Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jul 19

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Spotlight Stories Headlines

New gel coatings may lead to better catheters and condoms

Cleaning up CO2 emissions could be worth millions

Engineers create brighter, full-color holograms that can be viewed with low light

Astronomers discover Earth-sized exoplanet with very short orbital period

Artifacts suggest humans arrived in Australia earlier than thought

Researchers find path to discovering new topological materials

Wireless magnetic fields and actuator 'muscles' allow folding robots to move without batteries

Bubble technique used to measure shear forces between graphene sheets

Networking is key for cells during bone formation

To swallow food, some sharks shrug their shoulders

Microsoft cloud to help Baidu self-driving car effort

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

Method for modeling neural networks' power consumption could help make the systems portable

How CD44s gives brain cancer a survival advantage

Silk 'micrococoons' could be used in biotechnology and medicine

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers discover Earth-sized exoplanet with very short orbital period

(—An international team of astronomers has detected a new Earth-sized exoplanet in an ultra-short period around its parent star. The alien world, designated EPIC 228813918 b, circles its host every four hours and 20 minutes, which makes it the second-shortest orbital period of a planet known to date. The finding was presented in a paper published July 14 on

SpaceX chief says first launch of big new rocket will be risky

SpaceX's chief says the first launch of its big new rocket is risky and stands "a real good chance" of failure.

NASA evaluates how crew will exit Orion spacecraft

When astronauts return to Earth from destinations beyond the moon in NASA's Orion spacecraft and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, they'll still need to safely get out of the spacecraft and back on dry land. Using the waters off the coast of Galveston, Texas, a NASA and Department of Defense team tested Orion exit procedures in a variety of scenarios on July 10-14, 2017.

Image: Supersonic parachute testing

This parachute deployed at supersonic velocity from a test capsule hurtling down towards snow-covered northern Sweden from 679 km up, proving a crucial technology for future spacecraft landing systems.

Goodbye HERA, hello sleep: NASA's HERA XIII crew returns home to slumber

After 45 days in NASA's Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA), the four-man crew can hardly hold their eyes open. This mission was the first of its kind to last 45 days, as well as incorporate sleep reduction for research purposes.

Technology news

Wireless magnetic fields and actuator 'muscles' allow folding robots to move without batteries

The traditional Japanese art of origami transforms a simple sheet of paper into complex, three-dimensional shapes through a very specific pattern of folds, creases, and crimps. Folding robots based on that principle have emerged as an exciting new frontier of robotic design, but generally require onboard batteries or a wired connection to a power source, making them bulkier and clunkier than their paper inspiration and limiting their functionality. A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University has created battery-free folding robots that are capable of complex, repeatable movements powered and controlled through a wireless magnetic field.

Microsoft cloud to help Baidu self-driving car effort

Microsoft's cloud computing platform will be used outside China for collaboration by members of a self-driving car alliance formed by Chinese internet search giant Baidu, the companies announced on Tuesday.

Method for modeling neural networks' power consumption could help make the systems portable

In recent years, the best-performing artificial-intelligence systems—in areas such as autonomous driving, speech recognition, computer vision, and automatic translation—have come courtesy of software systems known as neural networks.

Personalized 'earable' sensor monitors body temperature in real time

Wireless, wearable sensors are all the rage with millions of people now sporting fitness trackers on their wrists. These devices can count footsteps, monitor heart rate and other vital signs. Now researchers report in the journal ACS Sensors that they have developed a 3-D printed sensor worn on the ear that measures one of the most basic medical indicators of health in real time: core body temperature.

Using deep learning to get computers to recognize beautiful places

(TechXplore)—A trio of researchers with the University of Warwick in the U.K. has used a deep learning algorithm to help a computer system better understand what constitutes a beautiful place. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes how they trained their system, how well it worked and possible applications.

Mesh networking announcement, new spec from Bluetooth

(Tech Xplore)—Mesh-networking capabilities now in Bluetooth are making news. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced that Bluetooth technology has been updated with support for mesh networking, and Bluetooth published the spec.

New algorithm, metrics improve autonomous underwater vehicles' energy efficiency

Robotics researchers have found a way for autonomous underwater vehicles to navigate strong currents with greater energy efficiency, which means the AUVs can gather data longer and better.

Hi Bixby: Samsung phone's voice assistant now speaks English

Samsung Electronics says its Bixby voice assistant for smartphones will start speaking English but only in two countries: South Korea and the U.S.

Want to escape Sao Paulo's traffic? Take a flying taxi

While Uber has changed ground transport in many cities, Sao Paulo's infernal traffic jams have sparked a new app that opens the sky to commuters: Voom, a helicopter taxi service that charges according to distance and the passenger's weight.

