Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Apr 11

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 11, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Astronomers discover new substellar companion using microlensing

Possible signs of life found ten kilometers below seafloor

New research suggests we also dream during non-REM sleep cycles

New version of Vantablack coating even blacker than original

US takes down huge botnet as Spain arrests notorious Russian hacker (Update)

How criminals can steal your PIN by tracking the motion of your phone

In harm's way: Wolves may not risk 'prey switching' ecologists say

Detecting Alzheimer's disease earlier using ... Greebles?

Researchers trace origin of blood-brain barrier 'sentry cells'

Cadillac to make Super Cruise hands-free driving tech available in 2018 Cadillac CT6

ATLAS Experiment searches for new symmetries of nature

Accurate DNA misspelling correction method

Solar storms can drain electrical charge above Earth

How two telomere proteins interact with each other and the functional effects of cancer-associated mutations

Researchers untangle the molecular mechanisms connecting plant stress and growth

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers discover new substellar companion using microlensing

(Phys.org)—Using a gravitational microlensing technique, astronomers have detected a substellar companion of a host star in the system designated MOA-2012-BLG-006L. The new object is assumed to be a high-mass giant planet or a low-mass brown dwarf. The findings were presented in a paper published April 4 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Solar storms can drain electrical charge above Earth

New research on solar storms finds that they not only can cause regions of excessive electrical charge in the upper atmosphere above Earth's poles, they also can do the exact opposite: cause regions that are nearly depleted of electrically charged particles. The finding adds to our knowledge of how solar storms affect Earth and could possibly lead to improved radio communication and navigation systems for the Arctic.

'Cold' great spot discovered on Jupiter

A second Great Spot has been discovered on Jupiter by University of Leicester astronomers, rivalling the scale of the planet's famous Great Red Spot and created by the powerful energies exerted by the great planet's polar aurorae.

Black holes theorized in the 18th century

Black holes are not made up of matter, although they have a large mass. This explains why it has not yet been possible to observe them directly, but only via the effect of their gravity on the surroundings. They distort space and time and have a really irresistible attraction. It is hard to believe that the idea behind such exotic objects is already more than 230 years old.

Scientists measure brightness of the universe with NASA's New Horizons spacecraft

Images taken by NASA's New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto, and now the Kuiper Belt, have given scientists an unexpected tool for measuring the brightness of all the galaxies in the universe, said a Rochester Institute of Technology researcher in a paper published this week in Nature Communications.

Image: Gaia satellite sky scan

This may look like a brightly decorated Easter egg wrapping, but it actually represents how ESA's Gaia satellite scanned the sky during its first 14 months of science operations, between July 2014 and September 2015.

Nap time for New Horizons: Spacecraft enters hibernation

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has eased into a long summer's nap, entering a hibernation phase on April 7 that will last until early September.

Technology news

US takes down huge botnet as Spain arrests notorious Russian hacker (Update)

US authorities moved Monday to take down a global computer botnet behind the massive theft of personal data and unwanted spam emails, as Spain arrested the notorious Russian hacker who operated it.

How criminals can steal your PIN by tracking the motion of your phone

Hackers are able to decipher PINs and passwords just from the way we tilt our phone when we are typing in the information.

Cadillac to make Super Cruise hands-free driving tech available in 2018 Cadillac CT6

(Tech Xplore)—Did you really think General Motors would sit back and let Tesla hog the driving system spotlight for long? We didn't think so. Super Cruise is coming out in the 2018 Cadillac CT6 later this year. Andrew Hawkins, transportation reporter at The Verge, pointed out that this will be the first car from GM to include Super Cruise.

So you think you can secure your mobile phone with a fingerprint?

No two people are believed to have identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan State University College of Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints are common enough that the fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable than previously thought.

US regulators aim to keep the ban on in-flight phone calls

Federal regulators aim to maintain the ban on in-flight cellular calls.

Researchers link robots to surveillance teams

If you were monitoring a security camera and saw someone set down a backpack and walk away, you might pay special attention – especially if you had been alerted to watch that particular person. According to Cornell researchers, this might be a job robots could do better than humans, by communicating at the speed of light and sharing images.

Nuclear power is set to get a lot safer (and cheaper) – here's why

High-profile disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima have given nuclear power a bad name. Despite 60 years of nuclear generation without major accidents in many countries including Britain and France, many people have serious concerns about the safety of nuclear energy and the impact of the radioactive waste it generates. The very high capital cost of building a plant is also seen as a significant barrier, particularly given recent low oil prices. Plans to build a new British plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset are facing fresh opposition after it emerged the estimated lifetime costs had risen to £37 billion.

Qualcomm fires back at Apple with countersuit

Qualcomm has moved on the offensive in its legal battle with Apple with a countersuit claiming the iPhone maker breached agreements and encouraged regulatory attacks worldwide on the US computer chipmaker.

