Thursday, November 29, 2018

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Nov 29

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 29, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Using machine learning for audio-based identification of beehive states

New system can faithfully remake your favorite paintings via 3-D printing and deep learning

Switching identities: Revolutionary insulator-like material also conducts electricity

Scientists measure all of the starlight ever produced by the observable universe

Microneedle patch shows promise as a means for repairing muscle after heart attack

Whale songs' changing pitch may be response to population, climate changes

Electric vehicles send real-time data to Chinese government

Low-dose aspirin may help fight MS, mouse study hints

Study unlocks full potential of 'supermaterial' graphene

Stuck in a loop of wrongness: Brain study shows roots of OCD

New methods could improve, expand 3-D imaging using X-rays

Decoding sleeping sickness signals could aid quest for treatments

Whales lost their teeth before evolving hair-like baleen in their mouths

Effective new target for mood-boosting brain stimulation found

Study explores how the sounds going into our ears become the words going through our brains

Astronomy & Space news

Scientists measure all of the starlight ever produced by the observable universe

From their laboratories on a rocky planet dwarfed by the vastness of space, Clemson University scientists have managed to measure all of the starlight ever produced throughout the history of the observable universe.

Mars 2020 landing site offers unique opportunities

In 2020, NASA's next rover will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and head to the Jezero Crater on Mars. Jezero was once home to an ancient lake-delta system that scientists believe may have captured and preserved information on the Red Planet's evolution—and, if it ever existed there, evidence of ancient life.

A new way to create Saturn's radiation belts

A team of international scientists from BAS, University of Iowa and GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences has discovered a new method to explain how radiation belts are formed around the planet Saturn.

Gas clouds whirling around black hole form heart of extremely distant luminous astronomical object

In 1963, astronomer Maarten Schmidt identified the first quasi-stellar object or "quasar," an extremely bright but distant object. He found the single quasar, the active nucleus of a far-away galaxy known to astronomers as 3C 273, to be 100 times more luminous than all the stars in our Milky Way combined.

Hubble uncovers thousands of globular star clusters scattered among galaxies

Gazing across 300 million light-years into a monstrous city of galaxies, astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to do a comprehensive census of some of its most diminutive members: a whopping 22,426 globular star clusters found to date.

Moon rocks sell for $855,000 in New York: Sotheby's

Three moon rocks brought to Earth nearly half a century ago and the only known documented lunar samples in private hands, sold for $855,000 in New York on Thursday, Sotheby's said.

Safely on Mars, InSight unfolds its arrays and snaps some pics

After safely landing on Mars following its nearly seven month journey, NASA has released the first pictures taken by its InSight spacecraft, which has opened it solar arrays to charge batteries.

Next US moon landing will be by private companies, not NASA

America's next moon landing will be made by private companies—not NASA.

We may soon be able to see the first supergiant stars in the universe

We need to talk about the dark ages. No, not those dark ages after the fall of the western Roman Empire. The cosmological dark ages. The time in our universe, billions of years ago, before the formation of the first stars. And we need to talk about the cosmic dawn: the birth of those first stars, a tumultuous epoch that completely reshaped the face the cosmos into its modern form.

Technology news

Using machine learning for audio-based identification of beehive states

Researchers at Università Politecnica delle Marche, Queen Mary University of London and the Alan Turing Institute have recently collaborated on a research project aimed at identifying beehive states using machine learning. Their study, pre-published on arXiv, investigated the use of both support vector machines (SVMs) and convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for beehive state recognition, using audio data.

New system can faithfully remake your favorite paintings via 3-D printing and deep learning

The empty frames hanging inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum serve as a concrete reminder of the world's biggest unsolved art heist. While we may never uncover those original masterpieces, a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) might be able to help, with a new system aimed at designing reproductions of paintings.

Electric vehicles send real-time data to Chinese government

When Shan Junhua bought his white Tesla Model X, he knew it was a fast, beautiful car. What he didn't know is that Tesla constantly sends information about the precise location of his car to the Chinese government.

Moviemaking mimics nature for creative control and a more realistic look

A new theory based on the physics of cloud formation and neutron scattering could help animators create more lifelike movies, according to a Dartmouth-led study. Software developed using the technique focuses on how light interacts with microscopic particles to develop computer-generated images.

Making it easier to transform freeform 2-D sketching into 3-D models

A new computational approach, built on data-driven techniques, is making it possible to turn simple 2-D sketch into a realistic 3-D shape, with little or no user input necessary.

New Zealand says Huawei ban not because it's Chinese

New Zealand denied Thursday that telecommunications giant Huawei was banned from a 5G network rollout because it is Chinese, saying the problem it faced was a technological one.

Tech giants warn Australia against law to break encryption

Digital giants led by Google, Facebook and Amazon have warned Australia against passing a "fundamentally flawed" law allowing security services to spy on encrypted communications among suspected criminals and terrorists.

Ghosn arrest lays bare frustration at Nissan

With Carlos Ghosn's arrest, frustrations over the tycoon's management style have burst into the open within Nissan, with some staff also weary of playing second fiddle to Renault and its French-state backers.