Making data-driven 3-D modeling easier

A new computational method, to be demonstrated at SIGGRAPH 2017, is addressing a well-known bottleneck in computer graphics: 3D content creation. The process of 3D content creation is complex and tedious. GRASS, a new generative model based on deep neural networks developed by a research team led by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), enables the automatic creation of plausible, novel 3D shapes, giving graphic artists in video games, virtual reality (VR) and film the ability to more quickly and effortlessly create and explore multiple 3D shapes so as to arrive at a final product.

Gripping geckos' aerial escapes test their limits

Geckos climb vertically up trees, walls and even windows, thanks to pads on the digits of their feet that employ a huge number of tiny bristles and hooks.

Swimming robot probes Fukushima reactor to find melted fuel

An underwater robot entered a badly damaged reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant Wednesday, capturing images of the harsh impact of its meltdown, including key structures that were torn and knocked out of place.

Protecting your smartphone from voice impersonators

It's a lot easier to talk to a smartphone than to try to type instructions on its keyboard. This is particularly true when a person is trying to log in to a device or a system: Few people would choose to type a long, complex secure password if the alternative were to just say a few words and be authenticated with their voice. But voices can be recorded, simulated or even imitated, making voice authentication vulnerable to attack.

Does the next industrial revolution spell the end of manufacturing jobs?

Robots have been taking our jobs since the 1960s. So why are politicians and business leaders only now becoming so worried about robots causing mass unemployment?

Researchers test 3-D-printed water quality sensor

Researchers at UBC's Okanagan campus have designed a tiny device —built using a 3D printer—that can monitor drinking water quality in real time and help protect against waterborne illness.

Smart toys without the batteries

The greatest challenge in entertaining young children is keeping their toys powered up. Now, one group reports in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that they are one step closer to battery-free interactive games.

Aging power plants provide Trump administration with risks and opportunities

When it comes to the current plans to retire U.S. power plants, Carnegie Mellon University researchers believe we are "running towards a cliff with no fence."

Mexico announces new laptop, tablet security on US flights

Laptops and tablets on U.S.-bound flights from Mexico will be subjected to heightened carry-on security measures beginning Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mexican authorities announced.

India's top court considers whether privacy is a right

India's Supreme Court began hearing submissions Wednesday to determine whether Indians have a constitutional right to privacy in a challenge to the government's massive biometric database, which critics argue violates that right.

Superhero 'Deadpool' opens fire in virtual reality

Smart-mouthed, mayhem-prone anti-hero "Deadpool" made a virtual reality debut on Wednesday in a "Marvel Powers United" game being tailored for Oculus Rift gear.

Panel approves bill to boost testing of self-driving cars

A House subcommittee has approved legislation designed to allow automakers to increase the testing of self-driving cars on U.S. roads.

Facebook working on way to charge for reading news articles

Facebook is working on a way for news organizations to charge readers for articles they share and read on the social network.

Amazon isn't technically dominant, but it pervades our lives

Amazon is already a huge part of many people's lives. And its $13.7 billion deal for the organic grocer Whole Foods will likely bind its customers even more tightly.

AFRL researchers explore automation, additive technologies for cost efficient solar power

Inspired by newspaper printing, and taking cues from additive manufacturing technology, researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory are exploring new ways to make solar cells more cost efficient—increasing application potential in the process.

Uber banned from operating in Czech Republic's number 2 city

A court has once again banned Uber from operating in Brno, the Czech Republic's second-largest city.

Protein produced with electricity to alleviate world hunger

A batch of single-cell protein has been produced by using electricity and carbon dioxide in a joint study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Protein produced in this way can be further developed for use as food and animal feed. The method releases food production from restrictions related to the environment. The protein can be produced anywhere renewable energy, such as solar energy, is available.

New app reveals little-known history of Rio de Janeiro port

Rio de Janeiro's port area may be one of the city's most inviting spots since being renovated for the Olympic Games last year. But while the area is home to attractions that include two museums and an aquarium, its rich history remains unknown to most locals and tourists.

Apple founder Steve Jobs is the subject of a new opera

It's 2007, and Steve Jobs has just finished launching the first iPhone before an enraptured audience when he nearly collapses, exhausted by the illness that will kill him four years later.

Russian man who helped develop Citadel malware gets five years

A Russian man who helped develop and distribute malicious software designed to steal personal financial information was sentenced Wednesday in Atlanta to serve five years in prison.

