Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, May 31

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 31, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Physicists uncover similarities between classical and quantum machine learning

Giant ringed planet likely cause of mysterious stellar eclipses

Male rats found to pass on epigenetic susceptibility to cocaine addiction to offspring

The world's most powerful X-ray laser beam creates 'molecular black hole'

Researchers closer to cracking neural code of love

First step taken toward epigenetically modified cotton

Fowl-mouthed study finds that diet shaped duck, goose beaks

Papua New Guinea expedition discovers largest trees at extreme altitudes

Fossil skeleton confirms earliest primates were tree dwellers

Ketamine doesn't affect delirium or pain after surgery, study finds

Faceless fish among weird deep sea Australian finds

Nest security camera knows who's home with Google face tech

Researchers make breakthrough discovery in fight against bowel cancer

Researchers listen to zebrafish to understand human hearing loss

Stanford technique pinpoints the 'partners in crime' of cancer genes

Astronomy & Space news

Giant ringed planet likely cause of mysterious stellar eclipses

A giant gas planet – up to fifty times the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust – is likely hurtling around a star more than a thousand light years away from Earth, according to new research by an international team of astronomers, led by the University of Warwick.

Space junk could destroy satellites, hurt economies

The growing amount of fast-moving space debris orbiting the Earth could lead to catastrophic collisions with satellites, hurting economies, researchers warned Wednesday ahead of a summit to coordinate efforts to remove the junk.

Could cold spot in the sky be a bruise from a collision with a parallel universe?

Scientists have long tried to explain the origin of a mysterious, large and anomalously cold region of the sky. In 2015, they came close to figuring it out as a study showed it to be a "supervoid" in which the density of galaxies is much lower than it is in the rest of the universe. However, other studies haven't managed to replicate the result.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter finds new evidence of frost on moon's surface

Scientists using data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, have identified bright areas in craters near the moon's south pole that are cold enough to have frost present on the surface.

A real scorcher: NASA probe to fly into sun's atmosphere (Update)

A new NASA mission aims to brush by the sun, coming closer than any spacecraft in history to its scorching heat and radiation in order to reveal how stars are made, the US space agency said Wednesday.

Peek into your genes: NASA one-year mission investigators identify links to vision problems

Healthy Vision Month, NASA's One-Year Mission investigators are peering into their new findings to help address astronaut vision issues. While the One-Year Mission has concluded for retired astronaut Scott Kelly, NASA's Human Research Program is focusing on comparing previous six-month mission findings to One-Year Mission preliminary findings.

Iran cancels project for sending human into space

Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency is reporting that the country's space organization is cancelling a project to explore sending humans into space.

NASA's Apollo-era test chamber now James Webb Space Telescope ready

NASA's "Chamber A," an enormous thermal vacuum testing chamber housed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is now ready to conduct final optical testing on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (Webb telescope), the largest space observatory ever. A National Historic Landmark, Chamber A is famous for being used to test Apollo moon mission hardware, including suited astronauts inside the chamber on occasion. In order to test Webb prior to launch, the chamber had to undergo major upgrades in the last several years.

SpaceX poised for Thursday cargo launch to space station

SpaceX is poised to blast off its next delivery of food, supplies and science experiments to the astronauts living at the International Space Station on Thursday.

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst to return to ISS for Horizons mission in 2018

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is returning to the International Space Station next year and today he revealed his mission name and logo: Horizons.

Technology news

Nest security camera knows who's home with Google face tech

Nest Labs is adding Google's facial recognition technology to a high-resolution home-security camera, offering a glimpse of a future in which increasingly intelligent, internet-connected computers can see and understand what's going on in people's homes.

Wearable system helps visually impaired users navigate

Computer scientists have been working for decades on automatic navigation systems to aid the visually impaired, but it's been difficult to come up with anything as reliable and easy to use as the white cane, the type of metal-tipped cane that visually impaired people frequently use to identify clear walking paths.

'Harder, better, faster, stronger'-tethered soft exosuit reduces metabolic cost of running

What if running the 26.2 miles of a marathon only felt like running 24.9 miles, or if you could improve your average running pace from 9:14 minutes/mile to 8:49 minutes/mile without weeks of training? Researchers at the Wyss Institute and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University have demonstrated that a tethered soft exosuit can reduce the metabolic cost of running on a treadmill by 5.4% compared to not wearing the exosuit, bringing those dreams of high performance closer to reality. "Homo sapiens has evolved to become very good at distance running, but our results show that further improvements to this already extremely efficient system are possible," says corresponding author Philippe Malcolm, Ph.D., former Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Wyss Institute and SEAS, and now Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, where he continues to collaborate on this work. The study appears today in Science Robotics.

Extra arms, manipulated by feet, designed for performing tasks

(Tech Xplore)—A team from Japan has been developing an interesting project called "MetaLimbs: Multiple Arms Interaction Metamorphism." They posted a video recently showing their work. This is set of artificial arms, designed to reached under your own arms, and they are controlled by sensors that are attached to your legs.

Toshiba's future imperiled by shaky ethics, nuclear fiascos

Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp.'s last-gasp strategy for staying afloat—selling its prized computer chip operations—may buy the company time but is no cure-all.

Layoffs rile India's flagship IT sector

Experienced Indian techie Raghu Narayanaswamy lost his job recently and fears he may not get another, as analysts warn of massive layoffs across the country's multi-billion-dollar information technology sector.

Study shows big smart meter investment yielded 'very small' electricity savings

Smart meters and time-of-use electricity pricing have only modestly reduced residential energy demand during the most expensive peak periods, a new study suggests.

Exploring the use of algorithms in the criminal justice system

Courts nationwide are making greater use of computer algorithms to help determine whether defendants should be released into the community while they await trial. The idea is to accurately determine whether a defendant poses a flight risk or a danger to the community, and reduce the potential for human bias.

