Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, May 1

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 1, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researchers' attack on data privacy system shows noise leaks the very data it is trying to protect

Valleytronics discovery could extend limits of Moore's Law

Physicists find properties of magnetic soliton of interest for brain-inspired computing

Przybylski's star is an extremely slow rotator, study finds

Metal-free metamaterial can be swiftly tuned to create changing electromagnetic effects

Environmental impact of electric vehicles in China? It depends on how they are charged

Discovery of immune cells able to defend against mutating viruses could transform vaccine development

Even a 'bad' flu vaccine could save 61,000 lives: study

Wood you like a drink? Japan team invents 'wood alcohol'

Scientists define critical period for learning language—children remain adept learners until the age of 17 or 18

EEG signals accurately predict autism as early as three months of age

Stage-diving with biomolecules improves optical microscopy

Phased array feed imaging system broadens vision for radio astronomy

Imminent forest collapse threatens Melbourne's water supply

A reimagined future for sustainable nanomaterials

Astronomy & Space news

Przybylski's star is an extremely slow rotator, study finds

European astronomers have conducted a study of Przybylski's star and found that it takes almost 200 years to fully rotate on its own axis. The finding, which could have implications for the understanding of chemically peculiar stars, is reported April 19 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Phased array feed imaging system broadens vision for radio astronomy

To accelerate the pace of discovery and exploration of the cosmos, a multi-institution team of astronomers and engineers has developed a new and improved version of an unconventional radio-astronomy imaging system known as a phased array feed (PAF). This remarkable instrument can survey vast swaths of the sky and generate multiple views of astronomical objects with unparalleled efficiency.

Twin spacecraft to weigh in on Earth's changing water

A pair of new spacecraft that will observe our planet's ever-changing water cycle, ice sheets and crust is in final preparations for a California launch no earlier than Saturday, May 19. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), will take over where the first GRACE mission left off when it completed its 15-year mission in 2017.

Signals from a spectacular neutron star merger that made gravitational waves are slowly fading away

Eight months ago, the detection of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger had us and other astronomers around the world rushing to observe one of the most energetic events in the universe.

Plan to bring back rocks from Mars is our best bet for finding clues of past life

Sitting with 200 people at the International Mars Sample Return Conference in Berlin recently to discuss the feasibility of bringing samples back from Mars to Earth, I remember the first such conference in Paris ten years ago. Many of the same people were present again, older and possibly wiser, but certainly more grey or bald. And they were just as enthusiastic as a decade ago. But one thing had changed dramatically: the information we were sharing.

Swarms of low-resource sensors to probe the ionosphere

NASA is sponsoring a team developing a new type of payload to collect ionospheric plasma data at multiple points near a suborbital main payload. These low-resource, easily reproducible payloads—called Bobs—were developed for the NASA Isinglass auroral sounding rocket mission (conducted in February 2017 at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska). Much of the current understanding of the ionospheric environment has been gathered from singlepoint measurements. However, there are fundamental questions about energy and disturbances in plasmas that require measurements at many points in time to understand.

Back to (nucleic) bases—Studying DNA aboard the International Space Station

What do astronauts, microbes, and plants all have in common? Each relies on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) - essentially a computer code for living things - to grow and thrive.

Study shows one detector doesn't 'fit all' for smoke in spacecraft

What had been a peaceful and productive mission for the six men aboard the Russian space station Mir, including U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger, nearly became a tragic nightmare during the evening of Feb. 24, 1997. A lithium-perchlorate canister, designed to generate oxygen via a chemical reaction, suddenly burst into flames when activated. Although the fire was quickly subdued, a dense, life-threatening smoke—different in form and movement from its gravity bound counterpart on Earth—rapidly filled the station. Being confined in a limited area 360 kilometers (224 miles) above the nearest fire brigade made the situation even more precarious. "You can't just open a window to ventilate the room," commented cosmonaut Aleksandr Lazutkin in a NASA report about the incident.

NASA's new Dellingr spacecraft baselined for pathfinding CubeSat to Van Allen belts

GTOSat—will not only provide key observations of the environmentally forbidding radiation belts that encircle Earth, it will provide initial steps of a new technological vision.

Brexit prompts UK to probe developing satellite navigation system

Britain will explore developing and launching its own satellite navigation system, Downing Street announced on Tuesday, amid doubt over its future inclusion in a key European project after Brexit.

Technology news

Researchers' attack on data privacy system shows noise leaks the very data it is trying to protect

Demonstrating just how challenging it is to keep private data secure, researchers from Imperial College London have presented an attack on a new data privacy system called Diffix, whose breakthrough technology has recently been commercialized and approved by the French data protection authority CNIL to satisfy the full criteria for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)—the new EU data protection law set to go into effect at the end of May.

Environmental impact of electric vehicles in China? It depends on how they are charged

Electric vehicles play a key role in China's plan to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions but, with the majority of China's electricity still coming from coal-fired power plants, many question just how effective this strategy will be.

ABB unveils EV charger, can add 200 km of range in 8 minutes

After numerous demonstrations of electric-car mobility, it is certain that electric cars are part of our future, but that nagging question in its shadow has been all about how to keep them going.