Medicine & Health news

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

How CD44s gives brain cancer a survival advantage

Understanding the mechanisms that give cancer cells the ability to survive and grow opens the possibility of developing improved treatments to control or cure the disease. In the case of glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest type of brain cancer, researchers have discovered that the molecule CD44s seems to give cancer cells a survival advantage. In the lab, eliminating this advantage by reducing the amount of CD44s resulted in cancer cells being more sensitive to the deadly effects of the drug erlotinib. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Blood test identifies key Alzheimer's marker

A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their brains or cerebrospinal fluid. Currently, the only way to detect amyloid beta in the brain is via PET scanning, which is expensive and not widely available, or a spinal tap, which is invasive and requires a specialized medical procedure.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: New clues to the cause and how future drugs might reverse disease

Scientists have long known that a protein called TDP-43 clumps together in brain cells of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, and is associated with neuron death. This same protein is thought to cause muscle degeneration in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM), leading many researchers to think that TDP-43 is one of the causative factors in ALS and sIBM. Now, UNC School of Medicine and NC State researchers found that a specific chemical modification called acetylation promotes TDP-43 clumping in animals. Using a natural anti-clumping method in mouse models, the scientists reversed protein clumping in muscle cells and prevented the sIBM-related muscle weakness.

Memory takes time, researchers conclude

How short-term memories become long-term ones has frequently been explored by researchers. While a definitive answer remains elusive, New York University scientists Thomas Carew and Nikolay Kukushkin conclude that this transformation is best explained by a "temporal hierarchy" of "time windows" that collectively alter the state of the brain.

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least understood disease subgroups. The landmark study from an international research consortium was led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and investigators in Germany and Canada. The results appear July 20 in the scientific journal Nature.

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has revealed new drug targets that could potentially enhance the effectiveness of PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, a promising new class of cancer immunotherapy.

Scientists identify new way cells turn off genes

Cells have more than one trick up their sleeve for controlling certain genes that regulate fetal growth and development.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth even more.

Researchers identify new target for chronic pain

Proteins must be in the right place at the right time in the cell to function correctly. This is even more critical in a neuron than in other cells because of its complex tree-like structure and its function. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have now discovered how phosphorylation, a common type of protein modification, functions in a novel way to change the location of proteins that are critical for both neuronal function and pathological pain. They find that phosphorylation can occur outside of the neuron and impacts protein function, localization and the sensation of pain.

Brains are more plastic than we thought

Practice might not always make perfect, but it's essential for learning a sport or a musical instrument. It's also the basis of brain training, an approach that holds potential as a non-invasive therapy to overcome disabilities caused by neurological disease or trauma.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital have developed a novel mouse model that for the first time selectively identifies neural stem cells, the progenitors of new adult brain cells. In these mice, researchers have found a novel mechanism by which descendants of neural stem cells can send feedback signals to alter the division and the fate of the mother cell. These findings appear in eLife.

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which irradiated cells leak chemical signals that can travel some distance to damage unexposed healthy cells, many suffer side-effects such as hair loss, fatigue and skin problems. This bystander effect may also make targeted cells resistant to radiation treatment, research suggests.

New study reveals contrasts in how groups of neurons function during decision making

By training mice to perform a sound identification task in a virtual reality maze, researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) have identified striking contrasts in how groups of neurons in different cortex regions of the brain function during decision making.

Study finds obese patients don't need to lose weight before total joint replacement

There's good news from UMass Medical School for overweight people with painfully arthritic hips and knees: A new study finds that obese patients who underwent knee or hip replacement surgery reported virtually the same pain relief and improved function as normal-weight joint replacement patients six months after surgery.

Why some women are more likely to feel depressed

It's no secret that the risk of depression increases for women when their hormones are fluctuating. Especially vulnerable times include the menopause transition and onset of postmenopause. There's also postpartum depression that can erupt shortly after childbirth. But why do some women feel blue while others seem to skate through these transitions? One answer is provided through study results being published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Study looks at physicians who prescribe methadone

A small number of physicians prescribe the majority of the drugs used to treat people in Ontario who are battling opioid addictions, a new study has found.

Understanding genetic synergy in cleft palate

Like all of the individual elements of fetal development, palate growth is a marvel of nature. In part of this process, ledges of tissue on the sides of the face grow downwards on each side of the tongue, then upward, fusing at the midline at the top of the mouth. The vast majority of the time, this process goes correctly. However, some part of it goes awry for the 2,650 babies born in the United States each year with cleft palates and the thousands more born worldwide with the defect.

Certain antibiotics during pregnancy may increase risk of birth defects

A new study has found links between certain antibiotics during pregnancy and major congenital malformations in newborns.

