Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jun 27

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Spotlight Stories Headlines

Research shows graphene forms electrically charged crinkles

Astronomers investigate type IIP supernova with a long plateau

At any point in life, people spend their time in 25 places

Scientists find evidence of complex organic molecules from Enceladus

First malaria-human contact mapped with Nobel Prize-winning technology

'Ring around bathtub' at giant volcano field shows movement of subterranean magma

Scientists find a link between cancer and aging inside our cells

Experimental drug combined with radiation kills brain tumors in pre-clinical studies

The rockets that are pushing the boundaries of space travel

Japan space probe reaches asteroid in search for origin of life

New 'promiscuous' enzyme helps turn plant waste into sustainable products

Asymmetric plasmonic antennas deliver femtosecond pulses for fast optoelectronics

Blockade at the receptor

Relational mobility may influence your interpersonal behaviors

Sandbox craters reveal secrets of planetary splash marks and lost meteorites

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers investigate type IIP supernova with a long plateau

Astronomers have investigated a type IIP supernovae known as SN 2015ba, which exhibits a long plateau in its light curve. The new study provides essential information about the properties of this explosion and could be helpful in improving our understanding of type IIP supernovae. The research is presented in a paper published June 14 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Scientists find evidence of complex organic molecules from Enceladus

Using mass spectrometry data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists found that large, carbon-rich organic molecules are ejected from cracks in the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus. Southwest Research Institute scientists think chemical reactions between the moon's rocky core and warm water from its subsurface ocean are linked to these complex molecules.

The rockets that are pushing the boundaries of space travel

Friday morning at 5:42 am (0942 GMT), a rocket owned by the US company SpaceX will blast off from Florida carrying two and a half tons of gear from NASA, only to dock three days later and 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth at the International Space Station.

Japan space probe reaches asteroid in search for origin of life

A Japanese probe has reached an asteroid 300 million kilometres away to collect information about the birth of the solar system and the origin of life after a more than three-year voyage through deep space.

Sandbox craters reveal secrets of planetary splash marks and lost meteorites

Every day, Earth is constantly bombarded by about 100 tons of falling objects from space, mostly simple dust or sand-sized particles that are destroyed as they hit the upper atmosphere. But very rarely, a piece large enough to survive the intense heat of entry manages to fall all the way down to the Earth's surface, where its galactic journey ends with a bump.

Grease in space

The galaxy is rich in grease-like molecules, according to an Australian-Turkish team. Astronomers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney (UNSW), and Ege University in Turkey used a laboratory to manufacture material with the same properties as interstellar dust and used their results to estimate the amount of 'space grease' found in the Milky Way. Their results appear in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Comet or asteroid? Scientists ID interstellar visitor

Last year's visitor from another star system—a cigar-shaped object briefly tumbling through our cosmic neck of the woods—has now been identified as a comet.

More delay, cost for NASA's next-generation space telescope

NASA has delayed the launch of its next-generation space telescope—again.

Mars' surface hardened quickly, boosting odds of life: study

The crust that encases rocky planets and makes possible the emergence of life took shape on Mars earlier than thought and at least 100 million years sooner than on Earth, researchers said Wednesday.

Eight ethical questions about exploring outer space that need answers

Metallic shrapnel flying faster than bullets; the Space Shuttle smashed to pieces; astronauts killed or ejected into space. The culprit? Space debris – remnants of a Russian satellite blown up by a Russian missile. The one survivor, Ryan Stone, has to find her way back to Earth with oxygen supplies failing and the nearest viable spacecraft hundreds of miles away.

Image: Sterilising an antenna for Mars

A ground penetrating radar antenna for ESA's ExoMars 2020 rover being pre-cleaned in an ultra-cleanroom environment in preparation for its sterilisation process, in an effort to prevent terrestrial microbes coming along for the ride to the red planet.

Twelfth impact structure discovered in Central Finland

A Finnish-Estonian scientific collaboration by Geological Survey of Finland, University of Tartu, and University of Helsinki has led to a discovery of ancient meteorite impact crater in Central Finland. The crater has a diameter of 2.6 km and it is covered by the Lake Summasjärvi (Summanen), about 9 km south-east of the nearest city, Saarijärvi, and 275 km north of Helsinki. The age of the impact event and the type of the meteorite causing the crater, are still unknown.

Technology news

Low-cost prosthetic foot mimics natural walking

Prosthetic limb technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, giving amputees a range of bionic options, including artificial knees controlled by microchips, sensor-laden feet driven by artificial intelligence, and robotic hands that a user can manipulate with her mind. But such high-tech designs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, making them unattainable for many amputees, particularly in developing countries.

Google prepping its Duplex bot for a summer rollout

When Google first introduced its phone-calling digital concierge Duplex in May, some thought it sounded too human. Others worried that it would secretly record calls with people.

Rough terrain? No problem for beaver-inspired autonomous robot

Autonomous robots excel in factories and other manmade spaces, but they struggle with the randomness of nature.

