Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Apr 18

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 18, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Massive exoplanet discovered using gravitational microlensing method

LHCb finds new hints of possible deviations from the Standard Model

Hydrogen halo lifts the veil of our galactic home

Orbital to launch cargo to space station Tuesday

Cells in the retina light the way to treating jet lag

High-fat, high-carb diet a cause of osteoarthritis

Homing pigeons share our human ability to build knowledge across generations

Pigeon study takes on sexism in science: Big differences in genes involved in reproductive control

Smart bandage covering your wound and healing progress looks to 5G tech

Researcher proposes answer for why cave animals go blind

The new game of Russian Roulette for fire-prone ecosystems

Mountain clouds—from rain makers to snow makers

Study shows hearing tests miss common form of hearing loss

Landslides on Ceres reflect hidden ice

Interfacial dynamics research may make industry machines safer, more efficient

Astronomy & Space news

Massive exoplanet discovered using gravitational microlensing method

(Phys.org)—Astronomers have found a new massive alien world using the gravitational microlensing technique. The newly detected exoplanet, designated MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb, is about three times more massive than Jupiter and orbits a distant star approximately 21,000 light years away. The finding was published Apr. 6 in a paper on arXiv.org.

Hydrogen halo lifts the veil of our galactic home

Sometimes it takes a lot of trees to see the forest. In the case of the latest discovery made by astronomers at the University of Arizona, exactly 732,225. Except that in this case, the "forest" is a veil of diffuse hydrogen gas enshrouding the Milky Way, and each "tree" is another galaxy observed with the 2.5-meter telescope of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Orbital to launch cargo to space station Tuesday

A rocket packed with food and supplies for the astronauts living at the International Space Station is scheduled to blast off Tuesday from a NASA launch pad.

Landslides on Ceres reflect hidden ice

Massive landslides, similar to those found on Earth, are occurring on the asteroid Ceres. That's according to a new study led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, adding to the growing evidence that Ceres retains a significant amount of water ice.

Space debris problem getting worse, say scientists

Scientists sounded the alarm Tuesday over the problems posed to space missions from orbital junk—the accumulating debris from mankind's six-decade exploration of the cosmos.

Image: James Webb Space Telescope lights out inspection

After completion of its vibration and acoustic testing in March, the James Webb Space Telescope – JWST – is shown here undergoing a detailed 'lights out' inspection in one of NASA's cleanrooms at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Australia's back in the satellite business with a new launch

The first Australian-built satellites to be launched in 15 years are set to take off this week from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Could space travelers melt as they accelerate through deep space?

Forty years ago, Canadian physicist Bill Unruh made a surprising prediction regarding quantum field theory. Known as the Unruh effect, his theory predicted that an accelerating observer would be bathed in blackbody radiation, whereas an inertial observer would be exposed to none. What better way to mark the 40th anniversary of this theory than to consider how it could affect human beings attempting relativistic space travel?

John Glenn honored with launch of space station supply ship

John Glenn's trailblazing legacy took flight Tuesday as a cargo ship bearing his name rocketed toward the International Space Station.

Big space rock to streak past Earth on Wednesday

An asteroid stretching 650 metres (2,000 feet) across is on track to whoosh past Earth on Wednesday at a safe—but uncomfortably close—distance, according to astronomers.

Australian CubeSat prepared for launch by NASA

A University of Adelaide-built satellite will be launched early tomorrow morning by NASA from Cape Canaveral in Florida, on the Atlas V rocket bound for the International Space Station.

Technology news

Smart bandage covering your wound and healing progress looks to 5G tech

(Tech Xplore)—Some technology watchers this week are talking about "smart" bandages, and the question is, why are they smart, and what can they do?

Pinning down abuse on Google maps

A partnership between computer scientists at the University of California San Diego and Google has allowed the search giant to reduce by 70 percent fraudulent business listings in Google Maps. The researchers worked together to analyze more than 100,000 fraudulent listings to determine how scammers had been able to avoid detection—albeit for a limited amount of time—and how they made money.

Galaxy S8: More screen and elegance, but a hefty price tag

Samsung's new Galaxy S8 phone is stunning. But its $100 price hike is hard to swallow.

