Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, May 30

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 30, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Phase transitions of rice farmers may offer insight into managing natural resources

Astronomers detect 22 new cataclysmic variables in globular cluster 47 Tucanae

Discovery of how amyloids bind metal ions sheds light on protein function

Do stars fall quietly into black holes, or crash into something utterly unknown?

The first genome data from ancient Egyptian mummies

30 pages of calculations settle a 30-year debate over a mysterious new phase of matter

Physicists explore elusive high-energy particles in a crystal

Amazon rainforest may be more resilient to deforestation than previously thought

Chess-playing robot star of Taiwan tech fair

Researchers develop the first broadband image sensor array based on graphene-CMOS integration

Better treatment for kidney cancer thanks to new mouse model

Neurologists describe a unique feature of the neurons responsible for sound localization

New genetic cause of childhood cancer found

Apple's new mobile AI chip could create a new level of intelligence

Research uses heat to predict species most threatened by climate change

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers detect 22 new cataclysmic variables in globular cluster 47 Tucanae

(Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers led by Liliana Rivera Sandoval of the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, has found 22 new cataclysmic variable stars in a globular cluster known as 47 Tucanae (47 Tuc for short). The discovery makes 47 Tuc the cluster with the highest number of cataclysmic variables identified so far. The findings were detailed in a paper published May 19 on arXiv.org.

Do stars fall quietly into black holes, or crash into something utterly unknown?

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University have put a basic principle of black holes to the test, showing that matter completely vanishes when pulled in. Their results constitute another successful test for Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

'Halos' discovered on Mars widen time frame for potential life

Lighter-toned bedrock that surrounds fractures and comprises high concentrations of silica—called "halos"—has been found in Gale crater on Mars, indicating that the planet had liquid water much longer than previously believed. The new finding is reported in a paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

NASA team takes on a new optical challenge—the Lyman Alpha Limit

NASA technologists produced telescope mirrors with the highest reflectance ever reported in the far-ultraviolet spectral range. Now, they're attempting to set another record.

Cassini finds Saturn's moon Enceladus may have tipped over

Saturn's icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus may have tipped over in the distant past, according to recent research from NASA's Cassini mission. Researchers with the mission found evidence that the moon's spin axis—the line through the north and south poles—has reoriented, possibly due to a collision with a smaller body, such as an asteroid.

Mystery of rare volcanoes on Venus

The long-standing mystery of why there are so few volcanoes on Venus has been solved by a team of researchers led by the University of St Andrews.

Earth is a jewel, says astronaut after six months away

Observing Earth from 400 kilometres (250 miles) away has made astronaut Thomas Pesquet aware of the planet's fragility as never before, he told AFP from the International Space Station days before heading home.

ESO signs contracts for the ELT's gigantic primary mirror

The unique optical system of ESO's Extremely Large Telescope consists of five mirrors, each of which represents its own significant engineering challenge. The 39-metre-diameter primary mirror, which will be made up of 798 individual hexagonal segments each measuring 1.4 metres across, will be by far the largest ever made for an optical telescope. Together, the segments will collect tens of millions of times as much light as the human eye.

NASA's 'Webb-cam' captures engineers at work on Webb at Johnson Space Center

NASA's special "Webb-cam" kept an eye on the development of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, since 2012. Now that Webb telescope has moved to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, a special Webb camera was installed there to continue providing daily video feeds on the telescope's progress.

Technology news

Chess-playing robot star of Taiwan tech fair

A chess-playing robot stole the show as Asia's largest tech fair kicked off in Taiwan Tuesday with artificial intelligence centre stage.

Apple's new mobile AI chip could create a new level of intelligence

Apple is reportedly working on a chip called the Apple Neural Engine, which would be dedicated to carrying out artificial intelligence (AI) processing on its mobile devices.

Tactile feedback adds 'muscle sense' to prosthetic hand

Engineers working to add "muscle sense" to prosthetic limbs found that tactile feedback on the skin allowed blindfolded test subjects to more than double their ability to discern the size of objects grasped with a prosthetic hand. The results will be presented next month in Germany by researchers from Rice University and the Research Center "E.Piaggio" of the University of Pisa and the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT).

CMU's interactive tool helps novices and experts make custom robots

A new interactive design tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute enables both novices and experts to build customized legged or wheeled robots using 3D-printed components and off-the-shelf actuators.

A glove powered by soft robotics to interact with virtual reality environments

Engineers at UC San Diego are using soft robotics technology to make light, flexible gloves that allow users to feel tactile feedback when they interact with virtual reality environments. The researchers used the gloves to realistically simulate the tactile feeling of playing a virtual piano keyboard.

