Monday, July 31, 2017

Science X Newsletter Monday, Jul 31

Dear Reader ,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

What's the best way to rank research institutes?

Single molecular layer and thin silicon beam enable nanolaser operation at room temperature

Extraplanar diffuse ionized gas detected in a nearby galaxy

Best of Last Week – Milky Way light energy, building DNA from scratch and cognitive crossing training to sharpen brain

Gallium in lunar samples explains loss of moon's easily vaporized elements

Scientists discover unique thermoelectric properties in cesium tin iodide

An Earth-like atmosphere may not survive Proxima b's orbit

Researchers pioneer greener way to create interwoven polymers with blue light

Three-man crew reaches International Space Station

Supernova-hunting team finds comet with aid of amateur astronomer

National Solar Observatory predicts shape of solar corona for august eclipse

Dropping off microdrones, at low cost and easily stacked

Watch out Messi, here come the footballers at RoboCup

Europe battles Google News over 'snippet tax' proposal

Florida startup boldly sets sights on moon

Astronomy & Space news

Extraplanar diffuse ionized gas detected in a nearby galaxy

A research group led by Erin Boettcher of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has detected and characterized an extraplanar diffuse ionized gas in the nearby galaxy Messier 83. The study, published July 25 on, provides important insights into kinematics of the diffuse gas in this galaxy.

Gallium in lunar samples explains loss of moon's easily vaporized elements

A pair of researchers with Institut Universitaire de France has found more evidence of a large evaporative event in the moon's past. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, Chizu Kato and Frédéric Moynier describe their study of gallium isotopes from lunar samples, what they found, and why they believe it sheds some light on how the moon was formed.

An Earth-like atmosphere may not survive Proxima b's orbit

Proxima b, an Earth-size planet right outside our solar system in the habitable zone of its star, may not be able to keep a grip on its atmosphere, leaving the surface exposed to harmful stellar radiation and reducing its potential for habitability.

Three-man crew reaches International Space Station

A three-man space crew from Italy, Russia and the United States on Friday arrived at the International Space Station for a five-month mission Friday.

Supernova-hunting team finds comet with aid of amateur astronomer

Carnegie's Benjamin Shappee is part of a team of scientists, including an Australian amateur astronomer, which discovered a new comet last week.

National Solar Observatory predicts shape of solar corona for august eclipse

August 21st will bring a history-making opportunity for the entire United States. On that day, every person in the country, including Hawaii and Alaska, will have an opportunity to witness at least a partial solar eclipse as the moon moves in front of the Sun. If you have the good fortune to be along the path of totality, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, you will get to witness one of the most awe-inspiring views in nature – the wispy wonders of the solar corona.

Florida startup boldly sets sights on moon

Florida startup Moon Express is setting its sights high: ambitiously shooting to become the first private company to launch a small, unmanned craft to the moon before the year's out.

Quasars may answer how starburst galaxies were extinguished

Some of the biggest galaxies in the universe are full of extinguished stars. But nearly 12 billion years ago, soon after the universe first was created, these massive galaxies were hotspots that brewed up stars by the billions.

Ex-NASA agent fears gold lunar module will be melted down

Whoever broke into an Ohio museum and stole a solid-gold replica of the Apollo 11 lunar module likely intends to melt it down for the value of the gold instead of trying to sell what could be a collectible worth millions of dollars, said a retired NASA agent who has helped recover stolen moon rocks worth millions of dollars.

Solar eclipse a chance to study life's resilience

On August 21, as North America experiences its first total eclipse of the Sun in 38 years, astrobiologists are taking advantage of this rare celestial event to conduct experiments on life's ability to survive hostile conditions.

The outer galaxy

The sun is located inside one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy, roughly two-thirds of the way from the galactic center to the outer regions. Because we are inside the galaxy, obscuration by dust and the confusion of sources along our lines-of-sight make mapping the galaxy a difficult task. Astronomers think that the galaxy is a symmetric spiral, and about 10 years ago, CfA astronomers Tom Dame and Pat Thaddeus, using millimeter observations of the gas carbon monoxide, discovered symmetric components to the spiral arms deep in the inner galaxy that lent support to this model.

Astronomers discover 'heavy metal' supernova rocking out

Many rock stars don't like to play by the rules, and a cosmic one is no exception. A team of astronomers has discovered that an extraordinarily bright supernova occurred in a surprising location. This "heavy metal" supernova discovery challenges current ideas of how and where such super-charged supernovas occur.

Other planets may never be as hospitable as Earth: study

Scientists dealt a blow Monday to the quest for organisms inhabiting worlds besides Earth, saying our planet was unusual in its ability to host liquid water—the key ingredient for life.

NASA tests the Webb telescope's communication skills

NASA called, and the Webb telescope responded. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope recently completed its Ground Segment Test Number 1 (GSEG-1), for the first time confirming successful end-to-end communication between the telescope and its mission operations center.

Cellphone service could be spotty for rural eclipse-watchers

If you plan to livestream next month's solar eclipse from one of the prime viewing spots, here's a thought: Keep your phone in your pocket, put on your paper shades and just enjoy the celestial wonder.

