Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jul 25

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Spotlight Stories Headlines

An integrated visual and semantic neural network model explains human object recognition in the brain

Holographic image of a black hole proposed in a graphene flake

New class of materials could be used to make batteries that charge faster

Toxoplasma gondii parasite linked to risky business behavior

Nearly forgotten 'dinosaur' bone found to belong to ancient hippo-like creature

Team shatters theoretical limit on bio-hydrogen production

Liquid water is buried beneath Martian landscape, study says

Scientists unlock the properties of new 2-D material

Rice with fewer stomata requires less water and is better suited for climate change

Fish body shape holds key to make fishery management cheaper, easier

Among golden-crowned sparrows, a false crown only fools strangers

New clues to origins of mysterious atmospheric waves in Antarctica

Red planet and 'blood moon' pair up to dazzle skygazers

Creating 'synthetic' fossils in the lab sheds light on fossilization processes

The hidden hazards of antibiotic resistance genes in air

Astronomy & Space news

Liquid water is buried beneath Martian landscape, study says

A massive underground lake has been detected for the first time on Mars, raising hopes that more water—and maybe even life—exists there, international astronomers said Wednesday.

Red planet and 'blood moon' pair up to dazzle skygazers

The longest "blood moon" eclipse this century will coincide with Mars' closest approach in 15 years to offer skygazers a thrilling astronomical double bill on Friday, astronomers say.

Students find foundations for massive stars

For three years, Jenny Calahan led fellow undergraduate students at the University of Arizona (UA) in research to help unravel the mystery of how the galaxy's most massive stars are born.

Aeolus—preparing to fly the wind mission

The launch of Aeolus—ESA's mission to map Earth's wind in real-time—is getting tantalisingly close, with the satellite due for lift-off on 21 August from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. With the wind in their sails, mission teams are busily preparing this unique satellite for its upcoming journey.

SpaceX launches 10 more Iridium Communications satellites

Ten more satellites for Iridium Communications have been successfully launched into orbit.

First catalogue of X-ray sources in overlapping observations published

Members of the X-ray astronomy working group at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics (AIP) and an international team have published the first catalogue of X-ray sources in multiply observed sky regions. The catalogue comprises almost 72,000 objects, partly of exotic nature, which were observed with the space-based X-ray telescope XMM-Newton. It provides information on the physical properties of the sources and enables astronomers to identify brightness variations on time scales of several years - and includes several thousand new detections.

Sounds of the Sun

Data from ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has captured the dynamic movement of the Sun's atmosphere for over 20 years. Today, we can hear the Sun's movement—all of its waves, loops and eruptions—with our own ears.

NASA's most technically complex space observatory requires precision

The James Webb Space Telescope is of one the most ambitious and technically complex missions NASA has ever set its focus upon. Building an infrared observatory of this magnitude, power and complexity has never been attempted before. In order to ensure seamless operation in space, the cutting-edge technology incorporated into Webb must be rigorously tested prior to launch.

Sky's no limit: Japan firm to fly wedding plaques into space

The sky is no longer the limit for lovers looking for unusual ways to commemorate their nuptials, with a Japanese company now offering to blast commemorative wedding plaques into space.

Image: Model binary asteroids

The smaller model asteroid seen here atop a rover that slowly wheels around another larger model asteroid, a practical recreation of the kind of binary asteroid system to be visited by ESA's proposed Hera mission.

Technology news

An integrated visual and semantic neural network model explains human object recognition in the brain

Neuroscience researchers at the University of Cambridge have combined computer vision with semantics, developing a new model that could help to better understand how objects are processed in the brain.

An insect-inspired drone deforms upon impact

In recent years, robotics experts have taken a page from the traditional Japanese practice of origami and come up with light, flexible, and highly innovative robots and drones. Two types of origami-inspired structures have emerged: rigid structures that have a certain weight-bearing capacity, but which break if that capacity is exceeded, and flexible, resilient structures that cannot carry much of a load.

Personalized machine-learning models capture subtle variations in facial expressions to better gauge emotion

MIT Media Lab researchers have developed a machine-learning model that takes computers a step closer to interpreting our emotions as naturally as humans do.

Novel membrane advances low-cost, grid-scale energy storage

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed a crucial component for a new kind of low-cost stationary battery system utilizing common materials and designed for grid-scale electricity storage.

Research robots sometimes left unsecured on the internet, study finds

Robotics researchers wouldn't dream of leaving the door unlocked when they leave the lab for night, but a new study shows that research robots are often left exposed in another way: unsecured on the internet.

Eggs, jokes, and weather report: Alexa's adventure in American Sign Language

Abhishek Singh asks a simple question: If voice is the future of computing what about those who cannot hear? Alexa is all ears for the deaf community thanks to an app prototype that will no doubt draw some interest and inspiration.

Thinking about quitting Facebook? There's a demographic analysis for that

People are either Facebook users or they are not.

German post office delivers electric car surprise

On German streets plied by hulking SUVs and roaring combustion engines, the small, toy-like electric vehicles driven by postmen stand out by their silence and their bright yellow livery.