The evolution of computational linguistics and where it's headed next

Earlier this year, Christopher Manning, a Stanford professor of computer science and of linguistics, was named the Thomas M. Siebel Professor in Machine Learning, thanks to a gift from the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation.

Researchers uncover invisible influence of bots on social media

A trending story on Twitter could mean thousands of people care about an issue-or that some computers are doing their jobs.

New uses for RFID and security for the internet of things

On the 25th anniversary of the universal barcode in 1999, the barcode community gathered around Sanjay Sarma and his colleagues and said, "Let's do this."

Study looks at impact of information overload from road signs

The growing trend to install multiple road signs at the same location along Australian freeways might be practical and cost-effective but is it safe?

World-first technology reduces harmful diesel emissions

An industry-first technology developed by Loughborough University has the potential to significantly cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in diesel engines.

Twitter's inadequte plan to help young people not get too overwhelmed by bad news

We live in a chronically anxious era, seemingly being bombarded with negative news at every turn. Social media allow us to not only read about tragedies, but also to interact with those who witnessed terrorist attacks, for instance, which can make the events feel more personal.

Your smart home is trying to reprogram you

A father finds out his daughter is pregnant after algorithms identify tell-tale patterns in the family's store card data. Police charge suspects in two separate murder cases based on evidence taken from a Fitbit tracker and a smart water meter. A man sues Uber for revealing his affair to his wife.

Social media users adapt personas specifically for platforms

Researchers at King's College London, working in collaboration with Penn State University, have found that social media users adapt their behaviour to individual social media platforms in a way that is clearly identifiable and learnable when tested on a model.

German court denies parents access to dead teen's Facebook account

A German court on Wednesday backed online giant Facebook in its battle to reject a demand by the parents of a dead teenage girl for access to her account.

Saudi king earns more retweets than Trump, study says

Donald Trump may be lighting up Twitter with strange new words and attacks on allies but in the battle for most attention per tweet the US president is losing.

Continental partners with Baidu on connected cars

German car parts supplier Continental and Chinese internet giant Baidu will collaborate on technology for self-driving and connected cars, the two firms said Wednesday.

China postpones portion of cybersecurity law

China has postponed enforcement of part of a cybersecurity law that companies warn violates Beijing's free-trade pledges but says most of it will take effect Thursday as planned.

Google expands paid carpooling across California

Google is expanding its paid carpool service throughout California, building on an effort to get more traffic-weary drivers to share their rides to work—and to collect data that could be useful for future transportation services.

Cold conversion of food waste into renewable energy and fertilizer

Researchers from Concordia's Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering (BCEE) in collaboration with Bio-Terre Systems Inc. are taking the fight against global warming to colder climes.

Support for tidal energy is high among Washington residents

Puget Sound is one of the best places in the United States to capture energy from tides. As water in the Sound rises and falls twice daily at high and low tide, strong underwater currents move swiftly in the narrow regions among islands and peninsulas.

Ensuring the security of digital information

Every day we store and transfer sensitive digital data, post personal information on social media, and provide valuable details to companies when we use their services. Keeping secure the 2.5 quintillion (2.5 million billion) bytes of data created every day from outside attack is a mammoth task. The potential for breaching security is vast, due to a plethora of available services and the many weak links that appear in the chain whenever data is moved. A further consideration is who should have access to data, taking the issue beyond technology into the social and political realm.

Medicine & Health news

Male rats found to pass on epigenetic susceptibility to cocaine addiction to offspring

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with Fudan University in China has found that male rats are able to pass on their susceptibility to cocaine addiction through non-genetic means. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes how they induced cocaine addiction in test rats and tracked which offspring were more likely to develop an addition to the drug.

Researchers closer to cracking neural code of love

A team of neuroscientists from Emory University's Silvio O. Conte Center for Oxytocin and Social Cognition has discovered a key connection between areas of the adult female prairie vole's brain reward system that promotes the emergence of pair bonds. Results from this study, available now at Nature.com, could help efforts to improve social abilities in human disorders with impaired social function, such as autism. In addition to the online posting, the study is expected to be in the June 8 printed edition of Nature.

Ketamine doesn't affect delirium or pain after surgery, study finds

Ketamine was first introduced into clinical practice by investigators at the University of Michigan in the mid-1960s as a general anesthetic that could offer advantages, such a preserving breathing, not afforded by other anesthetic drugs at the time.

Researchers make breakthrough discovery in fight against bowel cancer

New research led by Queen's University Belfast has discovered how a genomic approach to understanding bowel (colorectal) cancer could improve the prognosis and quality of life for patients.

Researchers listen to zebrafish to understand human hearing loss

Can a fish with a malformed jaw tell us something about hearing loss in mice and humans? The answer is yes, according to a new publication in Scientific Reports.

Stanford technique pinpoints the 'partners in crime' of cancer genes

Batman and Robin. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Fiction is full of dynamic duos that work together to accomplish amazing feats. When one partner is out of commission, the other steps in to make sure the job gets done. But if both are missing in action, the outcome is likely to be dire.

Human brain tunes into visual rhythms in sign language

The human brain works in rhythms and cycles. These patterns occur at predictable frequencies that depend on what a person is doing and on what part of the brain is active during the behavior.

Better cancer immunotherapy drugs through X-ray crystallography

Immunotherapy drugs to combat cancer have stimulated tremendous excitement among patients and physicians alike. They debuted in 2011, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ipilimumab (Yervoy) to treat metastatic melanoma, a usually fatal disease. Since then, other immunotherapies have reached the market, including pembrolizumab (Keytruda), nivolumab (Opdivo), atezolizumab (Tecentriq) and avelumab (Bavencio).