Zuckerberg unveils plans for Facebook dating service (Update)

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday the world's largest social network will soon include a new dating feature—while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum to leave Facebook amid privacy flap

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum is breaking ties with his company's parent, Facebook, amid a privacy scandal that has dogged the social network for weeks.

No sign of MH370 found in new scan of Indian Ocean floor (Update)

A new scan of the Indian Ocean floor for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has searched nearly 80,000 square kilometers (31,000 square miles) since January without finding any sign of the wreckage. But the company looking for the plane, which has been missing for more than four years, said it is still determined to find it.

Virtual championship, real ambition as NBA launches eSport league

A virtual championship with real ambitions gets under way on Tuesday as the National Basketball Association tips off its bid to gain a foothold in the burgeoning arena of eSports with the launch of its NBA 2K League.

How to make solar hydrogen year round

Researchers have built a new dynamic model showing how hydrogen produced with concentrated solar thermal energy can be made more continuously through a novel seasonal control strategy with ceria (CeO2) particles buffering the effect of variation in solar radiation.

Noise cancelling device halves noise pollution through open windows

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore researchers have developed a device that can reduce noise pollution entering buildings even while windows are wide open. Designed to be mounted onto window grilles, the device could reduce up to 50 percent of noise coming from nearby environments such as busy roads, train tracks or from construction activities.

How are drones changing warfare, threatening security?

The Trump administration recently announced a new policy that could vastly expand the sale of armed aerial drones, a specialty of Nicholas Grossman. The professor of political science at the University of Illinois teaches international relations and is the author of the new book "Drones and Terrorism: Asymmetric Warfare and the Threat to Global Security." He spoke with News Bureau social sciences editor Craig Chamberlain.

Soft terms like 'open' and 'sharing' don't tell the true story of your data

The Turnbull government today announced the creation of a new National Data Commissioner to oversee the implementation of greater data access and "sharing" in Australia.

Navigating the AI maze is a challenge for governments

New developments in artificial intelligence are proceeding apace. As an economist who has researched the AI revolution, I see 2018 as similar to 1995 when the commercial internet was born. The technology is advancing rapidly, but most businesses are only just starting to figure out how to put it to work.

Technology is better than ever – but thousands of Americans still die in car crashes every year

Today, driving is arguably safer than ever been before.

Your smartphone could help to speed up cancer research while you sleep

A new research project aims to speed up the delivery of personalised cancer treatments by using smartphones to crunch data while their owners sleep.

Facebook developer conference kicks off amid scandal

A year ago , Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was dazzling thousands of software developers with the prospect of augmented reality features that could let people spruce up apartments with digital art.

Amazon expansion includes new office, 2K jobs in Boston

Amazon unveiled plans on Tuesday for a major expansion in Boston's Seaport District, promising 2,000 new technology jobs even as the city remains in contention for the company's coveted second headquarters.

Zuckerberg pledges to 'keep building' in no-apology address

With a smile that suggested the hard part of an "intense year" may be behind him, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed developers Tuesday and pledged the company will build its way out of its worst-ever privacy debacle.

Facebook messaging app adds real time translations

Facebook on Tuesday gave its popular Messenger app the ability to translate missives in real time, deploying artificial intelligence to enable text conversations between people using different languages.

Army neuroscientists foresee intelligent agents on the battlefield

The battlefield of the future will be complex, with mountains of data moving rapidly between commanders, operations centers and the joint warfighter. In this multi-faceted environment, Army researchers and their partners are seeking solutions.

Apple's tax break yields $102 billion boon for shareholders

Apple's tax break on its overseas profits is turning into a $102 billion boon for shareholders.

Storage plan for spent fuel adds to US nuclear debate

A plan to temporarily store tons of spent fuel from U.S. commercial nuclear reactors in New Mexico is drawing fire from critics who say the federal government needs to consider more alternatives.

Tech giants urge governor to veto Georgia cybercrime bill

Tech giants Google and Microsoft have joined a chorus or cybersecurity experts urging Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to veto a bill that makes unauthorized computer access a crime punishable by up to a year in prison.

BP says first-quarter profit soar 70%

British energy major BP said Tuesday that first-quarter net profits soared 70 percent on the back of rising crude oil prices, increasing output and improving reliability across its operations.

UK MPs pressure Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook data breach

British MPs threatened Tuesday to issue a formal summons to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg for him to testify over a major privacy row, after he declined to appear.

Iconic American guitar maker Gibson files for bankruptcy

Gibson, maker of iconic guitars for the likes of John Lennon, Elvis Presley and BB King, filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday after facing mounting debt and other financial challenges.

West Virginia reaches $2.65M settlement with Volkswagen

West Virginia has reached a $2.65 million settlement with Volkswagen AG and two of its affiliates in a lawsuit over the automaker's emissions-rigging scandal, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Tuesday.

Medicine & Health news

Discovery of immune cells able to defend against mutating viruses could transform vaccine development

Scientists have found immune cells can fight different strains of the same virus—a discovery which could help transform vaccine development.

Even a 'bad' flu vaccine could save 61,000 lives: study

A truly dismal flu vaccine could still save thousands of lives, as long as roughly 40 percent of Americans got their shots, new research suggests.

