Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, May 24

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 24, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Double-blind study suggests humans have olfactory defense against contagious disease

An artificial Venus flytrap that operates on light

Study shows human brain pre-plays anticipated events in fast motion

Discovered: Fast-growing galaxies from early universe

Microhabitats enhance butterfly diversity in nature's imitation game

Friends help female vampire bats cope with loss

Whales only recently evolved into giants when changing ice, oceans concentrated prey

Weaponized penis drives sexual 'arms race' (in beetles)

Newly-published spinach genome will make more than Popeye stronger

Largest psoriasis meta-analysis to date yields new genetic clues

Revealed: How polyomavirus tricks our cells into helping it build its invasion route

Secret weapon of smart bacteria tracked to 'sweet tooth'

Feather-light metal cathodes for stable lithium-oxygen batteries

Research explores 'artificial leaf' system for solar fuel production

Water is surprisingly ordered on the nanoscale

Astronomy & Space news

Discovered: Fast-growing galaxies from early universe

A team of astronomers including Carnegie's Eduardo Bañados and led by Roberto Decarli of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has discovered a new kind of galaxy which, although extremely old—formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang—creates stars more than a hundred times faster than our own Milky Way.

Gravitational waves data suggest Goldilocks black holes are rare

Black holes can be divided into three classes according to mass. On the low end are those with masses 10 times that of the sun. Examples are the two black holes whose merger generated the first gravitational wave to be detected, by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), an international team including researchers in the School of Physics' Center for Relativistic Astrophysics (CRA). LIGO stands for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a facility based in the U.S.

Largest-ever simulations help uncover the history of the galaxy

Thousands of processors, terabytes of data, and months of computing time have helped a group of researchers in Germany create some of the largest and highest resolution simulations ever made of galaxies like our Milky Way.

Volunteers help astronomers find star that exploded 970 million years ago, predating the dinosaurs

Online volunteers, including a woman from Belgium and a Scottish man, have helped astronomers at The Australian National University (ANU) find a star that exploded 970 million years ago, predating the dinosaurs' time on Earth.

Crash report: Confused by spin, Mars probe failed to brake

An independent report has concluded that Europe's Schiaparelli probe crash-landed on Mars last year because its systems couldn't cope with a brief, wild rotation during its descent.

Mouse sperm survives in space, but could human babies?

Freeze-dried mouse sperm that spent nine months in space has been used to produce healthy rodent offspring back on Earth, Japanese researchers said this week.

Here's how we can detect plants on extrasolar planets

The past year has been an exciting time for those engaged in the hunt for extra-solar planets and potentially habitable worlds. In August of 2016, researchers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) confirmed the existence of the closest exoplanet to Earth (Proxima b) yet discovered. This was followed a few months later (February of 2017) with the announcement of a seven-planet system around TRAPPIST-1.

Understanding star formation in the nucleus of galaxy IC 342

An international team of researchers used NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, to make maps of the ring of molecular clouds that encircles the nucleus of galaxy IC 342. The maps determined the proportion of hot gas surrounding young stars as well as cooler gas available for future star formation. The SOFIA maps indicate that most of the gas in the central zone of IC 342, like the gas in a similar region of our Milky Way Galaxy, is heated by already-formed stars, and relatively little is in dormant clouds of raw material.

Technology news

An artificial Venus flytrap that operates on light

(Tech Xplore)—A trio of researchers with Tampere University of Technology in Finland has designed and built a simple robot that mimics the actions of a Venus flytrap plant. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, Owies Wani, Hao Zeng and Arri Priimagi describe the concept behind their robot, how it works and some possible uses for it.

Research explores 'artificial leaf' system for solar fuel production

If human beings could mimic the way plants make their own fuel, it's not a stretch to say that Earth's energy needs could be solved.

Using Bitcoin to prevent identity theft

A reaction to the 2008 financial crisis, Bitcoin is a digital-currency scheme designed to wrest control of the monetary system from central banks. With Bitcoin, anyone can mint money, provided he or she can complete a complex computation quickly enough. Through a set of clever protocols, that computational hurdle prevents the system from being coopted by malicious hackers.

New way to test self-driving cars could cut 99.9 percent of validation costs

Mobility researchers at the University of Michigan have devised a new way to test autonomous vehicles that bypasses the billions of miles they would need to log for consumers to consider them road-ready.

Shedding light on how humans walk... with robots

Learning how to walk is difficult for toddlers to master; it's even harder for adults who are recovering from a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other condition, requiring months of intensive, often frustrating physical therapy. With the recent boom of the robotic exoskeleton industry, more and more patients are being strapped into machines that apply forces to their legs as they walk, gently prodding them to modify their movements by lengthening their strides, straightening their hips, and bending their knees. But, are all patients benefiting from this kind of treatment? A group of scientists led by Paolo Bonato, Ph.D., Associate Faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, has discovered a crucial caveat for rehabilitative exoskeletons: humans whose lower limbs are fastened to a typical clinical robot only modify their gait if the forces the robot applies threaten their walking stability.

Printed, flexible and rechargeable battery can power wearable sensors

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first printed battery that is flexible, stretchable and rechargeable. The zinc batteries could be used to power everything from wearable sensors to solar cells and other kinds of electronics.