Google Earth invites you to 'get lost' exploring the planet

Google Earth is getting a revival, as the 3-D mapping service reorients itself to become more of a tool for adventure and exploration.

Volkswagen plans all-electric car for China next year

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automaker, plans to launch its first pure-electric car in China next year as Beijing steps up pressure on the industry to reduce reliance on gasoline.

Researchers plant seeds to make renewable energy more efficient

Greg Barron-Gafford kneels amid chard, kale, cabbage and onions growing lush beneath a solar panel. An iPad in hand, he checks and records the plants' carbon dioxide uptake and the soil's moisture. He makes note of the plants' growth and appearance.

Young gamers are inventing their own controllers to get around their disabilities

Nintendo's latest gaming device is unique. It can operate like a traditional home console, a tablet or a handheld gaming unit complete with miniature joystick. But for gamers with disabilities, the Nintendo Switch may still have many of the same problems as any other console. Yet some of these young gamers are inventing their own ways to get around the challenges of using devices not designed to meet their needs.

Uber banned in Czech Republic's second biggest city

A court has banned the ride-sharing service Uber from operating in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic.

Virtual technology can make landscaping easier

Just as virtual technology has become a common tool for anyone planning to repaint or redecorate a home, a growing array of apps can make landscaping easier too.

Zuckerberg vows work to prevent next 'Facebook killer'

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday vowed to work to keep the world's leading social network from being used to propagate grisly acts like the murder of an elderly man on Easter Sunday.

Facebook pushes to augment reality through smartphones

Facebook on Tuesday launched a mission to make smartphone cameras windows to augmented reality, focusing on what people have in hand instead of waiting for high-tech eyewear.

Predictive Power—CASL aids startup of TVA's Watts Bar Unit 2

Few jobs are more massive than that of building a nuclear power plant, a project that takes years and billions of dollars to complete. But once a new plant is finished, how do engineers know it will operate as designed?

Adjusting solar panel angles a few times a year makes them more efficient

With Earth Day approaching, new research from Binghamton University-State of New York could help U.S. residents save more energy, regardless of location, if they adjust the angles of solar panels four to five times a year.

Ex Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offers facts on government

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has created a new organization to analyze government spending and revenue to make it easier to understand.

Trump order would target high skilled worker visa program

President Donald Trump is planning to sign an executive order that seeks to make changes to a visa program that brings in high-skilled workers.

Success in recognizing digits and monosyllables with high accurary from brain activity measurement

A Japanese research collaborative has developed a technology that can recognize the numbers zero to nine with 90 percent accuracy using electroencephalogram (EEG) readings while the subject utters the numbers. Furthermore, the technology can also recognize 18 types of Japanese monosyllables from EEG signals with 60 percent accuracy, demonstrating the possibility of an EEG-activated typewriter in the near future.

Statistical monitoring technology can detect serious falls and immediately warn healthcare providers

Falls by elderly people can cause serious injury or death if sufferers remain on the ground for too long. By combining data from both wearable sensors and video surveillance, a team at KAUST has developed a statistical scheme that detects when senior citizens or others need help after falling1.

India's TCS records fourth quarter profit

India's biggest IT sourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) reported a 4.2 percent increase in quarterly earnings on Tuesday, just missing analysts' estimates.

Over 18,000 high school students learned to hack in this year's picoCTF hacking contest

The cybersecurity workforce, which is currently struggling to fill seats with qualified talent, may have some newfound optimism. Over the past two weeks, upwards of 18,000 middle and high school students from across the United States learned and honed computer security skills in this year's picoCTF online hacking contest, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab Security and Privacy Institute. The competition officially ended Friday, April 14, 2017.

Police break up WhatsApp child porn image sharing network

Police have arrested 39 suspects in over a dozen countries across Europe and Latin America after busting an online paedophile ring that used the WhatsApp chat service to share images of child sex abuse, officials said Tuesday.

Medicine & Health news

Cells in the retina light the way to treating jet lag

Researchers have found a new group of cells in the retina that directly affect the biological clock by sending signals to a region of the brain which regulates our daily (circadian) rhythms. This new understanding of how circadian rhythms are regulated through the eye could open up new therapeutic possibilities for restoring biological clocks in people who have jet lag through travelling or working night shifts.

