Thursday, August 9, 2018

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Aug 9

Dear Reader ,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A new triboelectric auditory sensor for social robotics and hearing aids

Neuroscientists get at the roots of pessimism

Evolution of cancer cell lines draws concern

Recording every cell's history in real-time with evolving genetic barcodes

In apoptosis, cell death spreads through perpetuating waves, study finds

Omega Centauri unlikely to harbor life

'Believing you're a winner' gives men a testosterone boost and promiscuous disposition

Rare teeth from ancient mega-shark found on Australia beach

Magic Leap, the $2 billion 3D software startup, is finally live. It doesn't come cheap.

The underestimated cooling effect on the planet from historic fires

Arsenic in combination with an existing drug could combat cancer

Novel approach to coherent control of a three-level quantum system

Surprise slow electrons are produced when intense lasers hit clusters of atoms

Scientists call for more eyes in the sky amidst alarming climate change

Drugs in development for cancer may also fight brain diseases, including ALS

Astronomy & Space news

Omega Centauri unlikely to harbor life

Searching for life in the vast universe is an overwhelming task, but scientists can cross one place off their list.

Impact of a stellar intruder on our solar system

The solar system was formed from a protoplanetary disk consisting of gas and dust. Since the cumulative mass of all objects beyond Neptune is much smaller than expected and the bodies there mostly have inclined, eccentric orbits, it is likely that some process restructured the outer solar system after its formation. Susanne Pfalzner from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, and her colleagues present a study showing that a close fly-by of a neighbouring star can simultaneously lead to the observed lower mass density in the outer part of the solar system and excite the bodies there onto eccentric, inclined orbits. Their numerical simulations show that many additional bodies at high inclinations still await discovery, perhaps including the sometimes postulated "planet X."

Finding the happy medium of black holes

This image shows data from a massive observing campaign that includes NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. These Chandra data have provided strong evidence for the existence of so-called intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs). Combined with a separate study also using Chandra data, these results may allow astronomers to better understand how the very largest black holes in the early Universe formed, as described in our latest press release.

Study helps solve mystery under Jupiter's coloured bands

Scientists from Australia and the United States have helped to solve the mystery underlying Jupiter's coloured bands in a new study on the interaction between atmospheres and magnetic fields.

Pairs of small colliding galaxies may seed future stars

A pair of dwarf galaxies closely circling the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, were in the throes of merging into one when they fell into our galaxy. The duo is thought to hold enough gas to replenish half of the Milky Way's supply of star-making fuel, and now, a study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society offers new insights into how galaxies like ours are able to capture this gas so easily.

Astrophysicists discover that ultrahot planets have starlike atmospheres

Recent observations by NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes of ultrahot Jupiter-like planets have perplexed theorists. The spectra of these planets have suggested they have exotic—and improbable—compositions.

A new wave of satellites in orbit: Cheap and tiny, with short lifespans

It's one of the most recognizable images in aerospace: Highly specialized workers clad in gowns, hair nets and shoe coverings crawl over a one-of-a-kind satellite the size of a school bus. The months-long process is so delicate that even workers' metal rings must be covered with a translucent tape to prevent static transfer.

The Umov Effect—space dust clouds and the mysteries of the universe

FEFU scientists are developing a methodology to calculate the ratio of dust and gas in comas and tails of comets. This will reveal more about the history of the solar system and its development, as well as to understand the processes that took part on different stages of universal evolution.

PhD student develops spinning heat shield for future spacecraft

A University of Manchester Ph.D. student has developed a prototype flexible heat shield for spacecraft that could reduce the cost of space travel and even aid future space missions to Mars.

Scientist begins developing instrument for finding extraterrestrial bacteria

A NASA scientist wants to create a planetary robot that would mimic what biologists do every day in terrestrial laboratories: look through microscopes to visually identify microbial life living in samples.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe is about to lift off

At 3:33 a.m. EDT on Aug. 11, while most of the U.S. is asleep, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be abuzz with excitement. At that moment, NASA's Parker Solar Probe, the agency's historic mission to touch the Sun, will have its first opportunity to lift off.

Time saving tooling rods used on NASA's Webb Telescope sunshield

Folding and refolding bed sheets to ensure they are squared can take a lot of time. It's the same with unfurling and folding up NASA's massive James Webb Space Telescope sunshield during testing. However, engineers found a way to make this process much faster by temporarily installing small pencil-sized rods that keep the silver-colored sunshield tidy during inspection and repair.

Pence outlines US Space Force plan for 'next battlefield'

Pointing to growing threats and competition from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday announced ambitious plans to create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military warfighting service by 2020.

Technology news

A new triboelectric auditory sensor for social robotics and hearing aids

Researchers from Chongqing University, in China, have recently developed a self-powered triboelectric auditory sensor (TAS) that could be used to build electronic auditory systems for external hearing aids in intelligent robotics applications. Their recent study, published in Science Robotics, could inform the creation of a new generation of auditory systems, addressing some of the key challenges in the field of social robotics.

Magic Leap, the $2 billion 3D software startup, is finally live. It doesn't come cheap.

Magic Leap, the secretive Plantation, Fla.-based tech company that has raised more than $2 billion in venture capital to build sophisticated 3-D software, has finally gone live.