In support of 'organic' management, more living than digital

One of the main features of continuing digitalisation and the development of artificial intelligence – currently claimed to be the only and inevitable means of "progress" in the future – is the desire to conquer and "ideologically" transform managers and organisations that are portrayed as "ill-adapted," or even obsolete.

Researchers develop a framework to encode mechanical memory in a featureless elastic shell

When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was translated into Braille, it spanned 1,000 pages over 14 volumes of thick Braille paper. Tolstoy's War and Peace weighs in at 21 volumes. But what if there was a way to store whole books in just a few pages of Braille?

3-D printers may reshape recoveries for shark bite victims

A trauma victim is wheeled into an emergency room, his thigh caked with blood-soaked bandages.

EU carmakers 'inflating' emissions to skew carbon targets

The European Commission on Wednesday said EU-based carmakers are artificially inflating carbon dioxide emissions data under a new testing regime to distort future greenhouse gas targets, but manufacturers denied any trickery.

Communicating with drones using facial expressions and gestures could help save lives

With first responders beginning to use robots and drones to assist in search and rescue operations, having simple and easy to use ways of communicating with them can save precious moments and could help save lives.

Saudi Arabia receives four bids for $500 mn wind farm

Saudi Arabia has received bids from four consortiums competing to build a $500 million Saudi wind farm project, officials said Wednesday, as the world's top oil exporter pushes to diversify its energy sector.

Waymo launching pilot program with Walmart

Google spinoff Waymo is launching a pilot program with Walmart later this week that will allow customers to use its self-driving car service to pick up groceries at Walmart stores.

Why are there so many suckers? A neuropsychologist explains

If you have a mailbox, you probably get junk mail. If you have an email account, you probably get spam. If you have a phone, you probably get robocalls.

Artificial intelligence outperforms the repetitive animal tests in identifying toxic chemicals

Most consumers would be dismayed with how little we know about the majority of chemicals. Only 3 percent of industrial chemicals – mostly drugs and pesticides – are comprehensively tested. Most of the 80,000 to 140,000 chemicals in consumer products have not been tested at all or just examined superficially to see what harm they may do locally, at the site of contact and at extremely high doses.

'Battery of Asia': Laos's controversial hydro ambitions

Mountainous and landlocked Laos, known as the "Battery of Asia", is building dozens of dams at breakneck speed so it can sell energy to power-hungry neighbours as a fast track out of poverty.

GM cuts 2018 profit forecast, says trade war hit to car sales

General Motors cut its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday, in part due to higher commodity costs as it amplified its warning that mushrooming trade conflicts could dent US and global car sales.

Uber, Cabify halt Barcelona services after striking drivers assaulted

Uber and Cabify suspended their services in Barcelona on Wednesday after some of their drivers were attacked during a taxi strike, the association representing the ride-hailing companies said.

Facebook must end discriminatory ad practice under deal with Washington attorney general

Facebook will be legally required to end its practice of allowing businesses to block certain groups like blacks, gays and immigrants from viewing ads under an agreement reached with the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

The Centauro: A new disaster response robot to assist rescue workers to operate safely

Researchers at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia developed, assembled and tested a new disaster response robot called the Centauro, a Centaur-like robot consisting of a four-legged base and an anthropomorphic upper body. The robot is capable of robust locomotion, high strength manipulation and harsh interactions that may be necessary during the execution of disaster relief tasks. Centauro is 1.5 m tall, while its shoulder width is 65 cm and its weight is 93 Kg. It is made of aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloys, while cover parts are made from plastic using rapid prototyping fabrication. It is battery-powered and it can operate for 2.5 hours.

Fiat Chrysler shares plunge in Milan

Fiat Chrysler's shares plummeted on the Milan stock exchange Wednesday, after the Italian auto giant published disappointing quarterly results.

Facebook nixes Brazil pages, profiles that spread fake news

Facebook has removed a network of pages and profiles in Brazil that the social media company says were used to spread misinformation and foment divisiveness.

Boeing earnings up, but reports higher costs on tanker

Boeing reported a jump in second-quarter profits on Wednesday due to higher commercial airplane deliveries but said costs on a closely-watched Air Force tanker contract had risen again.

Medicine & Health news

Study identifies possible treatment target for Alzheimer's, age-related cognitive decline

Do you know someone afflicted with Alzheimer's disease? Odds are the answer to that question is yes, since Alzheimer's is one of the most common age-related disorders in the United States. It's also the fifth-leading cause of death among adults aged 65 and older.

Discovery of a new potential treatment for visceral leishmaniasis

A new preclinical candidate drug with the potential to treat visceral leishmaniasis, one of the world's major neglected diseases, has been discovered through a close collaboration between the University of Dundee, GSK and Wellcome.

Turbo-charging chemotherapy for lung cancer

A naturally occurring hormone could help make chemotherapy much more effective for many Australians with lung cancer, according to new findings from Sydney and Melbourne researchers.

