Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jul 25

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 25, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Energy-harvesting bracelet could power wearable electronics

Visual clues we use during walking and when we use them

New survey suggests far fewer Jupiter sized rogue planets than thought

Scientists develop fast chemistry that unlocks a new class of polymers

New research reveals potential for synthetic materials systems that can 'count' and sense their size

Brain stimulation may improve cognitive performance in people with schizophrenia

Dragonfly brains predict the path of their prey

Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds

Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

Hydrogel-based capsules could expand and reside in the GI tract for days, slowly releasing medication

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

Magnetic quantum objects in a 'nano egg carton'

Researchers uncover new avenues for finding unique class of insulators

New magnetic topological semimetal for more efficient electronics

Host plants communicate warning signals through a parasite network, when insects attack

Astronomy & Space news

New survey suggests far fewer Jupiter sized rogue planets than thought

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Warsaw University Observatory, Ohio State University and the University of Warwick has found evidence that suggests there are far fewer Jupiter-sized rogue planets roaming the Milky Way galaxy than prior surveys have shown. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes using data compiled from the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment to analyze light curves of approximately 50 million stars for the period 2010 to 2015 and what they found by doing so.

Cosmologists produce new maps of dark matter dynamics

New maps of dark matter dynamics in the Universe have been produced by a team of international cosmologists.

Large, distant comets more common than previously thought

Comets that take more than 200 years to make one revolution around the sun are notoriously difficult to study. Because they spend most of their time far from our area of the solar system, many "long-period comets" will never approach the sun in a person's lifetime. In fact, those that travel inward from the Oort Cloud—a group of icy bodies beginning roughly 300 billion kilometers away from the sun—can have periods of thousands or even millions of years.

NASA encourages kids to Train Like an Astronaut

Mission X: Train like an Astronaut, since its inception in 2011, has morphed into an international collaboration of physical fitness challenges. The program is an immersive resource that fosters mind, body and spirit in students all around the globe. It's an education unlike any other that has encouraged tens of thousands of young people to take their pulse for the first time and blast off with straightforward exercises that make fitness fun. Equipped with the training and critical thinking necessary for any real astronaut, these future explorers are now more than ready to embark upon Mission X, taking the torch of spaceflight to even deeper reaches of space.

Discovery of a rare quadruple gravitational lens candidate with Pan-STARRS

Astronomers from the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) in conjunction with colleagues from the University of California, Davis, and Rutgers University have discovered the first quadruple gravitational lens candidate within data from the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid

A final farewell to LISA Pathfinder

With the push of a button, final commands for the European Space Agency's LISA Pathfinder mission were beamed to space on July 18, a final goodbye before the spacecraft was powered down.

Russia's Mayak satellite: crowd-funded cosmic pest or welcome nightly visitor?

Will we soon see a new bright "star" visiting our evening skies? The crowd-funded Mayak CubeSat was launched along with 72 other satellites aboard a Russian Soyuz Rocket on July 14, 2017.

What is the weather like on Mercury?

With the dawning of the Space Age in the 1950s, human beings were no longer confined to studying the Solar planets and other astronomical bodies with Earth-based instruments alone. Instead crewed missions have gone into orbit and to the Moon while robotic missions have traveled to every corner of the solar system. And in the process, we have learned some interesting things about the planets, planetoids, and asteroids in our Solar neighborhood.

Venus's turbulent atmosphere

Venus is often referred to as Earth's twin because both planets share a similar size and sur-face composition. Also, they both have atmospheres with complex weather systems. But that is about where the similarities end: Venus is one the most hostile places in our solar system. Its atmosphere consists of 96.5 percent carbon dioxide, with surface temperatures of con-stantly about 500 degrees Celsius. Venus is a slowly rotating planet—it needs about 243 ter-restrial days to complete one rotation. We would expect its atmosphere to rotate with the same rhythm, but in fact it takes only four days. This phenomenon is called superrotation, and it causes substantial turbulences in the planet's atmosphere. The scientists do not yet fully understand its origin and motor, but are working on an answer to this puzzle. The many waves in the planet's atmosphere may play an important role.

Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse from NASA's WB-57F jets

For most viewers, the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse will last less than two and half minutes. But for one team of NASA-funded scientists, the eclipse will last over seven minutes. Their secret? Following the shadow of the Moon in two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes.

Team uses airborne telescopes to study Sun and Mercury during total solar eclipse

A team led by Southwest Research Institute will use airborne telescopes aboard NASA research aircraft to study the solar corona and Mercury's surface during this summer's total solar eclipse. The August 21 observations will provide the clearest images to date of the Sun's outer atmosphere and attempt the first-ever "thermal images" of surface temperature variations on Mercury.

