Thursday, July 27, 2017

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Jul 27

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 27, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Research shows reusable, carbon nanotube-reinforced filters clean toxic heavy metals from water

Nanoscale magnetic device mimics behavior of neurons and can recognize human audio signals

Chemists deduce the correct structure of the A and B baulamycins

Scientists solve longstanding biological mystery of DNA organization

A new picture emerges on the origins of photosynthesis in a sun-loving bacteria

Sticky when wet: Strong adhesive for wound healing

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing

Milky Way's origins are not what they seem

Seeing more with PET scans: Surprising new mechanism for attaching chemical tracers discovered

Finish your antibiotics course? Maybe not, experts say

Physicists turn a crystal into an electrical circuit

A tale of three stellar cities

Researcher looking to shed light deeper into the human brain

New ecological model uses tournament-style framework of biodiversity

Researchers reveal unusual chemistry of protein with role in neurodegenerative disorders

Astronomy & Space news

Milky Way's origins are not what they seem

In a first-of-its-kind analysis, Northwestern University astrophysicists have discovered that, contrary to previously standard lore, up to half of the matter in our Milky Way galaxy may come from distant galaxies. As a result, each one of us may be made in part from extragalactic matter.

A tale of three stellar cities

Using new observations from ESO's VLT Survey Telescope, astronomers have discovered three different populations of baby stars within the Orion Nebula Cluster. This unexpected discovery adds very valuable new insights for the understanding of how such clusters form. It suggests that star formation might proceeds in bursts, where each burst occurs on a much faster time-scale than previously thought.

Has Cassini found a universal driver for prebiotic chemistry at Titan?

An important type of molecule that helps produce complex organic material has been detected within Titan's hazy upper atmosphere by a UCL-led team as part of the international Cassini-Huygens mission.

Galactic David and Goliath

The gravitational dance between two galaxies in our local neighbourhood has led to intriguing visual features in both as witnessed in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image. The tiny NGC 1510 and its colossal neighbour NGC 1512 are at the beginning of a lengthy merger, a crucial process in galaxy evolution. Despite its diminutive size, NGC 1510 has had a significant effect on NGC 1512's structure and amount of star formation.

Northwest citizen scientists among the many helping track solar eclipse across US

At the instant the moon's shadow darkens the Oregon coast on the morning of Aug. 21, a scientific relay race will kick off with Bruce and Ryan Alder at the head of the pack.

Astronauts gear up for space with tough Russian training

Wearing helmets weighing 100 kilos, spinning in a centrifuge and exercising while weightless: Russian cosmonauts and astronauts from abroad have to undergo a gruelling training process before blasting off into space.

Precision farming via satellite imaging

Precision farming is set to become even more precise with a new camera drawing on satellite imaging.

Breakthrough lofts the smallest satellites ever

In 2015, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner established Breakthrough Initiatives, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). In April of the following year, he and the organization be founded announced the creation of Breakthrough Starshot, a program to create a lightsail-driven "wafercraft" that would make the journey to the nearest star system – Alpha Centauri – within our lifetime.

Iran claims launch of satellite-carrying rocket into space

Iran successfully launched its most advanced satellite-carrying rocket into space, the country's state media reported Thursday, in what is likely the most significant step yet for the launch vehicle.

NASA delays satellite launch to replace damaged antenna

NASA has delayed the launch of a major communications satellite by more than two weeks to replace a damaged antenna.

Image: Soyuz ready to roll

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft that will carry ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and Roscosmos commander Sergey Ryazansky to the International Space Station is now on the launch pad in Kazakhstan.

Technology news

Researchers develop model to predict and prevent power outages using big data

High-speed winds during a thunderstorm may cause trees around an electric grid to crash into the distribution system feeders causing an outage in that area. Currently, most utility companies diminish such accidents by scheduling regular tree-trimming operations. This effort is costly and is based on a rotational approach to different service areas, which may take months and sometimes years before all trees are trimmed.

Berlin orders recall of 22,000 Porsches over emissions cheating (Update)

Germany on Thursday ordered luxury car brand Porsche to recall 22,000 vehicles across Europe over emissions test cheating amid a widening election-year scandal.

Seeing the light: Researchers seek to improve solar cell technology using new materials and nanowires

Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology are expanding solar cell technology using nanowires to capture more of the sun's energy and transform it into usable electricity. Comparable to ultra-thin blades of grass, nanowires added to today's conventional materials are capable of capturing more light and can be cost-effective solutions for adopting solar energy into the broader consumer market.

How a 16-hour road trip led to the creation of Seattle startup Apptentive

The idea for Seattle startup Apptentive started as a conversation on a 16-hour road trip as co-founders Robi Ganguly and Andrew Wooster drove from the Bay Area to Seattle.

Uber's latest bid to win over drivers: 24/7 phone support

Uber added a 24-hour phone help line and a slew of new features and policy changes Tuesday in an attempt to appease drivers, who have long complained the San Francisco ride-hailing company doesn't do enough to support them.

Facebook profit jumps as user ranks grow

Facebook on Wednesday reported a surge in profits in the past quarter, fueled by strong growth in money-making ads to its more than two billion users.

Samsung soars, sidestepping jailing of chief, Note 7 fiasco

No leader and scorched Note 7 smartphones? No problem.

Amazon pushes into SE Asia with Singapore launch

Amazon launched its express delivery service in Singapore on Thursday, the US online retail giant's first foray into Southeast Asia and a move that puts it in direct competition with China's Alibaba.

Amazon and Foxconn reflect a growing trend: Deliver it now

In today's economy, speed is everything.

Volkswagen earnings rise in stronger European economy

Volkswagen's profits rose in the first half of the year as the German carmaker benefited from increased sales in a growing European economy and it moved past one-time costs for its diesel emissions scandal in the U.S.

