Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jan 31

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Spotlight Stories Headlines

Engineers develop flexible lithium battery for wearable electronics

A mutational timer is built into the chemistry of DNA

From fungi to humans, 'smart valves' assist communication within, between cells

Chemicals in brain that make honeybees more likely to sting discovered

Engineers make microfluidics modular using the popular interlocking blocks

Speed of light drops to zero at 'exceptional points'

Silk fibers could be high-tech 'natural metamaterials'

Stone tools in India suggest earlier human exit from Africa

UK chalk-stream salmon genetically unique

Researchers unlock another piece of the puzzle that is crystal growth

Small molecule plays a big role in reducing cancer's spread

Bacterial diversity's shelf life longer than previously expected

A whale with words: Orca mimics human speech

Rare lunar eclipse offers glimpse of 'super blue blood moon'

Glory from gloom

Astronomy & Space news

Rare lunar eclipse offers glimpse of 'super blue blood moon'

Many parts of the globe may catch a glimpse Wednesday of a giant crimson moon, thanks to a rare lunar trifecta that combines a blue moon, a super moon and a total eclipse.

Glory from gloom

A dark cloud of cosmic dust snakes across this spectacular wide field image, illuminated by the brilliant light of new stars. This dense cloud is a star-forming region called Lupus 3, where dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust. This image was created from images taken using the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope and is the most detailed image taken so far of this region.

Vista from Mars rover looks back over journey so far

A panoramic image that NASA's Curiosity Mars rover took from a mountainside ridge provides a sweeping vista of key sites visited since the rover's 2012 landing, and the towering surroundings.

There's a 'super blue blood Moon' on the rise (Update)

Stargazers across large swaths of the globe—from the streets of Los Angeles to the slopes of a smoldering Philippine volcano—had the chance to witness a rare "super blue blood Moon" Wednesday, when Earth's shadow bathed our satellite in a coppery hue.

Gasps and awe as supermoon rises over erupting Philippine volcano

Filipinos sheltering from the erupting Mayon volcano gasped in delight as an orange full-moon eclipse shone above the mountain's smouldering crater Wednesday in what was both a once-in-a-lifetime double spectacle and a rare moment of relief.

Lunar Showstopper: 1st super blue blood moon in 35 years

The moon put on a rare cosmic show Wednesday: a red blue moon, super big and super bright.

NASA confirms re-discovered IMAGE satellite

The identity of the satellite re-discovered on Jan. 20, 2018, has been confirmed as NASA's IMAGE satellite.

Field Museum scientists in Chicago studying Michigan meteor

Scientists at Chicago's Field Museum are studying a piece of the meteor that broke apart earlier this month over Michigan.

Technology news

Engineers develop flexible lithium battery for wearable electronics

The rapid development of flexible and wearable electronics is giving rise to an exciting range of applications, from smart watches and flexible displays—such as smart phones, tablets, and TV—to smart fabrics, smart glass, transdermal patches, sensors, and more. With this rise, demand has increased for high-performance flexible batteries. Up to now, however, researchers have had difficulty obtaining both good flexibility and high energy density concurrently in lithium-ion batteries.

Mazda has fine ambitions for future gasoline engine

We get it. Car-makers say they are on board for a next chapter in the electrification of cars and they have teams dedicated to developing cars toward that end. Well-known brands are looking at alternative-fuel solutions such as hybrid or all-electric. It seems as if the internal combustion engine will be on its way out.

Researchers develop wireless light switch for targeted cancer therapy

A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a way to wirelessly deliver light into deep regions of the body to activate light-sensitive drugs for photodynamic therapy (PDT).

Scientists demonstrate remarkable stability in perovskite solar cells

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created an environmentally stable, high-efficiency perovskite solar cell, bringing the emerging technology a step closer to commercial deployment.

Smart furniture transforms spaces in tiny apartments into bedrooms, work spaces, or closets

Imagine living in a cramped studio apartment in a large city—but being able to summon your bed or closet through a mobile app, call forth your desk using voice command, or have everything retract at the push of a button.

Samsung Electronics reports record Q4 and full year profits

Samsung Electronics reported a 73 percent jump in its fourth quarter net profit on Wednesday, setting a record for any three-month period, mainly driven by demand for its memory chips and display panels.

US investigating iPhone slowing Apple software: report

Apple's move to slow down older iPhones as batteries weaken is under scrutiny by US prosecutors and stock market regulators, according to a report Tuesday by Bloomberg.

AI in the court: When algorithms rule on jail time

The centuries-old process of releasing defendants on bail, long the province of judicial discretion, is getting a major assist ... courtesy of artificial intelligence.

US officials consider new tool to combat mine spills: Robots

Crumbling mine tunnels awash with polluted waters perforate the Colorado mountains, and scientists may one day send robots creeping through the pitch-black passages to study the mysterious currents that sometimes burst to the surface with devastating effects.

Popular Line messaging app starts crypto trading spinoff

Japan's biggest messaging app Line said Wednesday it was launching a financial services spinoff to allow users to exchange and trade virtual currencies.

Nintendo ups profit forecast on strong Switch sales

Nintendo hiked its annual net profit forecast by more than 40 percent Wednesday after its popular Switch console flew off shelves during the holiday season, fuelled by a cheaper yen.

Facebook explains how it will prioritize local news

Facebook on Monday said it's prioritizing local news on the social network as part of the tech firm's efforts to encourage more users to interact on and off the site.