Video: Vita docking

Replay of the docking of the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft to the International Space Station with ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and Roscosmos commander Sergey Ryazansky. The astronauts were launched to Space Station on 28 July from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The Space Launch System—the most powerful rocket ever built

NASA is in an awkward in-between time right now. Since the beginning of the space age, the agency has had the ability to send its astronauts into space. The first American to go to space, Alan Shepard, did a suborbital launch on board a Mercury Redstone rocket in 1961.

Technology news

Dropping off microdrones, at low cost and easily stacked

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory has been working on stackable little drones. Payloads could be interconnected to form an ad-hoc, self-configuring network. The Lab has a name for this concept, CICADA which stands for Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft drones.

Watch out Messi, here come the footballers at RoboCup

With steely focus, player number 3 scored a stunning opening goal in the first few minutes of the high-stakes football match between a dominant Bordeaux and their plucky Chinese opponents.

Europe battles Google News over 'snippet tax' proposal

A major battle is brewing in Brussels over an EU reform plan that would force internet aggregators such as Google News to pay newspapers for displaying snippets of their articles online.

How to extend your phone's battery life

As mobile phone users, all we want is enough battery life to last the day. Frustratingly, the older the device, the less power it seems to have.

Eyeglass sensor allows for capturing eyeblinks for typing and controlling external devices

A team of researchers from Chongqing University and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, both in China, has developed a sensor that is able to translate eye muscle movement into electrical signals that can be used to type or control an external device. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, the group describes the device, how it works and the ways they believe it can be used.

Breakthrough software teaches computer characters to walk, run, even play soccer

Computer characters and eventually robots could learn complex motor skills like walking and running through trial and error, thanks to a milestone algorithm developed by a University of British Columbia researcher.

Researchers develop a new technique that enables photographers to adjust image compositions after capture

When taking a picture, a photographer must typically commit to a composition that cannot be changed after the shutter is released. For example, when using a wide-angle lens to capture a subject in front of an appealing background, it is difficult to include the entire background and still have the subject be large enough in the frame.

Biofeedback technology helping improve balance in Parkinson's patients

University of Houston researchers in the Department of Health and Human Performance are helping patients with Parkinson's disease regain stable balance and confidence in performing daily activities in their own homes. A research team is developing the Smarter Balance System (SBS), a smartphone-based biofeedback rehabilitation system that guides patients through a series of balance exercises using wearable technology.

New CBS newsmagazine promises immersive storytelling

CBS premieres a news program Monday designed to showcase the journalism on its CBSN streaming service, the second time this summer one of the broadcast networks has tried a fresh twist on the newsmagazine format.

Deadly crashes spur calls for tractor-trailer side guards

Fifty years after actress Jayne Mansfield died in a Buick that slammed underneath a tractor-trailer, auto safety advocates say regulations inspired by that gruesome crash need updating to prevent hundreds of similar deaths annually.

Samsung facing growing threats despite record profits

Sprawling South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics has recovered from a humiliating recall fiasco and the arrest of its de facto leader with remarkable speed, analysts said, after the tech giant stunned investors with record-breaking profits.

Apple removes some VPN services from Chinese app store

Apple has removed software allowing internet users to skirt China's "Great Firewall" from its app store in the country, the company confirmed Sunday, sparking criticism that it was bowing to Beijing's tightening web censorship.

Is 'diesel summit' the last chance for Germany's favourite engine?

Germany hosts a debate on the future of diesel engines next week as pressure grows on the government and automakers to curb or ditch a technology tarred by a reputation for pollution and cheating.

Last-mile delivery via drone

A warm meal was quickly delivered by a drone from an ESA business incubator start-up to the last inhabitant in a remote village in Portugal.

3-D printing technologies transport students to ancient greece

The use of 3-D printing technologies in Victoria University of Wellington's Classics Museum has students using ancient Greek artefacts the way they were intended—from interacting with 3-D printed ancient objects to designing their own amphorae (storage jars).

Opinion: Super-intelligence and eternal life—transhumanism's faithful follow it blindly into a future for the elite

The rapid development of so-called NBIC technologies – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science – are giving rise to possibilities that have long been the domain of science fiction. Disease, ageing and even death are all human realities that these technologies seek to end.

Always take the weather with you

The advent of mobile communications devices and in particular the internet-connected smart phone and tablet means that users can have access to almost any information they desire with the tap or swipe of a screen. That evergreen conversational topic, the weather forecast, is perhaps one of the most universally accessed pieces of information that people access. Now, writing in the International Journal of Social and Humanistic Computing, a research team from Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus, Australia, explain how they have developed a predictive model of user acceptance and the value of weather software applications, so-called "apps." Their research could help future research into this burgeoning area of human activity as well as offering the developers of such apps insights into user needs and other information.

Anonymity, scoundrels, and free speech

Christoph Bezemek of the Institute of Public Law and Political Science, at the University of Graz, Austria, tells a tale of his school history teacher who purported that only "scoundrels" sent letters to a newspaper anonymously. His teacher's argument being that public discourse as a democratic society's bonding agent and so those who wish their voice to be heard should not hide behind a veil of anonymity. And yet, in a free society, surely one should have the right to a voice whether anonymous or not, after all throughout history often the messenger was at the lethal end of the phrase: the pen is mightier than the sword.

