Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jul 18

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 18, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Gamma-ray telescopes reveal a high-energy trap in our galaxy's center

Genes account for half of differences in social mobility

'Peculiar' radio signals emerge from nearby star

Individualistic practices and values increasing around the world

Fake news: Study tests people's ability to detect manipulated images of real-world scenes

Study shows language development starts in the womb

Low-dose diazepam can increase social competitiveness

Japanese engineers develop headset-less VR system

Study reveals ways in which cells feel their surroundings

One amino acid, a whale of a difference

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

Making lab equipment on the cheap

New PTSD study identifies potential path to treatment

Scientists 'resurrect' ancient proteins to provide clues about molecular innovation

How blood vessels slow down and accelerate tumor growth

Astronomy & Space news

Gamma-ray telescopes reveal a high-energy trap in our galaxy's center

A combined analysis of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.), a ground-based observatory in Namibia, suggests the center of our Milky Way contains a "trap" that concentrates some of the highest-energy cosmic rays, among the fastest particles in the galaxy.

'Peculiar' radio signals emerge from nearby star

Some very "peculiar signals" have been noticed coming from a star just 11 light-years away, scientists in Puerto Rico say.

Evidence of impacts that structured the Milky Way galaxy

A team from the University of Kentucky's Department of Physics and Astronomy has observed evidence of ancient impacts that are thought to have shaped and structured our Milky Way galaxy.

Ancient, massive asteroid impact could explain Martian geological mysteries

The origin and nature of Mars is mysterious. It has geologically distinct hemispheres, with smooth lowlands in the north and cratered, high-elevation terrain in the south. The red planet also has two small oddly-shaped oblong moons and a composition that sets it apart from that of the Earth.

Just one small step for Australia's space industry when a giant leap is needed

An expert review of the Australian space industry's capabilities to participate in a global market was announced last week by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos. He said the aim is to "develop a long-term plan to grow this important and exciting sector" and report in March 2018.

How giant atoms may help catch gravitational waves from the Big Bang

There was a lot of excitement last year when the LIGO collaboration detected gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of space itself. And it's no wonder – it was one of the most important discoveries of the century. By measuring gravitational waves from intense astrophysical processes like merging black holes, the experiment opens up a completely new way of observing and understanding the universe.

Why we need a new type of SETI instrument

Imagine this scenario: On a world orbiting a neighboring star, a society more advanced than our own has used large telescopes to survey all the planets within a few hundred light-years.  In this sample of a million worlds, it finds that one percent show the tell-tale atmospheric gases that indicate life.  One of these is Earth. 

New Hot Jupiter marks the first collaborative exoplanet discovery

Researchers led by a team at Keele University have discovered a new 'Hot Jupiter' exoplanet. The new giant planet was jointly discovered by a WASP/KELT survey collaboration, marking the first time an exoplanet has been discovered between two planet search groups.

How do you work out if a signal from space is a message from aliens?

Astronomers working at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico havedetected a weird radio signal, spotted when pointing their telescope at the nearby star Ross 128. They're not getting too excited about the prospect of an alien civilisation contacting us just yet though. "In case you are wondering, the recurrent aliens hypothesis is at the bottom of many other better explanations," said Abel Mendez, the scientist leading the campaign.

New Mexico professor seeks to save moon-landing sites

A New Mexico State University anthropology professor is on a mission to save moon-landing sites.

John Glenn memorial plans abound on July birth date

Some plans to honor John Glenn didn't fly, but that hasn't stopped the late astronaut's devotees from pushing forward with other ideas.

Technology news

Japanese engineers develop headset-less VR system

A virtual reality "space ride" in which viewers feel as if they are flying through the air inside a giant glass ball has been developed in Japan.

Making lab equipment on the cheap

Laboratory equipment is one of the largest cost factors in neuroscience. However, many experiments can be performed with good results using self-assembled setups involving 3-D printed components and self-programmed electronics. In a study publishing July 18 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, André Maia Chagas and Tom Baden from the Universities of Tübingen and Sussex present "FlyPi"—a low-cost imaging and microscope system for research, training and teaching.

Robot can inspect water or gas pipes from the inside to find leaks long before they become catastrophic

Access to clean, safe water is one of the world's pressing needs, yet today's water distribution systems lose an average of 20 percent of their supply because of leaks. These leaks not only make shortages worse but also can cause serious structural damage to buildings and roads by undermining foundations.

Non-toxic alternative for next-generation solar cells

Researchers have demonstrated how a non-toxic alternative to lead could form the basis of next-generation solar cells. 

Camera drone for space station is ball of cuteness with cube-shaped brain

(Tech Xplore)—The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has disclosed the first images and movies that have been shot by the "Int-Ball," which is short for Internal Ball Camera. This is a cute-looking and efficient camera that floats around alongside the rest of the crew.

Samsung to recover rare metals, components in Galaxy Note 7s

Samsung Electronics plans to recover gold and other metals and components from recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to reduce waste.