Garment with gills will do nicely as we swim to the bank

A breathable garment has been designed for underwater wear and it has futurists thinking along the lines of a wearable that we actually may need for daily tasks. To what extent would this clothing come in handy if sea levels rise up beyond your dreams?

Samsung's new phone shows how hardware innovation has slowed

Samsung's new smartphone illustrates the limits of innovation at a time when hardware advances have slowed.

Researchers help close security hole in popular encryption software

Cybersecurity researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have helped close a security vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to steal encryption keys from a popular security package by briefly listening in on unintended "side channel" signals from smartphones.

Tesla CEO's buyout bid raises eyebrows, legal concerns

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is seeking relief from the pressures of running a publicly held company with a $72 billion buyout of the electric car maker, but he may be acquiring new headaches with his peculiar handling of the proposed deal.

Three Japan automakers admit false emissions data

Japan's Suzuki Motor, Mazda and Yamaha have admitted using false emissions data for some vehicles, the transport ministry said Thursday, in the latest product quality scandal to hit the country's auto sector.

Samsung looks to go bigger than ever with Note 9

Samsung's new Note 9 phone, expected to be unveiled at a big bash in Brooklyn on Thursday morning, looks to be the biggest one yet, but it could be the last in the lineup.

San Jose airport shows off facial recognition for international flights

Mineta San Jose International Airport demonstrated a facial recognition system that will make it the first West Coast airport to launch, for all international flights, a technology that officials said has already slashed the processing time for travelers.

Apple to lawmakers: Siri doesn't listen until prompted

Apple does not eavesdrop on iPhone users, the company said Tuesday in response to an inquiry by a congressional committee about the company's privacy practices.

Google makes up for years of allowing scammers top spots in search results with new system

The way to shop for home services in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond has changed for the better. Google has stepped up with a new service that's supposed to separate professional, reliable companies from scammers.

Elon Musk: Tesla's next software update to have 'classic' Atari games built in

As if driving a Tesla wasn't different enough already from the cars and trucks we have been wheeling around on the road for decades, how about adding some "Asteroids" to the mix?

Researchers develop a method to detoxify water with chlorine and ultraviolet radiation

Purdue University researchers have developed a method to detoxify water with chlorine and ultraviolet radiation, which may provide new hope for water-stressed areas and help promote the reuse of wastewater.

Building more flexible barriers to save lives on country roads

Each year in Victoria around 75 people are killed—and more than 500 hospitalised—after running off the road or having a head-on crash on high-speed country roads. Many of these are country Victorians, with 47 per cent of fatal and serious injury crashes occurring within 20 kilometres of the person's home postcode.

Hairy robot

The University of Texas at Arlington has patented a smart skin, created by a UTA researcher, that will give robots more sensitive tactile feeling than humans.

New cyberattacks against urban water services possible, warn researchers

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) cyber security researchers warn of a potential distributed attack against urban water services that uses a botnet of smart irrigation systems that water simultaneously. A botnet is a large network of computers or devices controlled by a command and control server without the owner's knowledge.

Uber faces new roadblock in New York on its way to IPO

Uber will have to navigate around a new regulatory pothole in New York on an already bumpy road to its initial public offering of stock next year.

Boeing says 737 production woes will last through year's end

US aerospace giant Boeing on Wednesday admitted supply chain hold-ups would affect production of its bestselling 737 jetliner until the end of the year, and could hamper third-quarter deliveries.

Criminal case filed against BMW over S. Korea car fires

A group of BMW owners in South Korea filed a criminal complaint against the German automaker Thursday over alleged delays in recalling more than 100,000 cars after a spate of engine fires, their lawyer said.

Want to work for Amazon? Now you can do it from home as company seeks 200 virtual workers

Want to work for Amazon without moving to Seattle—or its yet unnamed second U.S. headquarters? The online retailing giant is looking to fill more than 200 "virtual" jobs that let you work from home.

UK watchdog fines child care company for selling data

Britain's information watchdog has fined a firm that offers advice on pregnancy and child care 140,000 pounds ($180,000) for illegally collecting and selling personal information that ended up being used in a database for the Labour Party.

World's densest, totally silent solid state drive

Fast disappearing from data centers are power-hungry spinning hard disk drives that hum, buzz, run warm (or even hot), require fans and expensive cooling systems, and can crash unexpectedly.

Dutch court says Ryanair pilots' strike can go ahead

A Dutch court told Ryanair pilots in the Netherlands Thursday they could join a wave of strike action planned across Europe, set to plunge thousands of passengers into summer travel misery.

Tesla stock drops closer to pre-Musk tweet level

After two days of turmoil, Tesla shares have fallen back closer to the level they were trading at before CEO Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday that he may take the company private.

Medicine & Health news

Neuroscientists get at the roots of pessimism

Many patients with neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety or depression experience negative moods that lead them to focus on the possible downside of a given situation more than the potential benefit.

Evolution of cancer cell lines draws concern

Cell lines form the backbone of cancer research. These individual groups of cells, typically collected from patients' tumor samples and cultured to grow indefinitely in the laboratory, enable everything from basic genetic research to drug discovery.

'Believing you're a winner' gives men a testosterone boost and promiscuous disposition

A new study shows that men only have to believe they've bested another man in competition to get raised testosterone levels and an inflated sense of their own value as a sexual prospect.