Facebook to launch privacy center ahead of EU regulations

Facebook says it will launch a new privacy center to help people understand what it does with their data as the giant social network prepares for sweeping new data protection rules in Europe designed to rein in the growing power of major U.S. technology companies.

Facebook bans ads for cryptocurrencies

Facebook says it is banning all ads related to cryptocurrencies in an effort to fight scams.

Google: Using your health records to predict whether you'll live or die

Dr. Google may not have much of a bedside manner—she's an algorithm, after all—but if she says you're soon to be "expired," she claims to be about 95 percent accurate, and you might want to start planning that last meal.

Gadgets: Device lets you pour the wine without removing the cork

When you hear about the Coravin wine bottle opener, you might think it's just another gimmicky gadget. I think it's something you must see to believe. A few weeks ago, I saw it, I believed it, and I even had a drink out of it to prove it.

Google will let you mute 'reminder ads' that follow you around the internet

You browse a store online for an item but don't make a purchase. Then advertisements begin appearing on websites and apps you visit, reminding you of that item.

Apple iPhone users will be able to see their medical records on Health app

Smartphone users checking medical records on their devices have been wading through a balkanized landscape of apps and websites for each health care provider or hospital.

Alaska Airlines, Bill Gates team up with to teach how computers work

Seat-back video screens on Alaska Airlines flights will now offer a bit more than HGTV reruns or the chance to see a semi-new-release movie.

If Australia wants to boost defence exports, it should start with its natural strength: cyber security

Australia's "national security" government has found yet another credential to add to its claim that it's protecting the country's future. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched a new Defence Export Strategy this week to catapult Australia into the top 10 defence exporting countries in the world by 2028.

Designing greenways for diverse users

With greenways taking root in urban areas across the country, understanding who visits – and why – can help improve trail planning and design. A new study of greenways in Atlanta and San Antonio, Texas, offers insights for urban planners, park designers, neighborhood groups and local residents.

New technology heralds easy and innovative ways to catch rays

In a new study, Erik Johansson's research team at the Department of Chemistry at Ångström Laboratory in Uppsala has shown that a new technology using quantum dots can be used to produce a new type of extremely lightweight, flexible and environmentally friendly solar cells.

God is an algorithm—why we're closer to a Black Mirror-style reality than we think

(This article contains spoilers about Black Mirror, season four.)

Americans are saving energy by staying at home

Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of "space" by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries and consumer products has transformed shopping. Personal interactions, from the casual to the intimate, are increasingly virtual instead of face to face.

Health care just the latest industry Amazon seeks to upend

When Amazon sets its sights on a new industry, corporate America shudders.

Artificial intelligence sparks hope—and fear, US poll shows

Americans are torn over the promise of artificial intelligence, a new poll showed Wednesday, expressing broad optimism about the emerging technologies but also fearing their negative impacts—including job losses, a poll showed Wednesday.

Apple to respond to US probes into slowdown of old iPhones

Apple is cooperating with U.S. government inquiries into its secret slowdown of older iPhones, further complicating its efforts to move past an issue that irked customers whose devices bogged down.

Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Index sees renewables with highest growth rate

On January 9th, Carnegie Mellon University, supported by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), announced the release of the Power Sector Carbon Index's third quarter update, measuring the carbon dioxide emissions intensity from the U.S. electrical power generation sector. In comparing the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2016, the index found that the U.S. power plant emissions averaged 1,035 lbs. of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (CO2/MWh) in the third quarter of 2017, a decrease of 5 percent from the same time frame in 2016.

Facebook profit up 20 percent to $4.26 bn

Facebook on Wednesday reported that its profit in the final three months of last year climbed 20 percent to $4.26 billion as ad revenue and ranks of members grew.

Fujifilm says to slash 10,000 jobs at Fuji Xerox subsidiary

Japanese technology firm Fujifilm on Wednesday announced 10,000 job cuts by March 2020 in its Fuji Xerox subsidiary, which it said was facing an "increasingly severe" market environment.

Investment in UK automotive sector plunges by a third

Investment in the British automotive industry fell by a third in 2017, its trade association said Wednesday as it called for a swift agreement on the Brexit transition period.

New York expands police cameras to all patrol officers

The New York Police Department, the largest city police force in the United States, announced Tuesday that all patrol officers and detectives would be equipped with body cameras by the end of 2018.

Google expands Howard West to train more black coders

Last summer Howard University dispatched 26 students to Google's Mountain View, Calif., campus for an intensive twelve-week course on coding.

Siemens says profits up on global upturn

German engineering giant Siemens said Wednesday that profits jumped in the first quarter, driven by rising demand for its products in areas ranging from renewable energy and trains to industrial robots.

Ericsson rings up huge losses in 2017

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson said Wednesday that it rang up huge losses last year as network competition, restructuring costs and investment in lightning-fast 5G technology pushed it deeply into the red.

Online observatory aims to combat energy poverty

If you have ever run up arrears on your bills or shivered without turning on the heat at home during winter because you are concerned about the cost, then you may be experiencing energy poverty.

Volvo profits rev higher on record sales

Swedish truck maker Volvo said Wednesday that its net profit sped ahead by 60 percent rise in 2017, as strong global demand for heavy goods vehicles drove up sales to a new record.