Google refutes charges, says there is no gender pay gap

Google said it's "taken aback " by the government's claim that it doesn't compensate women fairly.

Canadian judge denies bail to alleged Yahoo hacker (Update)

A judge denied bail Tuesday to a Canadian man accused in a massive hack of Yahoo emails, arguing that he would likely flee if released from jail.

California's solar energy set power supply record in March

A new estimate from the U.S. government shows that California met its goal to produce about half the state's electricity from renewable sources for three hours on March 11.

Taking the heat: Navy tests new submarine steam suits

Machinist's Mate 1st Class Nathan Lindner was testing the newest suit designed to protect Sailors from steam leaks on nuclear-powered submarines. He pulled on thick gloves and boots, and donned a face shield for a self-contained breathing apparatus. Then he slid into the sleek, silver prototype steam suit, hoisted an air tank onto his back and connected a regulator to the breathing apparatus. Total time: a little more than two minutes.

Toshiba's survival in doubt amid Westinghouse troubles

Toshiba Corp., whose U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, raised doubts Tuesday about its ability to survive as a company.

Gadgets: Temperature's rising and these devices are ready to play

Jabra's Sport Pulse special edition Bluetooth 4.0 headphones are do-it-all when it comes to earbud features.

Move over, Siri and Alexa, and make room for Bixby.

That's the name of Samsung's virtual assistant, a key feature of the new Galaxy S8 phone. The Korean company has big plans for the voice-based technology, seeing it as a fundamental way its customers will interact with a wide range of its devices in the future.

Slumping PC market shows a glimmer of hope in first quarter

The long-suffering personal computer market may be finally recovering from the damage inflicted by the shift to smartphones and tablets.

Taking the web to children in India's remote salt desert

Sheltered beneath a canvas sheet to escape the blistering desert sun, miles from any roads or power lines, a group of Indian children huddle around a tablet and experience the internet for the very first time.

Improving traffic safety with a crowdsourced traffic violation reporting app

KAIST researchers revealed that crowdsourced traffic violation reporting with smartphone-based continuous video capturing can dramatically change the current practice of policing activities on the road and will significantly improve traffic safety.

Shares in chipmaker Dialog plunge over Apple contract doubts

Shares in British-headquartered Dialog Semiconductor have plunged after an analyst downgrade that cited uncertainty over the future of its relationship with Apple.

Robocops unite! Those robocalls are out of hand

Are robocalls driving you mad? Last year, U.S. consumers received about 2.3 billion automated, unwanted phone calls every month, according to YouMail National Robocall Index. That's 51,523 calls every minute. Isn't it time you did something about it?

Medicine & Health news

New research suggests we also dream during non-REM sleep cycles

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from institutions in the U.S., Italy and Switzerland has found evidence that suggests people have dreams during both REM and non-REM sleep cycles. In their paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the team describes experiments the conducted with volunteers wearing EEG caps and what was revealed.

Detecting Alzheimer's disease earlier using ... Greebles?

Unique graphic characters called Greebles may prove to be valuable tools in detecting signs of Alzheimer's disease decades before symptoms become apparent.

Researchers trace origin of blood-brain barrier 'sentry cells'

National Institutes of Health researchers studying zebrafish have determined that a population of cells that protect the brain against diseases and harmful substances are not immune cells, as had previously been thought, but instead likely arise from the lining of the circulatory system.

How two telomere proteins interact with each other and the functional effects of cancer-associated mutations

Scientists at The Wistar Institute have unveiled part of the protein complex that protects telomeres—the ends of our chromosomes. The study, published online in Nature Communications, explains how a group of genetic mutations associated with this protein complex contributes to various cancers.

Conversion of brain cells offers hope for Parkinson's patients

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have made significant progress in the search for new treatments for Parkinson's disease. By manipulating the gene expression of non-neuronal cells in the brain, they were able to produce new dopamine neurons. The study, performed on mice and human cells, is published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Biotechnology.

Stress flips cocaine relapse to 'on'; research switches it back to 'off'

A heartbreaking phenomenon of addiction is that just a brief stressful episode can trigger relapse. In a detailed new cocaine addiction study conducted in rat models, which closely parallel human addictive behavior, scientists have identified what appears to be taking place in the mammalian brain to make that happen and uncovered the molecular biology that allows them to switch the stress-induced relapse back off.

Research identifies brain cells that keep mice active

Scientists have discovered a type of brain cell that prevents mice from being overly immobile. The research provides insight into the brain circuits underlying what motivates us to be physically active.

Genetic study reveals how hepatitis C interacts with humans

A big data study of hepatitis C and more than 500 patients with the virus has opened the way for a better understanding of how the virus interacts with its human hosts.

Wiring of the 'little brain' linked to multiple forms of mental illness

A Duke University study is the first to link specific differences in brain structure to what is common across many types of mental illness.

