Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jul 31

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 31, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A miniaturized semiconductor biochip to identify drug-resistant pathogens

A model-free deep reinforcement learning approach to tackle neural control problems

Astronomers assemble 'light-fingerprints' to unveil mysteries of the cosmos

Research solves a 160-year-old mystery about the origin of skeletons

Research into cell-to-cell signalling mechanism may lead to new cancer treatments

Just two weeks' inactivity can trigger diabetic symptoms in vulnerable patients

Scientists: First sighting of dolphin hybrid is no 'wholphin'

Great tits have as much impulse control as chimpanzees

Climate taxes on agriculture could lead to more food insecurity than climate change itself

Diversity and education influence India's population growth

Optical fibers that can sense the materials around them

China could face deadly heat waves due to climate change

Dental plaque is no match for catalytic nanoparticles

Case study: Child's lobectomy reveals brain's ability to reorganize its visual system

Microbes in the Hong Kong subway system mix together by evening rush hour

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers assemble 'light-fingerprints' to unveil mysteries of the cosmos

Earthbound detectives rely on fingerprints to solve their cases; now astronomers can do the same, using "light-fingerprints" instead of skin grooves to uncover the mysteries of exoplanets.

Hubble images Milky Way's big sister

This image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) shows a beautiful spiral galaxy called NGC 6744. At first glance, it resembles our Milky Way albeit larger, measuring more than 200,000 light-years across compared to a 100,000-light-year diameter for our home galaxy.

Next-generation photodetector camera to deploy during robotic servicing demonstration mission

Testing tools and technologies for refueling and repairing satellites in orbit won't be the only demonstration taking place aboard the International Space Station during NASA's next Robotic Refueling Mission 3, or RRM3.

Heatshield for extreme entry environment technology nears maturity

Over the past four years, NASA's Heatshield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET) Project has been maturing a novel, three-dimensional, woven Thermal Protection System (TPS) technology for science missions recommended in the Planetary Science Decadal Survey. These missions—Venus probes and landers, Saturn and Uranus probes, and sample return missions to comets and asteroids—will require protection from intense atmospheric heating to reach their destinations. The off-the-shelf TPS product NASA employed on its previous mission to Venus is no longer available, but the technology resulting from the HEEET Project has resulted in an improved solution.

Mars makes closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Earth's neighboring planet, Mars, is closer than it has been in the past 15 years, offering unusually bright views of the Red Planet's auburn hues.

Image: Soaring into an orbital sunrise

The International Space Station soars into a sunrise every 90 minutes, each and every day.

Technology news

A model-free deep reinforcement learning approach to tackle neural control problems

Brian Mitchell and Linda Petzold, two researchers at the University of California, have recently applied model-free deep reinforcement learning to models of neural dynamics, achieving very promising results.

All finger robots want for Christmas is a hand like Dactyl

A lettered, multi-colored block: A trivial task awaits humans to pick it up, turn it around, toss it around in the palm of our hands. For a robot expert, though, this is an uphill task that is tough to climb. Hand manipulation for robots has always been a challenge.

This pad-free wireless charger can power multiple devices at once

Imagine charging your phone, tablet, and wearable device, at the same time, in any direction from the same power source.

Samsung Electronics profit dips as phone sales fall

Samsung Electronics said Tuesday its second-quarter net profit dipped slightly from a year earlier, with a fall in smartphone sales mitigated by strong demand for its memory chips.

Uber hits brakes on self-driving trucks

Uber on Monday said it is hitting the brakes on self-driving trucks, shifting gears to focus just on autonomous cars.

Students develop free robot programming simulator

When it comes to programming actual robots, things get very expensive, very quickly.

Sony upgrades full-year forecast, logs brisk quarterly profit

Sony on Tuesday raised its full-year profit and sales forecasts after reporting a near-threefold increase in first-quarter profit, as its recovery continues under a new CEO.

