Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Apr 12

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Spotlight Stories Headlines

Foldable silicon-based electronics overcome fragility problem

Shoe-string theory: Science shows why shoelaces come untied

How some battery materials expand without cracking

Researchers capture first 'image' of a dark matter web that connects galaxies

Discovery of early, 'croc-like' reptile sheds new light on evolution of dinosaurs

New 3-D printing method creates shape-shifting objects

Earth-sized 'Tatooine' planets could be habitable

Rock giants Pink Floyd honored in naming of newly discovered, bright pink—pistol shrimp

Ant agricultural revolution began 30 million years ago in dry, desert-like climate

Toyota shows robotic leg brace to help paralyzed people walk

Giddy Up! Automakers raise horsepower, speed to new heights (Update)

Microsoft patches document exploit vulnerability

Elephants' 'body awareness' adds to increasing evidence of their intelligence

How polar bears find their prey: Researchers find the answer is blowing in the wind

Natural systems show nonlocal correlations

Astronomy & Space news

Researchers capture first 'image' of a dark matter web that connects galaxies

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have been able to capture the first composite image of a dark matter bridge that connects galaxies together. The scientists publish their work in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Earth-sized 'Tatooine' planets could be habitable

With two suns in its sky, Luke Skywalker's home planet Tatooine in "Star Wars" looks like a parched, sandy desert world. In real life, thanks to observatories such as NASA's Kepler space telescope, we know that two-star systems can indeed support planets, although planets discovered so far around double-star systems are large and gaseous. Scientists wondered: If an Earth-size planet were orbiting two suns, could it support life?

Project brings Milky Way's ionized hydrogen into focus

Like a lot of pioneering science, the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM) got its start as the shoestring project of a curious young researcher.

Collisions generate gas in debris disks

By examining the atomic carbon line from two young star systems—49 Ceti and Beta Pictoris—researchers had found atomic carbon in the disk, the first time this observation has been made at sub-millimeter wavelength, hinting that the gas in debris disks is not primordial, but rather is generated from some process of collisions taking place in the debris disk.

ALMA investigates 'DeeDee,' a distant, dim member of our solar system

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have revealed extraordinary details about a recently discovered far-flung member of our solar system, the planetary body 2014 UZ224, more informally known as DeeDee.

Astronomers piece together first image of black hole

After training a network of telescopes stretching from Hawaii to Antarctica to Spain at the heart of our galaxy for five nights running, astronomers said Wednesday they may have snapped the first-ever picture of a black hole.

New technique for designing and manufacturing heat shields under study

A fresh approach to designing and manufacturing heat-thwarting thermal protection systems (TPS) for spacecraft is being developed and tested, offering the promise of fabricating larger tile sizes while reducing labor, cost and waste.

Russian cosmonaut says he has taken relics of saint to space

A Russian cosmonaut who has returned to Earth after a mission on the International Space Station said on Wednesday he had taken a relic of a Russian Orthodox saint with him.

Technology news

New 3-D printing method creates shape-shifting objects

A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and two other institutions has developed a new 3-D printing method to create objects that can permanently transform into a range of different shapes in response to heat.

Toyota shows robotic leg brace to help paralyzed people walk

Toyota is introducing a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk.

Giddy Up! Automakers raise horsepower, speed to new heights (Update)

Fred Croatti often drives his silver Dodge Charger Hellcat to the grocery store, turning heads as he rumbles through the parking lot with a supercharged 6.2-Liter 707-horsepower engine.

Microsoft patches document exploit vulnerability

(Tech Xplore)—Many malware stories take the same story line, spread when computer victims open email attachments that enable installation of malware on their devices.

New method for 3-D printing extraterrestrial materials

When humans begin to colonize the moon and Mars, they will need to be able to make everything from small tools to large buildings using the limited surrounding resources.

For Palestinian family, an udder-ly unique power source

Power comes in many forms, but Kamal al-Jebrini's family looked to where others may fear to tread for a new source of it: cow dung.

Technology to improve rockfall analysis on cliffs could save money, lives

Pacific Northwest engineers have developed a new, automated technology to analyze the potential for rockfalls from cliffs onto roads and areas below, which should speed and improve this type of risk evaluation, help protect public safety and ultimately save money and lives.

Engineers drill world's hottest well hoping for clean energy eruption

Using state-of-the-art drilling technology, engineers have dug more than 4.5 km below the earth's surface in an attempt to harness the endless geothermal energy inside our planet.