Success of sensory cell regeneration raises hope for hearing restoration

In an apparent first, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators have used genetic manipulation to regenerate auditory hair cells in adult mice. The research marks a possible advance in treatment of hearing loss in humans. The study appears today in the journal Cell Reports.

Mouse experiment sheds light on the dietary benefits of extra virgin olive oil

Experiments carried out in mice have revealed that a compound commonly found in extra-virgin olive oil can reverse some of the negative effects of a high-fat diet. This compound, called hydroxytyrosol, was able to reverse markers of insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice fed on a high-fat diet. The results are published this week in the open access journal Lipids in Health and Disease.

Parent-mediated therapy may help babies at risk of developing autism

The earliest autism intervention study in the world that uses video to provide feedback to parents of babies at family risk of autism, has indicated a reduction in the severity of emerging signs of autism. This study, published today in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, is the first of its kind to work with babies in their first year of life who have a sibling with autism and are therefore at higher risk of developing the condition.

Some strategies to limit sugary drinks may backfire

In response to policy efforts aimed at limiting individuals' intake of sugary drinks, businesses could enact various strategies that would allow them to comply with the limits while preserving business and consumer choice. New research shows that one of these strategies - offering smaller cup sizes with free refills - can actually increase individual consumption of sugary drinks. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Swiss test wireless cameras to monitor newborns' vital signs

Swiss researchers said Monday they have developed a wireless camera system to monitor vital signs in premature babies, a move that could replace uncomfortable and highly inaccurate skin sensors.

PID1 gene enhances effectiveness of chemotherapy on brain cancer cells

Investigators at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have found that the gene PID1 enhances killing of medulloblastoma and glioblastoma cells. Medulloblastoma is the most commonly occurring malignant primary brain tumor in children; glioblastoma is the most commonly occurring malignant primary brain tumor in adults. Results of this study will be published in Scientific Reports on April 11.

Researchers find overprescribing of oral corticosteroids in children with asthma

While a short course of oral corticosteroid medication is recommended for the treatment of moderate to severe asthma flare-ups, it is neither recommended nor effective in treating those with minimal to mild asthma exacerbations. In a new study published today in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found substantial overprescribing of oral corticosteroids in children with asthma.

Scientists make strides explaining how we discern language

Perhaps you have been thinking of taking a foreign language course and are undecided whether to take an evening or morning class. Adding to your indecision: You are concerned about your ability to understand someone speaking another language.

Conscious sedation is a safe alternative to general anesthesia for heart valve procedure

UCLA scientists have found that conscious sedation—a type of anesthesia in which patients remain awake but are sleepy and pain-free—is a safe and viable option to general anesthesia for people undergoing a minimally invasive heart procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

New model maps likelihood of Ebola spillovers

Ecologists at the University of Georgia have developed a model that maps the likelihood of Ebola virus "spillovers"-when the virus jumps from its long-term host to humans or animals such as great apes-across Africa on a month-by-month basis.

Scientists develop new antibody for bowel disease

UConn molecular and cell biologist Michael Lynes and an international team of researchers have been awarded a patent for a novel antibody therapeutic that may prove to be safer in the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) than other antibodies currently available.

Voluntary value-based health programs dramatically reduce hospital readmissions

When it comes to programs that improve quality and cost in hospitals new research from the University of Michigan finds a carrot is indeed better than a stick.

The health benefits of dark chocolate

It's no secret that Australians love chocolate, with studies having shown an average of almost 5kg eaten per person per year.

Social media tools can reinforce stigma and stereotypes

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed new software to analyze social media comments, and used this tool in a recent study to better understand attitudes that can cause emotional pain, stigmatize people and reinforce stereotypes.

Ultra runners not your average human being

Researchers at Monash University seeking to discover why ultra-runners can endure prolonged and extreme physical exertion have found a vital clue – these athletes may experience less pain than the general population.

Yes, car seats protect children. But you need the right restraint, fitted properly

Road transport accidents remain a leading cause of death, with between one and two in every 100,000 Australian children dying on our roads each year.

Stress can increase empathy

Acute psychosocial stress leads to increased empathy and prosocial behavior. An international team of researchers led by Claus Lamm from the University of Vienna investigated the effects of stress on neural mechanisms and tested the relationship between empathy and prosocial behavior in a new experiment. The study has just been published in the journal Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Tobacco tax hikes are great, as long as you're not a poor smoker

Tobacco tax increases in Australia that will see a packet of cigarettes costing A$40 may discourage smoking, but will end up having unintended consequences for poorer smokers, new research shows.

Taking a combination of painkillers and gastric protection damages the intestines

Patients with inflammatory diseases are often prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They are also often prescribed a proton pump inhibitor to protect their stomach. In a joint study, clinical pharmacologist Markus Zeitlinger and gastroenterologist Werner Dolak from MedUni Vienna showed that this combination of medication can result in inflammation in the small intestine. However, if an additional antibiotic (rifaximin) is prescribed, the intestine remains protected. The study has now been published in the leading journal Gastroenterology.