WPA3 security protocol will keep Wi-Fi connections safer

Networking experts who would like to see wireless vulnerabilities swept away can enjoy the good news that Wi-Fi security has taken on next-gen status, after 14 too-long years to the contrary.

Facebook, Google 'manipulate' users to share data despite EU law: study

Facebook and Google are pushing users to share private information by offering "invasive" and limited default options despite new EU data protection laws aimed at giving users more control and choice, a government study said Wednesday.

Personalized 'deep learning' equips robots for autism therapy

Children with autism spectrum conditions often have trouble recognizing the emotional states of people around them—distinguishing a happy face from a fearful face, for instance. To remedy this, some therapists use a kid-friendly robot to demonstrate those emotions and to engage the children in imitating the emotions and responding to them in appropriate ways.

Huawei executive warns Australia risks economy with 5G ban

Australia could damage its economic future if it bans Huawei from the nation's next-generation mobile network technology, the Chinese telecommunication giant's Australian boss said on Wednesday.

Airbnb, Uber woes show Japan does not share easily

Thousands of Airbnb reservations scrapped, Uber reduced to delivering food: life is hard in Japan for giants of the sharing economy, stuck between tough regulation and popular suspicion.

Twitter to confirm new accounts in spam fight

Twitter on Tuesday said it will begin asking for email addresses or phone numbers to confirm new accounts as part of a battle against manipulation, particularly by automated bots.

Robotics Barbie aims to inspire young scientists

An inspirational new version of Barbie will encourage young girls to embark on careers in engineering and the sciences, the iconic doll's manufacturer Mattel said on Tuesday.

Facebook eases ban on cryptocurrency ads

Facebook said Tuesday it was easing a ban on ads for cryptocurrencies while keeping a prohibition on initial coin offerings to raise assets.

NASA technologies significantly reduce aircraft noise

A series of NASA flight tests has successfully demonstrated technologies that achieve a significant reduction in the noise generated by aircraft and heard by communities near airports.

Amazon Alexa devices in hotels raise privacy concerns for some

Amazon recently announced a program called Alexa for Hospitality, bringing its digital voice assistant to hotels and vacation rentals. The devices will likely make requesting services more convenient, but some people have privacy concerns.

Manufacturing process provides low-cost, sustainable option for food packaging

Purdue University researchers have developed a large-scale manufacturing process that may change the way some grocery store foods are packaged.

As solar energy makes headlines, apartment dwellers find sustainability options

Kelly T. Sanders takes short showers. Whenever possible, she avoids turning on the air conditioner. And she hasn't owned a car in years.

Tiny sensors may avert earthquake damage, track sonar danger, 'listen' to pipelines

Could a few seconds of warning be enough to mitigate the devastation of an impending earthquake? Tiny sensors being developed in a Simon Fraser University lab could help to give a pre-emptive head's up, enough to secure critical infrastructure, such as bridges or power lines, and potentially save lives.

Vertical retirement villages are on the rise, and they're high-tech too

It is no secret people are living longer, thanks to advances in medical technology. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts we are approaching a point of breaking even – where for every year lived, science can extend lifespans by at least that much. And more than 80% of Kurzweil's predictions have so far proved correct.

Facebook halts production of drones for internet delivery

Facebook is ending a program launched in 2014 to build a fleet of drones that could deliver internet to underserved areas of the world.

First Rwandan-made Volkswagen rolls off assembly line

The first Rwandan-made Volkswagen car rolled off the assembly line on Wednesday at the country's first auto factory.

Togo launches new energy scheme with focus on renewables

The Togo government on Wednesday launched a new energy policy that aims to provide universal access to electricity in the small west African country by 2030.

Lyft value jumps to $15.1 billion in new funding round

Smartphone-summoned ride service Lyft on Tuesday announced it is raising $600 million in a funding round that values the Uber competitor at $15.1 billion.

Air New Zealand fined in Australia air cargo cartel case

Air New Zealand was Wednesday fined Aus$15 million (US$11 million) by an Australian court for its part in a global air cargo cartel involving major international airlines.

Broadcasters are World Cup losers owing to piracy trend in Africa

Blaise has a beer in his hand, he's in front of a TV screen showing the World Cup, and the smile on his face suggests life doesn't get much better than this.

Rent-a-captain: S. Africa plugs global pilot shortage

The next time you stow your tray table, fasten your seatbelt and prepare for take-off, there's a good chance your pilot could be South African.

World's first green energy storage demonstrator

The world's first green energy storage demonstrator is now live in the UK and has brought carbon-free fuel, that can be stored or transported for later use, a step closer.

Volkswagen to stash cars at Berlin's problem airport

Car giant Volkswagen will stock cars awaiting strict new emissions tests at Berlin's under-construction airport, combining the German national embarrassments of the carmaker's "dieselgate" scandal and the much-delayed travel hub.

New coal doesn't stack up – just look at Queensland's renewable energy numbers

As the federal government aims to ink a deal with the states on the National Energy Guarantee in August, it appears still to be negotiating within its own ranks. Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has reportedly told his partyroom colleagues that he would welcome a new coal-fired power plant, while his former colleague (and now Queensland Resources Council chief executive) Ian Macfarlane urged the government to consider offering industry incentives for so-called "clean coal."

