Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Aug 14

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 14, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

DeepMind researchers develop neural arithmetic logic units (NALU)

Chemo spray may offer alternative to conventional chemotherapy

Using DeepMind's neural network learning system to diagnose eye diseases

In a massive region of space, astronomers find far fewer galaxies than they expected

SpaceX vows manned flight to space station is on track

E-cigarette vapor disables key immune cells in the lung and boosts inflammation

Researchers identify new genes that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease

Controlling nickelate nano-switches with light

Poor sleep triggers viral loneliness and social rejection

Chemicals found in vegetables prevent colon cancer in mice

Innovative triple pill significantly lowers blood pressure, study finds

Researchers artificially generate immune cells integral to creating cancer vaccines

Elephants resist cancer by waking a zombie gene

The science behind rooting for the home team

A new artificial quantum material for future high-efficiency computers

Astronomy & Space news

In a massive region of space, astronomers find far fewer galaxies than they expected

University of California astronomers, including three from UCLA, have resolved a mystery about the early universe and its first galaxies.

SpaceX vows manned flight to space station is on track

Tech magnate Elon Musk's SpaceX vowed Monday to send its first astronauts into orbit on schedule next year—part of a drive to restore America's dominance of the space race.

Unraveling the stellar content of young clusters

About twenty-five percent of young stars in our galaxy form in clustered environments, and stars in a cluster are often close enough to each other to affect the way they accrete gas and grow. Astronomers trying to understand the details of star formation, for example the relative abundance of massive stars to low mass ones, must take such complicated clustering effects into account. Measuring the actual demographics of a cluster is not easy either.

NASA administrator supports Trump 'space force' proposal

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed full support Monday for President Donald Trump's proposed military "Space Force" but added that it will have a role separate from NASA.

Astronomers discover supermassive black hole in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy

A team of scientists from the Faculty of Physics and Sternberg State Astronomical Institute, MSU, leading an international collaboration with members from Europe, Chile, the U.S. and Australia discovered a supermassive black hole in the center of the Fornax galaxy. The results of the research were published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal.

Quest for source of black hole dark matter

Like a game of "hide and seek," Lawrence Livermore astrophysicists know that there are black holes hiding in the Milky Way, just not where.

NASA team demonstrates 'science on a shoestring' with greenhouse gas-measuring instrument

A novel instrument that has already proven its mettle on field campaigns will attempt to measure atmospheric greenhouse gases from an occultation-viewing, low-Earth-orbiting CubeSat mission called Mini-Carb early next year—marking the first time this type of instrument has flown in space.

Technology news

DeepMind researchers develop neural arithmetic logic units (NALU)

The ability to represent and manipulate numerical quantities can be observed in many species, including insects, mammals and humans. This suggests that basic quantitative reasoning is an important component of intelligence, which has several evolutionary advantages.

Natural refrigerant replacements could reduce energy costs and conserve the environment

The 1987 Montreal Protocol and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol called for countries around the world to phase out substances like CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), and HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) that deplete the ozone layer and cause global warming. Many heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems still use these synthetic refrigerants that violate those international agreements and inflict environmental damage.

Tencent Blade Team pair talk about smart speaker hack

Security researchers turned themselves into hackers this month to demo the way a smart speaker could be turned into a spy. The researchers took their story to DefCon 2018. They said they achieved remote eavesdropping. Both are Tencent Blade Team researchers. Conference notes described Wu HuiYu as a bug hunter and said Qian Wenxiang's focus was on security research of IoT devices.

Intel processor vulnerability could put millions of PCs at risk

A newly discovered processor vulnerability could potentially put secure information at risk in any Intel-based PC manufactured since 2008. It could affect users who rely on a digital lockbox feature known as Intel Software Guard Extensions, or SGX, as well as those who utilize common cloud-based services, a new report says.

Questions loom over Tesla deal after CEO reveals Saudi link

Tesla CEO Elon Musk's elaboration on his plan to engineer a buyout of the electric car maker could get the Silicon Valley maverick into legal trouble by revealing that the deal is far more uncertain than how he initially described it in his brash tweet last week.

Tech giants face hefty fines under Australia cyber laws

Tech companies could face fines of up to Aus$10 million (US$7.3 million) if they fail to hand over customer information or data to Australian police under tough cyber laws unveiled Tuesday.