New modified toy car designs offer children with disabilities more options

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed two new modified toy car designs for children with disabilities in an effort to encourage them to further explore, play, and engage in physical and social activities.

CCC members show iris recognition bypass using photo, contact lens

(Tech Xplore)—Mobile vendors have turned to novel biometric ways to unlock smartphones. Now iris recognition joins the biometric family, with the concept being that the user looks and an iris scanner can unlock a phone.

Qatar says state news agency hacked

Qatar said Wednesday its official state news agency was hacked and subsequently carried a "false statement" on sensitive regional topics attributed to the country's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Samsung investigating Galaxy S8 'iris hack'

Samsung Electronics is investigating claims by a German hacking group that it fooled the iris recognition system of the new flagship Galaxy S8 device, the firm said Wednesday.

Jump in renewable energy jobs worldwide: agency

The renewable energy sector employed 9.8 million people worldwide in 2016, almost twice as many as in 2012, the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

China shuts some live streaming sites, punishes companies

Chinese authorities have punished dozens of companies involved in live online broadcasting and shut down 10 platforms for showing content that was pornographic, related to gambling or involved content considered superstitious and harmful to minors.

Researchers tackle autonomous vehicle security

Texas A&M University researchers have developed an intelligent transportation system prototype designed to avoid collisions and prevent hacking of autonomous vehicles. Modern vehicles are increasingly autonomous, relying on sensors to provide information to automatically control them. They are also equipped with internet access for safety or infotainment applications making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. This will only multiply as society transitions to self-driving autonomous vehicles in which hackers could gain control of the sensors, causing confusion, chaos and collisions.

The way we walk can be used to power and secure our devices

When we walk or move, we create kinetic energy in a way that is unique to each of us. Our latest research shows that it's so unique, it can be used to authenticate who we are.

The difficulty of determining which internet apps track personal data

Anyone who spends much time online knows the saying: "If you're not paying, you're the product". That's not exactly correct.

Carcinogenic soot particles from petrol engines

A new study led by Empa scientists finds that some direct-injection gasoline engines emit just as many soot particles as unfiltered diesel cars did in the past. Particle filters can remedy this.

Switching to off-peak delivery times reduces city congestion

In some businesses like supermarkets and restaurants, local restrictions on nighttime deliveries leave distributors no choice but to dispatch trucks during morning rush hours. But lifting these rules could reduce peak traffic volumes and increase transport efficiency, according to a recent study involving researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Five surprising ways holograms are revolutionising the world

We seem to be fascinated by holograms or at least the promise of what they can do. Think the famous Princess Leia projection in Star Wars; holographic fashion shows in New York, Hamburg and Beijing; the massive success of synthetic pop star Hatsune Miku in Japan, or recent reports of holographic politicians in France.

China blocks online broadcast of computer go match

Internet users outside China watched a computer defeat its national go champion, but few Chinese web surfers could see it.

Hyundai Ioniq: 2017's top fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid

The 2017 Ioniq Hybrid is Hyundai's fuel-efficient challenger to the Toyota Prius, America's best-selling gasoline-electric hybrid.

Need cash? Facebook expands personal fundraising tools

Facebook is expanding its fundraising tools that let users ask friends and strangers to give them money to help pay for education, medical or other expenses.

Huge changes are likely for the new iPhone 8, including a whopper of a price tag

Details about the new anniversary iPhone are starting to emerge, and here's a big one: The price is likely to start at about $1,000.

Chinese tech firm LeEco reverses course in US, cuts 325 jobs

Cash-strapped Chinese tech firm LeEco on Wednesday confirmed that it is throttling back plans to invade the US market, cutting 325 jobs months after announcing a major expansion.

Facebook aims for broad views in 'trending topics' tweak

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled its latest redesign to its "trending topics" feature—its latest move to give users a variety of sources on important news events.

Novel technology applied to replace aging bridge

America's bridges received a grade of C+ on the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, put out by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Aging is a factor in this score—almost four in 10 of the 614,387 bridges in the U.S. are 50 years or older, and the average age keeps climbing.

Xbox adds Netflix-style video game subscriptions

Microsoft on Wednesday launched a subscription service for Xbox, letting players pay a monthly fee for access to a library of videogames for its console.

Facebook's moderation rules prove it's OK with being a hostile place for women

Every day, thousands of social media moderators scroll through feeds of threats, pornography, animal and child cruelty, car crashes and bloody beatings in order to decide what is acceptable and what must be removed. And the leaking of Facebook's training manuals means we now know what standard they are working to, allowing content most users would find abhorrent.

Securing large crowds a 'vexing problem'

Late Monday, an explosion at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in England killed 22 people and injured nearly 60 others. The New York Times reported Tuesday that British authorities had identified the bomber who carried out the attack; the deadliest in Britain since 2005.

Qatar begins probe after state news agency hacked

Qatar said Wednesday it had begun an inquiry into an unprecedented security breach by hackers who posted fake news stories attributed to its ruler on highly sensitive regional political issues.

Medicine & Health news

Double-blind study suggests humans have olfactory defense against contagious disease

(Medical Xpress)—A European team of researchers working at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet has found evidence that suggests that humans have an olfactory defense against contagious diseases. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes experiments they conducted with volunteers undergoing fMRI scans while viewing photos and sniffing body odor samples from people experiencing induced immune response.