IBM to release world's largest facial analytics dataset

Society is paying more attention than ever to the question of bias in artificial intelligence systems, and particularly those used to recognize and analyze images of faces. At IBM, we are taking the following actions to ensure facial recognition technology is built and trained responsibly:

Big Data mining for better contact centre performance

Customers generally frustrated with the experience of reaching out to contact centres may finally get to change their mind, thanks to a Big Data mining solution brought by the BISON project.

A big data platform to take on the EU's seven societal challenges

Big Data is such a huge change for businesses that it can easily seem overwhelming. The BigDataEurope project meets interested companies half way by providing an integrated stack of tools to manipulate, publish and use large-scale data resources.

VRE4EIC releases video tutorials on how to build virtual research environments

VRE4EIC, an H2020 European research project, has released a series of video tutorials. Short online videos explain how to build a virtual research environment (VRE) or to enhance an existing VRE.

Sweltering Europe loses its fizz as CO2 shortage hits drinkers

It's peak season for bars and barbecues in Europe as a summer heatwave coincides with the World Cup on TV. So probably not the best time for drinks companies to be running out of the gas that puts the fizz into beer and sodas.

Ticketmaster UK says customer info may have been stolen

Ticketmaster UK says personal information and credit card data from customers in Britain and other countries may have been stolen in a security breach.

Disney clears hurdle for Fox tie-up with US regulator approval (Update)

Walt Disney's proposed mega-deal with 21st Century Fox moved a step closer to reality Wednesday as US regulators conditionally cleared the tie-up which could reshape the media-entertainment landscape.

Medicine & Health news

Experimental drug combined with radiation kills brain tumors in pre-clinical studies

A new study led by scientists at VCU Massey Cancer Center has shown that an experimental drug known as AZ32 selectively sensitizes brain tumors to radiation and significantly extends the survival of mouse models with human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadly form of brain cancer. Published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the study builds on the research of principal investigator Kristoffer Valerie, Ph.D., and has paved the way for a phase 1 clinical trial testing a similar but more effective experimental drug, AZ1390, in combination with radiation therapy for the treatment of brain cancer. An accompanying study on AZ1390 that Valerie co-authored was recently published in Science Advances.

Blockade at the receptor

When chlamydia attacks the human body, the immune system activates. But the bacteria are adapted to defend themselves. Scientists from Würzburg have deciphered new details of their strategy.

Freedom from fear: dopamine's role in unlearning fearful associations

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science have discovered a circuit in the brain that is necessary for unlearning fear. Published in Nature Communications, the study details the role of dopamine in ensuring that rats lose fear response in the prolonged absence of the stimulus.

Don't let depression keep you from exercising

Exercise may be just as crucial to a depression patient's good health as finding an effective antidepressant.

Drug protects neurons in Parkinson's disease

Systemic treatment of animal models with israpidine, a calcium channel inhibitor, reduced mitochondrial stress that might cause Parkinson's disease, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Immunotherapy drug for skin disease could boost hormone treatment for prostate cancer

A new form of immunotherapy reactivates the response to hormone treatment in advanced prostate cancer, a study in mice and human prostate cancer cells has found.

Two teams independently tease out gene expression patterns in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes using RNA sequencing

Two teams working independently of each other have found that it is possible to tease out gene expression patterns in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes using single-cell RNA sequencing. The first team, based in Australia, sequenced lymphocytes that had infiltrated breast cancer tumors. The second team, based in China, did the same with lymphocytes that had infiltrated lung cancer tumors and surrounding tissue. Both teams describe their findings and results in the journal Nature Medicine.

Two gene mutations transform harmless bacteria into a strain that could cause major epidemics

Since 2013, a new strain of meningococcal bacteria has spread rapidly in Niger and Nigeria, leading to large-scale outbreaks of meningitis. Analysis of the genetic material shows that with just two gene mutations, harmless bacteria transform into a strain that could cause major epidemics in these two countries.

New study finds preference for children to cradle dolls on left is indicator of social cognitive abilities

Children who cradle dolls on the left show higher social cognitive abilities than those who do not, according to new research from City, University of London.

Your brain with a migraine

When migraine sufferers see the tell-tale squiggly lines, light flashes and blind spots of a migraine aura, they prepare for a migraine. When researchers see the brain image of an aura, they try to figure out what causes it and if there is a way to stop the start of the migraine. Now an international team of researchers has identified the electrical activity specific to the start of migraines and demonstrated a way to stop it in animal experiments.

Sounds of moving objects change perceptions of body size

Sound and object motion can be used to change perceptions about body size, according to a new study by an international team involving UCL researchers.

Change in brain cells linked to opiate addiction, narcolepsy

Two discoveries—one in the brains of people with heroin addiction and the other in the brains of sleepy mice—shed light on chemical messengers in the brain that regulate sleep and addiction, UCLA researchers say.