We could soon face a robot crimewave—the law needs to be ready

This is where we are at in 2017: Sophisticated algorithms are both predicting and helping to solve crimes committed by humans; predicting the outcome of court cases and human rights trials; and helping to do the work done by lawyers in those cases. By 2040, there is even a suggestion that sophisticated robots will be committing a good chunk of all the crime in the world. Just ask the toddler who was run over by a security robot at a California mall last year.

People find changes in user interfaces annoying

Researchers modelled learning and visual search and predicted how users learn new or partially changed user interfaces. The model shows that even small changes can disturb visual search and impede use.

Combining plasma processes to manufacture three-dimensional components

Plasmas have long been used in industry to clean surfaces or to process them such that materials like paints or glues adhere to them more effectively. The advantage: Chemical pre-treatment with solvents or other substances can be dispensed with. This saves money and is environmentally friendly. The problem: Previously, only flat surfaces could be treated; the plasma simply slid over recesses, cavities or undercuts. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST have now combined two plasma processes – the plasma jet and the glide discharge – in order to be able to also process three-dimensional components effectively.

Improved corrosion protection with flake-type particles of zinc-phosphate

Large quantities of steel are used in architecture, bridge construction and ship-building. Structures of this type are intended to be long-lasting. Furthermore, even in the course of many years, they should not lose any of their qualities regarding strength and safety. For this reason, the steel plates and girders used must have extensive and durable protection against corrosion. In particular, the steel is attacked by oxygen in the air, water vapor and salts. To prevent the corrosive substances from penetrating into the material, a common method is to create an anti-corrosion coating by applying paint layers of zinc-phosphate particles. Now, research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials developed a special type of zinc-phosphate particles: They are flake-like in shape because they are 10 times as long as they are thick.

Amazon aims to help parents monitor—and talk to—kids

Amazon is introducing new tools to help parents see what their kids are doing on the company's Fire tablets. As a bonus, the e-commerce giant says its service will also help spark discussions about the books kids read and the videos they watch.

Self-assembling polymers provide thin nanowire template

For the chips in our computers and smartphones to get faster and faster, their components - the circuits and wires through which signals flow - have to get smaller and smaller. The miniaturization of these wires has taken scientists on a journey almost to the atomic level. Recently, scientists have begun to address - and now to surmount - certain barriers in physics that have prevented them from making even smaller wires.

Team develops world's first full-size IBC bifacial solar module

The world's first full-size interdigitated back contact (IBC) bifacial solar module has been developed and fabricated in Singapore by the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in collaboration with the International Solar Energy Research Center Konstanz, Germany (ISC Konstanz).

Tool checks computer architectures, reveals flaws in emerging design

With backing from some of the largest technology companies, a major project called RISC-V seeks to facilitate open-source design for computer chips, offering the possibility of opening chip designs beyond the few firms that dominate the space. As the project moves toward a formal release, researchers at Princeton University have discovered a series of errors in the RISC-V instruction specification that now are leading to changes in the new system.

Qualcomm to refund BlackBerry $815 mn in royalties

US mobile chip giant Qualcomm is to refund BlackBerry $814.9 million in royalties overpaid by the Canadian company, according to a tentative arbitration award announced on Wednesday.

Yahoo accused of mismanaging fund for dissidents in China

A lawsuit accused Yahoo of breaking a financial promise it made to Chinese dissidents almost a decade ago as penance for helping the Chinese government find and jail other activists.

Is there room for broadband in the Trump infrastructure agenda?

A promise to restore America's crumbling infrastructure was a key part of President Donald Trump's campaign speeches. He pledged to rebuild America's roads and bridges, ports and highways, which are undoubtedly in need of repair. Less clear in his speeches – and in these early days of his administration – is what importance he gives broadband internet, an equally essential infrastructure in our 21st-century information economy. A quarter of Americans still have no broadband, and 12 percent live in places where they can get service from only one provider or none at all.

Uber's PR head resigns amid tumultuous time for company

Uber's head of communications is leaving, the latest in a string of executive departures as the ride-hailing company tries to dig out from a pile of troubles.

Medicine & Health news

Approach captures immune disease cells in vivo, may be used to better understand diabetes, other autoimmune disorders

Early in embryological development, the immune system learns not to attack the body's own cells. In many autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, this self-tolerance is ineffective or reversed partly because of rogue T cells. However, it can be difficult to access and study these disease-initiating T cells because only about 1 in 100,000 circulate in the blood.