Technology news

A new optimization model could bring higher solar-power integration

Solar power has been established as a source of mainstream power generation across the globe. With numerous installations of photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential homes at or near the distribution site, there is a challenge to balance supply and demand to make these intermittent energy sources reliable. Too little sun means low solar generation and poor PV system efficiency. Excessive generation can jeopardize normal operation of electricity networks.

Musk, Zuckerberg duel over artificial intelligence

Visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg were trading jabs on social media over artificial intelligence this week in a debate that has turned personal between the two technology luminaries.

HoloLens HPU: Second version will incorporate AI coprocessor

(Tech Xplore)—Microsoft has announced that the next generation of its mixed reality HoloLens headset will incorporate an AI chip.

Dassault Systemes in 'biggest ever contract' with Boeing

French industrial software company Dassault Systemes announced Tuesday it has reached a deal with US aerospace giant to modernise its production system, in what it said was its biggest ever contract.

Iran's tech sector blooms under shield of sanctions

The names may be unfamiliar but the services are immediately recognisable: Snapp is Iran's answer to Uber, Digikala is its Amazon, and Pintapin its Booking.com.

SK Hynix posts 'best-ever' quarterly profit

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix posted record profits in the second quarter of the year, the company said Tuesday, as strong demand for its memory chips used in PCs and computer servers drove up prices.

Who will control the swarm?

The world is already well on its way to a day when innumerable autonomous cars and drones buzz about, shuffling commuters to work and packages to doorsteps. In fact, there is new term for it floating around the circles of engineers and venture capitalists who hope to see the day arrive sooner rather than later: They call it "The Swarm."

System to secure cryptographic keys and codes for data protection

IBM today announced that its engineers have been granted a patent on an approach for utilizing the inherent structure of a printed circuit board (PCB) to protect cryptographic keys and codes in a manner that is designed to be highly tamper-resistant. The patented system does not require extensive use of resin or other materials to encase a module or package containing keys and codes, thereby providing the opportunity for significant improvement in manufacturing yield, as well as a decrease in repairs needed in the field due to package reliability. The invention could help protect keys and codes that encrypt data stored on any platform whether your data is in the cloud or an enterprise storage system.

Pinpointing sources of water pollution with a robotic eel

Researchers from EPFL, together with other institutes, have developed a robotic eel that swims through contaminated water to find the source of the pollution. The sensor-equipped robot can be controlled remotely or move on its own. In tests carried out in a small section of Lake Geneva, the robot was able to generate maps of water conductivity and temperature.

The next pharmaceutical revolution could be 3-D bioprinted

Body organs such as kidneys, livers and hearts are incredibly complex tissues. Each is made up of many different cell types, plus other components that give the organs their structure and allow them to function as we need them to.

Inside the tech that makes 'near-miss' air collisions almost impossible

The sky is a crowded place. In June 2017, there were on average 33,000 flights every day over Europe alone.

Small nuclear power reactors—future or folly?

Nuclear energy companies are proposing small nuclear reactors as a safer and cheaper source of electricity.

Climate change poses threat to European electricity production

The vulnerability of the European electricity sector to changes in water resources is set to worsen by 2030 as a consequence of climate change. This conclusion is reached by researchers at Leiden University in an article published in Nature Energy this month.

Cyber staff: Wisconsin company offers to microchip employees

A Wisconsin company is offering to microchip its employees, enabling them to open doors, log onto their computers and purchase break room snacks with a simple swipe of the hand.

Researchers hit new world efficiency record with perovskite solar cells

A recent study, affiliated with UNIST finds key to produce a new cost-efficient way to produce inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite solar cells (PSCs) which sets a new world-record efficiency performance of 22.1 % in small cells and 19.7 percent in 1-square-centimeter cells.

Study shows India can integrate 175 GW of renewable energy into its electricity grid

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has confirmed the technical and economic viability of integrating 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy into India's grid by 2022.

Nielsen to count viewers for Hulu, YouTube live TV services

Nielsen will begin to tabulate how many people get their live TV from Hulu and YouTube, giving media companies and advertisers a better idea of how many people now stream broadcast networks rather than watching them on traditional TV.

BMW to build electric Mini in Oxford despite looming Brexit

Germany's BMW will make the electric version of its Mini compact cars at its factory in Oxford, England, a decision that comes at a time when automakers are scrutinizing investment plans due to Britain's impending departure from the European Union.

Global ransomware attacks on the rise: Europol

Global ransomware attacks soared by over 11 percent in the 12 months to March, Europol reported Tuesday, but specialist tools developed with its partners had helped unlock some 28,000 encrypted devices.