Qualcomm CEO sees settlement with Apple

Qualcomm chief executive Steve Mollenkopf said on Monday the chipmaker's legal war with Apple is about defending his company's business model, but predicted an eventual out-of-court settlement.

Michael Dell takes long view with 'Dell 2.0'

His first company became the world's largest maker of personal computers. Now Michael Dell says he is building a broader technology firm with similar ambitions.

Analysis shows India's EV drive will boost power utilities, increase energy security

India is pushing hard to electrify its automobile market, aiming to sell only electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. But what impact will that shift have on the country's utilities and the grid? A new report by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that the prospective EV expansion will deliver economic benefits, help integrate renewable energy, and significantly reduce imports of foreign oil.

Why has healthcare become such a target for cyber-attackers?

More than 16m patient records were stolen from healthcare organisations in the US and related parties in 2016. That year, healthcare was the fifth most targeted industry when it came to cyber-attacks. And earlier this year, Britain's National Health Service was crippled by a ransomware attack that locked up the computers holding many of its records and booking systems.

Detecting dangers with crowdsourcing

By the time officials in Flint, Mich., declared a state of emergency in response dangerously high levels of lead in the city's drinking water in mid-December of 2015, residents had been complaining to each other about discolored and foul-smelling drinking water for more than a year.

Empowering robots for ethical behavior

Scientists at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK have developed a concept called Empowerment to help robots to protect and serve humans, while keeping themselves safe.

Facebook has plans to expand New Mexico data center

Facebook's plans for New Mexico now call for a half-billion-dollar investment and a data center that will span an area equal to 17 football fields.

China users report WhatsApp disruption amid censorship fears

Users of WhatsApp in China and security researchers have reported widespread service disruptions amid fears that the popular messaging service may be at least partially blocked by authorities in the world's most populous country.

Chinese bike-sharing startup aims at US with new model

Rapidly growing bike-sharing startup Mobike already has 100 million users in China. And it's now looking to the US and Europe in the hope its unique "dockless" system can disrupt the industry.

Daimler to recall 3 million vehicles to ease diesel doubts

German automaker Daimler will voluntarily recall 3 million Mercedes-Benz brand cars with diesel engines in Europe to improve their emissions performance, the company said Tuesday, in the wake of widespread public debate over the future of diesel.

MRI device could bridge neuro-technologies for medical diagnostics, increase safety

A technology being developed at Purdue University could provide an affordable, smart, self-learning device that, when placed into existing MRI machines could allow medical professionals to monitor patients more effectively and safely, by performing concurrent medical imaging and recording for diagnostic purposes.

Target CEO unfazed by Amazon-Whole Foods deal

US retail giant Target's chief executive Brian Cornell on Tuesday played down Amazon's massive deal to acquire grocery chain Whole Foods, arguing that it "validates" his company's business model.

Google Glass reborn for the workplace

After spending two years on the sidelines, Google Glass internet-linked eyewear is back in the game, this time aimed at helping workers do their jobs.

Ready-to-cook meals from Amazon in bid to expand groceries

Amazon has begun selling ready-to-cook meal packages for busy households in a bid to expand its groceries business.

Two Iranians charged in US over hacking defense materials

Two Iranians were indicted Monday in the United States with hacking a defense contractor and stealing sensitive software used to design bullets and warheads, according to the Justice Department.

Ericsson plans more cost cuts as shares plunge after poor Q2

Ericsson shares plunged more than 15 percent Tuesday after the Swedish mobile networks company posted a second-quarter loss on falling sales and warned that there was unlikely to be any improvement soon.

Cameras with inbuilt detective skills to catch rural criminals

Smart cameras hidden in the countryside could soon help police fight back against rural crime and finally bring down secret smuggling routes.

Researchers describe pneumatic actuator that generates cyclical motion

A new study demonstrated the design, potential applications, and advantages of an innovative multi-chambered soft pneumatic actuator. Researchers described how the actuator generates cyclical motion and characterized its trajectory and the force it exerts in an article published in Soft Robotics.

Medicine & Health news

Genes account for half of differences in social mobility

A new King's College London study suggests that genes account for nearly 50 per cent of the differences between whether children are socially mobile or not.

Individualistic practices and values increasing around the world

Individualism is thought to be on the rise in Western countries, but new research suggests that increasing individualism may actually be a global phenomenon. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show that increasing socioeconomic development is an especially strong predictor of increasing individualistic practices and values in a country over time.

Fake news: Study tests people's ability to detect manipulated images of real-world scenes

Around one third of fake images went undetected in a recent study by the University of Warwick, UK.

Study shows language development starts in the womb

A month before they are born, fetuses carried by American mothers-to-be can distinguish between someone speaking to them in English and Japanese.