Neuroscience research reveals that college students study best later in the day

A new cognitive research study used two new approaches to determine ranges of start times that optimize functioning for undergraduate students. Based on a sample of first and second year university students, the University of Nevada, Reno and The Open University in the United Kingdom used a survey-based, empirical model and a neuroscience-based, theoretical model to analyse the learning patterns of each student to determine optimum times when cognitive performance can be expected to be at its peak.

Nuclear transfer of mitochondrial DNA in colon and rectal cancer

Patients with colon and rectal cancer have somatic insertions of mitochondrial DNA into the nuclear genomes of the cancer cells, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers report in the journal Genome Medicine.

Gut microbes contribute to age-associated inflammation, mouse study finds

Inflammation increases with age and is a strong risk factor for death in the elderly, but the underlying cause has not been clear. A study published April 12 in Cell Host & Microbe reveals that gut microbes are one of the culprits behind age-associated inflammation and premature death in mice. Imbalances in the composition of gut microbes in older mice cause the intestines to become leaky, allowing the release of bacterial products that trigger inflammation and impair immune function.

Gene silencing shows promise for treating two fatal neurological disorders

In two studies of mice, researchers showed that a drug, engineered to combat the gene that causes spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), might also be used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Both studies were published in the journal Nature with funding from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Ebola: Scientists show how real-time sequencing and data-sharing can help stop the next outbreak

An international effort to analyze the entire database of Ebola virus genomes from the 2013-2016 West African epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage and calls for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks.

Study of Ebola patient traces disease progression and recovery

Analysis of daily gene activation in a patient with severe Ebola virus disease cared for at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2015 found changes in antiviral and immune response genes that pinpointed key transition points in the response to infection. The changes included a marked decline in antiviral responses that correlated with clearance of virus from white blood cells.

Targeting blood vessels to improve cancer immunotherapy

EPFL scientists have improved the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy by blocking two proteins that regulate the growth of tumor blood vessels.

Genetics of first-cousin marriage families show how some are protected from heart disease

More than 1,800 individuals carrying loss-of-function mutations in both copies of their genes, so-called "human knockouts," are described in the first major study to be published in Nature this week by an international collaboration led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues. The program, which has so far sequenced the protein-coding regions of over 10,500 adults living in Pakistan, is illuminating the basic biology and possible therapeutics for several different disorders.

Why treating animals may be important in fighting resurgent tropical disease

As the World Health Organization steps up its efforts to eradicate a once-rampant tropical disease, a University of Washington study suggests that monitoring, and potentially treating, the monkeys that co-exist with humans in affected parts of the world may be part of the global strategy.

Gene-editing alternative corrects Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Using the new gene-editing enzyme CRISPR-Cpf1, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have successfully corrected Duchenne muscular dystrophy in human cells and mice in the lab.

Common factor links neurodegenerative disease in young and old

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), identified a common mechanism in two forms of neurodegeneration that affect young adults or the elderly. The discovery advances efforts to find better treatments and cures for these diseases. Currently, there are no cures for these conditions, which are projected to cost the nation an estimated $259 billion in 2017.

Two in five GPs to 'quit within five years'

Around two in every five GPs in the South West have said they intend to quit within the next five years, exposing the magnitude of the region's impending healthcare crisis suggesting that the picture for the UK may be particularly challenging.

Hot flashes could signal increased risk of heart disease

Hot flashes, one of the most common symptoms of menopause, have already been shown to interfere with a woman's overall quality of life. A new study shows that, particularly for younger midlife women (age 40-53 years), frequent hot flashes may also signal emerging vascular dysfunction that can lead to heart disease. The study outcomes are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Exercise associated with improved heart attack survival

Exercise is associated with improved survival after a heart attack, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The chances of survival increased as the amount of exercise rose.

Global inequalities in survival for childhood leukaemia persist, highlighting need for better care

Although global inequalities in survival from childhood leukaemia have narrowed, they still persist with five-year survival in some countries nearly twice as high as in others for children diagnosed during 2005-2009, according to a study published in The Lancet Haematology.

Better detection may explain higher child cancer numbers: UN

Global childhood cancer rates jumped 13 percent in the decade to 2010 compared to the 1980s, according to a UN-backed study released Wednesday that says the increase may be due in part to improved detection.

More than $16 billion spent on cosmetic plastic surgery in US

A new report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reveals that Americans spent more than ever before - $16 billion - on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally-invasive procedures in 2016. The new report also breaks down the national average cost of surgical and minimally-invasive procedures.

First photoactive drug for pain treatment

A team of the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona has participated in the design of the first light-activated drug, JF-NP-26, for the treatment of pain, according to a study with animal models published in the journal eLife. The new study is conducted by the teams led by Professor Francisco Ciruela, from the University of Barcelona, and Amadeu Llebaria, from the MCS group of the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC).