Indonesia's Go-Jek enters Singapore market, challenges Grab

Indonesia's Go-Jek launched a trial version of its ride-hailing taxi app in Singapore Thursday, ahead of a full entry planned early next year as it aims to take on market leader Grab.

With US sales boom over, carmakers enter belt-tightening mode

Auto executives have spoken glowingly of a future with emissions-free vehicles, smart transportation systems and cars that drive themselves.

Facebook mulled charging for access to user data

Facebook on Wednesday said it considered charging application makers to access data at the social network.

We made deceptive robots to see why fake news spreads, and found a weakness

Only a small amount of fake news is needed to disrupt any debate or discussion on an issue, according to research published today in PLOS ONE.

High-precision navigation for driverless cars

Fixposition is an ETH spin-off specialising in real-time navigation systems for use in self-driving vehicles, robots or industrial drones. Using a combination of satellite-based positioning systems such as GPS with computer vision technologies, the young entrepreneurs have managed to achieve an unparalleled degree of precision.

Digital assistants like Alexa and Siri might not be offering you the best deals

Your home digital assistant is always listening. But is it always offering you the best content, the cheapest deals, and the right search results?

Battery system for wind turbines to stabilize electricity prices

The problem with wind turbines is that they produce electricity "as the wind blows." When there are high winds, production increases and the price of electricity falls; when the wind tapers off, production decreases and the price of electricity rises. This is problematic for the power grid and a bad deal for wind turbine owners.

Augmented reality promises to rescue dying museums – so why don't visitors want to use it?

Museums are often perceived as dusty cabinets full off dead and ancient things, especially those institutions you've never heard off. You know the ones, the neglected pride of county towns that could play a vital cultural and social role but struggle for funding.

Could 'Iron Man' style suit be the answer to the world's biggest nuclear challenge?

If wearable technologies are the future, a radioactive-busting robotic suit could represent yet one more dramatic step into the beyond.

Will Toyota's journey toward becoming a 'mobility company' be paved with e-Palettes?

Early this year in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota unveiled a hard-to-define self-driving concept vehicle, alongside a slate of high-profile companies that included Amazon, Pizza Hut, Uber and Chinese ride-hailing app DiDi as partners.

Replacing crude oil with alternative fuels: Biofuel from a container

Previously unexploited organic waste can be converted into biofuel, with technology developed by researchers from the EU BIOGO project.

Austin solar power startup's vision: Put product 'on every rooftop'

A few years ago, Omeed Badkoobeh was living in China and often traveling to remote locations when he noticed a trend that intrigued him—how often towns were relying on fuel-based generators for power

World's first single-panel antenna to simultaneously support multiple 5G communications

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced the development of the world's first equipment technology to enable simultaneous communications to four users with a single antenna panel in the 28-GHz band, in the world's most compact structure. The equipment delivers high-speed communications in excess of 10 Gbps, as required by 5G mobile communication formats. The use of 5G is premised on deployment of base stations with comparatively small coverage areas placed every few tens of meters. Given this, it will be necessary to have equipment of a compact size that can be deployed anywhere. Conventional 5G system structures require use of an antenna panel for each terminal when simultaneously transmitting to multiple terminals. Now, by controlling with high accuracy the phase (angle) of signals separately emitted from 128 antenna elements, Fujitsu Laboratories has suppressed the interference between signals. This enables simultaneous communications in four directions using only one antenna panel. Moreover, the company can vary signals in both horizontal and vertical directions, successfully expanding the communications area. With these developments, components can now be fit on a single 13 cm2 printed circuit board, instead of two or more antenna panels required with conventional technology. This will enable the deployment of compact base stations and high-speed 5G communications in locations where many people gather, such as around train stations and in stadiums.

Photo mining

Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints…that well-worn traveller's mantra might be modernised to say "take nothing but photos." Indeed, modern travellers take and share billions of photos every year thanks to the advent of smartphones, digital cameras, and social media. The digital footprints they leave offer a hidden treasure of geotagged information about popular and not-so-popular tourist destinations.

As GM cuts in US, Fiat Chrysler invests in Italian plants

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Thursday that its plants in Italy would return to full employment with a 5 billion-euro ($5.7 billion) investment in new cars and engine technology, including a fully electric version of the 500 city car and a plug-in hybrid Alfa Romeo compact utility vehicle.

Adoption of mobile payment shifts consumer spending patterns, habits

Paying for a cup of coffee with a smartphone instead of a credit card is gaining prominence among consumers—and is disrupting their spending patterns and consumption habits, according to new research co-written by a University of Illinois expert who studies operations management.

Cruise control: GM's No. 2 exec to run self-driving car unit

General Motors' No. 2 executive is moving from Motor City to Silicon Valley to run the automaker's self-driving car operations as it attempts to cash in on its bet that robotic vehicles will transform transportation.

Ghosn 'signed documents to defer compensation': source

Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn signed secret documents instructing aides to defer part of his salary without disclosing this to shareholders, a source close to the issue claimed Thursday.

Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi reaffirm commitment to alliance

Automakers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi reaffirmed their committment to their alliance on Thursday as company leaders held their first meeting since the shock arrest of boss Carlos Ghosn.

