Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, May 9

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 9, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Exiled asteroid discovered in outer reaches of solar system

First early-type magnetic star in an eclipsing binary detected

Moving magnetic fields disrupt ice nucleation

Microbes are savvy when contributing to the common good

Microwaved plastic increases lithium-sulfur battery life span

Engineers' liquid assembly line makes drug microparticles a thousand times faster than ever before

Reconnection tames the turbulent magnetic fields around Earth

Precision measurement of the proton's weak charge narrows the search for new physics

New polymer manufacturing process saves 10 orders of magnitude of energy

Rapid evolution fails to save butterflies from extinction in face of human-induced change

Self-navigating AI learns to take shortcuts: study

Horse-riding changed Eurasia's ethnic profile: studies

Atmospheric seasons could signal alien life

Tiny fossils unlock clues to Earth's climate half a billion years ago

'Non-smoking' doesn't mean smoke-free: Thirdhand smoke persists and spreads indoors with help from aerosol particles

Astronomy & Space news

Exiled asteroid discovered in outer reaches of solar system

An international team of astronomers has used ESO telescopes to investigate a relic of the primordial Solar System. The team found that the unusual Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95 is a carbon-rich asteroid, the first of its kind to be confirmed in the cold outer reaches of the Solar System. This curious object likely formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has been flung billions of kilometres from its origin to its current home in the Kuiper Belt.

First early-type magnetic star in an eclipsing binary detected

Astronomers report the discovery of the first known early-type magnetic star in an eclipsing binary system. The finding, detailed in a paper published April 27 on the arXiv pre-print server, could have important implications for our understanding of the evolutionary process of binary stars.

Reconnection tames the turbulent magnetic fields around Earth

When the solar wind - which is really a driving rain of charged particles from the sun - strikes Earth's protective magnetic field, the shock generates roiling, turbulent magnetic fields that enshroud the planet and stretch for hundreds of thousands of miles.

Atmospheric seasons could signal alien life

Dozens of potentially habitable planets have been discovered outside our solar system, and many more are awaiting detection.

Bursting pulsar found to 'hiccup' during crucial stage of its lifecycle

Researchers at the University of Southampton have discovered that the unique 'Bursting Pulsar' – a neutron star which steals matter from a low-mass stellar neighbour – may also be the slowest known 'transitional pulsar' in existence. Transitional pulsars are a rare class of neutron stars, which alternate between showing X-ray and radio pulsations over timescales of years.

Image: Shaker test of 8-tonne cooling system

Typically ESA's shaker tables are used to replicate the take-off vibrations of a satellite-lifting rocket. The large object seen here is not a satellite at all but an 8-tonne cooling system being subjected to a simulated earthquake – while blasting a chilly wave of air towards the engineer observing the test.

Lasers in space—Earth mission tests new technology

Imagine standing on the roof of a building in Los Angeles and trying to point a laser so accurately that you could hit a particular building in San Diego, more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away. This accuracy is required for the feat that a novel technology demonstration aboard the soon-to-launch Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission will aim to achieve. For the first time, a promising technique called laser ranging interferometry will be tested between two satellites.

How many of earth's moons crashed back into the planet?

For decades, scientists have pondered how Earth acquired its only satellite, the Moon. Whereas some have argued that it formed from material lost by Earth due to centrifugal force, or was captured by Earth's gravity, the most widely accepted theory is that the moon formed roughly 4.5 billion years ago when a Mars-sized object (named Theia) collided with a proto-Earth (aka. the Giant Impact Hypothesis).

Sagittarius A* swarm: Black hole bounty captured in the Milky Way center

Astronomers have discovered evidence for thousands of black holes located near the center of our Milky Way galaxy using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Spinning science: multi-use Variable-g platform arrives at the ISS

Delivered to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX CRS-14, the Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) is a new commercial testbed for centrifuge-based science aboard the orbiting laboratory. Because gravity determines so much of a live organism's behavior and growth, centrifuge-based experiments have long been a part of biological investigations in space. While the pull of Earth's gravity makes this type of investigation difficult at home, the space station's microgravity environment makes it the perfect place for fractional gravity experimentation. MVP greatly expands that testing capability for the space station.

Technology news

Self-navigating AI learns to take shortcuts: study

A computer programme modelled on the human brain learnt to navigate a virtual maze and take shortcuts, outperforming a flesh-and-blood expert, its developers said Wednesday.

Generative adversarial networks unleashed for new levels in video games

Some would find this AI-generated pain delicious. Others would want to yell at their parakeets. AI researchers, as discussed in two papers, are exploring how generative adversarial networks (GANs) can create new levels to two popular games.

500-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa mystery unveiled by engineers

Why has the Leaning Tower of Pisa survived the strong earthquakes that have hit the region since the middle ages? This is a long-standing question a research group of 16 engineers has investigated, including a leading expert in earthquake engineering and soil-structure interaction from the University of Bristol.

How even one automated, connected vehicle can improve safety and save energy in traffic

Connected cruise control uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication to let automated vehicles respond to multiple cars at a time in an effort to save energy and improve safety.

Battery-free 'smart' toys move closer to commercial reality

Rubber duckies could soon be at the forefront of an electronic revolution. In ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, scientists report they have used specialized nanogenerators that gather energy from mechanical vibrations to transform squeaky bathtub companions and other conventional children's toys into 'smart' electronics. They say the finding could have broad commercial applications, leading to the development of battery-free, self-powered toys, medical sensors and other devices.

What happens when the robots sound too much like humans?