Nokia reports loss, warns of decline in networks industry

Nokia continued to be hit by a decline in its core networks sector in the second quarter with almost flat sales, and cautioned Thursday that a weakening in networks would be greater than previously expected.

Using magnetic resonance to evaluate food quality

The applications and benefits of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in medicine are well known, but the technology is also used in other areas such as agribusiness, where its applications include quality analysis of seeds and other products of animal and plant origin. NMR has recently reached the retail commerce sector, where it expedites the assessment of meat and fruit quality in supermarkets.

No one knew just how many Ubers and Lyfts were out there—until now

In urban areas—and in not so urban areas—around the globe, Uber and Lyft are ubiquitous. But knowing just how many are out there at a given time is a problem that's eluded municipal transportation officials since the ride-hailing services burst onto the scene. That is, until now.

Video: A self-driving wheelchair

Singapore and MIT have been at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development. First, there were self-driving golf buggies. Then, an autonomous electric car. Now, leveraging similar technology, MIT and Singaporean researchers have developed and deployed a self-driving wheelchair at a hospital.

From flying warehouses to robot toilets – five technologies that could shape the future

Flying warehouses, robot receptionists, smart toilets… do such innovations sound like science fiction or part of a possible reality? Technology has been evolving at such a rapid pace that, in the near future, our world may well resemble that portrayed in futuristic movies, such as Blade Runner, with intelligent robots and technologies all around us.

Self-driving cars are coming—but are we ready?

It's been 60 years since the cover of Popular Mechanics magazine gave us the promise of flying cars. But our personal mobility options remain, today and for the foreseeable future, earthbound. Will the promise of self-driving cars be as elusive? In short, no. The dream of taking a road trip in which we pay more attention to a new book or movie than we do to the driving task is well within reach.

Study suggests investment pays off in safety for walkers, bikers

A new study of pedestrian and bicycle travel suggests investment in infrastructure and policies to encourage walking and biking are correlated with lower rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

The real consequences of fake news

Fake news, or fabricated content deceptively presented as real news, has garnered a lot of interest since the U.S. presidential election last fall.

How electric vehicles could take a bite out of the oil market

When will cars powered by gas-guzzling internal combustion engines become obsolete? Not as soon as it seems, even with the latest automotive news out of Europe.

An app to help you zero in on summer fun

An app developed by an EPFL doctoral student suggests outings you're sure to like – from sporting events to culture and outdoor fun. How does it work? The app is linked to a huge database of events and powered by a machine-learning algorithm that learns from your choices.

Expert says banning petrol and diesel cars is symbolically important

Following the announcement yesterday that the government plans to ban petrol and diesel cars from 2040 Professor Graham Parkhurst, Director of the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), says that this announcement is symbolically important.

Forging relationships: Identifying prehistoric social network dynamics with modern algorithms

In the first ever archaeological study of its kind, two researchers have combined the chemical analyses of dozens of the world's earliest copper artefacts and modularity approach in order to identify prehistoric networks of co-operation during the early development of European metalmaking. This study has led them one step further: the communities that co-operated the most largely belonged to the same archaeological culture, thus revealing a novel method for an independent evaluation of the archaeological record.

Twitter dives, growth stall highlights contrast with Facebook (Update)

Twitter shares were hammered Thursday after the company reported no gain in its user base in the past quarter, raising fresh fears about the future of the service as it loses more ground to Facebook.

Why you still can't ditch your cable box

Not that long ago, the clunky cable box looked like it was on its way out. The federal government was pressuring cable companies to open up their near-monopoly on boxes to more competition, and industry leader Comcast promised apps that could render some boxes obsolete.

Berlin pressures automakers as scandals pile up

German political leaders took the country's auto industry to task Thursday, demanding more action to reduce harmful diesel emissions even as new cartel allegations surfaced ahead of September elections.

Morocco arrests British Bitcoin dealer wanted in US

Moroccan police have arrested a British dealer in virtual currency Bitcoin wanted on fraud charges in the United States, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Thursday.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos becomes world's richest person - briefly (Update)

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday became the world's richest person, as a jump in the share price of the US tech giant enabled him to overtake Microsoft founder Bill Gates, a new estimate showed.

Apple ordered to pay $506M in Wisconsin patent infringement

A judge has ordered computer-maker Apple Inc. to pay more than $506 million in a patent infringement case brought by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation after the two sides agreed on final damages.

VW and regulators agree on fix for cars in cheating scandal

Volkswagen and U.S. environmental regulators announced agreement Thursday on a plan for the German automaker to fix most of the diesel cars involved in an emissions cheating scandal.

Amazon sales surge, but spending bites into profit

Internet colossus Amazon on Thursday reported profit shrank in the recently ended quarter despite surging sales as it poured money into growth.

Chinese writers navigate censors to earn cash via apps

When outspoken professor Qiao Mu posted his resignation letter on a popular Chinese messaging app, sympathetic readers tapped their phone screens to send him money, leaving him with a 20,000 yuan ($3,000) payday.

Foxconn: World's No. 1 contract electronics maker

Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group says it plans to build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin to make liquid-crystal display panels, or LCDs. Little known to consumers, the maker of iPhones and other gadgets is a giant in the electronics industry thanks to its dominant position in the global manufacturing supply chain.

Pressure sensor can identify early stages of flat feet

A team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) have designed a device for measuring pressure on human feet. Its applications include pediatric illnesses and monitoring the physical condition of professional athletes.

Comcast tops Street 2Q forecasts

Comcast is reporting second-quarter net income of $2.51 billion.

Greek police see leads in money laundering suspect's phone

A cellphone seized during the arrest of a Russian man the U.S. wants extradited for allegedly laundering vast sums through bitcoin transactions should provide key data for the investigation, Greek police said Thursday.