BMW to invest a billion euros in first factory in Hungary

BMW said Tuesday it will invest a billion euros ($1.2 billion) in a new factory in Hungary, as it follows its fellow German automakers into building cars in lower-wage central Europe.

Nintendo first-quarter profits up 44 pct to $275 mn on Switch sales

Nintendo said Tuesday its quarterly net profit jumped 43.9 percent year-on-year to $275 million, driven by the global popularity of its Switch console and game titles.

Panasonic first-quarter profits up 17.6 percent

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said Tuesday its first-quarter net profit jumped more than 17 percent thanks to growth in its automotive-related business.

Designing a 'solar tarp,' a foldable, packable way to generate power from the sun

The energy-generating potential of solar panels – and a key limitation on their use – is a result of what they're made of. Panels made of silicon are declining in price such that in some locations they can provide electricity that costs about the same as power from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. But silicon solar panels are also bulky, rigid and brittle, so they can't be used just anywhere.

Lessons to learn, despite another report on missing flight MH370 and still no explanation

The latest report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 says that investigations have failed to find any explanation as to why the aircraft went missing with 239 passengers and crew on board.

Energy-intensive Bitcoin transactions pose a growing environmental threat

A study published in Energy Research & Social Science warns that failure to lower the energy use by Bitcoin and similar Blockchain designs may prevent nations from reaching their climate change mitigation obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Engaging with interactive media may be a sequence of actions, assessments

The way people engage with interactive media is usually portrayed as a single act—users either click on the content, or they do not. However, a team of researchers suggest that online engagement is not a single act, after all, but rather a sequence of assessments and interactions.

Volkswagen says may have to recall 124,000 electric cars

Volkswagen on Tuesday said it may be forced to recall 124,000 electric and hybrid cars due to the presence of cadmium, a carcinogenic metal, in the vehicles.

Facebook finds 'sophisticated' efforts to disrupt elections

Facebook said it has uncovered "sophisticated" efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to influence U.S. politics on its platforms.

New Homeland Security center to guard against cyberattacks

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is creating a center aimed at protecting banks, electric companies and other critical infrastructure against cyberattacks—a threat that now exceeds the danger of a physical attack against the U.S. by a hostile foreign group, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday.

UTA technology could change way computers dissipate heat

UTA researchers have received a patent on a novel cold electron transistor that drastically reduces the amount of energy required to operate as compared to traditional transistors.

Apple quarterly profit leaps, nears $1 trillion value

Apple said Tuesday that its profit had jumped more than 30 percent to $11.5 billion in the recently ended quarter, besting market expectations despite selling fewer iPhones than analysts projected.

Deal reached to clean land around 3 US plutonium reactors

A portion of the vast Washington state site where the U.S. government created much of the plutonium for the nation's nuclear arsenal will be scrubbed free of radiation and other pollution under a final plan reached by the U.S. Department of Energy and federal and state regulators.

Lithuania warns Russian taxi app could be snooping on users

Lithuanian authorities are "strongly" urging consumers, especially public servants, not to install the app of a popular Russian taxi-booking service because it may unlawfully be collecting user data.

Coordinated ocean energy efforts herald a new industrial sector

Despite its remaining mystery, the ocean is a complex working environment, widely used for fishing, shipping and recreation; but so far largely untapped for energy generation. OCEANERA-NET seeks to give the industry the boost it needs.

India's Tata Motors posts surprise loss

Losses at Jaguar Land Rover helped drag Indian carmaker Tata Motors into the red for the three months to June amid declining demand for its luxury cars and higher raw material costs, the company said Tuesday.

Embraer dives with 2nd-quarter loss

Brazil-based Embraer, the world's third biggest aircraft manufacturer, posted losses on Tuesday of 467 million reais ($126 million) for the second quarter of 2018.

A new smartphone app for collecting travel info

Transportation agencies need travel behavior data to plan changes to their networks, systems, and policies. They'll soon be able to purchase a new smartphone application called Daynamica, developed and patented by a U of M research team, to collect that important information more easily and for less cost than traditional methods.