Study shows human brain pre-plays anticipated events in fast motion

(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers with Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands has found evidence that suggests the human brain learns how some objects move and then replays it when it predicts a familiar scenario is about to unfold—and it does so in fast motion. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, Matthias Ekman, Peter Kok and Floris P. de Lange describe experiments they carried out with volunteers watching moving objects while being observed via fMRI.

Largest psoriasis meta-analysis to date yields new genetic clues

It's one of the most common immune-mediated diseases in the U.S., causing red, patchy and scaly marks on the skin. Yet the 1 to 2 percent of the population who have psoriasis are still left to wonder why.

Ineffective antibiotics form strong teams against deadly super bacteria

In the fight against super bacteria, University at Buffalo scientists are relying on strength in numbers to win the battle against drug resistance.

World-first discovery of protein that causes liver disease brings hope for new treatments

In a world-first discovery, scientists at Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research have identified a protein that causes liver fibrosis (scarring), paving the way for new treatments for liver disease to be developed.

Fitness trackers accurately measure heart rate but not calories burned, study finds

Fitness trackers accurately measure heart rate but not calories burned, Stanford study finds

Zika reached Miami at least four times, Caribbean trravel likely responsible (Update)

With mosquito season looming in the Northern Hemisphere, doctors and researchers are poised to take on a new round of Zika virus infections.

Zika spread secrets tracked through new gene sequencing study

An international research collaboration studying the genetics of Zika virus in Brazil and beyond has provided a new understanding of the disease and its rapid spread through space and time. The research has significant public health implications and has the potential to improve responses to future outbreaks.

Zika virus likely circulated in Americas long before detection during 2015-16 epidemic

The Zika virus circulated in many regions of the Americas for several months before cases of infection were detected, according to new data from an international research team from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and several collaborating institutions.

Brain microenvironment makes HER2-positive breast cancer metastases resistant to treatment

While target therapies directed toward genetic mutations that drive a tumor's growth have significantly improved the outlook for many patients, they have not been as successful in controlling brain metastases in several types of cancer. In the case of breast cancer driven by overexpression of the HER2 gene, up to 50 percent of patients treated with targeted therapies eventually develop brain metastases, which are inevitably fatal. Now a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-based research team has identified a novel mechanism behind the resistance to HER2- or PI3K-targeted therapies and a treatment strategy that may overcome this resistance.

Study documents range of challenging meditation experiences

Meditation is increasingly being marketed as a treatment for conditions such as pain, depression, stress and addiction, and while many people achieve therapeutic goals, other meditators encounter a much broader range of experiences—sometimes distressing and even impairing ones—along the way.

Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your 30s profoundly transforms the brain

Reading is such a new ability in human evolutionary history that the existence of a 'reading area' could not be specified in our genes. A kind of recycling process has to take place in the brain while learning to read: Areas evolved for the recognition of complex objects, such as faces, become engaged in translating letters into language. Some regions of our visual system thereby turn into interfaces between the visual and language systems.

Year-long survey tracks the microbiome of a newly opened hospital

A 12-month study mapping bacterial diversity within a hospital—with a focus on the flow of microbes between patients, staff and surfaces—should help hospitals worldwide better understand how to encourage beneficial microbial interactions and decrease potentially harmful contact.

Blood test for pancreatic cancer shows early promise

Scientists say they've developed a new blood test for identifying pancreatic cancer—a step that might eventually allow earlier diagnosis.

Brain anatomy differs in people with 22q genetic risk for schizophrenia, autism

A UCLA study characterizes, for the first time, brain differences between people with a specific genetic risk for schizophrenia and those at risk for autism, and the findings could help explain the biological underpinnings of these neuropsychiatric disorders.

Chondroitin sulfate as good as widely used anti-inflammatory for knee osteoarthritis

High quality (pharmaceutical grade) chondroitin sulfate is as good as a widely prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (celecoxib) for the treatment of painful knee osteoarthritis, concludes research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Where body fat is carried can predict cancer risk

Scientists have found that carrying fat around your middle could be as good an indicator of cancer risk as body mass index (BMI), according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer today.

Vitamin D supplements could help pain management

Vitamin D supplementation combined with good sleeping habits may help manage pain-related diseases. This paper published in the Journal of Endocrinology, reviews published research on the relationship between vitamin D levels, sleep and pain management, and reports that levels of vitamin D combined with good quality sleep could help manage conditions including arthritis, menstrual cramps and chronic back pain.

Enforcing a weekday bedtime could help your child get sufficient sleep

Enforcing rules about bedtimes could help your child get the sleep they need on weekdays, according to new research published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

New 'sperm radar' test may uncover secrets about male infertility

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have developed a new technique to examine human sperm without killing them—helping to improve the diagnosis of fertility problems.

Making people feel bad can be a strategy for helping them

People may try to make someone else feel negative emotions if they think experiencing those emotions will be beneficial in the long run, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings expand on previous research by revealing that people may sometimes seek to induce negative emotions in others for altruistic reasons, not simply for their own pleasure or benefit.