Norwegian women drink least while pregnant, British women drink most

A study among over 7000 women in 11 European countries shows the proportion of women in Europe who drink alcohol when they know they are pregnant is lowest in Norway and highest in the UK. The countries with the highest proportion of women who reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy were the UK (28.5 %), Russia (26.5 %) and Switzerland (20.9 %).

How fecal microbial transplant restores microbial balance

When facing a life-threatening infection, the "yuck factor" is a minor concern. Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT for short) has become an accepted treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, which can cause severe diarrhea and intestinal inflammation.

Revised surgical targeting improves results of deep brain stimulation for depression

A study published in Molecular Psychiatry finds that using an advanced imaging technique called Diffusion Tractography Imaging helps researchers find the exact target in patients undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

Smartphone data could help monitor bipolar disorder

The early signs of an episode of mania can be hard to detect, but people with bipolar disorder may soon get help from a smart and constant companion – their mobile phones.

Identifying a novel target for cancer immunotherapy

Targeting a molecule called B7-H4—which blocks T-cells from destroying tumor cells—could lead to the development of new therapies that boost the immune system's ability to fight cancer, according to a review published in the journal Immunological Reviews.

New deep learning technique offers a more accurate approach to single-cell genomics

A new 'deep learning' method, DeepCpG, has been designed by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Babraham Institute to help scientists better understand the epigenome – the biochemical activity around the genome. Reported today in Genome Biology, DeepCpG leverages 'deep neural networks', a multi-layered machine learning model inspired by the brain, and provides a valuable tool for research into health and disease. 

New MyAsthma app can help relieve the stress of asthma management

A new and unique smartphone app to help people with asthma manage their condition has been developed by lung experts at the Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit and the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Cortical nerve function in former amputees remains poor decades after reconstructive surgery

Researchers have found that the nerve cells (neurons) controlling sensation and movement of the hands show injury-induced changes for years after hand amputation, reattachment or transplant. The small study, the first of its kind to non-invasively explore the health and function of the cortical neurons (neuronal integrity) in these populations at the neurochemical level, is published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurophysiology. The manuscript was chosen as an APSselect article for April.

Researcher dives deep into factors that cause allergies

Researchers at Queen's University and Kingston Health Sciences Centre have published the first the set of findings stemming from the Kingston Allergy Birth Cohort – a study tracking the developmental origins of allergies in nearly 400 mother-child pairs from pre-birth into early childhood.

Flu vaccine won't definitely stop you from getting the flu, but it's more important than you think

As we head towards a southern hemisphere winter, many people are wondering if it's worth getting the flu vaccine.

Does caffeine cause dehydration?

For a long time people have been told that caffeine is a diuretic. For some, this translates into advice to avoid or remove caffeinated beverages from the diet of people at risk of dehydration, or during periods of extreme summer heat.

Scientists discover asymmetry of connections between left and right hippocampi and other areas of the brain

Having applied new neurocognitive and mathematical approaches, a group of Russian scientists has described an interaction between the hippocampus and other important areas of human brain for the first time. The results of work have been published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Focus on Alzheimer's disease shifts to prevention

It has been 111 years since Auguste D. became the first person described with what is now called Alzheimer's disease. German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer, for whom the disease is named, first publically reported his observations of Auguste in 1906, upon her death at age 56. Now, as life expectancy grows—there are 29 nations with an average life expectancy of 80 years of age or older—the specter of Alzheimer's disease looms larger than ever.

Early school starts pit teens in a conflict between society, biology

The idea of sleep is supposed to evoke feelings of peace, relaxation and refreshment, but when expert Mary Carskadon talks about teen sleep in school districts with early start times, she uses far less comfortable words.

Four signs you have high emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence can mean the difference between behaving in a socially acceptable way and being considered to be way out of line. While most people will have heard of emotional intelligence, not many people really know how to spot it – in themselves or in others.

Video feedback may help babies 'at risk of autism'

Researchers have been keen to establish whether you can reduce the effects of autism on a child's development if you intervene early enough. A new study with autistic babies claims that you can.

Eye movement research could hold the key to early Parkinson's diagnosis

The way people with Parkinson's use their eyes to complete simple tasks in both the real world and working at computers is being investigated by neuroscientists – and the findings could help early diagnosis and improve their quality of life.

Is 'desktop medicine' chipping away at patient care?

(HealthDay)—Physicians spend roughly as many hours on computer work as they do meeting with patients, a new study reveals.

