Friday, June 16, 2017

Science X Newsletter Friday, Jun 16

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for June 16, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Two-headed porpoise pulled from the ocean in the North Sea

Microsoft AI seriously at play with Ms. Pac-Man

Big scientific breakthrough at sub-atomic level holds promise for secure comms

Looking for Man's origins in a Bulgarian savannah

Researchers find valuable new clues in fight against multi-drug resistance

Researchers shed light on the dynamics of a supramolecular motor in prokaryotes

A soft touch for mending broken bones

Batteries that "drink" seawater could power long-range underwater vehicles

New study opens the door to solid-state devices that use excited electrons

Eli Lilly develops continuous manufacturing process for chemotherapy drug

How the quantum Zeno effect impacts Schroedinger's cat

Researchers send DNA on sequential building mission

Distant brain regions selectively recruit stem cells

Researchers use light to manipulate mosquitoes

New approach to unlock the genetic potential of plant cell wall

Astronomy & Space news

MAVEN's top 10 discoveries at Mars

On June 17, NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) will celebrate 1,000 Earth days in orbit around the Red Planet. Since its launch in November 2013 and its orbit insertion in September 2014, MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars. MAVEN is bringing insight to how the sun stripped Mars of most of its atmosphere, turning a planet once possibly habitable to microbial life into a barren desert world.

Researchers to design, build instrument to explore metal asteroid

In a few years, an instrument designed and built by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers will be flying hundreds of millions of miles through space to explore a rare, largely metal asteroid.

OPINION: Why we need a human mission to Mars

If we want to know whether there is life beyond Earth then the quickest way to answer that question is to explore Mars. That exploration is currently being done by remote space probes sent from Earth.

Technology news

Microsoft AI seriously at play with Ms. Pac-Man

Microsoft AI has won the maximum score of 999,990 points playing Ms. Pac-Man, surpassing the best human high-score record by four times. No human or AI has ever achieved this score.

Batteries that "drink" seawater could power long-range underwater vehicles

The long range of airborne drones helps them perform critical tasks in the skies. Now MIT spinout Open Water Power (OWP) aims to greatly improve the range of unpiloted underwater vehicles (UUVs), helping them better perform in a range of applications under the sea.

Researchers find way to reduce environmental impact of idling buses and delivery trucks

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a system for service vehicles that could reduce emissions and save companies and governments millions of dollars per year in fuel costs.

Georgia official discounts threat of exposed voter records

After a researcher notified officials of a major security lapse at the center managing Georgia's election technology, leading computer scientists urged the state's top elections official to order a thorough outside probe to determine if its voting systems had been compromised.

How to build software for a computer 50 times faster than anything in the world

Imagine you were able to solve a problem 50 times faster than you can now. With this ability, you have the potential to come up with answers to even the most complex problems faster than ever before.

Inflatable plug for subway tunnels demonstrated

A giant, inflatable structure designed to prevent flooding in subways was rolled out, literally, for media observers inside a full-scale, mock subway tunnel. As the video shows, in under five minutes it is nearly filled with pressurized air—creating a flexible but extremely strong barrier. Full inflation is complete in less than 12 minutes. The live demonstration continued with the plug holding back simulated floodwater at 11.5 pounds per square inch pushing against it.

Wind turbines can pick up the slack on coldest days

Winter days are usually less windy, but a new analysis shows turbines work harder on the coldest days, when power demand is highest.

Wind farms are hardly the bird slayers they're made out to be—here's why

People who oppose wind farms often claim wind turbine blades kill large numbers of birds, often referring to them as "bird choppers". And claims of dangers to iconic or rare birds, especially raptors, have attracted a lot of attention.

Augmented reality system to help medical professionals

A mixed reality system which allows medical practitioners to view and interact with virtual replicas of patients' organs, bones or body parts is being developed by academics.

Prospective pumped hydro sites in South Australia

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have identified 185 sites in South Australia potentially suitable for pumped hydro storage, which may help secure Australia's electricity grid.

Google presence would be a boon for San Jose, but not everyone is impressed

While San Jose city officials and property developers are over the moon about Google's quest to create a massive village of gleaming new tech offices and housing downtown, some local merchants fear the project could displace their shops and send them packing.

Tech startups founded by women have twice the number of female employees, study says

Startups with at least one female founder build companies where nearly half the staff are women, a study found.