Indian police break up international computer virus scam

Indian police said Thursday they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to fix the problem at a price.

Amazon targeted in German competition probe

German regulators on Thursday opened a probe into whether e-commerce giant Amazon was abusing its dominant position to obstruct competition from rival sellers on its online platform.

'Big picture' platforms boost fight against online terror activity

The fight against terrorism-related content and illegal financing online is speeding up thanks to new platforms that join up different internet-scouring technologies to create a comprehensive picture of terrorist activity.

Food technology goes from the moon to grocery aisle, improving food production and quality, taste

Technology originally developed in work with NASA to help lunar colonies may soon be heating the food found on many holiday dinner tables.

Iranian hacking spree hit hospitals, other entities in 43 US states

Two Iranian hackers charged Wednesday in a federal indictment were accused of attacking the computer networks of hospitals and other targets in 43 states, a broad criminal extortion campaign that walloped a heart hospital in Kansas and disrupted one of the nation's largest diagnostic blood testing companies in North Carolina.

Bayer to cut 12,000 jobs after Monsanto takeover

German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer said Thursday it would slash 12,000 jobs in a major restructuring following the mammoth takeover of Monsanto, enabling it to save 2.6 billion euros ($3 billion) a year from 2022.

Medicine & Health news

Microneedle patch shows promise as a means for repairing muscle after heart attack

A team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that applying a specially designed microneedle patch to cardiac muscle damaged during a heart attack can promote the growth of myocytes. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group explains the mechanics of the patch and how well it worked when tested on animals.

Low-dose aspirin may help fight MS, mouse study hints

Although the findings are so far only in mice, studies suggest that aspirin—even the "low-dose" variety—might help counter multiple sclerosis.

Stuck in a loop of wrongness: Brain study shows roots of OCD

They clean their hands, many times in a row. They click switches on and off, over and over. They check—and re-check, and check again—that they turned the stove off.

Effective new target for mood-boosting brain stimulation found

Researchers have found an effective target in the brain for electrical stimulation to improve mood in people suffering from depression. As reported in the journal Current Biology on November 29, stimulation of a brain region called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) reliably produced acute improvement in mood in patients who suffered from depression at the start of the study.

Study explores how the sounds going into our ears become the words going through our brains

You're walking along a busy city street. All around you are the sounds of subway trains, traffic, and music coming from storefronts. Suddenly, you realize one of the sounds you're hearing is someone speaking, and that you are listening in a different way as you pay attention to what they are saying.

New stem cell therapy to improve fight against leukemia

Stem cell transplantation is effective against leukemia. In many cases, however, the transferred immune cells of the donor also attack the recipients' healthy tissue—often with fatal consequences. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now identified a molecule that plays a key role in this process. Blocking this molecule could significantly improve the outcome of patients receiving stem cell transplants.

Scientists can predict where a rat will go based on hippocampal neuron firing

Place cells in the hippocampus fire when we are in a certain position—this discovery by John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2014. Based on which place cell fires, scientists can determine were a rat is located. Neuroscientists are now able to tell where a rat will go next by observing which neuron fires in a task that tests rats' reference memory. These are the results of a study published today in Neuron, carried out by the group of Jozsef Csicsvari at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), with first author and postdoc Haibing Xu, and Csicsvari's former postdocs Peter Baracskay and Joseph O'Neill, now faculty at Cardiff University.

Caffeinated beverages during pregnancy linked to lower birth weight babies

A team of researchers at University College, Dublin, has found a link between caffeinated beverage consumption during pregnancy and low birth weight. In their paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the group describes their study of 941 mother and baby pairs born in Ireland and how they fared when the mothers consumed caffeine.

Some blood cells have a surprising source—your gut

The human intestine may provide up to 10 percent of blood cells in circulation from its own reservoir of blood-forming stem cells, a surprising new study from researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons has found.

How viruses hijack part of your immune system and use it against you

An enzyme intended to prevent autoimmune disease can be hijacked and used by some viruses to avoid immune detection. That discovery from Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators appears in PLOS Biology. There's also good news. The same team also defined how much viral genetic material is needed to reverse the process and instead activate the immune system against the virus.

UK has higher death rates from respiratory illnesses than other developed nations

Death rates from respiratory illnesses are higher in the UK than similar countries in Europe, North America and Australia, shows a study published in The BMJ today.

Frequent sauna use associated with lower cardiovascular death rate in men and women

Regular sauna use is associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in men and women aged 50 years and over, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

Altering cancer metabolism helps treatments attack tumors

Restricting the ability of cancer cells to metabolise sugar could make oncolytic viruses more effective at attacking them, suggests a study published today in the journal Cancer Research.

Healthy? Stay fit to avoid a heart attack

Even if you are a fit and healthy person with no signs of any heart or blood vessel disease, low cardiorespiratory fitness could be a warning sign of future problems, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal today.

Vapers can avoid relapsing to smoking, even after the odd cigarette

Smokers who switch to vaping don't lapse for long—according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Understanding Down syndrome opens door to Alzheimer's prevention trials

Clinical trials for preventing Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome may soon be possible thanks to new research from King's College London. The researchers found changes in memory and attention are the earliest signs of Alzheimer's in Down syndrome, and these changes start in the early 40s.