Arsenic in combination with an existing drug could combat cancer

Investigators have discovered that arsenic in combination with an existing leukemia drug work together to target a master cancer regulator. The team, led by researchers at the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), is hopeful that the discovery could lead to new treatment strategies for diverse types of cancer. Their findings were published today online in Nature Communications.

Drugs in development for cancer may also fight brain diseases, including ALS

A class of cancer drugs called PARP inhibitors could be useful for treating and preventing brain disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, and some forms of frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), by halting the misplacement of specific proteins that affect nerve cells, according to a study published in Molecular Cell by researchers in the the School of Arts and Sciences and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Nuclear gatekeeper could block undruggable prostate cancer targets

Certain molecular drivers of cancer growth are "undruggable—it's been nearly impossible to develop chemicals that would block their action and prevent cancer growth. Many of these molecules function by passing cancer-promoting information through a gate in the nucleus, where the instructions are carried out. Researchers at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center—Jefferson Health have found a way to block the nuclear gates used by these molecules, and show that this inhibition can halt aggressive prostate cancer in mice bearing human tumors.

Evolutionary changes in the human brain may have led to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

The same aspects of relatively recent evolutionary changes that make us prone to bad backs and impacted third molars may have generated long, noncoding stretches of DNA that predispose individuals to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other neuropsychiatric diseases.

Synapses of the reward system at stake in autistic disorders

Autism spectrum disorders are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders, one of the main characteristics of which is impaired social communication. But what happens in patients' brains that disrupts their social skills? According to a study by scientists from the Universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Basel (UNIBAS), in Switzerland, now published in Nature Communications, a malfunction of the synaptic activity of neurons present in the reward system seems to be at stake. By establishing a link between a genetic mutation found in people suffering from autistic disorders, a disturbance of the synapses and an alteration of social interactions, they are taking one step further in the understanding of a disorder that affects more than one child in 200 today.

Unexpected outcomes sound warning for treatment of genetic diseases using gene editing in embryos

New research led by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and the University of Adelaide has uncovered a significant hurdle for realising the potential benefits of gene editing in embryos.

Kidney cancer's developmental source revealed

In the first experiment of its kind, scientists have revealed the precise identity of cancer cells of the most common childhood and adult kidney cancers. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge, University of Newcastle and their collaborators showed that the cancer cells are versions of specific healthy cells from developing or adult kidneys.

From 'sea of mutations,' two possible cancer links rise to the surface

By analyzing data from thousands of patients, Princeton researchers have identified genetic mutations that frequently occur in people with uterine cancer, colorectal cancer or skin cancer—an important step toward using genome sequences to better understand cancer and guide new treatments.

New 3D-printed device could help treat spinal cord injuries

Engineers and medical researchers at the University of Minnesota have teamed up to create a groundbreaking 3-D-printed device that could someday help patients with long-term spinal cord injuries regain some function.

Details of HIV-1 structure open door for potential therapies

New research provides details of how the structure of the HIV-1 virus is assembled, findings that offer potential new targets for treatment.

Possible treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease discovered

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is the most common hereditary neuropathy and affects more than 2 million people worldwide. Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine and the University Medical Center of Göttingen now hope to use lecithin, a harmless dietary supplement, to treat the incurable illness.

Targeting a brain mechanism could treat aggression

A number of psychiatric disorders present with aggression and violence, which, needless to say, are destructive to both individuals and societies worldwide: death, disease, disability, and numerous socioeconomic problems can often be traced back to aggressive behavior.

Scientists find that common dietary elements cure lethal infections, eliminating the need for antibiotics

Antibiotic use is driving an epidemic of antibiotic resistance, as more susceptible bacteria are killed but more resilient strains live on and multiply with abandon. But if antibiotics aren't the end-all solution for infectious disease, what is?

Genetic mutation underlying severe childhood brain disorder identified

Ashleigh Schaffer, Ph.D., assistant professor of genetics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a team of global genetics experts have discovered a genetic mutation and the faulty development process it triggers, causing a debilitating brain-based disorder in children.

Primate study offers clues to evolution of speech

New research examining the brains and vocal repertoires of primates offers important insight into the evolution of human speech.

Study: Brain proteins, patterns reveal clues to understanding epilepsy

New therapies could be on the horizon for people living with epilepsy or anxiety, thanks to a breakthrough discovery by UNLV, Tufts University School of Medicine, and an international team of researchers studying how proteins interact to control the firing of brain cells.

Doctors nudged by overdose letter prescribe fewer opioids

In a novel experiment, doctors got a letter from the medical examiner's office telling them of their patient's fatal overdose. The response: They started prescribing fewer opioids.

Ketogenic diets may lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes

New research published in the Journal of Physiology indicates that ketogenic diets, which are low carbohydrate high fat eating plans that are known to lead to weight loss, may cause an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in the early stage of the diet.

Public unaware of cancer risk from too little exercise, study reports

It has long been accepted that regular exercise can assist in helping to prevent or reduce the risk of a multitude of health problems. However, a new study on US audiences published in the Journal of Health Communication, reports that the public respondents to a survey were largely unaware that an insufficient level of exercise can contribute to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon and breast.