New Anaesthesia Workforce Map shows huge shortages impacting 5 billion people worldwide

Today the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) officially launched a landmark online resource tool mapping the total number of anaesthesia providers worldwide. A high number of countries reported a total anaesthesia provider number of less than 5 per 100,000 population, highlighting the current crisis in the surgical and anaesthesia workforce that has left 5 billion people without access to safe and affordable anaesthesia and surgical care [1].

Success of stem cell therapy for diabetes depends on pre-transplant immune condition

An innovative method for treating type 1 diabetes based on the transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells taken from the patient's own bone marrow began undergoing testing in Brazil 13 years ago. The results were highly variable. While some of the volunteers were able to stop self-injecting insulin for more than a decade, others had to resume use of the medication only a few months after receiving the experimental treatment.

Treating obesity and depression concurrently

Treating depression and obesity together is at the heart of a new health program with global ramifications.

Nanotherapeutic technology could safely, effectively convert bad fat to good fat, treat obesity

A Purdue-based startup is developing a disruptive nanotherapeutic platform that could induce conversion of bad fat to good fat in an effort to provide a safe and effective way to treat obesity and diabetes.

Study shows telomere shortening in youth with higher pollution exposure

Children and teens exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution have evidence of a specific type of DNA damage called telomere shortening, reports a study in the May Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Researchers create palm-size device for treatment of common hearing disorder

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a novel handheld device called CLiKX for the treatment of a condition called otitis media with effusion (OME), or 'glue ear,' which is the leading cause of hearing loss and visits to the doctors among children worldwide. This NUS invention, which is sensor-guided and easy to use, could significantly improve current surgical treatment of the condition.

Empowerment is key to better performing hospital employees, study says

For many patients, what helps make their hospital stay a much better experience is the help of a good health care provider at their bedside. But what helps these providers perform better? A recent study showed that feeling empowered goes a long way in dynamic settings like those of hospitals and empowerment can be promoted by creating an environment that encourages proactive behaviors directed toward prioritizing patient care.

Television viewing a predictor of weight change in children over time

Researchers at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University observed little effect of health behaviors, including eating habits, television viewing, and physical activity, on change in weight among children.

Study finds minority children prescribed ADHD medication more likely to discontinue treatment

A study led by researchers from the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health published in the June 2017 edition of Pediatrics found higher rates of medication discontinuation and treatment disengagement among minority youth compared to whites diagnosed with and prescribed medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

How childhood trauma can affect mental and physical health into adulthood

For millions of children in the U.S., poverty, neglect or abuse is a reality of everyday life, though these struggles are often hidden from view.

Teaching practices could play an important role in preventing bullying

Classrooms that encourage competition between students may inadvertently be creating settings where bullying is more likely to take place. That's one of the conclusions that can be drawn from work led by McGill University researchers Maria Di Stasio and Robert Savage, who recently published a paper on the subject in the Journal of Adolescence. But it's only part of the story.

Aging population in England and Wales with care needs set to grow by 25% within a decade 

The number of people aged over 65 years needing care could reach 2.8 million by 2025 in England and Wales – an increase of 25 percent from 2015 (equivalent to an additional 560000 people) over a decade, according to a study involving Professor Eric Brunner (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health), published today in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Researchers identify 'signal' crucial to stem cell function in hair follicles

Stem cell researchers at the University of Calgary have found another piece of the puzzle behind what may contribute to hair loss and prevent wounds from healing normally.

Researchers identify surface proteins responsible for navigating immune cells to sites of inflammation

The protein tags that adorn immune cells and engage with receptors to promote inflammation in the body's endothelial tissues are not what they were thought to be. An investigation by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has identified the true surface proteins expressed by T-cells that mediate this molecular liaison, a finding that could help scientists control inflammation that has gone haywire.

New insights gained into genetics of gout in Maori and Pacific people

Newly identified gene variants contribute to explaining why Māori and Pacific people have the highest rates worldwide of gout, the painful and debilitating arthritic disease, an international collaboration led by University of Otago researchers has found.

Rabies is a real and rising threat to people and pets

The warm months are a time to beware of rabies as an infectious disease that can threaten the health of people and their pets – a fact underscored in mid-May, when state health agencies reported that two dogs in Colorado had been diagnosed with rabies.

Early puberty linked to growing up in poorer homes

Children from disadvantaged households are more likely to hit puberty early and could face poorer health later in life as a result, an Australian study has shown.

GPs' heart disease prediction tool narrows search for at-risk patients

A prediction tool that allows GPs to spot patients most at risk from heart disease and stroke before illness strikes is now more accurate than ever before, a study from the University of Nottingham has shown.

Short and long sleep, and sleep disturbances associated with increased risk of dementia and lung cancer

Difficulties in initiating or maintaining sleep at middle-age are associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The 20-year follow-up study was conducted among 2,682 men participating the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Study. The study participants were aged 42‒60 years at the baseline examinations in 1984‒1989. Shorter or longer sleep than 7–7.5 hours related independently with an increased risk of lung cancer after health behaviour, such as smoking, was taken account of. Additionally, a relationship between higher serum copper levels and short sleep duration was observed.

How social ties make us resilient to trauma

The May 22 suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, England has claimed at least 22 lives. Once again we find ourselves mourning the loss of innocents and wondering how our societies can find normalcy in a world of suicide attacks, car rammings and mass shootings. Many pundits have already called for the United Kingdom and other societies to increase their levels of security, add more police officers and install security personnel, bag checks and metal detectors in public places.