Artificial skin could allow robots to feel like we do

Artificial skin with post-human sensing capabilities, and a better understanding of skin tissue, could pave the way for robots that can feel, smart-transplants and even cyborgs.

States find rewards from high-tech investments, given time and patience

States have spent millions to develop high-tech industry, with its promise of good jobs and economic growth.

'Game of Thrones' script leaked after HBO hack

HBO said Monday its network was victimized by a cyberattack, and media reports said the hack resulted in the leak of a script of the popular series "Games of Thrones" and content from other productions.

Threat of a bitcoin split avoided, for now

On the eve of a major change in bitcoin, a threat of a split in the digital currency has been avoided—for now.

Cable company Charter says no interest in buying Sprint

Charter, one of the largest cable companies in the U.S., says it's not interested in buying wireless carrier Sprint.

HBO programming stolen in cyberattack

HBO has had some of its programming stolen in what is being described as a cyber incident.

Smarter electrification—providing energy isn't enough 

Four years ago life in Pulau Bau, a village on a tiny island off North Maluku in Indonesia, was transformed. The community was supplied with electricity via small-scale diesel generators and a state-of-the-art solar energy system with battery backup.

Discovery and Scripps seek to tie up in $12 billion TV deal

Discovery Communications will buy Scripps Networks for close to $12 billion, tying together two powerful stables of TV shows ranging from Animal Planet to the Food Network.

UK minister to meet Silicon Valley over online extremism

Britain's interior minister Amber Rudd will meet with tech leaders in California's Silicon Valley this week to try and combat online content inciting extremism, the government said Monday.

Medicine & Health news

The story of how a worm turned... into a bringer of medical miracles

For centuries, the only use humans found for the lugworm—dark pink, slimy and inedible—was on the end of a fish hook.

People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Adults with autism may overestimate the volatility of the world around them, finds a new UCL study published in Nature Neuroscience.

Study opens new drug therapy targets in a range of diseases

Scientists have a better understanding of the immune system at a molecular level, thanks to University of Queensland-led research that may now lead to a range of new treatments for disease.

Study highlights underlying mechanisms of fractures associated with osteoporosis drug

There is no disputing that the use of bisphosphonates - with brand names such as Fosamax, Boniva and Reclast - is proven to combat bone loss and fragility fractures in millions of osteoporosis patients for whom a fracture could be debilitating, even life-threatening.

Researchers identify biomarkers associated with chronic fatigue syndrome severity

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have linked chronic fatigue syndrome to variations in 17 immune-system signaling proteins, or cytokines, whose concentrations in the blood correlate with the disease's severity.

Cells that stand in the way of HIV cure: Discovery expands understanding of marrow's role

Every day, 17 million HIV-infected people around the world swallow pills that keep the virus inside them at bay.

Two new studies offer insights into gastrointestinal dysfunction in Parkinson's patients

Constipation is one of the most common non-motor related complaints affecting Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Two important studies from the same research group published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease expand the understanding of the relationship between PD and gastrointestinal dysfunction. In one study, investigators measured actual colonic dysfunction and compared it to reported constipation. In the other study, researchers tracked the position of an ingested wireless electromagnetic capsule using the novel 3D-Transit system in order to calculate gastrointestinal (GI) regional transit times.

Researchers develop technology to make aged cells younger

Aging. We all face it. Nobody's immune and we've long tried to reverse it, stop it or just even slow it down. While advances have been made, true age-reversal at a cellular level remains difficult to achieve. By taking a different approach, however, researchers at Houston Methodist made a surprising discovery leading to the development of technology with the ability to rejuvenate human cells. And that couldn't be more important for the small population of children who are aging too quickly - children with progeria.

How DNA damage turns immune cells against cancer

Cancer is essentially a disease of the cell replication cycle. The goal of treating the disease is to permanently kill off the cells that replicate with abandon without any molecular brakes. Chemotherapy and radiation cause breaks in DNA, and eventually, death even in these out-of-control cells. Within minutes after being exposed to treatment, cancer cells call on DNA-repair proteins to counteract the damage wrought by these treatments. Days later, immune cells show up to tumors to assist further in beating back cells that have survived the effects of the toxic therapies.

Institute wants to create transplant organs for injured vets

A bio-research and manufacturing institute that hopes to develop transplant tissues and organs for injured American soldiers and other patients has opened in New Hampshire.

Women show cognitive advantage in gender-equal countries

Women's cognitive functioning past middle age may be affected by the degree of gender equality in the country they live in, according to new findings from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Exercise incentives do little to spur gym-going, study shows

Even among people who had just joined a gym and expected to visit regularly, getting paid to exercise did little to make their commitment stick, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University.

GP-based testing for HIV is cost-effective and should be rolled out in local authorities

Offering HIV testing to people at health checks when they register at a new GP surgery in high-prevalence areas is cost-effective and will save lives, according to a study involving over 86,000 people from 40 GP surgeries, led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Child advocates urge back-seat alarms as 2 die in Arizona

A proposed law that would require carmakers to build alarms for back seats is being pushed by child advocates who say it will prevent kids from dying in hot cars.