Low-dose diazepam can increase social competitiveness

Psychologists speak of anxiety in two forms: "state" anxiety, which refers to anxiety arising from a particular situation; and "trait" anxiety, which refers to anxiety as part of a person's overall personality. Studies have shown that high trait anxiety can seriously hamper a person's ability to compete in a social context, thus putting "highly anxious" individuals in a circle of social disadvantage and more anxiety. Now EPFL scientists have shown that low doses of anxiolytic drugs - such as diazepam (Valium) - can ameliorate this effect by increasing the activity of mitochondria in the neurons of a brain pathway associated with motivation and reward. The work is published in Molecular Psychiatry.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

New PTSD study identifies potential path to treatment

A study of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—conducted by the VA National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), National PTSD Brain Bank, and Yale University—has identified a new potential mechanism contributing to the biology of the disorder that may be targeted by future treatments.

How blood vessels slow down and accelerate tumor growth

Cancer cells have an enormous need for oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, growing tumors rely on the simultaneous growth of capillaries, the fine branching blood vessels that form their supply network. The formation of new blood vessels, called angiogenesis, is therefore a possible target for cancer therapy. Physicians use special inhibitors called angiogenesis inhibitors to "starve" tumors. However, these drugs, which have been in use for more than a decade, have limited effectiveness. Deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms may help identify further therapy targets in order to prevent vessel formation more effectively.

Genetic immune deficiency could hold key to severe childhood infections

A gene mutation making young children extremely vulnerable to common viruses may represent a new type of immunodeficiency, according to a University of Queensland researcher.

Experiments suggest body ownership causes weakening of self-generated tactile sensations

(Medical Xpress)—A pair of researchers with Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has found that the human mind's perception of ownership of body parts is responsible for the weaker response we feel touching ourselves (sensory attenuation), compared with being touched by others or other external objects. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Konstantina Kilteni and H. Henrik Ehrsson describe experiments they conducted with volunteers that offered insights into the nature of brain/body ownership and sensations.

Antibiotic-releasing polymer may help eradicate joint implant infection

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has developed an antibiotic-releasing polymer that may greatly simplify the treatment of prosthetic joint infection. In their recent report published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the researchers describe how implants made from this material successfully eliminated two types of prosthetic infection in animal models.

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators showed that new types of E. coli occur frequently, but unlike in some other infections, drug-resistant strains do not become a dominant cause of infection.

New study suggests blueprint for adult visual system is present at birth

For decades, researchers have known that the primate brain is organized into "maps" for each of the different senses: one of the body for touch, one of the visual world for sight, one of tones for hearing. In adults, these maps are divided into distinct areas responding to different classes of stimuli in each of the senses, but whether this organization is innate or develops over time through experience has thus far remained a mystery. 

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology company, is a simple, cost-effective way to determine if a person's infection is from the Zika virus or another virus of the same family, such as dengue and West Nile viruses.

Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits—but without the psychotropic high.

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link between father loss and child well-being.

People with dementia benefit from goal-oriented therapy

Personalised cognitive rehabilitation therapy can help people with early stage dementia significantly improve their ability to engage in important everyday activities and tasks.

Israeli 'mental first-aid' method offered to attack victims abroad

An Israeli who developed an unorthodox model for treating mental trauma and preventing post-traumatic stress disorder during his years in the military is now sharing it with first responders in other countries.

Restaurant placemats can help promote healthy eating among children

Placemats can be used to encourage children to eat healthier food in restaurants, according to a new study by the University at Buffalo and Independent Health Foundation.

Replacing a palatable high-fat diet with low fat food causes withdrawal-like symptoms in mice

Researchers have found that mice fed a palatable high-fat diet experience stress responses that resemble drug withdrawal when their food is switched to a low-fat diet. A study conducted by Dr. Steve Fordahl, currently at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Dr. Sara Jones at Wake Forest School of Medicine, identified brain changes in the dopamine neurotransmitter system caused by stress when the palatable diet was removed. The diet switch triggered a physiological stress response that supressed brain dopamine, which in turn promoted binge-eating when the palatable diet was re-introduced days later. Their research will be presented this week at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior's (SSIB) annual meeting in Montreal Quebec, among a lineup of international researchers that examine eating and drinking behaviors.

Does exercise facilitate body weight control? The answer may depend on sex

Healthcare practitioners regularly prescribe diet and exercise as a method for patients to lose weight. But exercise might not be equally effective in males and females, according to new research conducted at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus.

Estrogen in the brain prevents obesity and glucose intolerance during menopause in lab animal study

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that adding estrogen in the brain may improve health in obese females after menopause.

One minute of running per day associated with better bone health in women

A single minute of exercise each day is linked to better bone health in women, new research shows.

Obese and overweight less likely to consider next meal when making portion size decisions

University of Bristol researchers have found that people with obesity tend to ignore how long it will be until the next meal when choosing how much to eat. In a study designed see if people consider the time interval between two meals when selecting portion sizes, the researchers found that lean people generally do. However, obese people tend to discount that information. The findings will be presented this week at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the leading scientific society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior.

Reversing fetal alcohol damage after birth

Two commonly used drugs erased the learning and memory deficits caused by fetal alcohol exposure when the drugs were given after birth, thus potentially identifying a treatment for the disorder, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Scientists find the key to improved cancer immunotherapy

Researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (F.S.P.) have investigated how different subtypes of essential immune-response cells called CD8+ T lymphocytes cooperate to mount a stronger anti-tumor response. The results show that generation of an optimal immune response to cancer requires cooperation between two types of memory T cell—one circulating in the blood and the other resident in tissues—that can be reactivated with current immunotherapy strategies. These results, published today in Nature Communications, have the potential to improve current cancer immunotherapy strategies, especially in relation to preventing metastasis.