What a locust's nose taught engineers about monkeys' ears

Is there an opposite for the smell of a rose? Is silence simply the absence of sound? The results of a recent study by a team of biomedical engineers in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis offer profound implications for how sensory information may be encoded in the brain.

Tea consumption leads to epigenetic changes in women

Epigenetic changes are chemical modifications that turn our genes off or on. In a new study from Uppsala University, researchers show that tea consumption in women leads to epigenetic changes in genes that are known to interact with cancer and estrogen metabolism. The results are published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

Sour-sensing taste pathway also mediates water detection in mammalian tongue

New research from Caltech shows that sour-sensing taste cells play an important role in detecting water on the tongue.

Study shows when people feel anxious they are less reliable at reading emotions in other faces

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit and the U.K. Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies has found evidence of impaired emotional face reading by people when they are feeling anxious. In their paper published in Royal Society Open Science, the group describes a series of experiments they carried out with different groups of volunteers and what they the found.

Brain's immune cells linked to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, schizophrenia

Scientists have, for the first time, characterized the molecular markers that make the brain's front lines of immune defense—cells called microglia—unique. In the process, they discovered further evidence that microglia may play roles in a variety of neurodegenerative and psychiatric illnesses, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases as well as schizophrenia, autism and depression.

Metabolic enzyme fuels molecular machinery of memory

Understanding how memories are made, retrieved, and eventually fade over a lifetime is the stuff of poems and song. To medical researchers, solving the mysteries of memory is even more elusive. Researchers surmise that "laying down" a new memory and storing an old memory both involve making proteins at the space, or synapse, where one neuron meets another. But forming these also requires new gene expression in the cell nucleus, where DNA is stored and genes are "read" to establish cell-specific functions.

Researchers develop game changing strategy for pain relief

Researchers from Monash University have developed a new drug delivery strategy able to block pain within the nerve cells, in what could be a major development of an immediate and long lasting treatment for pain.

Making prosthetic limbs feel more natural

A new surgical technique devised by MIT researchers could allow prosthetic limbs to feel much more like natural limbs. Through coordination of the patient's prosthetic limb, existing nerves, and muscle grafts, amputees would be able to sense where their limbs are in space and to feel how much force is being applied to them.

Radiation therapy, macrophages improve efficacy of nanoparticle-delivered cancer therapy

A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has identified a surprising new role for the immune cells called macrophages—improving the effectiveness of nanoparticle-delivered cancer therapies. In their Science Translational Medicine report, the investigators describe finding how appropriately timed radiation therapy can improve the delivery of cancer nanomedicines as much as 600 percent by attracting macrophages to tumor blood vessels, which results in a transient "burst" of leakage from capillaries into the tumor.

New connection sprouts between Alzheimer's disease and the immune system

Just as trimming back the branches of an overgrown plant can encourage healthy growth, a little pruning of the connections in the human brain can be a good thing during brain development. But what happens when this natural process goes wrong later in life? Investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital have found new clues from preclinical models to indicate that this "synaptic refinement" may play a role in neurodegenerative disease. Their findings, published in Science Translational Medicine, offer new insights into the interplay between the immune system and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Ukraine doctor pioneering 'three-parent' babies

A 34-year-old woman tried to have a baby for 15 years before she turned to a pioneering doctor in Ukraine and a groundbreaking but ethically disputed "three-parent" procedure.

Survey finds men don't talk about their family health history risks

Knowing your family history and hereditary risks is extremely important in preventing future health problems. But it's a topic that men tend to avoid, especially when it comes to sexual health. A new national survey commissioned by Orlando Health finds that four out of five men have never talked to a family member about sexual health. Men under age 35 lagged far behind women of the same age, who are about 90 percent more likely to talk to family members, not just about sexual health, but also health issues that tend to run in families, such as cancer and mental illness.

Obesity can lead to more severe hot flashes and other menopause symptoms

Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), such as hot flashes and night sweats, cause serious discomfort in many women at menopause. Studies show a higher frequency of VMS in women who gain weight during the postmenopause period, and the effect of obesity on VMS has been studied for many years. A new study finds that hot flashes are associated with a higher body mass index (BMI). The details were published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Returning expats could hit UK healthcare after Brexit: study

Britain's healthcare system faces spiralling costs if expat pensioners living in other parts of the European Union return after Britain leaves the bloc, a study by an independent health charity warned on Wednesday.

Study: China struggles to kick world-leading cigarette habit (Update)

Most smokers in China, the world's largest tobacco consumer, have no intention of kicking the habit and remain unaware of some of its most damaging health effects, Chinese health officials and outside researchers said Wednesday.

Researchers collaborate on first-in-human study of novel malaria vaccine

An international research collaborative is testing a new approach to malaria vaccine development in humans for the first time. The concept is similar to that used by Edward Jenner to develop a vaccine against smallpox, the only disease affecting humans that has ever been eradicated. Jenner used cowpox, a much less dangerous bovine version of the disease, to inoculate people against smallpox. In this clinical trial, based on data from earlier animal studies conducted by iMM Lisboa, the researchers will use a rodent version of the malaria-causing parasite (Plasmodium berghei) to determine if it can induce protection against infection by Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest version of the parasite that infects humans.

Study shows preschool benefits middle-class kids, with biggest boost for black youngsters

Preschools that strongly promote academics boost the early literacy and math skills of children from middle-class families, according to a nationwide study released today by researchers at the UC Berkeley.

Evidence of midlife suicide among females in Western society

New research from the University of Warwick documents modern international evidence of a midlife peak in suicide risk.

Stable relationships protect kids from toxic trauma and stress

Parents are often reminded to keep harmful substances out of their child's reach. But what if a child's experiences at home were as toxic to their health as household solvents and cleaners?