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Diabetes or its precursor affects 100 million Americans

Almost one-third of the US population—100 million people—either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report Tuesday.

Arts-based groups benefit individuals with mental health conditions

A new study found that participation in arts-based groups—such as those that involve choir singing and creative writing—benefits the emotions of both healthy adults and those experiencing mental health conditions.

Pre-pregnancy obesity increases risk for neurocognitive problems in premature babies

A new study has found that children born extremely premature to women who are overweight or obese before the pregnancy are at an increased risk for low scores on tests of intelligence and cognitive processes that influence self-regulation and control, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Why do BRCA1 mutations cause predominantly breast and ovarian cancer?

The human body holds many mysteries, and function of the BRCA1 gene is among them. Women who inherit a faulty copy of BRCA1 have up to a 65 percent chance to develop breast cancer by age 70. They also have up to a 39 percent chance to develop ovarian cancer.

What patients value about access to their visit notes

A majority of U.S. health care organizations have adopted electronic health record (EHR) systems and are increasingly offering patients access to the health information contained in electronic health records (EHR), including the notes their doctors, nurses, therapists and others write after a visit, using secure, patient portals. New findings from researchers at OpenNotes and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center shed light on what patients value about having access to their visit notes and being invited to participate more actively in the safety of their care.

New way found to boost immunity in fight cancer and infections

An international research team led by Université de Montréal medical professor Christopher Rudd, director of research in immunology and cell therapy at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre, has identified a key new mechanism that regulates the ability of T-cells of the immune system to react against foreign antigens and cancer. T-cells orchestrate the response of the immune system. This work outlines how a receptor termed LFA-1 on the surface of T-cells mediates adhesion to other cells such as cancer cells.

Heart tissues of different origins can 'beat' in sync

Researchers from MIPT and the University of Bonn have shown that heart tissues of different origins can contract in sync. In a series of experiments, they first merged two rat tissues of different ages and then combined rat and mouse tissue. Excitation waves were transmitted successfully from one tissue to another, which theoretically means that artificially grown heart patches can fit in with excitable cardiac tissues. The paper was published in Biomaterials Science.

New nontoxic radiopaque glue to seal bleeding and guide surgery

As open surgery procedures have gradually been replaced by minimally invasive and image-guided procedures, tissue adhesives are taking the place of sutures and surgical staples. These have countless applications, including bleeding embolization, angioplasty, stent insertion, and biopsies, among others. Such new surgical glues are highly desired in medical clinics. Researchers at the Center for Nanoparticle Research, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in collaboration with medical doctors in Seoul National University Hospital, have created a surgical glue that is both adherent and visible in the most common imaging techniques including fluoroscopy, ultrasound and computed tomography (CT). It is the first nanoparticle-based tissue adhesive that features these characteristics. Its properties were successfully tested in sealing a liver puncture and in conducting operations in moving organs like lung and limbs. The full results of these surgical procedures conducted in animal models are available on Nature Communications.

Fewer infections in mechanical heart valves

Infections in surgically implanted heart valves are more common in patients who have been given a biological prosthetic valve than in those with a mechanical one, a study from Karolinska Institutet published today in the journal Circulation shows.

Very low rate of early use of prescription smoking cessation medications among older patients after

Only about 7 percent of older adults who smoked used a prescription smoking cessation medication within 90 days after being discharged from a hospital following a heart attack, according to a study published by JAMA Cardiology.

Some women may benefit from delaying breast reconstruction following mastectomy

Some patients with a combination of risk factors, such as being obese and having diabetes or being a smoker, may benefit from delayed rather than immediate breast implant reconstruction after a mastectomy to decrease their risk for serious wound complications, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

New study suggests that reduced insurance coverage for mental health treatment increases costs for the seriously ill

Higher out-of-pocket costs for mental health care could have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of acute and involuntary mental health care among those suffering from the most debilitating disorders, a Harvard study has found.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead to changes in treatment.

The emotional processing of olfactory stimuli in mice described for the first time

The Joint Unit of Functional Neuroanatomy of the universities of Valencia and Jaume I de Castelló has described for the first time the complete map of the neural connections of the anterior cortical nucleus of the amygdala, a key brain region for the emotional processing of olfactory stimuli of mice. The research has been published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.

Think twice before skipping a physical therapy recommendation, expert says

When you hear the term 'doctor's orders' you know that they mean business. So why is it that when the doctor orders physical therapy for pain or an injury, many people skip out? A physical therapist at Baylor College of Medicine says that doing so could make your injury worse.

Exome sequencing unravels rare disease mysteries

When Audrey Lapidus' 10-month old son, Calvin, didn't reach normal milestones like rolling over or crawling, she knew something was wrong.