Clothing rental could be the key to a stylishly sustainable fashion industry

A staggering 235m items of unwanted clothing were forecast to be dumped in UK landfill in 2017, while the average American is estimated to bin 81lb (37kg) of used clothing annually. Overconsumption and the inevitable disposal of unwanted clothing has become a worrying global problem – and in many cases, this clothing is unnecessarily thrown away. Instead, it could be repaired or recycled.

Taxi strike stretches into eighth day in Spain

Taxi drivers in Spain dug their heels in and vowed to continue Wednesday a strike against ride hailing competitors such as Uber and Cabify that has paralysed major cities.

Ryanair boss cancels bonus after flights grounded

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary waived his hefty yearly bonus, the low-fares airline's annual report showed, following the flight cancellations crisis that gripped the Irish carrier.

Faced with losses, MoviePass discount tix service hikes fee

MoviePass, the discount service for movie tickets, is raising prices by 50 percent and barring viewings of most major releases during the first two weeks.

Medicine & Health news

Just two weeks' inactivity can trigger diabetic symptoms in vulnerable patients

Just two weeks without much activity can have a dramatic impact on health from which it is difficult to recover, according to researchers who studied overweight older adults at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Case study: Child's lobectomy reveals brain's ability to reorganize its visual system

A new study led by Carnegie Mellon University neuroscientists provides the first evidence of how the human brain recovers the ability to function after losing parts of the visual system.

Heatwave deaths will rise steadily by 2080 as globe warms up

If people cannot adapt to future climate temperatures, deaths caused by severe heatwaves will increase dramatically in tropical and subtropical regions, followed closely by Australia, Europe and the United States, a global new Monash-led study shows.

The bladder can regenerate like nobody's business and now we know why

The bladder is a master at self-repair. When damaged by infection or injury, the organ can mend itself quickly, calling upon specialized cells in its lining to repair tissue and restore a barrier against harmful materials concentrated in urine.

Past experiences shape what we see more than what we are looking at now

A rope coiled on dusty trail may trigger a frightened jump by hiker who recently stepped on a snake. Now a new study better explains how a one-time visual experience can shape perceptions afterward.

Parental depression linked to kids' increased use of health services

Parental ill health, especially depression, is linked to heightened use of health services, including emergency care, among their children, finds research published today in the online journal BMJ Paediatrics Open.

A new climate model can predict dengue outbreaks in the Caribbean region

Changes in climate, such as rain and drought, can affect the risk of mosquito-borne diseases including dengue, chikungunya and Zika. An international team comprising the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has developed a new tool to predict the impact of droughts and extreme rainfall on the risk of dengue outbreaks.

A reliable, easy-to-use mouse model for investigating bone metastasis

In a study published in Nature Communications, a group of researchers led by Takahiro Kuchimaru and Shinae Kondoh of Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have proposed an improved mouse model that could revolutionize bone metastasis research. Their method, which involves injecting cancer cells via the so-called caudal artery in the mouse tail, overcomes many limitations of traditional mouse models. The new model could thus open a new chapter in the development of therapeutic strategies for bone metastasis and cancer progression.

Medical researchers seek eradication of peste des petits ruminants disease

Peste des petits ruminants is a highly contagious disease found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and was recently detected in Bulgaria on the border with Turkey. This highly contagious viral disease affects almost a billion sheep and goats in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It causes substantial economic losses due to high morbidity and mortality rates. The role of wild ruminants in the spread of the disease is still largely undetermined, but models could be used to understand it better, as with buffalos in Africa.

Soccer heading worse for women's brains than for men's

Women's brains are much more vulnerable than men's to injury from repeated soccer heading, according to a new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore. The study found that regions of damaged brain tissue were five times more extensive in female soccer players than in males, suggesting that sex-specific guidelines may be warranted for preventing soccer-related head injuries. The results were published online today in Radiology.