Genetically humanized mice could boost fight against aggressive hepatitis

Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) causes the most aggressive form of viral hepatitis in humans, putting at least 20 million people worldwide at risk of developing liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Efforts to develop effective treatments against HDV have been hampered by the fact that laboratory mice are not susceptible to the virus. But, in a study published June 27, 2018, in the journal Science Translational Medicine, Alexander Ploss and colleagues describe a genetically humanized mouse that can be persistently infected with HDV.

Researchers identify key protein involved in triggering inflammation

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a protein that is crucial for activating inflammation—both the good kind of inflammation that leads to healing wounds and fighting infection, as well as excessive inflammation where the immune system can damage tissues and organs. The protein—an ion channel that spans the membrane of immune cells—presents a new target for the development of drugs that can restrain overblown inflammatory responses. The researchers report their findings in the journal Immunity.

Fatigue is a common but underestimated symptom of endometriosis

Fatigue is a common but underestimated symptom of endometriosis, according to findings from an international study of over 1100 women, published today in Human Reproduction , one of the world's leading reproductive medicine journals.

New diagnosis method could help spot head and neck cancers earlier

Oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) are the most common head and neck cancers, but are often diagnosed late.

War, lack of democracy, urbanisation contribute to double burden of malnutrition in adolescents in developing countries

A new study from the University of Warwick blames macro-level factors for the double burden of malnutrition among adolescents in developing countries.

Human insulin as safe and effective to treat type 2 diabetes as costlier insulin analogs

Patients with Type 2 diabetes who were treated with the newer generation of insulin analog drugs did not have substantially better outcomes than those treated with less costly human insulin, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers and colleagues at Kaiser Permanente.

Progress toward improved Wilson's disease drug

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), working in collaboration with DepYmed Inc., a CSHL spinout company, today report that they have conducted promising preclinical experiments on a compound that could be used to treat Wilson's disease and possibly other disorders—including certain types of cancer—in which levels of copper in the body are elevated, causing or contributing to pathology.

Student-run mental health education efforts may improve college mental health climate

Getting college students to engage with peer-run organizations that focus on mental health awareness can improve college students' knowledge about mental health, reduce stigma and may play an important role in improving the campus climate toward mental health, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Carbohydrates in infant formula shape gut metabolites profile

The risk of preterm infants developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is higher when they are fed formula than when they feed on breast milk. Of the many reasons why breast milk protects preterm infants from this serious condition better than formula, not all of them are well understood. In a study published in the journal Microbiome, a team of researchers at the USDA-ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, and the Mead Johnson Pediatric Nutrition Institute report an association between the type of carbohydrates in formula; the products of metabolism or metabolites; and the risk of NEC in a piglet model of the human condition. The researchers suggest that further study of the metabolite profiles could provide a better understanding of the development of the disease and potentially lead to improved treatments.

Can older, frail patients benefit from 'prehabilitation' before heart surgery?

High risk, frail heart patients might derive benefits from "prehabilitation," a strategy designed to enhance the recovery process after heart surgery by maintaining or improving the patient's overall physical and mental status before surgery, according to a group of eminent cardiac specialists writing in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. The authors reviewed the current evidence regarding the benefits of prehabilitation and described two ongoing Canadian randomized controlled trials, examining prehabilitation in vulnerable heart disease patients.

70K opioid-related deaths likely went unreported due to incomplete death certificates

Several states are likely dramatically underestimating the effect of opioid-related deaths because of incomplete death certificate reporting, with Pennsylvania leading the pack, according to a new analysis by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Young binge drinkers may have higher heart risks

Young adults who frequently binge drink were more likely to have certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease than non-binge drinkers, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Protein catch-22: Unravelling the roles of ataxin-2 in health and disease

Thousands of people took the Ice Bucket Challenge, a sensation in the summer of 2014. Participants were filmed dumping buckets of ice-cold water on their heads and challenging their friends to do the same. Challenged participants had 24 hours to comply or refuse, and thus forfeit a charitable financial donation. The point of the ice bucket challenge was to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease afflicting an increasing number of people around the world. The event raised over $100 million U.S.

Fireworks are fun for the eyes, dangerous for the ears, says audiology expert

Fireworks displays are an American summertime tradition, but while the spectacular colorful displays are visually pleasing, a Purdue University audiology instructor says the loud booms that accompany them are a problem for the ears.

Researchers show how the spatial organization of a nerve cell influences how its processes degenerate

During the development of the human nervous system, billions of nerve cells connect in order to communicate with each another. To this end, they use axons and dendrites. Wrongly matched processes, or those which are no longer needed, degenerate in the course of development. This degeneration is highly specific, as it affects only the part of a process that is no longer needed. But how do nerve cells determine which part of the axons or dendrites to degenerate and which to preserve?

Substance in grapes prevents agglomeration of a mutant protein that leads to cancer

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) have made a discovery that could lead to the development of a treatment against more than half of breast cancer cases. Using resveratrol, a bioactive compound found in grapes and red wine, scientists were able for the first time to inhibit the agglomeration of mutant versions of the p53 protein, a structure present in about 60 percent of tumors, and to prevent migration and proliferation of breast cancer cells.