Researchers identify immune system mechanism that regulates inflammation

When the body's defense cells detect harmful pathogens they kill them and alert rest of the immune system. Sometimes this killing goes overboard, and our defense system starts attacking healthy cells leading to a condition called autoimmunity.

Study: Lowering blood pressure helps prevent mental decline

Lowering blood pressure more than usually recommended not only helps prevent heart problems, it also cuts the risk of mental decline that often leads to Alzheimer's disease, a major study finds.

Switching sides: The betrayal of an anti-cancer gene

It doesn't often happen that army generals switch sides in the middle of a war, but when cancer's attack is underway, it may even cause a gene that acts as the body's master defender to change allegiance. As reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have discovered that the betrayal of this gene can occur in more ways than previously appreciated.

New strategy for cancer therapy spells double trouble for tumors

Scientists at Scripps Research have uncovered a new strategy to kill tumors, including some triple-negative breast cancers, without harming healthy cells, a discovery that could lead to more ways to treat tumors while reducing side effects.

Neural link between depression and bad sleep identified

The neural link between depression and sleep problems has been identified for the first time in a new study by researchers at the University of Warwick (UK) and Fudan University (China).

A new roadmap for repairing the damage of multiple sclerosis

Research published today in the journal Nature provides new understanding about how drugs can repair damaged brain cells that cause disability in patients with multiple sclerosis. Led by researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the study suggests new drug targets and potent early-stage drug candidates could lead to regenerative medicines for multiple sclerosis and other debilitating neurological diseases.

Heart disease and cancer kill more people in developing nations than in Western countries

Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke are deadlier in the developing world than in rich nations.

Unconventional connections: How inhibition hones cortical selectivity

Our brains do a remarkable job of encoding visual information about the world around us, providing an almost instantaneous report about rapidly changing conditions that is critical for guiding our behavior. Integral to the brain's encoding mechanism is the presence of neurons that respond selectively to specific visual features, generating electrical activity that reliably signals properties such as the orientation of edges, their position in space, and their direction of motion. By using new tools to probe the principles of connectivity that neural circuits use to generate selective responses, scientists at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience are gaining a host of new insights into the fundamental mechanisms underlying brain function.

New method adds missing functionality to brain organoids

In a collaborative study between Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute, and George Washington University, researchers have developed a new procedure for generating miniature 3-D versions of the brain called "organoids" from human stem cells. By providing an environment for cells to interact the way they would in an actual human brain, brain organoids allow researchers to observe brain development, study disease, and test promising new drugs. The new technique, published online today in Nature Methods, creates the first organoids capable of myelination, modeling the brain's structure and function more closely than ever.

Parkinson's treatments being developed could benefit most people with the disease

A gene linked to 3 to 4 percent of people with Parkinson's disease could play an important role in most, if not all, people with the disease, according to new study findings from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC. The gene, called LLRK2, was previously thought to only cause disease when mutated, but researchers have found that it may be just as significant in the non-hereditary form of the disease, according to the study published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Immune response likely culprit in eyelid gland condition that causes dry eye

Immune cells that normally rush in to protect the eyes from infection might actually be disrupting moisturizing glands and causing dry eye, a disease that afflicts more than 30 million people in the United States.

Multiple pregnancies might make women's cells 'age' faster

Multiple pregnancies might make women's cells age more quickly, a new Northwestern University study suggests.

Ultrasound jiggles open brain barrier, a step to better care

A handful of Alzheimer's patients signed up for a bold experiment: They let scientists beam sound waves into the brain to temporarily jiggle an opening in its protective shield.

Newly identified target may help with drug discovery for chronic inflammatory diseases

Inflammation is part of the body's natural healing process. But when it becomes chronic, inflammation can lead to cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other conditions. Inflammasomes—protein-based molecular machines—trigger inflammation in response to different signals generated by cell stress, tissue injury or infectious organisms.

Research finds that sunscreen users receive less than half the sun protection they think

Researchers from King's College London have assessed just how much sun protection people actually receive, based on typical use. It is well known that people don't receive the full ultraviolet radiation blocking benefit of sunscreen, because they are applying it more thinly than manufacturers recommend. The findings are published in journal Acta Dermato-Venereology.

Treatments for cancer and sickle cell disease deplete germ cells in young boys

Scientists have discovered that some treatments for cancer and sickle cell disease can destroy the germ cells that go on to develop into sperm in the testes of young boys. In some pre-pubescent boys, the treatment for sickle cell disease results in complete destruction of all their germ cells, which are called spermatogonia.

Women and older people under-represented in drug trials for heart disease

Trying to determine how best to treat a patient, doctors often look to randomized clinical trials to guide their choice of what drug to prescribe. One of the most common illnesses is heart disease, and in recent years it's been proven that, contrary to popular belief, more women have heart problems than men do; similarly, it's more common for older people to have a heart condition than younger people. But do clinical trials reflect this reality?

How to design better clinical trials to address 'critically low' dementia research shortfall

New research gives insights into how the design of clinical trials can improve to address the "critically low" research pipeline and improve the chances of finding effective dementia therapies.

