightness as the planet and its atmosphere absorbed some of the starlight while passing directly in front of their host star.

Hubble takes close-up portrait of Jupiter

During April 2017 Jupiter is in opposition: it is at its closest to Earth and the hemisphere facing Earth is fully illuminated by the Sun. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope used this special configuration to capture an image of what is by far the largest planet in the Solar System. This image adds to many others made in the past, and together they allow astronomers to study changes in the atmosphere of the gas giant.

OCTOCAM imager looks toward a new era of astronomical discovery

Gemini Observatory announces the development of a major new facility-class broadband optical and near-infrared imager and spectrograph named OCTOCAM.

Image: Spotting orbital debris from the ground

On 30 March, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson ventured outside the International Space Station on a seven-hour spacewalk. The duo's work included installing four thermal shields on the US Tranquility module, protecting a docking port. 

Famed astronaut John Glenn laid to rest at Arlington

The flag-draped casket of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, was covered in plastic to protect it from a steady rain as it was carried on a horse-drawn caisson to his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery. Later, his widow, Annie, gave a kiss on the cheek to the Marine who presented her with the folded-up flag.

Bezos sells $1 bn in Amazon stock yearly to pay for rocket firm

Billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos said he is selling $1 billion in stock of his retail giant Amazon each year to finance his rocket company, Blue Origin, which aims to carry tourists to space by 2018.

Family gathers for private send-off of astronaut John Glenn

Family and invited guests are gathering at Arlington National Cemetery to say their final goodbyes to astronaut and Sen. John Glenn.

Image: Taking it to the Supermax

What better way to test supersonic parachutes than strapping one to a rocket? One experiment is going to do just that on Thursday's Maxus-9 suborbital rocket.

Technology news

A flexible faster swimming manta-ray like robot

(—A team of researchers at Zhejiang University in China has created a small, soft-bodied robot able to swim twice as fast as others of its kind. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how they came up with a unique way to power the robot, how well it works, and likely applications for it.

Facebook launches digital assistant 'M' in US

Facebook on Thursday launched its digital assistant named "M" for US users of its Messenger application, ramping up the social network's efforts in artificial intelligence.

Picking up the pieces: Unveiling RightPick

(Tech Xplore)—RightHand Robotics has introduced RightPick. This is a combined hardware and software solution that handles the key task of picking individual items, or "piece-picking."

Australia takes Apple to court over 'refusing service' claims

Apple was Thursday taken to court by Australia's consumer watchdog for violating laws by allegedly refusing to look at or repair some iPads and iPhones previously serviced by a third party.

Smallest Dutch supercomputer

A team of Dutch scientists has built a supercomputer the size of four pizza boxes. The Little Green Machine II has the computing power of 10,000 PCs and will be used by researchers in oceanography, computer science, artificial intelligence, financial modeling and astronomy. The computer is based at Leiden University (the Netherlands) and developed with help from IBM.

Getting from greenhouse gas to microbial biomass

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are emitted into our atmosphere as waste products of current energy production activities. But imagine turning this waste carbon into biomass - a reliable, economical, and safe source of feedstocks for biofuels and other bioproducts.

Driverless cars might be safer but they'll still keep the courts busy

If driverless cars live up to the safety hype, they could result in a significant reduction in the number of court cases dealing with human-related traffic offences.

Workplace diversity will soon include artificial intelligence

A tsunami of change is already arriving. Artificial intelligence is now capable of doing desk jobs that were previously safe from automation. The social and economic effects remain to be seen, but is AI what we think it is?

How telepresence robots can help kids stay in school

As a child growing up in California, Veronica Newhart was absent from school for weeks at a time due to a congenital heart condition. The loneliness and isolation she felt so many years ago are similar to what children with chronic illnesses feel today, but Newhart says it doesn't have to be that way.

Report: Record new renewable power capacity added worldwide at lower cost

As the cost of clean technology continues to fall, the world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, at an investment level 23 per cent lower than the previous year, according to new research published today by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School—UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

'Twitter Lite' aims at emerging markets

Twitter on Thursday unveiled a low-data usage version of the social network, which aims to bring in users in emerging markets and areas with slow or expensive mobile networks.