Researchers engineer T cells to recognize tumor-specific expression patterns, enhancing tumor response

The advent and advancement of T cell therapy, especially chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells, has demonstrated therapeutic potential in treating previously treatment-resistant tumors. However, few CAR targets are absolutely tumor-specific, resulting in "on-target, off-tumor" toxicities that can be severe. Researchers in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital and Houston Methodist have found a new way to ensure that engineered T cells can reliably discriminate between normal and malignant cells. This was achieved by modifying T cells to express a trio of molecules designed to recognize a pattern of antigens that are present, in combination, only on tumor cells. When tested in preclinical studies, these engineered T cells exhibited enhanced anti-tumor activity and selectivity, without side effects. The study appears in Cancer Discovery.

Men with migraine may have higher estrogen levels

While it has been known that estrogen plays a role in migraine for women, new research shows that the female sex hormone may also play a role in migraine for men, according to a small study published in the June 27, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Some seniors entering long-term care homes too soon, says expert

With seniors now outnumbering children in Canada, an increasing number of families are caring for aging loved ones. Often, this involves difficult decisions about whether to place an elderly relative or loved one in a care facility. UBC faculty of medicine's Dr. Roger Wong, the executive associate dean, education and clinical professor in the division of geriatric medicine, believes that some seniors are entering facilities too soon. In a recent TEDx talk, he argued technology can go a long way to helping seniors lead independent, healthy lives—even in the face of early dementia.

Refining standards of maternal-fetal care

Even though human life begins small, the importance of providing the best of care for an expectant mother and her unborn child is monumental. Nowhere is this more evident than within Northwestern Medicine, where Prentice Women's Hospital can accommodate some 13,600 births annually. Prentice and next-door neighbor Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago together treat more than 2,000 of the most fragile of infants in neonatal intensive care each year.

Women's nipples at odds with evolutionary biology

The nipples of women are far more varied than those of men, according to an unusual study published this week that challenges a widely held view among evolutionary biologists.

Patients could be spared life-long leukaemia treatment, clinical trial finds

People with a slow developing type of blood cancer may be able to safely come off 'life-long' daily treatment in the future and remain free from cancer, the latest results from a University of Liverpool clinical trial suggest.

Professor developing device to administer cancer drug

A new device under development by a nuclear engineering professor will allow doctors to dispense accurate dosages of a drug made with actinium-225, an isotope that has been shown to be effective in treating—and curing—myeloid leukemia.

With gene editing, researchers cure blood disorder in fetal mice

With the combined efforts of three Yale laboratories, researchers conducted the first demonstration of site-specific gene editing in a fetus, correcting a mutation that causes a severe form of anemia.

Stopping epidemics in their tracks

Science and technology have the potential to stop future epidemics in their tracks, says Tanja Stadler. But this requires better collaboration between scientists and the authorities.

Rethinking existing method opens new doors for cancer diagnostics

All diseases have a genetic component. Advances in understanding the genetic mechanisms behind these disease enables the development of early diagnostic tests, new treatments, or interventions to prevent disease onset or minimize disease severity. However, much remains to be learned when it comes to the extent to which genes contribute to disease.

New regulator of neuron formation identified

The protein NEK7 regulates neuron formation, as it is required for dendrite growth and branching, as well as the formation and shaping of dendritic spines. These are the main conclusions of a study published in Nature Communications and led by Jens Lüders at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Barcelona and the Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona (IBMB-CSIC).

How gardening can improve the mental health of refugees

After spending many years living in refugee camps, gardening can provide a safe space to establish identity, rebuild lives and attain happiness.

New antibiotic approved for drug-resistant infections

A new antibiotic, developed with support from Wellcome, has been approved for patient use in the US.

New research casts doubt on myth that consuming dark chocolate helps people with muscle damage

The various health benefits from consuming dark chocolate are highly researched with claims that the antioxidants it contains can help people recover from a tough workout. But research from a University of Huddersfield student, studying Sports and Exercise Nutrition, has concluded it has no significant effect on a woman's muscle recovery post-exercise, posing a need for further research.

New study sheds light on how deadly genetic diseases may be inherited

A new study has shed light on how deadly genetic diseases may be inherited, according to research published today (27/06/2018) from a project led by the University of Birmingham, Imperial College London and European collaborators in the journal Nature Communications.

How opioid addiction alters our brains to want more

At a hearing on Capitol Hill earlier this year, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander asked an important question: Why is most of the treatment for opioid addiction more opioids?

How does your body 'burn' fat?

Many of us may be considering "burning some fat" so we feel better in our bathing suits out on the beach or at the pool. What does that actually mean, though?

Study shows blood test can differentiate between Zika and dengue

A new study from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine shows that, depending on the interpretation criteria, serological tests can distinguish recent Zika infections in areas where dengue is endemic.