Colorizing images with deep neural networks

For decades, image colorization has enjoyed an enduring interest from the public. Though not without its share of detractors, there is something powerful about this simple act of adding color to black and white imagery, whether it be a way of bridging memories between the generations, or expressing artistic creativity. However, the process of manually adding color can be very time consuming and require expertise, with typical professional processes taking hours or days per image to perfect. A team of researchers has proposed a new technique to leverage deep networks and AI, which allows novices, even those with limited artistic ability, to quickly produce reasonable results.

Six billion records hacked so far this year: researchers

A surge in computer hacking has led to the breach of more than six billion records so far this year, topping the total for 2016, security researchers said Tuesday.

Police turn to hackathons as crime fighting goes digital

Police and law enforcement staff are turning to hackathons – collaborative events for developing technology – to come up with new ways of searching for clues within the terabytes of data that many people produce every year.

Snopes meets $500K crowdfunding goal amid legal battle

Fact-checking website Snopes.com has quickly met a $500,000 goal set for an online fundraiser amid a legal battle with an outside vendor that Snopes says is holding it hostage.

What could giant batteries mean for Indonesian energy?

In response to blackouts and concerns over energy supply, South Australia is getting the world's largest lithium-ion battery. What exactly does this mean for the future of energy in Australia, and could such an approach work for Indonesia?

Snopes launches online fundraiser amid legal battle

Fact-checking website Snopes.com has launched an online fundraiser amid a legal battle with an outside vendor that Snopes says is holding it hostage.

Designing soft robots: Ethics-based guidelines for human-robot interactions

Soft-bodied robots offer the possibility for social engagement, and novel tactile human-robot interactions that require careful consideration of the potential for misplaced emotional attachments and personally and socially destructive behavior by users. The ethical challenges related to human-robot interactions and how these should contribute to soft robotics design in the context of social interaction are discussed in a compelling new article in Soft Robotics.

GM 2Q net earnings fall on loss from sale of European unit

General Motors' second-quarter net profit fell more than 40 percent as the carmaker lost money on the sale of its European unit and took charges for restructuring in India and selling its business in South Africa.

Medicine & Health news

Visual clues we use during walking and when we use them

(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers with the University of Texas and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has discovered which phase of visual information processing during human walking is used most to guide the feet accurately. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes experiments they carried out with volunteers who walked a controlled course and what the researchers found by doing so.

Brain stimulation may improve cognitive performance in people with schizophrenia

Brain stimulation could be used to treat cognitive deficits frequently associated with schizophrenia, according to a new study from King's College London.

Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds

Even the proudest of parents may struggle to find some semblance of meaning behind the seemingly random mish-mash of letters that often emerge from a toddler's first scribbled and scrawled attempts at putting words on paper.

Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

Fresh insights into how zebrafish repair their nerve connections could hold clues to new therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. The technique, which is described in a paper published July 25 in the journal Nature Communications, will aid the study of viral persistence and accelerate the development of antiviral drugs to cure chronic hepatitis B, a condition that affects over 250 million people worldwide and can cause severe liver disease, including liver cancer.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

New discovery could reverse tissue damage caused by heart attacks

A new discovery by University of Bristol scientists helps to explain how cells which surround blood vessels, called pericytes, stimulate new blood vessels to grow with the hormone 'leptin' playing a key role. Leptin is produced by fat cells which helps to regulate energy balance in the body by inhibiting the appetite. This study, described in Scientific Reports, may have important implications for the treatment of heart attacks and also for cancer, the two main killers in the UK.

Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study finds

Just as athletes cross-train to improve physical skills, those wanting to enhance cognitive skills can benefit from multiple ways of exercising the brain, according to a comprehensive new study from University of Illinois researchers.

Reported doubling in child mortality in Iraq following UN sanctions untrue

The reported almost doubling in child mortality in Iraq following the imposition of economic sanctions in 1990 was a 'remarkable fiction' cooked up by Saddam Hussein's government to stir up international condemnation and get the sanctions lifted, say experts in the online journal BMJ Global Health.

Sleep patterns and stress hormones change after a violent crime in the neighborhood

Almost 1.2 million violent crimes - homicide, sexual assault, assault, and robbery—were committed in the United States in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. A new study has found that violent crime changes youth's sleep patterns the night immediately following the crime and changes patterns of the stress hormone cortisol the following day. Both may then disrupt academic performance in students.

Humans imitate in unique ways: Comparing children and bonobos

From an early age, children are very skilled in imitating the actions of others and are so motivated to do so that they will even copy actions for no reason. Imitation is part of what it means to be human, underlying our capacity to acquire and transmit culture, including social rituals, norms, and conventions. A new study compared children's capacity to imitate behavior with the same capacity of humans' closest living great ape relatives, the bonobos. The study found that bonobos do not copy actions as children do, which highlights the unique nature of human imitation. The study, by researchers at the University of Birmingham and Durham University in the United Kingdom, appears in the journal Child Development.