Germany probes Bosch workers in US over diesel emissions

Prosecutors in the German city of Stuttgart are investigating two employees of auto components and technology firm Robert Bosch LLC in the U.S. on suspicion of being accessories to fraud in connection with manipulated diesel emissions in Fiat Chrysler vehicles.

VW hid 'devastating' result from diesel exhaust tests on monkeys

German auto giant Volkswagen tried to keep secret the results of a diesel emissions test on monkeys because it showed a worse health impact than expected, a news report said Wednesday.

Court rejects lawsuit against Twitter over IS attack

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit that sought to hold Twitter liable for the deaths of two U.S. contractors in Jordan three years ago in an attack for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Medicine & Health news

Small molecule plays a big role in reducing cancer's spread

One small molecule that helps regulate gene expression plays a big role in keeping us safe from the machinations of cancer, scientists report.

'Anxiety cells' identified in the brain's hippocampus

Do your palms sweat when you walk down a poorly lit street at night? That feeling may be traced to the firing of newly identified "anxiety" cells deep inside your brain, according to new research from neuroscientists at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Body movements just need a 'puff' of dopamine to get started

From morning til night, we never stop executing movements at the right time and speed. But patients suffering from Parkinson's disease lose this natural control over their voluntary movements.

Cancer 'vaccine' eliminates tumors in mice, researchers find

Injecting minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in mice can eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals, including distant, untreated metastases, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Like Zika, West Nile virus causes fetal brain damage, death in mice

West Nile and Powassan - can spread from an infected pregnant mouse to her fetuses, causing brain damage and fetal death, according to a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings suggest that Zika may not be unique in its ability to cause miscarriages and birth defects.

Stroke recovery improved by sensory deprivation, mouse study shows

Temporarily shutting off neuronal signals to a healthy part of the brain may aid stroke recovery, according to new research in mice.

Prenatal famine drives DNA methylation and adult health six decades later

DNA methylation, known to enable the activity of genes and be involved in development and metabolism, plays a key role in the link between prenatal famine exposure and body mass index and adult metabolic health, according to researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Leiden University Medical Center. While earlier studies using animal models have illustrated the potential of epigenetics to influence health over the short run, this study in humans shows that the impact of a nutrition shock, like famine, on epigenetic markers in early life can still be linked to adult health, six decades later. The findings are published online in the journal Science Advances.

Stealth virus for cancer therapy

Scientists from the University of Zurich have redesigned an adenovirus for use in cancer therapy. To achieve this, they developed a new protein shield that hides the virus and protects it from elimination. Adapters on the surface of the virus enable the reconstructed virus to specifically infect tumor cells.

ID'ing features of flu virus genome may help target surveillance for pandemic flu

The current influenza outbreak—the worst across the United States in nearly a decade—is worrisome but still far less dire than a pandemic flu, which could kill millions. Such pandemics are exceedingly difficult to predict, but new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis offers details about flu viruses that could help improve surveillance to detect a potential pandemic.

Brain's insular cortex mediates approach and avoidance responses to others in distress

The brain's insular cortex, which processes senses and emotions, controls reactions like approach to or avoidance of others through the action of the hormone oxytocin, a team of Boston College researchers reports in the latest edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Augmented Reality helps surgeons to 'see through' tissue and reconnect blood vessels

Using augmented reality in the operating theatre could help surgeons to improve the outcome of reconstructive surgery for patients.

Upper limit for intake of folate is invalid—government urged to fortify flour with folic acid

There is no need for an upper limit of folate intake, according to a study by Queen Mary University of London and the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Living too far from advanced cardiac care decreases your odds of survival

A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology determined that patients with acute cardiac syndrome (ACS) and cardiogenic shock (CS), who live far from the only cardiac catheterization facility in Nova Scotia, Canada, have a survival rate about half that of patients with more direct access.

Planting a park on the Cross-Bronx expressway would save money and lives

Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health explored the cost-effectiveness of placing a deck park on top of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, finding the plan would save money and lives. The results are published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Dating partners more violent and account for more domestic violence than spouses

Federal regulations designed to keep guns away from abusive partners, like the Violence Against Women Act, do not currently apply to dating relationships. But new research from the University of Pennsylvania published in the journal Preventive Medicine reveals that they likely should.

Potential new target for reducing osteoporosis risk in men

Researchers have identified a new regulator of vitamin D metabolism that could be targeted to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in men undergoing prostate cancer therapy, according to a study published in the Journal of Molecular Endocrinology. Reduced levels of sex hormones in men, caused by prostate cancer therapy can lead to lower vitamin D levels, which in turn increases the risk of bone fractures. This study has identified a previously unknown link between male sex hormone levels and vitamin D that may have future therapeutic value for treating related deficiencies of the vitamin.

Global cancer survival up, but progress uneven: study

Cancer survival is increasing across the world but large gaps endure between nations, while some cancers remain hard to treat everywhere, according to a major review released Wednesday.

Health care's Three Amigos? The big names behind a new push

Three guys walk into a bar. They're Warren Buffett,'s Jeff Bezos and JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon. They decide to transform the American health care system.

What do you know about Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson's disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

Does your diet contain empty calories?

Whether you count the calories you consume every day, it's important to recognize when you might be filling your body with junk food that provides no nutrients. And, as Jason Howland reports in this Mayo Clinic Minute, many foods and beverages contain empty calories.