Researchers develop a device that detects tumour cells in blood

Researchers at the URV's Department of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry have patented a portable device that can detect tumour cells in blood. The device counts the number of tumour cells in a blood sample in real time and is thus a highly effective tool for improving the monitoring, treatment and diagnosis of cancer.

Young adult obesity: A neglected, yet essential focus to reverse the obesity epidemic

The overall burden of the U.S. obesity epidemic continues to require new thinking. Prevention of obesity in young adults, while largely ignored as a target for prevention and study, will be critical to reversing the epidemic, says William Dietz, MD, PhD, Chair of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. In an editorial expanding upon the findings of a paper by Zheng and colleagues in the latest issue of JAMA, Dietz describes the data to support his observations: a public health focus on this period of high risk - for not only the development of obesity, but also for excessive weight gain - could have a significant impact on U.S. rates of obesity, additional obesity-related diseases, costs, and premature death, and "should be accorded a high priority."

Weight gain from early to middle adulthood may increase risk of major chronic diseases

Cumulative weight gain over the course of early and middle adulthood may increase health risks later in life, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They found that, compared to people who kept their weight stable, people who gained a moderate amount of weight (5-22 pounds) before age 55 increased their risk of chronic diseases, premature death, and decreased the likelihood of achieving healthy aging. Higher amounts of weight gain were associated with greater risk of chronic diseases.

Study: Reducing hospital readmissions does not increase mortality rates

Recent advances in reducing hospital readmission rates for three key medical conditions occurred without causing an increase in death rates, according to a new Yale-led study.

Structured physical activity results in small reduction in sedentary time among older adults

In older adults with mobility impairments, long-term, moderate-intensity physical activity was associated with a small reduction in total sedentary time, according to a study published by JAMA.

Scientists develop new supplement that can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults

Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found to greatly improve the physical strength of a growing cohort: senior citizens.

'Golden Hour' study details earliest changes to the immune system after trauma

Scientists from the University of Birmingham are carrying out pioneering research as part of a major £10 million study aimed at improving outcomes for patients who have suffered a traumatic injury.

Study points to acupuncture to reduce period pain

A study conducted by researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Auckland has shown that acupuncture treatment significantly reduces period pain intensity, duration and symptoms over time, with improvements being sustained up to a year after treatment.

Investigating the financial burden of cancer drugs on Medicare patients

The rising cost of targeted oral anticancer medications may put a substantial financial burden on individual patients enrolled in Medicare's prescription drug benefit program, Part D, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Findings link aldosterone with alcohol use disorder

A new study led by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, demonstrates that aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, may contribute to alcohol use disorder (AUD). The novel research, conducted in collaboration with a team of investigators in the United States and Europe, appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Epilepsy biomarkers pave way for noninvasive diagnosis, better treatments

Researchers have identified a unique metabolic signature associated with epileptic brain tissue that causes seizures. The chemical biomarker can be detected noninvasively using technology based on magnetic resonance imaging. It will allow physicians to precisely identify small regions of abnormal brain tissue in early-stage epilepsy patients that can't be detected today using current technology. The biomarker could also be used to localize epileptic brain regions for therapeutic removal without the need for additional surgery.

Protein prevents excess fluid from entering lung tissue

A protein found in the cells lining blood vessels plays a central role in preventing fluid and inflammatory cells from leaking into lung tissue in a low-oxygen environment, Weill Cornell Medicine researchers discovered.

Few awards for women faculty in medicine and rehabilitation, analysis shows

While the proportion of full-time female faculty in physical medicine and rehabilitation has risen to more than 40 percent over the last two decades, the proportion of women receiving awards and honors from a major professional association in the field has fallen, with no women receiving any awards in several recent years, and none receiving awards in some categories over the past decade, according to a new study by Harvard Medical School researchers at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.

Researcher discusses neurological underpinnings of pain

Pain—feared, misunderstood and even poeticized in works of art and literature—has long captivated the scientific imagination of Clifford Woolf since his days as a medical student in South Africa.

Food allergic consumers more confident about eating out

New University research into food allergies will be published today by the Food Standards Agency showing that people with food allergies and intolerances are more confident about eating out since allergen information rules were introduced in 2014. The study presents strong evidence that the legislation has had a positive impact and that good allergen information is good for business.

Slowing life expectancy improvements linked to increase in deaths from dementia

A new report has highlighted increasing pressures on England's health services as deaths from dementia rise, coupled with a slowing in life expectancy increases.

Osteoporosis treatment lowers the risk of severe gum disease by nearly 50 percent in postmenopausal women

Treatment for osteoporosis may also help prevent gum disease, according to new University at Buffalo research that examined the prevalence of periodontitis in postmenopausal women.