Big hunt for small molecule to treat neurodegenerative diseases

Late last year, University of Arizona colleagues Daniela Zarnescu and May Khanna sped west on Interstate 8 bound for a brain-research conference in San Diego. Khanna is a biochemist who works with small molecules. Zarnescu is a molecular and cellular biologist who works with flies.

Opinion: Cannabis isn't the health problem—it's the tobacco you mix with it

Europe may seem like an increasingly divided continent, but there is one thing that unites its people: an obsession with using tobacco to smoke cannabis. Up to 90% of Europeans combine tobacco with cannabis, according to the latest Global Drug Survey. By comparison, only 8% of Americans smoke cannabis this way.

The surprising science of fidgeting

Hand-held toys known as "fidget spinners" – marketed as "stress relievers" – have become so popular and distracting in classrooms that they are now being banned in many schools. And it's not just kids who like to fidget. Look around your office and you will probably see people bouncing their legs up and down, turning pens over and over in their hands, chewing on things, sucking on their lower lips and pulling bits of their beard out – seemingly completely unconsciously.

Emotional toll from mass trauma can disrupt children's sense of competence

Traumatic events can have a profound effect on communities. Whether it is a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado, the aftermath can have lasting effects, especially on children.

Machine learning may help in early identification of severe sepsis

A machine-learning algorithm has the capability to identify hospitalized patients at risk for severe sepsis and septic shock using data from electronic health records (EHRs), according to a study presented at the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference. Sepsis is an extreme systemic response to infection, which can be life-threatening in its advanced stages of severe sepsis and septic shock, if left untreated.

Scientists gain better understanding of how Ebola disables people's immune defenses

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston scientists have unlocked mysteries of how the Ebola virus hampers the body's natural defenses to speed the rate of infection and its accompanying lethal disease, according to a new report in PLOS Pathogens. The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of Washington and The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Bronchial thermoplasty helps reduce severe asthma attacks and ER visits

In a new study presented at the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference, adult asthma patients treated with bronchial thermoplasty (BT) had fewer severe exacerbations and were able to reduce their ER visits and hospitalizations in the two years following treatment. Approved by the FDA in 2010, BT is a new device-based therapy that uses a series of three radio-frequency treatments to open the airways of adults with severe, persistent asthma whose symptoms are not adequately controlled by inhaled corticosteroids or long-acting beta-agonists.

In-hospital COPD mortality shows large drop from 2005-2014

While the number of hospitalizations for COPD in the United States fluctuated within a narrow range between 2005 and 2014, in-hospital deaths decreased substantially during that same time, according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.

How listening to music in a group influences depression

Listening to music together with others has many social benefits, including creating and strengthening interpersonal bonds. It has previously been shown that enjoying music in a group setting has an impact on social relationships, and that synchronizing with other group members to a beat influences how people behave to individuals both within and outside of the group. Similarly, the sharing of emotions has many social benefits as well: it helps us create and sustain relationships with others and to cement social bonds within a group, and it intensifies the potential for emotional responses. A question that still remains is whether sharing emotional and musical experiences with others might be a particularly powerful form of social bonding, and what the outcome of such an interaction might be.

Can parents' tech obsessions contribute to a child's bad behavior?

Fatigue. Hunger. Boredom. Those are often on the list of reasons parents mention if their child whines, has tantrums or acts out.

$100M gift to create University of Chicago health institute

A Chicago-area family is giving University of Chicago Medicine its biggest ever donation—$100 million to establish an institute devoted to improving health and preventing disease by optimizing the body's own defenses.

Program helps reduce risk of delirium, hospital length of stay for older patients undergoing surgery

Older patients who underwent major abdominal surgery and received an intervention that included nutritional assistance and early mobilization were less likely to experience delirium and had a shorter hospital stay, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Researchers demonstrate mathematical modeling limits aggressive tumor cell growth

Cancers can be viewed as complex dynamic systems because they have many interacting parts that can change over time and space. Perhaps the most well-known complex dynamic system is the weather and, similar to weather forecasting, researchers in the Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department at the Moffitt Cancer Center are using mathematical methods to account for many variables in the search for new ways to understand and control cancer. Their recent study, which appears as the cover article in the May issue of Cancer Research, shows that mathematical models can be used to predict how different tumor cell populations interact with each other and respond to a changing environment. They found that, by using math models to understand the complex dynamics within cancers, they could use small changes in the environment to promote the growth of cells that are less aggressive and thereby decrease tumor growth.

New report finds quarter of adults with autism on disability services don't have work or activities

A quarter of adults with autism who use developmental disability services are not working or participating in other structured activities during the day, with only 14 percent holding a paying job in the community, according to the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.

Study identifies cost-effective ways to combat HIV risk among intravenous drug users

With the abuse of opioids on the rise in the United States, Stanford University researchers are concerned that increased HIV transmission from shared needles won't be far behind.