Higher alcohol taxes are cost-effective in reducing alcohol harms

Increasing taxes on alcohol is one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing the harms caused by alcohol consumption, according to research in the new issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Exercise linked to improved mental health, but more may not always be better

A study of 1.2 million people in the USA has found that people who exercise report having 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health a month, compared to people who do not exercise. The study found that team sports, cycling, aerobics and going to the gym are associated with the biggest reductions, according to the largest observational study of its kind published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

Skin bleaching in Africa: An 'addiction' with risks

Dr. Isima Sobande was in medical school when she first heard of mothers who bleached the skin of their babies.

A diverse diet may not be the healthiest one

Encouraging people to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure they meet all their dietary needs may backfire, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association that provides an overview of recent scientific studies.

How to trigger innate fear response?

When animals encounter danger, they usually respond to the situation in one of two ways—by freezing or fleeing. How do they make this quick decision in a life-or-death moment?

Finally, a potential new approach against KRAS-driven lung cancer

The previous decade has seen dramatic advances in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, as genes driving subtypes of the disease including EGFR, ALK, ROS1 and BRAF are paired with drugs that silence their action. However, a major genetic driver of non-small cell lung cancer is still without a targeted treatment. The gene KRAS is known to be amplified in about 25 percent of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) and despite over 10,000 studies related to KRAS listed in the PubMed database and just shy of 500 clinical trials including the search term KRAS at ClinicalTrials.gov, no successful drugs targeting KRAS are in clinical use.

Common skin cancer can signal increased risk of other cancers, researchers say

People who develop abnormally frequent cases of a skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma appear to be at significantly increased risk for the development of other cancers, including blood, breast, colon and prostate cancers, according to a preliminary study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Scientists identify genetic marker for gastric cancer prognosis

Although immunotherapy is seen as a very promising treatment for cancer, currently only 20 to 30 percent of patients respond positively. Being able to identify the people most likely to benefit from the costly therapy is a Holy Grail for oncologists.

Single transplantation of therapeutic macrophages improves rare lung disease in mice

Hereditary pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (herPAP) is a rare disease characterized by the slow build-up of lipo-protein material in the lungs due to the failure of highly specialized cells called macrophages, which usually eat away this material from the pulmonary air-space. On August 9 in the journal Stem Cell Reports, researchers in Germany demonstrate that a single transplantation of murine macrophages derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) into the lungs of mice suffering from herPAP can effectively treat this life-threatening disease.

Psychologists explore potential benefits of hallucinogens for mental health disorders

Many people think of psychedelics as relics from the hippie generation or something taken by ravers and music festival-goers, but they may one day be used to treat disorders ranging from social anxiety to depression, according to research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Roles of emotional support animals examined

Airlines are not the only organizations grappling with the complexities surrounding emotional support animals. Colleges and courts are also questioning the need for these animals and the effects they may have on students and juries, respectively, according to research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Increased control, physical activity lower subjective age in older adults, research says

Could increasing your physical activity or feeling more in control of your life be the secret to staying young? Employing these simple strategies may help older adults feel younger and that, in turn, could help improve their cognitive abilities, longevity and overall quality of life, according to research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Changes in gut microbiome in only one subset of helminth-infected patients

Over the last decade, it's become clearer than ever that bacteria in the human gut— collectively termed the microbiome—play a key role in health and disease. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have shown that a subset of people with soil-transmitted helminth infections have changes to their microbiome when treated for the infection.

Measles case reported in Minnesota

(HealthDay)—A Somali-American child in Minnesota has been diagnosed with the measles after returning from a trip to Africa, state health officials said Tuesday, adding that the unidentified 5-year-old in Hennepin County was not vaccinated, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Most antipsychotics prescribed in nursing homes initiated there

(HealthDay)—Antipsychotic therapy prescribed to nursing home residents is mostly initiated in nursing homes rather than hospitals or outpatient settings, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

New treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma approved

(HealthDay)—Poteligeo (mogamulizumab) injection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with two types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Cyber insurance recommended for all physician practices

(HealthDay)—The growing threat of hacking is increasing the number of physicians buying cyber insurance, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

RNA modification is important factor in smooth muscle contraction

Genetic information is stored in DNA and is passed on in a very stable manner from one cell to the next or from one generation to the next. On a cellular level, genetic information is transcribed from DNA into RNA (ribonucleic acid) and then mostly "translated" into proteins, which carry out cellular functions. This normally involves modifying the RNA so that this information can be "read" correctly or used appropriately – in order to adapt to changes in prevailing conditions. Researchers from the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology at MedUni Vienna have now shown that defects in this RNA modification can result in altered smooth muscle contraction, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

Other people are having much less sex than you think they are

Research shows we think young people have a lot more sex than they do in reality – and men have a particularly skewed view of the sex lives of young women.

Can rare lymphocytes combat rheumatoid arthritis?

Immunologists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg have demonstrated that ILC2, a group of rare lymphoid cells, plays a key role in the development of inflammatory arthritis. ILCs have several functional similarities to T-cells and are important agents of the congenital immune system. The FAU researchers' findings could form the basis for new approaches for treating rheumatoid arthritis. The findings have now been published in Cell Reports.

New online tool provides more efficient way for professionals to monitor diet

Research carried out to prove the validity of the new myfood24 online diet monitoring tool has shown it is as effective as similar tools already available to health care practitioners, researchers and educators, and more efficient to use.