Test lets volunteers check Alzheimer's risk, join clinical trials

People interested in helping test Alzheimer's drugs can volunteer and get their cognitive abilities monitored on a new website run by Alzheimer's researchers.

Blood vessel-on-a-chips show anti-cancer drug effects in human cells

Researchers at the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo, CNRS and INSERM, report a new organ-on-a-chip technology for the study of blood vessel formation and drugs targeting it. The technology recreates a human blood vessel and shows how new capillaries grow from a single vessel in response to proper biochemical signaling cues. The technology can further be used to develop drugs targeting this growth as a therapeutic approach to treat cancer and blood-vessel-related diseases. The study has been published in EBioMedicine.

Gene duplication explains tumor aggressiveness

Pancreatic cancer is a form of cancer associated with the highest mortality rates in the world. Genetic changes that could explain its aggressiveness and early metastasis are elusive. A team at Technical University of Munich has now shown that those characteristics can be explained by specific gene amplifications that occur along evolutionary pathways of the cancer. Based on this discovery, they have derived basic principles underlying the biology of pancreatic cancer.

Research paves the way for the development of vaccines for emerging viruses

The search for vaccines, treatments and preventive methods against infection by emerging viruses is one of the major challenges of global epidemiology. New pathological agents continue to emerge, such as the arbovirus transmitted by insects (in this case, mosquitoes) that causes West Nile fever, named after its identification in Egypt in the 1950s.

Who's still smoking: Report highlights populations still at risk

Although tobacco control measures have reduced overall smoking rates in the United States (from 42% in 1965 to 15% in 2015), a new report says several vulnerable subpopulations continue to smoke at high rates. The report by American Cancer Society investigators calls high rates of smoking among specific subpopulations one of the most pressing challenges facing the tobacco control community.

Diabetes management improved in high-risk population through community program

An ethnic population at high risk for Type 2 diabetes achieved significant control of the disease through participation in community-based health programs, demonstrating that active intervention and culturally-sensitive education can reverse the course of certain illnesses.

Lone star ticks not guilty in spread of Lyme disease

Not all ticks are alike—particularly when it comes to their role in spreading Lyme disease.

Eye and heart complications are tightly linked in type 1 diabetes

In people with type 1 diabetes, high levels of blood glucose eventually can harm blood vessels in the eye, kidney, heart and other organs—but the damage may be inflicted by different biological mechanisms in different organs. Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center now have shown that similar mechanisms may also be at work in the eye and the heart, giving valuable clues that eventually aid in developing therapies that defend against complications.

Study evaluates need for biopsies during follow-up care in women with early breast cancer

In an analysis of more than 120,000 women diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center determined the rate of additional breast biopsies needed for these patients during their follow-up care.

Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life

New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers from King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.

Kids' well visits linked to lower appendicitis complications

Children in the United States whose families visited a doctor in the previous year were less likely to experience a common complication of appendicitis, an analysis of insurance claims shows.

Maternal age over 40 is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth

Pregnant mothers aged 40 and over may have an increased risk for preterm birth, regardless of confounding factors, according to a study published January 31, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Florent Fuchs from CHU Sainte Justine, Canada and colleagues.

Balance exercises may help people with multiple sclerosis

A special program that involves balance and eye movement exercises may help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) with their balance problems and fatigue, according to a study published in the January 31, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In-person license renewal tied to fewer crash hospitalizations of drivers with dementia

Requiring physicians to report patients with dementia to state driver's licensing authorities is not associated with fewer hospitalizations from motor vehicle crashes. However, in-person license renewal laws and vision testing dramatically cut crashes involving drivers with dementia, according to a new study led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

No definitive causal link between sunbed use and malignant melanoma

A careful review of medical data shows that there is no proven causal relationship between moderate solarium use and increased melanoma risk. This is the conclusion reached by an international group of researchers headed by Professor Dr. Jörg Reichrath, Deputy Director of the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology at Saarland University Hospital in Homburg/Saar.

Research team studies how calcium compounds accumulate in the arteries

A team of researchers from McGill University has advanced the scientific understanding of abnormal mineral accumulation in arteries, a complication often seen in patients with chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Mineralized arteries may affect heart functions, leading to death in some instances.

Routine data won't help GPs identify patients who are most at risk of winter death

Expecting GPs to use medical records to identify individual patients who are most vulnerable to cold weather is unrealistic, according to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol, UCL and the University of Birmingham.

Cells rockin' in their DNA: Team finds genes suppressed by sound stimulation

Can sound affect how your genes work? In a new PLOS ONE study, scientists from Kyoto University's Graduate School of Biostudies have shown that certain 'mechanosensitive' genes are suppressed when subjected to audible sound. Moreover, these effects vary depending on cell type, and some don't show any sensitivity.

Acting out, acting their age or something more serious? Dealing with difficult behaviour in children

At some stage in every child's life they will exhibit defiant, impulsive or even disobedient behaviours.

New treatment offers hope for better stroke recovery

Eating food from only the right side of the plate, shaving or applying make-up to only one side of the face, and running into objects on the left are common traits post stroke and for some survivors current therapies aren't working.

Headlines saying 'vaping might cause cancer' are wildly misleading

E-cigarettes are in the news again. This time with headlines that they may cause cancer.

Meningitis vaccination strategy in Africa found to be effective, economical

In sub-Saharan Africa, meningococcal meningitis continues to pose a serious health threat, with sporadic epidemics resulting in some 30,000 cases each year. While all people are susceptible, young children are at the highest risk, and over 50 percent of those infected will die if not diagnosed and treated.