Scientists define critical period for learning language—children remain adept learners until the age of 17 or 18

A great deal of evidence suggests that it is more difficult to learn a new language as an adult than as a child, which has led scientists to propose that there is a "critical period" for language learning. However, the length of this period and its underlying causes remain unknown.

EEG signals accurately predict autism as early as three months of age

Autism is challenging to diagnose, especially early in life. A new study in the journal Scientific Reports shows that inexpensive EEGs, which measure brain electrical activity, accurately predict or rule out autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants, even in some as young as 3 months.

Blueprint for the skull: A search for cleft palate's cause reveals a map of the facial genome

Once upon a time in Europe, pregnant women avoided rabbits to prevent their babies from being born with a "harelip." But, that apparently isn't the only misconception about the condition now known as cleft lip.

Study links 'good' brown fat and exercise

The power of exercise to boost metabolism could arise from a fat molecule with an unexpected source.

'Smart' dresser prototype guides people with dementia in getting dressed

A new study published in JMIR Medical Informatics describes how a "smart home" prototype may help people with dementia dress themselves through automated assistance, enabling them to maintain independence and dignity and providing their caregivers with a much-needed respite.

Scientists map key brain-to-spinal cord nerve connections for voluntary movement

Researchers trying to help people suffering from paralysis after a spinal cord injury or stroke mapped critical brain-to-spinal cord nerve connections that drive voluntary movement in forelimbs, a development that scientists say allows them to start looking for specific repair strategies.

How a nap can enhance false memories in one half of the brain

A daytime nap promotes a false memory of words, psychologists have shown.

US seeking 1 million for massive study of DNA, health habits

Wanted: A million people willing to share their DNA and 10 years of health habits, big and small, for science.

A rose is a rose is a rose: Mathematical model explains how two brains agree on smells

In a new study, Columbia scientists have discovered why the brain's olfactory system is so remarkably consistent between individuals, even though the wiring of brain cells in this region differs greatly from person to person. To make sense of this apparent paradox, the researchers developed a computational model showing that two brains need not have previously sniffed the same exact set of odors in order to agree on a new set of scents. Instead, any two brains will know to associate new similar odors with each other (such as two different flowers) so long as both brains have experienced even the smallest overlap in odors during their lifetimes.

Formate prevents most folic acid-resistant neural tube defects in mice

Maternal folic acid supplementation has reduced the prevalence of neural tube defects, one of the most common structural malformations in people, by up to 80 percent. However, many infants are still born with a neural tube defect that appears to be resistant to folic acid supplementation. In this study, a multi-institutional research team has developed a novel folic acid-resistant neural tube defect mouse model of the human condition by silencing the Slc25a32 gene, and, in most of the mutant mice, neural tube defects can be prevented by formate supplementation. A parallel genetic study of individuals with neural tube defects found a patient carrying a non-functional mutation of the SLC25A32 gene. Together, these findings support the search for supplements that might prevent folic acid-resistant human neural tube defects in the future. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Single injection treats hemophilia B for life, in proof-of-concept study

For most people with hemophilia B, whose bodies can't properly form blood clots, constant injections to replenish their clotting factors are a way of life. But now, Salk researchers have demonstrated in mice that hemophilia B can be treated for life with one single injection, containing disease-free liver cells that can produce their missing clotting factor. The finding, published in the journal Cell Reports on May 1, 2018, could drastically change what it means to be diagnosed with hemophilia B, and could pave the way toward similar treatments for other, related genetic disorders.

Strategy prevents blindness in mice with retinal degeneration

More than 2 million people worldwide live with inherited and untreatable retinal conditions, including retinitis pigmentosa, which slowly erodes vision.

Moderate to severe mid-life anxiety may be linked to later life dementia

Moderate to severe mid-life anxiety may be linked to dementia in later life, suggests an analysis of the available published evidence in the online journal BMJ Open.

Living close to a livestock farm linked to lowered allergy risk among adults

Living close to a livestock farm may help curb the risk of common allergies among adults who aren't farmers or agricultural workers, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Brains of young people with severe behavioral problems are 'wired differently'

Research published today has revealed new clues which might help explain why young people with the most severe forms of antisocial behaviour struggle to control and regulate their emotions, and might be more susceptible to developing anxiety or depression as a result.

Acute and chronic changes in myelin following mild traumatic brain injury

Preliminary research using mcDESPOT magnetic resonance imaging shows changes in the myelin content of white matter in the brain following mild traumatic brain injury. Myelin changes are apparent at the time of injury and 3 months afterward. For more details, see the article, "Prospective study of myelin water fraction changes after mild traumatic brain injury in collegiate contact sports, by Heather S. Spader, MD, and colleagues, published today in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Lightning carries potential danger to people with deep brain stimulators

Patients receiving deep brain stimulation are warned that their neurostimulators (also known as implantable pulse generators, or IPGs) may dysfunction when confronted by electromagnetic fields that can be generated by particular electrical devices found at work, home, and in the hospital. A new and potentially dangerous source of dysfunction has been identified: nearby lightening. Slovenian neurologists describe a patient with neck dystonia whose IPG automatically shut off during a thunderstorm that destroyed some minor appliances in her apartment. For more details, see the article, "Lightning may pose a danger to patients receiving deep brain stimulation: case report, by Nea Prezelj, MD, Maja Trošt, MD, Ph.D., Dejan Georgiev, MD, Ph.D., and Dušan Flisar, MD, published today in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Poll finds 4 in 5 Americans favor increase in mental health support for children

According to new public opinion research released today and commissioned by Nationwide Children's Hospital, 87 percent of Americans agree there needs to be more mental health support (including increased treatment, therapy and prevention resources) available to help children and adolescents in their communities.