The mobile apps and wearable tech tapping into users' emotions to tackle depression and anxiety

Personalised smartphone applications and wearable technologies that are attuned to the user's state of mind are offering customised ways of helping people cope with mental illness.

Diabetes patients can reduce their risk of heart failure by 70 per cent

If patients with type 2 diabetes follow their doctor's advice regarding diet, exercise, quitting smoking, and taking their medication, they can reduce the risk of heart failure by 70 per cent.

Accounting principles could lead to increased chances of clinical IVF success

A Monash University accountancy specialist is developing a data set that could help families make more informed choices about the potential success rates of IVF treatment.

Crowdsourcing algorithms to predict epileptic seizures

A study by University of Melbourne researchers reveals clinically relevant epileptic seizure prediction is possible in a wider range of patients than previously thought, thanks to the crowdsourcing of more than 10 000 algorithms worldwide.

Brain tumors occur often in kids with common genetic syndrome

The frequency of brain tumors has been underestimated in children with the common genetic syndrome neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), according to a new study. This disorder is characterized by birthmarks on the skin and benign nerve tumors that develop in or on the skin. Brain tumors also are known to occur in children and adults with NF1.

Discovery presents treatment hope for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases

There is new hope for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases following a ground-breaking discovery made by an Australian-Chinese research collaboration.

Kidney transplant chains more effective in saving lives

New research from the UBC Sauder School of the Business has found that transplant societies which prioritize kidney transplant chains over kidney exchanges can increase the total number of transplants, thereby saving more lives.

Nerve cells use brain waves to judge importance

The precise interaction of brain waves and nerve cells may be decisive for the amazing ability of our brain to separate important from unimportant information, even when we are flooded with stimuli. Researchers at the University of Tübingen and the Technical University of Munich have been able to show through experiments on Rhesus monkeys that the exact point in time at which certain nerve cells discharge seems to play a key role in separating "the wheat from the chaff" in working memory. The findings will be published on Wednesday in the scientific journal Neuron.

Key role identified for enzymes in DNA replication and sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs

Loss of TLK1 and TLK2 results in extensive DNA damage during DNA replication and in cancer cell death. Depletion of TLK1/2 enhances the effectiveness of some chemotherapeutic agents currently being tested in clinical trials

Our workplaces are filthy and it's costing us all

The typical office desk is home to over 10 million bacteria, 400 times more than a toilet seat. Other studies have revealed people don't wash their hands, and surfaces from taps to elevator buttons are "officially dirty".

Button batteries kill—here's how we can prevent needless child deaths from battery ingestion

In 2013, four-year-old Summer Steer died from acute blood loss several days after swallowing a button battery. She hadn't told her family she'd swallowed anything, so they didn't know what was wrong. At least not until the caustic reaction caused by the battery, which had lodged in her oesophagus, ate through to her aorta.

How pharmacists can help solve medication errors

In today's health care system, no one person – maybe not even you – knows exactly what drugs you're taking. What's more, no one health care provider knows how you, the patient, take your medications and at what doses. No single, up-to-date record consistently displays all of this important information.

Biomarkers link fatigue in cancer, Parkinson's

Biological markers responsible for extreme exhaustion in patients with cancer have now been linked to fatigue in those with Parkinson's disease, according to new research from Rice University.

Scientists identify key to slowing the clock for people with abnormally fast heart beats

Scientists in Japan have found a potential marker to identify which people with abnormally fast heartbeats are at high risk of developing heart failure.

New theory may explain cause of depression and improve treatments

A new area in depression research suggests dysfunction in mitochondria—the main source of energy for cells—could lead to major depression. Published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, this new insight to long-held theories on the causes of depression could lead to the development of novel and more effective antidepressant drugs.

New device proven to reduce risk of foodborne pathogens

A user-friendly foodborne pathogen detection device developed by a multidisciplinary team of University of Alberta researchers has been shown to be the fastest and most sensitive, according to new research.

Surprise finding in neurons

Purkinje cells are a central part of the human cerebellum, the part of the brain that plays an important role in motor learning, fine motor control of the muscle, equilibrium and posture but also influences emotions, perception, memory and language.

Unlocking clues of cognitive dysfunction risk and mental disorders

For decades, research has produced vast amounts of data on how the brain works – how we think, how we learn, what happens when the brain is injured – and it is moving toward diagnosing mental illnesses that affect millions, like depression or schizophrenia.

'It takes a village to raise a child'

A wealth of evidence has shown that the first 1,000 days of an infant's health and wellbeing is crucial to build a strong foundation for a child to thrive throughout their lifetime.

Potential solutions to drug shortages and the lack of competition in generic medicines

Drug shortages and price hikes have become a critical issue in the health care industry. A recent example of this occurred when a shortage of intravenous fluids and injectable opioids ensued due to manufacturing delays in the areas affected by Hurricane Maria. Another was when a drug used for toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection, had a 5,000 percent surge in price after it was acquired by a new pharmaceutical company.

Melanoma linked with CLL, close monitoring recommended

While studying a large group of individuals with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a Wilmot Cancer Institute scientific team made an important discovery—these patients had a sizable 600 percent higher risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Disabled LGBT+ young people face a battle just to be taken seriously

As young people navigate adolescence, they ask questions about their sexual attractions and how they understand gender. If they are fortunate, they have access to sex and relationship educators or mentors and support networks. But my research with young people who identify as LGBT+ and disabled shows that they are often treated as though their gender or sexuality is just a phase.