Why Twitter won't ban President Donald Trump

Twitter has made it clear that it won't ban Donald Trump from its service, whether the president follows its rules against harassment or not.

Medicine & Health news

Finish your antibiotics course? Maybe not, experts say

British disease experts on Thursday suggested doing away with the "incorrect" advice to always finish a course of antibiotics, saying the approach was fuelling the spread of drug resistance.

Researchers reveal unusual chemistry of protein with role in neurodegenerative disorders

A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the formation of permanent tangles of insoluble proteins in cells. The beta-amyloid plaques found in people with Alzheimer's disease and the inclusion bodies in motor neurons in the brains of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are two examples. Those aggregates, and others like them, can kill cells and lead to debilitating and progressive neurodegenerative diseases.

Infants know what we like best, study finds

Behind the chubby cheeks and bright eyes of babies as young as 8 months lies the smoothly whirring mind of a social statistician, logging our every move and making odds on what a person is most likely to do next, suggests new research in the journal Infancy.

Study finds harmful protein on acid triggers a life-threatening disease

Using an array of modern biochemical and structural biology techniques, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have begun to unravel the mystery of how acidity influences a small protein called serum amyloid A (SAA).

Even babies can tell who's the boss, UW research says

The charismatic colleague, the natural leader, the life of the party - all are personal qualities that adults recognize instinctively. These socially dominant types, according to repeated studies, also tend to accomplish and earn more, from accolades and material wealth to friends and romantic partners.

CRISPR sheds light on rare pediatric bone marrow failure syndrome

Using the gene editing technology CRISPR, scientists have shed light on a rare, sometimes fatal syndrome that causes children to gradually lose the ability to manufacture vital blood cells.

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes upon which cancer cells from multiple types are strongly dependent for their growth and survival.

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy from causing a type of cancer cell death called apoptosis.

Scientists become research subjects in after-hours brain-scanning project

A quest to analyze the unique features of individual human brains evolved into the so-called Midnight Scan Club, a group of scientists who had big ideas but almost no funding and little time to research the trillions of neural connections that activate the body's most powerful organ.

In witnessing the brain's 'aha!' moment, scientists shed light on biology of consciousness

Columbia scientists have identified the brain's 'aha!' moment—that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today's findings in humans, combined with previous research, provide compelling evidence that this moment—this feeling of having decided—pierces consciousness when information being collected by the brain reaches a critical level. The results of this study further suggest that this piercing of consciousness shares the same underlying brain mechanisms known to be involved in making far simpler decisions. Importantly, this study offers new hope that the biological foundations of consciousness may well be within our grasp.

Simulations signal early success for fractal-based retinal implants

Computer simulations of electrical charges sent to retinal implants based on fractal geometry have University of Oregon researchers moving forward with their eyes focused on biological testing.

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Social influences can override aggression in male mice, study shows

Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have identified a cluster of nerve cells in the male mouse's brain that, when activated, triggers territorial rage in a variety of situations. Activating the same cluster has no such effect on female mice.

Scientists block evolution's molecular nerve pruning in rodents

Researchers investigating why some people suffer from motor disabilities report they may have dialed back evolution's clock a few ticks by blocking molecular pruning of sophisticated brain-to-limb nerve connections in maturing mice. The result was mice with enhanced manual dexterity that grab and eat food much faster than regular wild-type mice, according to a study published July 28 in the journal Science.

Team finds link between backup immune defense, mutation seen in Crohn's disease

Genes that regulate a cellular recycling system called autophagy are commonly mutated in Crohn's disease patients, though the link between biological housekeeping and inflammatory bowel disease remained a mystery. Now, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered an intriguing clue.

Researchers crack the smile, describing three types by muscle movement

The smile may be the most common and flexible expression, used to reveal some emotions, cover others and manage social interactions that have kept communities secure and organized for millennia.

Binge drinking down among young adults in college, up among those who are not

After years of increasing rates of binge drinking, alcohol-impaired driving, and alcohol-related mortality among emerging adults ages 18 to 24, the numbers are finally starting to come down among college students in that age group, according to a study in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. However, those same numbers are on the rise in young adults of the same age who are not in college.

Should doctors work longer shifts? Experts debate whether trainees should work 24-hour shifts

This week, The BMJ looks at the issue of working hours and burnout among doctors.

Leaving Europe's nuclear regulator will put patients at risk, warns expert

The UK's proposed withdrawal from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) would threaten the supply of essential medical isotopes (essential for some types of cancer treatment and medical imaging) putting patients at risk, argues an expert in The BMJ today.

Concerns that austerity policies reversing gains to reduce health inequalities in England

A cross government strategy, in place from 1997 to 2010, appears to have reduced health inequalities between the most deprived areas in England and the rest of the country, finds a study in The BMJ today.

Could a green sponge hold cancer-fighting secrets?

A small green sponge discovered in dark, icy waters of the Pacific off Alaska could be the first effective weapon against pancreatic cancer, researchers said on Wednesday.

Drugs giants strike deal to advance cancer treatments (Update)

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and US peer Merck said Thursday they had agreed a multi-billion-dollar deal to jointly develop key cancer drugs.

'Are we there yet?'—explaining ADHD science to children

Science is often complex, but it does not mean that only a select few should be able to grasp scientific concepts. Many recent efforts have been directed toward involving the public in the scientific process and broadening access to scientific data. Consistent with this approach, scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) published their research on ADHD in a most unusual academic journal: Frontiers for Young Minds is an electronic science journal whose primary audience comprises children from elementary and junior high schools. Children are also involved in the fact-checking process necessary for any respected scientific journal, including the thorough peer review of submitted articles.

Mother's brain reward response to offspring reduced by substance addiction

Maternal addiction and its effects on children is a major public health problem, often leading to high rates of child abuse, neglect and foster care placement. In a study published today in the journal Human Brain Mapping, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Iowa found that a mother's brain response to her own infant is modified in the presence of substance addiction.