The uncertain future of genetic testing

AnneMarie Ciccarella, a fast-talking 57-year-old brunette with a more than a hint of a New York accent, thought she knew a lot about breast cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with the disease in 1987, and several other female relatives also developed it. When doctors found a suspicious lump in one of her breasts that turned out to be cancer, she immediately sought out testing to look for mutations in the two BRCA genes, which between them account for around 20 per cent of families with a strong history of breast cancer.

How to obtain and use the 'angel' therapeutic Naloxone

It's a terrifying scenario that's become all-too-real in the age of the opioid epidemic: a person lying lifeless, not breathing, because of an opioid overdose.

Cause of chemoresistance in small cell lung cancer discovered

Approximately one year after successful treatment with cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy, patients with advanced Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC), which primarily affects heavy smokers, generally relapse with recurrence of tumours that are resistant to further chemotherapy. At this point, the affected patients usually only have a few months to live. The reason for this was hitherto unknown. Researchers at MedUni Vienna, led by Gerhard Hamilton (Department of Surgery), have now discovered that circulating tumour cells combine, making previously chemo-sensitive cells into chemo-resistant cell complexes.

Researchers find new genes link to arthritis in bone marrow lesions

Researchers have found a pattern of genes which is characteristic of osteoarthritis and may be a step towards better treatments for this condition.

Gender makes a world of difference for safety on public transport

Urban environments are not gender-neutral. Architects and urban designers are increasingly seeking to understand how gender-sensitive design can combat the spatial inequities faced by those who identify as women and girls of all demographics, races and socio-economic groups. Public transport spaces, for instance, incubate many systemic issues.

The strange links between intelligence and prejudice

Human judgment often becomes less accurate when we train it on ourselves. Self appraisals commonly flatter our strengths and minimise our weaknesses. The average man overstates his height by 1.2cm and the average woman understates her weight by 1.4kg.

South Asian genomes could be boon for disease research, scientists say

The Indian subcontinent's massive population is nearing 1.5 billion according to recent accounts. But that population is far from monolithic; it's made up of nearly 5,000 well-defined sub-groups, making the region one of the most genetically diverse places on Earth—a feature that has long intrigued geneticists.

The hidden chemicals in hookah tobacco smoke

Thanks to its sweet smell and taste, hookah has gained popularity in recent years, especially among teens and young adults. Hookah users inhale smoke, which is generated by heating hookah tobacco that is fermented with molasses and fruits and combined with burning charcoal. The smoke passes through a partially filled water jar which creates a bubbly sound, making smoking hookah appear more innocent than cigarettes. But first impressions can be deceiving.

Team reaches milestone in effort to treat bone disorders

A recent study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska Medical Center has reported progress toward the bioengineering of cartilage that could help treat disorders known to disrupt the normal development of bones.

Scientists discover novel therapeutic approach against genetic forms of schizophrenia

Research led by the University of Glasgow has made a breakthrough in developing a possible future treatment of schizophrenia and related psychiatric conditions.

Mutant yeast reveals details of the aberrant genomic machinery of children's high-grade gliomas

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital biologists have used engineered yeast cells to discover how a mutation that is frequently found in pediatric brain tumor high-grade glioma triggers a cascade of genomic malfunctions.

Two new genes linked to Alzheimer's risk

A team of researchers led by Cardiff University has identified two genes that influence a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

New hearing test to establish fitness-for-duty among military personnel

Researchers at the University of Southampton have devised a new hearing test for military personnel that they hope will better assess whether soldiers have sufficient hearing ability to be safe and effective in a combat situation.

Urbanisation and electricity are not to blame for sleep loss

In this study, researchers from the University of Surrey, in collaboration with groups in South Africa, Brazil, Colombia and the USA, examined the sleeping patterns of people from two neighbouring communities in Mozambique – the small electrified urban town Milange and the non-electrified rural community Tengua.

Study examines non-suicidal self-injury on Instagram

Self-injuries like 'cutting' are highly common among adolescents. The purpose is not so much to feel the pain rather than the relief from negative emotions. Scientists at Ulm University have investigated how pictures of such self-inflicted injuries are spread and commented on in social media like Instagram. They analysed 32,000 images and all comments that were posted during April 2016 via the most common German hashtags of this free online service for sharing photos and videos.

Super cell to contain deadly Ebola virus discovered in Australia

A super cell in the eye has been discovered that can stop the deadly Ebola virus.

Spare the surgery—drugs may combat hydrocephalus, study finds

Clinically available drugs may help combat a potentially lethal form of hydrocephalus now treated mainly by brain surgery, a new Yale-led study has found.

Hearing a sound can alter perception of finger size

Hearing an ascending sound while pulling their own finger can make a person think their finger is longer than it is, finds a new study led by UCL and the Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New research highlights optimal methods for administering children's medications

New research published today, conducted by a research team from the University of Liverpool and Alder Hey Children's Hospital, aims to help solve the problem of dose optimisation of children's medicines.