Interval training cuts CVD risk in testicular cancer survivors

(HealthDay)—For testicular cancer survivors (TCS), a high-intensity aerobic interval training (HIIT) intervention improves cardiorespiratory fitness and reduces cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, according to a study published online July 14 in Cancer.

Thyroid cancer tied to regular thyroxine use in hypothyroidism

(HealthDay)—Patients with primary hypothyroidism who are regular thyroxine users have increased risk of thyroid cancer, according to a study published online July 19 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Potential drug for treating chronic pain with few side effects

Researchers at Okayama University describe in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the effect of clodronate on the regulation of adenosine triphosphate release and its potential as a drug for the treatment of chronic pain. The compound has few side effects and may also be effective for treating other medical conditions including diabetes.

Researchers uncover how to boost learning efficiency in neurofeedback

Researchers from the HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making and the (Institute of Problems of Mechanical Engineering, Russian Academy of Sciences, have conducted a series of experiments to determine what a person actually controls when tasked with independently affecting the activity of their own brain. This discovery may contribute to non-pharmacological methods for treating epilepsy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and depression. The research results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

New report says years of sustained, coordinated efforts needed to curb opioid epidemic

To reduce the growing number of deaths related to both prescription opioid overuse and illicit opioid use, a new report determines it will take years of sustained and coordinated efforts by physicians, patients, federal and state agencies and the public to curb the opioid epidemic. The findings were released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine earlier this month.

Using your own stem cells to help your body heal osteoarthritis

The truth came crashing home last year—a perfect storm of faulty genetics, the unrelenting march of age, and every athletic mishap I've ever stumbled through.

Stroke recovery linked to stimulating environment

A Queensland hospital has become the first to trial how increased activity in an acute stroke unit impacts on patients.

Scientists study baby teeth to understand in utero exposure to harmful materials and autism link

Seven years ago, Holly and Rob Waldman's second child, John Michael, was diagnosed with autism after an intense day of testing at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a Johns Hopkins affiliate that specializes in treating neurological disorders.

No evidence higher doses of cholesterol-lowering drug increase risk of acute kidney damage

New Zealanders taking a higher dose of simvastatin, one of the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, do not appear to have a higher risk of acute kidney damage than those taking a lower dose, according to University of Otago researchers from the Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network.

National study highlights hidden causes of methamphetamine-related death

The number of methamphetamine-related deaths in Australia doubled between 2009 and 2015 with heart disease and violent suicide identified as prominent causes of death, a study from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has found.

Cancer gene map uncovers potential new treatment targets

Researchers in the US have created a comprehensive map of genes that tumour cells rely on to survive.

Study shows mango consumption has positive impact on inflammatory bowel disease

Initial results of a study by researchers in the department of nutrition and food science at Texas A&M University in College Station show mango consumption has a positive impact on people with inflammatory bowel disease.

Availability of cheap tobacco undermining efforts to cut smoking

The effectiveness of price increases as a deterrent to cut smoking is being undermined by the availability of cheap tobacco, including roll-your-own and cartons of factory-made cigarettes, according to new research published in the Journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

'Stranger danger' in the online and real word

The term "stranger danger" was coined as a warning to children: beware the unknown adult, proceed with caution and be very careful what personal information you reveal. The question is, do adults take their own advice? Perhaps most would be more guarded and make sure they know who they are dealing with before revealing too much about themselves. But our relationship with "strangers" has been evolving and social media has torn down some of the barriers that used to protect us.

'Hidden' experiences of men forced to have sex with women revealed

The most frequent strategy used by women forcing men to have sex with them against their will is blackmail and threats, according to researchers at Lancaster University.

Machine learning can predict rate of memory change

In new research published today, researchers have created a machine learning algorithm that is able to form two distinct groups of people who have early memory problems known as mild cognitive impairment. The algorithm was able to predict different rates of change in people's memory and thinking skills, also showing how those in the rapid change group were at an increased risk of developing dementia.

People find it difficult to judge how good their intuitions are

Whether people believe they are 'intuitive' or not may have no bearing on how they perform in tasks that require intuition, according to new research by psychologists at the University of Kent.

Exercising before prostate surgery helps recovery

Favil Singh has a simple prescription for patients about to undergo surgery for prostate cancer—exercise.

Later literacy success hinges on early handwriting lessons

A new study has shown the far-reaching implications of handwriting skills in early childhood.

How sharing can make a hangover less harrowing

Headache and nausea aside, the morning after an evening of drinking can be filled with regret, anxiety and misery. But it can also be a time of humour, story-telling and emotional bonding.

Opioid misuse is increasing in middle-aged Britons – here's how it could cause an addiction crisis

The older we get, the more likely we are to suffer with long-term health problems. Life expectancy may be increasing, but so are the number of years we spend in ill health. In people aged 50 and over, the leading causes of chronic ill health are lower-back and neck pain. It's hardly surprising, then, that so many middle-aged people are hooked on painkillers.

Brain development linked to stimulation of genetic variations

Scientists in the UK and India have discovered more evidence that positive stimuli in early childhood can benefit the infant brain.