To fend off Netflix, movie theaters try 3-screen immersion

Sit at the back of the movie theater, and it's possible to see the appeal of ScreenX, the latest attempt to drag film lovers off the sofa and away from Netflix.

Chinese electric carmaker NIO eyes $1.8 bn IPO in US

Chinese electric carmaker NIO has filed for a $1.8 billion initial public offering in the United States as the burgeoning company seeks to compete with US rival Tesla.

Artificial intelligence equal to experts in detecting eye diseases

An artificial intelligence (AI) system, which can recommend the correct referral decision for more than 50 eye diseases, as accurately as experts has been developed by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, DeepMind Health and UCL.

New study shows furfural derivatives a way to make renewable fuel production financially appealing

Sales of furfural derivatives could make renewable fuel production considerably more financially attractive, according to a new University of Maine study.

Aquifers for environmentally compatible cooling and heating

In this year's record summer, everybody wishes to have a cooled home or office. But air conditioning systems consume a lot of energy and are far from being environmentally compatible. Researchers of the GeoSpeicher.bw project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are studying alternatives with a reduced energy consumption. These include storage and later retrieval of heat and cold in underground water-bearing layers, so-called aquifers.

Tesla board forms committee to consider going private

Tesla's board of directors said Tuesday it formed a special committee to consider chief executive Elon Musk's proposal to take the electric auto giant private.

Deep learning stretches up to scientific supercomputers

Machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, enjoys unprecedented success in commercial applications. However, the use of machine learning in high performance computing for science has been limited. Why? Advanced machine learning tools weren't designed for big data sets, like those used to study stars and planets. A team from Intel, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and Stanford changed that situation. They developed the first 15-petaflop deep-learning software. They demonstrated its ability to handle large data sets via test runs on the Cori supercomputer.

Using common social media tactics to subvert US elections

The latest efforts to disrupt the U.S. midterm elections through Facebook manipulation seem to be following a persuasion playbook refined by legitimate companies and organizations—but with a twist.

Facebook to broadcast La Liga games for free in Indian subcontinent

Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale and a host of La Liga stars will be beamed for free to viewers in the Indian subcontinent as part of a landmark deal with Facebook to broadcast live matches, the Spanish top flight division said Tuesday.

Managing energy demand spikes with seasonal forecasts of heatwaves and cold spells

The impact of heavy droughts, heatwaves and cold spells on energy demand and supplies would be lessened with seasonal climate forecasts that allow energy companies to better predict spikes in usage ahead of time, researchers say.

Using smartphones to detect strokes

Researchers of Valencia's Polytechnic University (UPV) have designed a mobile phone application that enables the early detection of cerebral ictus. By using the sensors available in smartphones, the program – which is in its testing stage – analyses the user's ability to smile, speech coherence and arm movements; if two of the three are impaired, it automatically sends out a warning message to the emergency services. Their work has been published in the International Journal of Information Management.

LA to become first in US to install subway body scanners

The Los Angeles subway system will become the first in the U.S. to install body scanners that screen passengers for weapons and explosives, officials said Tuesday.

Tinder founders sue parent alleging cheating on stock options

Tinder founders and early employees filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing parent firm InterActiveCorp of cheating them out of billions of dollars by manipulating the value of stock options for the popular dating app.

Medicine & Health news

Using DeepMind's neural network learning system to diagnose eye diseases

Three institutions working together have applied DeepMind's neural network learning system to the task of discovering and diagnosing eye diseases. Moorfields Eye Hospital has been working with Google's DeepMind Health subsidiary and University College London in the effort, and have documented their progress in a paper published in Nature Medicine.

E-cigarette vapor disables key immune cells in the lung and boosts inflammation

E-cigarette vapour boosts the production of inflammatory chemicals and disables key protective cells in the lung that keep the air spaces clear of potentially harmful particles, reveals a small experimental study, published online in the journal Thorax.

Researchers identify new genes that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, working with scientists across the nation on the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP), have discovered new genes that will further current understanding of the genetic risk factors that predispose people to the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The ADSP was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in response to the National Alzheimer's Project Act milestones to fight AD.

Poor sleep triggers viral loneliness and social rejection

Poor sleep can literally kill your social life. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to engage with others, avoiding close contact in much the same way as people with social anxiety.