High-fat, high-carb diet a cause of osteoarthritis

Saturated fat is a prime suspect in the onset of osteoarthritis after QUT scientists found it changed the composition of cartilage, particularly in the weight-bearing joints of the hip and knee.

Study shows hearing tests miss common form of hearing loss

Traditional clinical hearing tests often fail to diagnose patients with a common form of inner ear damage that might otherwise be detected by more challenging behavioral tests, according to the findings of a University at Buffalo-led study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Scientists discover how a decades-old drug reduces the size of a heart attack

Scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) have discovered a new mechanism of action of metoprolol, a drug that can reduce the damage produced during a heart attack if administered early. The team led by Dr. Borja Ibáñez, Clinical Research Director at the CNIC and cardiologist at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz University Hospital Health Research Institute (IIS-FJD), has identified the mechanism that explains why this drug is so beneficial: rapid administration of metoprolol during a heart attack directly inhibits the inflammatory action of neutrophils, a type of blood cell. The reduced inflammation translates into a smaller area of damaged tissue in the post-infarcted heart. The finding, published in Nature Communications, opens the way to new applications for this cheap, safe, and simple drug.

Air pollution may directly cause those year-round runny noses, according to a mouse study

Although human population studies have linked air pollution to chronic inflammation of nasal and sinus tissues, direct biological and molecular evidence for cause and effect has been scant. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers report that experiments in mice continually exposed to dirty air have revealed that direct biological effect.

Researchers discover birth-and-death life cycle of neurons in the adult mouse gut

Johns Hopkins researchers today published new evidence refuting the long-held scientific belief that the gut nerve cells we're born with are the same ones we die with.

New brain research reveals that motor neurons adjust to control tasks

New research from Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering and the University of Pittsburgh reveals that motor cortical neurons optimally adjust how they encode movements in a task-specific manner. The findings enhance our understanding of how the brain controls movement and have the potential to improve the performance and reliability of brain-machine interfaces, or neural prosthetics, that assist paralyzed patients and amputees.

Protein primes mouse stem cells to quickly repair injury, study finds

Like drag car racers revving their engines at the starting line, stem cells respond more quickly to injury when they've been previously primed with one dose of a single protein, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Experimental drug targets nucleus of allergen-sensitized cells

Transcription factors, the tiny proteins that switch genes on or off in the nucleus of cells, are considered unreachable molecular targets for drugs attempting to treat medical conditions. Overcoming this challenge, researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center discovered a small molecular compound that successfully blocks a transcription factor and its pro-inflammatory and hyper-mucous activity in asthma.

Researchers unlock an immunity 'black box'

A research team led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital immunologists has revealed a previously unknown immune machinery that goes awry to trigger the inflammatory disease neutrophilic dermatosis. Neutrophilic dermatoses are a heterogeneous group of autoinflammatory skin disorders that include Sweet's syndrome, pyoderma gangrenosum, and subcorneal pustular dermatosis and may occur with cancers such as leukemia as well as infections or inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers identify tactic Dengue virus uses to delay triggering immune response

For the human body to mount an immune response to a viral infection, host cells must identify the viral invader and trigger a signaling pathway. This signal then prompts the immune system to attack and subdue the pathogen. Using the dengue virus (DENV) as a model, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified the "viral sensor" that initiates an immune response and have also described how the virus counteracts this mechanism and evades immune detection. The paper describing these findings was published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

Alerting stem cells to hurry up and heal

Accelerated healing isn't just for superheroes. A new study in Cell Reports suggests a way that mere mortals can potentially speed their recovery from a wide variety of injuries.

Cannabinoids may soothe certain skin diseases, say researchers

Cannabinoids contain anti-inflammatory properties that could make them useful in the treatment of a wide-range of skin diseases, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Common antibiotic azithromycin not linked to increased risk of abnormal heartbeat

The commonly used antibiotic azithromycin is not linked to an increased risk of ventricular arrhythmia, an often life-threatening rapid, irregular heartbeat, according to a large study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

For young adults, cigarettes more pleasurable with alcohol than with pot

Young adults get more pleasure from smoking cigarettes while they are drinking alcohol than they do while using marijuana, according to a new UC San Francisco study.