Estrogen may protect against depression after heart attack

Estrogen may protect against heart failure-related depression by preventing the production of inflammation-causing chemicals in the brain. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Dietary carbohydrates could lead to osteoarthritis, new study finds

Do your knees ache? According to new findings from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, your diet could be a culprit.

Researchers identify potential target for developing obesity and diabetes treatment

A newly published study by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine has identified a potential therapeutic target for treating obesity and diabetes.

New study views cancer treatment as a game to find strategies that improve patient outcomes

Game theory can be utilized to identify potential flaws in current cancer treatment approaches and suggest new strategies to improve outcomes in patients with metastatic cancer, according to a new article published online today by JAMA Oncology. The study, which is authored by a mathematician, an evolutionary biologist and clinical physicians from Moffitt Cancer Center and Maastricht University, challenges the decades old standard of treatment for metastatic cancers in which drugs are typically administered continuously at the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) until the tumor progresses.

Discovery could lead to better treatment for leukemia

Previous research has revealed that patients with acute myeloid leukemia who also have a particular mutation in a gene called NPM1 have a higher rate of remission with chemotherapy. About one-third of leukemia patients possess this favorable mutation, but until now, how it helps improve outcomes has remained unknown.

New study shows that most teens do have, and use, behavioral brakes

Children who struggle with weak cognitive control at an early age are at most risk for trouble in adulthood following their engagement in risk-taking activities in adolescence, according to new research.

Obesity may increase risk for peripheral artery disease

People with obesity are known to be at increased risk for coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease. Now, a new study shows obesity may also increase the chance of developing peripheral artery disease.

Improve diet quality to boost weight loss

(HealthDay)—Eating fewer calories is essential when you want to lose weight, but there's growing evidence that the quality of those calories matters, too. Eating high-quality foods not only boosts weight loss, but also reduces your risk for chronic diseases.

Prenatal vitamin D pills won't boost babies' growth: study

(HealthDay)—For pregnant women who are vitamin D-deficient, vitamin supplements won't improve the growth of their fetus or infant, Canadian researchers report.

Infection prevention differs between small, large hospitals

(HealthDay)—Small and large hospitals differ in infection preventionist (IP) staffing and infection prevention and control (IPC) resources, according to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

USPSTF: insufficient evidence to screen for atrial fibrillation

(HealthDay)—There is insufficient evidence to support screening for atrial fibrillation (AF) with electrocardiography (ECG) in older, asymptomatic patients, according to a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) final recommendation published in the Aug. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Perspectives on USPSTF A-fib screening recommendation

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force published a final recommendation on Aug. 7 citing insufficient evidence to assess the benefits and harms of screening for atrial fibrillation (AF) with electrocardiography (ECG) in asymptomatic, older adults. A series of editorials published in the JAMA network journals offer additional perspectives, with recognition of the need to develop a national screening strategy.

High BP seen at school age for extreme preterm infants

(HealthDay)—Both overweight and normal-weight children who were born as extreme preterm (EPT) infants are at risk for high blood pressure (BP) and hypertension, according to a study published in the August issue of Pediatrics.

Few older homeless adults make advance care plans

(HealthDay)—The majority of older homeless-experienced adults have a potential surrogate for health care decisions, but few have discussed or documented their advance care planning (ACP) wishes, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Insurance status tied to higher self-perceived poor/fair health

(HealthDay)—Underinsured and never insured adults are more likely than adequately insured adults to report poor/fair health and frequent mental distress (FMD), according to a study published online July 19 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

Healthy lifestyle with diabetes cuts cardiovascular risk

(HealthDay)—Greater adherence to an overall healthy lifestyle is associated with a substantially lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence and mortality among adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to a study published in the June 26 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

From sexting to breaking up, texting can bring us close or drive us apart, studies find

Texting has the power to both help and hinder our relationships, whether we're tapping our fingers to stay in touch or using our smartphones to avoid difficult situations, according to research on texting and sexting presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Even men get the blues after childbirth

When it comes to postpartum depression, most people think of the mother's well-being, but research suggests that a similar proportion of men experience some form of depression after the birth of a child, according to presentations at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Late effects of treatment hinder independence of adult survivors of childhood brain tumors

In the first study of its kind, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators have found that more than half of pediatric central nervous system tumor survivors do not achieve complete independence as adults.

Elderly patients on dialysis have a high risk of dementia

Older kidney disease patients who are sick enough to require the blood-filtering treatment known as dialysis are at high risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, according to a study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Despite ACA, lesbian, gay and bisexual adults still have trouble affording health care

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, has reduced the number of Americans without health insurance from 18 percent to about 13 percent, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show.

Ebola virus experts discover powerful, new approach for future therapeutics

A one-two punch of powerful antibodies may be the best way to stop Ebola virus, reports an international team of scientists in the journal Cell. Their findings suggest new therapies should disable Ebola virus's infection machinery and spark the patient's immune system to call in reinforcements.

Young drinkers beware: Binge drinking may cause stroke, heart risks

You might want to think before you go out drinking again tonight.

Study defines spending trends among dual-eligible beneficiaries

While there has been much effort to control spending for individuals eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare in the United States, for the first time a team of Vanderbilt University health policy researchers have analyzed spending trends for this population over a multiyear period in order to gain a much clearer understanding of exactly how much is being spent and by whom.