Hospitals vary widely in transitioning from treatment to comfort care after stroke

Hospitals vary widely in how often they transition people with strokes from active treatment to comfort or hospice care within 48 hours after they get to the hospital, according to a new study published in the May 24, 2017, online issue of Neurology Clinical Practice, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Parent training on ADHD using volunteers can help meet growing treatment needs

Using volunteers to train parents concerned about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their children can improve capacity to meet increasing ADHD treatment needs, finds a new study by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Too little sleep may raise death risk in people with cluster of heart disease risk factors

People with a common cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes were approximately twice as likely to die of heart disease or stroke as people without the same set of risk factors if they failed to get more than six hours of sleep, according to a new observational study published in the association's open access publication Journal of the American Heart Association. For those who got more sleep, the risk of death was more modest.

Genetic mutation studies help validate new strategy for reducing lipids, cholesterol

A new strategy - an injectable antibody - for lowering blood lipids and thereby potentially preventing coronary artery disease and other conditions caused by the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances on the artery walls, is supported by findings from two new studies from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Canada's largest hospital reports on year of medically assisted dying

Today, in the New England Journal of Medicine, the team from University Health Network in Toronto that developed the organization's protocol for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) describes UHN's approach and experience. This comes a year after Canada decriminalized medically assisted dying throughout the country.

Cannabis derivative cannabidiol reduces seizures in severe epilepsy disorder

After years of anecdotal claims about its benefits, the cannabis derivative cannabidiol reduced seizure frequency by 39 percent for patients with Dravet syndrome - a rare, severe form of epilepsy - in the first large-scale randomized clinical trial for the compound. The findings were published online May 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Drug for refractory psoriatic arthritis shows promise in clinical trial

In a pivotal phase-3 clinical trial led by a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator, patients with psoriatic arthritis for whom standard-of-care pharmaceutical treatments have provided no lasting relief experienced a significant reduction in symptoms, including joint tenderness and swelling, when they were given a new drug.

Learning about nutrition from 'food porn' and online quizzes

Many of our social media feeds are dominated by beautiful, mouth-watering photos of food. These photos inspire some serious food envy but could they also educate and encourage healthier eating?

Noted experts critically evaluate benefits of medical marijuana for treatment of epilepsy

Although cannabis had been used for many centuries for treatment of seizure disorders, medical use became prohibited in the 20th century. However, with the loosening of laws regarding medical marijuana, research and clinical use of marijuana-derived substances are increasing. This has prompted the editors of Epilepsy & Behavior to produce a special issue that presents an in-depth assessment of the potential of cannabinoids for the effective treatment of epilepsy. Cannabinoids are components of the cannabis plant.

Study suggests metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk

A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world's largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.

Mindfulness-focused childbirth education leads to less depression

Mindfulness may be good for new moms. A study this month from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) shows mindfulness training that addresses fear and pain during childbirth can improve women's childbirth experiences and reduce their depression symptoms during pregnancy and the early postpartum period.

1 in 5 US kids killed in crashes not restrained properly

(HealthDay)—If parents need more proof that car seats and seat belts save young lives, researchers now report that one in every five children killed in car crashes in the United States was unrestrained or improperly restrained.

Know the signs of thyroid trouble

(HealthDay)—When your thyroid isn't working properly, it can cause a lot of problems. It's important to understand what your thyroid does and to be aware of signs that can signal a health issue.

Sleep apnea reporting low among individuals aged 65+

(HealthDay)—From 1993 to 2011, physicians reported sleep apnea (SA) in 0.3 percent of all office visits among individuals aged 65 years and older, according to a study published online May 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Double-edged health care experience for endometriosis

(HealthDay)—For women with endometriosis, the health care experience is double-edged, with both a destructive and constructive side, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Elements of a patient-centered hospital room identified

(HealthDay)—As a result of a study published online March 15 in the Health Environments Research & Design Journal, a theoretical design framework has been generated for patient hospital rooms.

Normal meal tolerance test is practical, reliable in T2DM

(HealthDay)—A normal meal tolerance test (NMTT)—a simplified version of the mixed meal tolerance test—is valuable as an insulin secretion test in patients with type 2 diabetes, with exception of those in a hyperglycemic state, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

First-of-its-kind study shows how hand amputation, reattachment affect brain

When a person loses a hand to amputation, nerves that control sensation and movement are severed, causing dramatic changes in areas of the brain that controlled these functions. As a result, areas of the brain devoted to the missing hand take on other functions. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found evidence of specific neurochemical changes associated with lower neuronal health in these brain regions. Further, they report that some of these changes in the brain may persist in individuals who receive hand transplants, despite their recovered hand function.

New online database has answers on mitochondrial disorders

Providing answers—or at least more information—to the most difficult medical questions is the aim of medical scientists. And how research findings are translated and made available can be as important as the discoveries themselves.

Recreational cannabis, used often, increases risk of gum disease

Columbia University dental researchers have found that frequent recreational use of cannabis—including marijuana, hashish, and hash oil—increases the risk of gum disease.

Three types of work stress increasing in the US, according to researchers

Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center's School of Public Health have determined that two stressful work characteristics, low job control and "job strain"—that is, high-demand, low-control work—have been increasing in the U.S. since 2002.

Two types of empathy elicit different health effects, psychologist shows

When a close friend shares bad news, our instinct is to help. But putting ourselves in a friend's shoes, imagining how we would feel if we were the one suffering, may have detrimental effects on our own health, according to a new study led by the University of Pennsylvania's Anneke E. K. Buffone. She is the lead research scientist of the World Well-Being Project in the School of Arts & Sciences' Positive Psychology Center.