Artificial intelligence has a new challenge: Whether and how to alert people who may not know they're talking to a robot.

China's Alibaba buys Pakistan e-commerce firm Daraz

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said Wednesday it had purchased leading Pakistani online retailer Daraz, continuing its overseas expansion by gaining a foothold in the growing South Asian consumer market.

NYPD tests new tool that detects credit card skimmers

Patrick Traynor, a cybersecurity expert, was in New York in February working with police to help identify a way to detect credit card skimmers on ATMs when he got a financial fraud alert: his own information had been stolen while he was in town.

Toyota reports improved quarterly profit despite incentives

Toyota Motor Corp. reported Wednesday that its quarterly profit rose 21 percent as cost cuts and booming sales in some markets offset the toll from higher U.S. incentives.

California may require solar panels on new homes in 2020

California may start requiring solar panels on new homes and low-rise apartment buildings built after 2020, the first such mandate nationwide and the state's latest step to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

China moves to rope in its tech 'unicorns'

Having lost the likes of Alibaba and Baidu to Wall Street, China is hatching a plan to woo them back and make sure it keeps a new generation of technology titans closer to home as it battles the US for supremacy in the sector.

Facebook makes major management overhaul

Facebook on Tuesday confirmed an unprecedented management team shakeup in the aftermath of a major data privacy scandal that has rocked the social network.

Vodafone buys chunk of Liberty's European assets for 18.4bn euros

British telecoms giant Vodafone on Wednesday unveiled an 18.4-billion-euro deal to buy part of Liberty Global's operations that will make it Europe's largest cable and broadband operator.

Symmetry is essential for power network synchronization

A joint research team from Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and North Carolina State University has clarified the fundamental principles for achieving the synchronization of power generator groups in power networks, which is essential for the stable supply of electric power. Based on this principle, the team developed a method for constructing an aggregated model of a power network that can efficiently analyze and control the behavior of generator groups (including rotor phase angles and connection point voltages) with complex connection to a power grid.

NASA, Uber to explore safety, efficiency of future urban airspace

NASA has signed a second space act agreement with Uber Technologies, Inc., to further explore concepts and technologies related to urban air mobility (UAM) to ensure a safe and efficient system for future air transportation in populated areas.

Getting robotic surgical tools from the lab to the operating room

The path from university lab to commercialization is especially complex in the biotech industry. Challenges range from long lead times, sometimes measured in decades, to the costs of transforming ideas into innovations, as well as issues of intellectual property, patenting and licensing.

Internet TV and mobile video watching threaten to make energy demands soar

Researchers are calling for urgent action as a huge growth in Internet video streaming threatens to increase the problem of meeting the nation's future peak winter electricity demands.

Coal plants get new life in the sun

Cheaper renewable energy is reshaping how electricity is generated and consumed. In many U.S. electricity markets, including Texas, coal-fired power plants are being retired because they can no longer compete on price compared with other sources of energy, including wind and solar.

Friends, likes, fake followers and cash—internet influencers under the microscope

Local businesses, PR agencies and consumers should beware, warns Murdoch University researcher Dr. Catherine Archer, as ethical concerns surrounding the activities of social media influencers grow.

Ultrasonic attack is unlikely, but incidental exposure presents plenty of problems

New technologies for mobile devices may use ultrasonic sound waves for a variety of purposes, from charging your phone when you enter your room to collecting data on which advertisements you watch. Pest deterrents, dog controllers, some automatic sliding doors, public address voice alarms—and even a device marketed in the U.K. as a teenager repellant to keep kids from loitering outside storefronts—also emit ultrasound at different frequencies.

SoftBank confirms deal to sell Flipkart stake to Walmart

The head of Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. said Wednesday it has reached an agreement to sell its stake in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart to Walmart.

SoftBank reports soaring annual operating profit

Japanese telecom giant SoftBank on Wednesday reported a surge in its annual operating profit, driven by the increasing value of its Vision Fund and robust performances from its telecoms units.

Germany okays class-action suits before diesel deadline

The German government on Wednesday approved a draft law allowing US-style class action lawsuits, opening the door for drivers to seek compensation over Volkswagen's diesel emissions cheating scam before the case expires.

Satellite row tests UK's post-Brexit security plans

Britain outlined its proposals Wednesday for close security cooperation with the EU after Brexit, but these risk being undermined by the bloc's refusal to share sensitive data on the Galileo satellite project.

Germany's BMW expands UK car recall

German car manufacturer BMW on Wednesday said it was expanding a British recall on faulty vehicles whose engines are at risk of suddenly cutting out.

China's ZTE stops major operations following US export ban

Chinese technology company ZTE said late Wednesday it has halted its main operations after U.S. authorities banned it from doing business with American suppliers.

Shared data and shrinking aircraft seats to cut travel times in Europe

Aircraft seats that temporarily shrink and a joined-up transport system that allows people to easily plan a door-to-door journey could help shift people's first choice of travel away from cars and towards public transport by reducing the time and effort involved.

California regulator OKs solar panels mandate for new homes

California moved a step closer Wednesday to requiring solar panels on new homes and low-rise apartment buildings starting in 2020, the first such mandate nationwide and the state's latest step to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Dutch eye Air France woes fearing headwinds for KLM

Dutch politicians and unions are watching the unfolding crisis at Air France with increasing concern, amid fears the turbulence at the French company will sideswipe its Dutch partner KLM—another chapter in an already stormy union.

Boeing, Airbus, GE among biggest losers from US Iran shift

US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear pact threatens new business for several big companies, including Boeing, Airbus and General Electric.