Chemicals found in vegetables prevent colon cancer in mice

Chemicals produced by vegetables such as kale, cabbage and broccoli could help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent colon cancer, a new study from the Francis Crick Institute shows.

Innovative triple pill significantly lowers blood pressure, study finds

A new low dose three in one pill to treat hypertension could transform the way high blood pressure is treated around the world.

Researchers artificially generate immune cells integral to creating cancer vaccines

For the first time, Mount Sinai researchers have identified a way to make large numbers of immune cells that can help prevent cancer reoccurrence, according to a study published in August in Cell Reports.

The science behind rooting for the home team

Young children often observe society dividing its members—by ethnicity, religion, gender, or even favorite sports team. But a review by a Yale psychologist published August 14 in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences concludes that favoritism toward members of one's own social groups may not be a learned behavior but an instinct triggered by belonging to that group. Although this favoritism can manifest as discrimination and stereotyping, it may have originally facilitated human evolution by boosting group living and social learning.

Researchers uncover a major new vulnerability of childhood leukemia

Childhood leukemia is a diagnosis that no family ever wants to endure. While the treatment of most types of leukemia has improved steadily over the years, a few specific types remain very difficult to treat. One of these is called "mixed-lineage leukemia," and the survival rate for children affected by this cancer is only around 50 percent.

Lymphatic vessels unexpectedly promote the spread of cancer metastases

Lymphatic vessels actively contribute to the spread of cancer metastases from various organs. This unexpected realisation is the result of a joint study by researchers from ETH Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich as part of the research initiative Skintegrity.

Ovarian cancer genetics unravelled

Patterns of genetic mutation in ovarian cancer are helping make sense of the disease, and could be used to personalise treatment in future.

Artificial placenta created in the laboratory

In order to better understand important biological membranes, it is necessary to explore new methods. Researchers at Vienna University of Technology (Vienna) have succeeded in creating an artificial placental barrier on a chip, using a high-resolution 3-D printing process.

How we explain the behavior of others depends on our beliefs about their 'true selves'

Why did they do that? It's a question we ask every day in attempting to understand the behavior of others and make meaning of the world around us. How we answer the question, however, varies depending on our moral attitudes toward the behavior.

Doctors may be able to enlist a mysterious enzyme to stop internal bleeding

Blood platelets are like the sand bags of the body. Got a cut? Platelets pile in to clog the hole and stop the bleeding.

Immune cells in the brain have surprising influence on sexual behavior

Researchers have found a surprising new explanation of how young brains are shaped for sexual behavior later in life.

Byproducts of 'junk DNA' implicated in cancer spread

The more scientists explore so-called "junk" DNA, the less the label seems to fit.

Scientists pinpoint brain networks responsible for naming objects

Scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have identified the brain networks that allow you to think of an object name and then verbalize that thought. The study appeared in the July issue of Brain. It represents a significant advance in the understanding of how the brain connects meaning to words and will help the planning of brain surgeries.

Bloomberg targets Big Tobacco's 'underhanded tactics'

Billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday gave a trio of anti-tobacco crusaders $20 million to up their game against an industry aggressively marketing its deadly wares worldwide, especially in developing countries.

Tobacco content still common on UK prime time TV, despite regulations

Tobacco content remains common on UK prime time TV, cropping up in a third of all programmes, despite advertising and broadcasting regulations designed to protect children from this kind of exposure, reveals research published online in the journal Tobacco Control.

Rare cancer could be caught early using simple blood tests

A pioneering study into myeloma, a rare cancer, could lead to GPs using simple blood tests to improve early diagnosis.

Remifentanil during labour could halve the number of women needing an epidural

Half as many women in labour who were given a drug called remifentanil to help manage their pain needed a subsequent epidural, compared to the women given pethidine—the current standard of care, according to an open-label randomised controlled trial of 400 women from 14 maternity units in the UK published in The Lancet.

Why do women get more migraines?

Research published today reveals a potential mechanism for migraine causation which could explain why women get more migraines than men. The study, in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, suggests that sex hormones affect cells around the trigeminal nerve and connected blood vessels in the head, with estrogens—at their highest levels in women of reproductive age—being particularly important for sensitizing these cells to migraine triggers. The finding provides scientists with a promising new route to personalized treatments for migraine patients.