Proportion of population vulnerable to heat exposure is rising globally

The proportion of the global population vulnerable to heat-related death and disease is growing as a result of climate change's effects on growing populations of older people, people living in cities, and people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to the 2018 report of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change.

Scientists: World still isn't ready for gene-edited babies

A group of leading scientists has declared that it's still too soon to try making permanent changes to DNA that can be inherited by future generations, as a Chinese researcher claims to have done.

Suicide, at 50-year peak, pushes down US life expectancy

Suicides and drug overdoses pushed up U.S. deaths last year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live.

Youth football changes nerve fibers in brain

MRI scans show that repetitive blows to the head result in brain changes among youth football players, according to a new study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Snoring poses greater cardiac risk to women

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring may lead to earlier impairment of cardiac function in women than in men, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Moreover, the findings suggested that OSA may be vastly underdiagnosed among snorers.

Inconspicuous protein key to deadly blood cancer

Five percent of acute leukemia cases are diagnosed as mixed lineage leukemia (MLL). MLL is an aggressive blood cancer that predominantly occurs in infants and has been difficult to treat. Now, researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have identified a very common protein as the single key to the cascade of events leading to MLL. Shutting down this protein may be a cure.

How prions invade the brain

The spread of prions to the brain does not occur by direct transmission across the blood-brain barrier, according to a study published November 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Annika Keller and Adriano Aguzzi of the University Hospital Zürich, and colleagues. As noted by the authors, insights into how prions enter the brain could lead to the development of effective strategies to prevent neurodegeneration, even after infection outside the nervous system has already taken place.

An opioid epidemic may be looming in Mexico—and the US may be partly responsible

Though opioid use in Mexico has been low, national and international factors are converging and a threat of increased drug and addiction rates exists. Many of these factors may have originated in the US, making this a potential joint US-Mexico epidemic. The authors of this analytic essay came to this conclusion based on a study of published academic literature, Mexican federal documents and guidelines, and news reports pertaining to opioid use in Mexico.

Rise in meth and opioid use during pregnancy

Amphetamine and opioid use in pregnancy increased substantially over the last decade in the United States, a new Michigan Medicine-led study finds. And a disproportionate rise occurred in rural counties.

State lawmakers want to loosen childhood vaccine requirements, but legal barriers persist

Despite an uptick in anti-vaccine legislation proposed by state lawmakers in recent years, pro-vaccine bills were more likely to be enacted into law, according to a new study by researchers at Drexel University. The results were published this week in the American Journal of Public Health.

Allergist discusses recent progress in peanut allergy immunotherapy

Any parent of a child with a severe peanut allergy knows the peril of a PB&J. For those with the condition, just sitting next to someone eating peanut butter can trigger a life-threatening reaction.

Research suggests widely used breast cancer therapy doesn't cause cognitive decline

UCLA researchers have found that commonly used hormone therapies for women diagnosed with breast cancer do not appear to cause significant cognitive dysfunction following the treatment.

Despite common obesity gene variants, obese children lose weight after lifestyle changes

Children who are genetically predisposed to overweight by common gene variants can still lose weight by changing their diet and exercise habits. Around 750 overweight or obese children and adolescents undergoing lifestyle interventions participated in the study conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Holbæk Hospital.

Healthy blood stem cells have as many DNA mutations as leukemic cells

Researchers from the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology have shown that the number of mutations in healthy and leukemic blood stem cells does not differ. Rather, the location of DNA mutations is relevant. Using the mutation patterns in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), the team was able to trace the developmental lineage tree of the cells.

Vaccination may reduce the severity of the flu in vaccinated but still infected patients

Even when influenza vaccination is ineffective in preventing the flu, it could still reduce the severity of the infection, according to an epidemiological study led by Professor Angela Dominguez from the Health Institute Carlos III. The study was published in Eurosurveillance.

Salmonella, gene swapping and antibiotic resistance: Five questions with Sid Thakur

Sid Thakur is a professor of population health and pathobiology and the director of NC State's and the College of Veterinary Medicine's Global Health programs. He studies antibiotic resistance in Salmonella and how antibiotic resistant Salmonella affect food animal and human populations. In his latest work, Thakur compared the genomes of over 200 different strains of Salmonella, looking for genetic similarities across strains. He spoke with the Abstract about what this work can tell us, and how it may help to keep us and our food supply safe.

Addressing heart disease, brain health and diabetes is critical to reducing deaths in the U.S.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. and stroke continues to rank fifth, according to the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Data Report for 2017.

Australia is not prepared for climate change health impacts

A new report in the Medical Journal of Australia on the country's climate change mitigation and adaptation activities is out today.

What is an opioid?

There are many reasons someone may take a prescription medication. We know these prescriptions are only safe when taken as directed by a medical professional for a specific health purpose, but for those who still choose to use outside of these conditions, there are some things to be aware of.

Too many dementia patients prescribed potentially inappropriate drugs, study finds

Older adults diagnosed with dementia are frequently being prescribed potentially inappropriate medications, which leaves them at risk of delirium, worsening cognitive impairment, and increased mortality, a University of Otago study has found.