Paper evaluates hacking vulnerabilities in pacemaker systems

(Tech Xplore)—What's wrong with pacemakers? Actually, the issue of security gets to the heart of the matter.

Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?

Delivering packages with drones can reduce carbon dioxide emissions in certain circumstances as compared to truck deliveries, a new study from University of Washington transportation engineers finds.

Android software creator unveils 'Essential' phone

A creator of the Android software powering most of the world's smartphones stepped into the competitive hardware market on Tuesday with a new handset called Essential.

China to launch cybersecurity law despite concerns

China will implement a controversial cybersecurity law Thursday despite concerns from foreign firms worried about its impact on their ability to do business in the world's second largest economy.

Taxis strike across Spain to protest Uber, Cabify services

Taxi drivers across Spain set off firecrackers and threw objects at police Tuesday as they went on strike to protest the increase in cars run by private companies like Uber that offer cheaper, mobile ride-hailing services.

Holographic measurement technology at production speed

Fault tolerance in automobile production is increasingly diminishing. Until recently, this presented suppliers with a problem: There were no sufficient methods for detecting micro defects during production. Visual inspection was the solution of choice, but this is not suitable for in-line measurements in the production process. By developing digital holography to become suitable for production, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM in Freiburg, Germany have resolved this dilemma. Digital holography makes it possible to fully inspect all parts – in a matter of seconds.

New audio codec enables unprecedented voice call quality

Smartphones can do almost everything you want, but their poor voice quality is still a vexing issue. Fraunhofer researchers have helped develop a new codec to banish this problem. Their solution raises voice quality to an unprecedented level – making it sound as natural as if the person you're calling is standing right next to you. That's because, for the first time, the entire audible frequency spectrum is transmitted.

New technology concept enables elderly people to live at home safely

What to do if you fall in your home? Many elderly people ask themselves these and similar questions; they want security without having to give up their own four walls. A new technology concept, developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern, Germany, now makes this possible – while also ensuring privacy. A communication tool integrates nursing care consultation and ensures social integration.

When it comes to ransomware, it's sometimes best to pay up

Companies hit by ransomware are faced with an ethical dilemma: pay up to save their now-encrypted data, or hold the moral high ground and lose it all.

Economic alternative for hexavalent chromium anticorrosive agent

To prevent components from becoming corroded or worn, they are often coated using hexavalent chromium. Starting in September of 2017, though, this will only be permitted with exceptions. The extreme high-speed laser material deposition (EHLA) developed by Fraunhofer and RWTH researchers offers an economic alternative for the first time ever.

New model of gasoline combustion developed using experimental data

By observing the soot particles formed in a simple flame, researchers at KAUST have developed a computational model capable of simulating soot production inside the latest gasoline automobile engines.

Printed 3-D structures based on cellulose nanocrystals

Empa researchers have succeeded in developing an environmentally friendly ink for 3-D printing based on cellulose nanocrystals. This technology can be used to fabricate microstructures with outstanding mechanical properties, which have promising potential uses in implants and other biomedical applications.

Being more media savvy won't stop the spread of 'fake news'—here's why

"Fake news" is the buzzword of 2017. Barely a day goes by without a headline about president Donald Trump lambasting media "bias", or the spread of "alternative facts".

A 3-D-printed rocket engine just launched a new era of space exploration

The rocket that blasted into space from New Zealand on May 25 was special. Not only was it the first to launch from a private site, it was also the first to be powered by an engine made almost entirely using 3-D printing. This might not make it the "first 3-D-printed rocket in space" that some headlines described it as, but it does highlight how seriously this manufacturing technique is being taken by the space industry.

Amazon joins the $1,000 club

Amazon, the internet goliath that revolutionized the way much of the world shops for books, toilet paper and TVs, hit a new milestone Tuesday. Its stock surpassed the $1,000 mark for the first time.

Wal-Mart works to close gap between itself and Amazon

Even after an online spending spree, it may be hard for Wal-Mart to escape the Amazon in the room.

Man guilty of libel over Facebook 'likes': Swiss court

In a landmark ruling, a Swiss court has fined a man for "liking" comments on Facebook accusing an animal rights activist of being a "racist" and an "anti-Semite".

Preventing software from causing injury

Workplace injuries don't just come from lifting heavy things or falling off a ladder. People with desk jobs can develop debilitating hand and wrist problems that make it difficult to work, and poorly designed software could be to blame. However, researchers at the Texas A&M School of Public Health are creating tools to that could help develop safer software.