Taking multiple prescription drugs raises risks for aging adults with and without HIV

Taking five or more prescription medications increases the risk of hospitalization and death in older adults infected with HIV and comparable adults without HIV. The findings of this Yale-led study highlight the potential risks of prescribing additional drugs to patients with multiple medical conditions.

New statistical model to forecast future demand of blood platelets has potential to save $80 annually

Donated blood platelets continue to be wasted in today's modern health care delivery system since they have a short shelf life and must be used within five days of collection, according to the American Red Cross. Recognizing the challenge this presents in providing optimal patient care, researchers at Stanford University and Stanford Blood Center have developed a new statistical model that forecasts future platelet demand, thereby reducing waste—a development that could save millions of dollars annually. The research, titled "Big Data Modeling to Predict Platelet Usage and Minimize Wastage in a Tertiary Care System," appears in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Stopping smoking main reason for vaping

A recent survey of vapers found the majority started smoking e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking. More than 200 people from across New Zealand took part in the online survey in 2016, led by Dr. Penny Truman from Massey University's School of Health Sciences.

Web-based help improves quality of life for cancer patients

A diagnosis of cancer causes huge psychological stress, but many patients do not receive any psychological support. An online stress management program can significantly improve their quality of life, as shown by a study conducted by researchers from the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel, and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Long-term consumption of sunflower and fish oils damages the liver

An international group of scientists led by the University of Granada (UGR) has demonstrated that the long-term intake of sunflower or fish oils damages the liver and can give rise to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Decoding syllables to show the limits of artificial intelligence

For the last decade, researchers have been using machine learning to decode human brain activity. Applied to neuroimaging data, these algorithms can reconstitute what we see, hear, and even what we think. For example, they show that words with similar meanings are grouped together in zones in different parts of our brain. However, by recording brain activity during a simple task—whether one hears "BA" or "DA"—neuroscientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and the Ecole normale supérieure (ENS) in Paris now show that the brain does not necessarily use the regions of the brain identified by machine learning to perform a task. These regions reflect the mental associations related to the task. While machine learning is thus effective for decoding mental activity, it is not necessarily effective for understanding the specific information processing mechanisms in the brain. The results are available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

What happens to mothers whose children are repeatedly taken into care

If a child is born to a woman who is addicted to drugs, the baby is often taken away from its mother. A new investigation by the BBC's Panorama programme looked at the struggle some of these women go through to get their babies back.

It's 2030, and precision medicine has changed health care – this is what it looks like

Imagine it is 2030. Ten-year-old Amy is wheeled into a children's hospital clinic by her mother and, across town, 45-year-old Anh is visiting his oncologist one week after leaving hospital for his lung cancer operation.

How your community impacts the health of your heart

Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults aged 20 years and older, and is the second leading cause of death in Canada.

Scientists identify new target for developing precision treatment in malignant brain tumors

A Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute team has identified a new therapeutic target to treat glioblastoma, the most devastating and common form of brain cancer.

Protein is potential target for memory drugs

Researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) have determined that the presence of a particular protein in the brain may suppress the brain's ability to learn, making it a potential precursor to memory loss in later life.

Reasoning behind campus sexual assault policies challenged by psychologists

A comprehensive analysis of policies related to sexual assaults—known as mandatory reporting or compelled disclosure—at 150 universities has raised questions about their effectiveness and their impacts on victims.

Online social networks can help fight social anxiety

Ever since online social networks were first created, people have wondered why they're popular and how they affect users. Researchers, practitioners and social commentators have expressed concern that they reduce more meaningful face-to-face interaction, leaving users depressed and lonely. However, new research that I have conducted together with marketing professor Jonah Berger suggests that social networks' dissimilarities to more traditional communication methods can actually help some people connect better.

Teens need vigorous physical activity and fitness to cut heart risk

Guidelines for teenagers should stress the importance of vigorous physical activity and fitness to cut the risk of heart disease, new research suggests.

Raising awareness of mental health issues is not enough

The profile of mental health has been raised significantly in the past few years, partly due to campaigning from mental health charities and partly due to high-profile people – from Prince Harry to Professor Green – speaking publicly and candidly about their own mental health problems. All of this should be welcomed as it removes the stigma around mental health and encourages people who are suffering in silence to seek help.

Low carb, Paleo or fasting – which diet is best?

At this time of year, we are bombarded with books and TV shows telling us what we should be eating and how best to lose weight. Particularly in vogue are low-carb diets, Paleo diets and intermittent fasting diets. But which diet is the most effective for sustained weight loss – not to mention good health?

Dishonest individuals perceived as less capable

If you saw someone steal an expensive item from a department store, would you think he is less capable at his job? Most people would think that, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

New explanation for why airways close in asthma holds promise for future class of drugs

Houston Methodist researchers have a new explanation for what causes the lungs' airways to close during asthma attacks that could change the lives of the 300 million people worldwide who suffer from asthma. The discovery holds promise for developing a new class of drugs that is radically different from the steroids currently used to treat it.

Indigenous people face higher risk of transportation injuries in British Columbia

Indigenous people in British Columbia suffered transportation-related injuries at a rate 1.89 times higher than the province's total population between 1991 and 2010, a new University of B.C. study has found.