Sunless tanning may not be the answer to preventing skin cancer

Many advertisements, articles and reports make bold statements regarding sunless tanning products—sprays, ointments, creams, foams, or lotions that promise tan skin without the increased risk of skin cancer that goes along with outdoor sunbathing or indoor tanning. But, do people who use sunless tanning products actually avoid these "bad" behaviors? Few studies have investigated this topic and this led Matthew Mansh, MD, Resident in the Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School and University of Minnesota Health, to question whether he should recommend sunless tanners to his patients.

Strong sense of self? You're more open to casual sex

From what we pick from the menu to what gadget we buy, how we see ourselves influences many of our daily choices. But could sense of self also sway how quickly we'll jump into bed with someone?

Study shows hormones, cellular receptors play important role in muscle response to weight training

Scientists have studied how muscles respond to exercise for decades, but research at the University of Kansas is among the first to look specifically at what happens inside the cell and the role hormones and cellular receptors play in response to weight training. The findings could lead to more individualized exercise routines based on a person's body type, training experience and other factors, and they could help people recover from injuries faster as well.

What your body may be telling you about your health

Do you have a persistent cough, or do you feel like your hair is thinning? These issues may signal that you need to visit a doctor. Baylor College of Medicine expert Isabel Valdez, a physician assistant and instructor of family and community medicine, discusses some clues your body may giving you about your health.

Technique to monitor the growth of certain cancers

Purdue University researchers have developed a technique they hope will provide valuable information about the growth of certain cancers and the ability of drugs to fight them.

'Irreversible coma' remains a sphere of controversy

In August 1968, a committee at Harvard Medical School published a landmark document titled "A Definition of Irreversible Coma." In addition to the traditional way of defining death, in terms of the loss of cardiorespiratory function, the committee suggested a new definition of death—brain death—that focused on the loss of neurological function. The report provided a foundation for the eventual adoption of legislation that established brain death as legal death in all 50 states.

New potential target for treatment of diabetes

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have discovered that one of the building blocks in the calcium channels in the pancreatic beta cells play an important role in regulating our blood glucose values. Treatments aimed at this building block may be a new way to combat primarily type 2 diabetes the researchers suggest in an article in the scientific journal Cell Reports.

ADHD linked to an increased risk of injury in children, study finds

Children and young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at an increased risk of injury, a study at the University of Nottingham has found.

Disrupting toxic stress in children to prevent long-term health impacts

Homelessness, neglect, malnutrition, or forced parent-child separation have long been known to cause toxic stress levels in childhood that harm developing brains and bodies.

Intriguing insights into the kidney-brain connection

Kidney disease doesn't just affect a patient's body, it's hard on their brain too—but no one really knows to what extent.

New techniques show prosthetics users harming healthy limb

Researchers from the University of Salford have used new techniques to show that people with artificial arms and hands are doing damage to their intact limbs.

Drugs for rare disorder phenylketonuria hit the market

Brady Connolly is an 18-year-old rugby player who can barely eat any protein. No steak, no beans, no peanut butter shakes—none of the foods you'd imagine a young athlete would crave. That's what it's like to live with phenylketonuria (PKU).

Perceptions of Pap screenings in relation to the HPV vaccine

Cervical cancer, the second most common cancer affecting women worldwide, is caused by infection with the Human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted sexually. Reflecting the wide reach of the HPV virus, it has been estimated that over 80% of sexually active females will be infected with HPV in their lifetimes. While HPV infection is often harmless, clearing up on its own, persistent infection can lead to development of cervical cancer.

Diabetes—the good news and the bad news, and what next for the future

Alarming stories about the diabetes epidemic that threatens millions of lives – and the NHS itself – have become commonplace, and with good reason. Around 4.6m people in the UK are living with diabetes while a further 12.3m are at increased risk of developing it. The NHS spends an estimated £14 billion a year on treating diabetes and its complications.

How to ask someone you're worried about if they're thinking of suicide

Australia's leading mental health organisations have launched a new campaign – #YouCanTalk – to encourage Australians to ask people they're concerned about if they're thinking about taking their own life or have made a plan to do so.

Weighing kids at school has more pros than cons but the reasons may surprise you

A Deakin University proposal to measure the height and weight of all Australian school children has understandably generated controversy. Some commentators have labelled it misguided, fearing it could encourage kids to "pursue weight loss at any cost".

Laws allowing medical marijuana have little impact on road safety

State laws that allow the use of medical marijuana are not significantly associated with cannabis-involved driving, according to a new study by Georgia State University associate professor of criminal justice and criminology Eric Sevigny.

Z-drugs linked with bone fractures in dementia patients

Drugs to help dementia patients sleep better are linked to an increased risk of bone fractures according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

New community-based approach to testing and treating HIV improves health in East Africa

A new community-based model to treat HIV and other health conditions in rural East Africa led to 20 percent fewer HIV deaths, reduced the incidence of HIV and tuberculosis (TB), and improved control of hypertension and diabetes, according to results presented today at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam.

EU to tighten checks on mental health of pilots

The European Union is introducing rules to tighten assessments of pilots' mental health following the Germanwings crash in 2015.