Doctor communication style key during bad-news encounters

(HealthDay)—Enhanced patient-centered communication (E-PCC) positively impacts patients' psychological state during bad-news encounters, according to a study published online April 5 in Cancer.

Cross-sex hormones appear to be safe for transgender teens

(HealthDay)—Cross-sex hormones appear to be safe for transgender adolescents, according to a study published online April 6 in Pediatrics.

Mayo, ASU program helps mothers in medical professions lower stress and beat burnout

Mothers who work as health care professionals, such as physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, can reduce their stress levels and burnout significantly by participating in close supportive groups at work, according to a new study by researchers at Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic.

Researchers connect common fats to a lazy lifestyle and diabetes

A UBC researcher is suggesting the types of cooking oils people consume may be sabotaging their efforts to stay healthy and avoid illnesses such as diabetes.

From opioid-free to long-term user, in one operation: Study shows key role of surgery

Having surgery always comes with risks. But a new study suggests a new one to add to the usual list: the risk of becoming a long-term opioid user.

Ban on trans fats in diet may reduce heart attacks and stroke

People living in areas that restrict trans fats in foods had fewer hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke compared to residents in areas without restrictions, according to a study led by a Yale researcher. This finding suggests the benefit of limiting trans fats could have widespread impact as trans fat restrictions are set to expand nationwide.

Melatonin may protect the small intestine from oral radiation treatment in rats

Oral melatonin can protect the small intestine in rats subjected to radiotherapy of the tongue, according to a study published April 12, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Germaine Escames from Universidad de Granada, Spain, and colleagues.

Retraining the brain to see after stroke

Patients who went partially blind after suffering a stroke regained large swaths of rudimentary sight after undergoing visual training designed by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Flaum Eye Institute.

Physicians' misunderstanding of genetic test results may hamper mastectomy decisions

A recent survey of over 2,000 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer found that half of those who undergo bilateral mastectomy after genetic testing don't actually have mutations known to confer increased risk of additional cancers, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and four other U.S. medical centers.

Both too much, too little weight tied to migraine

Both obesity and being underweight are associated with an increased risk for migraine, according to a meta-analysis published in the April 12, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The researchers looked at all available studies on body mass index (BMI) and migraine.

Ethics study: Inconsistent state laws may complicate medical decision-making

A patchwork of state laws can make it confusing to navigate incapacitated patients' medical wishes. Without clear national standards, the problem may worsen as the nation's 75 million baby boomers continue to age, according to medical ethics research led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Chicago's MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

People suffering heart attacks near major marathons face grimmer survival odds

People who suffer heart attacks or cardiac arrests in the vicinity of an ongoing major marathon are more likely to die within a month due to delays in transportation to nearby hospitals, according to newly published research from Harvard Medical School.

Mosquito egg hunt: Many Culex species prefer alternatives to standing water

The conventional wisdom about where many mosquitoes lay their eggs—in standing water—is not always wise. Research into a diverse group of mosquitoes shows that many, if not most, regularly lay their eggs on a variety of surfaces, and in a surprising location: above nearby water. The findings run counter to scientific generalizations about the mosquitoes' egg-laying habits and may complicate the work of researchers and mosquito control professionals.

Researchers reveal developmental mechanisms behind rare bone marrow disorder

Myelodysplastic syndrome is an umbrella term used to describe disorders characterized by the bone marrow's inability to produce normal blood cells. Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have found that a mutation in a specific tumor suppressor gene is one possible reason why children with a very rare genetic disorder develop myelodysplastic syndrome. Results from this research have been published in the current edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Study of sleep apps finds room for improvement

An analysis of 35 popular phone-based sleep apps finds that while most help users set sleep-related goals and track and manage their sleep, few make use of other methods known to help the chronically sleep-deprived.

Study finds most major heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol

For decades, national guidelines on which Americans should take cholesterol-lowering medications relied heavily on an individual's level of bad cholesterol (LDL). In 2013, new guidelines moved to treatment based on a person's overall heart attack risk.

Research suggests potential therapy to prevent 'chemobrain' in cancer patients

Findings offered by a University of Kansas researcher, identified as one of 20 'Must See Presenters' at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in early April, suggest a possible therapeutic intervention for "chemobrain," the cognitive impairment plaguing up to a third of cancer patients following chemotherapy.

Vitamin B diminishes effects of air pollution-induced cardiovascular disease

B vitamins can mitigate the impact of fine particle pollution on cardiovascular disease, according to new research conducted at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Healthy non-smokers who took vitamin B supplements nearly reversed any negative effects on their cardiovascular and immune systems, weakening the effects of air pollution on heart rate by 150 percent, total white blood count by 139 percent, and lymphocyte count by 106 percent.