African circumcision rates rise when clergy endorse procedure

Educating religious leaders in sub-Saharan Africa about male circumcision increases the likelihood that men will undergo the procedure, Weill Cornell Medicine investigators found in a new trial. The results may have profound public health implications, as circumcision has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of HIV.

Brain imaging shows alcohol dependence severity relates to impulse-control deficiency

Would you rather receive $55 today or $75 two months from now?

Promising new drug development could treat cachexia

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to a wasting syndrome known as cachexia. Cachexia, an indicator of the advanced stages of disease, is a debilitating disorder that causes loss of appetite, lean body mass and can lead to multi-organ failure. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri in partnership with Tensive Controls, Inc. have developed a drug that could reverse cachexia. The team currently is seeking canine candidates for a pilot study to test the new drug.

How do we learn to read?

The sign on the public car park in the tiny Tasmanian town of Wynyard reads, "Egress from this carpark is to be via the access lane in the rear."

Artificial sweeteners are said to be lite but they leave a heavy burden on your health

Diet soda drinkers, beware. Recent epidemiological studies have confirmed that the sweeteners used in diet sodas and other lite drinks increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Expert endorses genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2

Professor Kelly Metcalfe, of U of T's Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, is leading the charge against hereditary breast and ovarian cancers by helping establish the standard protocol for addressing cancers associated with BRCA gene mutations.

Researchers disentangle relationship between autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and ADHD in children

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience internalizing and externalizing problems at higher rates than typically developing children, which could worsen social impairment, according to researchers with the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research.

Nearly half of adults in US infected with HPV

If you currently are sexually active, have been sexually active in the past or have sex in the future, there's an extremely high chance that at some point before your sex life is over you will have been infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that is linked to several cancers. Just this month, the National Center for Health Statistics announced that it found that 45.2 percent of men and 39.9 percent of women 18 to 59 years in age were infected with genital HPV during 2013 to 2014.

Physiologists discover molecular mechanism for stabilizing inner ear cells, with implications for hearing loss

Mechanosensory hair cells in the inner ear pick up the softest sounds, such as whispers and distant noises.

Oral contraceptives reduce general well-being in healthy women

One of the most common combined oral contraceptive pills has a negative impact on women's quality of life but does not increase depressive symptoms. This is shown by a major randomised, placebo-controlled study conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden in collaboration with the Stockholm School of Economics. The results have been published in the scientific journal Fertility and Sterility.

Climate change is turning dehydration into a deadly epidemic

By 10am in the sugarcane fields outside the town of Tierra Blanca in El Salvador, the mercury is already pushing 31°C. The workers arrived at dawn: men and women, young and old, wearing thick jeans, long-sleeved shirts and face scarves to prevent being scorched by the sun's rays. They are moving quickly between rows of cane, bending, reaching, clipping and trimming in preparation for harvesting the crop in the weeks to come. In the scant shade, old Pepsi and Fanta bottles full of water swing from tree branches, untouched. Gulping only the thick air, the workers won't stop until noon, when their shift is over.

Scientists identify new way of attacking breast cancer

Scientists have discovered a brand new way of attacking breast cancer that could lead to a new generation of drugs.

Study describes new way to predict tumor growth

A new study by Yusheng Feng, professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), describes an algorithm that can predict the growth of cancerous tumors, which could help medical professionals judge the best treatment options for patients.

Researchers successfully prevent graft-versus-host disease

Through experimental work, an international team of researchers led by City of Hope's Defu Zeng, professor of diabetes immunology and hematopoietic cell transplantation, believe they may have found a way to prevent graft-versus-host disease after stem cell transplants while retaining the transplants' positive effects on fighting leukemia and lymphoma. The preclinical study results were published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Inflammatory bowel diseases on the rise in very young Canadian children

Canada has amongst the highest rates of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the world, and the number of children under five years old being diagnosed increased by 7.2 per cent every year between 1999 to 2010, according to a new study by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and the Canadian Gastro-Intestinal Epidemiology Consortium.

What makes pancreatic cancer so aggressive?

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive tumour types because it starts forming metastases early. The cancer itself, however, is usually only discovered late. This leads to a high patient mortality rate. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered why pancreatic cancer and other malignant types of tumours can disseminate so rapidly. The results have now been published in the renowned journal Nature Cell Biology.