A child's spoken vocabulary helps them when it comes to reading new words for the first time

Children find it easier to spell a word when they've already heard it spoken, a new study led by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) at Macquarie University has found. The findings are the first to provide evidence about how oral vocabulary in children is linked to their ability to learn to read new words.

Self-perceptions of aging

In the 1960s, the Beatles sang about wondering whether their true love would still love them as they grew older—after they've lost their hair and are no more adventurous than wanting to knit a sweater.

New method that leads to the formation of specialized tissue cells for disease treatment

A new method that leads to the formation of specialized tissue cells could improve the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory diseases and cancer.

Feed intake study in beef cattle could lead to more efficient breeds

A change is coming to the cattle seedstock industry. Breed associations have long been interested in finding the genetic basis for feed efficiency, with the aim of breeding more efficient animals. But the first step – accurately measuring how much cattle eat across different life stages and diet types – has been a missing piece. A new study from the University of Illinois helps fill the gap.

Wonder why those happy memories fade? You're programmed that way

We'll always have Paris." Or will we?

Are sugary drink interventions changing people's behaviour?

An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people's habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

How we think about our past experiences affects how we can help others

Have you ever told a friend experiencing a troubling situation "I know exactly how you feel"?

Is cancer just a question of 'bad luck'?

"Doctor, what caused my cancer?" For doctors, this question is often perplexing. Some of the population risk factors are known, but when it comes to specific cases, only assumptions can be made. However, scientists have a growing understanding of the mechanisms underlying tumour development. Although some of these are rather polemical.

Online tools help cut drinking in former soldiers

UK Armed Forces personnel moving back into civilian life and having difficulties with alcohol could be helped by the use of online tools, a new study has revealed.

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

The effects of childhood stroke on motor skills

Stroke is one of the top 10 causes of death in children, yet there is very little research around childhood stroke. Researchers from the Murdoch Children's Research institute (MCRI) have undertaken a first ever study to systematically evaluate motor function across a 12 month period, following the diagnosis of arterial ischaemic stroke (a stroke that is caused by a blood clot).

Helicopter or lawnmower? Modern parenting styles can get in the way of raising well-balanced children

When many middle-aged people think back to their childhood, they remember roaming the streets with their friends during long, hot summers. Our parents threw us out the door in the morning and instructed us not to come back until dinnertime. Often in charge of younger siblings, we strayed further than we should have, got into trouble and, by the end of the summer, had a collection of triumphs, scars and memories for life.

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles can exacerbate colitis

Titanium dioxide, one of the most-produced nanoparticles worldwide, is being used increasingly in foodstuffs. When intestinal cells absorb titanium dioxide particles, this leads to increased inflammation and damage to the intestinal mucosa in mice with colitis. Researchers at the University of Zurich recommend that patients with colitis should avoid food containing titanium dioxide particles.

Major communication gaps between doctors and home health care nurses revealed

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found serious gaps in communication between physicians and home health care agencies responsible for caring for often elderly patients discharged from hospitals. The problem, the study said, can contribute to hospital readmissions.

New study provides BRCA mutation carriers guidance for when surgery has greatest impact

Of the women who carry the mutated BRCA1/2 genes, 45-65 percent will develop breast cancer, and 15-39 percent will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetimes. Many women, especially those who have experienced the death of family members to these cancers, elect to undergo preventive surgeries that can significantly increase life expectancy, but require extensive recovery time and can impact later fertility and quality-of-life. However, few guidelines exist that shed light on the optimal age to undergo these procedures, and in what sequence. A new study in the INFORMS journal Decision Analysis provides insight to help enable physicians and patients make better-informed choices.

Saliva as good as blood for diagnosing hepatitis E, study suggests

A saliva test developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health nearly matches the performance of a blood test widely used to assess recent or past hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection, a new study reports.

Combining CAR T cells with existing immunotherapies may overcome resistance in glioblastomas

Genetically modified "hunter" T cells successfully migrated to and penetrated a deadly type of brain tumor known as glioblastoma (GBM) in a clinical trial of the new therapy, but the cells triggered an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and faced a complex mutational landscape that will need to be overcome to better treat this aggressive cancer, Penn Medicine researchers report in a new study this week in Science Translational Medicine.

Healthy heart in 20s, better brain in 40s?

Folks with heart-healthy habits in their 20s tend to have larger, healthier brains in their 40s—brains that may be better prepared to withstand the ravages of aging, a new study reports.