Plastic surgery clinics hacked; 25,000 photos, data online

Police in Lithuania say more than 25,000 private photos and personal data—including nude pictures—were made public Tuesday following the hacking of a chain of plastic surgery clinics.

Uber fires autonomous car researcher involved in lawsuit

Uber has followed through on threats to fire star autonomous-car researcher Anthony Levandowski, whose hiring touched off a bitter trade-secrets fight with Waymo, the former self-driving car arm of Google.

Czech court to open hearing on Russian hacker extradition

A Russian man who faces charges in the United States of hacking computers at American companies is facing an extradition hearing at a Prague prison.

Two wheels closer to a safe arrival

Death doesn't visit our roads equally. Moped or motorbike riders have a 12 times higher chance of dying per kilometre travelled than car drivers, according to researchers.

Court: Russian hacker can be extradited to US or Russia (Update)

A Czech court ruled Tuesday that a Russian man who faces charges of hacking computers at American companies can be extradited either to the United States or Russia—and the suspect immediately appealed his possible extradition to the United States.

Laser weapons could go from big screen to battlefield with engineers' help

The rebels and the empire used laser cannons to shoot it out on the big screen in "Star Wars," but the weapons could soon move to the battlefield with the help of two Clemson University engineers who are receiving a combined $3.2 million from the Department of Defense.

Medicine & Health news

Better treatment for kidney cancer thanks to new mouse model

Research in the field of kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, is vital, because many patients with this disease still cannot be cured today. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now identified some of the gene mutations that contribute to the development of carcinomas in the kidneys. They also developed a mouse model that will contribute to progress in the research and treatment of this type of cancer.

Neurologists describe a unique feature of the neurons responsible for sound localization

To localize sounds, particularly low-frequency sounds, mammals must perceive minimal differences in the timing of signal reception between the two ears. LMU researchers now describe a unique feature of the neurons responsible for this task.

New genetic cause of childhood cancer found

Scientists have identified a genetic mutation that causes a childhood kidney cancer called Wilms' tumour.

Unmasking rogue cells in the immune system

The immune system is a formidable defense against microbial intruders, identifying and eliminating threats through an extremely intricate and adaptable network of specialized cells. However, a system of such deep complexity is also prone to misfire. Due to genetic mutations, for example, some of these specialized immune cells can turn rogue, no longer differentiating between invaders and the body's own cells, and thus start attacking healthy tissues. For serious cases, this issue leads to autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes and many more, which are widespread in the population.

Stem cells yield nature's blueprint for body's vasculature

In the average adult human, there are an estimated 100,000 miles of capillaries, veins and arteries—the plumbing that carries life-sustaining blood to every part of the body, including vital organs such as the heart and the brain.

Motor neuron disease discovery offers new insights into potential treatment targets

Scientists have discovered how certain forms of motor neuron disease begin and progress at cellular and molecular levels, revealing potential new ways to slow down or even stop this process. The team are already working closely with pharmaceutical companies to use this knowledge to develop new treatments for motor neuron disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Prenatal stress predisposes female mice to binge eating

Stress changes our eating habits, but the mechanism may not be purely psychological, research in mice suggests. A study published May 30 in Cell Metabolism found that stressed mouse mothers were more likely to give birth to pups that would go on to exhibit binge-eating-like behavior later in life. The female mouse pups from stressed mothers shared epigenetic tags on their DNA, but these epigenetic markers only made a difference when the researchers put the young offspring into a stressful situation. Furthermore, the researchers were able to prevent their binge eating by putting the young mice on a diet with "balanced" levels of nutrients such as Vitamin B12 and folate.

Not such a 'simple' sugar—glucose may help fight cancer and inflammatory disease

Glucose - commonly referred to as a 'simple' sugar - may actually be crucial in the fight against cancer and inflammatory disease as scientists have just discovered a new role in which it stimulates cells that work on the front line in the fight against tumours and infection.

Blocking tuberculosis germs' metabolic 'escape pathways' may be key to better, shorter treatment

New research suggests the bacteria that cause tuberculosis alter their metabolism to combat exposure to antimicrobials, and that these metabolic "escape pathways" might be neutralized by new drugs to shorten the troublesome duration of therapy.

Common antioxidant could slow symptoms of aging in human skin

New work from the University of Maryland suggests that a common, inexpensive and safe chemical could slow the aging of human skin. The researchers found evidence that the chemical—an antioxidant called methylene blue—could slow or reverse several well-known signs of aging when tested in cultured human skin cells and simulated skin tissue. The study was published online in the journal Scientific Reports on May 30, 2017.