Zinc supply affects cardiac health

In addition to essential metabolic functions, the level of zinc in the body also affects the heart muscle. When oxidative stress occurs, it may be due to a shortage of zinc, which can be determined by examining the heart muscle. A study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) shows the relationship between the total amount of zinc in the body and cardiac function.

Retail medical sites expanding to provide primary care

(HealthDay)—Pharmacy chains are continuing to develop primary care venues within their stores, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Blood pressure: know your numbers

(HealthDay)—Having high blood pressure makes you more likely to have heart disease or a stroke. But because high blood pressure doesn't usually cause warning symptoms, you could be at risk without even knowing it.

Zika can harm babies' vision, too

(HealthDay)—Although Zika virus is most well-known for the devastating neurological damage it can cause in the womb, a new study reports that some babies infected with Zika also may have lifelong vision impairment.

Study: Antidepressant use in early pregnancy does not increase autism, ADHD risk in kids

A study led by Indiana University suggests that mothers' use of antidepressants during early pregnancy does not increase the risk of their children developing autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conditions previously associated with these medications.

Adherence to USPSTF recommendations could lead to lower number of individuals recommended for statin

Fewer people could be recommended for primary prevention statin therapy, including many younger adults with high long-term cardiovascular disease risk, if physicians adhere to the 2016 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations for statin therapy compared with the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines, according to a study published by JAMA.

Study examines effectiveness of steroid medication for sore throat

In patients with a sore throat that didn't require immediate antibiotics, a single capsule of the corticosteroid dexamethasone didn't increase the likelihood of complete symptom resolution after 24 hours, and although more patients taking the steroid reported feeling completely better after 48 hours, a role for steroids to treat sore throats in primary care is uncertain, according to a study published by JAMA.

Liver progenitor cells are involved in the development of hepatic tumors

The malignant transformation of hepatocytes is the origin of most hepatocellular carcinomas, an aggressive type of liver cancer with high mortality rates. But these cells do not act alone. Research conducted by scientists at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) reveals how hepatocytes "recruit" and "instruct" liver progenitor cells to contribute to the hepatic lesions.

Taxes to reduce obesity and diabetes: The sweet spot in Berkeley, Calif.

Many countries are considering or already implementing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in an effort to curb increasing levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The effects of these taxes on purchasing decisions of these products is beginning to emerge and one study, published in PLOS Medicine examines whether such a tax in Berkeley, California is passed on to purchasers in different types of stores as well as whether it reduces sales of these beverages and how it affects grocery bills.

Fainting episodes may increase risk of workplace accidents, job loss

Working-age people who have fainting spells (a condition known as syncope) have a higher risk of occupational accidents and job loss, compared to adults without the condition, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

A potential cure for metastatic prostate cancer? Treatment combination shows early promise

In the past, all forms of metastatic prostate cancer have been considered incurable. In recent years, the FDA has approved six drugs for men with metastatic disease, all of which can increase survival. In a study published in Urology, researchers demonstrate for the first time that an aggressive combination of systemic therapy (drug treatment) with local therapy (surgery and radiation) directed at both the primary tumor and metastasis can eliminate all detectable disease in selected patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

Paper: Nutrition label readers favor food quality over quantity

People who closely eyeball nutrition labels tend to eat differently than less-discerning diners in one key regard, according to research from a University of Illinois expert in food and nutrition policy and consumer food preferences and behaviors.

Poor sleep in anxiety, depression may make it harder to see positive

A lack of sleep makes everything harder. Focusing, finishing assignments, and coping with everyday stress can become monumental tasks.

Cytokine controls immune cells that trigger inflammatory bowel disease, study finds

A certain cytokine, or small protein that helps cells communicate during immune responses, can control whether immune cells promote or suppress inflammatory bowel disease, a finding that could lead to new treatments, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Emergency departments administering more medications through the nose

Administering medications through the nose as an alternative to injections or IVs is becoming increasingly popular in emergency departments and ambulances, according to a paper by Loyola Medicine pharmacists.

Researchers describe ultrasensitive detection of protein linked to multiple autoimmune diseases

Researchers in France have developed a new method that will allow doctors to detect minute amounts of a protein called interferon- in patient samples. The technique, which is described in the study "Detection of interferon- protein reveals differential levels and cellular sources in disease" published April 18 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, will aid the diagnosis and treatment of numerous autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and dermatomyositis.