Vacation time recharges US workers, but positive effects vanish within days, new survey finds

Taking time off helps the majority of U.S. workers recover from stress and experience positive effects that improve their well-being and job performance, but for nearly two-thirds of working adults, the benefits of time away dissipate within a few days, according to a survey released by the American Psychological Association.

Singapore may send back unvaccinated foreign travellers

Singapore may start turning back foreign visitors who do not have required vaccinations, authorities said, in a bid to protect the tightly-controlled country from infectious diseases.

Researchers find little association between suicide and hypoxia

Following an extensive analysis of published studies, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that while suicide rates are higher at higher altitudes, they are unlikely caused by hypoxia, (low oxygen) at these elevations.

When it comes to gonorrhea, gender matters

The World Health Organization estimates that 78 million people worldwide are infected with gonorrhea each year. Men with infections tend to have obvious symptoms while women are often asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms. In both men and women, the infection usually clears with antibiotic treatment.

Study finds new measure for stress in overtrained athletes

With many recreational triathletes and runners ramping up their training in hopes of getting a personal best this summer, a new measure of stress in the body demonstrates that more isn't better when it comes to endurance sport training.

Fit at midlife may mean healthier brain, stronger heart later

(HealthDay)—If you're fit in middle age, you might be guarding against not only depression as a senior, but also dying from heart disease if you do develop depression, a new study suggests.

Smart steps for a safe nursery

(HealthDay)—Getting a nursery ready for a new baby can be a lot of fun, but keep in mind these important considerations to make it a safe haven.

How to head off an ice cream headache

(HealthDay)—Slow down and savor your ice cream sundae or smoothie—it's the best way to prevent the dreaded head pain commonly known as "brain freeze."

Clotting time in transfemoral PCI linked to bleeding risk

(HealthDay)—Higher maximal activated clotting time (ACT) is associated with a greater risk of major bleeding after transfemoral (TF) percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) than after transradial (TR) PCI, according to a study published in June in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.

Intervention programs prevent diabetes distress in teens

Intervention programs that start before psychological symptoms develop can prevent diabetes distress (DD) in teens with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

Missed opportunities for HIV diagnosis among those at risk

(HealthDay)—Considerable numbers of men who have sex with men (MSM) and persons who inject drugs (PWID) who are unaware of their HIV infection report missed opportunities for diagnosis, according to a research letter published online June 26 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Decline in medicare patients who die in acute care hospitals

(HealthDay)—Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries were less likely to die in acute care hospitals in 2015 than in 2000, according to a study published online June 25 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers discover antidepressant could be a promising treatment for Primary Biliary Cholangitis

Gail Wright considered herself healthy. She had no idea she had a chronic liver disease. "I was at a routine check-up and my doctor said my liver enzymes were elevated. I was sent to a specialist but I wasn't too worried. I didn't have any symptoms."

Lipid species offer insights into metabolic health

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and high triglyceride levels in the blood are cited as just one of several risk factors. Millions of lipid panels, blood tests that look at cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides, are performed in clinics each year.

Study finds the grain an ideal and safe contrast agent for diagnosing swallowing disorders

Before launching their latest science experiment, University at Buffalo researchers bought more than 200 types of tea, chocolate, herbs and other foodstuffs.

New findings on bacteria in female bladders

Scientists and physicians at Loyola University Chicago and Loyola Medicine were the first to publish groundbreaking research that debunked the common belief that urine in healthy women is sterile.

Men with aggressive prostate cancer may get new powerful drug option

Men with non-metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer and a quickly rising PSA level present a medical dilemma. The rising PSA (prostate-specific antigen) means there is cancer activity, but no visible metastasis in a scan. 

Breast cancer studies ignore race, socioeconomic factors

The Bloomberg School scientists, in a commentary that appears in the July issue of Cancer Causes & Control, point to evidence that social factors help determine people's vulnerability to cancer, and argue that these factors should be considered routinely in studies and risk assessments that bear on clinical care.

SNMMI image of the year: PSMA PET imaging of theranostic for advanced prostate cancer

In the battle against metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer, studies have demonstrated a high response rate to radionuclide therapy targeting prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) with the radionuclide lutetium-177 (177Lu). At the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), researchers reported on a phase II prospective trial. Using gallium-68 (68Ga)-PSMA11 positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, men who had exhausted conventional therapies were screened. Those with high PSMA-expression proceeded to 177Lu-PSMA617 (LuPSMA) therapy and experienced high response rates, which is clearly demonstrated in the PSMA PET imaging figure selected as the 2018 SNMMI Image of the Year.

Tokyo passes strict anti-smoking laws ahead of Olympics

Tokyo's city government Wednesday passed strict new anti-smoking rules ahead of the 2020 Olympics, leapfrogging national legislation on lighting up that has been watered down after opposition from pro-smoking MPs.