Pattern of marijuana use during adolescence may impact psychosocial outcomes in adulthood

How an adolescent uses marijuana, in particular a pattern of escalating use, may make an adolescent more prone to higher rates of depression and lower educational accomplishments by the time they reach adulthood. Those findings come from a new study led by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Pitt Department of Psychology published today in the journal Addiction.

Black seniors test power of reminisce to protect aging brain

Sharon Steen dons her tennis shoes and, with two fellow seniors, walks streets that in her youth were a vibrant center of Portland, Oregon's African-American community. Wasn't this the corner where an NAACP march began in 1963? Look, the record store is now a fancy high-rise.

Pressure mounts to curtail surgery on intersex children

Children whose sexual characteristics don't neatly align with the norm have for decades faced surgery to rearrange their anatomy to resemble that of more typical boys and girls—long before they were old enough to have a say in the decision.

Love hotels targeted to fight HIV among Cameroon's teens

The two big maps show the districts of the northern Cameroonian town of Guider along with its brothels, nightclubs and other seedy spots to identify places from where AIDS could spread among adolescents.

HIV prevention dapivirine vaginal ring found safe and acceptable in US adolescent girls

A vaginal ring that researchers are hopeful will be approved as a method for preventing HIV in women was found to be safe and acceptable in teen girls, according to results of a study conducted in the United States and reported at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) today in Paris. The study is the first to evaluate the ring, which contains an antiretroviral (ARV) drug called dapivirine and is used for a month at a time, in girls under age 18.

Research looks to slow prostate cancer's 'joyride'

When it comes to arresting cancer's joyride through the body, one Western researcher's work looks to be the 'traffic cop' on the bloodstream highway.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Mothers with troubled childhoods more likely to have children with emotional and behavioural difficulties

Mothers who had a difficult or traumatic upbringing are more likely to have children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Rucaparib—targeting DNA repair and a patient's perpective

Inhibitors of the DNA repair enzyme poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) kill BRCA-deficient tumours, and have significant activity in single agent and combination therapy. Professor Herbie Newell, of Newcastle University (with Hilary Calvert, Nicola Curtin, Barbara Durkacz, Bernard Golding, Roger Griffin and Ruth Plummer), was part of the team responsible for making the PARP inhibitor rucaparib.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Pediatric researchers offer solutions to bedwetting by children

If you're up in the middle of the night putting your child's soaked-through bed sheets and pajamas into the washing machine again, you might be wondering how long until you don't have to do this anymore. For most children, bedwetting and daytime accidents are just a passing phase, but for some, there is an underlying urinary incontinence issue that should be checked out by a pediatric urologist.

Family-led rehabilitation surprisingly ineffective in the recovery of stroke patients

Family-led rehabilitation is not effective in aiding the recovery of people who have suffered a stroke, a major international trial involving researchers at the University of Nottingham has suggested.

Possible treatment for deadly weight loss

Many cancer patients are susceptible to potentially lethal weight loss. Now researchers understand better why this happens, and perhaps how to prevent the condition. "Our goal is to know more about what happens in cancer patients who develop rapid and severe weight loss," says Geir Bjørkøy, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Biologics—the pricey drugs transforming medicine

In a factory just outside San Francisco, there's an upright stainless steel vat the size of a small car, and it's got something swirling inside.

Surgery and therapy offer hope for patients with lymphedema

Imagine an ailment that swells one of your legs to four times its size—one that destroys quality of life, bringing with it immense pain, even shame. For Salvador Castellanos, that nightmare was a reality.

Want to be happier, healthier, save money? It's time to get cooking

Research shows people who cook more have healthier eating patterns, spend less money on take away foods and have indicators of better health.

Experts aim to slash the number of deaths from killer fungal disease in Africa

Experts aim to halve the number of deaths from cryptococcal meningitis by changing drug treatment programmes after the results of a new medical trial.

Cryptococcal meningitis should be classified as a neglected tropical disease, researchers say

Crytococcal meningitis is a deadly invasive fungal infection which affects hundreds of thousands of HIV patients in the late stage of their disease every year.

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance to targeted therapies.

Why holidays can make you sick—examining pre-holiday stress

With summer underway and school holidays around the corner, a Portsmouth academic is researching why people get stressed before they go on holiday. Liz Sharples, lecturer in travel and tourism, says that although we look forward to it the whole year, research indicates that we are often worried, stressed and even disappointed as departure approaches.