Study links fracking chemicals to immune imbalance

Among predictions of a second fracking boom in the US, the first evidence that chemicals found in ground water near fracking sites can impair the immune system will be published in Toxicological Sciences on May 1. The study, performed in mice, suggests that exposure to fracking chemicals during pregnancy may diminish female offspring's ability to fend off diseases, like multiple sclerosis.

Survey: Medical marijuana could reduce opioid use in older adults

A questionnaire of older men and women suffering from chronic pain who were given medical marijuana found that the drug significantly reduced pain and their need for opioid painkillers, Northwell Health researchers report.

Breakthrough for kinesiologists studying metabolic protein

San Francisco State University researchers have discovered a new method for testing levels of a tiny but hugely important protein—"AMPK"—in human muscle cells. "AMPK is the gas gauge that tells each cell in your body if your fuel is too low. We call it the energy sensor of the cell," said Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Jimmy Bagley.

Cancer patients set to benefit from world's largest surgery study

Improved care for patients undergoing cancer surgery is the focus of a pioneering worldwide study.

Novel cancer vaccine strategy blocks death of tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells

New research published in Cancer Immunology Research by Drs. Esteban Celis and Hussein Sultan of the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University could serve as the stepping-stone in constructing vaccines with a greater likelihood of finding and attacking tumors in the human body.

New lab study reveals how breast cancer drug can accelerate cancer cell growth

The breast cancer drug lapatinib which is designed to shrink tumours can sometimes cause them to grow in the lab, according to a new study published in eLife. By understanding the molecular basis of this phenomenon, scientists hope that their findings will lead to safer treatment decision-making and drug design in the future.

No one-size-fits-all for hydrating during sports

(HealthDay)—Waiting until you're thirsty to drink during sports could lead to dehydration and poorer performance, a new study finds.

Review: need to strengthen natural experiments in obesity

(HealthDay)—Based on findings from a systematic review of the literature, recommendations have been developed for improving the evidence for natural experiments in obesity; the review and position paper were published online May 1 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Scotland rolls out minimum alcohol pricing after years of legal blocks (Update)

Scotland on Tuesday introduced minimum pricing for alcohol, in what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed as a "bold" and "brave" policy move that has endured years of legal battles.

Patients get faster life-saving treatment in states with policies allowing direct transport to heart hospitals

People having a heart attack get faster life-saving treatment to restore blood flow to the heart if they live in states that allow emergency medical crews to bypass hospitals that don't offer the specialized treatment in favor of hospitals that do, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions, an American Heart Association journal.

Marmosets as the canary in the coal mine for Zika

New research shows small, New World monkeys called marmosets may be an important animal model for emerging viruses with the potential for harmful effects on fetuses. Establishing animal models for emerging diseases, like Zika, is necessary for the development of vaccines, therapies and diagnostics. Results of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports showed pregnant marmosets inoculated with the Zika virus at a specific point during the first half of their pregnancy spontaneously aborted the fetuses at almost exactly the same time - about two weeks after the infection. In addition, histology on the fetuses showed neurological abnormalities.

Study finds COPD patients are not learning how to properly use their inhaler devices

Inhaled medications play an important role in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, and it is imperative that the inhaler device be used properly to effectively treat the disease. However, in a recently released study in the Journal of the COPD Foundation, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions found that healthcare providers and patients prioritize medication over device when selecting treatments, showing limited concerns about proper device use.

New insights into the origins of mutations in cancer

Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the University of Dundee and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have used human and worm data to explore the mutational causes of cancer. Their study, published today in Genome Research, also shows that results from controlled experiments on a model organism—the nematode worm C. elegans—are relevant to humans, helping researchers refine what they know about cancer.

Evaluating drug regimens for high-risk prostate cancer

The addition of a chemotherapy drug to adjuvant hormone therapy did not improve survival for patients with high-risk prostate cancer after surgery, according to the findings of a new clinical trial.

Molecule may be key to pain relief in diabetic neuropathy

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has identified a key molecule that contributes to painful diabetic neuropathy, an incurable nerve disease that affects about one-quarter of all patients with diabetes.

Older, injured workers lose up to one-third of income, research reveals

Injuries impact on the financial well-being of older workers with substantial lost earnings of between 20 and 30 per cent of their work income, new University of Otago research reveals.

High prevalence of atherosclerosis found in lower risk patients

Researchers using whole-body magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) have found a surprisingly high prevalence of atherosclerosis in people considered to be at low to intermediate risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study appearing online in the journal Radiology. Almost half of all study participants had at least one narrowed artery.

Post-mortem CT angiography illuminates causes of death

CT angiography is a useful adjunct to autopsy that is likely to increase the quality of post-mortem diagnosis, according to a study appearing online in the journal Radiology. Researchers said the findings could have important implications for criminal investigations and hospital quality control efforts.