New technique may better detect cystic fibrosis in newborns

Researchers have identified new biological markers of cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease which affects children and young adults, leaving them with lifelong health complications including digestive problems and persistent lung infections.

Research shows regular road closures help children get active

New research from the University of Bristol shows that playing outside, aided by regular road closures, helps to increase children's physical activity.

Guidelines for assessing orthostatic hypotension should be changed, new study recommends

A new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that testing for the presence of orthostatic hypotension, a form of low blood pressure, be performed within one minute of standing after a person has been lying down. Current guidelines recommend taking the measurement three minutes after a person stands up.

Touring senior centers, interacting with residents positively impacts health students

A new study has found that a community-based service learning experience involving greater interaction with older adults had a positive impact on career development for medical residents (physicians who have graduated from medical school and are starting work at a healthcare facility under supervision). Researchers who designed the program published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Study shows muted stress response linked to long-term cannabis use

A new study by Washington State University psychology researchers reveals a dampened physiological response to stress in chronic cannabis users.

Researchers listen to birdsong, unlock mysteries of brain

The term "birdbrain" has been part of our lexicon for about a century to describe someone's intellect, or lack of it, presumably because birds have really small brains. But, in fact, the way songbirds learn to sing is similar to how humans learn speech.

Public trust in science spiked after media coverage of Zika vaccine trial

How can the public's confidence in science be strengthened? Public trust in science has largely held steady for decades, despite short-term fluctuations. But new findings based on a survey of public attitudes toward the Zika vaccine suggest that there is a way to increase public support for science.

Towards a safe and scalable cell therapy for type 1 diabetes by simplifying beta cell differentiation

More than 36 million people globally are affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D), a lifelong disorder where insulin producing cells are attacked and destroyed by the immune system resulting in deficient insulin production that requires daily blood glucose monitoring and administration of insulin. While successful outcomes from islet transplantations have been reported, very few patients can benefit from this therapeutic option due to limited access to cadaveric donor islets. Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSCs) could offer an unlimited and invariable source of insulin-producing beta cells for treatments of a larger population of T1D patients.

Stem cells may help improve corneal wound healing

A new review is the first to directly examine the role of various stem cells in the healing of wounded cornea, the outermost part of the eye. In contrast with most other reviews, it covers all major corneal cell types in a comprehensive way, showing similarities and differences in the healing process and the usage of stem cells for therapy.

Netflix drama '13 Reasons Why' linked to suicidal thoughts

If you haven't heard of Netflix's television series "13 Reasons Why," just ask the nearest teenager. They'll tell you it's an immensely popular show among their young-adult peers, depicting the anguish and eventual suicide of a teenage girl as experienced by a friend listening to the series of audio-cassette journal entries she left behind.

Higher dementia risk associated with birth in high stroke mortality states

Is being born in states with high stroke mortality associated with dementia risk in a group of individuals who eventually all lived outside those states?

Genetic testing helps detect cause of early life epilepsy

Chicago...A study published in JAMA Pediatrics supports the use of genetic testing, especially with sequencing, as first-line diagnostic method for young children with seizures. Specific genetic factors were found to be the cause of epilepsy in 40 percent of patients evaluated for first presentation with seizures. Genetic testing also yielded a diagnosis in 25 percent of children who had epilepsy with an otherwise unknown cause.

Statistical analysis for optimal immunization: New insights into T cell development

When T cells encounter an antigen, they proliferate and produce various types of daughter cells. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now refuted the prevailing hypothesis that this immune response is largely predetermined by the individual structure of the T cell receptor. Instead, the influence of the T cell receptor can be described only in probabilistic terms. Such mathematical models may help to improve the design of future vaccination strategies.

Cell senescence is regulated by innate DNA sensing

Cells in the body or in cultures eventually stop replicating. This phenomenon is called "senescence" and is triggered by shortening of telomeres, oxidative stress or genetic damage to the cells, either acute or simply due to the cell growing "old". Understanding the causes and impact of senescence can give us deep insights into the development of cancer and ageing. EPFL scientists have now discovered that a DNA-sensing mechanism of the innate immune system - which is pivotal for the immediate defense against pathogens—controls cellular senescence. The work is published in Nature Cell Biology, and highlights potential novel anti-tumor and perhaps anti-ageing strategies.

New canadian study calls for targeted screening of high-risk healthcare workers for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a recognized hazard for healthcare workers, but the annual screening strategy currently in place in Canada and the United States is costly with very limited health benefits and should be reconsidered, according to a new study led by a team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). The findings, published in the journal BMC Medicine, suggest health agencies in North America should consider switching to a targeted strategy focusing on high-risk healthcare workers only.

Research on nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles reveals viable skin infection treatment

George Washington University (GW) researchers have found that topically applied nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles (NO-np) are a viable treatment for deep fungal infections of the skin caused by dermatophytes, for which the current standard of care is treatment with systemic antifungals.

Novel framework powered by 3-D MRI accurately predicts pregnancies complicated by FGR

During the millions of pregnancies that occur in the United States every year, expectant moms learn oodles about their developing fetuses over months of gestation. But the placenta, a vital and temporary organ that shelters the fetus—delivering life-sustaining nutrients and oxygen, getting rid of toxic by-products and modulating the immune system to protect the pregnancy—largely remains a mystery. A team of Children's National Health System research scientists is beginning to provide insights about the poorly understood placenta.