Scientists divulge latest in HIV prevention

A far cry from the 1990s "ABC" campaign promoting abstinence and monogamy as HIV protection, scientists reported on new approaches Tuesday allowing people to have all the safe sex they want.

Court battle over UK baby raises ethical conundrum

A five-month legal battle over the fate of a terminally-ill British baby that drew the attention of Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump has also stoked an often angry debate about medical ethics and the courts.

VRC01 antibody prolonged time to HIV viral rebound after treatment interruption

A new study has shown that infusion of a broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) in virally suppressed, early treated volunteers was associated with a modestly delayed rebound of HIV after interruption of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The study, the first randomized controlled trial to demonstrate this effect of VRC01, was led by the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre. MHRP presented findings from the study today at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris, France.

People living in rural households have lower risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease

Living in rural households decreases a person's risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly for young children and adolescents, according to a new study by researchers at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), and the Canadian Gastro-Intestinal Epidemiology Consortium (CanGIEC).

A secret to giving the perfect gift: Stop being afraid

Have you ever faced the daunting task of deciding what gift to give a significant other, friend or relative? And once you finally find a gift, will it be well received?

Knee joint signals bones to grow

Scientists from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, US, have revealed a communication system between the knee joint and developing bones in mice, which controls bone growth during early development and after injury.

Study points to penile microbiome as a risk factor for HIV in men

A ten-fold increase in some types of bacteria living under the foreskin can increase a man's risk of HIV infection by up to 63 percent, according to a new study out today by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University (GW). This study, which was published in the journal mBio, shows for the first time that penile bacteria may be a previously unrecognized risk factor for HIV infection in men. In addition, the researchers suggest that this risk factor may be sexually transmissible.

Novel class of antibiotics shows promise against plague, drug-resistant bacteria

Pathogenic bacteria are rapidly developing resistance to the arsenal of microbial therapies—and driving researchers to identify families of therapeutics with new modes of action. Recently, those include antibiotics that inhibit LpxC, an enzyme critical to forming the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. This week in mBio, an international group of scientists report on laboratory experiments suggesting that a novel LpxC inhibitor can treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections, including many that originate in hospitals.

Psychopaths are better at learning to lie, say researchers

Individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits are better at learning to lie than individuals who show few psychopathic traits, according to a study published in the open access journal Translational Psychiatry. The findings indicate that people with high psychopathic traits may not have a 'natural' capacity to lie better, but rather are better at learning how to lie, according to the researchers.

Genetic predisposition to higher calcium levels linked with increased risk of coronary artery disease

A genetic predisposition to higher blood calcium levels was associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack, according to a study published by JAMA.

How texting can protect babies from sudden death

A series of educational videos delivered by text or email successfully encouraged new mothers to use safe sleep practices for their babies, reducing the risk of sudden unexpected infant death, a new study has found. The research comes from the University of Virginia Schools of Medicine and Nursing, Yale University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Medicine.

Shedding light on cause of resistance to tumor immunotherapy

In tumor immunotherapy, the body's own defense system is activated against the tumor cells. However, for the majority of patients, the tumor cells become resistant to the treatments used. Researchers at the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have now found in skin cutaneous melanoma that an epigenetic control protein is key to the development of this resistance.

Global health lessons from Thailand's successful liver fluke elimination campaign

Outreach and education efforts can play an outsize role in disease elimination programs, researchers suggest in a review publishing July 25 in Trends in Parasitology. As a case study, they consider recent public health efforts in Thailand, using everything from village-wide presentations to children's comics, to elaborate traditional song-and-dance routines to try to stamp out infections caused by the parasitic liver fluke.

Despite testing program, children with HIV remain undiagnosed

A two-year clinic-based HIV testing program in Zimbabwe failed to diagnose many cases of HIV in children in the surrounding area, Dr. Victoria Simms from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, and colleagues, report in PLOS Medicine.

Improved retention and outcomes with same-day HIV testing and treatment

Initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) on the same day as HIV testing is feasible and leads to improved retention and health outcomes, according to a trial published in PLOS Medicine.

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and "chemo brain": a brisk walk.

Lutein may counter cognitive aging, study finds

Spinach and kale are favorites of those looking to stay physically fit, but they also could keep consumers cognitively fit, according to a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

Average increase in physician compensation 2.9% in 2016

(HealthDay)—The AMGA 2017 Medical Group Compensation and Productivity Survey reports that 77 percent of physician specialties experienced increases in compensation in 2016, with an overall weighted average increase of 2.9 percent.

'Diet foods' to skip

(HealthDay)—Certain packaged foods marketed as "lite" or "diet" versions may not be helping your weight-loss efforts or your goal to eat healthier.