Amazon's Bezos asks for philanthropic ideas, gets plenty

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is asking for ideas to help the world through philanthropy—and is getting an earful.

EU unveils plans to regulate drones by 2019

The EU unveiled a blueprint to safely regulate drone traffic in Europe by 2019 in order to tap the growing commercial potential for unmanned aircraft technology.

Medicine & Health news

A soft touch for mending broken bones

Silk is an unlikely substitute for steel in any context, but for bone fractures, it may just be the perfect thing.

Eli Lilly develops continuous manufacturing process for chemotherapy drug

[PIC=692354 :left]Researchers at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly have developed a continuous manufacturing process for a chemotherapy drug, officials with the company recently announced. In their paper published in the journal Science, the research team describes the process, how it works and possibilities for further projects.

Distant brain regions selectively recruit stem cells

Stem cells persist in the adult mammalian brain and generate new neurons throughout life. A research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel reports in the current issue of Science that long-distance brain connections can target discrete pools of stem cells in their niche and stimulate them to divide and produce specific subtypes of olfactory bulb neurons. This allows the "on-demand" generation of particular types of neurons in the adult brain.

Researchers use light to manipulate mosquitoes

Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have found that exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa, according to new research published in the journal Parasites and Vectors.

Investigating emotional spillover in the brain

Life is full of emotional highs and lows, ranging from enjoying an activity with a loved one and savoring a delicious meal to feeling hurt by a negative interaction with a co-worker or that recent scuffle with a family member. But when we let emotions from one event carry on to the next, such spillover can color our impressions and behavior in those new situations - sometimes for the worse.

Older adults can improve movement by using same motor strategy as babies

A motor mechanism that has been attributed primarily to early development in babies and toddlers can also help older adults improve movement accuracy, according to new research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

Meditation and yoga can 'reverse' DNA reactions which cause stress, new study suggests

Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don't simply relax us; they can 'reverse' the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Radboud.

8 in 10 Indonesian children has been infected with dengue

Indonesia has one of the highest burdens of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus, in the world, and children account for many cases. Well over half of all children in urban areas are infected with dengue by the age of 5, and more than 80 percent have been infected with the virus at least once by age 10, researchers now report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Tobacco use among US students dropped sharply in 2016: study

Tobacco use among American middle and high school students—especially electronic cigarette use—declined sharply in 2016 from the year before following several years of strong growth, according to a study out Thursday.

FDA approves new, cheaper rival to EpiPen allergy shot

U.S. regulators have approved new competition for EpiPen, the emergency allergy medicine that made Mylan a poster child for pharmaceutical company greed.

Nevada forces drugmakers to reveal insulin pricing, profits

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law Thursday the nation's strictest requirements for pharmaceutical companies to reveal how they set certain prescription drug prices.

Genomic analysis of liver cancer reveals unexpected genetic players

Liver cancer has the second-highest worldwide cancer mortality, and yet there are limited therapeutic options to manage the disease. To learn more about the genetic causes of this cancer, and to identify potential new therapeutic targets for HCC, a nation-wide team of genomics researchers co-led by David Wheeler, Director of Cancer Genomics and Professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC) at Baylor College of Medicine, and Lewis Roberts, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, analyzed 363 liver cancer cases from all over the world gathering genome mutations, epigenetic alteration through DNA methylation, RNA expression and protein expression. The research appears in Cell.

Our poorest and most vulnerable are living in the worst conditions

Disabled people need housing that is safe, warm and easily maintained, with good access to transport and health services, but large numbers of New Zealand's disabled population are living in the most deprived areas, in rental housing where it is damp and cold.

Is lead in the US food supply decreasing our IQ?

The environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on June 15 released a study about dietary lead exposure, with a focus on food intended for babies and young children.

Young people have poor knowledge of food hygiene

Annual cases of food poisoning are estimated at over 500,000, at a societal cost of over SEK 1 billion. Handling food properly is an issue of knowledge and in a new study from Uppsala University, Marie Lange, doctoral student in food science, demonstrates that young people have poor awareness of food hygiene. For example, one in five ninth graders did not know that chicken must always be cooked through.

Primates at play show why monkeying around is good for the brain

Picking your child's first school can be one of the hardest choices you make as a parent. Debate rages over whether it's better for children to start academic-style learning techniques at a young age or be allowed to learn through their own play. Much of this centres on how important play is to our development.