Religiosity does not increase the risk of anorexia nervosa

Religiosity has been associated with various forms of fasting and self-starvation for thousands of years. Many believe that extreme religiosity can be a risk factor of anorexia nervosa. However, a recent population study conducted in Finland showed that religiosity does not increase the risk of anorexia nervosa.

Higher tobacco taxes needed to reduce smoking rates in South Asia, new analysis says

Higher taxes on tobacco could reduce consumption in South Asia by at least one-third and avoid 35-45 million premature deaths, concludes an analysis published today in The British Medical Journal.

Prostate cancer tests are now OK with US panel, with caveats

An influential U.S. government advisory panel is dropping its opposition to routine prostate cancer screening in favor of letting men decide for themselves after talking with their doctor.

In Bangladesh, people are eating more fish but getting less nutrition from it

People in Bangladesh are now eating 30 percent more fish than they did 20 years ago, but they are getting a smaller amount of important nutrients from it, a new study shows.

Obesity is not a character flaw, expert says

Is obesity the result of a poor self-control? Most people in the United States believe it is, according to a survey by the National Opinions Research Center: Three-quarters of the people surveyed attributed obesity to a lack of willpower.

How genetic mutations affect development more complex than previously thought

A large-scale study, published in Wellcome Open Research and which passed peer review today, has shown that inactivating the same gene in mouse embryos that are virtually genetically identical can result in a wide range of different physical features or abnormalities. This suggests that the relationship between gene mutation and consequence is more complex than previously suspected.

The key to eating five fruit and veg a day might just be to make them more tasty

Pea tart might be the key to winning hearts and minds in the war against poor nutrition. We are deluged with advice and guidance about what we should eat and in what volumes, but still adults and children alike struggle to introduce enough fruit and vegetables into their diet.

Intestinal bacteria may protect against diabetes

A high concentration of indolepropionic acid in the serum protects against type 2 diabetes, shows a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Indolepropionic acid is a metabolite produced by intestinal bacteria, and its production is boosted by a fibre-rich diet. According to the researchers, the discovery provides additional insight into the role of intestinal bacteria in the interplay between diet, metabolism and health.

Cross-cultural study strengthens link between media violence and aggressive behavior

New research offers compelling evidence that media violence affects aggressive behavior. This first-of-its-kind study, led by Craig Anderson, a Distinguished Professor of psychology at Iowa State University, confirms six decades of research showing the effect is the same, regardless of culture.

New study offers hope for more effective treatment of leukemia

The discovery of a protein signature that is highly predictive of leukemia could lead to novel treatments of the leading childhood cancer, according to new study showing that competition among certain proteins causes an imbalance that leads to leukemia.

New method could deliver DNA-based vaccines in pill form

A microscopic corn-and-shrimp cocktail could eventually make DNA-based vaccinations and cancer-treating gene therapies an easier pill to swallow, according to new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Anthrax spores use RNA coat to mislead immune system

Researchers from Harvard Medical School have discovered that the body's immune system initially detects the presence of anthrax spores by recognizing RNA molecules that coat the spores' surface. But this prompts an unfavorable immune response that hinders the body's fight against anthrax once the spores have germinated into live bacteria, according to the study "TLR sensing of bacterial spore-associated RNA triggers host immune responses with detrimental effects," which will be published April 11 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Researchers identify new target for abnormal blood vessel growth in the eyes

A team led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers has identified a novel therapeutic target for retinal neovascularization, or abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina, a hallmark of advanced diabetic eye disease (proliferative diabetic retinopathy). According to a report published online today in Diabetes, the transcription factor RUNX1 was found in abnormal retinal blood vessels, and by inhibiting RUNX1 with a small molecule drug, the researchers achieved a 50 percent reduction of retinopathy in preclinical models. These findings pave the way for new therapies that address diabetic retinopathy and other conditions involving abnormal vessel growth within the retina.

Researchers unravel how stevia controls blood sugar levels

What makes stevia taste so extremely sweet? And how does the sweetener keep our blood sugar level under control? Researchers at KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) have discovered that stevia stimulates a protein that is essential for our perception of taste and is involved in the release of insulin after a meal. These results create new possibilities for the treatment of diabetes.

One in three teens with autism spectrum disorder receives driver's license

A new study from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) finds one in three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) acquires an intermediate driver's license, and the majority does so in their 17th year. The vast majority of teens with ASD who receive a learner's permit goes on to receive their license within two years after becoming eligible, suggesting that families are making the decision of whether their children with ASD will learn to drive and pursue a license before their teens ever get behind the wheel. The study was published today in the journal, Autism.