Gaining a few pounds may increase long-term heart failure risk

Gaining even a little weight over time may alter the structure and function of heart muscle, affecting long-term risk of heart failure, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Healthy eating and exercise in pregnancy limits weight gain and lowers odds of caesarean

Encouraging healthy eating and physical activity during pregnancy limits excess weight gain and lowers the odds of having a caesarean section, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

How Princess Diana's death saved French lives

(HealthDay)—Princess Diana's tragic death in a car crash in Paris prompted tougher traffic laws that have saved thousands of French lives, and those laws could serve as a model for the United States, a new study suggests.

Resisting the seduction of a buffet

(HealthDay)—Whether at a party or a restaurant, don't let a buffet be your diet downfall. With certain strategies, you can enjoy a range of choices without going overboard and without experiencing any of the usual guilt.

High court rules against interstate medical liability

(HealthDay)—The Washington State high court has ruled against interstate medical liability, according to a report from the American Medical Association.

Guidelines updated for diagnosis, management of NAFLD

(HealthDay)—A practice guidance statement, published online July 17 in Hepatology, has been developed to augment the clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Social interaction affects cancer patients' response to treatment

How well cancer patients fared after chemotherapy was affected by their social interaction with other patients during treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Cancer patients were a little more likely to survive for five years or more after chemotherapy if they interacted during chemotherapy with other patients who also survived for five years or more. Patients were a little more likely to die in less than five years after chemotherapy when they interacted during chemotherapy with those who died in less than five years. The findings were published online July 12, 2017, in the journal Network Science.

Individual insight into brain networks

Harvard scientists have gained new insights into how the brain networks important for thought and remembering are organized in individual people, bringing the notion of using brain scans to help personalize medical treatments one step closer to reality.

Study: Supreme Court decision complicates prosecuting child abusers

A Supreme Court decision that limits the types of statements that can be admitted as evidence unless the victim testifies in court discourages prosecutors from trying some child maltreatment cases, according to a recent national survey of more than 200 prosecutors.

Despite lack of efficacy data, surprising consensus in pediatric anti-epilepsy med scripts

The number of available anti-seizure medications has exploded in the past two decades, going from just a handful of medicines available in the 1990s to more than 20 now. Once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves each new medicine based on trials in adults, it's available for clinicians to prescribe off-label to all age groups. However, says William D. Gaillard, M.D., division chief of Child Neurology and Epilepsy, Neurophysiology and Critical Care Neurology at Children's National Health System, trials that lead to FDA approval for adults do not provide any information about which medications are best for children.

Global anti-smoking measures quadruple since 2007: WHO report

Warnings about the dangers of smoking and restrictions on tobacco use have quadrupled worldwide since 2007, but more needs to be done to curb this deadly habit, the UN health agency said Wednesday.

Startup touts neuro-stimulation as 'medicine for the brain'

They look like a set of fancy headphones. But a set of spikes inside the band act as electrodes to stimulate the brain.

Doctors' group offers ideas for easing cancer costs

(HealthDay)—New cancer drugs routinely cost $100,000 a year or more, and older cancer drugs are rising in price, too. Now, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has some suggestions for easing patients' money woes.

Electronic messaging intervention cuts cardiovascular risk in T2DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, a electronic messaging intervention is effective for reducing cardiovascular risk, according to a study published online July 12 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Single-dose PCV13 immunogenic, safe in pediatric oncology

(HealthDay)—For pediatric and adolescent oncology patients, a single-dose 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is safe and immunogenic, according to a study published online July 11 in Cancer.

Rare skin manifestations can indicate secondary syphilis

(HealthDay)—A rare case of secondary syphilis which primarily presented with multiple nodules on the scalp has been detailed in a case report published online July 17 in the Journal of Dermatology.

Distress screening tied to fewer ER visits for cancer patients

(HealthDay)—Adherence to distress screening protocols by cancer programs is associated with lower rates of medical service utilization, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Survival feasible post acute liver failure secondary to amiodarone

(HealthDay)—In a report published online July 16 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, a case of survival after acute liver failure secondary to amiodarone administration is described.

How poverty may affect children's behavior

In a recent study of young children experiencing homelessness, high-quality parenting was associated with better peer relationships and protection from internalizing problems in the context of family adversity. In contrast, risk factors related to poverty were linked with more disruptive behavior and worse teacher-child relationships, even when parenting was strong.

The dangers of driving after restricted sleep and moderate alcohol intake

In a recent study, combining moderate alcohol consumption (within legal limits for driving) and moderate sleep restriction led to greater drowsiness and increased deficits in attention, compared with either sleep restriction or alcohol intake alone.