Making individualized choices about breast cancer screening

In a JAMA Insights article, published on May 1 by JAMA, co-authors Keating and Pace summarize the current state of breast cancer screening. The authors note, that despite the fact that the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) changed its recommendation in 2009 to mammograms every two years for women aged 50-74 instead of annual mammograms beginning at age 40, there has been little change in U.S. screening practices. They further point out that the USPSTF reiterated its recommendation in 2016 and that the American Cancer Society joined the task force in 2015 in advocating less routine use of mammography and a more individualized approach to screening.

Nurse-led task shifting an effective strategy to control hypertension in Ghana, new study finds

The addition of a nurse-led intervention for hypertension management to health insurance coverage was more effective in lowering blood pressure (HPB) than the provision of health insurance alone in the Sub-Saharan country of Ghana, a region of Africa where HPB is rampant, according to a study publishing online on May 1 in the journal PLOS Medicine.

New study improves monitoring of treatments for multiple sclerosis patients

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have developed an algorithm that, when paired with wearable sensors, provides more informative and effective monitoring of the way MS patients walk in real life.

Tobacco company's understanding of addiction revealed by internal documents

After decades denying the role of nicotine dependence in smoking addiction, tobacco company Philip Morris (PM) publicly embraced nicotine as the main driver of smoking behavior in 2000. However, their internal understanding of smoking addiction was more complex, and the company simultaneously promoted nicotine reduction products alongside advertising and policy campaigns to promote smoking behavior, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine.

Plan to curb opioid overdose crisis helps state, nation

The opioid addiction and overdose epidemic continues to take the lives of too many Americans. Of the nearly 64,000 overdose deaths reported in 2016, almost two-thirds involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Yale faculty have confronted the crisis in myriad ways, including research that impacts policy and medical practice.

Discovery of ketamine's effect on depression is tempered with caution

In the early 1990s, Yale researchers noticed that chronically depressed patients experienced almost immediate—if transitory—relief from symptoms after taking the pediatric anesthetic ketamine. Their subsequent research has shown that ketamine, which is also abused as a party drug Special K, works on an entirely different neurotransmitter system as currently prescribed anti-depressants.

Knowledge gaps in getting accurate blood pressure reading

Crossing your legs or even talking can have a significant impact on your blood pressure reading according to the American Heart Association, which identifies seven common errors that can lead to inaccurate blood pressure readings.

When your immune system meddles in your love life

About a decade ago, evolutionary psychologists suggested that humans have evolved a first line of defense against disease: a behavioural immune system (BIS). This system is thought to be unconsciously activated, to varying degrees, when an individual perceives, rightly or wrongly, that there is a threat of disease. Although we cannot see microorganisms with our naked eye, we are nevertheless able to identify cues (such as coughs, unpleasant smells or skin lesions) which hint at the possible presence of pathogens, whether or not these are actually present or represent real health threats. Scientists have suggested that the activation of the BIS leads to prejudiced and avoidant attitudes and behaviour towards those who display superficial cues connoting disease.

Lymphatic endothelial cells promote melanoma to spread

The lymph vessel endothelial cells play an active role in the spread of melanoma, according to the new study conducted at the University of Helsinki. The researchers found that growing human melanoma cells in co-cultures with human primary lymphatic endothelial cells revealed crosstalk of cancer cells with the tumour microenvironment leading to the increased invasive growth of melanoma cells and distant organ metastasis in a mouse tumour model.

Want to eat better? You might be able to train yourself to change your tastes

We all love delicious foods, even if we know they may not be good for us. Foods high in energy – specifically sweet, salty and fatty foods – tend to taste the best.

Blood test could offer life-and-death clues for African-American diabetics

Testing blood for a biological marker called suPAR could help better assess the risk of death among African-Americans with Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

Forcefully holding children for health procedures causes avoidable stress

When children go to hospital they enter a strange place. It's an unfamiliar building that sounds and smells unusual, full of strangers and intimidating equipment. This can be overwhelming and can make them feel small and anxious. Children cannot always find a way to say that they are scared or worried about having a simple procedure such as an X-ray or blood test so they show their feelings through crying or refusing to have the procedure done.

Infertility through the ages – and how IVF changed the way we think about it

To all outward appearances, Louise Brown looked exactly the same as thousands of other babies when her blinking, slightly quizzical gaze met newspaper readers on the morning of July 27, 1978. But as the first child born using the technique of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), she was utterly unique in the history of humankind.

Social communication difficulties are linked to increased risk of self-harm and suicidal behavior

Children who have difficulties with social communication have a higher risk of self-harm with suicidal intent by the age of 16 years compared to those without, reports a new study published in the May 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). The study was designed to understand whether characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders in childhood are linked with suicidal thoughts, plans and self-harm at 16 years.

Distress in men following prostate cancer can be reduced

A new web-based support programme will help reduce the psychological stress that impacts men who are recovering from prostate cancer.

Researchers call for tougher standards for studies on obesity policies

When a new park is built, a tax is instituted on fast food or a ban put in place against soft drinks in a school, public health researchers must often rely on "after the fact" observational studies to evaluate the impact of such efforts on rates of obesity in a particular population and try to clearly identify and measure the factors that worked or didn't.