Methadone linked to lower death rates among convicted offenders with opioid dependence

Among convicted offenders, receiving methadone is associated with lower rates of death from external and non-external causes, according to new research published this week in PLOS Medicine by Angela Russolillo of Simon Fraser University, Canada, and colleagues.

Study shows how Oropouche virus replicates in human cells

The strategy used by the Oropouche virus to replicate in human cells has been described for the first time by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil and international collaborators in an article published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Findings could pave way for new approaches in regenerative medicine and tumor therapy

Scientists have long known that organ size is shaped by many factors, including the size of each cell, proliferation, cell differentiation, death, and, of course, the total number of cells. However, the molecular mechanisms directly regulating organ size had until now remained elusive, setting the stage for the current research directed by Assistant Professor Yaron Fuchs and led by Dr. Yahav Yosefzon.

The ABCDEs of viral hepatitis

Millions of people across the globe, including in our own backyard, are living with a viral hepatitis infection and may not even know it. Experts at Baylor College of Medicine say awareness and diagnosis is the first step to taking control and making changes to either prevent or treat this potentially deadly infection.

People plan because it makes them feel free

Forgetting about a long-scheduled meeting or organizing two activities at the same time evokes a response that is familiar to everyone. People call those actions mistakes, blame themselves and apologize to those affected by their inconsistent behavior.

Liver cancer cell 'switch' found that could improve future therapies

Imperial researchers have found a new cell mechanism that could be used to target tumours in the future.

A chemistry pioneer works to improve a flawed test for a common cancer

DNA sequencing used to cost thousands of dollars. Now, you can pay $99 for a genetic screening, all without leaving your house.

Young Americans support gun regulation but not ban

Teens and young adults support gun regulation, but not necessarily the ban of all guns, according to a new study by University of Michigan researchers published this week in JAMA Pediatrics.

Anti-ulcer benefits of honey investigated

A type of honey produced by stingless bees in Malaysia shows some protective effects against induced gastric ulcer in rats.

Organic, grass fed and hormone-free—does this make red meat any healthier?

Red meat is an excellent source of protein and essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats, which are are linked to heart and brain health.

Exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields at work not associated with brain tumors

No clear associations were found between occupational exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) and risk of glioma or meningioma in one of the largest epidemiological studies performed to date. However, the findings highlight the need for further research on radiofrequency magnetic fields and tumour promotion, as well as possible interactions with other frequencies and with chemicals.

Medical boards may contribute to mental health stigma for doctors

(HealthDay)—Existing policy has been amended to encourage licensing boards to require disclosure of physical or mental health conditions only when these would negatively impact a physicians' ability to practice medicine, according to an article published in the American Medical Association's AMA Wire.

Better care quality needed for universal health coverage

(HealthDay)—In order to achieve universal health coverage, stakeholders must focus on the quality of health services, including provision of effective, safe, timely, equitable, integrated, and efficient health services, according to a report published by the World Health Organization.

Researcher and her students discover lesser-known gene associated with breast cancer

Villanova University biology professor Janice Knepper, PhD, and her students have discovered that a gene, previously poorly characterized, can be associated with breast cancer. Over the last eight years, Knepper and her students have been working with the gene, ZC3H8, simply known has Fliz1. The findings were recently published in BMC Cancer, a peer-reviewed open-source medical journal.

Scientists discover potential therapy for human copper metabolism disorders

Individuals with defects in copper metabolism may soon have more targeted treatment options thanks to a discovery by a research team led by Dr. Vishal Gohil of Texas A&M AgriLife Research in College Station.

Clamping the umbilical cord straight after birth is bad for a baby's health

Clamping and cutting a baby's umbilical cord as soon as it is born can be bad for its health. The World Health Organisation advises that clamping should be delayed for two to three minutes after the baby has been born, and the UK watchdog NICE advices midwives and obstetricians not to clamp the cord earlier than one minute after the birth. But in nearly a third of cases, this doesn't appear to be happening.