Many men with diabetes experience erectile dysfunction

A review of the published literature indicates that erectile dysfunction is common in males with diabetes, affecting more than half of men with the condition and with a prevalence of approximately 3.6-times higher than in non-diabetics.

Noninvasive test may predict asthma attacks in children

A new technology may help to non-invasively analyse lung sounds in children and infants at risk of an asthma attack.

Uruguay pharmacies start selling marijuana (Update)

Pharmacies in Uruguay started selling marijuana Wednesday under a four-year-old law that has made the small South American country the first in the world to legalize pot from production to sale.

US Senate vote set for next week on Obamacare repeal

The US Senate will vote next week on proceeding to a bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act without a ready replacement plan, the chamber's top Republican said Tuesday.

Study examines birth defects following 9/11 terrorist attacks

A recent study found that birth defects among male infants fell below expected values after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The findings suggest that large and unexpected stress in pregnant women may have selected against weaker male fetuses, leading to fewer defects among newborn males.

Antiplatelet drugs are often inappropriately prescribed in older patients

A study has found that antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, are often inappropriately prescribed in acutely hospitalized older people.

Identification of PTPRZ as a drug target for cancer stem cells in glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is a malignant brain tumor with high mortality. Cancer stem cells are thought to be crucial for tumor initiation and its recurrence after standard therapy with radiation and temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy. Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type Z (PTPRZ) is an enzyme that is highly expressed in glioblastoma, especially in cancer stem cells.

What makes cancer gene therapy so groundbreaking?

On July 12, a Food and Drug Administration panel unanimously recommended approval for the first-ever gene therapy treatment for cancer. The treatment, known as CTL019, is a T-cell therapy developed by the pharmaceutical company Novartis. It is tailored for each individual patient and has already been proven effective for treating a type of childhood leukemia. The New York Times reports that in a study of 63 patients, 52 of them went into remission after receiving the treatment.

Doctor encourages cancer patients to take charge

The last time you bought a car, you likely asked the dealer dozens of questions before you made a decision. Shouldn't you do the same when you, or a family member, receive a cancer diagnosis?

Strategy to battle opioid epidemic encourages multilevel approach

Years of coordinated efforts will be required to contain and reverse the harmful societal effects of the country's ongoing prescription and illicit opioid epidemic, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). The report, requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and published July 13, said it is possible to stem the still-escalating epidemic without eliminating access to opioids for patients who suffer from pain and whose providers prescribe the drugs responsibly.

Add a trip to the doctor to your child's back-to-school list

When checking your child's back-to-school list, make sure that getting a physical is on the top of the to-do list.

New treatment options for common debilitating skin disease Hidradenitis suppurativa

Researchers focusing on the common debilitating skin disease Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), which causes deep, painful lesions and leads to a poor quality of life have isolated new treatment options after performing a comparative analysis that showed which cells were active - and responsive to medication—in those living with HS.

Does having a sibling with autism affect a child's language and motor skills?

A review of published studies suggests that infants who have siblings with autism spectrum disorder may have less advanced linguistic and motor skills than siblings of children with typical development.

Stem cell clinics and businesses are registering for-profit, pay-to-participate

The Future Science Group (FSG) journal Regenerative Medicine, today announces the publication of a new Perspective article, in which Leigh Turner (University of Minnesota, MN, USA) discusses the urgent need for careful screening of clinical trials prior to registration with in order to improve patient safety.

Researcher examines vaccine rejection and hesitancy, calls to promote vaccination

The center of a public health debate is whether parents should have their children vaccinated. Tara Smith, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Kent State University's College of Public Health, challenges statements made by influential individuals who oppose the widespread use of vaccines, and she calls upon her colleagues in the scientific community to speak out to promote vaccination.

Australia helps Sri Lanka as dengue toll hits 250

Australia will join Sri Lanka in its war on dengue fever, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday, as the virus has claimed a record 250 lives and infected nearly 100,000 people in the South Asian country this year.

Biology news

To swallow food, some sharks shrug their shoulders

Sharks don't have tongues to move food through their mouths, so instead some use their... shoulders?

Massive simulation shows HIV capsid interacting with its environment

It took two years on a supercomputer to simulate 1.2 microseconds in the life of the HIV capsid, a protein cage that shuttles the HIV virus to the nucleus of a human cell. The 64-million-atom simulation offers new insights into how the virus senses its environment and completes its infective cycle.

Birds in Alberta oil fields forced to raise imposters at alarming rate

Alberta's oil and gas infrastructure is providing a great living to the brown-headed cowbird, a bird species that tricks other songbirds into raising its young, a new University of Manitoba study finds.