Helping amputees feel as though their prosthetic limb belongs to their own body

The famous idiom "seeing is believing" is not enough to help amputees with the use of their prosthetic limb. Many amputees opt out of prolonged use of their prosthetic limb because their perception of their missing limb simply does not correspond to their prosthesis. In other words, their own perception of the missing limb, or the brain's representation of it, does not match up with what they see of the prosthesis.

Large collection of brain cancer data now easily, freely accessible to global researchers

A valuable cache of brain cancer biomedical data has been made freely available to researchers worldwide, say researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. The dataset, REMBRANDT (REpository for Molecular BRAin Neoplasia DaTa) hosted and supported by Georgetown, is one of only two such large collections in the country.

Medically underserved women in the Southeast rarely receive BRCA tests

Medically underserved women in the Southeast diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer missed out on genetic testing that could have helped them and their relatives make important decisions about their health, according to new research from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Ethiopian 7-year trial finds that childhood eye infection increases after antibiotic program ends

Continuous mass distribution of azithromycin in northern Ethiopia, where the childhood eye infection trachoma is a major cause of blindness, is effective in preventing recurrence of trachoma but does not eliminate the infection entirely, according to a new study in PLOS Medicine by Jeremy Keenan and colleagues from the University of California in San Francisco, USA and the Carter Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Georgia, USA.

Thirty percent increase in risk of fracture after gastric bypass

A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research shows that the risk of fractures increases by about 30 percent after a gastric bypass operation. It was also discovered that falls increase after these operations.

Cycling is the urban transport mode associated with the greatest health benefits

How do transport modes influence people's health? A new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has concluded that cycling is the mode of transport associated with the greatest health benefits: better self-perceived general health, better mental health and fewer feelings of loneliness.

The inequalities of prenatal stress

Exposure to an acute stress in utero can have long-term consequences extending into childhood – but only among children in poor households, according to a new Stanford study that looked at the long-term impact of acute, parental stress.

New device for assisting accurate hemodialysis catheter placement

Researchers at Okayama University report in The Journal of Vascular Access a supporting device for accurately placing hemodialysis catheters on kidney patients. The device was successfully used on a group of 10 patients and is expected to become an essential tool in situations where other, catheter-free hemodialysis approaches are not possible.

Endoscopic technique allows removal of thyroid and parathyroid with no visible scar

A new procedure that allows surgeons to access and remove the thyroid and parathyroid glands through small incisions on the inside of the mouth provides successful results with no visible scarring on the neck. Dr. Raymon Grogan, associate professor in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, describes how the procedure works and outlines its benefits.

Scientists propose a new lead for Alzheimer's research

A University of Adelaide-led team of scientists has suggested a potential link between iron in our cells and the rare gene mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease, which could provide new avenues for future research.

Music in palliative care improves patient well-being, study finds

Hospice and palliative care patients who listen to live music in their rooms as part of their treatment feel better both emotionally and physically, and request fewer opioid-based medications, a new study found.

Positive coping strategy in Islam linked with less depression, anxiety from spiritual struggles

Adopting an Islamic concept of coping with spiritual struggles, known as "spiritual jihad," is associated with post-traumatic growth and virtuous behaviors—and is related to reductions in anxiety and depression, according to a new Case Western Reserve University study published in the journal Religions.

Online solution for OCD treatment

Almost 1 in 30 Australians experience Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at some stage in their life.

How we use good deeds to justify immoral behaviour

We all like to think of ourselves as morally sound individuals. However in doing so we often assume that morality is static – that we are consistently moral to some extent over time. In reality, research suggests that most of us will behave in contradictory ways and act both morally and immorally from time to time. Interestingly, when we think about our past moral actions, we are likely to engage engage in compensatory behaviour and act immorally going forward.

'Alarming' diabetes epidemic in Guatemala tied to aging, not obesity

The diabetes epidemic in Guatemala is worse than previously thought: more than 25 percent of its indigenous people, who make up 60 percent of the population, suffer from type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, suggests a new study published in PLOS One from researchers at the Penn Center for Global Health, in collaboration with the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City and the Hospitalito Atitl├ín. That's almost double the rate from a diabetes estimation back in 2003. The team also found that the driving force behind the epidemic is not obesity – most often associated with an increased risk of the disease elsewhere in the world – but aging.