Baby animals really do reduce your appetite for meat, say psychologists

The BuzzFeed video, "Bacon lovers meet baby pigs" is amusing to watch. With 14,493,383 views, you may have seen it. It depicts several young men and women waiting blissfully to be delivered a plate of mouthwatering bacon, only to be handed instead a cute baby pig. Gasp!

AMA opposes proposed cuts, gag orders for reproductive health

(HealthDay)—The American Medical Association (AMA) strongly objects to the Trump administration's plan to withhold federal family planning funding from Planned Parenthood and other entities, according to a statement released by the organization.

Technology for incontinence hasn't developed that much since ancient Egyptian times

Today's healthcare is full of technology that would seem like science fiction to our grandparents. But this is far from true in every area: some remain woefully neglected by innovation. Hop in a time machine back to ancient Egypt and you would find recognisable examples of the absorbent pads and catheters which are still a mainstay in the management of incontinence today.

Mindful brains

In the world with so much buzz around us, it can be difficult to unplug from work and not think about the never-ending list of things to do. Stress accumulates…. If you can relate to these statements (let's be honest, most of us will), you might search for ways to de-stress, and people are becoming increasingly aware of using mindfulness to unwind from the perpetual to-do list.

A healthy BMI when you're young could safeguard your heart for later life

Your body mass index (BMI) indicates whether you are within a healthy weight range based on your height. Having a higher BMI – meaning more weight relative to height – can increase your risk of developing heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. While BMI is partly determined by your environment and lifestyle – including your diet and how much you exercise – our genes also play a role.

Survey of Sexual Medicine Society members reveals only half ask for patients' sexual orientation

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say their small survey of nearly 100 health care practitioners who are members of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America revealed that only half routinely ask their patients directly about their sexual orientation. In addition, the survey found, of those who do not ask, more than 40 percent say that sexual orientation is irrelevant to patients' care, a position contrary to longstanding clinical evidence.

Heat therapy boosts mitochondrial function in muscles

A new study finds that long-term heat therapy may increase mitochondrial function in the muscles. The discovery could lead to new treatments for people with chronic illness or disease. The study—the first of its kind in humans—is published ahead of print in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Turning off protein could boost immunotherapy effectiveness on cancer tumors

Researchers at the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered inhibiting a previously known protein could reduce tumor burdens and enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapy treatments.

Mimicking the human placental barrier to better understand the dynamic organ

The United States has one of the highest rates of preterm birth—up to 10 percent of all pregnancies—in the world. And many pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia, which contributes to preterm birth, are associated with abnormal placenta development.

Surgical mesh implants may cause autoimmune disorders

Surgical mesh implants, often used for hernia or gynecological repair, may be the reason so many patients report symptoms of an autoimmune disorder, according to a University of Alberta rheumatologist.

Acidic pH—the weakness of cancer cells

A new computational model has allowed researchers to identify new therapeutic targets that can attack cancer cells by lowering their intracellular pH. The study, which is the result of collaboration between IRB Barcelona, the Moffitt Cancer Center, and the University of Maryland, has been published in Nature Communications.

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note)

Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Another study assessed the health benefits or writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings and reduced symptoms of depression.

How hospital youth workers are helping to combat serious youth violence

Knife crime is at its highest level recorded in England and Wales, with a 16% increase in knife-related offences in the year to March 2018. Much of the recent spike in knife crime involves young people.

Storytelling may help reduce delirium in hospitalized elderly patients

Many hospitalized patients, especially older adults, are at risk of developing delirium, a risk that is increased by the presence of cognitive, functional, visual or hearing impairment or depression.

Teen boy suffers serious burns after 'Hot Water Challenge'

(HealthDay)—An Indianapolis teen suffered serious burns after his friends poured boiling hot water on him as part of fad called the "Hot Water Challenge."

New research challenges common assumptions about people who use food shelves

The first-ever statewide survey of Minnesota food-shelf users uncovered important information about a population whose voices are rarely represented in research.