Cable giant Comcast offers cellular plans on Verizon network

The cable giant Comcast will start selling cellphone plans called Xfinity Mobile in the coming months, using a network it's leasing from Verizon.

Facebook launches resource to help spot misleading news

Facebook is launching a resource to help you spot false news and misleading information that spreads on its service.

Taser renames itself as it promotes body cameras

Taser International was officially re-branded as Axon Thursday as the company broadens its focus from its controversial stun guns to police body cameras.

Germany gets criticized by web giants over encryption plans

Germany faces criticism from some of the web's biggest names over plans to weaken encrypted communication and fine social media sites for hate speech.

Twitter rejects US effort to unmask anti-Trump users

Twitter filed suit Thursday against the US government, asking a court to back its refusal to hand over the identities of users claiming to be dissenting federal employees.

YouTube channels must win audiences before winning ads

YouTube on Thursday stopped placing ads on channels with fewer than 10,000 views in a move aimed at preventing people from making money off offensive or pirated videos.

Medicine & Health news

Study identifies 'night owl' gene variant

If you've been a night owl all your life and mornings are your nemesis, you may be able to blame a gene mutation for all those late nights.

Neuroscientists identify brain circuit necessary for memory formation

When we visit a friend or go to the beach, our brain stores a short-term memory of the experience in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. Those memories are later "consolidated"—that is, transferred to another part of the brain for longer-term storage.

Tumor necrosis factor found to directly regulate blood pressure

Investigators at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have discovered a surprising new role for tumor necrosis factor (TNF): namely, that it is a major regulator of small blood vessel function, the key determinant of blood pressure. The study is published online today in Nature Communications.

Study helps explain varying outcomes for cancer, Down Syndrome

Aneuploidy is a condition in which cells contain an abnormal number of chromosomes, and is known to be the cause of many types of cancer and genetic disorders, including Down Syndrome. The condition is also the leading cause of miscarriage.

Researchers determine structure of tuberculosis drug target

Rutgers University scientists have determined the three-dimensional structure of the target of the first-line anti-tuberculosis drug rifampin. They have also discovered a new class of potential anti-tuberculosis drugs that kill rifampin-resistant and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria.

Financial math models may help build a better HIV vaccine

What do financial mathematics (stock price prediction) and particle diffusion in liquids have to do with building a better HIV vaccine? According to University of Iowa microbiologist Hillel Haim, you can apply concepts from the first two to predict the evolution of HIV surface proteins; information that can then be used to design better vaccine candidates against the virus.

Seemingly innocuous virus can trigger celiac disease

Infection with reovirus, a common but otherwise harmless virus, can trigger the immune system response to gluten that leads to celiac disease, according to new research from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Turning skin cells into blood vessel cells while keeping them young

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a molecular switch that converts skin cells into cells that make up blood vessels, which could ultimately be used to repair damaged vessels in patients with heart disease or to engineer new vasculature in the lab. The technique, which boosts levels of an enzyme that keeps cells young, may also circumvent the usual aging that cells undergo during the culturing process. Their findings are reported in the journal Circulation.

Homing system delivers drugs to specific neurons

Biomedical engineers have developed a way to deliver drugs to specific types of neurons in the brain, providing an unprecedented ability to study neurological diseases while also promising a more targeted way to treat them.

Study reveals how learning in the present shapes future learning

Neurons in the prefrontal cortex "teach" neurons in the hippocampus to "learn" rules that distinguish memory-based predictions in otherwise identical situations, suggesting that learning in the present helps guide learning in the future, according to research conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published April 5 in the journal Neuron.

Researchers develop novel flu test to speed up respiratory treatment

Developed by Dr Tristan Clark, an associate professor in infectious diseases at the University of Southampton and colleagues at the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, the 'point-of-care' testing strategy can be carried out in hospital emergency departments and acute medical units.

New study sheds light on 'lung sparing effect'

A new study suggests that in cases of severe malnutrition, the body may prioritise lung development at the expense of other less vital growth.