How long is an Ebola survivor contagious? One case is causing scientists to rethink the answer.

Surviving Ebola isn't like getting over the flu.

How laser treated implants can boost the healing process

Marilys Blanchy is a Research & Development project manager at Rescoll. The French technology center is specialized in polymer science, adhesive and coating and has a subsidiary where medical devices as orthopedics and dental implants are produced. Mrs Blanchy talks to ESCI about the challenges of producing the next generation of implants and Rescoll's role within the EU funded research project Laser4Surf.

Study identifies distinct origin of ADHD in children with history of brain injury

According to a study in Biological Psychiatry, physical brain injury in children contributes to the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), distinct from genetic risk for the disorder.

New target found for treating thoracic aortic aneurysm

It's a silent, sudden and almost assured killer: a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) occurs when a weak spot or bulge in the body's main pipeline for pumping blood suddenly ruptures, cutting off the supply of life-sustaining blood and flooding the chest or abdomen with it.

Alcohol industry resists prioritising health over profits, research finds

The Australian alcohol industry fails to acknowledge the substantial burden of disease caused by their products and resists calls for stronger regulation to reduce harm, new research led by Curtin University has found.

Substance abuse treatment relies on good brain function, which many users don't have

Methamphetamine and opioid use has become a problem in Australia, and a recent New South Wales parliamentary inquiry recommended urgent action for more substance treatment services, especially residential rehabilitation.

New genome-editing strategy could lead to therapeutics

Researchers at UMass Medical School have developed a genome-editing strategy to correct disease-causing DNA mutations in mouse models of human genetic diseases, according to research published in the Aug. 18 edition of Nature Biotechnology.

Here's a mental health workout that's as simple as ABC

While we take physical workouts very seriously, there is much less said about the "workouts" that help us remain mentally agile and healthy. But just as with physical health, there are simple and practical ways that can help everyone to enjoy good mental health.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol could enhance the negative effects of binge drinking

A key ingredient of energy drinks could be exacerbating some of the negative effects of binge drinking according to a new study.

One antiplatelet drug after heart valve replacement

Current treatment guidelines say patients who undergo minimally invasive aortic heart valve replacements should receive two antiplatelet drugs to reduce the risk of dangerous blood clots.

Eight and nine-year-olds experience poor body image as hormone levels rise

Dr. Elizabeth Hughes, the lead author and a research fellow from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) and the University of Melbourne, said the study explored a link between hormones and body satisfaction in young pre-pubescent children for the first time.

Johns Hopkins experts create opioid prescribing guidelines for 20 common surgical procedures

A Johns Hopkins expert panel of health care providers and patients have announced what is, to their knowledge, the nation's first set of operation-specific opioid prescribing guidelines. The guidelines are based on the premise that opioid prescribing limits should be based on the operation performed rather than a blanket approach. The ranges offered for each of 20 common operations generally call for reductions from the current rates of opioid prescription, and the researchers say that patients themselves favor using less of the drugs than physicians often prescribe.

Stress hormone is key factor in failure of immune system to prevent leukemia

The human stress hormone cortisol has been identified by scientists at the University of Kent as a key factor when the immune system fails to prevent leukemia taking hold.

Effectively expressing empathy to improve ICU care

In nearly every intensive care unit (ICU) at every pediatric hospital across the country, physicians hold numerous care conferences with patients' family members daily. Due to the challenging nature of many these conversations—covering anything from unexpected changes to care plans for critically ill children to whether it's time to consider withdrawing life support—these talks tend to be highly emotional.

Research shows surprising scale of health benefits for biggest losers

When it comes to shedding pounds, it pays to think big, according to new research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Medicaid expansion states see rise in coverage for low income adults with substance use disorders

The percentage of low-income Americans with substance use disorders who were uninsured declined more sharply in states that chose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act versus states that did not, according to a new study at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The results are published online in the journal Health Affairs.

Drug repurposing study sheds light on heart disease risk

A team led by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital has developed a computational technique to reveal the unknown side effects—both good and bad—of hundreds of drugs. That knowledge could help pharmacologists discover new indications for drugs already on the market and repurpose them for other disorders. Using their unique method, the researchers discovered that two drugs commonly prescribed for non-coronary disorders may affect heart disease risk. Their findings were recently published in Nature Communications.