Defining the brain mosaic in fruit flies and humans

Similar to a mosaic floor where different patterned tiles come together to make a composite and holistic image, our brains consist of billions of unique neurons that connect and generate coordinated brain activity. Unlike a static mosaic, however, our brains are dynamic and activity in the brain changes based on environmental cues. So what makes up the mosaic of the brain? How are individual neurons different from each other? The presence or absence of special types of proteins on individual neurons makes them unique, and the complete range of such proteins on a neuron defines its characteristic ability to respond differentially to particular internal or external stimuli. When individual neurons lose their characteristic protein combination, it can lead to faulty brain activity followed by neurodegeneration diseases and psychiatric disorders. So identifying mechanisms that define which protein is present on which neurons, are of utmost importance.

A peek behind the curtain: PTSD barriers and stigmas

Effective treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder is possible, but many Airmen falsely think seeking medical help for PTSD will hurt their career and will not help them get better.

The lasting emotional damage to detained children

In 2016, I landed the most challenging job of my life: Teaching at a juvenile detention facility.

Researchers complete myotonic dystrophy treatment research

Researchers at the Translational Genomics laboratory of Valencia University and the INCLIVA health research institute have just discovered a new approach for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy, a rare and incurable neuromuscular disease which does not have specific treatment. Their work has been published in Nature Communications.

Smartphone app offers counselling by text

It's good to talk. Most young people these days find communicating using smartphones or social media isn't a problem, yet talking about personal issues can still be a difficult and taboo subject.

Philosophy professor explores the ethics of severe brain injury

Family members of patients who have spent years in a vegetative state are often convinced that their loved ones are still aware.

37-year-old survives heart attack on the way to her wedding

Four hours into a nearly six-hour flight from Seattle to Mexico, Sara Metz felt overly anxious—far more than the usual jitters of a bride-to-be days before her wedding on a beach in Playa del Carmen.

Teens with concussion may benefit from earlier physical therapy

For adolescents with symptoms following a concussion, starting physical therapy (PT) earlier—within less than three weeks after the injury—provides outcomes similar to those of later PT, suggests a study in the July issue of The Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy (JNPT).

Providing care based on need not ability to pay is the NHS's greatest achievement

'Providing care based on need and free at the point of delivery' has been voted the NHS's greatest achievement in its 70 years by readers of The BMJ.

Look before locking: protect your child from a hot car tragedy

(HealthDay)—Before the summer of 2018 was even one day old, 16 American kids had died after being left in hot cars, according to a group called

Biology news

Habitat fragmentation can promote disease outbreaks

Fragmentation of landscapes and habitat loss—driven by urbanization and climate change—can put wildlife species at risk of extinction. Some ecological theory suggests habitat fragmentation may be beneficial to wildlife facing disease because populations of sick animals may remain isolated from healthy populations or dispersal might allow healthy animals to escape infection from otherwise sick populations.

Bumblebees found to do better in urban settings than in agricultural areas

A team of researchers with the University of London and Imperial College London has found through field experiments that bumblebee colonies tend to do better in urban environments than agricultural environments. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study and what they found.

Cancer-causing virus HTLV-1 changes DNA loops to 'affect tens of thousands of genes'

A human virus that causes a rare form of leukaemia increases the risk of disease by changing the way DNA loops inside our cells.

'The eyes have it'—Photoreceptors in marine plankton form a depth gauge to aid survival

The eyes of some marine-dwelling creatures have evolved to act like a "depth gauge", allowing these creatures to swim in the open ocean at a certain depth .

Rethinking the orangutan: How 70,000 years of human interaction have shaped an icon of wild nature

The evolution of the orangutan has been more heavily influenced by humans than was previously thought, new research reveals.

Large scale study identifies core microbial community for maize rhizosphere

A plant's health is affected not only by conditions such as water and temperature, but by the microorganisms that live around its roots. The rhizosphere microbiome, as this microbial community is known, regulates nutrient availability to the plant from the soil, and can impact plant growth and yields.

Inbred animals face greater threat from changes to environment

Animals that are inbred make mistakes in response to changes in their surroundings, which threatens their survival, research has found.

Whether bold or shy, seal personalities are steady over time, study says

Female seals don't change their spots, according to a new study by University of Alberta biologists. In fact, individual differences in boldness remain consistent over time.

Why bacteria survive in space—biologists discover clues

In professor George Fox's lab at the University of Houston, scientists are studying Earth germs that could be contaminating other planets. Despite extreme decontamination efforts, bacterial spores from Earth still manage to find their way into outer space aboard spacecraft. Fox and his team are examining how and why some spores elude decontamination. Their research is published in BMC Microbiology.

This curious animal grew larger over time—but its brain didn't quite keep up

New U of T Scarborough research has found that the ancestor of the modern day mountain beaver had a larger relative brain size.

Japan to seek partial resumption of commercial whaling

Japan will seek a partial resumption of commercial whaling at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission later this year, officials said Wednesday.

Detection of arboreal feeding signs by Asiatic black bears

Feeding signs give researchers information about ecology in a given area. Feeding signs also provide information on animal distribution, habitat selection, and abundance. But feeding signs do not necessarily reflect the distribution or density of animals directly. In addition, it is difficult to recognize the presence of endangered species only from feeding signs. Thus, scientists need to understand the factors and environmental conditions that influence the formation of feeding signs.