Findings support role of vascular disease in development of Alzheimer's disease

Among adults who entered a study more than 25 years ago, an increasing number of midlife vascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking, were associated with elevated levels of brain amyloid (protein fragments linked to Alzheimer disease) later in life, according to a study published by JAMA.

Chiropractors not magicians when it comes to chronic back pain

(HealthDay)—Chiropractors can help ease some cases of low back pain, though their treatments may be no better than taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, a new analysis finds.

Potential number of organ donors after euthanasia in Belgium

An estimated 10 percent of all patients undergoing euthanasia in Belgium could potentially donate at least one organ, according to a study published by JAMA.

Heart surgeons actively involved with TAVR patients every step of the way

Cardiothoracic surgeons are fully invested in the patient-centered, team-based model of care, guiding patients through the entire transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) experience, from the decision to undergo TAVR to discharge from the hospital and return to normal activities, according to a new survey published online in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Maternal stress during pregnancy could influence the biological clock for ageing

The stress that some mothers experience during their pregnancies could influence the genetic makeup their babies are born with and, eventually, lead to premature biological ageing and associated age-related diseases. This is according to lead authors Tabea Send and Stephanie Witt of the Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg in Germany. The study is published in in Springer Nature's journal Neuropsychopharmacology and focuses on a person's DNA sequences called telomeres, which are essential for cellular replication.

CDC/WHO Ebola guidelines could put sewer workers at risk

Research from Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh suggests that guidelines for safe disposal of liquid waste from patients being treated for the Ebola virus might not go far enough to protect water treatment workers from being exposed. In a study recently published in the journal Water Environment Research, a group of environmental engineering researchers reports that sewer workers downstream of hospitals and treatment centers could contract Ebola via inhalation—a risk that is not currently accounted for in the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization Ebola response protocol.

Researchers identify mechanism that regulates acoustic habituation

Most people will startle when they hear an unexpected loud sound. The second time they hear the noise, they'll startle significantly less; by the third time, they'll barely startle at all. This ability is called acoustic habituation, and new Western-led research has identified the underlying molecular mechanism that controls this capability. The research opens the door to treatments, especially for people who have autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia and who experience disruptions in this ability.

First systemic evidence for safety of tPA in stroke patients with sickle cell disease

Adult patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) who experience a stroke caused by a clot (i.e., ischemic strokes or IS) can be treated safely with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) if they qualify, report investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and elsewhere in the March 2017 issue of Stroke.

Study explores adherence and tolerability to Alzheimer's medications

Researchers from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute have performed the first study conducted in the United States under real-world conditions comparing patient adherence and tolerability to a class of drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors. Although there are no known cures for Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, drugs in this class may delay or slow the progression of symptoms in some individuals.

Study links 26 novel genes to intellectual disability

Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Queen's University have identified 26 new genes linked to intellectual disability. Currently most patients with intellectual disability receive no molecular diagnosis, which significantly affects their health and shortens their lifespan.

3-D printing helps surgeons sharpen their craft

Cher Zhao recently had the rare opportunity to practice skills belonging to the most advanced surgeons: reconstructive cartilage grafting.

When children see war as better than peace

For most people, the end of a war offers relief, hope, and an end to violence. This may not be the case for children born of wartime rape, however, who often endure continued brutality in the post-war period.

New potential treatment for aggressive brain cancer in children

Chicago...Using state-of-the-art gene editing technology, scientists from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago have discovered a promising target to treat atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) - a highly aggressive and therapy resistant brain tumor that mostly occurs in infants.

Study tests new way to reduce 'vaccine hesitancy'

Results are promising for a new approach to reducing "vaccine hesitancy," which happens when parents' concerns about vaccine safety lead them to delay or skip their children's immunizations, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in Health Promotion Practice.

Study finds genetic basis for drug response in childhood absence epilepsy

Consider two children who have childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), the most common form of pediatric epilepsy. They both take the same drug—one child sees an improvement in their seizures, but the other does not. A new study in the Annals of Neurology identified the genes that may underlie this difference in treatment outcomes, suggesting there may be potential for using a precision medicine approach to help predict which drugs will be most effective to help children with CAE. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), both part of the National Institutes of Health.

Team examines use of antiparasitic drug as new treatment for brain tumors

Marc Symons, PhD, professor in The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research's Karches Center for Oncology Research, is examining if a common medication administered to treat pinworms, could replace the current treatment used for certain brain cancers. These findings, which are published today in the Feinstein Institute Press's peer-reviewed, open-access journal Molecular Medicine, could help to extend the lives of patients suffering from one of the most common types of brain tumors—low-grade glioma.

Diversity within Latino population may require more nuanced public health approaches

Not all Latinos face the same health challenges, suggesting that public health approaches may need to be tailored based on needs of the diverse groups within the Latino population, new research from Oregon State University indicates.