Could yoga benefit older people with long-term health conditions?

Researchers are investigating the clinical benefits and cost effectiveness of a specially-adapted yoga programme for older people with multiple long-term health conditions.

How skin cancer cells sidestep the immune system

Researchers at the Mainz University Medical Center have discovered a new signal pathway employed by skin cancer cells to avoid attack by the immune system. In an animal model and through analysis of human tissue samples, Dr. Toszka Bohn, Dr. Steffen Rapp and Professor Tobias Bopp were able to demonstrate the significant role played by a specific protein called ICER. Tumors grow less rapidly when ICER is not present. The researchers recently presented their study in Nature Immunology.

Understand the danger of concussion as winter sports begin

Youth winter sports are underway, and with a recent increase in national attention on the possible dangers of head trauma for athletes, it is important for coaches, parents and players to recognize symptoms of a concussion and also help lessen their likelihood of occurring.

What is irritable bowel syndrome and what can i do about it?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects one in ten Australians, and twice as many women as men. Its symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea, and bloating. These have a significant impact on a person's quality of life.

A prosthetic arm that decodes phantom limb movements

About 75 percent of amputees exhibit mobility of their phantom limb. Using this information, in collaboration with physicians, researchers from CNRS and Aix-Marseille University have developed a prototype capable of detecting these movements and activating a prosthetic arm. The prosthesis does not require any surgery and patients do not need training. The results are published on November 29, 2018 in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

New chlamydia test delivers results in about 30 minutes

NIBIB-funded researchers recently validated a rapid STD test that delivered accurate results in about 30 minutes for chlamydia, allowing patients to receive treatment immediately, thereby stemming the further spread of disease. Other analyses showed most women preferred the easy self-collection method the test offers.

Osteoporosis risk rises sharply even for younger breast cancer survivors

Women diagnosed with breast cancer who are 50 or younger face a much higher risk of the bone-loss condition osteoporosis compared to women of the same age who do not have cancer. The findings, which complement prior research showing higher bone-loss risk in older breast cancer survivors, come from a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Elucidation of central mechanisms of salt-induced hypertension through activation of sympathetic nerve activities

Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease worldwide, and approximately 40 percent (1 billion) of adults aged 25 and above have been diagnosed with hypertension (World Health Organization 2013; ref. 1). A positive correlation between salt (NaCl) intake and blood pressure (BP) has long been postulated. A battery of studies has shown that a diet high in salt increases sodium concentrations ([Na+]) in plasma and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). [Na+] elevations in plasma and CSF enhance sympathetic nerve activity (SNA), leading to increases in BP. However, underlying mechanisms responsible for [Na+] sensing and signaling pathways to induce sympathetically mediated BP elevations have not yet been elucidated.

Defective protein factories in disease: A double-edged sword of cell division

Ever since the 1960s, the researchers have wondered why some patients who suffer from illnesses resulting from inadequate cell division are much more susceptible to cancer, which is conversely characterized by excessive cell division. This unsolved paradox—also known as Dameshek's Riddle—has puzzled the scientific community for years. The Laboratory for Disease Mechanisms in Cancer in Leuven, Belgium now reports how defective ribosomes can cause both insufficient and excessive cell division.

Ointment to counter the effects of brown recluse spider bites tested on humans

The bite from a brown recluse spider (Loxosceles) can cause skin necrosis, renal failure, and even death. A new ointment is being tested in Brazil, however. Its effects have already been proven in tests conducted in cell cultures and animal models. Now the ointment will have its immunomodulatory action tested on humans in Phase III clinical trials, and it may be included in the treatment protocol for patients who develop lesions caused by the spider bite. The trial started in October.

Most caregivers of people with dementia are family members, and they need help

Family care of an older adult has emerged as an essential element of the U.S. health care system, with 83 percent of long-term care provided to older adults coming from family members or other unpaid helpers. As the population of older adults grows, so too does the expectation of family care for persons living with dementia.

Working more, but getting less done?

(HealthDay)—It's no surprise that many Americans are working overtime. Conservative estimates say that 19 percent of adults put in 48 hours or more a week and 7 percent log in 60 or more.

Opioid crisis, suicides driving decline in U.S. life expectancy: CDC

(HealthDay)—Life expectancy in the United States has now declined for three years in a row, fueled largely by a record number of drug overdose deaths and rising suicide rates, new government statistics show.

China halts work by team on gene-edited babies

China's government ordered a halt Thursday to work by a medical team that claimed to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies, as a group of leading scientists declared that it's still too soon to try to make permanent changes to DNA that can be inherited by future generations.

Traversing the interfaces in medical research

The continually rising health care costs in Germany require cost intelligent innovations at the intersecting frontiers of scientific disciplines. Prof. Gerd Geisslinger is Medical Research Officer for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In this interview he explains why the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is in a unique position to tackle challenges in medical research and to pull together the four major fields of biomedical research – drugs, diagnostics, data, and devices.