Living in an area with high air pollution may impact women's breast density

A study of nearly 280,000 women in the United States has found that living in areas with a high level of fine particles from air pollution may increase a woman's chance of having dense breasts - a well-established risk factor for breast cancer - according to a new study published in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research.

High fat, high sugar diet during pregnancy 'programs' for health complications

Eating a high fat and high sugar diet when pregnant leads to metabolic impairments in both the mother and her unborn child, which may "program" them for potential health complications later in life, researchers have shown.

An unbalanced microbiome on the face may be key to acne development

Today at the Microbiology Society's Annual Conference, researchers will show that the overall balance of the bacteria on a person's skin, rather than the presence or absence of a particular bacterial strain, appears to be an important factor for acne development and skin health.

Further reductions in radiotherapy to young children with brain tumors less successful

A team of investigators has determined that young children participating in a clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of reduced radiotherapy did worse when there were deviations from the treatment protocol. Results of the study will be available online in advance of publication by Pediatric Blood & Cancer on April 4.

Hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery systems for type 1 diabetes come of age

At 19 months old, Jamie Kurtzig was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. For the next 10 years, her parents would wake up every three hours during the night to prick their daughter's finger so they could check her blood glucose level. If her blood glucose was too low, they gave her food to avoid seizures or a loss of consciousness. If it was too high, they gave her an insulin injection to bring the level down to a normal range.

Study examines using lubricant made with seaweed extracts to protect against HPV infection

A new study led by Rutgers clinician and researcher Mark Einstein is examining a revolutionary way to block transmission of human papillomavirus (HPV), the organism that causes 99 percent of cervical cancers, using a topical gel applied during sexual activity. The product is a personal lubricant made with a formulation of seaweed extracts commonly referred to as carrageenans.

The ethics of sexual assault research

Thirty-nine Australian universities will now individually release the findings of a national research project on sexual assault and harassment on campus.

Individuals who solely murder children differ from other murderers

The neuropsychological profiles of murderers who solely kill children differ significantly from the profiles of those who kill both children and adults in the same homicidal act, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Quickly assessing brain bleeding in head injuries using new device

In a clinical trial conducted among adults in 11 hospitals, researchers have shown that a hand-held EEG device approved in 2016 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that is commercially available can quickly and with 97 percent accuracy rule out whether a person with a head injury likely has brain bleeding and needs further evaluation and treatment.

Attention to common risk factors can impact disability rates

Reducing or eliminating five common risk factors could decrease the prevalence of disability across the United States, according to research led by the University of Michigan.

Study finds four genes linked to cystic diseases of the liver and kidney

Yale researchers are studying kidney and liver diseases to determine which genes are involved in the formation of cysts.

Video game promotes better attention skills in some children with sensory processing dysfunction

A video game under development as a medical device boosts attention in some children with sensory processing dysfunction, or SPD, a condition that can make the sound of a vacuum, or contact with a clothing tag intolerable for young sufferers.

Fatty liver diagnosis improved with magnetic resonance

Taking tissue samples from the liver to diagnose fatty liver can be replaced in most cases by a painless magnetic resonance investigation. This is the conclusion of a new study from Linköping University in Sweden, published in the scientific journal Gastroenterology. The authors propose that the current value considered to be a normal amount of fat in the liver should be lowered.

Report examines pretrial detention in New York City

As counties and cities around the country look for ways to reduce the levels of pretrial detention, a new report from the Misdemeanor Justice Project (MJP) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice examines trends in custody status including bail amount set, length of stay, and discharge status for individuals admitted to the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) from 2000 to 2015. According to the study, the average pretrial length of stay increased significantly over a fifteen year period, 2000 to 2015, even as the admissions for pretrial detention decreased by almost half.

What is the blood-brain barrier and how can we overcome it?

The brain is precious, and evolution has gone to great lengths to protect it from damage. The most obvious is our 7mm thick skull, but the brain is also surrounded by protective fluid (cerebrospinal – of the brain and spine) and a protective membrane called the meninges. Both provide further defence against physical injury.