How to decipher those food 'sell-by' dates

(HealthDay)—Did you know that a store can sell food past the expiration date printed on the label? Or that manufacturers only voluntarily stamp dates on foods?

Total, open repairs decline for abdominal aortic aneurysms

(HealthDay)—The number of open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repairs dropped by almost 80 percent during the last decade, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

Front desk staff can set up a practice for successful billing

(HealthDay)—Allowing front desk staff adequate time and an uninterrupted environment to focus on billing can prevent problems later on, according to an article published in Physicians Practice.

One in four older adults with diabetes uses alternative meds

(HealthDay)—More than 25 percent of older U.S. adults with diabetes use some type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a research letter published in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

Few published programs address medical trainee mistreatment

(HealthDay)—There are very few published descriptions of programs that address the mistreatment of medical trainees, according to a review published online July 27 in JAMA Network Open.

Rapid improvement of dilated cardiomyopathy with anakinra

(HealthDay)—In a report published online July 31 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors describe the case of a patient with dilated cardiomyopathy who experienced rapid clinical improvements with use of anakinra, the recombinant form of the endogenous antagonist for the interleukin-1 receptor.

Odds of death up with medium-, large-caliber firearms

(HealthDay)—There is a correlation for firearm caliber with likelihood of death from gunshot wounds, according to a study published online July 27 in JAMA Network Open.

The tipping point: Service sector employees are more susceptible to mental health issues

Approximately 102 million Americans work in the service industry, according to the Pew Research Center, filling critical positions in restaurants, salons and transportation. In many cases, these jobs offer base pay at rates up to 71 percent lower than federal minimum wage, with the expectation that tips, which are highly unpredictable, will make up the difference.

Blood samples used to investigate adaptive repair mechanisms of transplanted kidneys

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have shown that gene expression analysis of blood samples taken from the recipients of transplanted kidneys can be used to better understand the mechanisms that promote repair and regeneration of the transplanted organs.

Brain's 'plasticity' amazes as boy recovers from drastic surgery

(HealthDay)—The developing brain of a growing child has incredible ways of compensating for the loss of an essential brain region, a new case study shows.

Fewer dialysis patients facing leg amputations

(HealthDay)—Losing a leg is one of the most traumatic consequences of advanced kidney disease, but the risk of amputations has dropped significantly since 2000, a new study finds.

Scientists may have cleared gene therapy hurdle

Scientists may have found a way to slip a special type of disease-fighting virus past the guard of the body's immune system and into targeted cells where it can do its intended work, according to new research presented Tuesday at a scientific conference.

Azedra approved for rare adrenal tumors

(HealthDay)—Azedra (iobenguane) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat people 12 and older with rare adrenal gland tumors that can't be surgically removed and have spread beyond the original site.

Routine genomic screening could find risks for cancer and heart disease in 3 to 4 million unsuspecting Americans

Unbeknownst to them, at least 1 percent of the U.S. population has an identifiable genetic risk for cancer or heart disease that could be detected and clinically managed through genomic screening. The author of an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine says that identifying those 3 to 4 million persons and effectively mitigating that risk are worthy goals, but more work is needed before genomic screening becomes routine in health care.

Profit surges at Pfizer in 2Q on lower taxes, drug sales

Pfizer's second-quarter profit surged 26 percent, thanks to a 4 percent increase in medicine sales, higher income from partnerships and lower tax expenses.

Study: UVA heart failure program improves survival, reduces costs

A University of Virginia Health System program that provides follow-up care for heart failure patients after they leave the hospital significantly improves survival and other outcomes while saving money, a new study finds.

Use of VA services impacted by external economic, policy changes

A new study has found that use of VA services is affected by economic and policy changes outside the VA, such as Medicaid eligibility, private employer insurance coverage, unemployment and (non-VA) physician availability.