Stem cells show long-term success in treating severe peripheral arterial disease

A long-term study of patients who received stem cells to treat angiitis-induced critical limb ischemia (AICLI) shows the cells to be both safe and effective. The study, published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine (SCTM), could lead to an option for those who suffer from this serious form of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

Palliative care improves hospital care for seriously ill patients

Palliative care provided by specialist medical and nursing teams to patients with complex health needs significantly improves their experience of care, new research from Trinity College Dublin shows.

CAR-T immunotherapy eliminates metastatic colorectal cancer in mice

Immunotherapy has given patients and oncologists new options, which for some patients, has meant cures for diseases that had been untreatable. Colorectal cancer has a high mortality rate in advanced stages of the disease with few effective therapies. Researchers at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) at Jefferson Health show that a type of immunotherapy called CAR-T cell therapy, successfully kills tumors and prevents metastases in mouse models of the disease. The work published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, is the last step of preclinical testing prior to human clinical trials.

Disparities found in lung cancer care, survival in US versus England

Despite steady declines in death rates in recent years, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in wealthy countries. In a new study, Yale researchers collaborated with investigators in Europe to examine lung cancer care and survival rates for patients with one of the most common forms of the disease.

Acupuncture possible treatment for dental anxiety

Researchers have found evidence that acupuncture could help people who experience dental anxiety.

Soccer coaches are an untapped resource in assessing and developing player psychology

With the 2018 World Cup just around the corner, soccer players and coaches are preparing to perform at their best. A recent article proposes that soccer coaches should be empowered to make reliable assessments of player psychological characteristics, based on their behavior during matches and training. Published in Frontiers in Psychology, the article suggests that coaches, with their extensive experience, could provide unique insights into the psychological characteristics required for player success. Using coach assessments could help teams to foster talented players and enhance their performance and well-being.

US warns liquid nicotine packets resemble juice boxes, candy

Federal health authorities issued warnings Tuesday to makers of liquid nicotine whose packaging resembles children's juice boxes, candies and cookies.

Persistence pays off in discovery that could lead to improved treatment and survivability of patient

It's a discovery more than seven years in the making that researchers believe will vastly illuminate our understanding of deadly brain tumors.

Use of ibuprofen and similar NSAIDs may shorten life of patients

Ibuprofen, aspirin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are among the most commonly utilized medications in the United States. Primarily for treating pain, inflammation, and preventing cardiovascular disease, NSAIDs' promising anti-cancer properties have been highlighted by a growing body of data in recent years. However, a new study in the journal Kidney Cancer indicated that non-aspirin NSAID use was associated with shorter overall survival in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC).

Study exposes key tactic used by deadly fungus

A multidisciplinary study by Monash University Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers has revealed that a lethal fungus destroys the immune cell that would ordinarily kill it by stealing its source of nutrients.

New diagnostic technique picks up the S in vision

A new technique that could help improve diagnosis of vision disorders has been successfully tested at the University of Bradford, UK.

Wearable fitness monitors useful in cancer treatment: study

Wearable fitness trackers, such as Fitbits, that measure steps taken per day may be a useful tool to evaluate and help treat cancer patients, researchers at UT Southwestern's Simmons Cancer Center have shown.

Food for thought: Ketogenic diets reduce athletes' anaerobic performance

Athletes who turn to ketogenic diets to help their performance in high-intensity, short duration sports may want to think again, according to new research from Saint Louis University.

Fentanyl now drives drug overdose deaths in U.S.

(HealthDay)—Overdose deaths involving dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl have skyrocketed in recent years, surpassing deaths from prescription painkillers, a new U.S. study reveals.

Blood pressure readings often higher outside doctor's office

Blood pressure readings taken outside of the doctor's office often read higher than those in the office, a new study says.

Perioperative MACCEs more common with diabetes

(HealthDay)—Perioperative major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCEs) are more common among patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), according to a study published online April 4 in Diabetes Care.

Early readmissions more preventable than later ones

(HealthDay)—Early general medicine readmissions are more likely than late readmissions to be preventable with hospital-based interventions, according to a study published online May 1 in the Annals of Internal of Medicine.

Anesthesia before age 3 not linked to intelligence deficits

(HealthDay)—Multiple exposures to anesthesia before the age of 3 years may have neuropsychological impacts, though intelligence does not appear to be affected, according to a study published online April 18 in Anesthesiology.

Blacks, whites equally as likely to be prescribed opioids for pain

Racial disparities in pain management have been well-documented, with doctors historically more willing to prescribe opiates to whites than to other racial and ethnic groups.

Apps for children should emphasize parent and child choice, researchers say

The average preschooler watches more than three hours of TV, film and other video programming each day—just one of many examples illustrating the huge role that entertainment plays in children's lives.

Scientists identify two hormones that burn fat faster, prevent and reverse diabetes in mice

UCLA geneticists have created a new technique to hunt for hormones that influence how organs and tissues communicate with each other. The method enabled them to find naturally occurring molecules that play major roles in Type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Study challenges 'shock and kill' approach to eliminating HIV

Researchers have provided new insight into the cellular processes behind the 'shock and kill' approach to curing HIV, which they say challenges the effectiveness of the treatment.