Physicians and practices should prepare for emergencies

(HealthDay)—Practices and physicians should prepare for emergency situations, such as natural disasters, network communications failures, and active shooter situations, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

HIV infects one teenaged girl every 3 minutes: UN

Every three minutes, a girl between the ages of 15 and 19 is infected with the virus that causes AIDS, said a UN report Wednesday that warned of a "crisis" fuelled by gender inequality.

NIAID Director: HIV remission free of antiretroviral therapy is a feasible goal

Long-lasting control of HIV infection without antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a feasible goal that deserves vigorous pursuit, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., will assert during a lecture on Wednesday, July 25 at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam. Dr. Fauci directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. His lecture is titled, "Durable Control of HIV Infection in the Absence of Antiretroviral Therapy: Opportunities and Challenges."

Experts band together to eradicate prostate cancer

A team of scientists and clinicians have developed a faster and more accurate way to test new treatments for the most aggressive form of prostate cancer.

'All-star' team of molecules could be key to improving cancer therapy

A team of tiny molecules that work together to make cancer cells less aggressive has been discovered by Australian researchers.

Combined approach offers hope to lung cancer patients who become resistant to drugs

New-generation lung cancer drugs have been effective in a large number of patients, but within about a year, the patients tend to develop resistance to the therapy. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in collaboration with physicians, have conducted a study in mice, in which they used existing drugs in a new combination to help crush potential resistance to the treatment. Their findings were published recently in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

New evidence supports radical treatment of widespread form of malaria

Darwin, Australia: A team of malaria experts from a large international research collaboration has published results supporting the need for a radical cure strategy to tackle one of the most debilitating forms of malaria caused by the Plasmodium vivax parasite.

How psychedelic microdosing might help ease anxiety and sharpen focus

Tune in, turn on…and boost your focus? A new study from U of T Mississauga reveals fascinating insights into how people use small doses of psychedelic drugs for therapeutic effects. 

Sending children with food allergies to school can be stressful

As summer winds down, parents and children are preparing for the start of the school year, but for children with food allergies, heading to school for the first time can come with significant stress and anxiety. When a child is at school, they're away from the watchful eye of their parents—those who can best control their children's exposure to allergens and recognize symptoms of a reaction. This issue affects more families than ever before as the number of children with food allergies has risen to one in 13, or about two per classroom.

Are you car seat savvy?

(HealthDay)—You know that wearing seat belts and putting kids in appropriate car seats can save lives, but are you doing all you can to make your car a safe environment for little ones?

40 years after the birth of IVF, researchers push boundaries to preserve fertility in women, men and children

Tears are a regular occurrence in a fertility clinic. Tears of joy, tears of frustration, tears of loss happen almost daily. For some, those tears are the tears of "what if." What if I had tried to get pregnant sooner? What if I had known then what I know now?

Researchers find different brain activation in risk-affine and risk-averse investors

Despite long-term profit expectations, many Germans shy away from investing their money in supposedly riskier forms of investment. Why? Together with colleagues from the USA and Switzerland, scientists at the University of Bonn have now developed a model that makes real-life stock buying behavior comprehensible for the first time. The researchers combined socioeconomic, psychological and neuroscientific data in an innovative way. It was found that the cortical regions of the "anterior insular" are more active among people who do not trade stocks. In experienced stock traders, the activity of this region of the brain was lower. The results will now be presented in the journal Scientific Reports.

Truck drivers are overtired, overworked and underpaid

Research shows that economic pressure pushes drivers to work extremely long hours, contributing significantly to truck crashes.

The dark side of antibiotic ciprofloxacin

The use of ciprofloxacin and other antibiotics of the class of fluoroquinolones may be associated with disruption of the normal functions of connective tissue, including tendon rupture, tendonitis and retinal detachment. These observations reported in a number of journals resulted in the drugs currently having a black box warning physicians and patients of the potential deleterious side effects.

Intensive blood pressure control reduces risk of mild cognitive impairment

Significant reductions in the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and the combination of MCI and dementia, have been shown for the first time through aggressive lowering of systolic blood pressure in new research results from the federally-funded SPRINT MIND Study reported at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2018 in Chicago.

Cognitive and motor training combined may slow dow progress of dementia or even reverse it

Researchers at York University's Faculty of Health found that just 30 minutes of visually-guided movements per week can slow and even reverse the progress of dementia. Those in the early stages of dementia who were exposed to 30 minutes a week to a game which used rules to make visually-guided movements, were able to slow down the progress of dementia and for some, even reverse their cognitive function to healthy status.

New study offers hope of recovery from spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injury or damage causes permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions. Hope of recuperation is slim to none. Now a new Tel Aviv University study finds the intravenous injection of a potent enzyme, just hours after an accident, has the potential to diminish a cascade of pathological events responsible for neuronal death, such as inflammation and scarring.

Half of female students experience psychological distress, study shows

For the first time, just over 50 per cent of female students in Ontario show signs of moderate to serious psychological distress, according to the latest Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), released by Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Scientists seek end to 'unscientific' HIV laws

AIDS experts called Wednesday for an end to laws that can see HIV-positive people jailed for exposing others to the virus, saying the approach was "unscientific" and worsening the killer epidemic.