Surgical assessment tool could rapidly analyze cancerous tissue samples, improve patient outcomes

A Purdue University precision innovation developed for brain tumor surgery is being expanded to provide medical professionals with a rapid, robust supplemental assessment tool to more efficiently preserve, analyze and remove identified cancerous tissue and increase patient survival rates.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere have found. But with the commonly used conjugated equine estrogen, plus progestogen, the dosage does. Higher doses, especially over time, are associated with greater risk of problems, including heart disease and some types of cancer, especially among obese women.

Very preterm birth not associated with mood and anxiety disorders, new research finds

Do very-preterm or very-low-weight babies develop anxiety and mood disorders later in life? Julia Jaekel, assistant professor of child and family studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Dieter Wolke, professor of psychology at the University of Warwick, co-authored a study to answer this question.

Reduction in dental care and inferior oral health subsequent to dementia diagnosis

Subsequent to a diagnosis of dementia, the patient's contact with the dental care services diminishes and oral health is impaired. This has been revealed by a major register-based study from Karolinska Institutet published in the scientific journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

New strategy against childhood cancer

Neuroblastoma is a cancer in children that originates in the sympathetic nervous system and has a high mortality. Current treatment includes chemotherapy and radiotherapy with their potentially severe side effects; there is therefore an urgent need for a new improved drug. One potential treatment strategy is to use a drug to target deviant molecular signalling caused by changes in genes.

Research reveals need to address range of symptoms in midlife women

When women reach "a certain age" they expect some typical symptoms that signal their journey through menopause.

Research aims to shape more precise treatments for depression in women

Among women in the United States, depression is at epidemic levels: Approximately 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year, and more than 12 percent of women can expect to experience depression in their lifetime. Moreover, many experts believe the numbers are likely higher, given the degree of under-reporting about the condition, the fact that depression in women is often misdiagnosed and the fact that fewer than half of women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care.

Negativity, be gone—new online tool can retrain your brain

Anxiety and depression can have devastating effects on people's lives. In some cases, the mental disorders lead to isolation, poverty and poor physical health, things that often cascade to future generations.

Doctors play key role keeping women breast cancer-free longer

Researchers from The University of Western Australia believe General Practitioners can play an important role in ensuring women persist with cancer treatment.

Here's what a safety expert thinks of Formula One's 'ugly' new head protector

Formula 1 drivers have the most effective safety helmets in the world. But thanks to F1 cars' open cockpits, drivers are inevitably exposed to greater head injury risk than those in other high-speed sports. Now the body that governs F1 (the FIA) has decided to introduce a new head-protection system into the cars known as the Halo.

Could too much sitting be bad for our brains?

In many aspects of life where we need to use our brain power, we also tend to sit down: at school, at work, sitting exams or concentrating on a crossword. In a new paper, we explore how prolonged sitting may affect the brain's fuel supply and have a negative impact on brain health.

A lack of knowledge may explain low contraceptive use in Nigeria

The importance of family planning in addressing a range of challenges in developing countries is now widely accepted. Family planning is a key factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And getting it right can help countries in meeting related targets such as education, particularly for women and girls.

Collaboration proves vital for children in crisis

Understanding the benefits of child protection, police, and child and family advocates and therapists working together in local communities to respond to allegations of sexual and other severe child abuse has been the focus of recent research led by the University of South Australia's Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP).

The latest drug use figures and what they tell us about changing habits

Every year, the UK Home Office invites a sample of 50,000 people to tell them whether they have used any illicit drugs. Although you might wonder why anyone would willingly share this type of information, most people agree to take part. The survey helps us to understand the trends in UK drug use and informs policy and service planning.

Five ways to deal with burnout using lessons from elite sport

It is estimated that burnout costs the global economy £255 billion a year. Burnout tends to happen as a result of long-term stress in a situation or job that, for whatever reason, you're highly committed to. So the more you care about your work, the more likely you are to experience burnout.

Huge drop in men's sperm levels confirmed by new study – here are the facts

Sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand declined by 50-60 percent between 1973 and 2011, according to a new study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Surprisingly, the study, which analysed data on the sperm counts of 42,935 men, found no decline in sperm counts in men from Asia, Africa and South America, although there was limited data from these areas.

Self-efficacy boosts physical activity in osteoarthritis patients

Osteoarthritis patients that are more confident in their abilities in the morning go on to be more physically active throughout the day, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

The 16 genetic markers that can cut a life story short

The answer to how long each of us will live is partly encoded in our genome. Researchers have identified 16 genetic markers associated with a decreased lifespan, including 14 new to science. This is the largest set of markers of lifespan uncovered to date. About 10 percent of the population carries some configurations of these markers that shorten their life by over a year compared with the population average. Spearheaded by scientists from the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), the University of Lausanne and the EPFL, the study provides a powerful computational framework to uncover the genetics of our time of death, and ultimately of any disease. The study is published today in Nature Communications.

Novel thermal ablation system for transdermal drug delivery

Many diseases are treated with protein-based drugs. However, due to the size of the molecules, the only effective delivery method is through injection, which can suffer from low patient compliance. Furthermore, many of these types of drugs require multiple treatments that can take hours to complete, as is the case with rheumatoid arthritis. New drug delivery methods should be discovered and implemented to relieve patients of this taxing and expensive experience.

Negative birth outcomes linked to air pollution exposure early in pregnancy, study finds

Exposure to air pollution early in a pregnancy could increase risk for preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a study led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine, and published on July 27 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Cell mechanism discovery could lead to 'fundamental' change in leukaemia treatment

Researchers have identified a new cell mechanism that could lead to a fundamental change in the diagnosis and treatment of leukaemia.