AHCA could jeopardize health coverage for young adults, study suggests

As the U.S. Senate takes up the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA), a large study provides evidence that eliminating the individual mandate could jeopardize health care coverage for young adults. Analysis of insurance data found that without an individual mandate, young adults were more likely to lose health insurance—even with the Obamacare provision allowing people under age 26 to be covered under their parents' health plan.

Mobile technology and child and adolescent development

A new special section of Child Development shows how particularly diverse the use of mobile technology is among children and adolescents, and points to great complexity in the effects of that usage.

Lawn mower injuries send 13 children to the emergency department every day

On average every day in the United States, 13 children receive emergency treatment for a lawn mower-related injury. That adds up to almost 4800 children injured each year. A recent study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine shows that, while there has been a decrease in the number of children injured by lawn mowers over the last few decades, this cause of serious injury continues to be a concern.

Tobacco kills 7 million a year, wreaks environmental havoc: WHO

Smoking and other tobacco use kills more than seven million people each year, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, also warning of the dire environmental impact of tobacco production, distribution and waste.

New insights into T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia development

A research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) led by Assistant Professor Takaomi Sanda, Principal Investigator from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore and Department of Medicine at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, has provided new insights into the molecular mechanism affecting how genes are produced during normal T-cell development, and contributing to leukaemia formation. Results of the study have been published in the journal Leukemia.

Handwashing with cool water as effective as hot for removing germs

We all know that washing our hands can keep us from spreading germs and getting sick. But a new Rutgers-New Brunswick study found that cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria as hot.

The steps that can help adults heal from childhood trauma

Prevention is the mantra of modern medicine and public health. Benjamin Franklin said it himself: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Chlamydia more common in New Zealand than thought

One in three New Zealand women have had the sexually transmitted infection (STI) chlamydia by the age of 38 as have one in five men, based on estimates from a new study.

Majority of TV food ads are unhealthy and target children, study finds

The majority of foods advertised on New Zealand television are unhealthy, and most of those unhealthy food advertisements are specifically targeted at children, new research has found.

Research reveals how brain's opioids modulate responses towards other people's pain

Recent results obtained by researchers from Turku PET Centre and Aalto University have revealed how the human brain's opioid system modulates responses to other people's pain.

Childhood obesity causes lasting damage to the body

Obesity in childhood has long term health implications stretching into adulthood, a new study in the journal Obesity Reviews reveals.

Study makes breakthrough in understanding of proteins and their impact on immune system

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have made a breakthrough in the understanding of how our genetic make-up can impact on the activity of the immune system and our ability to fight cancer.

Cost of a common ER visit? Study finds most health care providers don't know

Researchers found an average of only 38 percent of emergency medicine healthcare professionals—including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners—accurately estimated the costs for three common conditions seen in the emergency department.

Do obese children need to attend treatment to lose weight?

One-third of American children are overweight or obese, which is associated with serious health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma. Family-based treatment (FBT) has been considered the best model for the treatment of obese children. FBT provides both parents and children with education and behavior therapy techniques. However, FBT is provided mainly in hospital settings and can be challenging to attend for busy families. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found parent-based therapy (PBT)—where the child does not attend—has similar outcomes and could be more cost-effective.

Gender minority adults more likely to report poor or fair health

Gender minority adults report more health disparities than their peers who are cisgender (gender identity corresponds to gender at birth), according to a research letter published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Mosquitoes infected with virus-suppressing bacteria could help control dengue fever

Mosquitos infected with the bacteria Wolbachia are significantly worse vectors for dengue virus, but how to establish and spread Wolbachia in an urban mosquito population is unclear. A study publishing on 30th May 2017 in the open access journal PLOS Biology by Michael Turelli from University of California, Davis, and colleagues from Scott O'Neill's "Eliminate Dengue Program" demonstrates that over time, strategic releases may be enough for mosquitoes infected with the dengue-suppressing bacteria to spread across large cities.

Older mothers have higher rates of severe complications in childbirth

The risk of potentially life-threatening morbidity around childbirth, such as renal failure, obstetric shock, and amniotic fluid embolism, increases in older mothers, according to a study published by Sarka Lisonkova from the University of British Columbia, Canada and colleagues in PLOS Medicine.

Charismatic leaders: Too much of a good thing?

How important is charisma in a leader? While at least a moderate level is important, too much may hinder a leader's effectiveness, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Wake-promoting compound validated—the first step to deliver a magic bullet for curing narcolepsy

Narcolepsy, a serious sleep disorder in which patients often fall asleep uncontrollably, has been incurable because no effective therapeutic agents are available to date. Recent findings by Japanese scientists in the sleep institute may shed light on this challenging problem.