Research finds home-based kit would increase HIV testing

Research led by William Robinson, PhD, Associate Research Professor of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, has found that 86% of heterosexuals who are at high risk for HIV would use a home-based test kit provided by mail and 99% would seek treatment based on a positive result. This self-administered alternative may lead a group whose high risk is under-recognized to treatment sooner. The paper is published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and is available online.

When push comes to injury: What pushing a wheelchair does to your back

When you push someone in a wheelchair, you may be hurting your back without knowing it.

Taboo around vaginal bleeding endangers women's health

The culture of silence around vaginal bleeding at all stages of life endangers women's health and is compounded by limited access to clean water, sanitation, and factual information in low and middle-income countries, according to a study conducted at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are published in the online journal BMJ Global Health.

Shared housing, shared behavior in mouse model of autism

Mice genetically modified to model autism spectrum disorders (ASD) cause changes in the behavior of their unmodified littermates when housed together. The findings, published in eNeuro, show how social environment shapes behaviors characteristic of mouse models for ASD and have implications for the interpretation of results obtained from mouse models of psychiatric disorders.

Industry steps up efforts to minimise impact of open display tobacco product ban

Tobacco companies have stepped up efforts to minimise the impact of the open display ban on their products in convenience stores or 'corner shops' in Scotland, by offering retailers a new range of incentives to prioritise their brands, reveals research published online in the journal Tobacco Control.

Refuting the idea that mutations cause cancer

What causes cancer? Smoking, certainly, and also things like sun and chemical exposure. Cancer risk also increases with some genetic predispositions and in old age. One thread connecting these risks is genetic mutations in the cells of our bodies - smoking and UV exposure increase the rate of DNA damage and with each replication of damaged DNA comes the chance of picking up a random mutation that can kickstart cancer. And the longer we live, the more chance that awful luck will result in one of these random, cancer-causing mutations. This is the mutation accumulation theory of oncogenesis: "Cancers are caused by mutations that may be inherited, induced by environmental factors, or result from DNA replication error," write John Hopkins University biostatisticians Tomasetti, Li and Vogelstein in the March 24, 2017 issue of the journal Science.

Structural and functional MRI in children resuscitated after drowning pinpoints site of anoxic brain injury

Children who are resuscitated after drowning can survive as prisoners inside their own bodies, awake but paralyzed. Drowning deprives the brain of oxygen, which can cause a form of anoxic brain injury (ABI). Unable to move or speak, 10 children with ABI studied at UT Health San Antonio exhibited variations of locked-in syndrome, a rare condition in adults and thought to be even rarer in children. This work suggests that pediatric drowning may be one of the most common causes of locked-in syndrome.

Mental health visits spike prior to burn injury, indicating opportunity for intervention

In a new study examining the relationship between mental health and burn injury, researchers note that burn injuries may be preventable through increased access to high-quality mental health care. The study's findings also show that burn injury victims experience significantly increased rates of self-harm after their injuries. The study results are published as an "article in press" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website ahead of print publication.

Coordinated care organizations lead to more timely prenatal care

Pregnant women on Medicaid are more likely to receive timely prenatal care following Oregon's implementation of coordinated care organizations, or CCOs, which are regional networks of health care providers who work together to treat patients, a new study has shown.

Among gun owners, culturally tailored suicide prevention messages work best

Gun owners are much more receptive to suicide-prevention messages tailored to respect their rights as firearms enthusiasts than they are to messages that use language that aims to be culturally neutral, a study published last week suggests.

Spanking can be detrimental for children's behavior, even 10 years later

Past research has indicated that physical punishment, such as spanking, has negative consequences on child development. However, most research studies have examined short-term associations—less than one year—between discipline and development. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that physical discipline experienced during infancy can negatively impact temperament and behavior among children in the fifth grade and into their teenage years.

Domestic violence twice as likely to start for pregnant women after HIV diagnosis

A diagnosis of HIV during pregnancy makes domestic violence twice as likely to start for some women after their baby has been born, according to new research led by a Drexel University researcher.

Study finds promise in new tactic to curb obesity

An educational initiative at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine is reducing medical students' negative attitudes toward people with obesity, a finding researchers hope will translate into better outcomes for patients struggling with weight, according to research published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson's disease

Researchers at Binghamton University have developed a new drug that may limit the progression of Parkinson's disease while providing better symptom relief to potentially hundreds of thousands of people with the disease.

Obesity linked with teen exposure to violence

Teens consumed more unhealthy foods and beverages on days they were exposed to violence, and suffered from fatigue due to poor sleep the next day, according to a new study by Duke researchers. Those behaviors, especially increased soda consumption, are important predictors of weight gain.

Aspirin safe for heart failure patients, study finds

(HealthDay)—Some research has raised concerns about the safety of aspirin for heart failure patients. But a new study appears to offer some reassurance.

Take to the road on 2 wheels

(HealthDay)—Cycling is a fun fitness option at every age. It's easier on your joints than some other forms of cardio, yet it's just as efficient.