EU report: More evidence on link between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance

The European Food Safety Authority, the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control are concerned about the impact of use of antibiotics on the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The report presents new data on antibiotic consumption and antibiotic resistance and reflects improved surveillance across Europe.

New study by running experts: Don't change your stride

USA Track and Field consultant Iain Hunter and U.S. Olympian Jared Ward have a message for runners: Don't mess with your stride.

Research highlights impact of kidney injury on non-renal solid organ transplants

Research led by a University of Cincinnati (UC) scientist shows the impact of acute kidney injury requiring dialysis (AKI-D) on patients receiving non-renal solid organ transplantation (NRSOT), including cardiac and liver transplantation. Researchers suggest that reducing the frequency of AKI-D diagnoses would improve the health outcomes of NRSOT patients and take less of a financial toll on the health care system.

Should we be worried about hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E gets little press compared to its better-known cousins A, B and C, but Stellenbosch University virologists say we should wake up to how transmission of this virus is changing. World Hepatitis Day is commemorated on 28 July.

E-cigarette use may encourage experimentation with tobacco, study finds

Young people who have tried an e-cigarette may be more likely to go on to smoke cigarettes compared with those who have not, a study led by University of Stirling researchers has suggested.

Medalist study underlines importance of glucose control in adults with Type 1 diabetes

"People are living longer with type 1 diabetes, and the onset of complications is taking longer," says Hillary Keenan, Ph.D., a Joslin Diabetes Center Assistant Investigator and co-Principal Investigator on the Joslin 50-Year Medalist Study. "Good blood glucose control and exercise are important factors in reducing complications and mortality rates for these older individuals."

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells glow during surgery - with preoperative positron emission tomography (PET) scans. The study from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania (ACC) is the first to show how effective the combination of IMI with the tumor-glowing agent can be when combined with traditional PET imaging. Researchers published their findings today in Annals of Surgery.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

No significant change seen in hearing loss among US teens

Although there was an increase in the percentage of U.S. youth ages 12 to 19 reporting exposure to loud music through headphones from 1988-2010, researchers did not find significant changes in the prevalence of hearing loss among this group, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Study finds breast cancer driver, HER2, in 3 percent of lung cancers

The Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium at the University of Colorado Cancer Center reports this week in the journal Cancer that 24 of 920 patients (3 percent) with advanced-stage lung cancer had mutations in the gene HER2. Seventy-one percent of these patients were never-smokers, with a median age of 62. The gene HER2 has been known as a breast cancer driver, with therapies approved to target HER2 mutations in this setting. Now ongoing clinical trials are evaluating the use of HER2-directed therapy against lung cancer testing positive for the mutation. By identifying a significant population of HER2+ lung cancer patients, the current study demonstrates the need for these therapies.

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power their ability to metastasize, or spread to distant sites in the body, newly published research reveals.

Myanmar seeks WHO help with deadly swine flu outbreak

Myanmar health authorities have asked the UN's health agency for help to combat a deadly outbreak of swine flu that has sparked alarm in the commercial capital.

DREAMers at greater risk for mental health distress

Immigrants who came to the United States illegally as small children and who meet the requirements of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, more commonly known as DREAMers, are at risk for mental health distress, according to a new study from researchers at Rice University.

Novel perspectives on anti-amyloid treatment for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease

For decades researches have been investigating the underlying foundations of Alzheimer's disease to provide clues for the design of a successful therapy. This week, VIB/KU Leuven scientists have published breakthrough insights in the prestigious journal Cell. A collaboration between Prof. Lucía Chávez-Gutiérrez and Prof. Bart De Strooper (both VIB-KU Leuven) revealed the molecular basis of the hereditary form of Alzheimer's disease that strikes early in life. These new findings provide powerful insights for the design of novel therapeutic strategies to tackle the disease.The hereditary form of Alzheimer's disease is caused by mutations in the Gamma Secretase enzyme and the APP protein. Gamma Secretase cuts APP several times in a progressive manner, with each cleavage generating a shorter fragment, called amyloid beta, which gets released into the brain.

Five vascular diseases linked to one common genetic variant

Genome-wide association studies have implicated a common genetic variant in chromosome 6p24 in coronary artery disease, as well as four other vascular diseases: migraine headache, cervical artery dissection, fibromuscular dysplasia, and hypertension. However, it has not been clear how this polymorphism affects the risk for so many diseases. In the journal Cell on July 27, researchers show how this DNA variant enhances the activity of a gene called endothelin-1 (EDN1), which is known to promote vasoconstriction and hardening of the arteries.

Concerns that sleep apnea could impact healthspan

The number of people with obstructive sleep apnea has steadily increased over the past two decades. The disorder, which causes a person to briefly stop breathing when asleep, affects over 100 million people globally and is estimated to be undiagnosed 80-90% of the time. Obesity and advanced age, which have been reported as risk factors, are also on the rise. Scientists are concerned because sleep apnea may diminish healthspan by aggravating several cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers in Portugal explore this suspected relationship in an Opinion article published July 27 in Trends in Molecular Medicine.

Trauma-informed, mindfulness-based intervention significantly improves parenting among mothers in op

Researchers at Jefferson's Maternal Addiction Treatment Education & Research (MATER) program found significant improvement in the quality of parenting among mothers who participated in a trauma-informed, mindfulness-based parenting intervention while also in medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Results of the study, the first to scientifically test a mindfulness-based parenting intervention with this population, were published July 27 in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

Gene transfer corrects severe muscle defects in mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a rapidly progressive disease that causes whole-body muscle weakness and atrophy due to deficiency in a protein called dystrophin. Researchers at the University of Missouri, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, University of Washington, and Solid Biosciences, LLC, have developed a new gene transfer approach that uses an adeno-associated virus vector to deliver a modified dystrophin gene to muscle, restoring muscle strength in a mouse model that closely mimics the severe defects seen in patients. The study appears July 27 in the journal Molecular Therapy - Methods & Clinical Development.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Co-infection with two common gut pathogens worsens malnutrition in mice

Two gut pathogens commonly found in malnourished children combine to worsen malnutrition and impair growth in laboratory mice, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Hunting-related pathogen exposure not just for adult males

Hunting and slaughtering wild animals in Western and Central Africa can put humans at risk of contracting zoonotic infections, including Ebola virus and Lassa virus. While previous studies have suggested that this risky hunting behavior is mostly limited to adult males, a new study appearing in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases finds that women and children also participate.