CDC: more than 400 sickened by McDonald's salads

(HealthDay)—The number of confirmed cases of a parasite-caused illness linked to McDonald's Fresh Express Salad Mix is now 436 in 15 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

AAP provides safety precautions to prevent drowning

(HealthDay)—Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children aged 1 to 4 years, with most drownings happening in home swimming pools, according to a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Four pros to integrating EHR, practice management software

(HealthDay)—Consolidating electronic health records and practice management software allows practices to save time and money, make fewer mistakes, and reduce the risk of privacy breaches, according to an article published in Physicians Practice.

Give your child a head start with math

(HealthDay)—Many kids struggle with math—and for a number of reasons.

Researcher discusses engaging high-need patients in intensive outpatient programs

Patient engagement requires creativity, trust building and flexibility from health care providers, especially when treating high-need patients, a new Stanford study says.

Study shows how MERS coronavirus evolves to infect different species

In the past 15 years, two outbreaks of severe respiratory disease were caused by coronaviruses transmitted from animals to humans. In 2003, SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) spread from civets to infect more than 8,000 people, leading to a year-long global public health emergency. MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), first identified in 2012, consistently jumps from dromedary camels to people, resulting in periodic outbreaks with a roughly 35 percent fatality rate. Evidence suggests that both viruses originated in bats before transmitting to civets and camels, respectively. While many other coronaviruses in nature are not known to infect people, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV are notable for their ability to infect a variety of different species, including humans.

Research identifies potential guidance for gastric cancer treatment

Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital (TMUCIH) have discovered that gastric cancer tissue samples bearing mutation of a specific gene, MUC16, too are associated with higher tumor mutation loads. Also known as tumor mutation burdens, measurement of high genetic mutation rates among cancerous versus healthy tissue has increasingly been shown to correlate with effective response rates to immunotherapy. The knowledge could bode positively for patients with the biomarker present.

Study: What patients really think about opioid vs non-opioid medications for chronic pain

Prescriptions of opioids for chronic pain has increased dramatically since the 1990s in spite of their known harms. Despite a shortage of scientific studies on the long-term effectiveness of opioids such as morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone, they are frequently perceived to be stronger, more powerful pain relievers than non-opioid alternatives like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Inching closer to a soft spot in isoniazid-resistant tuberculosis

Antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis is a public health threat. TB and other bacteria become resistant to antibiotics by evolving genetic changes over time, which they can do quite quickly because bacterial lifecycles are short. In fact, it takes only a single genetic mutation to grant TB resistance to isoniazid, one of the first-line antibiotics.

Clinical trial suggests new direction for heavy-smoking head and neck cancer patients

Patients with a greater than 10 pack/year history of smoking tend to develop an especially dangerous form of head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) for which prognosis remains poor and treatments have changed little during the past two decades. However, recent phase 1 clinical trial results by the Head and Neck Cancer Group at University of Colorado Cancer Center suggest a possible new direction for these patients. The first-in-human trial of the oral PARP inhibitor olaparib, with the anti-EGFR drug cetuximab and radiation, led to 72 percent 2-year survival in 16 patients on trial, compared with an expected 2-year survival rate of about 55 percent for standard-of-care treatment.

Deaths from resident-to-resident incidents in dementia offers insights to inform policy

Analyzing the incidents between residents in dementia in long-term care homes may hold the key to reducing future fatalities among this vulnerable population, according to new research from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Gathered from media accounts and death review records, the exploratory study by Eilon Caspi, Ph.D., is the first to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of elders as a result of resident-to-resident incidents in dementia in the United States and Canada.

Healthy fat cells uncouple obesity from diabetes

About 422 million people around the world, including more than 30 million Americans, have diabetes. Approximately ninety percent of them have type 2 diabetes. People with this condition cannot effectively use insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that helps the body turn blood sugar (glucose) into energy.

SMURF1 provides targeted approach to preventing cocaine addiction relapse

A class of proteins that has generated significant interest for its potential to treat diseases, has for the first time, been shown to be effective in reducing relapse, or drug-seeking behaviors, in a preclinical study.