Better clinical trials must address 'critically low' dementia research shortfall

New research gives insights into how the design of clinical trials can improve, with new insights into the "critically low" research pipeline and improve the chances of finding effective dementia therapies.

Feel lightheaded when standing up? You may have a greater risk of dementia

People who feel faint, dizzy or lightheaded when standing up may be experiencing a sudden drop in blood pressure called orthostatic hypotension. Now a new study says middle-aged people who experience such a drop may have a greater risk of developing dementia or stroke decades later. The study is published in the July 25, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

All thyroid cancers are not 'created equal'— avoiding unnecessary or 'excessive' treatment

More Americans are being diagnosed with thyroid cancer than ever before—over the past 25 years its incidence has tripled. This year alone, more than 50,000 people in the U.S., the majority of them of women, will receive a thyroid cancer diagnosis. Yet, despite the dramatic rise in the rate of diagnosis, morality due to thyroid cancer has remained stable.

Blood plasma during emergency air transport saves lives

Two units of plasma given in a medical helicopter on the way to the hospital could increase the odds of survival by 10 percent for traumatically injured patients with severe bleeding, according to the results of a national clinical trial led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Experts strongly recommend catheter based closure for 'hole in the heart' patients

A catheter based procedure to close a type of 'hole in the heart' followed by antiplatelet drugs (e.g. aspirin) should be recommended for patients under 60 years old, who have also had a stroke, say a panel of experts in The BMJ today.

After a heart attack, return to work can be good medicine

After five weeks off recovering from her heart attack, Melissa Murphy looked forward to returning to her job.

Coal and oil power plant pollution may lower fertility rates

(HealthDay)—Fertility rates among nearby populations appear to increase after coal and oil power plant retirements, according to a study published recently in Environmental Health.

Escitalopram cuts MACE risk in depressed patients with ACS

(HealthDay)—For patients with depression following recent acute coronary syndrome (ACS), escitalopram results in lower risk of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) versus placebo, according to a study published in the July 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

HerbList app launched to provide information on herbal products

(HealthDay)—The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has announced the launch of an app for easy access to research-based information on the safety and effectiveness of herbal products.

Prevalence of depression 4.4 percent among dads of infants

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of depression is 4.4 percent among fathers of children age 15 months or younger attending a well-child care clinic visit, according to a research letter published online July 23 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Modifiable midlife risk factors linked to late-onset epilepsy

(HealthDay)—Potentially modifiable risk factors in midlife are associated with the risk of developing late-onset epilepsy, according to a study published online July 23 in JAMA Neurology.

Tools, methods of RCTs can be adapted to real-world settings

(HealthDay)—Use of appropriate statistical methodology can allow for the synthesis of data collected as part of traditional clinical trials with real-world data, according to an Ideas and Opinions piece published online July 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Diabetes diagnosis may impact health behaviors of family

(HealthDay)—Partners of people with newly diagnosed diabetes have small but significant differences in health-related behavioral changes compared with partners of people without diabetes, according to a study published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Many U.S. adults view marijuana use positively

(HealthDay)—Most U.S. adults believe that marijuana has at least one benefit, according to a study published online July 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Stress won't undermine fertility treatment success: study

(HealthDay)—Struggles with infertility can take an emotional toll. But a new study finds the stress that a woman often experiences during infertility treatment won't limit her chances of success.

Lowering default number of pills can reduce prescribed opioids

(HealthDay)—Reducing the default number of opioid pills prescribed in an electronic medical record (EMR) system can effectively decrease the amount of opioids prescribed after procedures, according to a study published online July 18 in JAMA Surgery.

Zika viruses show potential as treatment for high-risk childhood cancer

Zika virus, long feared for its severe effects on pregnant mothers and unborn babies, may hold potential as a cancer treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare- but-deadly childhood cancer, according to early findings from basic research published today in PLOS ONE. This basic research provides the groundwork for future investigations, but more studies are required to determine if it will lead to new treatments.

Scientists identify biomarkers to detect and prevent stillbirth

New biomarkers found in maternal blood may allow doctors to prevent stillbirth, according to new research at the University of Alberta.

Contact sports associated with Lewy body disease, Parkinson's disease symptoms, dementia

There is mounting evidence that repetitive head impacts from contact sports and other exposures are associated with the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia. A new study suggests that contact sports athletes may also be at increased risk for Lewy Body Disease, which can cause Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder that leads to problems with movement and thinking.

Smokers hazy on actual benefits of lung cancer screenings

Regular cancer screenings can lower the chance of death from lung cancer. But they cannot reduce the risk of developing lung cancer for people who smoke. Patients seem to be confused about the actual benefits and limitations of lung cancer screenings, according to a study by the VA Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care in Seattle.

Assault during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight and pre-term babies

Physical assault during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, can significantly increase the rates of babies born at very low birth weights (under 3.3 pounds) and very pre-term (fewer than 34 weeks gestation), according to a study published by researchers at Princeton University, Stanford University and the University of Michigan.