Origin of the follicle pattern in avian skin

The rubber-like elasticity of skin, which contracts to its original shape after being stretched, is key to the development of regularly spaced hairs and sweat glands during development, according to new research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Study suggests climate change may kill off the aardvark in some areas

(—A team of researchers with the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa has found evidence that suggests the aardvark may face a large decrease in population as the planet heats up due to global warming. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes how they fastened monitors to a group of aardvarks who by happenstance were forced to endure a severe drought—and how the animals fared.

Team uncovers secrets of our cellular 'energy sensor'

A scientific collaboration between researchers in Scotland and China has uncovered a new kind of 'energy sensor' in our cells, changing our understanding of how the body monitors glucose levels and switches on the supply of alternative 'fuels'.

Why are dogs such doting companions? It's in their genes

Researchers have identified a genetic difference in domesticated dogs and wolves that could explain the canines' contrasting social interaction with humans.

Rare birth of endangered hairy-nosed wombat in Australia

The population of one of the world's rarest species has been boosted with the birth of a northern hairy-nosed wombat joey, Australian wildlife officials said Wednesday.

Investments in conservation easements reap benefits for Colorado

Colorado is famous for its iconic landscapes, which have helped shape the state's identity and economy. From agriculture to recreation and tourism, from minerals and fuels to forest and wildlife, Coloradans are dependent on nature for many things that enrich our lives.

Vietnam to rescue 1,000 bears in bid to end bile trade

Vietnam agreed Wednesday to rescue more than 1,000 bears from illegal farms across the country, in a move to end the traditional medicine trade in the creatures' bile.

Aquatic plants survive in 'ghost ponds' under agricultural fields

Aquatic plants in 'ghost ponds' are able to survive more than 100 years buried beneath cropped agricultural fields, according to new UCL research.

Piglets might unlock keys to in vitro fertilization in humans

It is estimated that parents seeking to have children through in vitro fertilization (IVF) spend between $12,000 and $15,000 each session plus the cost of medications, which could average between $3,000 and $5,000. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science have made a discovery that could decrease the costs associated with IVF in humans—and it all started with piglets.

Birds avoid crossing roads to prevent predation

Roads can be dangerous to wildlife. Animals making the perilous journey against the traffic run the risk of meeting an untimely death. Until recently, it was widely believed, unlike other animals, birds were largely unaffected by the presence of roads and traffic, simply because they could fly.

Pangolins at huge risk as study shows dramatic increases in hunting across Central Africa

The hunting of pangolins, the world's most illegally traded mammal, has increased by 150 percent in Central African forests from 1970s to 2014, according to a new study led by the University of Sussex.

Not under the skin, but on it: Living together brings couples' microbiomes together

Couples who live together share many things: Bedrooms, bathrooms, food, and even bacteria. After analyzing skin microbiomes from cohabitating couples, microbial ecologists at the University of Waterloo, in Canada, found that people who live together significantly influence the microbial communities on each other's skin.

Shark scavenging helps reveal clues about human remains

Shark feeding habits are helping scientists identify marks on human bones found in the ocean.

Too many bats are being killed for research

The work of zoologists worldwide is often an important asset for biodiversity protection, but a new article notes that scientists kill many bats—even of threatened species—to study them.

Control of the unfolded protein response in health and disease

Information generated by screening tools, readily available therapies and potential pathways to drug development are the cornerstone of informed clinical research and clinical trial design. In a new review in the August 2017 issue of SLAS DISCOVERY (formerly the Journal of Biomolecular Screening), authors Eric Chevet, Ph.D., of Inserm U1242 (Rennes, France) et al. analyze the recent literature and review the impact of unfolded protein response (UPR) in health and disease.

Parasitic worms may lead to agricultural stem cell breakthrough

The plant parasitic nematode is an agricultural pest that has no fundamental countermeasures and requires the development of resistant plant varieties or pesticides. This parasitic pest creates a nest called a "gall" on the roots of agricultural crops which reduces the ability of a plant to absorb nutrition. Once this pest takes hold, a crop may die or its value may be significantly reduced. Furthermore, once infected with this troublesome pest, it is impossible to grow crops in the same field for several years. Agricultural damage caused by this nematode has recently been expanding around the world.

Damming and lost connectivity for fish in northeastern ecosystems

Anadromous forage fish, which spawn in freshwater but spend much of their lives at sea, are an important food source for many species. They also play a major role in how freshwater ecosystems function. Despite their importance for ecosystems, many of these fish exist at only a tiny fraction of their previous populations. Writing in BioScience, Steven Mattocks of the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, and his colleagues outline the effects of lost habitat and river connectivity for these crucial fish.

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