Diseases from ticks, fleas, mosquitoes soar in US

Diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and flea bites tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, and officials said Tuesday rising temperatures and an increasingly connected global society are to blame.

To improve future relationship with your kids, turn up the music

If you're a parent whose teenagers spend family road trips with earbuds firmly in place, you may want to encourage them to unplug, then turn the car radio to something the whole family can enjoy.

Traffic-related pollution linked to risk of asthma in children

Twenty-five million Americans suffer from asthma, a chronic lung disease that has been on the rise since the 1980s. While physicians have long known that smog and pollution can bring on an asthma attack among children and adults suffering from asthma, researchers remained uncertain about what role long-term exposure to certain pollutants might play in the development of the disease in children.

For high school baseball pitchers, extra throws on game day add up but go uncounted

For high school baseball pitchers, limiting throws during a game helps to prevent fatigue and injuries. But nearly half the number of pitches—ones thrown during warm-ups and in the bullpen—are typically not counted, adding significantly to a pitcher's risk of injury, new findings by University of Florida Health researchers show.

Missouri House votes to legalize medical marijuana

Missouri voters may have the option to legalize medical marijuana this November. Lawmakers are rushing to get there first.

New research ranks the effectiveness of nonsurgical treatments for knee osteoarthritis

An estimated 45 percent of people are at risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) in their lifetime. According to a network meta-analysis research article published in the May 1, 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) naproxen was ranked most effective in individual knee OA treatment for improving both pain and function, and is considered a relatively safe and low-cost treatment method.

Surgery soon after clinical staging of non-small cell lung cancer reduces cancer progression

Significant upstaging or reclassification to a more advanced stage due to cancer progression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can occur with each successive week from initial clinical staging to surgery, according to data presented at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery's 98th Annual Meeting. The same study showed that early intervention after completion of clinical staging leads to increased survival rates.

52 ways to find peace of mind

A new book co-authored by a professor in the Department of Psychology offers 52 bite-sized chapters to help people navigate anxiety, stress and fear.

Sick building syndrome—is it the buildings or the people who need treatment?

In early September 2011, when the weather in Finland had begun to turn its back on summer and trudge towards winter, a woman prepared to leave her home in the suburbs of Helsinki. Kirsti Paasikallio emptied her refrigerator, packed some clothes, her toothbrush, toothpaste and an iron, and left the house she had lived in for 34 years – for good.

Pfizer's Q1 net jumps 14 pct., sales just miss expectations

Pfizer posted slightly higher sales and a 14 percent jump in profit in the first quarter, thanks to lower restructuring costs and a much-lower tax rate, but its revenue still missed Wall Street expectations.

Frozen embryo transfer versus fresh embryo transfer: What's riskier?

Large for gestational age babies and congenital heart defects (CHD) are just two of several risks needing further examination in the emerging field of assisted reproductive technology, according to the editors of a special issue on in-vitro fertilization in Birth Defects Research. The special issue just published by the Teratology Society with John Wiley & Sons, focuses on continued research regarding several aspects of the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure that clearly call for more answers surrounding safety outcomes for the resulting children.

Can stress testing and biomarker studies predict cardiovascular event risk in older women?

Mayo Clinic researchers, reporting results of the SMART study, have shown that abnormal results on a stress electrocardiogram are an independent predictor of cardiovascular events such as heart attack, heart failure, hospitalization for chest pain, and death in perimenopausal or menopausal women. The study, which also demonstrated the predictive value of the blood biomarker brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), is published in Journal of Women's Health.

Gene therapy for lipoprotein lipase deficiency yields promising results

During the first 18 months after treatment with ali-pogene tiparvovec, a gene therapy recently approved in Europe to treat lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD), the first patient to receive the treatment had no abdominal pain or episodes of pancreatitis, following a history of 37 pancreatitis attacks. The patient was able to discontinue plasmaphere and described improved quality of life, as reported in Human Gene Therapy.

Merck posts strong first-quarter profit, but revenue light

Drugmaker Merck's first-quarter revenue rose 6 percent, driven by a huge jump in sales of cancer blockbuster Keytruda, but a $1.4 billion charge for starting a research partnership with Japanese drugmaker Eisai dragged down profits by more than half.

Rock climbing goes mainstream for exercise buffs

(HealthDay)—Rock climbing is no longer just for extreme sports athletes and thrill-seeking daredevils.

Novel theranostic approach for treating pancreatic cancer patients shows promise

German researchers have developed a novel diagnostic and therapeutic (theranostic) procedure for patients with ductal pancreatic adenocarcinoma, a deadly cancer with an extremely poor prognosis (five-year survival rate of less than 5 percent) and limited treatment options. The study is featured in the May issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Opioids over-prescribed after hiatal hernia surgery

The increase in opioid deaths in the last 20 years led a medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School and colleagues to look at excessive opioids prescribed to treat acute surgical pain following various procedures. Alyssa A. Mazurek presented a study during the American Association for Thoracic Surgery's 98th Annual Meeting that assessed patterns of opioid prescribing for open and laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair (HHR) and found that patients used far fewer opioids than were actually prescribed.

FDA approves CAR T therapy for large B-cell lymphoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded approval for a personalized cellular therapy developed at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center, this time for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-Cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy. Today's approval includes treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) - the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma—as well as high grade B-cell lymphoma and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma. The approval was granted today to Novartis for the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel, formerly CTL019), making it the second indication for the nation's first personalized cellular therapy for cancer.