Hearing and touch mediate sensations via osseointegrated prostheses

A new study has found that people with a prosthesis attached directly to their skeleton can hear by means of vibrations in their implant. This sound transmission through bones is an important part of osseoperception – sensory awareness of the patient's surroundings provided by their prosthesis. The discovery sheds new light on the tactile and auditory perception of humans and can be used to develop improved prostheses.

Research highlights need for responsible development of ketamine for severe depression

A new paper published in The Lancet Psychiatry sets out principles for responsibly testing innovative treatments for severe depression, based on treating more than 100 patients with approximately 1,000 infusions of ketamine over six years in Oxford.

Sexual problems may be affected by evidence-based psychotherapy for PTSD

The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has published the research findings of a University of Kentucky researcher in its latest issue of the Clinician's Trauma Update. Assistant Professor of Psychology Christal Badour's research investigates associations among symptoms of PTSD, depression and problems with sexual arousal and desire, particularly in male veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Tailored intervention in acute and chronic inflammation

Signal molecules called chemokines often work in tandem to recruit specific sets of immune cells to sites of tissue damage. A systematic analysis of their interactions by researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich pinpoints potential targets for new therapies.

We asked children why they don't get enough exercise—here's what they said

Getting children off the sofa, away from the TV and outside can be a challenging task for any parent, particularly in the age of increasingly sedentary and screen-focused lives.

What hospital catering could learn from the prison system

Prisoners eat better than hospital patients in Britain. Our research found that prisoners consume around three times more calories than patients and their diet is more in line with government nutritional recommendations.

Falls now the most common type of major trauma in England and Wales report reveals

Falls from a standing height are now the most common cause of major trauma, the first national report on major injury in older people has revealed.

Solving medical 'cold cases' through genetics

Researchers have identified the genetic mutation responsible for one patient's serious health problems, finally solving a medical mystery that has endured for over 30 years. Thanks to this discovery, the researcher developed a therapy that could also help a lot of people who have problems related to the immune system, whether they are genetic or due to a transplant or an illness.

Expanding waistlines and metabolic syndrome: Researchers warn of new 'silent killer'

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University make the case that metabolic syndrome—a cluster of three of more risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes—is the new "silent killer," analogous to hypertension in the 1970s. As it turns out, the "love handle" can be fatal.

Scientists show how cells react to injury from open-heart surgery

Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute investigators have learned how cardiac muscle cells react to a certain type of injury that can be caused by open-heart surgery. The findings point to a new potential way to help these hearts recover more completely.

Cognitive decline after surgery tied to brain's own immune cells

After undergoing surgery, elderly patients often experience cloudy thinking that can last for weeks or even months. At one time researchers thought this cognitive decline might be caused by anesthesia, but mounting evidence suggests that heightened inflammation in the brain following surgery is the more likely cause.

Are your muscles genetically prepared to run a marathon?

For a few years, running has been fashionable. But there is a great difference between the physical demands of running a few kilometres and doing a marathon. Now Spanish researchers have concluded that genetics plays an essential role in success when completing this long distance.

Urine test may be able to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea in children with Down syndrome

A study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators raises the possibility of identifying children with Down syndrome who may also have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) without the need for expensive and inconvenient sleep studies. In their report that has been published online in the journal Sleep Medicine, the research team describes identifying urinary biomarkers that appear to distinguish between patients with Down syndrome with OSA and those without OSA. They also found overall differences in biomarkers between all study participants with Down syndrome and a control group of typically developing young people.

Cancer commandeers immature immune cells to aid its successful spread

More typically, these immature immune cells might help us fight cancer, but scientists have now shown cancer can commandeer the cells to help it spread.

Ebola: New trial launched in west Africa to evaluate three vaccination strategies

The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), in collaboration with health authorities in Guinea and Liberia, are launching a large clinical trial of candidate Ebola vaccines under the aegis of the PREVAC international consortium (Partnership for Research on Ebola VACcination).

Kids' hands may be a source of significant nicotine exposure

Children may carry significant levels of nicotine on their hands just by coming into contact with items or surfaces contaminated with tobacco smoke residues, even when no one is actively smoking around them at the time.