CHOP nurse-researcher presents the Spatz 10-Step System as national model for breastfeeding

Mothers of critically ill infants may not receive necessary breastfeeding support, because their babies may be taken directly to a newborn intensive care unit or to surgery. Dr. Diane Spatz, Nurse Researcher & Director of the Lactation Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), presents an alternative model for health care providers that focuses on serving the needs of vulnerable infants who are hospitalized and separated from their mothers.

Patients opt for 3-D simulation for breast augmentation—but it doesn't improve outcomes

Three-dimensional image simulation is popular among women planning breast augmentation surgery. But while this evolving technology may enhance communication, it doesn't improve patient satisfaction with the results of the procedure, reports a paper in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Implants made by computer-aided design provide good results in patients with rare chest muscle deformity

For patients with Poland syndrome—a rare congenital condition affecting the chest muscle—computer-aided design (CAD) techniques can be used to create custom-made silicone implants for reconstructive surgery of the chest, reports a paper in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons(ASPS).

Researchers investigate effects of dietary nitrate on cognitive function in Gulf War veterans

Glenn Wylie, DPhil, and Jorge Serrador, Ph.D., have won an award from the Rutgers Brain Health Institute (BHI). The grant funds a collaborative study between the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Kessler Foundation. Researchers will explore the influence of dietary nitrate supplementation—in the form of beetroot juice—on cerebral hemodynamics and cognitive function in veterans with GWI.

Biology news

A miniaturized semiconductor biochip to identify drug-resistant pathogens

Evolving strains of multi-drug resistant pathogens are a growing global concern, outpacing drug discovery efforts and undermining the efficacy of existing antibiotics. The development of comprehensive diagnostics for clinical applications will become crucial to control escalating health risks. Existing laboratory tests to diagnose infectious disease are generally carried out via culture-based methods that usually take days to generate results. Rapid molecular diagnostic tests can comparatively identify microbial nucleic acids (NA) in clinical samples directly in less than an hour with nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs). Existing NAATs are, however, limited by inadequate levels of multiplexing (i.e. the number of strains or sequences detected in a single reaction) and inaccuracies with detecting mutations.

Research into cell-to-cell signalling mechanism may lead to new cancer treatments

Pioneering new research into the way in which cells communicate with each other could hold the key to unlocking new, improved treatment for life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Scientists: First sighting of dolphin hybrid is no 'wholphin'

Scientists are touting the first sighting of a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin in the ocean off Hawaii. But don't call it a "wholphin," they say.

Great tits have as much impulse control as chimpanzees

Biologists at Lund University in Sweden have shown that the great tit, a common European songbird, has a tremendous capacity for self-control. Until now, such impulse control has been primarily associated with larger cognitively advanced animals with far larger brains than the great tit. According to the new results, the great tits' capacity for self-control is almost the same as that of ravens and chimpanzees.

Microbes in the Hong Kong subway system mix together by evening rush hour

Every day, the hundred-mile-long Hong Kong subway system serves nearly five million people commuting from as far away as mainland China. On July 31 in the journal Cell Reports, researchers show how microbes from these diverse travelers mix throughout the day. While each subway line hosts a characteristic set of bacteria during morning rush hour, by evening, these unique bacteria join into one uniform microbiome populating the entire system.

In the tiniest animals, genomic analysis reveals new species and new genus

Apparently identical marine animals called placozoans, once thought to all belong to a single species, are revealed by their genomes to in fact belong to different genera, according to a new study publishing on July 31 in the open access journal PLOS Biology by Michael Eitel and Gert Wörheide of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich, Germany, and colleagues. The genomic approach that they used is likely to be applicable to other groups of very small animals that lack physically distinct characteristics, including mites and nematodes.

Father's genes can impact motherly love

A father's genes are no longer thought to just provide a blueprint for the growth and development of their offspring. Research publishing 31 July in the open access journal PLOS Biology by scientists led by Professors Rosalind John and Anthony Isles from Cardiff University's School of Biosciences finds that paternal genes can affect the type of care the offspring receives both before and after they are born.