Skin disease caused by sperm cell transmission of keratin mutation

Nagoya University research identified a patient with the whole-body skin disease epidermolytic ichthyosis that had been inherited as a germline mutation from her father with the milder epidermolytic nevus. Analysis of genomic DNA from the patient revealed a mutation in the keratin 10 gene, which was identical to that observed in cells taken from patches of thickened skin on the father's body. Assessing transmission risk of such diseases allows affected couples to receive genetic counseling.

Studying the social factors that influence health outcomes

"Money can't buy happiness," the popular proverb states, but the way people feel about their financial situation and how they behave regarding their money can have profound effects on health and well-being, says new USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Assistant Professor Reginald Tucker-Seeley.

Navigating the tricky waters of being a stepdad

The American family is evolving. Fifty years ago, a nuclear family of two biological parents and children was the norm. But divorce rates and growing numbers of single parents have opened up more opportunities for the formation of stepfamilies (one biological parent, one nonbiological parent plus children of the biological parent).

Reduce children's injuries

We all do our best to protect our kids from harm, but the adventures of childhood usually come with at least a few injuries. While no parent wants to wrap their kids in cotton wool, a new study has reported injury as the leading cause of death in children in Australia. About 100 Australian children die each year from injuries.

Quality of early family relationships predicts children's affect regulation and mental health

The birth of a child is often a long-awaited and deeply meaningful event for the parents. However, the transition to parenthood also forces the parents to revise their interparental romantic relationship and to answer the new questions arising from parenthood. At the same time as the parents learn how to cope with the new situation, the infant undergoes one of the most intense developmental periods in human life. Previous attachment research has demonstrated the importance of the mother-infant relationship to children's emotional development, but there is still relatively little research on the role of fathers, the marital relationship and the family as a whole.

School systems failing children with ADHD

A high number of Australian children with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are struggling academically, with an alarming 40% of students failing to meet the literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) national minimum standards, new research by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) has found. To date, there has been little focus on the important developmental period from childhood to adolescence, and why some adolescents with ADHD do well, while others fall further behind. This study is the first Australian study to specifically look at adolescent academic achievement and ADHD in this critical period.

Retailers and manufacturers should promote healthy choices, study finds

Shops should be transformed to drive customers towards buying healthy food and drink, according to a report by University of Stirling academics.

Study reveals that South Africa has the highest prevalence of hypertension in southern Africa

A study by Wits scientists and peers has revealed that South Africa has the highest prevalence of hypertension in southern Africa.

Rules of 'how to be a dad' are changing as gender roles continue to blur

These days, the idea of the hard-working, emotionally distant and frequently absent father figure seems like a caricature from the past. During the past few decades, the discussion has moved beyond the father as only the breadwinner to encompass other styles of fathering variously described as "new", "involved", "active" or "engaged" fathers.

Breast cancer drug approved for NHS England

The drug trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) will soon be routinely available for patients in England with an advanced type of breast cancer.

Broken hearts don't self-heal

A condition once thought to temporarily cause heart failure in people who experience severe stress might actually cause longer-lasting damage to the heart muscle.

Why is one twin smaller than the other? Answer could lie in the placenta

When a baby is born small, it's often attributed to genetic factors or maternal risk factors like poor nutrition or smoking. But a twin study led by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital now find that slower transport of oxygen from mother to baby across the placenta predicts slower fetal growth, as well as a smaller brain and liver.

Antibiotics promote resistance on experimental croplands

June 16, 2017 - Canadian researchers have generated both novel and existing antibiotic resistance mechanisms on experimental farmland, by exposing the soil to specific antibiotics. The research is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Education for people with RMDS and employers can improve ability to work

The results of an educational programme implemented by the Galician Rheumatology League (LRG), presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017, showed that providing education and advice to people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD) and their employers can make a significant difference to the ability to work.

Biosimilar concerns of rheumatology patients being addressed by national program

To address the fear and insecurity expressed by rheumatology patients on being switched from a biologic to a biosimilar treatment for their arthritis, the Danish Rheumatism Association has participated in a national programme designed to ensure patients received independent information about biosimilars, along with closer monitoring of prescriptions to provide reassurance about their safety. The results of this initiative were presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017.