Deutsche Telekom confident after Q1 profit bump

Germany's Deutsche Telekom lifted its earnings forecast for 2018 on Wednesday as it presented first-quarter results, saying fast growth especially in US arm T-Mobile would juice its operating income.

Walmart buys 77% of India's Flipkart for $16 bn

US retail behemoth Walmart said Wednesday it will buy a 77 percent stake in Indian online sales giant Flipkart for $16 billion in the world's biggest e-commerce deal.

Australia's fuel stockpile is perilously low, and it may be too late for a refill

Australia is an island nation that depends heavily on imported fuel – and our stockpile is critically low. According to recent reports, we have just 22 days' worth of crude oil, 59 days of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), 20 days of petrol, 19 days of aviation fuel, and 21 days of diesel in reserve.

Speeding up micro-CT scanning

Micro-computed tomography or "micro-CT" is X-ray imaging in 3-D, by the same method used in hospital CT (or "CAT") scans, but on a small scale with massively increased resolution. It enables scientists and engineers to see inside structures and reveal hidden secrets.

Google suspends all ads related to Irish abortion referendum

Google is suspending all advertising connected to Ireland's abortion referendum as part of moves to protect "election integrity," the company announced Wednesday.

European businesses in firing line of Iran sanctions

European businesses have the most to lose from renewed US sanctions against Iran, analysts said Wednesday, with massive sums at stake for some of the continent's big names.

Emirates airline profit more than doubles on cargo demand

Leading Middle East airline Emirates said on Wednesday its net profits had more than doubled last year, mainly on improved cargo business.

Sinclair to sell 7 TV stations to Fox to win regulatory OK

Media company Twenty-First Century Fox has agreed to buy seven TV stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group for $910 million.

US to decide best site option for nuclear weapons production (Update)

The federal agency that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile is expected this week to release a report on the best site option for the United States as it looks to ramp up production of the plutonium cores that trigger nuclear warheads.

Kasich orders all Ohio roads open to smart vehicle testing

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) is opening all of Ohio's public roads to smart vehicle testing.

Medicine & Health news

'Non-smoking' doesn't mean smoke-free: Thirdhand smoke persists and spreads indoors with help from aerosol particles

Despite decades of indoor smoking bans and restrictions, new research from Drexel University suggests the toxins we've been trying to keep out are still finding their way into the air inside. Findings by a group of environmental engineers show that third-hand smoke, the chemical residue from cigarette smoke that attaches to anything and anyone in the vicinity of a smoke cloud, can make its way into the air and circulate through buildings where no one is smoking.

Unlocking cancer's secrets using the 'social networks' of cells

Recent headlines have cast suspicion on social network analysis, which can mine data from the internet to target advertisements or potentially influence elections.

No sign pot smoking will trigger irregular heartbeat: study

If you have suffered a heart attack, getting high on pot won't harm your heart's regular rhythm, a new study suggests.

How images of other body sizes influence the way women view their own body size

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.K. has found that when women of "normal" weight look at pictures of skinny women, they feel less positive about their own bodies. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes two experiments they conducted with volunteers and what they found.

Computer-designed customized regenerative heart valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Artificial muscles promise to speed up testing of treatments for muscle diseases

Artificial muscles grown from human stem cells could pave the way forward for treating muscle diseases, according to new research led by UCL.

Virtual reality technology opens new doors of (spatial) perception

We rely on our ears to tell us where sounds—from the chirp of a bird to the call of your name in a crowd—are coming from. Locating and discriminating sound sources is extremely complex because the brain has to process spatial information from many, sometimes conflicting, cues. Using virtual reality and other immersive technologies, researchers are able to use new methods to investigate how we make sense of the word with sound.

Study about 'shock therapy' for depression suggests more patients should try it sooner

Right now, very few depression patients receive the treatment once known as 'shock therapy', which today uses far milder electrical impulses than decades ago.

Breakdown of brain's visual networks linked to mental illness

Individual regions of the brain have to team up to get things done. And like in any team, the key to working together is communication.

The joy of neurons: A simplified 'cookbook' for engineering brain cells to study disease

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have devised what they call a "neuronal cookbook" for turning skin cells into different types of neurons. As reported today in the journal Nature, the research opens the door to studying common brain conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, addiction and Alzheimer's disease under reproducible conditions in a dish.

Diverse Parkinson's-related disorders may stem from different strains of same protein

Different Parkinson's-related brain disorders, called synucleionpathies, are characterized by misfolded proteins embedded in cells. Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that the type of brain cell afflicted dictates which pathological form of α-synuclein (α-syn) protein becomes the disease culprit. The team's results were published this week in Nature.

Scientists use dietary seaweed to manipulate gut bacteria in mice

Gut bacteria thrive on the food we eat. In turn, they provide essential nutrients that keep us healthy, repel pathogens and even help guide our immune responses.

Lab-on-a-chip device mimics eye damage due to intense light

Houston Methodist researchers developed a new lab-on-a-chip technology that could quickly screen possible drugs to repair damaged neuron and retinal connections, like what is seen in people with macular degeneration or who've had too much exposure to the glare of electronic screens.