Stand and deliver at work with activity-promoting desks

Office workers who use sit-stand or treadmill desks are on track to being more productive and attentive with fewer signs of workplace stress than their sedentary chair-dwelling colleagues.

Each hour sepsis treatment is delayed increases risk of death

As a resident in emergency medicine nearly two decades ago, Tiffany M. Osborn, MD, became determined to prevent people from dying of sepsis, an unruly, fast-acting, potentially fatal condition.

Can regular aspirin use reduce your cancer risk?

Most of us have likely taken aspirin at some point in our lives for a common minor ailment like headaches, fever or muscle cramps. Research has also shown this drug to be an effective part of treatment for heart attacks and strokes.

Smoking mothers more likely to have babies with dental abnormalities

Women who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day during pregnancy are much more likely to give birth to babies who will fail to grow all their teeth, new University of Otago research has found.

New role discovered for a well-known gene in the survival of white blood cells

Researchers have clarified the role of a gene critical for the development of a type of white blood cells, known as B cells, which produce antibodies and serve as a "memory" for the immune system. This finding may open up a new therapeutic avenue for leukemia and autoimmune diseases.

Organic compound found in red wine boosts the body's ability to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis

An organic compound found in grape skins can stimulate the mouse immune system to fight even the most persistent tuberculosis strains. Such immune-based therapies, commonly used to treat cancer, could be the only hope against the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis, says Amit Singhal, who led the study at the A*STAR Singapore Immunology Network.

Individual adverse drug responses could be predicted by a simple blood test

Severe illnesses sometimes require treatment regimens carrying grave risks, including organ failure. Now, a non-invasive technique developed at A*STAR could help predict patient vulnerability to potentially toxic drugs. 

The science of taste, or why you choose fries over broccoli

Most people say that if there is a healthy choice on a menu they will take it. But observations and research show this is generally not the case.

Peer navigators help mental health clients to make medical appointments and communicate with providers

A new model of care could improve the physical health of people with mental illness, potentially increasing the life span of individuals who typically die 25 years earlier than the general population.

Collaborating laboratories combat cholera

Anne Woodbrey, a doctoral student, is the linchpin connecting three Dartmouth laboratories that are collaborating on a treatment for cholera—an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if not treated. A recent cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen left nearly 200 dead.

Phagocytes in the brain—good or bad?

The role of microglial cells in neurodegenerative disease is not fully understood. But new results from researchers in Munich and Basel suggest that stimulation of this arm of the immune system might well delay the onset of such disorders.

Know the facts about skin cancer

Human skin is the body's largest organ, providing protection to muscles, bones, ligaments and organs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.

Night phone use a danger for adolescent mental health

The world's first long-term assessment of mental health effects from adolescents' late-night mobile use has shown some concerning results.

Oxytocin reduces cravings for methamphetamine

Many people have suggested that addiction hijacks the body's natural drives in the service of compulsive drug use. A new study now suggests that hijacking another natural system in the brain may help overcome drug addiction. Published in Biological Psychiatry, the study shows that administration of oxytocin—a naturally occurring molecule well known for its role in social bonding and childbirth—reduces drug-seeking behavior in methamphetamine-addicted rats.

Handheld scanner reveals vascularization in psoriasis patients

A newly developed tissue scanner allows looking under the skin of psoriasis patients. This provides clinically relevant information, such as the structure of skin layers and blood vessels, without the need for contrast agents or radiation exposure. A team of researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum M√ľnchen and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) recently introduced the technology in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Study to see how facility design affects dementia patients

With baby boomers moving toward their golden years, the need for effective long-term care facilities, particularly for those with dementia, is growing at a rapid pace.

Family support moderates college students' feelings of loneliness, suicide

When college students feel isolated and disconnected, support from family members can keep them from harming themselves during difficult times, according to a new University of Michigan study.

New targeted molecular therapy takes aim at incurable prostate cancer

NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine have begun the first clinical trial in the United States that uses a small molecule to treat men with progressive prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate and is no longer responding to hormonal therapy. The Phase 1 study has completed its second round of patient enrollment, with the first six patients having undergone dosing. The researchers will be discussing the trial on June 5 at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago.

Small molecule prevents blood clots without increasing bleeding risk

It may be possible to disrupt harmful blood clots in people at risk for heart attack or stroke without increasing their risk of bleeding, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

Study offers hard data on food allergies

Anecdotal evidence of food allergies abounds, but just how common are these allergies and intolerances? In a new study, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital combed through medical records from more than 2.7 million patients, identifying more than 97,000 with one or more documented food allergy or intolerance. Their findings are published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Sharing voluntarily makes young kids happy

If humans are primarily motivated by self-interest, as traditional economic theory claims, why do we sometimes perform acts of generosity that don't yield us any material benefits? Indeed, such altruistic behavior may sometimes even come at a personal cost. So, why do we like to give? Because, it turns out, sharing makes us happy. And because we feel happy, we want to share more, explaining why psychologists consistently find that people like to "give" more than they like to "have".

Findings suggest reducing target SBP to below recommended levels could significantly reduce risk

Reducing systolic blood pressure (SBP) to levels below currently recommended targets may significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause death, according to a study published by JAMA Cardiology.

Lingering risk of suicide after discharge from psychiatric facilities

A study that synthesized more than 50 years of research into suicide rates for patients after discharge from psychiatric facilities suggests the immediate period after discharge was a time of marked risk and that the risk remained high years after discharge, according to a new article published by JAMA Psychiatry.

Progress reported in global fight against diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis

Infectious disease scientists from Novartis, the University of Georgia and Washington State University have reported the discovery and early validation of a drug candidate for treating cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease which is a major cause of child mortality in lower-income countries. Currently there are no vaccines or effective treatments.