Brain damage could occur from blast-induced cavitation

Ashfaq Adnan, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, and his postdoctoral associate Yuan Ting Wu recently published research findings in Nature's Scientific Reports revealing that if battlefield blasts may cause cavitation in the brain's perineuronal nets, which, in turn, may collapse and cause neuronal damage.

Study: Eating at 'wrong time' affects body weight, circadian rhythms

A new high-precision feeding system for lab mice reinforces the idea that the time of day food is eaten is more critical to weight loss than the amount of calories ingested.

Earlier blood testing for iron deficiency, anemia recommended for young women

Physicians should consider blood testing of female adolescents for iron deficiency within a few years of starting menses, according to two studies by Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Heavy drinking during adolescence—dire effects on the brain

What would a celebration be without alcohol, whether we are talking about a private or professional event? Drinking alcohol, is a well-engrained and long-standing social habit in many countries around the world, even though the fact that alcohol has an impact on one's health is largely established, especially when it comes to heavy drinking. In particular, adolescents are known to enjoy their drinking games and nights-out without worrying much about the effects alcohol can have on their health. In fact, drinking in high quantities is common during adolescence with nearly 25% of high school seniors in the US reporting that they got drunk in the last 30 days.

The need to understand what works in social prescribing

Social prescribing has the potential to address many of the factors that perpetuate illness, decrease quality of life and add to health care costs - such as social isolation, inactivity and smoking. It has expanded the options available to GPs who have patients requiring financial, housing and other social advice alongside their medical care.

Improving the 'wait and see' approach in MDS blood cancer treatment

Researchers are closer to helping the 50 per cent of people with a group of blood disorders that can transform into acute leukaemia, but who don't respond to the best available treatment.

Early menopause is independently linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Women with early or normal onset menopause are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with late onset menopause, concludes new research published in Diabetologia—the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Failures in stethoscope hygiene can lead to patient infections

You can lead a doctor to disinfection, but how do you get them to clean...or wipe ....or swab a stethoscope?

Using omega 3 fatty acids to treat Alzheimer's, other diseases?

Understanding how dietary essential fatty acids work may lead to effective treatments for diseases and conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson's disease and other retinal and neurodegenerative diseases. The key is to be able to intervene during the early stages of the disease. That is the conclusion of a Minireview by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director, and Aram Asatryan, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, at the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry's Thematic Minireview Series: Inflammatory transcription confronts homeostatic disruptions.

Little evidence that vasectomy raises prostate cancer risk

(HealthDay)—For men who have had or might undergo a vasectomy, there is good news: A major study finds scant evidence that the procedure raises their risk of prostate cancer.

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

Create your own quit-smoking plan

It's almost too easy to delay the day you'll quit smoking—almost any excuse will do.

Nerlynx approved to help prevent breast cancer's return

(HealthDay)—Nerlynx (neratinib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help prevent HER2-positive breast cancer from returning.

Better prognosis with surgery for HPV-linked oropharyngeal SCC

(HealthDay)—Patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have higher five-year overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) rates after surgery alone, according to a study published online July 10 in Head & Neck.

Pregnancy-related mortality ratio 17 deaths per 100,000

(HealthDay)—The pregnancy-related mortality ratio was 17 deaths per 100,000 live births from 2011 to 2013, and the distribution of causes of death categories remained stable from 2006 to 2010, according to a study published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

NT-proBNP improves heart failure prediction in T2DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) improves prediction of heart failure, according to a study published online July 6 in Diabetes Care.

Measles outbreak identified in Minnesota is ongoing

(HealthDay)—An outbreak of measles has been identified in Minnesota, according to a report published in the July 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Sunscreen application doesn't provide complete body cover

(HealthDay)—Routine sunscreen application does not provide complete body coverage, according to a study published online July 12 in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.

Multi-luminance mobility test identifies visual impairment

(HealthDay)—A multi-luminance mobility test (MLMT) can differentiate normal-sighted from visually-impaired subjects, according to a study published online July 11 in Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology.

Hospitalists have role to play in mitigating opioid use disorder

(HealthDay)—Hospitalists have an important role to play in mitigating opioid use disorder (OUD), according to an article published online July 18 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

AAIC: Alzheimer biomarkers up with sleep disordered breathing

(HealthDay)—Biological changes in the brain may underlie a relationship between sleep disordered breathing (SDB) and Alzheimer's disease, according to new research. A trio of studies on the matter were scheduled for presentation at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 16 to 20 in London.

AAIC: Mediterranean diet may help preserve cognitive function

(HealthDay)—Eating right may help protect brain health in old age, a group of new studies show. The research was scheduled for presentation at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 16 to 20 in London.

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Partnering cells turn off immune attack on pancreatic tumors

Two cell types work together to protect pancreatic tumors from destruction by the immune system. But, blocking this partnership may restore the system's ability to attack these same tumor cells.

New findings suggest a genetic influence on aging into the 90s but not beyond

Variants of a gene thought to be linked to longevity appear to influence aging into the 90s, but do not appear to affect exceptional longevity, or aging over 100, a new study has found.