New target is an apparent triple threat to pneumonia

Severe pneumonia causes a buildup of fluid in the lungs that makes the basics of breathing and getting oxygen out to the body difficult to impossible.

Transplanted kidneys survive longer

The lifespan of a transplant kidney has significantly improved over the last 30 years. Between 1986 and 1995, 75 percent of the transplanted kidneys still functioned five years after the transplant. Between 2006 and 2015, this number had already risen to 84 percent. However, an international study led by kidney specialist Maarten Naesens of KU Leuven shows that the progress is stagnating.

Hidden abuse of Nigerian women revealed by researcher

A study of 16 Nigerian women living with domestic abuse has shown how they are too frightened of being deported to ask for help from the UK authorities.

Men aren't being tested for HIV—how health services can plug the gap

Men make up slightly less than half of the adults living with HIV across the world. Yet they account for nearly 60% of the AIDS related deaths.

15 detained in China rabies vaccine scandal

Chinese state media say a total of 15 people have been detained in a growing scandal over the faking of records by a rabies vaccine maker.

Spain's Catalonia in raw milk controversy

Catalonia is in the eye of the storm again, but not for its independence drive. This time, the controversy is all about... raw milk.

For US pot companies, Canada is the land of opportunity

Green Thumb Industries had a business plan, expertise and plenty of ambition to grow its marijuana business. What the Chicago-based company didn't have was access to enough capital to make it all happen.

Survey: nearly two-thirds of americans oppose cuts to SNAP program

A majority of registered voters oppose recent efforts to scale back Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits and believe the government should be doing more to meet the needs of people facing food insecurity and other challenges, according to a new survey commissioned by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future (CLF). 

Curbs on legal highs cut need for hospital care

Fewer people sought hospital treatment for the toxic effects of so-called legal highs following temporary restrictions, a study based at an Edinburgh hospital suggests.

New data show dramatic progress in Namibia toward HIV epidemic control; gaps elsewhere

The Government of the Republic of Namibia, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and ICAP at Columbia University (ICAP) released new data today at the 2018 International AIDS Conference demonstrating that the HIV epidemic is coming under control in Namibia.

Multi-disease health fairs, 'test and treat' help E. African communities achieve HIV goals

People living with HIV in rural East African communities that hosted annual community health campaigns initiated antiretroviral therapy (ART) earlier and had higher levels of overall survival and viral suppression than communities receiving standard HIV care, according to study data presented today at a press conference at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam. Communities with annual multi-disease health fairs, which delivered patient-centered, streamlined HIV care, also had fewer cases of tuberculosis (TB), better control of hypertension and approximately 30 percent fewer new HIV cases during the last year of the study compared to the first year. The study, known as Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health (SEARCH), is supported by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

New film reveals experiences of LGBTQ young people in care

Experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and questioning (LGBTQ) young people coming out in the care system are revealed in a new film premiering this weekend.

'Zika epidemic is not over,' says Brazilian specialist

Concern about the zika virus may have waned since the disease spiked in the months before the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the epidemic is not over, a Brazilian expert told AFP.

Majority of those in residential care have advance directives

(HealthDay)—More than three-quarters of those living in residential care facilities have an advance directive, according to a QuickStats report published in the July 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Biology news

Toxoplasma gondii parasite linked to risky business behavior

An international team of researchers has found a possible link between a parasitic infection and risky business behavior. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group outlines an experiment they carried out to test possible behavioral changes due to Toxoplasma gondii parasitic infections and what they found.

Team shatters theoretical limit on bio-hydrogen production

In 1977, researcher Rudolf Thauer proposed a theoretical ceiling on the amount of hydrogen that bacteria could produce via fermentation, the sugar-converting process also responsible for yogurt, beer and cheese.

Rice with fewer stomata requires less water and is better suited for climate change

Rice plants engineered to have fewer stomata—tiny openings used for gas exchange—are more tolerant to drought and resilient to future climate change, a new study has revealed.

Fish body shape holds key to make fishery management cheaper, easier

A simple body-shape analysis can reveal what part of the ocean a fish came from, according to a new study from Smithsonian scientists working to develop better tools for managing small-scale fisheries. The researchers found that body-shape analysis reliably discriminated between yellowtail snapper caught at Caribbean fishing grounds just 5 kilometers apart—and it did so more accurately than two more costly and technology-intensive techniques.

Among golden-crowned sparrows, a false crown only fools strangers

Scientists studying winter flocks of golden-crowned sparrows at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum have discovered surprisingly complex social behavior in these small migratory birds. A new study reveals that the sparrows have different ways to assess dominance status depending on whether the interaction is with a familiar bird or a stranger.

Bacterial communities use sophisticated strategy to communicate over long distances

It's the way we end up with a fresh cup of coffee from a clump of beans. It's how ocean oil rigs extract petroleum from dense rock formations beneath the seafloor. It even helps explain how forest fires spread.