Treating sleep apnea could reduce dementia risk

Inadequate oxygen levels during sleep can damage the brain and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, University of Queensland researchers have found.

Interventions increase attendance for diabetic retinopathy screening, says study

Targeted interventions can significantly improve screening for diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes and the leading cause of vision loss amongst working-age adults in the Western word, according to a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

'IV lounges' are the latest health fad, but are they safe?

(HealthDay)—"Rent-a-drip" IV lounges are popping up across the country, promising speedy recovery for hangover sufferers, jet lag victims and others seeking an intravenous solution to modern dilemmas.

Winter weather skin savers

(HealthDay)—Winter can be harsh on your skin, especially your hands and face. Try these fast, easy and inexpensive steps to avoid the chapping and flaking that comes with the season.

Top three challenges identified for pharmacists in 2018

(HealthDay)—The top pharmacy challenges for 2018 are drug affordability, nonadherence, and pharmacist compensation, according to a report published online Jan. 7 in Managed Healthcare Executive.

Increased risk of appendicitis one week after colonoscopy

(HealthDay)—The risk of appendicitis is increased in the week following colonoscopy, according to a research letter published in the January issue of JAMA Surgery.

Vitiligo treated successfully with arthritis drug and light therapy

Building on prior research that examined the use of an arthritis medication to treat vitiligo, a team of Yale dermatologists has successfully applied a novel combination therapy—the medication and light—to restore skin color in patients.

Kids born later in the year can still excel in sport

A child's birth month shouldn't affect their long-term prospects in high-level sport and those who hold off on specialising until later years may be the most successful, according to new research from the University of Sydney.

Research uncovers risk factors for mysterious kidney disease in farm workers

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have identified new risk factors for a mysterious kidney illness affecting tens of thousands of farm workers worldwide. Their findings have been published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

America's child poverty rate remains stubbornly high despite important progress

While many American families have experienced economic gains in recent years, children are still most likely to live in households too poor to cover their basic needs, according to new research from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Using the latest available data from the American Community Survey, NCCP researchers found that children make up around a quarter of the U.S. population, but represent more than a third of the nation's poorest residents. According to Basic Facts about Low-Income Children, the center's annual profiles on child poverty in America, some 41 percent (29.8 million) of America's children were living on the brink of poverty in 2016—including more than 5 million infants and toddlers under age three.

Spinal cord injury research: Bonus benefit to activity-based training

Activity-based training has resulted in unexpected benefits for individuals with severe spinal cord injury (SCI). Researchers in the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC) at the University of Louisville have discovered that the training, designed to help individuals with SCI improve motor function, also leads to improved bladder and bowel function and increased sexual desire.

HPV may lurk in your throat

Human papilloma virus (HPV), the culprit behind cervical cancer and some forms of head and neck cancer may hide in small pockets on the surface of tonsils in people not known to carry the virus. The finding, reported by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association, could be pivotal for the prevention of oropharyngeal cancers that form on the tonsils and tongue.

Chlorinated lipids predict lung injury and death in sepsis patients

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, Saint Louis University scientists have found that elevated levels of chlorinated lipids are linked to sepsis, lung injury and death. The finding may offer a way to diagnosis and treat sepsis earlier, saving lives and avoiding serious side effects.

Machine learning techniques generate clinical labels of medical scans

Researchers used machine learning techniques, including natural language processing algorithms, to identify clinical concepts in radiologist reports for CT scans, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published today in the journal Radiology. The technology is an important first step in the development of artificial intelligence that could interpret scans and diagnose conditions.

Can 3 business titans cure the US health care system?

Can a legendary investor, the king of on-line retail and a Wall Street financier find a cure for what ails America's health care system?

Glecaprevir-pibrentasvir effective treatment for HCV genotypes 1, 3

(HealthDay)—Once-daily treatment with glecaprevir-pibrentasvir appears safe and effective for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 or 3, according to a study published in the Jan. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Non-sleep specialists may offer similar quality sleep apnea care

(HealthDay)—Non-sleep specialists (NSSs) and sleep specialist physicians (SSPs) provide similar quality care with similar patient outcomes for adults with known or suspected obstructed sleep apnea (OSA), according to a review published online Jan. 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Disordered eating associated with higher HbA1c in teens

(HealthDay)—For youth with type 1 diabetes, disordered eating behaviors (DEBs) are associated with higher hemoglobin A1c but not with measures of glycemic variability, according to a study published online Jan. 25 in Diabetes Care.

Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction provides good results in older women

For older women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer, direct-to-implant (DTI) breast reconstruction provides good outcomes in a single-step procedure, while avoiding some of the inconvenience and risks of staged approaches to breast reconstruction, reports a study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Complications of reconstruction surgery differ for transgender patients

The risks of penile reconstruction surgery (phalloplasty) appear higher in female-to-male transgender (transmale) patients undergoing gender confirmation surgery, compared to native male (cismale) patients undergoing phalloplasty for other reasons, reports a study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

A push to get older adults in better shape for surgery

Surgery can be hard on older adults, resulting in serious complications and death far more often than in younger patients. But many seniors aren't adequately prepared for the risks they might face.

Health system mergers in the U.S. at record high

Hospital and health system mergers set a record in 2017, with a new report saying networks of care providers bulked up to offer a broader range of services and prepare for new contracts that ask health systems to take financial risk.