Fear of arrest stops some needed calls to 911 after opioid overdose is administered

Fear of being arrested still undercuts an Indiana law that shields anyone who administers naloxone from criminal charges, according to a survey conducted by two researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Naloxone is a lifesaving emergency antidote for opioid overdose.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma in adults? This can be tricky because asthma can stem from several causes and treatment often depends on what is triggering the asthma.

Evaluating low-dose toxicity from endocrine active chemicals

A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes a strategy that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should use to evaluate the evidence of adverse human health effects from low doses of exposure to chemicals that can disrupt the endocrine system.

Easing opioid dose may improve pain and quality of life

(HealthDay)—Sometimes less really is more. New research suggests that when it comes to long-term use of opioid painkillers, cutting back on the dose of the drugs might improve pain and function, as well as boost quality of life.

Benefits of gastric bypass surgery linked to changes in sweet taste preference

Worldwide, the number of patients struggling with obesity is rapidly increasing in both adults and children. Diet and exercise are the mainstays of treatment for obesity, but have limited effectiveness. While bariatric surgery can produce sustained and significant weight loss for most patients, not all patients experience similar benefits. The reasons for this variation are unknown, but researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine believe that part of the answer may lie in how taste preferences are altered by weight loss surgery.

New combination of anti-obesity drugs may have beneficial effects

Research conducted in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has revealed that a unique combination of hormone-based drugs can produce enhanced weight loss in laboratory tests with obese animals. The research is to be presented this week at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior.

27 Phase III and 8 Phase II Alzheimer's drugs on track to launch in next five years

Twenty-seven Alzheimer's drugs in Phase III clinical trials and eight drugs in Phase II clinical trials may launch in the next five years, according to a revised Alzheimer's pipeline analysis presented today at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) by ResearchersAgainstAlzheimer's (RA2), an UsAgainstAlzheimer's network.

Generic medicines hit Novartis profits

Swiss drugmaker Novartis on Tuesday posted a drop in first half profits amid fierce competition for generic medicines and pricing pressures but said it was set to reach annual targets.

A new sanitary pad that can change lives in developing countries

In many cultures, menstruation is considered a taboo subject that puts women of childbearing age in a difficult situation. Karin Högberg and Lena Berglin at the Swedish School of Textiles and the University of Borås, are currently developing a reusable and quick-drying sanitary pad that could change everyday life for these women.

Alcohol use is one of the major causes of head injuries in Nepal

Head injuries can be fatal, particularly if the assailant intentionally targets the victim to cause maximum damage. A recent study published in the Birat Journal of Health Sciences in Nepal has found that over a third of all intentional head injuries—assaults intended to kill or incapacitate a person—were related to alcohol use.

DC's right-to-die law takes effect

Doctors in the nation's capital may now begin the process of prescribing life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients.

Collaboration of therapists and clients may improve family therapy

A new article addresses ongoing conversations about bridging the gap between practice and research within the field of family therapy.

New insights into complex processes of blood-brain barrier developing

The blood-brain barrier is a crucial protection mechanism: It is a highly selective physical barrier that prevents pathogens and toxins in the circulatory system from entering the central nervous system where they could create havoc. At the same time, however, it prevents many therapeutic drugs from reaching the brain, making it much more difficult to treat medical conditions such as stroke, brain tumours or edemas.

Promising therapy for fatal genetic diseases in children nears human trials

Researchers at University of Massachusetts Medical School and Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine are nearing human clinical trials on a genetic therapy for two rare neurological diseases that are fatal to children.

Woman disfigured by gunshot gets full face transplant

The Cleveland Clinic says a 21-year-old woman disfigured by a gunshot as a teenager has received a face transplant.

AARP, GSA focus on effects of negative attitudes on aging

The ways in which negative attitudes about aging can affect people's health and quality of life are the focus of 12 peer-reviewed research papers in a new AARP-sponsored supplement issue of The Gerontologist—the respected research and analysis journal published by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) since 1961.

Testosterone prescribing in VA varies by provider's age, experience, specialty and region

Providers in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) system vary in their testosterone prescribing practices, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. This is the first study to examine provider and site predictors of testosterone prescribing in the VA.

In Mexico, type of work is tied to mobility disparities as people age

Certain occupations may significantly contribute to mobility problems as workers age, contributing to income-based disparities in disability, a study co-authored by Princeton University's Noreen Goldman finds.

Biology news

Study reveals ways in which cells feel their surroundings

Cells push out tiny feelers to probe their physical surroundings, but how much can these tiny sensors really discover? A new study led by Princeton University researchers and colleagues finds that the typical cell's environment is highly varied in the stiffness or flexibility of the surrounding tissue, and that to gain a meaningful amount of information about its surroundings, the cell must move around and change shape. The finding aids the understanding of how cells respond to mechanical cues and may help explain what happens when migrating tumor cells colonize a new organ or when immune cells participate in wound healing.

One amino acid, a whale of a difference

A single amino-acid variation in a key receptor in whales may help explain why some species of cetaceans evolved sleek, muscular bodies to hunt fish and seals, while others grow to massive sizes by filter-feeding on large volumes of plankton, an international research team has found.