Home-delivered meals keep heart failure patients out of hospital

The delivery of personalized, low-sodium meals to the homes of heart failure patients just out of the hospital has the potential to help them avoid rehospitalization in the days ahead, a new study shows.

When head injuries make life too hard, suicide risk may rise

(HealthDay)—Traumatic brain injury can trigger a daily struggle with headaches, neck pain, dizziness and thinking problems that may drive some to suicide, researchers report.

Intervention cuts risk for HIV in young transgender women

(HealthDay)—A culturally specific, empowerment-based, and group-delivered behavioral prevention intervention can reduce sexual risk for HIV acquisition and transmission in sexually active young transgender women (YTW), according to a study published online Aug. 13 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Knowing patients' social needs helps clinicians tailor care

(HealthDay)—Clinicians report that knowing patients' social needs changes care delivery and improves communication for many patients, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Completing sepsis bundle within an hour cuts pediatric mortality

(HealthDay)—Completion of a one-hour sepsis bundle within one hour cuts mortality in pediatric patients, according to a study published in the July 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Physicians with medicine/psych training can help complex cases

(HealthDay)—Physicians boarded in both medicine and psychiatry can offer a way to address some of the challenges associated with caring for medical patients with psychiatric comorbidities, according to an article published in Psychiatric Times.

E-cigarette smoking tied to later marijuana use in teens

(HealthDay)—Teenagers' use of any tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), is associated with subsequent marijuana use, according to a study published in the August issue of Pediatrics.

Brain scan checklist set to boost care for stroke survivors

People who suffer a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain could be helped by four simple checks of their brain scans, research suggests.

Congo's health ministry says Ebola spreads to 2nd province

Congo's latest deadly Ebola outbreak has spread into a neighboring province, the health ministry said Tuesday, as health workers began using an experimental treatment for the disease.

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency study released

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency consists of a production deficit of a protein that protects the lungs from degradation or inflammation caused by lung infections, as well as from external agents such a tobacco or pollution. From the liver, Alpha-1 antitrypsin travels to the lungs through the bloodstream. However, if this transfer does not take place properly, its accumulation can cause liver diseases, as well as lung problems such as emphysema. This disease, according to the study, is under-diagnosed to the point that almost 90 percent of those who have it are unaware.

Ebola death toll in DR Congo at 41—new drug in use

Raging conflict is hampering efforts to rein in an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the WHO chief warned Tuesday, urging a ceasefire to stop the virus from transmitting freely.

Wage gap between hospital executives and doctors is widening, study finds

Over the past decade, salaries for hospital CEOs have risen much faster than for surgeons, physicians, and nurses, reports a study in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR), a publication of The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons.

Cetuximab+RT found to be inferior to standard treatment in HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer

An interim analysis of data from a randomized clinical trial of patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal cancer found that treatment with radiation therapy and cetuximab is associated with worse overall and progression-free survival compared to the current standard treatment with radiation and cisplatin. The trial was designed to see if cetuximab with radiation would be less toxic than cisplatin with radiation without compromising survival for patients with the disease.

New NIH reference book is one-stop resource for diabetes medical information

Diabetes affects a body from head to toe. Now there's a resource that illustrates its effect on both—and all the parts in between.

Biology news

Elephants resist cancer by waking a zombie gene

An estimated 17 percent of humans worldwide die from cancer, but less than five percent of captive elephants—who also live for about 70 years, and have about 100 times as many potentially cancerous cells as humans—die from the disease.

New zebrafish models will accelerate studies of the human skeleton and osteoporosis

Although much scientific research has been done into the development of the skeleton, the underlying mechanisms that drive the formation and maintenance of bones are still not very well understood, and research into the development of bone remains of enormous importance. To date, 20 percent of women at the age of 65 years develop osteoporosis, and 40 percent of elderly men suffering a hip fracture die within the year during the recovery. Skeletal diseases are still among the most frequent syndromes in Western population that result in high mortality, urging scientists to research into better cures.

Scientists examine how plants protect themselves by emitting scent cues for birds

When plants are in distress or being fed on by insects, they have been known to send out sensory volatile cues that alert organisms in the area—such as birds—that they are in need of help. While research has shown that this occurs in ecosystems such as forests, until now, this phenomenon has never been demonstrated in an agricultural setting.