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

MRI may help predict cognitive impairment in professional fighters

Images of the brain's gray and white matter obtained with multiple MRI techniques can help identify and track cognitive impairment in active professional fighters, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

Microdystrophin restores muscle strength in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Researchers from Genethon, the AFM-Telethon laboratory, Inserm (UMR) and the Royal Holloway University of London demonstrated the efficacy of an innovative gene therapy in the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Indeed, after injecting microdystrophin (a "shortened" version of the dystrophin gene) via a drug vector, the researchers managed to restore muscle strength and stabilise the clinical symptoms in dogs naturally affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A first. This work, published today in Nature Communications, has been achieved thanks to donations from the French Telethon.

Autism severity detected with brain activity test

UCLA researchers have discovered that children with autism have a tell-tale difference on brain tests compared with other children. Specifically, the researchers found that the lower a child's peak alpha frequency—a number reflecting the frequency of certain brain waves—the lower their non-verbal IQ was. This is the first study to highlight peak alpha frequency as a promising biomarker to not only differentiate children with autism from typically developing children, but also to detect the variability in cognitive function among children with autism.

Study shows a significant ongoing decline in sperm counts of Western men

In the first systematic review and meta-analysis of trends in sperm count, researchers from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai report a significant decline in sperm concentration and total sperm count among men from Western countries. The study [under embargo until July 25 at 1 pm EDT] is published today in Human Reproduction Update, the leading journal in the fields of Reproductive Biology and Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Mediterranean-style diets linked to better brain function in older adults

Eating foods included in two healthy diets—the Mediterranean or the MIND diet—is linked to a lower risk for memory difficulties in older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Study: Yoga helps back pain among veterans

In a study including 150 military veterans with chronic low back pain, researcher Dr. Erik J. Groessl and his team from the VA San Diego Healthcare System found that veterans who completed a 12-week yoga program had better scores on a disability questionnaire, improved pain intensity scores, and a decline in opioid use.

Researchers offer new insights into how communities can tap into youth sports tourism

Two Indiana University researchers say creative marketing is needed to reach visitors in what's become a multibillion-dollar-a-year segment of the tourism industry: youth sports tourism.

Improved imaging of neonatal soft-tissue tumors can help radiologists improve patient care

Better understanding of practical imaging techniques with regard to neonatal soft-tissue tumors can improve patient care, according to an article published in the July 2017 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

Scientists identify gene mutations in smoking-related cancers

African-Americans typically have worse outcomes from smoking-related cancers than Caucasians, but the reasons for this remain elusive. However, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have taken a big step toward solving this puzzle.The scientists found that African-American patients had an increased mutation rate in several genes, including the best known in tobacco-related tumors, TP53. The findings are published in the current online issue of the journal Theranostics.

Results of NRG-RTOG 0436 highlight need for biomarkers in treatment of esophageal cancer

NRG-RTOG 0436 has determined that adding an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor to a chemo-radiation regimen does not improve overall survival for patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer treated in a non-operative manner. These results are reported in "Effect of the Addition of Cetuximab to Paclitaxel, Cisplatin, and Radiation Therapy for Patients with Esophageal Cancer - The NRG Oncology RTOG 0436 Phase 3 Randomized Clinical Trial," which was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Oncology.

Fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c linked to alzheimer's in T2DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) visit-to-visit variation, represented by the coefficient of variation (CV), and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) CV are independently associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a study published online July 13 in Diabetes Care.

Vascular targeted photodynamic tx aids low-risk prostate cancer

(HealthDay)—For men with low-risk prostate cancer, vascular targeted photodynamic therapy achieves an 82 percent rate of absent clinically significant cancer in treated lobes, according to a study published in the August issue of The Journal of Urology.

Noninvasive oral fluid-based immunoassay IDs hepatitis E

(HealthDay)—A noninvasive oral fluid-based immunoassay has high sensitivity and specificity for identifying recent and past hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection, according to a study published in the Journal of Immunological Methods.

Continuing statin after adverse Rx tied to lower cardiac risk

(HealthDay)—For patients with an adverse reaction to a statin, continued statin prescriptions are associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular events and death, according to a study published online July 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Japan woman dies of tick disease after bitten by sick cat

A Japanese woman has died from a tick-borne virus after being bitten by a stray cat in what is possibly the world's first animal-to-human transmission of the disease.

Opinion: How killing the ACA could lead to more opioid deaths in Trump states

President Trump spoke at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia on July 24, joining a long list of presidents who have spoken to the huge meeting of Boy Scouts, troop leaders and volunteers. The visit was not surprising, as West Virginia, in the center of Appalachia, is overwhelmingly Trump Country.