In multiple sclerosis, problems reading social cues may be tied to brain changes

For people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an impaired ability to understand how others feel and think may be linked to subtle brain changes, according to a study published in the May 31, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

New software key to early cancer detection

A new algorithm that detects the early formation of blood vessels could lead to early diagnosis of malignant tumours and improved success rates of treatment.

Take a look, and you'll see, into your imagination

Scanning your brain to decode the contents of your mind has been a subject of intense research interest for some time. As studies have progressed, scientists have gradually been able to interpret what test subjects see, remember, imagine, and even dream.

Think you know how to improve your memory? Think again

We all want to improve our memory, but research unveiled by the University of Toronto's Dr. Katherine Duncan today shows that we need to switch our strategies. Memory isn't a single entity, and separate memory processes, like formation and recall can be enhanced by different brain states. Her results also revealed a major manipulation which triggers these brain states: novelty. The results were presented at the 2017 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience - Association Canadienne des Neurosciences (CAN-ACN).

Take control to become a better parent

Most parents will agree that children present a never-ending series of behavioral challenges. Tantrums, picky eating and poor sleeping behavior are often cited as the more stressful part of raising a child. How parents deal with these challenges determines a child's physical, psychological and emotional development. But could something as simple as your outlook on life determine how you deal with and overcome these parenting challenges?

Immunotherapy with DNA vaccine shows promise for HPV-related head and neck cancer

A novel vaccine therapy can generate immune responses in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCCa), according to researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The treatment specifically targets human papillomavirus (HPV), which is frequently associated with HNSCCa, to trigger the immune response. Researchers will present the results of their pilot study during the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago (Abstract #6073).

Personalized cell therapy combination achieves complete remission in CLL patients

Combining the kinase inhibitor ibrutinib with an investigational personalized cellular therapy known as CTL119 can lead to complete remission in patients with high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn's Abramson Cancer Center (ACC). The team will present the results from its pilot study of this combination therapy during the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstract # 193355).

Web-based search data is a new key to understanding public reaction to major societal events

Analyzing millions of internet searches tied to major societal events offers a new way to understand public reaction to those events, according to new research from the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Team improves radiation therapy for head and neck patients

Radiation therapy is one of the most common treatments used to fight cancer, with an estimated 500,000 people each year receiving radiation therapy either alone or in combination with other treatments. Patients are often treated with a "one-size-fits-all" approach of a particular radiation dose and schedule according to tumor type, location, and the stage of growth. However, different patients with similar tumor types, location, and stage may have different results after radiation therapy - with improvement seen in one patient, but not in the other. Physician scientists at Moffitt Cancer Center hope to change this approach to radiation therapy. Their discoveries are primed to place Moffitt at the forefront of a new era in personalized radiation therapy for head and neck cancer patients, as described in their recent article in the May issue of The Lancet Oncology.

Cancer therapy shows promise for psoriasis treatment

HDAC inhibitors, already widely used to treat cancer, may be an effective therapy for psoriasis as well, scientists report.

Combined modality treatment could be first course for muscle-invasive bladder cancer

A meta-analysis of previously published cancer research showed no difference in five-year and 10-year survival rates between patients who underwent radical cystectomy, which is the surgical removal of the bladder, and a bladder-preserving combined modality treatment (CMT) plan, which combines radiation therapy, chemotherapy and the removal of the bladder tumor. The study is published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics, the flagship journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

High blood sugar following surgery common, increases risk of complications

High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to turn blood glucose into energy. Although high blood sugar usually only affects diabetics, hyperglycemia has been associated with poorer outcomes for patients undergoing surgical procedures. A recent study by University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers found that following surgery for artery disease of the legs, hyperglycemia can cause complications, increased hospitalizations and mortality for all patients - even those who are not diabetic.

Building mental toughness off the field—it's all about practice

By the end of each academic semester, most college students struggle with a drop in attention spans and increased stress, especially student-athletes. Athletes know dedicated practice and physical training lead to excellence. Much less is known about mental training to deal with the psychological pressures of competitive athletics. One form of mental training, involving mindfulness, trains participants to focus attention on the present moment and observe one's thoughts and feelings without emotional reactivity.

Research suggests strokes may cause increased preference for alcohol

Brain changes after stroke may lead to increase in alcohol-seeking behavior, at least in animal models, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Scientific Reports.

Internet withdrawal increases heart rate and blood pressure

Scientists and clinicians from Swansea and Milan have found that some people who use the internet a lot experience significant physiological changes such as increased heart rate and blood pressure when they finish using the internet.

Detecting Alzheimer's disease before symptoms emerge

Long before symptoms of Alzheimer's disease become apparent to patients and their families, biological changes are occurring within the brain. Amyloid plaques, which are clusters of protein fragments, along with tangles of protein known as tau, form in the brain and grow in number, eventually getting in the way of the brain's ability to function. These biological changes can be detected early in the course of Alzheimer's disease through positron emission tomography (PET) scan or cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Now, a new study led by Keck Medicine of USC neuropsychologist Duke Han, PhD, associate professor of family medicine (clinical scholar) at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California suggests that cognitive tests are also able to detect early Alzheimer's in people without symptoms.

When it comes to learning and memory, the brain is a co-operative continuum

Tim Bussey and his co-investigator wife Lisa Saksida at Western University have opened our eyes to some ground-breaking ideas about how memory is organised in the brain. Various brain regions may not be solely carrying out specialised functions, but instead, and more importantly, are working to resolve the ambiguity, or interference, generated by other brain regions. In essence, the brain is a co-operative continuum. Their results were presented at the 2017 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience - Association Canadienne des Neurosciences (CAN-ACN).