Researchers improve technology to save sperm stem cells

Washington State University researchers have found a promising way to preserve sperm stem cells so boys could undergo cancer treatment without risking their fertility.

Stem cell drug screen yields potential alternative to statins

Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have found that a class of heart failure drugs might decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in patients who do not respond to statins. In a study appearing in the April 6, 2017 issue of Cell Stem Cell, cardiac glycosides reduced levels of a precursor of LDL in liver-like cells, and patients taking cardiac glycosides for heart failure had low LDL.

Stem cell consortium tackles complex genetic diseases

Much of stem cell research over the past decade has focused on Mendelian disorders—those caused by a single gene, such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's disease. But as genome-wide association studies continue to reveal, most conditions are more complex, arising from dozens or hundreds of genetic mutations working together to cause disease. To understand how someone can inherit a higher risk for hypertension or diabetes, it's necessary to study how these mutations contribute on a cellular level.

Clinical trial shows benefit of yoga for side effects of prostate cancer treatment

Men who attended a structured yoga class twice a week during prostate cancer radiation treatment reported less fatigue and better sexual and urinary function than those who didn't, according to a clinical trial led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. It is the first randomized trial to look at the effect of twice-weekly yoga on the side-effects and quality of life issues caused by prostate cancer treatment. The results published this week in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics.

'Right-to-try' laws: A patient's best last chance or false hope?

(HealthDay)—The Trump administration may have failed in its initial effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but some activists hope White House support will prove valuable in changing another piece of federal health care policy.

Four in ten US adults under 60 carry HPV

(HealthDay)—Nearly half of American men and women under 60 are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), putting them at risk for certain cancers, federal health officials reported Thursday.

For some, too much sweat takes emotional toll

(HealthDay)—Don't sweat the small stuff. That's sound advice for most—but not if you're one of the 7 million Americans diagnosed with hyperhidrosis.

Who really needs blood pressure, cholesterol meds?

(HealthDay)—High blood pressure and high cholesterol are known risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, but it's unclear who needs medication to help manage these conditions, a new report suggests.

Denying payment reduces rate of early elective deliveries

(HealthDay)—Implementation of a program denying payment to providers for unnecessary early elective delivery is associated with a reduction in the rate of early elective deliveries, according to a study published in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Higher risk of cardiovascular events with weight fluctuations

(HealthDay)—Fluctuation in body weight is associated with higher mortality and a higher rate of cardiovascular events—independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors—in patients with coronary artery disease, according to a study published in the April 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Stem cell-sheet transplantation feasible in cardiomyopathy

(HealthDay)—Stem cell-sheet transplantation shows promise in the treatment of cardiomyopathy, according to research published online April 5 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Attitudes vary across groups regarding meal choice in restaurants

Previous analyses of menu offerings at chain restaurants identified most meals marketed for children as poor in quality. Likewise, the majority of kids' meals at quick- and full-service restaurants in the United States fail to meet recommendations for calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Differences in opinions between parents and children and executives of restaurant chains represent a challenge in terms of promoting healthy eating habits. In order to better understand those opinions, researchers surveyed parents and children dining at participating restaurants, as well as executives of restaurant chains, to obtain more information on healthy children's meals.

Married couples with common ancestry also share similar genes

When two married people appear similar, it isn't necessarily a coincidence, but may be related to the tendency to marry someone with the same ancestry; a trend that can have important effects on the genetics of different populations, report Ronnie Sebro of the University of Pennsylvania, and senior authors Josée Dupuis from the Boston University School of Public Health and Neil Risch from the University of California, San Francisco, in a study published April 6th, 2017 in PLOS Genetics.

Lactate from human cells may trigger key step in invasion by meningitis-causing bacteria

Lactate produced in the upper throat might trigger meningitis-causing bacterial cells to detach from tiny colonies and spread within the body, according to a new study published in PLOS Pathogens.