Cells pumping iron to prevent anemia

Maintaining a good balance of iron in the body is necessary for health: too little can lead to anemia, but too much can cause debilitating disorders such as hemochromatosis.

Your sex life is only as old as you feel

The closer you feel to your actual age, the less likely you are to be satisfied with your sex life, a University of Waterloo study has found.

Cigarette damage to unborn children revealed in stem cell study

Chemicals found in cigarette smoke have been shown to damage foetal liver cells.

Blocking cancer-specific mutations in leukemia and brain tumors

The substitution of a single amino acid in a metabolic enzyme can be the cause of various types of cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and Heidelberg University Hospital, collaborating with Bayer AG, have now been able to develop a candidate for an agent that is intended to specifically block the altered enzyme. First studies in mice have demonstrated preclinical effects of this investigational compound.

U.S. teen births hit historic low: CDC

(HealthDay)—Teen births continue to decline in the United States, with health officials reporting a 9 percent drop from 2013 to 2014.

Put the brakes on mindless eating

(HealthDay)—We've all come up with excuses for eating when we're really not hungry, like dealing with a difficult boss or a bad breakup. But what's worse is pigging out because you've got nothing better to do.

Antibiotic of last resort re-engineered to kill resistant bacteria

The frightening spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs threatens to return medicine to the pre-antibiotic era, with the return of deadly infectious diseases long thought vanquished.

Studies show hope for multiple cancers with pembrolizumab combination therapies

The combination of pembrolizumab and the checkpoint inhibitor known as epacadostat is leading to promising responses and is generally well tolerated in patients with triple-negative breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, squamous cell cancer of the head and neck, and several other cancers, according to researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Their findings also showed that adding pembrolizumab to standard therapies for breast cancer improved the number of patients achieving a pathological complete response. The results of these combination therapy studies will be presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.

One blood pressure drug therapy associated with lower health-care costs

About half of patients diagnosed with high blood pressure will need their medication adjusted within the first year to address side effects or failure to control blood pressure properly. Among the modification options available, one drug therapy is associated with lower costs for follow-up doctor visits and hospitalizations, according to a new study led by a University of Florida researcher.

Reservoirs of latent HIV can grow despite effective therapy, study shows

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine report new evidence that immune cells infected with a latent form of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are able to proliferate, replenishing the reservoir of virus that is resistant to antiretroviral drug therapy. Although HIV can be controlled with therapy in most cases, the proliferation of such reservoir cells pose a persistent barrier to developing a cure for HIV, researchers say.

High-sensitivity assay gives more reassurance to chest pain patients

For some time now, patients in Sweden's emergency clinics complaining of chest pain have been evaluated using the "high-sensitivity troponin T" assay. In a large-scale registry study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology scientists at Karolinska Institutet show how this more sensitive analytical method has improved evaluation for these patients. Since its introduction, fewer patients diagnosed with "unspecified chest pain" suffer a heart attack or die after being sent home.

Violence against conflict-affected teenage girls in Africa is widespread

A majority of displaced adolescent girls are victimized by violence, according to a new study in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The study, published in the Journal of Global Health, provides new details on the forms of violence affecting adolescent girls in humanitarian settings, and for the first time, predictors of violence, often perpetrated by family members and intimate partners.

Emergency room patients routinely overcharged, study finds

An analysis of billing records for more than 12,000 emergency medicine doctors across the United States shows that charges varied widely, but that on average, adult patients are charged 340 percent more than what Medicare pays for services ranging from suturing a wound to interpreting a head CT scan.

Assessing and addressing the impact of childhood trauma

Childhood trauma is the experience of a highly distressing event or situation during one's youth, which is beyond a minor's capacity for coping or control. Trauma encompasses many possible events, from enduring sexual or physical violence to facing the death of a parent. While such events would be painful for anyone, some children who experience trauma become particularly susceptible to psychosis. That is, they may become more prone to experiencing unusual thoughts, beliefs, and experiences that might make it hard to distinguish things as either real or imagined. Before most people experience full-blown psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, they are often diagnosed as being at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis.

Understanding T cell activation could lead to new vaccines

Scientists could be one step closer to developing vaccines against viruses such as Zika, West Nile or HIV, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Awareness, adherence key to improved osteoporosis care

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer osteoporosis-related fractures each year. Although comprehensive care for fragility fractures is available to patients, their understanding of risk factors, treatment adherence and the use of preventive screening remains low. Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine reviewed recent osteoporosis treatment and management options with the goal of preventing complications from the disease.