New imaging technique shows effectiveness of cystic fibrosis drug

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, more than 30,000 Americans are living with the disorder. It currently has no cure, though a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration treats the underlying cause of the disease. However, the drug's effectiveness for each individual is unknown. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have developed an imaging technique using a specific form of helium to measure the drug's effectiveness. Researchers hope the finding could lead to improved therapies for cystic fibrosis and other lung conditions.

Meningitis outbreak death estimate rises to 489 in Nigeria: official

A Nigerian health official said Wednesday that a suspected 489 people have died during the latest meningitis outbreak to hit Nigeria.

Report reveals prevalence of sexual assault in nursing homes

A new paper in The Gerontologist examined sexual assault in nursing homes. The report finds that the most vulnerable residents are likely to become victims; legal examinations were infrequent due to administration complexities and training and institutional policy, and nursing homes are not adequately equipped to deal with sexual assault cases.

Surprising brain change appears to drive alcohol dependence

A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) could help researchers develop personalized treatments for alcoholism and alcohol use disorder.

Scientists advance understanding of herpesvirus infection

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections last a lifetime. Once a person has been infected, the virus can remain dormant (latent) for years before periodically reactivating to cause recurrent disease. This poorly understood cycle has frustrated scientists for years. Now, National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have identified a set of protein complexes that are recruited to viral genes and stimulate both initial infection and reactivation from latency. Environmental stresses known to regulate these proteins also induce reactivation.

1st drug for tardive dyskinesia approved

(HealthDay)—Ingrezza (valbenazine), the first drug to treat adults with the neurological disorder tardive dyskinesia, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Barrett's with irregular Z line unlikely to progress quickly

(HealthDay)—There is a low risk of development of high-grade dysplasia (HGD) or esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) among patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE) of

Expectations, concerns vary with age for adults at pain clinic

(HealthDay)—Patient expectations and concerns vary by age among adults attending a chronic pain clinic, according to a study published online March 30 in Pain Practice.

Residents rate enjoyment of teaching as key for ICU doctors

(HealthDay)—Behaviors that residents value in intensive care unit (ICU) attending physicians include enjoyment of teaching and treatment of patients, families, and non-physician staff, according to a study published in the April issue of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Care transitions common at end of life for medicare recipients

(HealthDay)—More than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries who died in 2011 had at least four care transitions during their last six months of life, according to a study published online April 3 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

PSA test often occurs without discussion of benefits, harms

(HealthDay)—Fewer than one in three men screened with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer talked about the risks and benefits of the test with their doctor, according to a study published online recently in Urology.

Predicting a patient's future firearm violence risk in the emergency department

Homicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. More than 87 percent of those homicides are due to firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New research finds substantial increase in CVI procedures in medicare population

A new study by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute found that utilization of procedures to treat chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) in the Medicare population increased markedly from 2005 through 2014. The study is published online in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (JVIR).

Adolescents with frequent PE more informed about physical activity's role in health

Frequent, long-term instruction in physical education not only helps adolescents be more fit but also equips them with knowledge about how regular physical activity relates to good health, research at Oregon State University shows.

Study finds Pokemon Go players are happier, friendlier

Pokemon Go people are happy people. That's the finding of media researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who leapt to study the wildly popular mobile game shortly after its release in July 2016. Their work, newly published in the journal Media Psychology, shows that Pokemon Go users were more likely to be positive, friendly and physically active.

Aspirin therapy may not help patients with peripheral vascular disease, researchers find

Aspirin use may not provide cardiovascular benefits for patients who have peripheral vascular disease, an analysis by University of Florida Health researchers has found.

Smartphone addiction leads to personal, social, workplace problems

Excessive smartphone use leads to problems, and females are especially susceptible to addiction, according to new research from Binghamton University- State University of New York.

Death toll in Nigeria meningitis outbreak up to 489

Health officials say Nigeria's meningitis outbreak has killed at least 489 people as of Monday.

Schools should provide girls with breast cancer education

More than 70 per cent of school girls want to know more about breast cancer, according to new research released today.

App tracks doctor performance in life and death situations

A SUITE of apps to track the performance of health sector staff is gaining a foothold in a range of industries across the United States.

How racism hampers health care in French Guiana

Oft-overlooked French Guiana, one of France's five overseas departments, has suddenly captured international media attention. And the news from this small South American territory is not good.