Having children is linked to increased risk of heart disease, new study suggests – but don't let that put you off

Children are stressful. The more children you have, the more stress you have to manage. But that isn't all, having lots of children might raise more than just stress levels. Our latest research suggests having kids might also be linked to an increased risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

Teachers use violence against children in Uganda: We set out to find out more

In many parts of the world, teachers use violence against their students. This can become routine, and the school transforms from a nurturing into a harmful environment for millions of children. Students exposed to violence are at risk of health problems later in life, such as depression, alcohol abuse and lower educational achievement.

Study finds Americans report getting less sleep

If you've been tempted lately to pull a Jughead and draw pupils on your closed eyelids to catch a few extra Z's in your morning meetings, you're not alone.

Sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on ethical decision-making, says expert

If you ever feel like you're not mentally sharp when you're exhausted, you're probably right.

Lower mortality seen for cardiac care at top-ranked hospitals

(HealthDay)—Compared with nonranked hospitals, top-ranked hospitals have lower 30-day mortality but similar or higher readmission rates for cardiovascular conditions, according to a study published online Nov. 28 in JAMA Cardiology.

Truxima approved as first biosimilar to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma drug

(HealthDay)—Truxima (rituximab-abbs) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first biosimilar to the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma drug Rituxan, the agency said Wednesday.

How safe is food you buy at farmers' markets?

(HealthDay)—You might love getting fresh produce at your local farmers' market, but you should wash everything thoroughly when you get home.

New study sheds light on Stephen Fry's portrayal of manic depression

Despite the suffering caused by bipolar disorder – also known as manic depression—a significant minority of patients actually want to keep it because of the creative highs it gives them, according to new research from University of Manchester psychologists.

Getting older adults to exercise

Generation 100, a comprehensive study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on the effects of exercise on aging, examines whether exercise actually prolongs life. But merely knowing that exercise yields big health gains doesn't mean much as long as a majority of the elderly are not active enough to achieve these benefits.

Modified malaria drug proven effective at inhibiting Ebola

Robert Davey, professor of microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine and researcher at Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), in collaboration with researchers at Nagasaki University, Tokushima Bunri University, Kagoshima University, and Texas Biomedical Research Institute, have discovered that certain derivatives of amodiaquine, a medication typically used to treat malaria, could provide a new therapeutic approach to treating patients infected with Ebola.

Majority of Canadians view physical inactivity as a serious public health issue

Physical inactivity is nearly on par with unhealthy diets and tobacco use as a public health concern among Canadians, a new UBC study has found.

Study finds sexual trauma survivors have clear preferences in obstetric care

One in five women in the United States will experience sexual trauma, yet no evidence-based guidelines exist to treat these women during pregnancy and childbirth. Researchers at Boston Medical Center (BMC) surveyed women with a history of sexual trauma and found that they have clear preferences regarding how they communicate their history with providers as well as certain aspects of their treatment plan. Published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, these results can help inform providers on best practices when caring for these women.

Age alone doesn't increase complications of free-flap breast reconstruction in older women

Breast reconstruction using a "free flap" from the patient's abdomen is a safe procedure with a high success rate in older women opting for reconstruction after mastectomy, reports a study in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

When it comes to using birth control, both intention and attitude matter

A new Veterans Affairs study adds to the evidence that women's intentions around becoming pregnant don't fully explain whether and how they use contraception. Rather, their attitudes toward becoming pregnant also play a role.

Team uncovers promising lead in genetic approach to treating glioblastoma

Glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer that has grabbed headlines for claiming the lives of Sens. Edward Kennedy and John McCain, could be "tricked" into sparing more of its victims.

Curry spice boosts exercise performance in mice with heart failure

New research suggests that curcumin, a main ingredient in curry, may improve exercise intolerance related to heart failure. The study is published ahead of print in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Researchers produce six antibodies to combat Zika virus

Researchers have generated six Zika virus antibodies that could be used to test for and possibly treat a mosquito-borne disease that has infected more than 1.5 million people worldwide.

Venetoclax combination approved for elderly acute myeloid leukemia

Older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) often aren't healthy enough to receive intensive chemotherapy, and gentler treatments aren't very effective in treating this aggressive blood cancer.

New study reveals how cancer manipulates our immune system to become harder to treat

Many factors affect cancer treatment outcome, such as the size and location of the tumor, availability of effective treatments, and timing of intervention. But some cancers are so aggressive that outcome is poor, even after early diagnosis and chemotherapy. Researchers have focused their attention on trying to understand what makes some cancers less treatable than others. Now, researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles reveal a mechanism by which some cancers trick healthy cells into protecting tumors.

Babies born in withdrawal new complication in opioid cases

The expansive court case seeking to hold drugmakers responsible for the nation's opioid crisis has a new complication: How does it deal with claims covering the thousands of babies born addicted to the drugs?

Repeat outbreaks pressure produce industry to step up safety

After repeated food poisoning outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce, the produce industry is confronting the failure of its own safety measures in preventing contaminations.

Measles cases rise 30 percent worldwide: UN

Measles cases worldwide jumped more than 30 percent last year compared to 2016, with increases recorded in wealthy European countries like Germany where vaccination coverage has historically been high, the UN said Thursday.