Gout hospitalization exacerbated by failure to prescribe recommended urate-lowering treatment

The results of a Swedish study presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 revealed an increasing incidence of hospitalisation due to gout over the last decade, with a resultant increase in health care costs. Also, worryingly, many of the patients admitted to hospital had not been receiving the recommended urate-lowering treatment (ULT).

New study shows for first time link between passive smoking in childhood and rheumatoid arthritis

The results of a study presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 press conference confirmed the link between active smoking and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, interestingly, it also suggested for the first time that in smokers, exposure to tobacco early in life through passive smoking in childhood significantly increased this risk.

New relapse prediction tool reduces cost of rheumatoid arthritis treatment

The results of a study presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 have shown that the combined use of two measurements to accurately predict the risk of relapse in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) allows successful dose reduction (tapering) of their disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). This in turn increases the cost-effectiveness of each DMARD treatment.

Genes explain higher prevalence of CVD in chronic IMID patients

The results of a study presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 represent an important step towards characterising the genetic basis of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in chronic immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID).

New effective treatments for psoriatic arthritis patients

The results of two studies presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 press conference revealed promising data supporting two new drug classes for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Can your iPhone tell if you're depressed?

A new iPhone app developed by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers aims to track and predict mood episodes through keystrokes.

Study casts doubt about link between eczema, cardiovascular disease

For the roughly 7 percent of adults who live with atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema, a new study reports a little good news: Despite recent findings to the contrary, the skin condition is likely not associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk factors or diseases.

Excess risk of cardiovascular events in RA patients decreased since start of 21st century

The results of a meta-analysis presented for the first time today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 press conference showed that the excess risk of cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients relative to the general population has decreased since the year 2000.

Happy marriage, healthier spouses

(HealthDay)—Is a happy marriage the key to good health? Yes, according to researchers at the University of Missouri.

High HCV cure rates in HIV coinfection cases at urban clinic

(HealthDay)—For patients in an urban clinic with hepatitis C virus (HCV) with HIV coinfection, HCV treatment is effective with standardized nurse/pharmacist support, according to a study published online June 13 in Hepatology.

Radon increases risk for malignant skin cancer

It is undisputed that radon is a risk factor for developing lung cancer. New research by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in the context of the Swiss National Cohort study now shows that the naturally occurring radioactive gas radon within one's home also increases the risk to develop malignant skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

Is it ok for parents to be supportive to children's negative emotions?

New research suggests that whereas mothers who are more supportive of their children's negative emotions rate their children as being more socially skilled, these same children appear less socially adjusted when rated by teachers. Specifically, mothers' supportive reactions predicted fewer socioemotional skills and more problem behaviors, according to children's third-grade teachers.

New web calculator to more accurately predict bowel cancer survival

"How long do I have, doctor?" For many cancer patients, following the initial shock of their diagnosis, thoughts quickly turn to estimating how much precious time they have left with family and friends or whether certain treatments could prolong their life.

Genes and the environment? Factors, patterns that lead to childhood obesity risk

In the preschool years, children begin to learn from their environment about self-regulation—both in regards to food choices and how to deal with their emotions. When children don't learn effective self-regulation skills during those early critical years, studies have shown they may be at a greater risk of becoming obese.

Clinic provides free hearing aids for low-income adults

Low-income people dealing with hearing loss just got a little hope. Doctors from Michigan Medicine's Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery partnered with the Hope Clinic to create Hope for Hearing, a program that provides free hearing aids to uninsured adults.

Obamacare key to improving access in Mexican-American patients with hypertension

The Affordable Care Act narrows the gap in care between Mexican-Americans and white Americans with high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease, according to a new Drexel University study.

Novel approach may improve valve function in some patients

Pulsed cavitation ultrasound can be used to remotely soften human degenerative calcified biosprosthetic valves and significantly improve the valve opening function, according to a novel study published today in JACC: Basic to Translational Science. This new noninvasive approach has the potential to improve the outcome of patients with severe bioprosthesis stenosis.

Rule gives Oregonians non-gender option on driver's license

In a move hailed by LGBT rights groups, Oregon became the first state in the US on Thursday to allow residents to mark their gender as "not specified" on applications for driver's licenses, learner's permits and identity cards.

Biology news

Two-headed porpoise pulled from the ocean in the North Sea

A newly born two-headed porpoise has been documented by a group of Dutch fishermen and studied by a team of researchers from several institutions in the Netherlands. In their paper published in Deinsea—Online Journal of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, the researchers report how the fishermen caught the porpoise, photographed it and then threw it back into the ocean.