Diabetes linked to bacteria invading the colon, study finds

In humans, developing metabolic disease, particularly type 2 diabetes, is correlated with having bacteria that penetrate the mucus lining of the colon, according to a study led by Drs. Benoit Chassaing and Andrew Gewirtz at Georgia State University.

ACOG: Assess all active women for female athlete triad

(HealthDay)—All active females should be assessed for components of the female athlete triad, with further evaluation if one or more components are identified, according to a Committee Opinion published in the June issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

High-risk pools may represent step back for U.S. health care

(HealthDay)—Proposed legislation as part of the American Health Care Act, which includes the option of high-risk pools, is not likely to reduce costs, according to an Ideas and Opinions piece published online May 23 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Daily texting effectively monitors Rx adherence, side effects

(HealthDay)—For patients with breast cancer receiving endocrine therapy, daily bidirectional text messaging can monitor adherence and adverse events (AEs), according to a study published online May 23 in JCO: Clinical Cancer Informatics.

Quality of life may drop for some during oral immunotherapy

(HealthDay)—For patients with food allergy, quality of life (QOL) following oral immunotherapy (OIT) improves for some but deteriorates in others, according to a study published online May 22 in Allergy.

Sleeping sickness medication may help lessen ASD symptoms

(HealthDay)—Suramin, a drug first used in the early 1900s to treat sleeping sickness, has shown promise in an early trial as a potential treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to research published online May 26 in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

Breaking up sedentary time with upper body activity beneficial

(HealthDay)—For obese adults, performing short bouts of arm ergometry during prolonged sitting is associated with reduced mean blood glucose and insulin incremental area under the curve (iAUC), according to a study published online May 23 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Household chemicals may impair thyroid in young girls

Early childhood exposures to specific phthalates were associated with depressed thyroid function in girls at age 3, according to scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Phthalates, a class of chemicals thought to disrupt the endocrine system, are widely used in consumer products from plastic toys to household building materials to shampoos.

Scientists find real-time imaging in mice a promising influenza study tool

Real-time imaging of influenza infection in mice is a promising new method to quickly monitor disease progression and to evaluate whether candidate vaccines and treatments are effective in this animal model, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists. A group from the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) evaluated the live imaging system as a potential alternative to traditional methods of assessing investigative influenza vaccines and treatment in mice, which can be time consuming and require more study animals for valid statistical comparison.

Higher odds of late breast cancer diagnosis in isolated white communities, researchers say

Living in a segregated white community has been associated with higher odds of being diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, according to a recent study led by a researcher in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

Quality improvement measures cut hospital readmissions but do not always produce savings

Efforts to reduce hospital readmissions are working, but they're not always saving money, according to a new Cedars-Sinai study.

Triple immunotherapy for rare skin cancer shows promise in small, early-stage trial

Three out of four patients treated with an experimental combination of three different therapies for the rare skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma are in complete remission following the treatment, according to study results from a small clinical trial led at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

People walking to work or an errand more likely to stroll into dangerous areas, study says

People taking leisurely strolls tend to choose safer walking routes than those heading to work or on an errand, a new study found.

Infection with seasonal flu may increase risk of developing Parkinson's disease

Most cases of Parkinson's have no known cause, and researchers continue to debate and study possible factors that may contribute to the disease. Research reported in the journal npj Parkinson's Disease suggests that a certain strain of influenza virus predisposes mice to developing pathologies that mimic those seen in Parkinson's disease.

Many cancer patients' Emergency Department visits appear preventable

As many as 53 percent of cancer patients' Emergency Department visits that do not require admission could be avoided with better symptom management and greater availability of outpatient care tailored to their needs, according to a new study from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Can a 70-year-old have the arteries of a 20-year-old?

(HealthDay)—Imagine having the clear, supple, healthy blood vessels of a 20-year-old in your 70s. It's possible, but "challenging," a new study suggests.

Does dad time with infants boost babies' IQ?

(HealthDay)—If you're a new father, spending plenty of time with your baby could boost his or her mental development, a new study suggests.

Preschoolers who know snack-food brands on road to obesity?

(HealthDay)—Preschoolers who recognize food brands such as Coca-Cola, M&M's, KFC and Pringles may be more likely to be obese, a new study says.

How to prepare your teen for that first ob-gyn visit

(HealthDay)—A teen's first visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist can be intimidating, so one gynecologist offers moms some tips to help make the experience easier for daughters.

Causes of major birth defects still largely unknown

Causes of major birth defects remain largely unknown, say US researchers in The BMJ today, who were able to establish a definite cause in only one in every five infants they studied.