Low ammonium levels in urine may indicate serious risks for kidney disease patients

New research indicates that measuring ammonium excretion in the urine may be help identify patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who face serious health risks. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Patients on HeartMate 3 have fewer blood-related events than those on HeartMate II

A six-month analysis of the pivotal MOMENTUM 3 trial found that patients implanted with the new HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist system (LVAS) had fewer adverse clotting and bleeding events than patients implanted with the control, HeartMate II LVAS.

Cardiologist warns against dissolvable stents in NEJM

In a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) editorial published last week, Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., provides expert commentary on bioresorbable stents, an alternative to the traditional stents used in patients with cardiac conditions. In his editorial, Dr. Mukherjee encourages cardiologists to continue using conventional drug-eluting stents, instead of the newer bioresorbable option.

Pet exposure may reduce allergy and obesity

If you need a reason to become a dog lover, how about their ability to help protect kids from allergies and obesity?

Hospitals put your data at risk, study finds

Lying in a hospital bed, the last thing you should have to worry about is a personal data breach. Yet recent research co-authored by a Michigan State University business scholar found nearly 1,800 occurrences of large data breaches in patient information over a seven-year period.

Researchers create new diagnostic tool for detecting breast cancer

Simon Fraser University researchers have created a patent-pending, optical diagnostic probe capable of safely and non-invasively detecting early stage breast cancer.

FDA approves first direct-to-consumer genetic risk tests

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the first direct-to-consumer genetic health risk tests.

Vir­tual real­ity to pre­vent cog­nit­ive de­cline

Rowing a boat in serene lake surroundings and spotting familiar animal species roaming on the shores might be something more and more elderly people get to experience in the future – with the help of virtual reality.

Hawaii life expectancies examined in research study

The life expectancy at birth in Hawaiʻi in 2010 was 82.4 years, 3.7 years higher than the national average for the total U.S. population (78.7 years), according to a study by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers Yan Yan Wu, Kathryn Braun and Lynne Wilkens. Hawaiʻi 2010 life expectancy was also higher than for U.S.-dwelling Caucasians (78.9) and African Americans (75.1).

Experts welcome stroke classification as neurological disease

The medical rationale for stroke being a neurological condition has always been compelling. We therefore welcome the latest decision by the Department of Statistics at the WHO to move the thematic block of cerebrovascular diseases from the circulatory diseases chapter to diseases of the nervous system," noted Prof Raad Shakir, head of the WHO Neurology Topic Advisory Group and President of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN).

Keys to attracting scientific talent in the health sciences

Social capabilities (working conditions and other benefits) can be decisive in the return of scientific talent. This is one of the main conclusions of a study carried out by a team of researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Universidad a Distancia de Madrid (UDIMA). This research was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Male cancer awareness

Cancer of the prostate is the most common cancer in men. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age and is quite rare in men under 50. One in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Prostate cancer can develop slowly, so there might be no sign of symptoms for years. It happens when the prostate has become enlarged enough to affect the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis).

Are men with a family history of prostate cancer eligible for active surveillance?

Active surveillance—careful monitoring to determine if or when a cancer warrants treatment—is an increasingly prevalent choice for prostate cancer, but it's unclear if the strategy is appropriate for men with a family history of prostate cancer. A recent analysis of the medical literature concluded that a family history of prostate cancer does not appear to increase a patient's risk of having more aggressive prostate cancer.

Postpartum hospital admissions for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities

A new study has shown that women with intellectual and developmental disabilities had nearly twice the risk of a hospital or emergency department visit with the first few weeks after giving birth compared to women without these disabilities. The researchers reported their results and how medical versus psychiatric reasons contributed to the differences in the need for acute postpartum care in Journal of Women's Health.

Hospital care standards released for delivering high-quality surgical care to older adults

The first comprehensive set of hospital-level surgical care standards for older adults has been released and published on the Annals of Surgery website in advance of print publication. The report, "Hospital Standards to Promote Optimal Surgical Care of the Older Adult," is the culmination of a two-year evaluation, performed as a modified RAND-UCLA Appropriateness Methodology by the Coalition of Quality in Geriatric Surgery (CQGS), a multidisciplinary coalition representing the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and 58 diverse stakeholder organizations committed to improving the quality of geriatric surgical care with support from the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Report evaluates results of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act is the longest-running physician-aided dying program in the United States.