New tool predicts deadly form of rare cancer

Two patients with mycosis fungoides (MF) can appear to have identical diseases upon first diagnosis but can have radically different outcomes. MF in an unusual cancer of the T lymphocyte that begins in the skin rather than in the lymph nodes, with the first sign often being a rash. Most patients with MF, the most common type of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL), have a very slow-growing disease and often have normal life expectancies. But a subset of patients will develop an aggressive, deadly form of the disease that can spread throughout the skin and beyond, becoming untreatable. If identified early, patients with this aggressive form of MF may be eligible for a stem cell transplant to cure the disease, but once MF progresses and becomes treatment resistant, it is nearly impossible to achieve the complete remission required for a successful stem cell transplant.

Reprogrammed stem cell-derived neurons survive long-term in pigs with spinal cord injuries

A major hurdle to using neural stem cells derived from genetically different donors to replace damaged or destroyed tissues, such as in a spinal cord injury, has been the persistent rejection of the introduced material (cells), necessitating the use of complex drugs and techniques to suppress the host's immune response.

GPs deserve greater safety netting support

To support GPs to monitor patients with common, non-specific symptoms that could be cancer, a clearer understanding of which safety netting systems are most effective in practice is needed to enable active follow-up of low-risk-but-no-risk symptoms, recommends a team of Oxford University researchers.

Research reveals key factors to support quality of life in dementia

A robust research analysis has identified what factors can be targeted to support people to live as well as possible with dementia.

Does HPV vaccination prevent the development of cervical cancer?

New evidence published today in the Cochrane Library shows that human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines protect against cervical lesions in young women, particularly in those who are vaccinated between the ages of 15 and 26. It also summarizes findings on harms that have been assessed in randomized controlled trials.

Vaginal estradiol tablets outperform moisturizers when treating vulvovaginal problems

Sex shouldn't hurt at any age, yet 75% of postmenopausal women report vaginal dryness, and up to 40% report pain with intercourse. A new study reports that vaginal estradiol tablets just might be what's needed to relieve vulvovaginal problems and improve overall quality of life. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Judge orders cancer warning for coffee sold in California

A Los Angeles judge has held up a ruling ordering Starbucks and other roasters to carry a cancer warning label on coffee sold in California.

Basing everyday decisions on risk of pain or loss linked to increased anxiety

Scientists have shone new light on how the human brain uses past experiences and generalizes them to future events, helping us safely navigate the world around us, a study in eLife reveals.

PTSD may raise odds for irregular heartbeat

(HealthDay)—For reasons that aren't yet clear, people who battle PTSD may also be at heightened risk for the common heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation, researchers report.

Chilly, smoggy days may be hazardous for some women's hearts

(HealthDay)—Air pollution coupled with colder temperatures may deliver a double whammy to women's hearts, making them more prone to sudden cardiac death, a new study suggests.

Nurse's colleagues use the CPR he taught them to save his life

Nurse Michael Lovelace has been training his colleagues in high-quality CPR for more than three decades, including the past 16 years in the emergency department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital.

Blood pressure measurement mistakes can lead to misdiagnoses

It's a familiar scenario: You find yourself at the doctor's office, sitting on the edge of an exam table with your feet dangling inches above the floor. The nurse or medical assistant who seconds ago instructed you to sit now asks you questions about the reason for your visit—all while taking your blood pressure.

Regulatory requirements drive dissatisfaction with EHRs

(HealthDay)—Regulatory requirements are likely to be an important aspect of physician dissatisfaction with electronic health records (EHRs) that is driving burnout, according to an Ideas and Opinions piece published online May 8 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

FDA permits marketing of new device for treating GI bleeding

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the new Hemospray device to help control bleeding of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Major enhancement to in vitro testing of human liver-stage malaria

A newly developed technique allows researchers to more easily study malaria outside the human body during the earliest point of infection, the liver. The liver stage is significant as it precedes the parasite's ability to infect human blood, the point of which symptoms of malaria first appear.

Tracing the footprints of a tumor—genomic 'scars' allow cancer profiling

Mutations driving cancer development leave behind specific 'scars," so-called mutational signatures, in the genome. In principle, they allow for profiling of the cancer type and its development—but the noisy environment of a cancer genome makes correlations difficult. Using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, researchers at CeMM and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute were able to show for the first time that specific genetic alterations indeed lead to the predicted mutational signatures observed in human cancers.

Transitional methods for determining causes of death

Improved tools are under development for determining the causes of death in settings where medical examinations or post-mortem autopsies are not routinely conducted. The population-based approach, namely verbal autopsy using standardized interviews, including signs, symptoms and circumstances leading to death, conducted with the bereaved family, are becoming the best alternative in the more affluent parts of the world.

Type of maternal homework assistance affects child's persistence

Different types of maternal homework assistance have a different impact on the child's way of completing school assignments in grades two to four of elementary school, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyväskylä. Although homework assistance is intended to help the child, not all types of homework assistance lead to equally positive outcomes.

A new drug to help young patients with genetic obesity

In a new study, researchers from the Institute for Experimental Pediatric Endocrinology of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have successfully treated patients whose obesity is caused by a genetic defect. Aside from its beneficial effects on the patients, the researchers also provided insights into the fundamental signaling pathways regulating satiety of the new drug. The results of this research have been published in Nature Medicine.

Rheumatoid arthritis—new therapeutic approach suppresses joint inflammation

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic condition characterised by uncontrolled inflammation in the joints. It involves several types of immune cells, macrophages playing a particularly crucial role. Working as part of an international collaboration, researchers from MedUni Vienna's Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology have now discovered and characterised a new subgroup of macrophages, which can greatly suppress this inflammation. In combination with the conventional anti-inflammatory drug methotrexate, this could offer a completely new treatment option in the future. The study has now been published in leading journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Human MAIT cells sense the metabolic state of enteric bacteria

A little-explored group of immune cells plays an important role in the regulation of intestinal bacteria. Changing metabolic states of the microbes have an effect on defense cells at different stages of alert or rest, as researchers from the Department of Biomedicine at the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the journal Mucosal Immunology.