Eyewitness confidence can predict accuracy of identifications, researchers find

Many individuals have been falsely accused of a crime based, at least in part, on confident eyewitness identifications, a fact that has bred distrust of eyewitness confidence in the U.S. legal system. But a new report challenges the perception that eyewitness memory is inherently fallible, finding that eyewitness confidence can reliably indicate the accuracy of an identification made under certain, "pristine" conditions.

New study quadruples known genetic risk factors for Fuchs dystrophy

Researchers discovered three novel genetic mutations associated with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, the most common corneal disorder requiring transplantation.

Premature cell differentiation leads to disorders in pancreatic development

Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have uncovered a mechanism through which a mutation in the STAT3 gene leads to a disorder in the development of the pancreas and to infant diabetes.

How doctors can bridge the cultural divide to reach Latina breast cancer patients

A new study shows language barriers and cultural differences disadvantage some patients, but it records no significant inequities in how doctors provide information.

What to know about new advice on prostate cancer test

Should middle-aged men get routine blood tests for prostate cancer? An influential health panel that once said no now says maybe. It says certain men may benefit as long as they understand the potential harms.

Silk clothing did not improve eczema in children

No significant differences were observed in eczema severity for children with moderate to severe eczema who wore silk garments compared with those who wore their usual clothing, according to a randomized controlled study published in PLOS Medicine by Kim Thomas from University of Nottingham, UK, and colleagues.

Fresh fruit consumption linked to lower risk of diabetes and diabetic complications

In a research article published in PLOS Medicine, Huaidong Du of the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom and colleagues report that greater consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a lower incidence of diabetes, as well as reduced occurrence of complications in people with diabetes, in a Chinese population.

Baby can be allowed to die against parents' wishes: judge

British doctors can allow a baby to "die with dignity" despite his parents' wish to take him to the US for treatment, a high court judge ruled on Tuesday.

New research shows role-playing disability promotes distress, discomfort and disinterest

Professionals in the fields of education and rehabilitation psychology have long used disability simulations to try to promote understanding and improve attitudes about persons with disabilities. To simulate blindness, for instance, participants might complete tasks while wearing blindfolds or goggles. Others use earplugs to mimic deafness. Others may navigate indoor and outdoor areas in a wheelchair. The idea is to boost empathy by giving people perspective on what it is like to have a disability.

Nurse! what's taking so long?

(HealthDay)—When a bedside alarm goes off in a child's hospital room, anxious parents expect nurses to respond pronto.

Questionnaire-based approach valid for identifying frailty

(HealthDay)—A questionnaire-based approach seems to be valid for identifying adults in the intensive care unit with a frailty phenotype, according to a study published online March 30 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Overall favorable outcomes for twin pregnancies in moms 45-plus

(HealthDay)—Twin pregnancies in older women (at least 45 years of age) overall have favorable outcomes but are associated with high rates of some complications, according to a study published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Novel laser device effective for nasal telangiectasia treatment

(HealthDay)—The TRASER (Total Reflection Amplification of Spontaneous Emission Radiation) device is a safe and effective option for treatment of nasal telangiectasias, according to a small study published online April 6 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

Asymptomatic C. difficile ups risk for other hospital patients

(HealthDay)—Asymptomatic carriers of toxigenic Clostridium difficile in hospitals increase infection risk in other patients, according to a study published in the April issue of Gastroenterology.

Metformin use does not increase prostate cancer survival

(HealthDay)—Metformin use in combination with docetaxel chemotherapy does not significantly improve survival in patients with diabetes and metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, according to a study published in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.

Epilepsy breakthrough: Implant helps stop brain seizures

Imagine a seismograph - the instrument that measures and records earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - for your brain. Except this one has a wireless link to a device implanted in your head that stops epileptic seizures at their source, halting the sudden and violent attacks before they happen.

These are the most (and least) stressed states in the US

Stressed out on the job? Me too.

AAOS releases new clinical practice guideline for osteoarthritis of the hip

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recently released a new clinical practice guideline (CPG) on the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip that strongly recommends the use of pre-surgical treatments to ease pain and improve mobility, including corticosteroid injections, physical therapy and non-narcotic medications. The new guidelines do not recommend the use of hyaluronic acid or glucosamine sulfate to minimize osteoarthritis symptoms, due to a lack of evidence supporting the efficacy of these treatments. In addition, there are no clinically significant differences in patient-oriented outcomes related to hip surgery approach—either anterior or posterior used during following total hip replacement (THR) surgery.

An innovative model for the study of vision

A new study shows for the first time that the progressive processing of the visual signal underlying human object recognition is similarly implemented in the rat brain, thus extending the range of experimental techniques, from genetics to molecular biology and electrophysiology, that can be applied to the study of vision.

Could mothers' bacteria protect c-section babies from obesity risk?