Leggy lizards don't survive the storm

Nobody knows exactly what happens at the eye of the storm. But biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have published a first-of-its-kind look at the physical characteristics of lizards that seem to make the difference between life and death in a hurricane, as reported in the July 25 issue of the journal Nature.

Study finds Nemo's bright colours protect it from predators

The colourful stripes of coral reef-dwelling clownfish may serve to warn predators about their poisonous anemone hosts, according to a new study by The University of Western Australia.

Chemicals that keep drinking water flowing may also cause fouling

Many city drinking water systems add softening agents to keep plumbing free of pipe-clogging mineral buildup. According to new research, these additives may amplify the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria—like those responsible for Legionnaires' disease—have on pipe interiors.

Researchers map hot spots of transfer of fish catch at sea

It could be considered the global CSI for high seas fisheries. In two new groundbreaking studies, researchers from Dalhousie University, Global Fishing Watch and SkyTruth have applied cutting-edge technology to map exactly where fishing boats may be transferring their catch to cargo vessels at sea.

Diamond doves do not optimize their movements for flexible perches

The diamond dove may preferentially select large, stiff materials for takeoff and landing sites, according to a study published on July 25th in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The unexpected findings, reported by Kristen Crandell of the University of Montana and colleagues, suggest that the diamond dove does not adjust its takeoff or landing behavior depending on the flexibility of the perch.

Unisexual salamander evolution: A long, strange trip

The reproductive history of the unisexual, ladies-only salamander species is full of evolutionary surprises.

Agricultural and urban habitat drive long-term bird population changes

Land use changes are a major driver of species declines, but in addition to the habitat to which they're best adapted, many bird species use "alternative" habitats such as urban and agricultural land. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications documents a century of land use change in Illinois and shows that species' long-term fate can depend on the availability and suitability of these alternative habitats.

Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe

Great opportunity for European brown bears: A new study spearheaded by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) shows that there are still many areas in Europe where bears are extinct, but with suitable habitat for hosting them. Effective management of the species, including a reduction of direct pressures by humans (like hunting) has the potential to help these animals come back in many of these areas, according to the head of the study. It is now important to plan the recovery of the species while taking measures to prevent conflicts.

Regulation of cell orientation and shape for tissue morphogenesis

A collaborative research group led by Kumamoto University has developed a new control system for regulating the morphology and orientation of cells that constitute animal tissues.

A protein that promotes compatibility between chromosomes after fertilization

A research team from the Center for Biomedical Research (CBMR), at the University of Algarve (UAlg), and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), led by Rui Gonçalo Martinho (UAlg) and Paulo Navarro-Costa (UAlg and IGC) has identified the mechanism by which the fertilized egg balances out the differences between chromosomes inherited from the mother and the father. The study, now published in the scientific journal EMBO reports, may pave the way for future developments in the clinical management of infertile couples.

Biologist works to merge the sciences and architecture

How do spaces affect us, and animals? UCLA biologist Noa Pinter-Wollman had the idea that we can learn from the way animals use space, and, with several colleagues from the U.S., England and France, she is launching an effort to create a new field of study. Her goals are ambitious.

Why do dingoes attack people, and how can we prevent it?

The case of Debbie Rundle, who was attacked by dingoes at a mine site in Telfer, in Western Australia's Pilbara region, evokes our instinctive horror at the idea of being attacked by wild animals.

EU top court rules new breeding techniques count as GMOs

The European Union's top court ruled Wednesday that food produced by a series of new biotechnology breeding techniques should be considered genetically modified organisms, thus falling under the EU's strict regulations of the products.

Can a scientific name save one of Earth's most iconic freshwater fish from extinction?

The mahseers are an iconic group of fish found throughout the fast-flowing rivers of South and South-East Asia. Characterised by their large scales, attractive appearance and potentially vast size, the mahseers have long been afforded saintly status as "God's fishes". They are also known to anglers as some of the world's hardest fighting freshwater game fish, earning them the reputation of "tigers of the water".

Homing pigeons use local natural odors to find their way

Homing pigeons use familiar smells to navigate their way across hundreds of kilometers of unfamiliar territory. Researchers have now confirmed that artificial odors cannot be used to stimulate or trigger a pigeon's navigation system. This means that the so-called olfactory activation hypothesis—which has been proposed by some researchers—should be disregarded, argues Anna Gagliardo of the University of Pisa in Italy. Gagliardo and her colleagues have published their research in Springer's Journal of Comparative Physiology A.

University researchers discover new species of venomous snake

Researchers at Swansea University's College of Science are part of an international team that has discovered a new species of venomous snake in Australia.

Amphibians face many challenges in Brazilian rain forest

Deforestation remains the biggest threat to animals that call the rain forest "home." However, even measured, sensible development projects can have unforeseen effects because there's no model to follow.

Pregnant again! April the giraffe's calf is due in March

You don't need to stick your neck out to predict that this bundle of joy is going to get some attention.

New endangered Puget Sound orca dies soon after birth (Update)

The first calf born in three years to the endangered orcas that spend time in Pacific Northwest waters died Tuesday, the latest troubling sign for a population already at its lowest in more than three decades.

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