How exposing children with autism to risk can teach them resilience and life skills

Last night's ABC Australian Story episode featuring Sam and James Best's journey through Africa illustrates the lengths parents will go to in supporting their children on the autism spectrum to reach their full potential.

In adolescents, oral Truvada and vaginal ring for HIV prevention are safe, acceptable

A monthly vaginal ring and a daily oral tablet, both containing anti-HIV drugs, were safe and acceptable in studies of adolescents, two teams of investigators reported today at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris. The experimental ring is designed for HIV prevention and the oral tablet is already used for this purpose in adults. Adherence to the ring was high, while adherence to the tablet was moderate and diminished substantially when study visits became less frequent. These studies mark the first time the vaginal ring was tested in adolescent girls younger than 18 years and the first time a clinical trial of the oral tablet as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) specifically for adolescents included girls. The findings pave the way for larger trials of the vaginal ring and oral PrEP in this vulnerable age group.

Feeling stressed during the workday? Research says playing video games may help

More than half of Americans regularly experience cognitive fatigue related to stress, frustration, and anxiety while at work. Those in safety-critical fields, such as air traffic control and health care, are at an even greater risk for cognitive fatigue, which could lead to errors. Given the amount of time that people spend playing games on their smartphones and tablets, a team of human factors/ergonomics researchers decided to evaluate whether casual video game play is an effective way to combat workplace stress during rest breaks.

Americans say discussions about clinical trials should be part of standard of care

An overwhelming majority of Americans (86%) agree that health care professionals should discuss clinical trials with patients diagnosed with a disease as part of their standard of care, according to a new national public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America. And three-quarters of respondents (75%) agree that taking part in clinical trials is as valuable to our health care system as giving blood. But Americans are split on whether it's important for everyone to take part in a clinical trial if they are asked—44% agree while 45% disagree and 12% are not sure. A higher percentage (74%) said they would participate if they are asked by someone they trust.

Research lacking when it comes to heart disease in prison populations

The incarcerated population—both those currently in prison and those who have been released—are more susceptible to heart disease than the rest of the country's population. And what we know about the factors that play into this is extremely limited, according to researchers.

Crunch time as US Senate braces for health care vote

Senate Republicans hold a critical vote Tuesday on the latest effort to repeal Obamacare, in the face of withering criticism from President Donald Trump—and confusion over whether they even have enough support to move forward.

Biology news

Dragonfly brains predict the path of their prey

New research from Australia and Sweden has shown how a dragonfly's brain anticipates the movement of its prey, enabling it to hunt successfully. This knowledge could lead to innovations in fields such as robot vision.

Host plants communicate warning signals through a parasite network, when insects attack

A team of scientists from the Kunming Institute of Botany in China and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena has discovered that parasitic plants of the genus Cuscuta (dodder) not only deplete nutrients from their host plants, but also function as important "information brokers" among neighboring plants, when insects feed on host plants. Dodder, a parasitic vine, grows rapidly, entwining and parasitizing its host plants by inserting haustoria (a special organ that only parasitic plants have and functions somewhat similarly as roots) into the host plants' stems. The dodder vines can often connect different host plants together forming a network. If any plant in the network is attacked by herbivores, expressions of defense genes in the unattacked neighboring plants are activated. The plants are now on alert and become more resistant to their enemies.

Verse by verse, whales learn songs like humans

Humpback whales learn songs in segments – like the verses of a human song – and can remix them, a new study involving University of Queensland research has found.

Antibiotic resistance driven by intragenomic co-evolution

Scientists have discovered bacteria are able to "fine-tune" their resistance to antibiotics – raising the possibility of some superbugs being resistant to drugs which they have never even been in contact with.

Breaking boundaries in our DNA

Our bodies are composed of trillions of cells, each with its own job. Cells in our stomach help digest our food, while cells in our eyes detect light, and our immune cells kill off bugs. To be able to perform these specific jobs, every cell needs a different set of tools, which are formed by the collection of proteins that a cell produces. The instructions for these proteins are written in the approximately 20,000 genes in our DNA.

Thousands of genes exchanged within microbial communities living on cheese

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have found that microbial species living on cheese have transferred thousands of genes between each other. They also identified regional hotspots where such exchanges take place, including several genomic "islands" that host exchanges across several species of bacteria.

Discovery of why emus are grounded takes flight

Researchers from Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute have helped solve the mystery of how emus became flightless, identifying a gene involved in the development and evolution of bird wings.