A team of New Zealand researchers will investigate whether bacteria from mothers' vaginas could protect babies born by caesarean section from a greater risk of obesity.

Point/counterpoint debate takes aim at the opioid epidemic

Two experts with opposing views squared off on the hotly debated topic of how best to control the exploding opioid epidemic in the U.S.- with increasing regulation of physician prescribing practices or by better educating patients and doctors. The fascinating and informative discussion is published in a Point/Counterpoint article in the peer-reviewed, open access journal Healthcare Transformation.

Metabolic mechanism identified for R-LA induced cell death in liver cancer cells

A new study that measured metabolite levels over time in starved rat liver cancer cells showed that treatment with a form of alpha-lipoic acid (LA) inhibited glucose uptake and glycolysis, and led to decreased cellular glucose production from non-carbohydrate sources, which may help explain how the naturally occurring R enantiomeric form of LA (R-LA) promotes the death of hepatoma cells.

Spanish academics charged for selling 'fake' cancer drug

Two Spanish university professors and three other suspects have been charged over the alleged sale of a "fake" cancer drug that raked in more than 600,000 euros, police said Tuesday.

Cellulitis can be life-threatening, so prompt treatment is key

Dear Mayo Clinic: What causes cellulitis, and how is it treated?

Biology news

In harm's way: Wolves may not risk 'prey switching' ecologists say

Ecologists have long observed predators pursue disproportionately more of a plentiful prey species, and less of scarce prey, but change to the latter if it becomes relatively more abundant. Known as "prey switching," this phenomenon is ecologically important, because it helps to stabilize wildlife populations. But what if the more abundant prey is more dangerous?

Accurate DNA misspelling correction method

Researchers at the Institute of Basic Science (IBS) proved the accuracy of a recently developed gene editing method. This works as "DNA scissors" designed to identify and substitute just one nucleotide among the 3 billion. "It is the first time that the accuracy of this base editor has been verified at the whole genome level," explains KIM Jin-Soo, leading author of the study. Published in Nature Biotechnology, this validation will help to expand the use of this method in agriculture, livestock, and gene therapy.

Researchers untangle the molecular mechanisms connecting plant stress and growth

Iowa State University researchers for the first time have mapped the various molecular components that govern how environmentally stressed plants interrupt their normal growth pathways by tapping into an important energy recycling function.

Scientists discover how crucial DNA sequences endure

As cells divide, some of their DNA is rearranged, spurring the emergence of new traits that can dictate whether a species survives or flounders. But some stretches of DNA appear to be so crucial to the basic functioning of the cell that they must be preserved. So what keeps these sections intact from one generation to the next?

Humans and sponges share gene regulation mechanisms

Humans have a lot in common with the humble sea sponge, according to research that changes the way we think about animal evolution.

Study reveals plants 'listen' to find sources of water

A study led by The University of Western Australia has found plants have far more complex and developed senses than we thought with the ability to detect and respond to sounds to find water, and ultimately survive.

Scientists discover pathway to malaria treatment

Medical researchers have discovered an effective new way to combat an infectious disease killer.

Viral fossils reveal how our ancestors may have eliminated an ancient infection

Scientists have uncovered how our ancestors may have wiped out an ancient retrovirus around 11 million years ago.

Microbiologists discover possible new strategy to fight oral thrush

An antimicrobial protein caused a dramatic reduction in the creamy white lesions associated with oral thrush in a preclinical study, report microbiologists with McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Environmental DNA helps protect great crested newts

Research by the University of Kent has revealed how tiny amounts of DNA (eDNA) released into water by great crested newts can be used to monitor the species. This can bring benefits for its conservation, and help protect great crested newts from major construction projects.

Antarctic penguin colony repeatedly decimated by volcanic eruptions

One of the largest colonies of gentoo penguins in Antarctica was decimated by volcanic eruptions several times during the last 7,000 years according to a new study. An international team of researchers, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), studied ancient penguin guano and found the colony came close to extinction several times due to ash fall from the nearby Deception Island volcano. Their results are published this week in Nature Communications.

What's a knot—and what's not—in genomic mapping

While DNA sequencing provides precise, nucleotide-by-nucleotide genomic information, genome mapping provides a bigger-picture perspective of sequenced DNA that can provide valuable structural information. Like mapping roads to depict a city's structural information without needing to detail each home or business, genome mapping can be a powerful tool for understanding variations of large pieces of rearranged or altered DNA.

Distantly related fish find same evolutionary solution to dark water

Changes in a single color-vision gene demonstrate convergent evolutionary adaptations in widely separated species and across vastly different time scales, according to a study publishing on April 11 in the open access journal PLOS Biology by David Marques of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and colleagues. The study, which combined genetic analysis with a 19-year-long selection experiment, supports the idea that the mechanisms of adaptive evolution may be more predictable than previously suspected.