Facing adversity early in life linked with more physical pain in adulthood

Experiencing trauma as a child may influence how much pain an individual feels in adulthood, according to Penn State researchers. Gaining insight about who feels more pain and why is important as issues like the opioid crisis continue to escalate.

How older patients want to discuss health concerns

Nancy Schoenborn, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues went straight to the source and conducted three qualitative studies that put older adults at the forefront in order to gain a better understanding of if, and how, they prefer to discuss various health topics.

Sleep glasses help teenagers see the light

Bright light glasses have been shown to help sleep, and even bolster learning and cognitive skills in teenagers.

Gaps in patient care pathway may perpetuate high rates of sexually transmitted infections

There are gaps between best practice and documented management of patients diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in primary care, which may contribute to high rates of infection, new University of Otago research shows.

London cyclists feel paranoid road users are out to get them

A recent study published by researchers from Royal Holloway University of London and King's College London, has found that cyclists in the Capital feel paranoid that other drivers are out to get them when they are on the roads.

The preferred jobs of serial killers and psychopaths

The recent and startling arrest of the elusive Golden State Killer, aka the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Diamond Knot Killer/Visalia Ransacker/Early Bird Rapist in what was arguably the most vexing and disturbing constellation of interlinked cold cases in American history, has raised more questions than answers.

Research pinpoints indicators of attraction

How can you tell if someone likes you? New research led by University of Dayton associate professor of psychology R. Matthew Montoya helps answer that question by identifying a list of nonverbal behaviors to watch for—identified by the most comprehensive analysis ever.

1 in 9 young adults report having attempted suicide, 1 in 6 report self-harm

Researchers at the University of Glasgow report that 11.3 percent of young people report having attempted suicide and 16.2 percent report self-harm at some stage in their lives, according to a new study led by the University of Glasgow. 6.5 percent reported a history of both behaviours.

Interpersonal touch helps people evaluate mistakes

A loved one's touch might help people perform difficult mental tasks better and deal with setbacks more effectively, according to new research from the University of Dundee.

Finding a better way to identify children experiencing domestic violence

Around one in five children in the UK have been exposed to domestic violence or abuse between their parents or caregivers. When adults are involved in an abusive relationship, their children bear the consequences.

An interest rate rise may put thousands at risk of mental health problems

After nine years of interest rates below 1%, it seems imminent that the Bank of England will announce a rise before long. As pay growth picks up and inflation hits its 2% target, a rate rise would – it is argued – ward off potential risks of inflation in the medium term.

Why alcohol health warning labels are a good idea: findings from the latest Global Drug Survey

Drink-driving and drinking while pregnant are socially unacceptable in many countries, yet when it comes to other alcohol-related health risks, public awareness is low.

What asexuality can teach us about sexual relationships and boundaries

There is an expectation that everyone feels sexual attraction and sexual desire and that these feelings begin in adolescence. Assumptions about sex are everywhere – most of time we don't even notice them. Music videos, films, reality shows, advertising, video games, newspapers and magazines all use sexual content which supports the idea that sexuality, attraction and desire are normal. There is, however, a group of people that are challenging this sexual assumption, who identify as asexual.

Discrimination against fat people is so endemic, most of us don't even realise it's happening

When we think of prejudice and discrimination, most of us tend to think of overt attacks, harassment, or discriminatory behaviour. Blatant examples of prejudice do still occur with depressing frequency, but for most members of stigmatised groups, it is not these experiences that shape their daily lives. Rather, belonging to a socially stigmatised group means travelling through a world that is rife with multiple small, sometimes subtle or apparently inconsequential reminders of your devalued status, known as microaggressions.

Humour may not be so good for your health after all

There is a widely held belief that humour is good for your health. The benefits of humour and laughter are linked to every imaginable health outcome. It is claimed that a good old giggle can help reduce pain, boost the immune system, is good for the heart and lowers blood pressure.

Alignment of mother and offspring body clock could prevent diseases such as heart disease and obesity

The care provided by a mother can impact the body clock and health of offspring after birth, according to new research published in the Journal of Physiology. By reducing abnormalities in the body clock of offspring, it may be possible to develop therapies for serious lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart disease and obesity.

Stress helps unlearn fear

Stress can have a positive effect on extinction learning, which causes previously learned associations to dissolve. According to the findings of cognitive psychologists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, stress causes extinction learning to occur independent of context. This might prove useful for example in therapies for anxiety disorders. Dr. Shira Meir Drexler, Prof Dr. Oliver Wolf, and assistant professor Dr. Christian Merz from the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience in Bochum outline their findings in the journal Behavior Therapy.

Timing is crucial from the brain to the spinal cord

Just a slight movement of the hand is an intricate concert of interactions between nerve cells. For a signal from the brain to reach the spinal cord and then the muscle, different neuronal networks must find a common rhythm. Neurosurgeon Professor Alireza Gharabaghi and his team have broken down this complex process in a study at the University of Tübingen. A better understanding of such processes can help to develop new therapies for patients with hand paralysis. The findings were published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

People with OCD process emotions differently than their unaffected siblings

A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging reports that people with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) feel more distress when viewing images to provoke OCD-related emotions than their unaffected siblings. Although the unaffected siblings showed lower levels of distress, they had higher levels of brain activity in regions important for attention. The findings suggest that the family members may draw on additional brain resources to compensate for potential abnormalities in emotion regulation.