Bottom-trawling techniques leave different traces on the seabed

Fishing fleets around the world rely on nets towed along the bottom to capture fish. Roughly one-fifth of the fish eaten globally are caught by this method, known as bottom trawling, which has been criticized for its effects on the marine environment.

Sex-linked supergene controls sperm size, shape and swimming speed in birds

The size and swimming speed of sperm are controlled by a single supergene in birds, according to a new study by the University of Sheffield.

New bacterial defense mechanism of the CRISPR-Cas system uncovered

Researchers led by Martin Jinek of the University of Zurich have found an unprecedented mechanism by which bacteria defend themselves against invading viruses. When the bacterial immune system gets overwhelmed, the CRISPR-Cas system produces a chemical signal that activates a second enzyme which helps in degrading the invaders' genetic material. This process is very similar to an antiviral mechanism of the human innate immune system.

A tale of two fishes: Biologists find male, female live-bearing fish evolve differently

Male live-bearing fish are evolving faster than female fish, according to a Kansas State University study, and that's important for understanding big-picture evolutionary patterns.

Large-scale study of adaptation in yeast could help explain the evolution of cancer

Genes provide instructions to cells in the body telling them what to do and not do in order to function optimally. Small changes in genes, called mutations, can have major consequences. Similar to a glitch in a computer's coding, a glitch in gene coding can cause a cell's system to go haywire. Not all mutations are bad, however. The process of adaptive evolution selects for mutations that promote rapid and unchecked growth, both in yeast populations and in cancer.

Bornean orangutans' canopy movements flag conservation targets

Bornean orangutans living in forests impacted by human commerce seek areas of denser canopy enclosure, taller trees, and sections with trees of uniform height, according to new research from Carnegie's Andrew Davies and Greg Asner published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Study throws dog domestication theories to the wolves

From the tiny chihuahua to the massive Saint Bernard, domestic dogs today trace their roots to a single group of wolves that crossed the path of humans as long as 40,000 years ago, researchers said Tuesday.

'No solid evidence' for biopesticide-diarrhea link

A report commissioned by EU food regulators wrongly linked a highly effective biopesticide with diarrhoea in humans, an expert says.

Selling $600 frogs—to save them from poachers

Poachers in Ecuador have long known the hefty prices their country's rare frogs can fetch. But now environmentally conscious firms are starting to sell the amphibians too—to try to save them from the black market and threatened extinction.

Scientists unlock planthoppers' potential to control future crop disease outbreaks

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Zoology have discovered how a severe rice virus reproduces inside the small brown planthopper, a major carrier of the virus.

Reasons are plentiful for whacking those weeds

Summer rains have arrived in southern Arizona, encouraging gardens to grow—and weeds to spring up across the landscape.

Parasite revealed—new insights into dicyemida

Revealing the origin and evolutionary history of the world's manifold life forms is one way in which we seek to understand them. Even the smallest creature can yield fascinating insights. For example, take the Dicyemida, which are microscopic parasites that live inside cephalopods such as octopuses and cuttlefish. These seemingly inconsequential beings have baffled taxonomists due to their simple body structure, which is composed of around 40 cells and does not include many common body elements such as a circulatory system. Historically, researchers have disagreed about the Dicyemida's classification, including their closest relatives and on which rung of the evolutionary ladder they are situated.

'Plant cinema' shows the flow of energy

Nothing works without fuel: plants also depend on fuel for growth and development. In living organisms, fuel comes as the universal energy currency adenosine triphosphate (ATP). An international team of researchers led by the University of Bonn shows how ATP behaves in the different parts of living seedlings and the impact of stress on their fuel status. The results could inform breeding of more resistant crop varieties. This "plant cinema in real time" is now presented by the journal eLife.

Sibling bonding is stronger when dad's around

For many female mammals, mothers and maternal sisters dominate all aspects of an individual's social life. Emily Lynch of the University of Missouri, Columbia, in the US argues fathers might play a significant role, as well. She is the lead author of a study that highlights how social bonds develop between paternal half-siblings when their shared father is in the vicinity. Her findings are published in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Scientists hone in on genetics behind chicken weight adaptation

Prized for their plumpness, poultry farmers have made incredible gains through agricultural breeding programs to maximize chicken size and weight to benefit worldwide consumption, where demand continues to grow the most for any meat.

Chlorine dioxide pouches can make produce safer and reduce spoilage

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Florida are helping a company develop a small plastic pouch designed to make produce safer. The pouch releases chlorine dioxide gas, which eliminates Escherichia coli bacteria and other pathogens from the surfaces of fruits and vegetables.

Gene increases the severity of common colds

Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) have discovered mutations that worsen respiratory infections among children. Their study explain the mechanism involved.

Pause to read the traffic sign: Regulation of DNA transcription in bacteria

The survival of the cell is—apart from other important aspects—a question of timing: Scientists of Goethe University together with colleagues from other universities have now identified the different parts of this mechanism and introduced a model of the process.

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