Chinese turn to U.S. doctors for second opinions

The doctor told Renee Gao's parents that the tumor in their teenager's chest wasn't disappearing. The girl would need a costly operation that could leave her sterile—if she survived.

Lassa fever kills 21 in Nigeria: health officials

Twenty-one people have died from Lassa fever in Nigeria this month, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said on Wednesday, in the latest outbreak in Africa's most populous nation.

Statistical analysis details extent, causes of direct, indirect deaths post Hurricane Sandy

As government officials, relief workers, and residents continue to rebuild Puerto Rico's infrastructure after last summer's Hurricane Maria, biostatistics and public health researchers have discovered more about mortality rates and causes from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Their findings appear in a recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Unemployed Norwegians take more medications than average

Organizational downsizing and job loss greatly increase the risk of starting various medications. Drugs prescribed for mental health issues are particularly widespread.

The mental health of young immigrant and refugee men

In the past few years the world has seen the largest displacements of people since the end of the Second World War. And, according to the World Health Organization, "the scale of anti-migrant sentiment is equally unprecedented." In Canada, around one in five people were born outside of the country.

How can students with autism be supported through college?

Thirty years ago it was rare for a student with ASD to enter college. But over the past decades, there has been much improvement in the detection and awareness of ASD in children. Now, with the provision of effective treatments, those with average or above average intellectual abilities are enrolling at universities. However, college presents new challenges for these students as well as for college support personnel, and gathering and analyzing college experiences of students with ASD is fundamental to their success. Now a special issue addressing the experiences of ASD students has been published in Springer's Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Top US health official resigns in conflict of interest

The top US public health official resigned Wednesday due to financial conflicts of interest, a day after US media reported she bought tobacco stocks while heading the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New report evaluates the VA's mental health services, finds substantial unmet need

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides mental health care of comparable or superior quality to care provided in private and non-VA public sectors, accessibility and quality of services vary across the VA health system, leaving a substantial unmet need for mental health services among veterans of the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. A survey of these veterans developed and fielded by the committee that conducted the study found that approximately half of those who may have a need for mental health care do not use VA or non-VA services, indicating that a large proportion of veterans do not receive any treatment for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, or depression. In addition, more than half of veterans who screened positive in the survey for having a mental health care need do not perceive a need for mental health services.

Yazidi women suffering from high percentage of C-PTSD, new study finds

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stormed Iraq and attempted to conquer the country in 2014, its members committed genocide against the Yazidi population, a Kurdish religious minority. Men were systematically executed. Women were captured, forced into sexual slavery and repeatedly raped, beaten, sold and locked away.

Biology news

A mutational timer is built into the chemistry of DNA

If you had to copy billions of letters from one sheet of paper to another, you'd probably make a few mistakes. So it might not come as a surprise that when DNA makes a copy of its three-billion-base genetic code, it can slip up too.

From fungi to humans, 'smart valves' assist communication within, between cells

Googling "SNARE proteins," neuroscientist Edward Chapman gets a screenful of images showing corkscrew-shaped molecules, intertwined as they seize the outer membranes of two cells. "They did not give us credit at Wikipedia, but we drew that cartoon," he says, with delicious irony.

Chemicals in brain that make honeybees more likely to sting discovered

A team of researchers from France and Australia has identified the neurological mechanism that underlies honeybee aggression in response to threats. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of honeybees and what they found.

UK chalk-stream salmon genetically unique

Salmon from the chalk streams of southern England are genetically unique, researchers have discovered.

Bacterial diversity's shelf life longer than previously expected

University of Montana scientists have published a study in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution showing that bacterial diversity may stick around millions of years longer than previously thought. The researchers, in UM's Division of Biological Sciences, were led by Associate Professor Scott Miller.

A whale with words: Orca mimics human speech

Her head above water, Wikie the killer whale looks at the human trainer next to her pool, listens, then loudly vocalises: "Hello."

Colorado potato beetle genome gives insight into major agricultural pest

The Colorado potato beetle is notorious for its role in starting the pesticide industry - and for its ability to resist the insecticides developed to stop it.

Fish repelled by underwater carbon dioxide

Swimming through patches of underwater carbon dioxide turns out to be an unpleasant experience for fish, which will alter course to escape them. In experiments published in Cell Reports on Jan. 30, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a neuronal pathway that makes this avoidance behavior possible.

Super-resolution microscopy reveals fine detail of cellular mesh

One of today's sharpest imaging tools, super-resolution microscopy, produces sparkling images of what until now has been the blurry interior of cells, detailing not only the cell's internal organs and skeleton, but also providing insights into cells' amazing flexibility.

Clues from an endangered blue whale population

Clues in the DNA of endangered blue whales – the largest living animal – has shown that Australia is home to one population that likely travels widely and is adapted to a range of environmental conditions.

Strange orange cave dwelling African dwarf crocodiles could be evolving into a new species

A team of researchers with affiliations to institutions in the U.S., France, Cameroon and Gabon has found evidence that suggests that orange dwarf crocodiles living in caves in Gabon might be evolving into a new species. In their paper published in the African Journal of Ecology, the group describes their study of the unique crocodiles and their attempts to compare them with similar crocodiles living just outside the cave, and what they found by doing so.

Thermal imaging can detect how animals are coping with their environment, avoiding the need for capture, according

Thermal imaging can detect how animals are coping with their environment, avoiding the need for capture, according to new research.