Body- and sex related problems are separate from other forms of psychological problems

Body- and sex related problems constitute a distinct group of psychological ailments that is most common in middle aged women, according to scientific research. The project was financed by the Academy of Finland.

UN aid chief in Yemen warns of cholera rise without more aid

Two senior U.N. officials on Tuesday warned of the spread of cholera and malnutrition in Yemen, where millions of civilians have been caught in a two-year-old civil war.

Women's wellness: managing urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a prevalent issue, with anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of women reporting an episode in the past year.

Flash glucose monitoring offers accuracy, ease of use, and clinical benefit for type 1 diabetes

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) sensors are now so accurate that two CGM devices, including the first approved "Flash Glucose Monitoring" system, have received regulatory approval for nonadjunctive use by individuals with type 1 diabetes to guide insulin dosing. The critical factors related to CGM accuracy, clinical implications of accurate CGM and flash glucose monitoring, and results of the most recent clinical trials assessing this technology are the focus of an article published as part of a special supplement on Flash Glucose Monitoring to Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics (DTT).

LGBQQ college students face barriers to campus mental health services, study finds

College students who belong to sexual minority groups are more likely to seek help for mental health problems than their straight peers, but they still face many barriers to using on-campus mental health services, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Gender and homicide: Important trends across four decades

A comprehensive review of four decades of national homicide data show important gender differences and trends among homicide victims and offenders in the U.S., related to prevalence and the characteristics of the crimes and the men and women involved. The article "Gender Differences in Patterns and Trends in U.S. Homicide, 1976-2015" is published in Violence and Gender.

Just ask: Documenting sexual orientation and gender identity among transgender patients

Transgender patients feel it is more important for health care providers to know their gender identity (GI) than their sexual orientation (SI), but are willing to disclose SO/GI in general. That is the primary finding of a study to be published in the June 2017 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), a journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

Medicare plans to replace Social Security numbers on cards

Old Medicare cards will be going in the shredder.

Study documents opioid abuse following urologic surgery

About 1 in 1,111 patients who undergo urologic surgery for conditions such as prostate cancer and kidney stones experience opioid dependence or overdose (ODO), a Loyola Medicine study has found.

A tough talk: How to improve cost transparency in cancer care

Being transparent about the cost of cancer treatments with patients has been increasingly recommended to help minimize financial harm and improve care, but what's preventing or derailing those conversations is less understood. New findings from Penn Medicine that identified several barriers and key facilitators may help providers foster more successful discussions with their patients.

Biology news

Research uses heat to predict species most threatened by climate change

Climate change is a threat to all species, but which species will be under the greatest threat?

Phenotypic plasticity of gecko calls reveals the complex communication of lizards

It has now been shown for the first time that non-avian reptiles are able to adjust their calls in relation to environmental noise as is known for the complex vocal communication systems of birds and mammals. In Tokays, night active geckos of South East Asia, researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen found an increase in the duration of brief call notes in the presence of broadcast noise compared to quiet conditions. The geckos did not adjust the amplitude of their calls, however, under noisy conditions the animals produced more of the louder syllables. This discovery shows that the communication systems of non-avian reptiles are much more complex than previously thought and that they already possess faculties that are typical of sophisticated signaling of birds and mammals.

Domesticated rice dated back 9,400 years in China

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China has dated rice material excavated from a dig site in South China's Zhejiang province back to approximately 9,400 years ago. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes where they found the evidence of early rice, their testing and dating techniques, and what they found.

Evolution on the fast lane—One flounder species became two

A research group at the University of Helsinki discovered the fastest event of speciation in any marine vertebrate when studying flounders in an international research collaboration project. This finding has an important implication on how we understand evolution in the sea.

Chemical coatings boss around bacteria, in the bugs' own language

Princeton researchers have developed a way to place onto surfaces special coatings that chemically "communicate" with bacteria, telling them what to do. The coatings, which could be useful in inhibiting or promoting bacterial growth as needed, possess this controlling power over bacteria because, in effect, they "speak" the bug's own language.

Genetic analysis of New World birds confirms untested evolutionary assumption

Biologists have always been fascinated by the diversity and changeability of life on Earth and have attempted to answer a fundamental question: How do new species originate?

Geneticist wants to arm farmers with improved pigeon peas

Researchers have identified key genes associated with flowering time in the pigeon pea, a finding that could lead to more productive plants for this important source of protein.

Around the world, environmental laws are under attack in all sorts of ways

As President Donald Trump mulls over whether to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, it is hard to imagine that he's listening to the experts. US climate researchers are being so stifled, ignored or blackballed that France has now offered sanctuary to these misunderstood souls.