People who drink 3 to 4 times per week less likely to develop diabetes than those who never drink: study

Frequent alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes in both men and women, according to a new study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), with alcohol consumption over 3-4 week days giving the lowest risks of diabetes.

Ketamine for depression encouraging, but questions remain around long-term use

A world-first systematic review into the safety of ketamine as a treatment for depression, published in the prestigious Lancet Psychiatry, shows the risks of long-term ketamine treatment remain unclear.

MKTP surgery has long-term benefit for restoring skin pigmentation in vitiligo patients

A Henry Ford Hospital study has shown that skin transplant surgery has long-term benefit for restoring skin pigmentation caused by the skin disease vitiligo.

Case highlights polygenic risk in severe hypertriglyceridemia

(HealthDay)—Polygenic risk can mimic major monogenic mutation in severe hypertriglyceridemia, according to a case report published online July 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Intergenerational recurrence of retained placenta observed

(HealthDay)—Intergenerational recurrence of retained placenta is seen on the maternal and paternal side, according to a study published online July 21 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Many with cancer hospitalized, undergo imaging at end of life

(HealthDay)—About half of cancer patients are hospitalized and undergo at least one imaging scan at the end of life, according to a study published online July 24 in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

Treatment costs can be another blow to cancer patients

(HealthDay)—The emotional and physical costs of cancer can be staggering. But the financial side of cancer is also a great burden, with many patients in the United States struggling to pay for treatment, new research reveals.

When is it nail fungus?

(HealthDay)—If you think you have nail fungus, you might be tempted to hide your problem with nail polish or self-treat with over-the-counter antifungal products. But you should visit a doctor instead, a dermatologist suggests.

Memantine linked to lower neuron-specific enolase in TBI

(HealthDay)—For patients with moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI), memantine is associated with reduced neuronal damage, as assessed by serum levels of neuron-specific enolase (NSE), according to a study published online July 19 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Melanoma isn't the only serious skin cancer

(HealthDay)—A type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is increasingly common in the United States, so people need to be alert for signs of the disease, an expert says.

Eczema can take a toll on adults

(HealthDay)—The itchy, rashy skin condition eczema sometimes takes a heavier toll on adults than children, an expert says.

Can dogs teach doctors new tricks?

(HealthDay)—Can your canine companion help you fight off a troubling skin condition?

Golfing and gardening your way to fitness

(HealthDay)—Leisure-time activities like golf and gardening can become efficient calorie-burning exercises—if you tweak your routine just a bit.

Lack of training linked to cancer patient caregiver burden

(HealthDay)—For caregivers providing care to cancer patients, lack of training is associated with increasing burden, according to a study published online July 20 in Cancer.

Mental stress tied to abnormal left atrial electrophysiology

(HealthDay)—Acute mental stress is associated with abnormal left atrial electrophysiology, according to a study published online July 20 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

ACOG issues guidelines for teen contraception counseling

(HealthDay)—Recommendations for counseling adolescents about contraception are presented in a committee opinion published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

ENRGISE pilot study will inform larger trial of IL-6 in seniors

(HealthDay)—Data obtained from a pilot study, published online July 22 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, will be used to plan a full-scale trial targeting interleukin (IL)-6 levels among older adults with low-to-moderate physical function.

Benefit of newer NICU ventilation strategies questioned

(HealthDay)—From 1991 to 2005, there was an increase in the duration of assisted ventilation among survivors of extremely preterm birth, but no improvement in lung function in childhood, according to a study published in the July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Use of potentially inappropriate medications may increase hospitalization risk

Potentially inappropriate medication use was linked with a 16% increased risk of hospitalization in a population-based study of elderly individuals.

Scientists reveal significant mental disorders in a Spanish community after severe flood

A study conducted by an international team of professionals from the Health Management Field of Northern Almeria (Área de Gestión Sanitaria Norte de Almería), as well as from the Universities of Granada, Castilla-La Mancha, Málaga and Cambridge has for the first time associated the emergence of mental disorders in a population after severe flooding.

Seattle Children's opens CD22 CAR T-cell immunotherapy trial for children and young adults

After seeing promising results in phase 1 of the Pediatric Leukemia Adoptive Therapy (PLAT-02) trial with 93 percent of patients with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) achieving complete initial remission, researchers at Seattle Children's are continuing their quest to improve the experimental therapy and reduce the rate of relapse, which is about 50 percent. Researchers have now opened a phase 1 clinical trial, PLAT-04, for children and young adults with relapsed or refractory CD22-positive ALL. They will examine the safety and feasibility of administering cancer-fighting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells that have been reprogrammed to target the CD22 protein expressed by some leukemia cells.

Gaps remain in colorectal cancer screening rates between poorer, immigrant Canadians and wealthier, long-term residents

Large gaps remain in colorectal cancer screening rates between poorer immigrants and wealthier long-term residents, several years after the Ontario government began mailing screening notices to eligible residents, a new study found.

Antibiotic guidelines in NICU improve prescription practices for vulnerable infants

Yale University School of Medicine neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) significantly reduced the number of cases of late-onset sepsis, a leading cause of death among pre-term infants, by implementing guidelines designed to eliminate overuse of antibiotics, according to new research published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. The antibiotic stewardship guidelines reduced variability in treating common infections, improving clinical adherence to best practices.