What is threshold for lips perceived as artificial, unnatural-appearing?

Recognizing the perceptual threshold for when lips appear unnatural is important to avoid an undesirable outcome in lip augmentation.

SNMMI publishes appropriate use criteria for bone scintigraphy in prostate and breast cancer

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) has published appropriate use criteria (AUC) for bone scintigraphy (scans to identify bone metastases) in patients with prostate or breast cancer. This is the first in a series of new AUC developed by SNMMI in its role as a qualified provider-led entity (PLE) under the Medicare Appropriate Use Criteria program for advanced diagnostic imaging.

New Mexico is 1st state to boost access to overdose antidote

New Mexico is the first state to require all local and state law enforcement agencies to provide officers with antidote kits as the state works to curb deaths from opioid and heroin overdoses.

Endocrine Society issues statement to improve detection of curable forms of hypertension

A new Scientific Statement issued by the Endocrine Society advises healthcare providers on ways to spot hormonal causes of high blood pressure that can be cured with surgery or treated effectively with medication.

Biology news

Synthetic biologists engineer inflammation-sensing gut bacteria

Synthetic biologists at Rice University have engineered gut bacteria capable of sensing colitis, an inflammation of the colon, in mice. The research points the way to new experiments for studying how gut bacteria and human hosts interact at a molecular level and could eventually lead to orally ingestible bacteria for monitoring gut health and disease.

Honey bees have sharper eyesight than we thought

Research conducted at the University of Adelaide has discovered that bees have much better vision than was previously known, offering new insights into the lives of honey bees, and new opportunities for translating this knowledge into fields such as robot vision.

Nuclear architecture emerges at the awakening of the genome

The DNA molecules in each one of the cells in a person's body, if laid end to end, would measure approximately two metres in length. Remarkably, however, cells are able to fold and compact their genetic material in the confined space of the nucleus, which spans only a few micrometres. Importantly, the compaction and arrangement of the genome inside the nucleus needs to be achieved in an ordered fashion that still allows cells to access the genetic information appropriately, for example to produce messenger RNAs for specific proteins, or to replicate the genetic material prior to cell division. When mutations occur that disrupt features associated with the spatial organisation of the genome, this leads to developmental disorders and cancer.

New tool illuminates cell signaling pathways key to disease

In a major advance for fundamental biological research, UC San Francisco scientists have developed a tool capable of illuminating previously inscrutable cellular signaling networks that play a wide variety of roles in human biology and disease. In particular, the technique opens up exciting new avenues for understanding and treating psychiatric disease, the researchers say.

How octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish defy genetics' 'central dogma'

Octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish often do not follow the genetic instructions in their DNA to the letter. Instead, they use enzymes to pluck out specific adenosine RNA bases (some of As, out of the As, Ts, Gs, and Us of RNA) that codes for proteins and replace them with a different base, called Inosine. This process—called "RNA editing"—is rarely used to recode proteins in most animals, but octopuses and their kin edit RNA base pairs in over half of their transcribed genes. When researchers did experiments to quantify and characterize the extent of this RNA editing across cephalopod species, they found evidence that this genetic strategy has profoundly constrained evolution of the cephalopod genome. The study appears in Cell on April 6.

Biologists discover timesharing strategy in bacteria

Timesharing, researchers have found, isn't only for vacation properties.

Novel group of giant viruses discovered

Viruses have a ubiquitous presence in the world. Their population is estimated to be 1031, 10 times greater than the nonillion (1030) of microbes on the planet—a figure that surpasses the number of stars in the Milky Way. Giant viruses are characterized by disproportionately large genomes and virions that house the viruses' genetic material. They can encode several genes potentially involved in protein biosynthesis, a unique feature which has led to diverging hypotheses about the origins of these viruses. But after discovering a novel group of giant viruses with a more complete set of translation machinery genes than any other virus known to date, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, believe that this group (dubbed "Klosneuviruses") significantly increases our understanding of viral evolution.