Signs point to reduced drinking by pregnant women

The signage varies but the message is working. Drinking by pregnant women is down 11 percent in states requiring point-of-sale warning signs, says a health economist at the University of Oregon.

Researchers find strong link between fast-food ads and consumption among pre-schoolers

Pre-school age children who are exposed to child-targeted fast-food advertising on television are considerably more likely to consume fast-food products, according to a recent Dartmouth-led study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

Researchers discover mitochondrial 'circuit breaker' that protects heart from damage

A team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health has discovered biological mechanisms that appear to prevent damage to the heart muscle's "power grid," the network of mitochondrial circuits that provide energy to cells. One of those mechanisms, the researchers found, acts much like a circuit breaker, allowing energy to continue moving throughout the heart muscle cells even when individual components of those cells—the mitochondria—have been damaged.

Increase in prostate needle biopsy-linked infection in N.Y.

(HealthDay)—Infectious complications after prostate needle biopsy increased from 2011 to 2014 across New York State, according to a study published in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.

Pre-op training program improves outcomes

(HealthDay)—A home-based, preoperative training program can decrease hospital duration of stay and costs of care, while being well accepted by patients, according to a study published recently in Surgery.

Over 20 percent of maternal mortality in illinois due to CVD

(HealthDay)—More than one in five maternal deaths in Illinois in 2002 to 2011 were attributable to cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Costs up with specialist as predominant provider of care

(HealthDay)—For older adults with multimorbidity, having a specialist as the predominant provider of care (PPC) is associated with higher spending and lower continuity of care, according to a study published online April 8 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Hypnosis doesn't improve post-op anxiety, pain in children

(HealthDay)—A short hypnosis session performed in the operating room prior to major surgery does not improve postoperative anxiety and pain levels among pediatric patients, according to a study published online April 12 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Pre-pregnancy bariatric surgery ups risk of abdominal surgery

(HealthDay)—Bariatric surgery is associated with an increased risk of abdominal surgery during subsequent pregnancy, according to a study published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Marijuana use higher in pregnant teens than nonpregnant peers

(HealthDay)—More than twice as many pregnant 12- to 17-year-olds use marijuana as their nonpregnant peers, and significantly more use the drug than pregnant women in their 20s, according to a letter published online April 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Glucose variation doesn't affect microvascular complications

(HealthDay)—Measures of glycemic variability in type 1 diabetes, based on complete quarterly 7-point glucose profiles, fail to provide evidence that glycemic variability contributes to the risk of development or progression of microvascular complications beyond the influence of mean glucose levels, according to a study published online April 12 in Diabetes Care.

High-volume NICUs see more staff burnout

(HealthDay)—Staff burnout in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) is most prevalent in units with high patient volume and electronic health records, according to a study published online April 18 in Pediatrics.

Various diagnostic tools available for ocular allergy

(HealthDay)—There are currently various tools available for diagnosing ocular allergy, although several unmet needs remain, according to a position paper published online April 7 in Allergy.

Cannabis-based medicine may cut seizures in half for those with tough-to-treat epilepsy

Taking cannabidiol may cut seizures in half for some children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a severe form of epilepsy, according to new information released today from a large scale controlled clinical study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017. Cannabidiol is a molecule from the cannabis plant that does not have the psychoactive properties that create a "high."

First participant treated in trial of stem-cell therapy for heart failure

A research team at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has treated its first patient in an innovative clinical trial using stem cells for the treatment of heart failure that develops after a heart attack.

Study helps veterinarian mental health

A Murdoch University study is investigating why there is a high rate of suicide and mental health issues among veterinarians.

New study reveals huge contribution of carers of terminally ill

The Dimbleby Cancer Care funded study shows family carers of people with cancer on average provide almost 70 hours of care a week to look after their relatives in the last three months of life.

LGB people with cancer share video experiences of care

The unique experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people with cancer have been shared on a new video hub from The University of Manchester, funded by Macmillan Cancer Support – highlighting differences in their care, and issues around sex, support and bereavement.