Evolution of China's flowering plants shows East-West divide between old, new lineages

An international team of scientists has mapped the evolutionary relationships between China's 30,000 flowering plant species, uncovering a distinct regional pattern in biodiversity. Eastern China is a floral "museum" with a rich array of ancient lineages and distant relatives while the western provinces are an evolutionary "cradle" for newer and more closely related species.

Regulators vote to protect more corals in Atlantic Ocean

Federal fishing regulators on Tuesday approved a compromise they said would expand the amount of coral habitat preserved in the Atlantic Ocean while also protecting fishing interests.

Bryozoans, brachiopods, and phoronida originate from the common ancestor

A biologist from Lomonosov Moscow State University has studied the nervous system of the adult phoronida using modern methods and presented new facts regarding the taxonomy of invertebrates, proving that phoronids, barchiopods and bryozoans are relatives contrary to earlier conclusions. The results of the work were published in Scientific Reports.

Viruses prefer cultivated areas to natural areas

Agricultural areas are more affected by viral epidemics than non-agricultural areas. This is the finding of an international study carried out as part of a France-South Africa collaboration in floristic areas from the Western Cape and Camargue regions. These results were published in January 2018 in the ISME Journal, a journal of microbial ecology.

Fossil evidence shows bats colonized from islands to continents

Plants and animals are generally thought to colonize from continents to islands, over time leading to the evolution of separate island species. Scientists have theorized that the reverse – colonizing from islands to continents – seems unlikely, mainly because the few competitors on islands make thriving on the mainland difficult for island specialists. But a new study published in the Journal of Biogeography suggests a re-thinking of colonizing patterns.

Summer heat waves impede animal reproduction

As we swelter through the hot Australian summer, Western Sydney University researchers have provided an insight into the broad ranging physiological effects of summer heatwaves on animals.

Melting ice is forcing polar bears to swim more, at high energy cost

One result of melting Arctic ice is that polar bears are forced to swim more often and further than ever to forage for food.

New Australian marine tracking system maps a decade of widespread movements of our iconic sea species

A new study led by researchers at the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and Macquarie University, and published in Scientific Data, has tracked the whereabouts of 117 marine species, ranging from sharks and saltwater crocs all the way to sea turtles and sea cows (dugongs), off the shores of Australia. The data is helping to unravel the widespread movements of Australian marine species, the researchers say, and provide insight into the natural habitats, distributions and changing behaviours of these animals in the face of climate change.

How do deer survive harsh winter weather?

White-tailed deer, the kind found in Massachusetts and across most of the United States, are the widest-ranging ungulate in the Americas, from as far south as Bolivia to as far north as southern Canada. To cover such diverse territory and climates, white-tailed deer have a variety of adaptations and behaviors, including those that allow them to survive harsh winter weather that is common in New England.

Lab-on-a-chip for tracking single bacterial cells

Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, together with researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Dresden, have set up a novel lab-on-a-chip with accompanying automatic analysis software. As they report in Nature Communications, this integrated setup can be used to study gene regulation in single bacterial cells in response to dynamically controlled environmental changes.

Scientists develop technique for measuring bacterial growth rates

Ecological research focuses on understanding how population-level dynamics—such as the growth rate of a particular population of microbes—contribute to ecosystem-level processes. Ecosystem scientists researching climate change often study the role of microbes in the carbon cycle, for example, so knowing how quickly they grow is a fundamental metric to reaching that understanding.

Letting molecular robots swarm like birds

The world's smallest "swarm robot" measures 25 nanometers in diameter and 5 micrometers in length, and exhibits swarming behavior resembling motile organisms such as fish, ants and birds.

New parasitoid wasp likely uses unique saw-like spines to break out of its host body

About the size of a sesame seed, a new species of wasp from Costa Rica, named Dendrocerus scutellaris, has elaborate branched antennae that could be used for finding mates. Or hosts.

Tasty and pink, sea urchin species may be a climate-tolerant food source

Sea urchin is a delicacy in Asia, South America, Europe, and increasingly in California, where the uniquely flavored roe, or uni, is used in sushi, gourmet cuisine, and products such as sauces and flavorings. But the urchin species currently harvested off the California coast are vulnerable to increased water temperatures and ocean acidification.

A glimpse in the flora of Southeast Asia puts a spotlight on its conservation

Covering only 3 % of Earth's total land area, four overlapping biodiversity hotspots in South East China - Indo-Burma, Philippines, Sundaland and Wallacea - are estimated to be the home of the astonishing 20 to 25 % of higher plant species in the area. While offering an insight into this extraordinary flora, a new special issue published in the open access journal PhytoKeys, contributes to the total count with seventeen new species from the region.

Russian, Chinese smugglers arrested with tonne of bear paws: NGO

A group of Russian and Chinese smugglers have been arrested near the border between the two countries in possession of a tonne of bear paws as well as tiger, deer and frog parts, an animal protection group said Tuesday.

Indonesia traffickers sold crocs, pythons on social media: police

A group of suspected animal traffickers have been arrested in Indonesia for selling crocodiles, pythons and other protected species through Facebook and the messaging service WhatsApp, police said Wednesday.

Hong Kong bans ivory sales in landmark vote

Hong Kong voted to ban ivory sales in a landmark move Wednesday to end the infamous trade in the city.

NOAA launching investigation into minke whale deaths

An investigation will be conducted into a spate of deaths among minke whales along the East Coast last year, the federal government announced on Wednesday.

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