Getting health data sharing off the ground

To make progress in personalised medicine, researchers and doctors need access to health data. However, as a study by ETH researchers shows, comprehensive guidelines for the exchange of such data are lacking, being one of the primary factors why health data are still shared so infrequently.

Heart failure—the Alzheimer's disease of the heart?

Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

A hangover pill? Tests on drunk mice show promise

"Civilization begins with distillation," said William Faulkner, a writer and drinker. Although our thirst for alcohol dates back to the Stone Age, nobody has figured out a good way to deal with the ensuing hangover after getting drunk.

From the mouths of babes: Infants really enjoy hearing from their peers

Sorry, new moms and dads—even though your infants really do appreciate your squeaky coos, they would prefer to hear sounds from their peers—other babies.

New CAR T case study shows promise in acute myeloid leukemia

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy, also known as CAR T therapy, was named the biggest research breakthrough of 2017 by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The personal gene therapy utilizes a patient's own immune cells to fight cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has approved CAR T therapy products for adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and pediatric and young adults suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Now, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center are working to expand this revolutionary therapy to other cancers.

An AI oncologist to help cancer patients worldwide

Before performing radiation therapy, radiation oncologists first carefully review medical images of a patient to identify the gross tumor volume—the observable portion of the disease. They then design patient-specific clinical target volumes that include surrounding tissues, since these regions can hide cancerous cells and provide pathways for metastasis.

Experts call for safeguards if Medicaid work requirement policies prevail

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced controversial policies inviting states to establish work requirements as a condition to receive Medicaid, many in the medical community opposed it. Groups like the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association said the policies would create considerable health risks and financial harm among vulnerable populations and be at odds with efforts to address some of the country's biggest public health issues, like the opioid crisis.

Researcher identifies barriers impacting PrEP use among Latino gay and bisexual men

A new study led by a UTSA researcher examines the social perceptions of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication to prevent HIV, among gay and bisexual men in Texas.

Study may help explain racial disparities in prostate cancer

New research published in Molecular Oncology may help explain why African American men are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and a higher risk of dying from the disease compared with European American men.

Words matter: Stigmatizing language in medical records may affect the care a patient receives

A Johns Hopkins study found that physicians who use stigmatizing language in their patients' medical records may affect the care those patients get for years to come.

Mass vaccinations will not prevent Ebolavirus outbreaks, new research shows

Prophylactic mass vaccination programmes are not a realistic option in the battle to prevent new Ebolavirus outbreaks, a University of Kent-led research team has shown.

Study reveals challenges of menstrual hygiene management in emergencies

Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health with colleagues at the International Rescue Committee and 27 humanitarian organizations and agencies developed a toolkit to address the menstruation-related needs of girls and women fleeing disaster or conflict. A pilot-test of the toolkit gathered feedback from ?humanitarian experts as well as displaced girls and women in refugee camps in Tanzania. The findings showed that there remains a lack of effective, coordinated approaches for assisting vulnerable groups to manage their menstruation with dignity in challenging settings around the world, and that the menstrual management needs of girls and women in transit, such as those walking days to find shelter and arriving at borders, are particularly overlooked. The findings are published in the Journal of Humanitarian Action.

In-person training proves most effective method to educate laypeople in bleeding control

The most common cause of preventable death following traumatic injury is uncontrolled bleeding, and traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for Americans under 46. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital devised the PATTS Trial (Public Access and Tourniquet Training Study) to measure how effective different training methods are in preparing laypeople, the non-medical public, to control bleeding with a tourniquet and whether they could retain that skill. The findings are published this week in JAMA Surgery.

What helps adults with autism get and keep a job?

(HealthDay)—Adults with autism face many challenges, and one of the biggest is finding and keeping a job.

Meet Nao, the robot that helps treat kids with autism

(HealthDay)—It may seem counterintuitive, but a robot might help kids with autism interact better with humans.

Peds fasting duration not tied to adverse sedation outcomes

(HealthDay)—For children undergoing procedural sedation for a painful procedure, fasting duration is not associated with adverse events, according to a study published online May 7 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Women have stronger link between APOE-ε4, CSF tau levels

(HealthDay)—The correlation between the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene allele APOE-ε4 and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau levels is stronger among women than men, according to a study published online May 7 in JAMA Neurology.

Psychological therapies may help older adults with chronic pain

(HealthDay)—For older adults with chronic pain, psychological interventions have small benefits, including reducing pain and catastrophizing beliefs, according to a review published online May 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Lesbian, bisexual women may be more likely to develop diabetes due to stress

In a newly published study involving 94,250 women across the United States, researchers found that lesbian and bisexual (LB) women were more likely than heterosexual women to develop type 2 diabetes during the course of the 24-year study follow up.

Depression linked to memory problems and brain aging

Depression in older adults may be linked to memory problems, according to a study published in the May 9, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also showed that older people with greater symptoms of depression may have structural differences in the brain compared to people without symptoms.