Triple combination cancer immunotherapy improves outcomes in preclinical melanoma model

Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) is a promising cancer immunotherapy that involves isolating T cells from cancer patients that are capable of targeting their tumor, selecting the more active T cells and expanding those in the lab, and then transfusing them back into patients. ACT is already available in the clinic for some diseases—CAR T therapy, a form of ACT, was approved by the FDA in 2017 for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and adults with advanced lymphomas—and many clinical trials of another form of ACT are under way in melanoma.

Cultural shift needed to keep trust in use of patient data by health technology

A radical culture change in the NHS, and across the health data and medical technology community, is needed to make sure that the NHS can deliver the benefits of new health technologies that use patient data for care, and to retain public trust, says a new report1 from the Academy of Medical Sciences published today.

HIV cases in children dropping but still too slowly, UN says

The United Nations children's agency says the number of youths living with HIV could drop by about one-third to 1.9 million between now and 2030, while children dying each year from AIDS-related causes could drop by nearly half to 56,000 in 2030.

Facility-level variations in diabetic kidney disease care within the VA health system

A new study has uncovered variation across facilities in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health System concerning the delivery of key measures of kidney disease care for veterans with diabetes. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), point to areas where care might be improved and standardized among facilities.

Latest Cochrane review looks at pyrethroid-PBO nets for preventing malaria in Africa

Researchers from LSTM have confirmed that using pyrethroid-PBO treated nets to prevent malaria is more effective at killing mosquitoes in areas where there is a high level of resistance to pyrethroids.

Balneo-phototherapy: Studies now show greater benefit also in atopic eczema

Atopic eczema, also called neurodermatitis, is a chronic skin condition usually associated with severe itching, which can cause massive impairment of the quality of life. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) had already investigated in 2007 whether a combination of bath therapy and UV light therapy (balneo-phototherapy) has better treatment results than UV light therapy alone. In 2007, convincing results were only available for a different skin condition, namely psoriasis. Having included newer study data, IQWiG now sees an indication of an advantage of synchronous balneo-phototherapy, in which a Dead Sea salt bath is used simultaneously with UV light, also for atopic eczema.

Hospital-wide scores underestimate readmission risk in neurocritical care patients

Scoring models used to predict 30-day readmission risk in the general hospital population may not accurately predict readmissions for patients in the neurocritical care unit, reports a study in the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, official journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses.

Ending the HIV epidemic: Where does Europe stand?

From diagnosis of HIV to successful viral suppression: in a rapid communication published in Eurosurveillance today, ECDC and co-authors from Public Health England and The National AIDS Trust summarise the progress towards HIV elimination in 52 countries in Europe and Central Asia. The main issues: diagnosing those who are unaware of their HIV infection and treating them.

Functional nasal surgery relieves chronic headache for some patients

Nasal surgery to relieve obstructed breathing can reduce or eliminate chronic headaches in selected patients, reports a paper in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Weight cycling is associated with a higher risk of death

Weight cycling is associated with a higher risk of death, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Meeting the challenge of engaging men in HIV prevention and treatment

A new commentary from National Institutes of Health scientists asserts that engaging men in HIV prevention and care is essential to the goal of ending the HIV pandemic. The article by Adeola Adeyeye, M.D., M.P.A., and David Burns, M.D., M.P.H., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Michael Stirratt, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also discusses potential solutions.

Biology news

Whale songs' changing pitch may be response to population, climate changes

Blue whales around the world are singing a little flat, and scientists may now have more clues as to the reason why.

Decoding sleeping sickness signals could aid quest for treatments

Key insights into how the parasites behind sleeping sickness boost their ability to spread could aid efforts to beat the disease.

Whales lost their teeth before evolving hair-like baleen in their mouths

Rivaling the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, one of the most extraordinary transformations in the history of life was the evolution of baleen—rows of flexible hair-like plates that blue whales, humpbacks and other marine mammals use to filter relatively tiny prey from gulps of ocean water. The unusual structure enables the world's largest creatures to consume several tons of food each day, without ever chewing or biting. Now, Smithsonian scientists have discovered an important intermediary link in the evolution of this innovative feeding strategy: an ancient whale that had neither teeth nor baleen.

Shape-shifting protein protects bacteria from invaders

When foreign bodies attack, the molecular militia that comprises our immune system goes to war. In the chaos of battle, this cavalry must be careful to not to fire on its own soldiers; and organisms ranging from humans to bacteria have evolved special mechanisms to avoid this type of mix-up.

How HIV DNA is blocked from entering the cell nucleus

Multiple components of the nuclear pore complex and nuclear import machinery enable a protein called human myxovirus resistance 2 (MX2) to inhibit HIV-1 infection, according to a study published November 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Michael Malim of King's College London, and colleagues.

Mechanism safeguarding unique epigenome of oocytes and maternal fertility

In mammals, females have a limited supply of oocytes. Oocytes have a unique epigenome with approximately half the DNA methylation of sperm, and the most terminally differentiated somatic cells. Until recently, regulators of this unique DNA methylation pattern and its functional significance were unknown.