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

A toddler running sometimes loses footing because both feet come off the ground at the same time. Kinesin motors that move materials around in cells have the same problem, which limits how fast they can traverse a microtubule in the cell and carry cargo, according to Penn State researchers who have now seen these kinesin motors move using an unusual microscope and tagging method.

Gene therapy helps dogs with muscle dystrophy, humans next?

Researchers have used gene editing to reverse symptoms in dogs of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)—a muscle-wasting and life-shortening disease that affects one in 5,000 baby boys.

Researchers offer new and novel paradigm for advancing research on beneficial microbes

While beneficial microbes are becoming a more common tool in agriculture, their effectiveness in the field is severely blunted thanks to real-world environmental stressors like heat and drought, competition with other microbes, and interactions with the host plant. Such factors can reduce the treatment's effectiveness or even drive the microbe to extinction.

No gene is an island: Gene's position on chromosome affects mutations

Genes do not exist in isolation. Like beads on a string, they sit next to each other on long DNA molecules called chromosomes. So far, little has been known about how the position of a gene on a chromosome affects its evolution. A new study by Calin Guet, Professor at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), and Magdalena Steinrück, PhD student in Guet's group, shows that a gene's neighborhood can influence whether and how the activity of a gene changes. The study was published today in the open access journal eLife.

New non-photosynthesizing plant species discovered on Ishigaki island, Japan

A new species of non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant, Sciaphila sugimotoi, has been discovered on the subtropical island of Ishigaki in Okinawa, Japan. The research team responsible for this discovery was led by Project Associate Professor SUETSUGU Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of Science) and the findings will be published on July 25 in Phytotaxa.

Who's afraid of the giant African land snail? Perhaps we shouldn't be

The giant African land snail is a poster child of a global epidemic: the threat of invasive species. The snails are native to coastal East Africa, but are now found across Asia, the Pacific and the Americas – in fact, almost all tropical mainlands and islands except mainland Australia.

Plant hormone boost for New Zealand's critically endangered night parrot

New Zealand's nocturnal and flightless parrot, the kākāpō, may be famous for trying to mate with the head of biologist Mark Carwardine, but this unique species is facing some serious challenges.

Antibiotics come with 'environmental side effects,' experts say

Researchers writing in Microchemical Journal are bringing attention to the fact that commonly used antibiotic drugs are making their way out into the environment, where they can harm microbes that are essential to a healthy environment. Their review article has been selected for the Elsevier Atlas Award, which recognizes research that could significantly impact people's lives around the world or has already done so.

Researchers discover how gene silencing works in plants

The group of Dr. Myriam Calonje Macaya from the University of Seville,and the group of Franziska Turck from the Max Planck Institute have recently published a study in Genome Biology that advances the knowledge of epigenetic regulation by means of Polycomb-group proteins in plants.

Lipid transfer from plants to arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi

Textbooks tell us that in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses, the host plant supplies its fungal symbionts solely with sugars, in return for inorganic nutrients. New findings by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) researchers now show that lipids are also on the menu.

Health commentators say there is a lingering consent problem in biobanking

Researchers throughout the world are going to great lengths to get hold of your genes, tissue and health information. Yet, remarkably, there is very little consensus on how they should be going about doing that. In an essay publishing 25 July in the open access journal PLOS Biology, University of Alberta health law researchers Timothy Caulfield and Blake Murdoch argue that there remains a deep lack of clarity around basic legal and ethical principles surrounding consent, and that these issues are only going to intensify.

Elevated cholesterol's link with canine cancer includes a better prognosis

Usually thought of as a health detriment, elevated cholesterol may play a role in longer survival times for dogs with a common form of bone cancer.

Cooler cows have healthier calves

Environmental influences affecting cows during pregnancy have been shown to induce life-long physical and metabolic changes in the offspring. To learn more about the effects of heat stress on calves conceived during the summer, Pablo Pinedo, from Colorado State University, and Albert De Vries, from the University of Florida, examined data from more than 150 herds of dairy cattle in Florida, where cows experience hot summers and mild winters.

Taking the genomic revolution to corn fields to improve crops

"Having the sequence of a genome is like having the blueprint of a house," says Natalia de Leon, a professor of agronomy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

New sensor system for improved peanut drying

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) engineers in Georgia have developed a network of sensors that will save thousands of dollars in drying costs for peanut growers and processors.

QUT to use drones to find and protect koalas

Queensland University of Technology will deploy drones in a high-tech effort to find and protect koalas in South East Queensland, with the State Government announcing a funding boost for koala conservation.

Freshwater flow affects Everglades fish, but how?

With tarpon fishing season at its peak, FIU scientists are tracking the saltwater fish throughout the Florida Everglades. They want to know how water conditions affect some of the state's most lucrative recreational fisheries.

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