Researchers report regenerative effects of low-dose growth factors for bone defect healing

Researchers compared the effects of three bone growth factors to bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2)—the most commonly used agent for repair of large bone defects, which is not without risks at the doses required—and showed significant bone-healing effects including the formation of new blood vessels at low doses relative to BMP2. These findings, which suggest that the osteogenic factors Nell-1, HMGB1, and CCN2 could enhance bone defect repair using biomaterials, without the need to harvest patient tissue, are reported in Tissue Engineering, Part A.

Screening for alcohol misuse at hospital admission identifies patients at risk of developing alcoholic liver disease

In a landmark study of over 50,000 hospital admissions, investigators demonstrated the feasibility of introducing universal screening for alcohol misuse to identify patients at risk. They showed that patients can be easily categorized based on a simple risk score to identify people with high rates of emergency department attendance, recurrent hospital admissions, and high risk of alcohol-related liver disease. These patients can be selectively targeted with effective treatments for alcohol misuse, potentially reducing the burden of alcohol-related harm including alcoholic liver disease (ALD). The findings of this study are published in the Journal of Hepatology.

Combining stroke treatments shows improved outcomes for ELVO stroke patients

Intravenous Thrombolysis (IVT) pretreatment may improve mechanical thrombectomy (MT) outcomes in emergent large-vessel occlusions (ELVO) patients, according to a new study presented today at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery's (SNIS) 14th Annual Meeting. While current top-tier guidelines already recommend an IVT pretreatment for ELVO patients, this study uncovers specific benefits that can inform doctors and patients on the importance of the combined approach.

US transplant centers frequently refuse deceased donor kidneys

A new study indicates that deceased donor kidneys are typically offered and declined many times before being accepted for transplantation. The study, which appears in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), also found that such refusals differ by patient and donor characteristics and may contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in access to transplantation.

Using latest technology, MRI provides 'one-stop-shop' to evaluate potential liver donors

Using the latest techniques, MRI can provide a "one-stop-shop" method for evaluation of potential living liver donors, according to an article published in the July 2017 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

Biology news

Scientists solve longstanding biological mystery of DNA organization

Stretched out, the DNA from all the cells in our body would reach Pluto. So how does each tiny cell pack a two-meter length of DNA into its nucleus, which is just one-thousandth of a millimeter across?

A new picture emerges on the origins of photosynthesis in a sun-loving bacteria

Every day, enough sunlight hits the Earth to power the planet many times over—if only we could more efficiently capture all the energy.

New ecological model uses tournament-style framework of biodiversity

A new mathematical model of ecology created by University of Chicago scientists provides the most accurate reproduction to date of natural biodiversity, according to a new paper in the journal Nature.

Researchers conduct sequencing and de novo assembly of 150 genomes in Denmark

(—A large international team of researchers has developed a Danish reference genome catalog based on the de novo assembly of 150 genomes sequenced from 50 family trios. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes the multi-year effort, its purpose, and where they believe such efforts are leading.

Fussy fish use genetic compatibility to pick partners from afar

When salmon spawn, the sperm of competing males are in an all-or-nothing race to be the first to reach and fertilise the eggs.

Malaria already endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman period

Malaria was already widespread on Sardinia by the Roman period, long before the Middle Ages, as indicated by research at the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine of the University of Zurich with the help of a Roman who died 2,000 years ago.

Grown-up gannets find favorite fishing grounds

Like humans, some birds can spend years learning and exploring before developing more settled habits.

Hostage situation or harmony? Researchers rethink symbiosis

Relationships where two organisms depend on each other, known as symbiosis, evoke images of partnership and cooperation. But a new study in Nature Ecology and Evolution shows that, when it comes to certain microorganisms, symbiotic partners are actually being held "hostage".

Lab-created mini-brains reveal how growing organ maintains neuronal balance

Scientists can now explore in a laboratory dish how the human brain develops by creating organoids—distinct, three-dimensional regions of the brain. In research published in Cell Stem Cell, Yale scientists coaxed early stage stem cells to create and fuse two types of organoids from different brain regions to show how the developing brain maintains proper balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurons.

Present-day Lebanese descend from Biblical Canaanites, genetic study suggests

In the most recent whole-genome study of ancient remains from the Near East, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists and their collaborators sequenced the entire genomes of 4,000-year-old Canaanite individuals who inhabited the region during the Bronze Age, and compared these to other ancient and present-day populations. The results, published today (27 July) in the American Journal of Human Genetics suggest that present-day Lebanese are direct descendants of the ancient Canaanites.

What fly guts could reveal about our health

Increasingly understood to be vital for wellbeing, gut microbiota are the trillion of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract of humans and other animals. Known to affect a range of physiological traits including development, immunity, nutrition and longevity, researchers are now investigating how manipulating gut microbiota might influence other aspects of health.

In US first, scientists edit genes of human embryos (Update)

For the first time in the United States, scientists have edited the genes of human embryos, a controversial step toward someday helping babies avoid inherited diseases.

Secrets of the amazing tardigrades revealed by their DNA

New genome sequences shed light on both the origins of the tardigrades (also known as water bears or moss piglets), and the genes that underlie their extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions. A team of researchers led by Mark Blaxter and Kazuharu Arakawa from the universities of Edinburgh, Scotland and Keio, Japan respectively, have carefully stitched together the DNA code for two tardigrade species, and their results are presented in an article publishing 27 July in the open access journal PLOS Biology.