For now, Illinois' imperiled eastern massasauga rattlesnakes retain their genetic diversity

Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and the loss of genetic diversity are the three main factors driving the extinction of many wild species, and the few eastern massasauga rattlesnakes remaining in Illinois have certainly suffered two of the three. A long-term study of these snakes reveals, however, that—despite their alarming decline in numbers—they have retained a surprising amount of genetic diversity.

Models give synthetic biologists a head start

Synthetic biologists have the tools to build complex, computer-like DNA circuits that sense or trigger activities in cells, and thanks to scientists at Rice University and the University of Houston they now they have a way to test those circuits in advance.

Apathy towards poachers widespread in world's marine protected areas

A new study has found that nearly half of fishers from seven countries had witnessed someone poaching in marine protected areas in the past year and most of them did nothing about it.

Cancer-fighting drugs also help plants fight disease

Cancer-fighting drugs used on humans can help plants fight disease as well. That discovery, by two Washington State University plant pathologists, could help scientists develop new pathways for plants to battle infection, as revealed in a paper in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

Light-engineered bacterial shapes could hold key to future labs-on-a-chip

Scientists have used light patterns to control the swimming speed of bacteria and direct them to form different shapes, according to a new study in the journal eLife.

Magnetic gene in fish may someday help those with epilepsy, Parkinson's

An aquarium fish that senses the Earth's magnetic field as it swims could help unlock how the human brain works and how diseases such as Parkinson's and other neurological disorders function.

Snake fungal disease alters skin microbiome in eastern Massasaugas

In the first study of its kind, researchers characterized the skin microbiome of a population of free-ranging snakes to begin to understand how the animals' environmental microbial community may promote disease resistance as well as how it may be disrupted by infection.

New species of orchid discovered in Peruvian jungle

Botanists have discovered a new species of orchid in Peru's central Amazonian rainforest, the country's national parks service announced Tuesday.

The Meg! When the (giant prehistoric) shark bites, the science bites back

The Meg is the blockbuster shark monster movie we didn't realise we needed in our lives. With a cast led by Jason Statham, this is a big-budget version of several megalodon movies that have popped out over the years – including Megalodon (2002) and Jurassic Shark (2012).

Pinpointing mutations that cause bacterial antibiotic resistance

Researchers in Japan have developed a new way of testing bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and found three previously unknown resistance mutations in the process. The fact that they detected both known and unknown mutations suggests their approach will be useful for monitoring resistance to antibiotics.

Severe declines of mountain hares on Scottish grouse moors

New study in the Journal of Applied Ecology shows mammals at less than one per cent of original levels.

New results show which proteins assist the natural recycling process in the body

Cells collect, decompose and recycle surplus or damaged cell material. This process, known as autophagy, is important, because cellular waste can be harmful to the entire organism if it accumulates in the cells. Like the treatment of household waste, autophagy requires certain mechanisms and elements. A team led by Prof. Dr. Claudine Kraft from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Freiburg and Levent Bas from the Institute of Biochemistry and Cellular Biology at the University of Vienna in Austria has made new findings on the role of proteins in the amalgamation of autophagosomes and vacuoles which have now been published in the latest edition of the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB).

Animals and plants jointly coexist

The tropical rainforest, with its permanently wet climate, brims over with an abundance of plant species. Flowers of all sizes with shallow to deep tubes offer a wide variety of food sources to pollinators. Sunbirds, for example, developed long, down-curved beaks enabling them to reach the nectar at the bottom of long tubes. But who is the leading actor in this interplay of plants and animals?

Corymbia genome expands terpene synthesis knowledge

Genome annotations of two C. citriodora subspecies broaden understanding of the terpene synthase gene family across eucalypt lineages.

Space-based tracker to give scientists a beyond-bird's-eye-view of wildlife

The International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space, or ICARUS, will be flying closer to the sun than ever when a pair of Russian cosmonauts installs the antennae for its state-of-the-art animal tracking system on the exterior of the International Space Station on Aug. 15. The installation will be one small step for the cosmonauts and one giant leap for Yale biodiversity research.

Scientists get new tool to track new pathogen killing frogs

An undergraduate researcher has developed a method to screen frogs for an infectious disease that has been linked to mass die-offs of frogs around the world. Thanks to her method, scientists will be able to track the disease and try to figure out why it is triggering the deaths.


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