Boost in researchers' quest for scanning techniques to improve drug safety

The University of Manchester is part of a new consortium which will develop new CT and MRI scan techniques and biomarkers to look at the accumulation of compounds in the body caused by drugs and the harm they may cause—potentially improving patients' safety and the development of new treatments.

Individualizing health care one byte at a time

Genetic diagnosis of disease and personalization of treatment have the potential to dramatically improve strategies for diagnosis and therapy. Around 80% or rare diseases are thought to have a genetic component, but currently many patients experience long delays in diagnosis or receive none at all. The challenge is to identify which of the hundreds of thousands of genetic differences between a patient and an unaffected individual might be responsible for their disease; a problem which has been described as "looking for needles in stacks of needles." What's new with this approach is the application of data from model experimental organisms.

Epidemiologists call for more visibility of Arab Americans and their health issues

A group of epidemiologists are advocating for the increased visibility of, and focus on, Arab Americans in discussions about mental and physical health issues in the U.S., in an article published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Prince Harry's journey shows grief can be a long road

(HealthDay)—Britain's Prince Harry's two-decade struggle to deal with the death of his mother, Princess Diana, is sadly all too common for children who suddenly face the loss of a parent, mental health experts say.

Biology news

Homing pigeons share our human ability to build knowledge across generations

Homing pigeons may share the human capacity to build on the knowledge of others, improving their navigational efficiency over time, a new Oxford University study has found.

Pigeon study takes on sexism in science: Big differences in genes involved in reproductive control

In experimental research, scientists tend to assume that—unless they are looking specifically at reproduction or sexual behavior—male and female animals are alike, and mostly use males. But a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis and the University of New Hampshire, published April 18 in Scientific Reports, shows surprisingly big differences in tissue gene expression between male and female rock doves. The work is part of an attempt to make science more gender-inclusive and aware of physiological and other differences between the sexes.

Researcher proposes answer for why cave animals go blind

Why do animals that live in caves become blind? This question has long intrigued scientists and been the subject of hot debate.

Chaining up diarrhoea pathogens

Researchers have clarified how vaccinations can combat bacterial intestinal diseases: vaccine-induced antibodies in the intestine chain up pathogens as they grow in the intestine, which prevents disease and surprisingly also hinders the spread of antibiotic resistance.

3-D image of bacterial machine that injects toxins into cells and spreads antibiotic resistance

Experts predict that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant bacteria will cause as many deaths as cancer. Now, for the first time, Caltech scientists have created a 3-D image of a molecular structure that many different bacteria use to pump toxins into human cells and spread antibiotic-resistance genes to other bacteria. Understanding the architecture of this structure is a first step toward combating its effects.

Megafaunal extinctions driven by too much moisture

Studies of bones from Ice Age megafaunal animals across Eurasia and the Americas have revealed that major increases in environmental moisture occurred just before many species suddenly became extinct around 11-15,000 years ago. The persistent moisture resulting from melting permafrost and glaciers caused widespread glacial-age grasslands to be rapidly replaced by peatlands and bogs, fragmenting populations of large herbivore grazers.

Study finds amoeba 'grazing,' killing bacteria usually protected by film

Bacteria have developed an uncountable number of chemistries, lifestyles, attacks and defenses through 2.5 billion years of evolution. One of the most impressive defenses is biofilm—a community of bacteria enmeshed in a matrix that protects against single-celled predators and antibiotics—chemicals evolved by competitors through the course of evolution, including other bacteria and fungi.

Scientists identify neural basis for parasitic cowbird's secret password

If you are raised by other species, then how do you know who you are? Although heterospecific foster parents rear brood parasitic brown-headed cowbird chicks, juvenile cowbirds readily recognize and affiliate with other cowbirds. That's because they have a secret handshake or password. Specifically, the "password" hypothesis helps explain this paradox of species recognition: Social recognition processes in brood parasites are initiated by exposure to a password: in the case of cowbirds, a specific chatter call. A new study appearing in the Journal of Experimental Biology describes the neural basis for password-based species recognition in cowbirds.

Bacteriophages, natural drugs to combat superbugs

Viruses that specifically kill bacteria, called bacteriophages, might one day help solve the growing problem of bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatment. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center have determined that phages can effectively reduce bacterial levels and improve the health of mice that are infected with deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacterial 'superbugs.' The study appears in Scientific Reports.