Which type of cell to become: Decision through indecision

From the moment of fertilization, building a human body involves a series of choices where cells generated by cell division must elect which of the myriad types of cell they will become. How does this decision occur? New research from Alice Moussy and colleagues of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Genethon and ENSLyon in France suggests that fate decision is not a unique programmed event, as was believed, but the outcome of a very dynamic process. The study, publishing July 27 in the open access journal PLOS Biology departs from the view that cell differentiation follows step-by-step instructions.

DNA links male, female butterfly thought to be distinct species

Researchers recently discovered what was thought to be a distinct species of butterfly is actually the female of a species known to science for more than a century.

Rare birds, wildflowers: 'Secret garden' opens after century

Pink and yellow wildflowers burst from a lush bed of grass hidden from public view for more than a century. Towering trees and snow-capped mountains encircle the wild meadow, beckoning visitors to a largely untouched piece of California's Sierra Nevada.

A new bird which humans drove to extinction discovered in Azores

Inside the crater of a volcano on Graciosa Island in the Azores archipelago in the Atlantic, an international team of researchers has discovered the bones of an unknown species of extinct songbird, a bullfinch they have named Pyrrhula crassa. The remains were found in a small cavity through which lava flowed long ago. This bird disappeared a few hundreds of years ago due to human colonization of the islands and the introduction of invasive species, as was the case with numerous bird species on other islands, such as the Canaries and Madeira.

Shedding light on protein interaction networks in a developing organism

Researchers succeeded for the first time in mapping protein-protein interactions in living developing plant roots. The findings of three international research groups led by the department of Plant Developmental Biology at Wageningen University and Research were published in Nature.

The four-year treasure hunt for the hoodwinker sunfish

, Murdoch University

Light limitation as a factor in ecological conditions

There's a 50-hectare forested plot in Panama where researchers with the Smithsonian Institution have gathered highly detailed information about the species, distribution, and size of trees there. In a 2016 study, researchers proposed that those particular characteristics, and the forest's total metabolic rate, was limited by light. But a recent paper published in Global Ecology and Biogeography by SFI External Professor John Harte, SFI Omidyar Fellow Andy Rominger, and Erica Newman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona, suggests that a far simpler model, independent of mechanistic drivers, can also accurately describe that forest, as well as other natural systems and communities.

Flock size matters for critically endangered regent honeyeaters

New research from the ANU shows the need for urgent action to boost the flock sizes of the critically-endangered regent honeyeater.

Smart, soil-free microgarden lets users optimize growing conditions while cutting water and resource use

MIT Media Lab alumna Jennifer Broutin Farah SM '13, CEO and co-founder of SproutsIO, has spent nearly a decade innovating in urban farming, designing small- and large-scale gardening systems that let anyone grow food, anywhere, at any time.

Biologist investigates antibiotics in environment

A Binghamton University student could change how people think about antibiotics and the environment.

Circles in the sand reveal boating damage to marine biodiversity

The findings of a study by Swansea and Cardiff University scientists highlights the need for boating activities along the UK's beautiful coastlines to be conducted in a more environmentally friendly manner.

New research findings to standardise first aid treatment of jellyfish stings

New research from NUI Galway and the University of Hawaii at Manoa has identified the best way to treat a sting from the lions mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata). The lions mane jellyfish is the most problematic jellyfish in Ireland and the UK with 1000s of bathers being badly stung each year. With over a 1,000 tentacles that can stretch up to four or five metres in length, a bad sting from a lions mane jellyfish can cause severe local reactions and extreme pain.

Crops that kill pests by shutting off their genes

Plants are among many eukaryotes that can "turn off" one or more of their genes by using a process called RNA interference to block protein translation. Researchers are now weaponizing this by engineering crops to produce specific RNA fragments that, upon ingestion by insects, initiate RNA interference to shut down a target gene essential for life or reproduction, killing or sterilizing the insects. The potential of this method is reviewed in Trends in Biotechnology's upcoming special issue on environmental biotechnology.

Research calls for enhancing long-term benefits of Farm Bill programs

Many farmers, ranchers, and landowners rely on voluntary conservation incentive programs within the Farm Bill to make improvements to their land and operations that benefit them, the environment, and society.

Flowering plant thought to be extinct seen in Vermont

Botanists in Vermont say a flowering plant long thought to be extinct in the state is making a comeback.

Indonesia orangutan sanctuary says villagers encroaching

A conservation group says nearly a fifth of the forest in an orangutan sanctuary on the Indonesian part of Borneo has been taken over by people, threatening efforts to rehabilitate the critically endangered great apes for release into the wild.

Zebrafish reveal secrets of the developing gut

Our intestine is a highly complex organ – a tortuous, rugged channel built of many specialized cell-types and coated with a protective, slimy matrix. Yet the intestine begins as a simple tube consisting of a central lumen lined by a sheet of epithelial cells, which are smooth cells that lie on the surface of the lumen. These intestinal epithelial cells are central players in many human diseases.

Why World War I cultivated an obsession with insects

"The soldier is no longer a noble figure," observed the war poet Siegfried Sassoon while serving on the Western Front. "He is merely a writhing insect among this ghastly folly of destruction."

Anyone for crispy jellyfish?

There are far too many jellyfish in the sea, and we have an ever-increasing number of mouths to feed on the Earth. So why not eat the jellyfish? Win-win.

'Dark ecology project' will use past weather radar data to trace bird migrations

Every spring and fall, billions of birds migrate across the United States, largely unseen under the cover of darkness. Now a team of researchers led by computer scientist Daniel Sheldon at the University of Massachusetts Amherst plan to develop new analytic methods with data collected over the past 20 years—more than 200 million archived radar scans from the national weather radar network—to provide powerful new tools for tracking migration.

I.Coast seizes record three tonnes of pangolin scales

Authorities in Ivory Coast have seized a record haul of three tonnes of pangolin scales worth an estimated $82,000, in what officials on Thursday called a "massacre".

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