Lizards quickly adapt to threat from invasive fire ants, reversing geographical patterns of lizard traits

Some lizards in the eastern U.S. have adapted to invasive fire ants—which can bite, sting, and kill lizards—reversing geographical trends in behavioral and physical traits used to avoid predators. A new study describing this reversal appears online on November 29, 2018, in the journal Global Change Biology and reveals that new environmental challenges can override the historical influences that originally determined geographical trends in traits.

Team uncovers new molecule with big implications

Almost 20 years ago, the University of Delaware's Tom Hanson started studying the bacterium Chlorobaculum tepidum (Cba. tepidum), an organism that only lives in volcanic hot springs, to understand how it captures energy from light and chemicals to grow in that environment. Among the reasons to study the organism, Cba. tepidum is one of the microbes that re-oxidizes sulfide, a compound toxic to humans. Because of Cba. tepidum and its relatives, we can live near parts of the earth where sulfide is produced by other lifeforms, like the ocean.

Thriving reef fisheries continue to provide food despite coral bleaching

Reef fisheries can continue to provide food and income despite corals being lost to climate change, according to new research conducted in the Seychelles.

New tools illuminate mechanisms behind overlooked cellular components' critical roles

Creating new tools that harness light to probe the mysteries of cellular behavior, Princeton researchers have made discoveries about the formation of cellular components called membraneless organelles and the key role these organelles play in cells.

Insight into swimming fish could lead to robotics advances

The constant movement of fish that seems random is actually precisely deployed to provide them at any moment with the best sensory feedback they need to navigate the world, Johns Hopkins University researchers found.

Forest fragmentation disrupts parasite infection in Australian lizards

In a study with implications for biodiversity and the spread of infectious diseases, CU Boulder ecologists have demonstrated that deforestation and habitat fragmentation can decrease transmission of a parasitic nematode in a particular species of Australian lizard, the pale-flecked garden sunskink.

Science conference slams 'deeply disturbing' baby gene-editing claim

A scientist who upended a Hong Kong conference with his claim to have created the world's first genetically-edited babies cancelled a fresh talk and was heavily criticised by organisers Thursday, who labelled him as irresponsible.

Future uncertain for Australia's unique platypus: researchers

Australia's unique platypus population is shrinking under pressure from agriculture and pollution, putting the egg-laying mammals' future in doubt, researchers said in a report published Thursday.

Soil compound fights chronic wasting disease

A major compound in soil organic matter degrades chronic wasting disease prions and decreases infectivity in mice, according to a study published November 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Judd Aiken of the University of Alberta, and colleagues.

Researchers warn of uncertain future for the platypus

Scientists are worried about the platypus, with a national risk assessment led by UNSW Professor Richard Kingsford suggesting declines of up to 30 percent.

Study shows mitochondrial DNA can be passed through fathers – what does this mean for genetics?

Some things you learn in school turn out not to be true, for example that there are just five senses or three states of matter. Now cutting-edge research has added to the list by proving the mitochondria (the power sources in our cells) comes from both our parents and not – as biology students are taught – just from our mothers.

New shark species discovery may help conservation efforts

A new deep-water dogfish shark has been discovered by a team led by Florida Tech marine biologist Toby Daly-Engel.

GonaCon vaccine could offer lasting results for managing wild horse population

Colorado State University recently released a study touting the use of the GonaCon-Equine immunocontraceptive vaccine as a longer-lasting solution to decreasing fertility in wild horses.

Editorial: The (somewhat obvious) ethical problems with creating gene-edited babies

It has long been a scientific dream: to inoculate people against terrible diseases before they're born. Now a team of doctors based in China has dangled that possibility in front of us by claiming it has edited the DNA of two human embryos during in vitro fertilization. The goal of the project was to protect the two (who are now twin baby girls) from HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

How a scientist says he made a gene-edited baby – and what health worries may ensue

On Nov. 28, He Jiankui claimed to a packed conference room at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong to have edited the genomes of two twin girls, Lulu and Nana, who were born in China.

Honey bees, already at risk, face a new threat from a common herbicide

Glyphosate is the world's most widely used herbicide. Because it's considered safe for animals, it's extensively used not only in agriculture, but also for weed control in urban areas and home gardens.

Austrian-Danish research team discover as many as 22 new moth species from across Europe

Following a long-year study of the family of twirler moths, an Austrian-Danish research team discovered a startling total of 44 new species, including as many as 22 species inhabiting various regions throughout Europe.

How a rat and bat helped heal a 90-year cultural rift

Tyrone Lavery, postdoctoral researcher at the Field Museum in Chicago, traveled nearly 8,000 miles to find two species—a giant rat and a monkey-faced bat—in Malaita, one of the Solomon Islands' largest provinces.

Otter versus koi: the battle that has gripped Canada

An epic battle has been playing out in a classical Chinese garden in Canada's Pacific coast city of Vancouver between a ravenous wild otter and prized ornamental carp, cheered on by locals who have declared themselves for "Team Otter" versus "Team Koi."

Can scientists use gene editing for disease prevention but not human enhancement?

On the same day a Chinese scientist announced he had used CRISPR gene editing technology to give twin babies resistance to HIV infection, a team of UNC School of Medicine bioethics professors published a paper entitled "Is Enhancement the Price of Prevention in Gene Editing?" in The CRISPR Journal November 26.

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