Endangered species poached in protected areas: WWF

Illegal poaching, logging and fishing of sometimes critically endangered species is taking place in nearly half of the world's most protected natural sites, environmental campaigners WWF warned Tuesday.

Birds sing shorter songs in response to traffic noise

Birds sing differently in response to traffic noise, which potentially affects their ability to attract mates and defend their territory, according to research published in Bioacoustics. The study found that a species of North American flycatcher sings shorter songs at a lower range of frequencies in response to traffic noise levels. The researchers suggest traffic noise reduction, for example through road closures, is a viable option for mitigating this effect.

Making the bed just right for alkali bees

Last summer, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Jim Cane spent a week visiting alfalfa fields near the town of Touchet, in Walla Walla County, Washington. He wasn't scouting for insect threats or damage to the legume crop. Instead, he was collecting data on the alkali bee, a solitary, ground-nesting species that alfalfa seed growers count on for peak yields. Alfalfa seed is sold to grow premium hay for dairy cows and other livestock.

Why can't cats resist thinking inside the box?

Twitter's been on fire with people amazed by cats that seem compelled to park themselves in squares of tape marked out on the floor. These felines appear powerless to resist the call of the #CatSquare.

Where the old things are: Australia's most ancient trees

They say that trees live for thousands of years. Like many things that "they" say, there is a germ of truth in the saying (even though it is mostly false).

Origins of an enigmatic genus of Asian butterflies carrying mythological names decoded

A group of rare Asian butterflies which have once inspired an association with Hindu mythological creatures have been quite a chaos for the experts. In fact, their systematics turned out so confusing that in order to decode their taxonomic placement, scientists had to dig up their roots some 43 million years back.

Two in the pack: No changes for Isle Royale wolves

For the second year in a row, the Isle Royale wolf population remains a mere two. Researchers from Michigan Tech say that as the wolf population stays stagnant, the moose population will continue to grow at a rapid pace. And this could have a significant impact on the island's famed forests.

Tracing the puzzling origins of clinging jellyfish

For such small and delicate creatures, they can pack mighty painful stings. Known as clinging jellyfish because they attach themselves to seagrasses and seaweeds, Gonionemus is found along coastlines in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and in particular in waters near Vladivostok, Russia. Exactly how these jellyfish, long assumed to be native to the North Pacific, became so widely distributed throughout the world has perplexed researchers for decades.

Busy city living makes some house finches more savvy than others

House finches that frequent North American cities and towns are better at solving new problems than their rural counterparts. They are able to solve new problems even when humans are around, says Meghan Cook of Arizona State University in the US, lead author of a study in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The study investigated how increased urbanization and human presence affects the behavior and foraging habits of wildlife, and how birds, in particular, cope.

Banning transshipment at-sea necessary to curb illegal fishing, researchers conclude

Banning transshipment at-sea—the transfer of fish and supplies from one vessel to another in open waters—is necessary to diminish illegal fishing, a team of researchers has concluded after an analysis of existing maritime regulations.

Sat nav for bread wheat uncovers hidden genes

Scientists have created the most accurate navigation system for the bread wheat genome to date—allowing academics and breeders to analyse its genes more easily than ever before.

People's tribunal accuses Monsanto of possible 'ecocide'

An informal people's tribunal headed by five professional international judges Tuesday accused US seeds firm Monsanto of harming the environment and possible "ecocide".

Research team uses supercomputing to understand processes leading to increased drought resistance in food and fuel crops

Photosynthesis, the method plants use to convert energy from the sun into food, is a ubiquitous process many people learn about in elementary school. Almost all plants use photosynthesis to gather energy and stay alive.

Florida tests bacteria-infected mosquitoes to kill off bugs

Thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes were released in the wild Tuesday near Key West, testing a new way to kill mosquitoes that carry Zika and other viruses.

New era for nature in Colombia

Researchers are embarking on a major collaboration to characterise Colombia's plant and animal life, from densely rich cloud forests to little-seen museum collections.

New study offers good news for pork producers

What happens when meat scientists get their hands on nearly 8,000 commercially raised pigs? They spend a year running dozens of tests and crunching numbers to arrive at research-backed management recommendations for pork producers.

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