New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery

Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. The device provides higher resolution neural readings than existing tools used in the clinic and could enable doctors to perform safer, more precise brain surgeries.

Researcher identifies targets for better anti-thrombotic medicine

Blood platelets shore up open wounds and help cuts heal, but they can also cause heart attacks and strokes when a congealed ball of platelets known as a thrombus breaks free from a site of injury and gets lodged in blood vessels that feed oxygen to the brain or heart. Blood thinners, such as aspirin, reduce the risk of thrombus formation but also interfere with the initial clot formation that is essential for preventing blood loss from the wounds. Now researchers have discovered that a molecule plays a role in thrombus development, but not the initial clot formation, suggesting a new avenue for developing more specific and protective blood thinners. The results were published May 24 in the journal PLOS ONE.

New drug approved for all cancers with genetic marker

(HealthDay)—Keytruda (pembrolizumab) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat any cancer that has a certain genetic biomarker, regardless of where in the body the cancer originated.

Ads, not research, create some best-selling drugs

An overhead light drawing attention to his face, actor Danny Glover starts to cry, dropping his head into one hand - and then, he abruptly switches over to deep belly laughs, before resuming a straight face. "When I act, if I do this it's totally in my control," he says, getting to the point: "But for someone with pseudobulbar affect, choosing to cry or laugh may not be your decision."

FDA: Controller for heart pump recalled over deaths

Federal regulators say nearly 29,000 controllers for implanted heart pumps are being recalled after reports of 26 deaths linked to malfunctions.

Harvard Medical School expert calls for protection of critical gains made in cancer care under ACA

Cancer—the second leading cause of death in the United States—claims more than 600,000 lives each year.

Child patients value warm medical encounters

Aalto University researchers and the HUCH Children's Hospital carried out collaborative research into the views of child patients and their families on hospital visits, the care received and life with long-term illness. The research project included developing a patient experience survey for the parents of patients at the Children's Hospital, and investigating the children's own experience for designing future digital services.

UNICEF: Lives of 24 million children threatened by conflict

Violence and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa threaten the lives of over 24 million children, most of them in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, the United Nation's children agency said in a report Wednesday.

Racial disparities in risk of stroke

In a Correspondence in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers led by Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, explore the impact of efforts to reduce risk factors for stroke in black patients. Cheng and colleagues write, "There has been a disparity between blacks and whites in the rates at which the contributions of risk factors for stroke have diminished. Given the potential for interventions to modify the risk of stroke, targeted efforts to address particular risk factors may reduce the overall burden of stroke among blacks."

Does new cash-out option in sports betting increase risk for problem gamblers?

The increasingly popular cash-out feature in online sports betting is a game-changer, but instead of just giving gamblers more control over their bets, it may increase the risk of problem gamblers losing control over their wagers. What regulators and policymakers can do to protect gambling consumers from potential harm caused by this new type of betting are explored in an article published in Gaming Law Review.

Vermont governor vetoes marijuana bill, wants changes made

Republican Gov. Phil Scott on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have made Vermont the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana but indicated that he was willing to work with the Legislature on a compromise.

Drugmaker paying $33M over recalled nonprescription meds

Johnson & Johnson has reached a $33 million settlement with 42 states, resolving allegations the health care giant sold numerous nonprescription medicines that didn't meet federal quality requirements for a couple of years.

Biology news

Microhabitats enhance butterfly diversity in nature's imitation game

The spectacular variety of colours and patterns that butterflies use to ward off potential predators may result from highly localised environmental conditions known as "microhabitats", researchers have found.

Friends help female vampire bats cope with loss

Female vampire bats form strong social bonds with their mothers and daughters as they groom and share regurgitated meals of blood. They also form friendships with less closely related bats. Gerry Carter, post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), and colleagues discovered that unrelated friends are important backup support when family members go missing.

Whales only recently evolved into giants when changing ice, oceans concentrated prey

The blue whale, which uses baleen to filter its prey from ocean water and can reach lengths of over 100 feet, is the largest vertebrate animal that has ever lived. On the list of the planet's most massive living creatures, the blue whale shares the top ranks with most other species of baleen whales alive today. According to new research from scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, however, it was only recently in whale's evolutionary past that they became so enormous.

Weaponized penis drives sexual 'arms race' (in beetles)

Evolution works in mysterious ways, especially when it comes to sex.

Newly-published spinach genome will make more than Popeye stronger

"I'm strong to the finich, 'cause I eats me spinach!" said Popeye the Sailor Man.

Revealed: How polyomavirus tricks our cells into helping it build its invasion route

Every cell in our body runs like a tiny factory that makes specialized products, using the carefully guarded instructions kept in the CEO's office.

Secret weapon of smart bacteria tracked to 'sweet tooth'

Researchers have figured out how a once-defeated bacterium has re-emerged to infect cotton in a battle that could sour much of the Texas and U.S. crop.

Neuromechanics of flamingos' amazing feats of balance

If you've watched flamingos at the zoo – or if you're lucky, in the wild – you've likely wondered how flamingos manage to sleep standing on one leg.