1 in 4 nursing home residents has antibiotic-resistant bacteria

(HealthDay)—Multidrug-resistant bacteria, such as E. coli, can be found in more than one-quarter of people living in nursing homes, a research review finds.

The whole truth about whole fruits

(HealthDay)—Fresh fruits are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and other great nutrients. And studies show that eating fruit whole gives you the most of this food group's potential benefits, like helping to prevent heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

Evacetrapib appears futile in high-risk vascular disease

(HealthDay)—For patients with high-risk vascular disease, evacetrapib does not affect the primary efficacy end point of first occurrence of any component of a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization, or hospitalization for unstable angina, according to a study published in the May 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Considerable humanistic impact for chronic spontaneous urticaria

(HealthDay)—Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) interferes with sleep and daily activity, impairing work productivity, and patients frequently report angioedema, according to a study published online May 19 in Allergy.

Late teen emotional stability inversely tied to mental illness

(HealthDay)—Emotional stability assessed in late adolescence is inversely associated with serious mental illness (SMI), according to a study published online May 24 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Distinct maternal, fetal risks for anticoagulants in pregnancy

(HealthDay)—Anticoagulation for mechanical heart valves during pregnancy is associated with distinct maternal and fetal risks, according to a review published in the June 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

CDC: prevalence of arthritis 31.8 percent in most rural areas of U.S.

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of arthritis is 31.8 percent in the most rural areas and 20.5 percent in the most urban areas of the United States, according to research published in the May 26 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Diabetic foot ulcers, infections significantly up burden of care

(HealthDay)—Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and diabetic foot infections (DFIs) are associated with increased risks of admission and outpatient visits, according to a study published online May 11 in Diabetes Care.

High costs for myeloma patients not getting low-income subsidy

(HealthDay)—There is a substantial financial burden for Medicare beneficiaries with myeloma who do not receive a low-income subsidy (LIS) for orally-administered anticancer therapy, according to a study published online May 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Half of adults with anxiety or depression report chronic pain

In a survey of adults with anxiety or a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder, about half reported experiencing chronic pain, according to researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Researchers show how Shigella survives the gastrointestinal tract

Surviving the treacherous journey through the human body from the mouth to the colon takes a special kind of bacterial pathogen. Shigella - a group of bacteria responsible for much of the diarrheal disease affecting children in the developing world - travels unimpeded from the mouth to the colon, where they unleash powerful machinery to trigger debilitating diarrhea. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have been looking not only at how Shigella survives this journey but also how it takes advantage of substances that would kill many less persistent organisms. Each year Shigella is responsible for at least 80 million infections and approximately 700,000 deaths worldwide. Long-term effects for Shigella survivors can include impaired physical and cognitive development, poor gastrointestinal health, reactive arthritis or kidney damage depending on the strain causing infection. Although 99 percent of cases occur in developing nations, approximately half a million occur in the U.S. each year.

Kids in high-achieving schools: Addiction down the road?

They have what most would want - affluent upwardly mobile parents, living in comfortable homes in the suburbs, going to an elite high school and being groomed for the nation's best colleges. And they appear to thrive in this setting - popular among their peers, performing exceedingly well in school, highly regarded by peers and teachers, and accomplished at a various extracurricular activities.

How our brains integrate online reviews into our own product preferences

UCL researchers have identified how the human brain integrates social information when a person decides how much they like something, by studying how user reviews on Amazon influence how people rate the products.

Visual recognition memory impaired after multiple exposures to anesthesia during infancy

Repeated exposure to a common anesthesia drug early in life results in visual recognition memory impairment, which emerges after the first year of life and may persist long-term, according to a study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published online May 31 in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

Social emotional learning interventions show promise, warrant further study

Developing a child's social and emotional learning skills in early childhood is seen as a key to the child's success in school, but researchers are still working to understand which interventions most effectively boost those skills.

Storytime a 'turbocharger' for a child's brain

While reading to children has many benefits, simply speaking the words aloud may not be enough to improve cognitive development in preschoolers.

New tech promises easier cervical cancer screening

Duke University researchers have developed a handheld device for cervical cancer screening that promises to do away with uncomfortable speculums and high-cost colposcopes.

Possible correlation shown between TMI nuclear accident and thyroid cancers

Penn State College of Medicine researchers have shown, for the first time, a possible correlation between the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station and thyroid cancers in the counties surrounding the plant.

All heart patients have some liver disease after Fontan surgery

Patients who undergo the Fontan operation as children for a complex congenital heart defect are at risk of developing progressive liver fibrosis, a buildup of fibrous deposits, as a result of the circulation created by the surgery, according to a new study. A research team says their findings underscore the importance of improving ongoing medical surveillance, so that physicians can develop the most appropriate care for their patients.

Clinical trial investigates Alzheimer's disease drug in people with Down syndrome

A phase 2 clinical trial in young adults with Down syndrome of a drug being investigated for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease supports further investigation of its potential. Results of the four-week trial of scyllo-inositol, also known as ELND005, have been published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Scientists identify 100 memory genes, open new avenues of brain study

Scientists have identified more than 100 genes linked to memory, opening new avenues of research to better understand memory processing in the human brain.

Young adult substance abuse down 42 percent among PROSPER program participants

Children who participated in the PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) program over seven years ago showed lower rates of substance abuse after high school graduation, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania State and Iowa State Universities and published in a recent issue of Psychological Medicine.

Growing pot industry offers breaks to entice minorities

Andre Shavers was sentenced to five years on felony probation after authorities burst into the house where he was living in one of Oakland's most heavily policed neighborhoods and found a quarter ounce of marijuana.