Scientists expand ability of stem cells to regrow any tissue type

When scientists talk about laboratory stem cells being totipotent or pluripotent, they mean that the cells have the potential, like an embryo, to develop into any type of tissue in the body. What totipotent stem cells can do that pluripotent ones can't do, however, is develop into tissues that support the embryo, like the placenta. These are called extra-embryonic tissues, and are vital in development and healthy growth.

Scientists identify cause of the 'sea fangle' phenomenon

Scientists say that the phenomenon of sea fans washing up on the coastline of the South West will continue unless more is done to prevent commercial and domestic plastic pollution from entering into the marine environment.

Controlling pest fungi in an environmentally friendly way

The St. Gallen-based Empa biotech spin-off, MycoSolutions AG, has developed a new fungal product that improves the soil and controls pest fungi in an environmentally friendly way. Wooden poles remain in use much longer, leading to cost savings of millions for operators. A "proof of concept" is now available for the integrated wood preservation method.

When peaceful coexistence suddenly turns into competition

Biologists agree that climate change reduces biological diversity. The specific processes that ultimately cause species to go extinct have, however, been little studied so far. Scientists at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Leipzig University have now discovered that as temperatures rise, the complex relationships between species are changing. Prey species not only become stronger competitors for scarce resources, but also more preyed upon. These findings have now been published in the renowned journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

How the first blood cells form during human development

Scientists at Lund University in Sweden have developed a new understanding of how the first blood cells form during human development as they transition from endothelial cells to form blood cells of different types.

Making spines from sea water

Some sea creatures cover themselves with hard shells and spines, while vertebrates build skeletons out of the same minerals. How do these animals get the calcium they need to build these strong mineral structures? Professors Lia Addadi and Steve Weiner of the Weizmann Institute of Science's Structural Biology Department asked this question about sea urchins, which need to extract quite a few calcium ions from sea water to build their spines. The answer surprised them, and it could change the way scientists think about the process of biomineralization.

To save honey bees, human behavior must change

In the search for answers to the complex health problems and colony losses experienced by honey bees in recent years, it may be time for professionals and hobbyists in the beekeeping industry to look in the mirror.

In four related papers, researchers describe new and improved tools for stem cell research

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), derived from human adult cells and capable of being differentiated to become a variety of cell types, are a powerful tool for studying everything from molecular processes underlying human diseases to elusive genetic variants associated with human phenotypes.

Feeding fat to fungi: Evidence for lipid transfer in arbuscular mycorrhiza

Nearly all organisms live in symbiosis with a vast, diverse array of microbes. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is the interaction between plants and a group of fungi called Glomeromycota. Most land plants, including several crop species, are able to interact with these fungi, which have been long known to positively affect plant growth and nutrition. The fungi live in plant roots where they elongate their tendrils (called hypha) into the surrounding soil, like an extension of the root system, to better access and transfer nutrients to the plant. In return the plant serves the fungus food made during photosynthesis.

Next Generation TimeTree: An expanded history of life on Earth at your fingertips

Temple University's scientists Sudhir Kumar and S. Blair Hedges, of the Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (iGEM) and Center for Biodiversity, have had a longstanding goal to develop easy-to-use tools to make evolution more accessible for everyone—-from leading scientists to students in elementary school.

'BioBlitz' scientists to survey California desert valley

Scientists will fan out across a California desert valley this weekend to take an inventory of everything there that flies, hops, runs, swims or grows in the dirt.

Bees and environmental stressors—canaries in the coal mine

Bee populations are declining worldwide, raising concerns of a "pollination crisis." Scientists have identified links to many human-induced environmental stressors, including pesticides, pollutants, parasites, diseases, and malnutrition.

Double standards in animal ethics—why is a lab mouse better protected than a cow?

The British public are renowned for their love of animals. Historically, the UK has been a hotbed of heated debate about animal cruelty and the use of animals in research. A number of well-established, UK-based organisations such as NAVS and the RSPCA have been highly effective in shining a light on animal cruelty and have garnered public support for better regulation of animal research. For example, the iconic picture of "smoking beagles" appalled readers of The Sunday People when it was published in 1975 and had a dramatic effect on the way in which animal experimentation was perceived.

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