Chemo plus hyperthermia active in advanced pancreatic cancer

(HealthDay)—For patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic carcinoma with malignant ascites, a combined systemic and intraperitoneal chemotherapy approach plus hyperthermia is well tolerated and active, according to a study published online July 25 in the Journal of Global Oncology.

Benefit for generalist + specialist care in complex conditions

(HealthDay)—For patients with diabetes and compensated cirrhosis, those who visit both primary care providers (PCPs) and specialists have lower odds of experiencing decompensation and/or hospitalization compared with those visiting a PCP only, according to research published online July 26 in Diabetes Care.

More progress needed for hep C elimination in country of Georgia

(HealthDay)—More interventions are needed to meet the target of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination, defined as a 90 percent reduction in prevalence by 2020, in the country of Georgia, according to research published in the July 28 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Outbreak of septic arthritis described in New Jersey

(HealthDay)—In a report published in the July 28 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, details are presented of an outbreak of septic arthritis associated with intra-articular injections at a New Jersey outpatient practice.

Pre-op methylprednisolone beneficial in knee arthroplasty

(HealthDay)—For patients undergoing elective unilateral total knee arthroplasty, preoperative administration of methylprednisolone is associated with reduced circulating markers of endothelial activation and damage, according to a study published online July 28 in Anaesthesia.

Review: positive link for alcohol, nonmelanoma skin cancer

(HealthDay)—Alcohol intake seems to be positively associated with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), according to a review and meta-analysis published online July 28 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Respiratory microbiome may influence inflammation in CF

(HealthDay)—Reduced bacterial diversity in the upper and lower airways in infants with cystic fibrosis (CF) is associated with use of prophylactic antibiotics and younger age at sampling, while less diversity in lavage samples is associated with lower inflammation, according to a study published online July 14 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Cost-effectiveness of allergen immunotherapy evaluated

(HealthDay)—Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) may be cost-effective for allergic rhinitis, and for venom allergy in high-risk subgroups, according to research published online July 18 in Allergy.

Single BMD, fracture history predict long-term fracture risk

(HealthDay)—For older women, a single bone mineral density (BMD) measure and fracture history can predict long-term fracture risk, according to a study published online July 18 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

GOP's base not ready to give up fight against 'Obamacare'

Weary Republicans in Washington may be ready to move on from health care, but conservatives across the United States are warning the GOP-led Congress not to abandon its pledge to repeal the Obama-era health law—or risk a political nightmare in next year's elections.

A closer look at osteoporosis medication's mechanisms may improve outcomes

Osteoporosis is the primary cause of bone fractures in the elderly. Bone loss in this disease reflects an imbalance between the activity of bone-degrading cells called osteoclasts and bone-building cells called osteoblasts. Teriparatide, a recombinant form of parathyroid hormone, is currently the only FDA-approved treatment for osteoporosis that targets bone formation. This medication stimulates osteoblast activity and increases the lifespan of osteoblasts, but whether it also enhances the production of these bone-forming cells is unknown.

Updated review confirms efficacy and safety of most standard treatments for latent tuberculosis infection

Robust evidence confirms that most standard treatment regimens currently recommended by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), including rifampicin-isoniazid for 3 months, are safe and effective for preventing active TB. The evidence for rifapentine-isoniazid for 3 months with a reduced pill burden is improving, but more evidence is still needed.

Study finds cardiac complications high after orthopedic surgery for heart disease patients

A new study published today in the HSS Journal, the leading journal on musculoskeletal research, found the incidence of myocardial ischemia (defined by an elevated troponin level) after major orthopedic surgery in patients with cardiac risk factors is high, although the incidence of serious cardiac complications remains low. Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) researchers recommend a simple blood test to measure troponin, an enzyme known to play a role in cardiac complications, to help identify patients who are at greater risk of a cardiac event following surgery.

Supreme Court rulings can signal a shift in societal norms

When the Supreme Court issued its 2015 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, Americans understood the decision as a signal of Americans' increasing support of same-sex marriage, according to a study published by Princeton University.

Biology news

Interactive protein posttranslational modifications regulate stress responses

Methylation and nitric oxide (NO)-based S-nitrosylation are highly conserved protein posttranslational modifications that regulate diverse biological processes, including abiotic stress responses. However, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Editing human embryos with CRISPR is moving ahead – now's the time to work out the ethics

The announcement by researchers in Portland, Oregon that they've successfully modified the genetic material of a human embryo took some people by surprise.

Scientists develop ranking system to scale the impact of alien species

A transparent ranking system for measuring the socio-economic impact of plants and animals that are introduced by humans to areas where they do not naturally occur (termed "aliens") has been developed by an international team of scientists, from UCL, Université de Fribourg and Stellenbosch University.

Why plants represent 'untapped potential' for innovative drug discovery

The field of medicine has come a long way from using heroine as a cough remedy or magnet therapy to improve blood flow. These outdated methods were put to bed decades ago. But there are plenty of ancient medicinal practices that have stood the test of time. In fact, many of the life-saving pharmaceuticals we rely on today are derived from plants first discovered by indigenous communities.

How camouflaged birds decide where to blend in

Animals that rely on camouflage can choose the best places to conceal themselves based on their individual appearance, new research shows.