History of side-necked turtle diversification revealed

A work authored by a group of paleontologists affiliated to University of São Paulo's Biology Department in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, published in Royal Society Open Science, is the most comprehensive phylogeny of the Pleurodira suborder of side-necked turtles produced. Pleurodira includes the yellow-spotted Amazon River turtle (Podocnemis unifilis).

Citizen scientists capture penguin breeding dynamics

Using data from nearly 74,000 images, volunteer armchair scientists have helped Oxford University researchers to capture and better understand, the breeding habits of penguin breeding colonies across the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands and South Georgia.

It's go time for Hawaiian bird conservation, and luckily there's a playbook

A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications presents some of the best guidance to date on the priorities and actions that can be taken to help Hawaii's endemic birds. Hawaii's ecosystems, including its native bird populations, are struggling. Of the 21 species of forest birds left on the islands, almost two thirds (12 species) of are endangered or threatened. The current conservation status of the wildlife and vegetation on the island is almost entirely attributable to humans. The actions needed to stabilize or reverse these trends need stronger support and coordination, however funding and resources are limited. This new paper lays out a plan to better guide and empower conservation efforts for Hawaiian birds.

Key protein providing defense against 'jumping genes' identified

Though they occasionally play a role in animal development, transposons, also known as "jumping genetic elements," are in fact DNA sequences that have the potential to move to new positions within the genome. They constitute a large portion of the genome in the majority of eukaryotes, and their mobilization in the genome of the gametes—eggs and sperm– poses a threat to genomic instability, thus leading to infertility.

Scientist mines supercomputer simulations of protein dynamics for biological energy-conversion principles

An energy crisis can trigger years of fuel shortages and high gas prices. Energy shortages in biological cells are even more serious. Consequences include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and aging-related disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

'Nuru' becomes African farmers' newest ally against fall armyworm

Penn State researchers have joined forces with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to release the first app, called Nuru, to help African farmers recognize fall armyworm—a new and fast-spreading crop pest in sub-Saharan Africa—so that they can take immediate steps to destroy it and curb its spread.

Evolution of metabolic dependency as base for ancestral symbiosis

Kiel research team describes the fundamental mechanisms which control the evolutionary ancient symbiotic relationship between algae and cnidarians for the first time

Endangered species listing considered for rare Nevada toad

U.S. wildlife officials have agreed to consider Endangered Species Act protection for a rare toad in northern Nevada's high desert where one of the biggest producers of geothermal energy in the nation wants to build a power plant.

Map of Javan leopard distribution provides guidance for conservation efforts

The first robust estimate of the distribution of the Javan leopard offers reliable information on where conservation efforts must be prioritized to safeguard the Indonesian island's last remaining large carnivore. The findings were reported in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on June 27, 2018 by Hariyo Tabah Wibisono of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, USA, and colleagues.

US proposes shrinking last endangered red wolf habitat

The Trump administration announced a proposal Wednesday to shrink the habitat of the only endangered red wolves left in the wild, and to give landowners more leeway to kill any of the animals that stray onto private property.

Finnish forest management guidelines fail to protect the flying squirrel

A new study determined the habitat requirements for flying squirrels and compared them to those included in the recently amended Forest Act. The main finding was that the Finnish Nature Conservation Act does not adequately protect the old growth forests where flying squirrels live.

In search of biomarkers to detect patients with latent 'Plasmodium vivax' infection

Proteins derived from the latent liver stage of Plasmodium vivax can be detected in small extracellular vesicles that circulate in blood, according to a study led by ISGlobal. The results pave the way for identifying patients with asymptomatic infections, an essential requirement to stop parasite transmission.

10 of the most diabolical crop pests in North Carolina

Arthropod pests (both insects and mites) rob North Carolina farmers every year by eating into their crop yields. No matter what a grower does, it seems like there is always a destructive pest waiting in the wings. We've curated a list of 10 of the most vexing pests that prey on agriculture in North Carolina.

Platforms for investigating lncRNA functions

To aid in the discovery and understanding of lncRNA biology, newly published work from Richard and Eichhorn in SLAS Technology features the technological platforms and methodology presently used to identify the roles of lncRNA in biology. This work highlights the databases and tools used to study lncRNA and techniques used to study their function.

New results of Deepwater Horizon research to protect marine life against future oil spills

The University of South Florida continues to play an integral role in discovering the extent of damage caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Researchers just published results of a seven-year study, recording the most comprehensive data available of marine life throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Research team identify genetic structure of Painted Bunting

A University of Oklahoma researcher, Andrea Contina, and his team have identified the genetic structure of the Painted Bunting, a neotropical migratory songbird, using microsatellite DNA and single nucleotide polymorphisms to develop high-resolution markers to differentiate between individual birds breeding in different Oklahoma populations and across the United States. Through this research, Contina and his team now can differentiate between the eastern and western Painted Buntings and identify the species pattern of migration and population of origin.

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