Preclinical trials of radiopharmaceutical for cancer diagnosis

A radiopharmaceutical labeled with the technetium-99 isotope for advanced identification of cancer is ready for a preclinical-phase trial. Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk Research Institute of Oncology and the Institute of Biorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences have jointly developed this medication.

New vaccine strategy identified for explosive emerging diseases

A 'designer' manganese-peptide antioxidant of the world's toughest bacterium, combined with radiation, have shown to be successful in the development of a vaccine to counter Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus (VEEV), a biothreat agent, and Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne illness causing severe outbreaks around the world, according to a new study published online May 30 in the journal Vaccine.

HIV diagnoses in New Zealand in 2016 highest ever

Figures released today by the AIDS Epidemiology Group at the University of Otago show that in 2016, 244 people were diagnosed with HIV in New Zealand – the highest number ever diagnosed in any one year since monitoring of the epidemic began in 1985.

Czech Republic enforces smoking ban after years of debate

The Czech Republic on Wednesday enforced a smoking ban in bars, restaurants and cafes, putting to an end to the country's status as one of the last havens for tobacco smokers in Europe.

Gaps in hepatitis testing and monitoring programmes across the EU/EEA

The survey results suggest a wide variation in existing national testing policy and practice when it comes to hepatitis B and C - with overall limited monitoring of testing, diagnosis, and treatment across EU/EEA Member States. Many respondents expressed a need for Europe-wide practical guidance on how testing initiatives should be conducted, evaluated, and monitored.

American Muslim women report depression linked to internalized stigma and abuse

A new study of Muslim women in the U.S. found a significant association between heightened vigilance, as a measure of internalized stigma, and increased risk for depression. The study, which also examined the link between depression and the women's experiences with physical and sexual abuse, is published in Journal of Women's Health.

Neural crest cells contribute an astrocyte-like glial population to the spleen

Neural crest cells (NCC) are multi-potent cells of ectodermal origin that colonize diverse organs, including the gastrointestinal tract to form the enteric nervous system (ENS) and hematopoietic organs (bone marrow, thymus) where they participate in lymphocyte trafficking. Recent studies have implicated the spleen as an anatomic site for integration of inflammatory signals from the intestine with efferent neural inputs. We have previously observed alterations in splenic lymphocyte subsets in animals with defective migration of NCC that model Hirschsprung's disease, leading us to hypothesize that there may be a direct cellular contribution of NCC to the spleen. Here, we demonstrate that NCC colonize the spleen during embryogenesis and persist into adulthood. Splenic NCC display markers indicating a glial lineage and are arranged anatomically adjacent to blood vessels, pericytes and nerves, suggesting an astrocyte-like phenotype. Finally, we identify similar neural-crest derived cells in both the avian and non-human primate spleen, showing evolutionary conservation of these cells.

Burden of multiple chronic illness told through new chartbook

A new publication illustrates the burden that chronic illnesses impose on American society, demonstrating through charts and graphics how 60 percent of American adults suffer from at least one chronic health condition and 42 percent have more than one.

Supportive housing improves health of formerly homeless people with HIV/AIDS

Ask Elizabeth Bowen about the intersection of homelessness and HIV/AIDS in the United States and she'll respond without hesitation, "Housing equals health."

Clinical trial shows experimental drug's ability to knock down pancreatic cancer's defense

By adding an experimental drug to a standard chemotherapy regimen, a subset of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer had a significantly longer period before the cancer progressed as compared with those who received the standard treatment, according to a Phase 2 clinical trial led by an investigator at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Ohio sues five drugmakers over role in opioid crisis

The US state of Ohio on Wednesday sued five major producers of prescription opioid medications, accusing them of lying about the deadly risks the painkillers—at the center of a nationwide addiction crisis—posed to public health.

Biology news

First step taken toward epigenetically modified cotton

With prices down and weather patterns unpredictable, these are tough times for America's cotton farmers, but new research led by Z. Jeffrey Chen at The University of Texas at Austin might offer a break for the industry. He and a team have taken the first step toward a new way of breeding heartier, more productive cotton through a process called epigenetic modification.

Fowl-mouthed study finds that diet shaped duck, goose beaks

From Charles Darwin's famous finches to a new study that takes a rare look at a common order of birds—waterfowl—evolution has a tendency to reveals itself through bird beaks.

Faceless fish among weird deep sea Australian finds

Faceless fish and other weird and wonderful creatures, many of them new species, have been hauled up from the deep waters off Australia during a scientific voyage studying parts of the ocean never explored before.

Living fossil challenges thinking on brain evolution

An ancient sea creature, discovered off the coast of Scotland in 2011, has shed new light on how evolution formed the modern brain. 

We're on the brink of mass extinction—but there's still time to pull back

Imagine being a scuba diver and leaving your oxygen tank behind you on a dive. Or a mountain climber and abandoning your ropes. Or a skydiver and shedding your parachute. That's essentially what humans are doing as we expand our footprint on the planet without paying adequate attention to impacts on other living things, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University. Because we depend on plants and animals for food, shelter, clean air and water and more, anything we do that makes life harder for them eventually comes around to make life harder for us as well.

Outnumbered and on others' turf, misfits sometimes thrive

It's hard being a misfit: say, a Yankees fan in a room full of Red Sox fans or a vegetarian at a barbecue joint. Evolutionary biologists have long assumed that's pretty much how things work in nature too. Animals that wander into alien environments, surrounded by better-adapted locals, will struggle. But a team of researchers from The University of Texas at Austin was surprised to find that sometimes, misfits can thrive among their much more numerous native cousins.

Budgerigars can identify spoken sounds without prior exposure to human speech

No experience with human speech is necessary for budgerigars to perceive the difference between "d" and "t", according to a study published May 31, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Mary Flaherty from The State University of New York, Buffalo, USA, and colleagues.