Study finds parallels between unresponsive honey bees, human autism

Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.

Rare whole genome duplication during spider evolution could reveal more about animal diversification

In collaboration with scientists from the U.K., Europe, Japan and the United States, researchers at the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine have discovered a whole genome duplication during the evolution of spiders and scorpions. The study appears in BMC Biology.

Into a competitive world, guppies are born not just bigger, but more mature

Throughout nature, moms engage in a trade-off: Churn out a bevy of offspring and hope for the best, or have fewer kids but invest more in their survival. Trinidadian guppies provide a model example of this pervasive parenting poser, but a new study by Brown University researchers provides uniquely deep insight into how guppy moms equip their babies for the environment they'll face.

New genomics tool CITE-Seq enables large-scale multidimensional analysis of single cells

A new technique developed by scientists at the New York Genome Center (NYGC) represents an important step forward for single-cell RNA sequencing, an advancing field of genomics that provides detailed insights into individual cells and makes it possible to distinguish between different cell types and to study disease mechanisms at the level of individual cells.

Dinosaur-era plant found alive in North America for first time

Imagine you're at work and suddenly, a cheetah pokes its head through your window.

Scientists determine algae biofuel composition

Scientists have used high-resolution mass spectrometry to determine the composition of a biofuel obtained from the microalgae Spirulina platensis. The researchers studied two biofuel fractions obtained using a special algal mass treatment method. The researchers also proved that biofuel has little to do with oil in terms of its composition. However, it is similar to the "brilliant green" antiseptic commonly sold in Eastern Europe. The results of the study were published in the European Journal of Mass Spectrometry.

Researchers re-classify mistaken-identity mushrooms

Some discoveries come from the stars – and some from beneath our feet.

Bryde's whales share secrets with their fins

Research into the long-term survival and abundance of the Hauraki Gulf's Bryde's whale population has used photographs of their fins to aid efforts in improving the management of the small population.

For bacteria, smaller is better for causing superbug infections

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have discovered a new insight into how one of the most common hospital superbugs causes infections – something which could be used to develop new antibiotic treatments.

An evolutionary breakpoint in cell division

Japanese researchers from Osaka University have discovered that the interaction between two proteins, M18BP1/KNL2 and CENP-A, is essential for cell division in various species except for mammals including human.

How the search for mythical monsters can help conservation in the real world

After fears the Loch Ness Monster had "disappeared" last winter, a new sighting in May 2017 was celebrated by its enthusiasts. The search for monsters and mythical creatures (or "cryptids") such as Nessie, the Yeti or Bigfoot is known as "cryptozoology".

Pig-hunting dogs and humans are at risk of a disease that can cause miscarriages and infertility

A disease called swine brucellosis is emerging in New South Wales, carried by feral pigs. Endemic to feral pigs in Queensland, and sometimes infecting the dogs used to hunt them, it can be transmitted to humans through blood contact with infected pigs. A number of people have already been infected in NSW.

Snakebites are rarer than you think, but CPR can save your life

Despite the common belief that Australia has some of the most venomous snakes in the world, our new research shows being bitten by a snake is uncommon in Australia and dying from a snakebite is very rare.

Improving habitats for bats

The effects of 160 years of woodland creation on bats has been revealed by a natural experiment.

What does trophy hunting contribute to wild lion conservation?

Trophy hunting of lions, the killing of selected individual animals for sport, is highly controversial, and there is much debate about what it contributes to conservation. A new article highlights significant 'unknowns' that thwart conservationists from making any robust conclusions.

The new yellow sea snake assumes an unusual ambush posture

Carrying its petite frame and all-yellow skin, the recently scrutinized sea snake populations from Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, already seem different enough to be characterized as a new subspecies. However, their most extraordinary trait is only exposed at night when the serpents opportunistically feed on small fish by hanging upside down from the water surface, assuming a peculiar sinusoidal ambush posture.

Research models spread of disease through aquatic communities

The interaction of species within an ecosystem is important in predicting how they will respond when diseases are introduced, Bournemouth University (BU) modelling has found.

Leaf beetles: Even a tiny dose of pesticide will impair reproduction

One finding is that leaf beetles lay roughly 35 per cent fewer eggs after coming into contact with traces of a frequently used pesticide: a pyrethroid. The researchers also showed that female offspring develop malformations through the poison. The biologists have published their study in the journal Environmental Pollution.

Yellowstone grizzlies removed from threatened species list

The U.S. government lifted protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region on Monday, though it will be up to the courts to decide whether the revered and fearsome icon of the West stays off the threatened species list.

Researchers use carrion flies to survey tropical forest mammals

How many mammal species live in a tropical forest? Some are nocturnal. Others are small, furtive or live at the tops of trees. Scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama tested a new technique: recruiting carrion-eating flies to detect mammals. This new method surpasses standard techniques, detecting more species than researchers could count along trails or photograph with hidden cameras.

New and novel technologies successfully demonstrated in soilborne disease study

Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a prominent soilborne disease of soybean, can be devastating. Yield losses from SDS can reach 100%, depending on the soybean variety affected and stage of development when symptoms appear.

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