Largest king penguin colony has shrunk nearly 90 percent

The world's biggest colony of king penguins is found in the National Nature Reserve of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). Using high-resolution satellite images, researchers from the Chizé Centre for Biological Studies (CNRS / University of La Rochelle) have detected a massive 88 percent reduction in the size of the penguin colony, located on Île aux Cochons, in the Îles Crozet archipelago. The causes of the colony's collapse remain a mystery but may be environmental.

What's a spider's favorite color? Study finds surprising answers

Scientists recently discovered the aptly named peacock jumping spiders have the color vision needed to appreciate the male's gaudy display.

Genetically modifying rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins

A team of researchers from Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. has genetically modified a strain of rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes the technique by which they modified the rice and how it might be used to prevent HIV infections.

Predatory sea corals team up to feed on stinging jellyfish

Cave-dwelling corals in the Mediterranean can work alongside one another to catch and eat stinging jellyfish, a study reveals.

Flies meet gruesome end under influence of puppeteer fungus

Carolyn Elya discovered the puppet-master on the balcony of her Berkeley apartment. It was a fungus that infects fruit flies, invading their nervous system and eating them from the inside out.

Maggots and rotting food waste—a new recipe for sustainable fish and animal feed

In a warehouse to the northeast of Cambridge are shelves upon shelves of trays teeming with maggots, munching their way through a meal of rotting fruit and vegetables. This may sound stomach-churning, but these insects could become the sustainable food of the future – at least for fish and animals – helping reduce the reliance on resource intensive proteins such as fishmeal and soy, while also mitigating the use of antibiotics in the food chain, one of the causes of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria.

Spectacular frog identified as new species

One of the world's most spectacular frogs has been identified as a new species after 20 years of painstaking research at The University of Manchester.

Real-time foot-and-mouth strategy to better fight disease

Future outbreaks of foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease can be combatted quickly and efficiently from early on—when authorities have minimal information—thanks to a new real-time strategy, developed by researchers at the University of Warwick.

Recreational fisheries pose threat to skittish sea turtles

Every summer, thousands of amateur scallopers flock to the warm coastal waters of Florida's Crystal River region, anchor their boats and reap the delicious bounty of the state's largest recreational bay scallop fishery.

New cell lines produce NIST monoclonal antibody for improved biologic drugs

When the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued the world's first standardized monoclonal antibody (mAb) in July 2016, the exhaustively analyzed protein known as NISTmAb (NIST Reference Material 8671) was intended as a valuable tool for biopharmaceutical companies. Its purpose: to help ensure the quality of measurement techniques used in the development and manufacture of biologic drug therapies for a wide range of health conditions, including cancers, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases. Although the molecule has been precisely characterized, the current proprietary method for its production has not.

Environmental transformation spells brighter future for Redonda's fantastic beasts

If conservationists had waved a magic wand, the results could hardly have been more spectacular. Within 12 months of starving goats and thousands of ravenous rats being removed from Redonda, this remote Caribbean island has witnessed a miraculous transformation.

Why are some animals venomous?

Some animals, such as venomous snakes and insects, can use venom for predation or defense, which is an ability that has been developed through millions of years. And the evolution continues – partly due to an increasing pressure from humans.

Chinese researchers further develop adenine base editing system

Two research teams from East China Normal University and Sun Yat-Sen University in China have developed and improved the ABE system in mouse and rat strains, which has great implications for human genetic disorders and gene therapy. The research has been published by Springer Nature in two articles in the open access journal Protein & Cell.

Over 100 wildlife rangers died on duty in past year: WWF

More than 100 wildlife rangers died on the job in Asia and central Africa over the last year, nearly half killed by poachers, the WWF reported Tuesday.

Colorado Springs' baby giraffe euthanized

A Colorado Springs zoo says it decided to euthanize its eight-week-old giraffe after veterinarians determined that her dislocated hip, infected leg and other health complications would severely impact her quality of life.


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