Diarrhoea kills 28 in Somaliland in 10 days: Red Cross

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) warned Wednesday of a health crisis in Somaliland after 28 people died of acute diarrhoea in the past 10 days.

New report on how to improve speed, effectiveness of clinical trials during an epidemic

Mobilization of a rapid and robust clinical research program that explores whether investigational therapeutics and vaccines are safe and effective to combat the next infectious disease epidemic will depend on strengthening capacity in low-income countries for response and research, engaging people living in affected communities, and conducting safety trials before an epidemic hits, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Using key lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the report outlines how to improve the speed and effectiveness of clinical trial research while an epidemic is occurring, especially in settings where there is limited health care and research infrastructure.

Biology news

Rock giants Pink Floyd honored in naming of newly discovered, bright pink—pistol shrimp

A strikingly bright pink-clawed species of pistol shrimp, discovered on the Pacific coast of Panama, has been given the ultimate rock and roll name in recognition of the discoverers' favourite rock band - Pink Floyd.

Ant agricultural revolution began 30 million years ago in dry, desert-like climate

Millions of years before humans discovered agriculture, vast farming systems were thriving beneath the surface of the Earth. The subterranean farms, which produced various types of fungi, were cultivated and maintained by colonies of ants, whose descendants continue practicing agriculture today.

Elephants' 'body awareness' adds to increasing evidence of their intelligence

Asian elephants are able to recognise their bodies as obstacles to success in problem-solving, further strengthening evidence of their intelligence and self-awareness, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.

How polar bears find their prey: Researchers find the answer is blowing in the wind

Researchers at the University of Alberta have demystified the way that polar bears search for their typical prey of ringed seals. The answer, it turns out, is simple: they follow their nose using the power of wind.

Weed scientist finds slight rise in herbicide chronic toxicity

A University of Wyoming weed scientist—frustrated with the noise surrounding genetically modified organisms and glyphosate use—analyzed data to see for himself if biotech adoption has had a negative or positive effect on herbicide use.

Scientists discover neurons that control willingness to mate in female fruit flies

How can you tell if an individual is expressing sexual interest? With males, it's usually quite obvious and can be anything from lavish theatrical displays of song and dance to downright relentless insistence. Females, on the other hand, are far more subtle, to the degree that very similar behaviours can have opposite intentions.

Lizards found unable to distinguish between groups with different numbers of individual components

(—A team of researchers with members from the University of Padova and the University of Ferrara, both in Italy, has found that unlike most other animals studied to date, ruin lizards (Podarcis sicula) are unable to understand numerical differences in groups of objects. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the team describes how they conducted experiments with the lizards and what they found.

Tallness in Herzegovinian men linked to gene passed down from ancient big game hunters

(—A team of researchers with members from Montenegro, the Czech Republic and Croatia has found a possible genetic link between early big-game hunters of the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture and modern Herzegovinian men. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes how they surveyed a large number of Bosnian and Herzegovinian men and compared what they found with a gene believed to be at least partly responsible for causing people to grow taller than average.

X-ray scanning immortalizes endangered primates in the digital afterlife, in 3-D

If you're a medical student, obtaining a human cadaver for learning anatomy or practicing surgical techniques is relatively easy. Thousands of people donate their bodies to science each year.

How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics

From the clown fish to leopards, skin colour patterns in animals arise from microscopic interactions among coloured cells that obey equations discovered by the mathematician Alan Turing. Today, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics report in the journal Nature that a southwestern European lizard slowly acquires its intricate adult skin colour by changing the colour of individual skin scales using an esoteric computational system invented in 1948 by another mathematician: John von Neumann. The Swiss team shows that the 3D geometry of the lizard's skin scales causes the Turing mechanism to transform into the von Neumann computing system, allowing biology-driven research to link, for the first time, the work of these two mathematical giants.

Ants rescue their injured

The African Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) are widespread south of the Sahara and are a specialised termite predator. Two to four times a day, the ants set out to hunt prey. Proceeding in long files, they raid termites at their foraging sites, killing many workers and hauling the prey back to their nest.

Naked DNA in water tells if fish have arrived

For the first time, scientists have recorded a spring fish migration simply by conducting DNA tests on water samples.

Researchers studying how to disrupt bacteria to better treat infections

Bacteria are everywhere. And despite widespread belief, not all bacteria are "bad." However, to combat those that can cause health issues for humans, there has been an over-reliance on the use of antibiotics - so much so, that many of them are now proving ineffective due to bacteria developing increased resistance to them.