Biology news

Researchers bring new thinking to dolphin tourism activity

New research led by University of Otago scientists indicates there is increasing evidence that whale and dolphin watching activities can have detrimental effects on the populations they target.

The gruesome new field of neuro-parasitology could provide insights into the neurological basis for behavior

Imagine a parasite that makes an animal change its habits, guard the parasite's offspring or even commit suicide. While mind-control may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, the phenomenon is very real—and has spawned a new field, neuro-parasitology. As outlined in an article published today in Frontiers in Psychology, understanding how parasites "hack" their host's nervous system to achieve a particular goal could provide new insights into how animals control their own behavior and make decisions.

Radiocarbon based study suggests wheat introduced to eastern China around 2600 BCE

A team of researchers from several institutions in Germany and China has found evidence of domesticated wheat in China around 2600 BCE (Before Common Era). In their paper published in the journal Nature Plants, the team describes their work and its possible implications. Guanghui Dong with Lanzhou University in China offers a New & Views piece on the study.

Vegan and traditional kimchi have same microbes, study finds

Good news, vegans: A new study finds that kimchi made without fish products has the same type of bacteria as more traditionally made kimchi. That finding suggests that any "probiotic" benefits associated with traditional kimchi could be present in vegan versions as well.

Virus inhibits immune response of caterpillars and plants

It is well known that certain wasps suppress the immune systems of their caterpillar hosts so they can successfully raise their young within those hosts. Now researchers at Penn State show that, in addition to suppressing caterpillar immune systems, wasps also suppress the defense mechanisms of the plants on which the caterpillars feed, which ensures that the caterpillars will continue to provide a suitable environment for the wasps' offspring.

Mosquitoes bite not just to lay eggs but also to quench their thirst during drought, study found

When it's hot and dry, mosquitoes like nothing more than the refreshing taste of you.

Study: Invasive fist-sized treefrogs in New Orleans

Invasive, noxious Cuban treefrogs that eat smaller frogs and grow as big as a human fist have established a population in New Orleans, and officials say they could soon pose a threat to native frogs across the Mississippi River.

American pikas tolerate climate change better than expected

The American pika (Ochotona princeps), a relative of rabbits, occupies rocky environments in the mountains of western Northern America. It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature and thus were at risk of running out of space at the tops of mountains as temperatures rise due to climate change. But is there more to the story?

Copepod mortality rates have been linked to jellyfish abundance and warmer, windier conditions

Zooplankton may be tiny, but their importance to the health of the planet is not – they are microscopic life that makes a huge contribution to the fine balance of ocean ecosystems. Copepods make up a significant proportion of zooplankton biomass – tiny invertebrates that are the key prey resource for many marine animals, from other zooplankton and fish larvae to sharks and whales, and are a crucial part of the food web.

Researchers investigate obesity and diabetes in cats

What makes obese cats prone to diabetes? That's one question researchers at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) and the University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine want to answer as they work to learn more about feline diabetes.

30-year river study finds overlooked extinction crisis

One of the longest river studies in the world has discovered that an important part of the planet's extinction crisis may have gone unnoticed

How cops used a public genealogy database in the Golden State Killer case

DNA was credited for cracking the decades old cold case of the "Golden State Killer," a California serial murderer and rapist. But the detectives used a public database of genetic genealogy called GEDmatch, raising privacy concerns about publicly available DNA profiles.

How tiny toads seize the day—and the weather conditions—for breeding

Rose's mountain toadlet is a very small amphibian – adults grow to just 2 centimetres in length. These little toads can be found scattered across the mountainous, fynbos-rich biodiversity hotspot on the Cape Peninsula near Cape Town, South Africa.

Plant relationships break down when they meet new fungi

Gijsbert Werner, Postdoctoral Fellow and Stuart West, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, both in the Department of Zoology, explain the process of plant cooperation, in relation to their new study published in PNAS, which has shed light on why cooperative relationships breakdown.

Humans are Sumatran rhinoceros' biggest threat—and last hope

The little-known and smallest member of the rhinoceros family, the Sumatran rhinoceros, is critically endangered. Today between 30 and 100 are isolated on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia. In a new study, researchers urge conservationists to translocate the two island groups—representing two subspecies of the Sumatran rhino—and to create a cell bank to preserve the genetic diversity uncovered by this work.

Deer fawns more likely to survive in agricultural landscapes than forest

The cruel truth is that throughout the white-tailed deer's range only about half of all fawns live to see their first birthday—most are killed by predators. However, they have a much better chance of surviving if they are born in farmland rather than in forest, according to Penn State researchers, who collaborated with Pennsylvania Game Commission deer biologists.

Study shows sea turtle nesting beaches threatened by microplastic pollution

Plastic is famous for its unyielding durability, making it perfect for consumer products but a unique and persistent menace to the natural environment.

Researchers study how to improve southern sea otter survival

University of Wyoming researchers have been studying how best to bolster the southern sea otter population, which suffers from low genetic diversity and has been further ravaged by Toxoplasma brain disease and others, shark attacks and illegal shootings by fishermen.

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