Genetic counseling and testing proposed for patients with the brain tumor medulloblastoma

Researchers have identified six genes that predispose carriers to develop the brain tumor medulloblastoma and have used the discovery to craft genetic counseling and screening guidelines. The study appears today in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

Facebook app offers opportunity to help unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers via friendsourcing

Researchers at IUPUI have developed a Facebook app that, a study shows, offers a way to provide much-needed support to unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Operating on brain gliomas by detecting the 'glow'

Research by Barrow Neurological Institute physicians and University of Washington scientists on novel imaging technology for malignant brain tumors was published in the April issue of World Neurosurgery. The research was conducted by Drs. Evgenii Belykh and Mark Preul at the Barrow Neurological Institute Neurosurgery Research Laboratory with technology developed by Drs. Eric Seibel and Leonard Nelson from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Human Photonics Laboratory at the University of Washington.

Idle talk or fierce competition? Research finds women use gossip as a weapon in rivalries

New research from Florida State University, investigating how women use gossip to compete in the realm of romance, offers insights that aim to reduce bullying and enhance women's friendships.

Romaine lettuce outbreak update: 149 sick in 29 states

Four more states are reporting illnesses in a food poisoning outbreak linked to romaine lettuce.

Affected by the EpiPen shortage? Here's what to do

(HealthDay)—Production issues have made EpiPens hard to find in some areas of the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.

Women's pelvic floor surgery not always long-term fix

(HealthDay)—Surgery to repair so-called pelvic floor disorder often fails within five years—but many women still say the procedure improved their quality of life, a new study finds.

Mother of the bride survives heart attack on mother's day

Belinda Waggoner is the type of person who gives her all to everything she does.

Obesity might raise your risk for A-fib

(HealthDay)—Obese people are at increased risk for the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation, which can cause complications such as heart failure and stroke.

Many parents miss speech disorders in young kids

(HealthDay)—Many parents don't recognize the signs of speech and language problems in children, or don't know that early treatment is important, a new survey finds.

Neuroinflammation seen in spinal cord, nerve roots of patients with chronic sciatica

A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has found, for the first time in humans, that patients with chronic sciatica—back pain that shoots down the leg—have evidence of inflammation in key areas of the nervous system. In their paper published in the May issue of the journal Pain, the research team reports finding that average levels of a marker of neuroinflammation were elevated in both the spinal cord and the nerve roots of patients with chronic sciatica. Additionally, the study showed an association between neuroinflammation and response to anti-inflammatory steroid injections, with levels of neuroinflammation differing between those whose pain was and those whose pain was not relieved by steroid injection treatment.

Reallocating time between sleep, sedentary and active behaviours

Today's post comes from Rachel Colley (Senior Research Analyst in the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada), and describes a new paper released on April 18, 2018 looking at how time reallocations among sedentary behaviour, sleep, light-intensity movement and exercise are associated with health. The full article is available for free here. A brief summary of the article is also available here. This article has also been posted by the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network.

Snakebites gain global attention

Selvarasu, a coconut farmer in Erode, India, met his fate with a bite from a Russell's viper. With his life hanging in the balance, it wasn't until he reached a third and final hospital—some five hours away—where doctors with specialised training and access to effective antivenom and medical care saved his life. Although he survived, the envenoming rotted his leg tissue, leaving him permanently disabled and unable to climb and harvest his coconut trees. He must now pay a farmhand to do this work. At the same time, he struggles to repay loans he took out to cover the exorbitant treatment costs that saved his life. To keep his children in school and food on the table, he and his wife have had to sell their few remaining belongings and now face an uncertain future.

Sirtuin-1 levels linked to lupus

The Cardiometabolic and Kidney Risk Research Group, in collaboration with the Genomic and Genetic Diagnosis Unit of the Health Research Institute of Valencia's Hospital Clínico, INCLIVA, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Valencia University and the Hospital Clínico's Internal Medicine Department, have proven that the levels of messenger RNA and proteins of the enzyme Sirtuin-1 in urine are associated with the activity and characteristics of the lupus that affects kidneys, known as lupus nephritis.

104-year-old Australian breaks into joyful song as he awaits death

A 104-year-old Australian scientist burst into song Wednesday as he told a roomful of journalists that he was looking forward to finally being allowed to end his life.

Outcry in France over woman's death after scorned emergency call

French prosecutors opened an inquiry Wednesday into the death of a young woman just hours after her distress call to emergency services was mocked by the operator, prompting a public outcry and renewed calls for more funding for health services.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in food

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a germ that occurs naturally in the gut of mammals and birds, as well as in the human intestinal flora. However, certain E. coli types can cause severe diarrhea in humans. These virulent E. coli types include Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC),also known as Verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC).

Kenya's flying doctors group awarded top Spanish prize

Amref Health Africa, a Kenya-based flying doctors group, was awarded on Wednesday Spain's prestigious Princess of Asturias award for international cooperation for their efforts "to respond to the needs of millions of people on the African continent".

New study demonstrates toll of anxiety on bone health

Anxiety has already been shown to take its toll on the human body in many ways, including increased risk for heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders. Now a new study demonstrates how anxiety levels are linked to an increased risk of bone fractures in postmenopausal women. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Integrative group examines the ethical fit of mindfulness in corporate America

An invited commentary for JACM (The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine) from leaders of the Osher Collaborative for Integrative Medicine raises challenging questions begged by the rapid uptake of mindfulness practices in corporate America, given the potential conflicts between prioritizing shareholder return and mindfulness' philosophical commitment to "non-harm and wholesome living."

'The consciousness instinct'—New book examines the mystery of how the brain makes the mind

Despite massive breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience over the last century, one area continues to baffle both scientists and philosophers: How do molecules, cells, neurotransmitters and other brain "stuff" create the abstract experience of self-awareness?