Birds, bees and other critters have scruples, and for good reason

Humans are not the only species to show a strong work ethic and scruples. UC Berkeley researchers have found evidence of conscientiousness in insects, reptiles, birds, fish and other critters.

Hormone boost makes wild seals spend more time with each other

Scientists at the University of St Andrews have discovered that grey seals are friendlier and want to spend more time with each other when their levels of the hormone oxytocin are increased.

How do blind cavefish find their way? The answer could be in their bones

Imagine living in perpetual darkness in an alien world where you have to find food quickly by touch or starve for months at a time.

Researchers identify genetic variants that help plants grow in low-iron environments, which could improve crop yields

Just like people, plants need iron to grow and stay healthy. But some plants are better at getting this essential nutrient from the soil than others. Now, a study led by a researcher at the Salk Institute has found that variants of a single gene can largely determine a plant's ability to thrive in environments where iron is scarce.

Song diversity hints at thrushes' evolutionary past

The Hermit Thrush is famous for its melodiously undulating song, but we know very little about whether—and if so, how—its songs vary across the large swath of North America that it calls home in the summer. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances provides the first thorough overview of geographic variation in Hermit Thrush song structure and hints at how isolation and adaptation shape differences in the tunes of a learned song within a species.

Stingless bees have specialized guards to defend their colonies, study reveals

Like ants and termites, several species of stingless bees have specialized guards or soldiers to defend their colonies from attacks by natural enemies.

Ocean currents affect how climate change impacts movements of species to cooler regions

A new study published in Scientific Reports provides novel insight into how species' distributions change from the interaction between climate change and ocean currents.

To ensure constant food supply, edible dormice give up their favourite food

Rodents such as the edible dormouse feed preferentially on high-energy seeds. They deliver the energy needed for reproduction and help juvenile animals put on the necessary fat reserves before their first hibernation season. But this important food source is not available every year. Beech trees save energy by producing seeds only in certain years, and on a large scale, these years are called mast years. Edible dormice adapt to this cycle with a pragmatic choice of territory. A long-term study by researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna has now shown for the first time that edible dormice avoid areas with a high beech density. Instead, they prefer areas with a balanced mix of conifers and beech trees. The alternative food source allows the rodents to survive non-mast years without having to move to a new territory. However, they still find enough beech seeds to reproduce and feed their offspring during mast years. The results were published in Frontiers in Zoology.

Wind blows young migrant birds to all corners of Africa

Migrant birds that breed in the same area in Europe spread out across all of Africa during the northern winter. A new satellite-tracking study shows that the destination of individual birds is largely determined by the wind conditions they encounter during their first migration. The results were made available open access in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Scientists overcome pig genome flaw

Through her work, Dr Rebecca O'Connor in the School of Biosciences, found previously undiscovered, fundamental flaws in the pig genome, the results of which have contributed to improved mapping of the pig genome.

Researchers combine two advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques

Is it possible to watch at the level of single cells how fish embryos become trout, carp or salmon? Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have successfully combined two very advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques. The new high-resolution light microscope permits fascinating insights into a cell's interior.

Border walls may pose big challenges to biodiversity—but smaller ones to humans

With the prospect of a US-Mexico border wall looming, research and reporting on the ecological impacts of walls is both important and timely. Reporting in BioScience on such barriers' known effects on wildlife, science journalist Lesley Evans Ogden describes the potential effects of the proposed structure along the 2000-mile US-Mexico border. "If the wall is completed, it will create a considerable biodiversity conservation challenge—one unlikely to disappear anytime soon," she writes.

Some grizzly bears appear to target railways for foraging in Canadian national parks

Spilled grain, rail-killed ungulates, and the effects on other species of increased light and warmth may all attract grizzly bears to forage along railways in Canada's mountain parks, which could increase their risk of being hit by trains, according to a study published May 24, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maureen Murray from the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues.

Study shows need for increased protection of world's national animal symbols

The snowy-feathered head and distinctive brown body of the bald eagle is a proud national symbol of the United States, adorning the country's currency and passports. The lion, known as "King of the Beasts," represents national strength and identity in several African countries.

Tree-climbing goats disperse seeds by spitting

In dry southern Morocco, domesticated goats climb to the precarious tippy tops of native argan trees to find fresh forage. Local herders occasionally prune the bushy, thorny trees for easier climbing and even help goat kids learn to climb. During the bare autumn season, goats spend three quarters of their foraging time "treetop grazing."

A new method for creating safer induced pluripotent stem cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) hold great promise in regenerative medicine, personalized medicine and drug discovery. However, while avoiding the ethical controversies associated with embryonic stem cells, they carry neoplastic risk owing to the use of the oncogenes c-Myc and Lin28. This has limited their utility in the biomedical arena.

Where you grow what you grow: Camelina's varied response to location

Camelina: Have you heard of it? It's an emerging alternative oilseed crop in parts of the Great Plains.

South Sudan wildlife surviving civil war, but poaching and trafficking threats increase

The first aerial assessment of the impact of South Sudan's current civil war on the country's wildlife and other natural resources shows that significant wildlife populations have so far survived, but poaching and commercial wildlife trafficking are increasing, as well as illegal mining, timber harvesting and charcoal production, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said in a report issued today.


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