Gene salad: Lettuce genome assembly published

Today (April 12), UC Davis researchers announced in Nature Communications that they have unlocked a treasure-trove of genetic information about lettuce and related plants, releasing the first comprehensive genome assembly for lettuce and the huge Compositae plant family.

Mouse epigenetic aging clock uncovered

Ageing in humans (and animals) can be seen as either an inevitable process of wear and tear or as an inherent biological programme by which the lifespan of each species is more or less predetermined. Recent research has shown that DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification which alters how DNA is read and expressed without altering the underlying sequence, can show age-related changes.

Scientists discover eggs of one of world's most endangered turtles

A team of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)/Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) scientists working in Myanmar have reported the successful recovery of 44 fertile eggs of the critically endangered Burmese roofed turtle (Batagur trivittata) – one of the world's most endangered turtles with less than five females remaining in the wild.

Dieting causes epigenetic changes during ageing

Reduced food consumption extends the lifespan of many organisms, including primates. The biology behind how this is achieved, however, is not yet fully understood. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and the Cluster of Excellence for Aging Research CECAD, Cologne, Germany, as well as the Babraham Institute in Cambridge have now found that in mice, dietary restriction triggers epigenetic changes in the DNAGenes, for example, which are important for the lipid metabolism, are switched off. Dietary restriction can thus prevent the consequences of age-related changes in the so-called epigemome.

Using tropical microbes to improve the environment

Researchers in Malaysia are harnessing properties in tropical microbes to address a variety of environmental, agricultural and aquacultural issues.

Pathogen uses light to facilitate its invasion of wheat plants

Researchers at The University of Western Australia in collaboration with The Australian National University have discovered the deadly fungus Parastagonospora nodorum invades wheat plants by producing a herbicide compound (elsinochrome) which kills plant cells when they are exposed to light.

Cellular imaging technique reveal functions of uncharacterized genes or disease-associated gene variants

Scientists have used cells' visual appearance, or morphology, as a way to help understand their state and identity essentially since the invention of the microscope. Now a research team led by Broad Institute Imaging Platform director Anne Carpenter and postdoctoral fellow Mohammad Rohban has shown that a high-throughput, computerized imaging technique for studying morphology, called Cell Painting, can provide insight into the cellular roles of genes or disease-linked gene alleles whose function or impact is unknown.

Florida manatees likely to persist for at least 100 years

Florida's iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.

Geography and culture may shape Latin American and Caribbean maize

Variations in Latin American and Caribbean maize populations may be linked to anthropological events such as migration and agriculture, according to a study published April 12, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Claudia Bedoya from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and colleagues.

Look to lactate to help predict ill cats' prognoses, vet study says

Many factors go into evaluating the prognosis of a critically ill animal, usually involving a combination of objective metrics, such as blood pressure or blood oxygenation, and more subjective clinical signs, such as alertness or lethargy.

On-the-range detection technology could corral bovine TB

A research breakthrough allowing the first direct, empirical, blood-based, cow-side test for diagnosing bovine tuberculosis (TB) could spare ranchers and the agriculture industry from costly quarantines and the mass slaughter of animals infected with this easily spread disease.

Endangered right whales deliver fewest births in 17 years

Endangered North American right whales gave birth last winter to the fewest calves seen off the U.S. coast in 17 years, troubling scientists who say the low births support other evidence that the imperiled species' population may be declining.

Causeway to catastrophe for Saint Lucia's endangered wildlife

Plans to link offshore island refuge to mainland would spell disaster for the world's rarest snake and other threatened species.

Algal residue—an alternative carbon resource for pharmaceuticals and polyesters

Microalgae have received much attention in biomass production due to many strains having a high biomass productivity per unit time and per unit area. Algae produce high levels of oil as well as carbohydrates, occurring mainly in the form of starch. They can survive in unfavorable, nutrient deficient conditions, and can be propagated industrially without using farmland. Oil derived from algae has recently been adopted for use in jet fuels and biodiesel. Previously overlooked, however, was the starch remaining in algal cells after oil extraction. Tokyo Tech researcher Sho Yamaguchi and colleagues found that this starch can be converted into alkyl lactate and alkyl levulinate, important chemicals in the production of pharmaceuticals, additives, and polyesters.

No more screwworm medications for Key deer as threat wanes

Endangered deer in the Florida Keys are no longer receiving anti-parasite medication to protect against flesh-eating screwworms.

Guinea seizes shark fins from Chinese ships

Guinea has seized a haul of shark fins and carcasses from Chinese ships fishing illegally off the coast of the west African country and fined the owners.

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