Restaurant appetizers that make great main dishes

(HealthDay)—Ordering an appetizer rather than an entree can be the answer to enjoying restaurant meals without busting your calorie budget.

UK makes it harder for officials to get patient data

Britain's government says it has modified a controversial data-sharing agreement that allowed officials to track down people who might have broken immigration rules based on information collected by doctors.

University of Michigan professor, graduate work together to empower Sudanese women

South Sudanese women have among the highest fertility rates and maternal death rates in the world, yet cultural norms still frown upon contraceptives—even to make pregnancy and birth safer for women.

For stroke victims, brain magnetic stimulation leads to improved walking speed

A technique of magnetic stimulation of the brain can increase walking speed in patients who are undergoing rehabilitation after a stroke, reports a research update in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, the official journal of the Association of Academic Physiatrists.

Increased understanding points to new approaches for PTSD prevention and treatment

Recent advances in scientific understanding of how posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops and persists may lead to more effective treatment and even prevention of this debilitating disorder, according to the May/June special issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Biology news

Microbes are savvy when contributing to the common good

Microbes vary their contribution to a community to maximise the return on their investment according to a new study led by UCL and the University of Bath.

Rapid evolution fails to save butterflies from extinction in face of human-induced change

The evolution of wild species, adapting them to human management practices, can cause localised extinctions when those practices rapidly change. And in a new study published in Nature, Professors Michael C. Singer and Camille Parmesan have used more than 30 years of research to fully document an example of this process.

Voltage loss in electrically conductive bacteria

An international research group has shed new light on cable bacteria. Using laser light, researchers have followed electrons as they travel through the current-conducting bacteria, and on the basis of the electrical potential in the bacteria, they have calculated that the bacteria cannot function efficiently at depths exceeding 3 cm into the sediment due to voltage loss.

When lipids meet hormones—plants' answer to complex stresses

Unlike animals, plants can't run away when things get bad. That can be the weather changing or a caterpillar starting to slowly munch on a leaf. Instead, they change themselves inside, using a complex system of expand iconhormones, to adapt to challenges.

Animals bred in captivity found to undergo internal physical changes

A team of researchers from the University of Wollongong and the University of New South Wales has found that some wild animals undergo internal physical changes when bred in captivity. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes experiments they conducted on captive mice and what they found.

Researcher uses 'shotgun sequencing' to study microorganisms

The rice genome. The grape genome. The original human genome project. You name it, Bonnie Hurwitz probably worked on it in her 12 years as a computational biologist in industry, where she combined her loves for genomics and computer programming.

Leafcutter ants' success due to more than crop selection

A complex genetic analysis has biologists re-evaluating some long-held beliefs about the way societies evolved following the invention of agriculture—by six-legged farmers.

Climate change may even threaten one of the world's most resilient lizards

Sporting a bright red-and-yellow dewlap under its chin, the color-changing Bahamian anole lizard is a popular exotic pet. This wily anole has escaped captivity on enough occasions to successfully invade large areas across the Western Hemisphere. At first glance, this suggests that the anole is well-suited to adapt to a changing climate. But a new study led by a Smithsonian researcher, suggests that may not be the case.

For lemurs, size of forest fragments may be more important than degree of isolation

Occurrence probability of three lemur species in tropical dry forest increases with fragment size but can increase or decrease with fragment isolation depending on the species, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Travis Steffens and Shawn Lehman from University of Toronto, Canada.

White shark researchers tap data from electronic tags to gain insights into survival rates

The study, "Juvenile survival, competing risks, and spatial variation in mortality risk of a marine apex predator," published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, confirms that unintentional capture in fishing gear (bycatch) is the greatest cause of death for young white sharks, a protected species in both Mexico and the United States.

Leopard meals—females go for diversity

Leopards, top predators of the African savannah, are known to feed on a variety of prey species. These include smaller and medium-sized mammals such as impala, gemsbok, kudus and warthogs, but they also target relatively small "appetizers" such as hares.

From drone swarms to tree batteries, new tech is revolutionising ecology and conservation

Understanding Earth's species and ecosystems is a monumentally challenging scientific pursuit. But with the planet in the grip of its sixth mass extinction event, it has never been a more pressing priority.

Birds wearing backpacks trace a path to conservation

With the arrival of spring, we look forward to the return of hundreds of species of migratory songbirds from their wintering grounds.

Darwin's finches—where did they actually come from?

In 1835, Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands and discovered a group of birds that would shape his groundbreaking theory of natural selection. Darwin's Finches are now well-known as a textbook example of animal evolution. But just where did a species synonymous with the discovery of evolution come from? A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances presents some of the best models to date on where these birds actually originated.

Stowaway rats eradicated from British island territory of South Georgia

Two centuries after rats first landed on the British overseas territory of South Georgia on board sealing and whaling ships, a team of conservationists on Wednesday declared the island rodent-free.

Breeding benefits when love bites wombats on the butt

Monitoring wombats for behaviours such as pacing and rump biting could help conservation efforts by increasing the success of captive breeding.

Allen Integrated Cell released online

The Allen Institute for Cell Science today launched the first predictive and comprehensive, 3D model of a live human cell, the Allen Integrated Cell. By allowing researchers around the world to see many structures inside a living cell together at the same time, the Allen Integrated Cell provides a baseline for understanding cells and studying human disease models.

In Japan-China ties, ibis outreach but no panda diplomacy

China has famously used its cuddly panda bears as a diplomatic tool, but to mark warming ties with Japan it is offering a distinctly more angular gift: two crested ibises.

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