Why killing coyotes doesn't make livestock safer

Few Americans probably know that their tax dollars paid to kill 76,859 coyotes in 2016. The responsible agency was Wildlife Services (WS), part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to "resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist." This broad mandate includes everything from reducing bird strikes at airports to curbing the spread of rabies.

Identifying species from a single caviar egg

A new tool enables identification of high-end caviar from Beluga sturgeons by analyzing DNA from a single caviar, a development that helps ensure the fair international trade of caviar and contributes to conservation of the species in the wild.

How the popularity of sea cucumbers is threatening coastal communities

Coastal communities are struggling with the complex social and ecological impacts of a growing global hunger for a seafood delicacy, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

Multiple biological clocks control the daily rhythms of physiology and behavior in animals and humans. Whether and how these clocks are connected with each other is still a largely open question. A new study now shows that a central clock governs the circadian rhythms in certain cases.

The chemistry of plants facing multiple stress scenarios

All living organisms harbour complex chemical networks inside their cells. The sum of all these chemical reactions is the driving force of life and is called metabolism. In his thesis work, Stefano Papazian at UmeƄ University, studies how plants adapt their metabolic networks to respond to different environmental stresses.

Study finds greater risk of extinction among high diversity amphibian groups

A new study by Simon Fraser University biologists Dan Greenberg and Arne Mooers offers clues to why more than 30 per cent of amphibians, including frogs, newts, toads and salamanders, are at risk of extinction. 

Hunting can help European ecosystems

Hunting as an outdoor activity is underrated in how it helps nature and society to regulate problem animal overpopulations. Such is the case for Europe's wild boar Sus scrofa, according to Spanish researchers from the IREC institute (UCLM and CSIC), and Principado de Asturias, published in Springer's European Journal of Wildlife Research.

Biologists find missing link for the 'safe' signal in plants

The hormone jasmonic acid plays a major role in the plant immune system and in regulating growth. Scientists have already learned much about how jasmonic acid works, but one important link was missing: what makes the plant's jasmonic acid level go down once the attack by a fungus or insect has been warded off? Plant biologists at Utrecht University and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam, have now discovered how the plant metabolises jasmonic acid, issuing the signal 'safe'. Controlling this mechanism may present new opportunities to increase resistance of crops to fungi and insects. The results of their research were published in the scientific journal PNAS on Tuesday 30 May.

Chimpanzees adapt their foraging behavior to avoid human contact

Research by PhD candidate Nicola Bryson-Morrison from the University of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC) suggests chimpanzees are aware of the risks of foraging too close to humans.

Biologists study the principles underlying the collective movement of baboons

How do baboons succeed in coordinating the movements of their group? Biologists at the University of Konstanz study these organisms in the wild to find out which behavioural rules baboons use when interacting with others. Konstanz researchers have found out that the animals only need a few simple rules to coordinate their group movements, enabling them to organise themselves, and to make decisions, without splitting. In four recent research publications - published in the journals Science, Scientific Reports, eLife and the Proceedings of the Royal Society B - the Konstanz scientists paint a new picture of group dynamics among baboons with unprecedented detail by tracking how individuals make decisions within a group. Research partners were the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama as well as Princeton University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

More frequent extreme ocean warming could further endanger albatross

As Earth warms due to human-caused climate change, extreme climatic events like heat waves, droughts, and spikes in ocean temperatures have increased and are projected to become even more common by the end of this century.

Vegetables rotting? Check bacteria conversation

Bacteria "conversation" may be an early trigger for plant pathogens virulence, show scientists from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC, Portugal). In a study published now in the open access journal mBio, the research team led by Karina Xavier discovered that the virulence of pathogenic bacteria is precipitated in the presence of other pathogenic species that release chemical signals to the environment.

Panda stars get first taste of life in The Netherlands

Cautiously at first and then with mounting curiosity, two giant pandas stepped outside into their new open-air enclosure at a Dutch zoo on Tuesday, met by a barrage of cameras and squeals of delight.

More to the bunch: Study finds large chromosomal swaps key to banana domestication

Bananas are one of the most important staple crops of the tropics, transported with great care over great distances to satisfy the world's appetite. And today, with more than half the world's bananas coming from a single, Cavendish variety, they may increasingly become susceptible to funguses that threaten its livelihood, such as the devastating Panama disease.

Quest for drought-resistant chickpea could benefit poor farmers

Scientists are seeking to develop chickpeas that can flourish in dry climates, to help some of the world's poorest farmers reliably grow the staple crop.


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1 comment:

Pathy Ephele said...

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