Researchers find valuable new clues in fight against multi-drug resistance

Research into yeast, the single-celled organism behind a range of human infections, has led to University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry researchers identifying a previously unknown piece of genetic sleight-of-hand which may enable multi-drug resistance, a major emerging global health problem.

Researchers shed light on the dynamics of a supramolecular motor in prokaryotes

Type IV pili (T4P) are fascinating supermolecular machines that drive twitching motility, protein secretion, and DNA uptake in prokaryotes. T4P pili work as grappling hooks that cause bacterial twitching motility by a cycle of extension, surface attachment and retraction, making the cells move over a surface by pulling themselves along it. The properties of T4P as a motor have previously been scrutinized with biophysics techniques, but the mechanism of regulation of T4P activation dynamics in response to various environmental signals remained unclear, largely because numerous components coordinate to orchestrate the dynamics, and because T4P are very thin (~ 8 nm diameter) and therefore difficult to observe.

New approach to unlock the genetic potential of plant cell wall

Researchers from the University of York and the Quadram Institute have unlocked the genetic secrets of plant cell walls, which could help improve the quality of plant-based foods.

Secret of why jewel scarab beetles look like pure gold, explained by physicists

The secrets of why central-American jewel scarab beetles look like they are made from pure gold, has been uncovered by physicists at the University of Exeter.

Soil water storage, new varieties critical to wheat production

Regardless of what watering regimen a producer might have on wheat, in the High Plains it is critical that new varieties are grown to maximize yields, according to a long-running study by Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Surfing the 3-D printing wave: the changing face of surfboard fin production

To catch a sweet ride, surfers rely heavily on two things: the waves, and their board.

How does a frog heal wounded skin without scarring?

When a Xenopus frog is deeply wounded, its skin can regenerate without scarring. Researchers have found that cells under the skin contribute to this regeneration after an excision injury.

Viral vectors travel longer distances than previously thought

Gene transfer is seen as a hopeful therapy for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients. The approach involves using harmless laboratory-produced viruses to introduce important genes into the brain cells. In a study on mice, a team of researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna for the first time investigated how far these viruses spread in the brain and which cells they infect. Some of the artificial viruses travelled from the injection site in the brain as far as the olfactory bulb or the cerebellum and infected not only neurons but also other cells. The results, which were published in the journal Histochemistry and Cell Biology, could help to improve the selection of suitable viral "gene transporters" for custom therapies using gene transfer.

Spatial database on rice for research and policy questions on food security

Rice is an important food source for a majority of the world population. Worldwide, on average around 60 kilograms of rice is consumed per year per person. Researchers from all over the world, including from the ITC Faculty of the University of Twente, have developed the RiceAtlas.

Scientists warn of seasonal increase of deadly rabbit disease

Scientists at the University of Liverpool are using big data and text mining methods to create a warning system for a devastating disease in pet rabbits and sheep.

Bacteria free themselves with molecular 'speargun'

Many bacteria are armed with nano-spearguns, which they use to combat unwelcome competitors or knockout host cells. The pathogen responsible for tularemia, a highly virulent infectious disease, uses this weapon to escape from its prison in cells defending the host. Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel report on this bacterial strategy in the current issue of Nature Communications.

Increase in ciguatera fish poisoning cases in Europe

The substance ciguatoxin is only found in fish from tropical and subtropical seas. For some years now, cases of ciguatera have been reported with increasing frequency in Europe, in particular on the Spanish and Portuguese islands in the Atlantic but also in Germany. New information indicates that these toxins are increasingly prevalent in the Mediterranean. The global trade of imported fish is another reason for the increasing occurrence of ciguatoxin poisoning in Europe. "Fish should be a regular part of the diet", says BfR-President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Ciguatera is a very rare form of fish poisoning in Germany. The reported cases have been caused by the consumption of contaminated tropical predatory fish such as various snapper species." These include Lutjanus bohar (two-spot red snapper), Lutjanus argentimaculatus, Lutjanus erythropterus (crimson snapper) or Pinjalo pinjalo.

$1.2 million of pangolin scales seized in Malaysia

A $1.2 million illegal shipment of scales from the critically endangered pangolin have been uncovered in Malaysia, officials said Friday, the second such seizure in a week.

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