New research identifies need for Title IX tune up on college campuses

A mystery shopper approach uncovered a need for more education about Title IX regulations and sexual assault on college campuses, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire. In particular, there is confusion about which individuals on campus are and are not confidential resources.

The physician's white coat: Iconic and comforting or likely covered in germs?

A new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that although the physicians' white coat is one of the most iconic symbols of the trade, whether or not they wear it, doesn't impact patients' satisfaction. The findings are available in the American Journal of Perinatology.

US sees spike in pregnant women addicted to painkillers

Over the past 15 years, the United States has seen a fourfold increase in pregnant women addicted to painkillers, the latest troubling statistic in an ongoing epidemic of opioid abuse, officials said Thursday.

Community health centers can help boost rates of colorectal cancer screening

An innovative program in community health centers to mail free colorectal cancer screening tests to patients' homes led to a nearly 4 percentage point increase in CRC screening, compared to clinics without the program, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Epigenetic reprogramming of human hearts found in congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure is a terminal disease that affects nearly 6 million Americans. Yet its management is limited to symptomatic treatments because the causal mechanisms of congestive heart failure—including its most common form, ischemic cardiomyopathy—are not known. Ischemic cardiomyopathy is the result of restricted blood flow in coronary arteries, as occurs during a heart attack, which starves the heart muscle of oxygen.

US juveniles with conduct problems face high risk of premature death

We already know that adolescents with conduct and/or substance use problems are at increased risk for premature death, mainly from substance-related deaths, traffic accidents, and violent deaths (related to suicide, assault, or legal intervention). This prospective study of more than 3700 US juveniles discovered that there is an independent association between conduct disorder and mortality hazard. In other words, the connection between conduct disorder and risk of early death appears to exist even when other contributing factors such as sex, ethnicity, familial factors, and substance use are removed.

Drinking is not working

Researchers from South Korea and the USA have investigated whether or not there is a relation between alcohol consumption and unemployment. The team examined data covering the period 1994-2013 and found that alcohol habits tracked unemployment trends in South Korea.

AI tool to predict IVF success moves closer to commercialisation

An American study into the effectiveness of using artificial intelligence to accurately detect defects in human embryos ahead of IVF treatment has taken the screening technology a step closer to commercialisation.

Hands-on, realistic breastfeeding simulation to train perinatal professionals

Four Purdue University students in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering have developed a novel anatomically correct and hands-on breastfeeding simulator system to assist the training of perinatal nurses and professionals.

First FDA-approved study of focused ultrasound to open blood-brain barrier

In the first such clinical trial in the United States, physician-scientists with the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) are investigating the use of MRI-guided focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier. The trial will be conducted with patients undergoing brain cancer surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

Research offers insights into nervous system control of leg movements

New research from a team at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine gives unexpected insights into how the nervous system controls leg movements in walking.

Are pet owners abusing animals to get opioids?

Veterinarians in Colorado are concerned that some of their clients may have intentionally hurt their pets in the hopes of receiving prescription painkillers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz and a local veterinary association.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California's colorectal cancer screening program saves lives

Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California are 52 percent less likely to die from colorectal cancer since the health care system launched a comprehensive, organized screening program, according to a new study in the specialty's top journal, Gastroenterology.

Biology news

Recording every cell's history in real-time with evolving genetic barcodes

All humans begin life as a single cell that divides repeatedly to form two, then four, then eight cells, all the way up to the ~26 billion cells that make up a newborn. Tracing how and when those 26 billion cells arise from one zygote is the grand challenge of developmental biology, a field that has so far only been able to capture and analyze snapshots of the development process.

In apoptosis, cell death spreads through perpetuating waves, study finds

Inside a cell, death often occurs like the wave at a baseball game.

Corals and algae go back further than previously thought, all the way to Jurassic Period

Algae and corals have been leaning on each other since dinosaurs roamed the earth, much longer than had been previously thought, according to new research led by scientists at Oregon State University and Penn State.

Genes drive aging, making normal processes damaging

Ageing in worms mainly results from the direct action of genes and not from random wear and tear or loss of function, and the same is likely to be true in humans, according to research by UCL, Lancaster University and Queen Mary University of London scientists.

Marine mammals lack functional gene to defend against popular pesticide

As marine mammals evolved to make water their primary habitat, they lost the ability to make a protein that defends humans and other land-dwelling mammals from the neurotoxic effects of a popular man-made pesticide, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Why do some microbes live in your gut while others don't?

Trillions of tiny microbes and bacteria live in your gut, each with their own set of genes. These gut microbes can have both beneficial and harmful effects on your health, from protecting you against inflammation to causing life-threatening infections. To keep out pathogens yet encourage the growth of beneficial microbes, scientists have been trying to find ways to target specific microbial genes.

Why the system needs sleep

Sleep is essential for brain functionality and overall health but understanding how sleep delivers its beneficial effects remains largely unknown. In an article publishing on August 9 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, Shanaz Diessler and Maxime Jan at the University of Lausanne and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (Switzerland), sleep researchers are exploring new and unbiased approaches that can take sleep to a systems level. In one such approach, referred to as 'systems genetics', inferences about biological phenomena can be made by linking together several levels of information from DNA to phenotype via gene expression, proteins and metabolism at the level of a population. Systems genetics offers a global and interconnected view of biological phenomena and is therefore considered critical towards predicting disease susceptibility.