Eat wild venison to support native woodland birds, says ecologist

Wild deer in Britain should be hunted for venison to drastically reduce their populations and support the re-emergence of our native woodland birds, according to an academic at The University of Nottingham.

Legionella bacteria's escape route revealed

The precise mechanism used by Legionella bacteria to escape the body's defences has been unpicked in intricate detail and is described for the first time in the journal eLife.

Whale cams reveal secret Antarctic feeding habits

Whale cams have revealed the secret feeding habits of the giant mammals in frozen Antarctica, details on their social lives, and even how they must blow hard to clear sea ice to breathe.

Key mechanism in the plant defense against fungal infections

Each year, fungal infections destroy at least 125 million tons of the world's five most important crops—rice, wheat, maize, soybeans and potatoes—a quantity that could feed 600 million people. Fungi are not only a problem in the field, but also produce large losses in the post-harvest supply chain stage. Also, it should be noted that some fungi produce mycotoxins, substances capable of causing disease and death in both humans and animals. Farmers use fungicides to treat fungal infections, but these are not always 100 percent effective and, moreover, consumers increasingly demand pesticide-free products.

Nine burning questions about CRISPR genome editing answered

In recent years, science and the media have been buzzing with the term CRISPR. From speculation around reviving the woolly mammoth to promises of distant cures for cancer, the unproven potential for this genome editing tool has been stretched far and wide.

Is a grain-free diet healthier for my dogs and cats?

Grain-free diets are one of the largest growing segments of the pet food market. More and more pet owners are choosing these diets, which are billed as more natural and less likely to cause health problems and allergies. It all sounds great—except that those claims are not true.

New protein regulated by cellular starvation

Researchers at the Center of Genomic Integrity, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), have found out an unexpected role for a protein involved in the DNA repair mechanism. The protein SHPRH not only helps to fix mistakes generated during DNA replication, but also contributes to the generation of new ribosomes, the cell's "protein factories." The newly discovered task depends on the nutritional state of the cell and might be associated with aging and anemia. This research has been recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Birth control for rats? Don't laugh, it's a reality, and cities want it

One person died and two others fell ill last February in New York City after contracting Leptospirosis, a disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira. The bacteria are transmitted to humans through cattle, pigs, horses, dogs and, as in this case, rats. Left untreated, Leptospira can cause kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Targeting invasive ant species in the Pacific

Ants in New Zealand might be annoying, but in the Pacific, invasive ant species are tiny terrors that are destroying food crops, blinding pets and livestock, and forcing people off their land.

Marine ecologists discover and name the first endemic tree-climbing crab

The Mangrove Ecology and Evolution Lab, led by Dr Stefano Cannicci at the Swire Institute of Marine Sciences (SWIMS) and School of Biological Sciences, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), has recently discovered, described and named a new species of mangrove-climbing micro-crab from Hong Kong, Haberma tingkok, and published the description in ZooKeys, a peer-reviewed and open access international journal dedicated to animal taxonomy.

Relocation of proteins with a new nanobody tool

Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have developed a new method by which proteins can be transported to a new location in a cell. The novel tool enables scientists to study the function of proteins depending on their position by using nanobodies. The tool can be used for a wide range of proteins and in various areas of developmental biology. The scientific journal eLife has published the results.

Team tackles mysterious disease afflicting wild and captive snakes

Biologists and veterinarians across the central and eastern United States are calling on researchers at the University of Illinois to help them identify, understand and potentially treat snake fungal disease, a baffling affliction affecting more than a dozen species of wild and captive snakes in at least 15 states.

Assessing noise in Southern California whale habitat

A new study assessing the underwater soundscape off Southern California found that blue, fin and humpback whales experience a range of acoustic environments, including noise from shipping traffic as well as quieter areas within a national marine sanctuary. The study appeared in a special issue of Endangered Species Research focusing on ocean noise.

Platypuses decapitated in 'despicable' Australia killings

Two platypuses have been found decapitated in Australia, with wildlife officials Tuesday saying they were deliberately killed in "despicable" acts of cruelty.

New book examines the genomics revolution

In 2000, the world learned that scientists had completed an initial analysis of the sequence of the human genome – the totality of our inherited DNA. This development marked the "end of the beginning" of the rise of genomics, a field that has transformed the life sciences and promises to usher in big changes in medicine, agriculture and industry.

Study clarifies how many dolphins there are in Hong Kong waters

The latest study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) delivered the first-ever comprehensive population assessment of the Chinese white dolphins that inhabit Hong Kong waters, and what they found differs from the common public belief. In fact "it differs very substantially from the estimates reported in Hong Kong for the past many years," said Dr. Leszek Karczmarski, Associate Professor at the Swire Institute of Marine Science and School of Biological Sciences, HKU, who has instigated and supervised this study. "Contrary to statements frequently repeated by various Hong Kong media, there is no such thing as 'Hong Kong dolphin population' " he added.

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