Nathusius and Soprano bats are attracted to green light

Some migratory bats are attracted to artificial green light which may interfere with their flight paths, according to a study published May 31, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Christian Voigt from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and the Free University of Berlin, Germany, and colleagues.

Decoded genome may help tortoise win race to survive

Slow and steady wins the race.

1976 drought revealed as worst on record for British butterflies and moths

Scientists at the University of York have revealed that the 1976 drought is the worst extreme event to affect butterflies and moths in the 50 years since detailed records began.

Mycobacteria use protein to create diverse populations, avoid drugs

Subgroups of tuberculosis (TB)-causing bacteria can persist even when antibiotics wipe out most of the overall population. The need to eliminate these persistent subpopulations is one reason why TB treatment regimens are so lengthy. Now, researchers have shown that a single protein allows mycobacteria to generate diverse populations that can avoid TB drugs. The protein may be a target for intervention; blocking it might result in less mycobacterial diversity and shorten TB treatment courses. The research was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Cane toads have a salty secret to protect themselves when shedding skin

What happens to a cane toad's internal chemistry when it has to shed its skin to replace worn out skin cells?

Spotted owls benefit from forest fire mosaic

Fire is a crucial part of the forest ecosystem on which threatened Spotted Owls rely, but climate change and decades of fire suppression are changing the dynamics of these forests. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications examines California Spotted Owl habitat use in Yosemite National Park and shows that while owls avoid the badly burned areas left behind by massive stand-replacing fires, they benefit from habitat that includes a mosaic of burned patches of different sizes and degrees of severity.

New details on nest preferences of declining sparrow

Theory says that birds should choose nest sites that minimize their risk of predation, but studies often fail to show a connection between nest site selection and nest survival. Understanding these relationships can be key for managing declining species, and a new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications explores the nest site preferences of Bachman's Sparrow, a vulnerable songbird dependent on regularly burned longleaf pine forests in the southeastern U.S.

New study describes in detail a threatened long-distance wildebeest migration route

A new study was published this week describing an endangered long-distance wildebeest migration in the Tarangire ecosystem of northern Tanzania. In the study, wildlife scientists used machine learning and connectivity algorithms to delineate a previously undefined migratory corridor in order to save this vanishing natural phenomenon. Dr. Derek Lee, principal scientist at the Wild Nature Institute and co-author of the paper in Landscape Ecology said, "From a practical standpoint, we need better tools to understand how animals get from one place to another. Our work shows how data from multiple sources and the latest analytical techniques can be integrated to identify, connect, and protect an ecologically and economically important migratory corridor."

Researchers prove cormorants can hear under water

For the first time, researchers have shown that marine birds can hear underwater. This offers new possibilities for the protection of marine birds in trafficked waters. Seals, whales and other marine animals can hear underwater. The cormorant also has this ability, which new research from University of Southern Denmark (SDU) shows.

Colorful reptile serves as a health barometer for the impacts of coal waste

Coal combustion waste is well documented as an environmental pollutant. The United States produces over 130 million tons of coal combustion residues, or CCRs, every year, with 40 percent of these wastes placed in aquatic settling basins. These basins are attractive environments for wildlife, placing them at risk of exposure to potentially toxic levels of trace elements.

Like chimpanzees, humans may console victims of aggression out of empathy

Like chimpanzees, humans may console their threatened peers out of empathy, according to a study published May 31, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard from the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), The Netherlands, and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues.

Bed bugs: Proactive pest management critical in multi-unit housing

Amid the persistent threat of bed bug infestations in multi-unit housing, the best advice for property owners, managers, and tenants looking to avoid the pests is the same advice that applies to many other afflictions: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Scientists discover how some pigs cope in cold climates

A new paper in the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology revealed that pig breeds such as Tibetan pigs and Min pigs use a unique method to survive when exposed to cold environments. This has important implications for the swine industry as cold weather is a major cause of death in new-born piglets.

Pay $8 for a Buddha-shaped pear foolish or fun? Your age may predict your answer

Square watermelons, star- and heart-shaped cucumbers, and even Buddha-shaped pears can be found in some grocery store produce bins. Who buys them? And why? A recent University of Illinois study found younger consumers with an eye for adventure are more likely to purchase these avant-garde fruits.

Sri Lanka saves pod of stranded whales

Sri Lanka's navy and local residents rescued a pod of about 20 stranded pilot whales off the island's northeastern coast on Wednesday, an official said.

Horses masticate similarly to ruminants

In contrast to ruminants, horses chew their food only once—but with the same regu-lar, rhythmic movements as cows, who ruminate their food after eating, as demon-strated by researchers at the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich.

Sizzling snails prioritize protein stability

If our body temperature increases by even 1°C, we fell pretty sick, but Echinolittorina malaccana periwinkles routinely experience and survive temperatures in excess of 55°C. It turns out that the thermotolerant molluscs reinforce the core of proteins such as malate dehydrogenase, to prevent them from unraveling at high temperature, while increasing the flexibility of regions that are essential for the protein's mechanism to ensure that the protein remains functional at high and low temperatures.

Back to the sea: Volunteers help turtle find its way home

Volunteers have helped a disoriented 400-pound (180-kilogram) sea turtle make its way back to the ocean off the South Carolina coast.

A dozen dogs infected with flu that spread at Florida shows

Health officials have now confirmed a dozen cases of H3N2 canine influenza in Florida, where they say the flu was spreading among animals at two dog shows.

Seven tons of African pangolin scales seized in Hong Kong

A conservation group says the seizure of seven tons of pangolin scales in Hong Kong this week indicates that the heavily poached creature "could soon vanish for good" if urgent steps are not taken to protect it.


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