Team that claimed to have fixed gene mutation in human embryo offers new evidence; others still not convinced

The team of researchers who last year published a paper claiming to have genetically repaired a mutation in an embryo has published another paper offering more evidence of their success in the journal Nature. Meanwhile, two other groups of researchers have published papers in the same journal issue calling into question the new evidence.

Revolutionary new view of how living cells make energy

Researchers at The University of Western Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research have made a fundamental discovery about of the atomic structure and function of the biological 'factories' in cells that make energy, providing a new means to target the 'machines' within factories for drug treatments.

Snail kites must do more than move to thrive

Among its many useful traits, the federally endangered snail kite helps wildlife managers gauge whether the Florida Everglades has sufficient water. That's one reason University of Florida scientists closely monitor the birds' activity – and to make sure it's surviving.

A conversation between plants' daily and aging clocks

Every day you get a day older. So do plants. While the biological daily clock ticks, time passes also for the aging clock. Scientists at the Center for Plant Aging Research, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), have found how the two clocks talk to each other genetically. Plants' circadian clock—the 24-hour cyclic rhythm—plays a critical role in regulating aging, in particular, in timing the yellowing of the leaves. As aging plants recycle nutrients for the new leaves and seeds, uncovering these timekeeping mechanisms is important to understanding plant productivity.

Scientists discover how to protect yeast from damage in biofuel production

Some chemicals used to speed up the breakdown of plants for production of biofuels like ethanol are poison to the yeasts that turn the plant sugars into fuel.

New technology improves CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in mosquitoes, other species

A technology designed to improve CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in mosquitoes and other arthropods succeeds with a high degree of efficiency, while eliminating the need for difficult microinjection of genetic material, according to researchers.

NASA satellites assist states in estimating abundance of key wildlife species

Climate and land-use change are shrinking natural wildlife habitats around the world. Yet despite their importance to rural economies and natural ecosystems, remarkably little is known about the geographic distribution of most wild species—especially those that migrate seasonally over large areas. By combining NASA satellite imagery with wildlife surveys conducted by state natural resources agencies, a team of researchers at Utah State University and the University of Maryland, and the U.S. Geological Survey modeled the effects of plant productivity on populations of mule deer and mountain lions. Specifically, they mapped the abundance of both species over a climatically diverse region spanning multiple western states.

Crop-destroying Armyworm caterpillar detected in Asia

A caterpillar native to the Americas that has devastated crops across Africa has made its way to Asia, scientists in India said Thursday, warning of a threat to food security.

To stop mosquitoes, target their young

Bacterial larvicide, not standard insecticides, are the best solution for mosquito control, according to new research by Florida International University biologist Philip Stoddard.

For the first time, scientists put extinct mammals on the map

Researchers from Aarhus University and University of Gothenburg have produced the most comprehensive family tree and atlas of mammals to date, connecting all living and recently extinct mammal species—nearly 6,000 in total—and overturning many previous ideas about global patterns of biodiversity.

Hybridization boosts evolution

Animals that have either migrated to or been introduced in Central Europe, such as the Asian bush mosquito or the Asian ladybeetle, have adapted well to their new homes due to changing climatic conditions. If these newcomers are genetically compatible with local species, they may crossbreed and produce hybrids, which can continue to evolve under local environmental conditions—a process shown to have taken place during human evolution between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, for example.

Researchers use 'biological passport' to monitor Earth's largest fish

Whale sharks, the world's largest fish, roam less than previously thought. Local and regional actions are vital for the conservation of this globally endangered species moving forward, according to a new study by researchers from the Marine Megafauna Foundation, University of Southampton, and Sharkwatch Arabia. Their findings are published today in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Why house sparrows lay both big and small eggs

Why does the egg size of house sparrows vary so much? Isn't it always an advantage to be big?

No defense for some plants in the eat-or-be-eaten world of grasslands

If you're a gardener, you may not be too thrilled when insects, rabbits, fungi and other plant-eaters nibble their way through your world. But in two recent papers published in the journals Ecology and Ecology Letters, University of Minnesota researchers are showing the important role such plant-eating consumers play in an ecosystem's ability carry out key jobs like storing carbon—and, in turn, the role plants play in supporting these organisms and the others that depend on them. The research was carried out at the U's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, a field research station just north of the Twin Cities.

Antidepressants are changing animal behaviour – we're using technology to find out how

Antidepressants don't just affect human libidos. New research shows that female starlings fed food spiked with the antidepressant fluxoxetine (Prozac), were less "attractive" to males and so less likely to mate. This is the latest evidence highlighting the potential harm of the drugs that we are releasing into the environment.

Dogs set to benefit from simple blood test to spot liver disease

Vets have developed a blood test that quickly spots early signs of liver disease in dogs, a study suggests.

Wearable 'microbrewery' saves human body from radiation damage

The same way that yeast yields beer and bread can help hospital lab workers better track their daily radiation exposure, enabling a faster assessment of tissue damage that could lead to cancer.

Icelandic wildlife group calls for hybrid whale killing probe

Icelandic conservationists have asked prosecutors to probe whether the killing of a rare hybrid whale was illegal, a lawyer said on Thursday.


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