Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jan 16

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 16, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A deep learning-based method to detect cyberbullying on Twitter

Extracting functional mitochondria using microfluidics devices

Novel materials convert infrared light into visible light (Update)

When activated, 'social' brain circuits inhibit feeding behavior in mice

How stem cells self-organize in the developing embryo

'Ambidextrous' robots could dramatically speed e-commerce

An ancient relative of humans shows a surprisingly modern trait

Water, not temperature, limits global forest growth as climate warms

Mechanism helps explain the ear's exquisite sensitivity

Fast, very high-energy gamma-ray flare detected from the blazar BL Lacertae

Researchers discover black hole in our galaxy spinning rapidly around itself

New study finds evidence of changing seasons, rain on Titan's north pole

High-speed supernova reveals earliest moments of a dying star

Robot recreates the walk of a 290-million-year-old creature

Unraveling threads of bizarre hagfish's explosive slime

Astronomy & Space news

Fast, very high-energy gamma-ray flare detected from the blazar BL Lacertae

Using Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) telescopes, an international group of astronomers has detected a fast, very high-energy (VHE) flare from the blazar BL Lacertae. The finding is detailed in a paper published January 7 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Researchers discover black hole in our galaxy spinning rapidly around itself

A University of Southampton-led project has shown a black hole spinning near its maximum possible rate around its axis.

New study finds evidence of changing seasons, rain on Titan's north pole

An image from the international Cassini spacecraft provides evidence of rainfall on the north pole of Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons. The rainfall would be the first indication of the start of a summer season in the moon's northern hemisphere.

High-speed supernova reveals earliest moments of a dying star

An international team of scientists, including astronomers from the Universities of Leicester, Bath and Warwick, have found evidence for the existence of a 'hot cocoon' of material enveloping a relativistic jet escaping a dying star. This research is been published online today and in print in Nature tomorrow.

Western-led team may unlock rocky secrets of Mars

Humankind may be able to reach further back into the history of its nearest planetary neighbour, unlocking the secrets to the evolution, climate, and habitability of Mars, thanks to the efforts of a Western-led team tapped to improve NASA's rover technology.

Image: Parachute for planetfall

Testing a candidate design for a subsonic parachute to slow a future mission to Mars inside Canada's National Research Council wind tunnel, in Ottawa.

Pioneering infrared imager gives sharpest-ever view of stars and planet-forming discs

A pioneering new instrument that produces the sharpest images of young stars could give astronomers a fascinating glimpse into how the solar system may have looked more than 4.5 billion years ago.

Technology news

A deep learning-based method to detect cyberbullying on Twitter

Researchers at King Saud University, in Saudi Arabia, have developed a new approach to detect cyberbullying on Twitter using deep learning called OCDD. In contrast with other deep-learning approaches, which extract features from tweets and feed them to a classifier, their method represents a tweet as a set of word vectors.

'Ambidextrous' robots could dramatically speed e-commerce

E-commerce continues to expand and achieved new levels during the recent holiday season. To rapidly fulfill the enormous volume and variety of orders, companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba are investing heavily in new warehouses. To address the shortage of workers, many companies are considering robots. However, reliably grasping a diverse range of products remains a Grand Challenge for robotics.

Tool for nonstatisticians automatically generates models that glean insights from complex datasets

MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data.

Waiting for Wiliot's battery-free sticker sensor tag

A Bluetooth sensor tag with an ARM processor has tech watchers thinking overtime about what this little wonder might achieve. This is a battery-free product. Oh, did you hear that, "battery-free"? Those two words are right up there with "scandal rocks" and "lottery winner" but who are we to judge. Gawking at battery-free news can be forgiven.

Engineers detail bird feather properties that could lead to better adhesives, aerospace materials

You may have seen a kid play with a feather, or you may have played with one yourself: Running a hand along a feather's barbs and watching as the feather unzips and zips, seeming to miraculously pull itself back together.

Engineers develop powerful tool to help semiconductor manufacturers spot defects

Faulty mobile phones and solar cells could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a ground-breaking invention developed at the Australian National University (ANU).

Research to improve welding process for manufacturing industries

Arc welding and additive manufacturing are hugely important for creating large metal components relatively inexpensively and quickly.

No-shows for auto shows? Detroit and others aim to retool

At first glance, this year's edition of the North American International Auto Show might look like any other from the past: gleaming vehicles, bright lights and flashy displays trying to lure spectators to their offerings.

At Detroit auto show, the future of cars is... in the future

The Detroit auto show kicked off this week with glitzy, high-production value debuts of mostly sports cars, giant trucks and SUVs—new versions of age-old themes.

Intel vet takes wheel of self-driving car startup Zoox

Intel vet Aicha Evans will lead self-driving car startup Zoox from next month, becoming a rare high-profile black chief executive in a Silicon Valley.

New retail tools aim to solve e-commerce profit dilemma

Conventional wisdom in the Amazon era holds that the lowest price wins the battle of the retailers, leading many to just about give away items to make a sale.

Aussie businesses complain Google sending outback tourists off the map

Tourism operators in Australia's vast outback say wild inaccuracies in Google Maps are making remote hot spots appear out of reach, deterring people from visiting the region.

Cybersecurity system evolves as it watches and learns from would-be hackers

For hackers, the United States energy grid is a treasure trove of classified information with vast potential for profit and mayhem. To be effective, the power grid's protection system has to be a bit like a hacker: highly intelligent, agile and able to learn rapidly.

Machine learning could reduce testing, improve treatment for intensive care patients

Doctors in intensive care units face a continual dilemma: Every blood test they order could yield critical information, but also adds costs and risks for patients. To address this challenge, researchers from Princeton University are developing a computational approach to help clinicians more effectively monitor patients' conditions and make decisions about the best opportunities to order lab tests for specific patients.

Bioconstruction: Beyond hempcrete

One of the common beliefs about bio-construction is that it is only for rich people. According to Mike Lawrence, Professor at the BRE CICM (Centre for Innovative Construction Materials), University of Bath, UK, this is a myth: "If you compare like with like, so if you compare a building made out of conventional materials with the same thermal performance as a building made out of biobased materials such as hemp, the latter is cheaper. Under the EU project called Isobio, we did studies in the UK and in Spain. If you compare the British construction systems, the wall of a hemp building is about 30% cheaper per square metre than the one made out of traditional construction materials. In Spain it is even better, the wall is more expensive there, so a hemp system will be about 55% cheaper than a typical Spanish wall with the same thermal performance."

New environmental sensing and monitoring system tested and evaluated

On the edge of Virginia Tech's campus, on a stretch of farmland that few students ever visit, small boxes are whirling through the season's change to winter, collecting and transmitting data that will make it easier for scientists to monitor and collect data across landscapes.

How we're designing musical instruments with the help of disabled musicians and VR

Most new digital technologies tend to be designed with an able-bodied user in mind. The first desktop computers required fine motor skills to navigate software menus using a mouse, and mobile phones need users to press buttons, swipe screens, and so on. To use such technology a person needs to be fairly dexterous.

Facebook to tighten political ad rules for 2019 elections

Facebook said Tuesday it will tighten rules for political ads in countries with elections scheduled in the first half of the year, building on transparency efforts already underway in the United States, Britain and Brazil after a series of scandals.

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Apple is selling a new battery case for its latest iPhones... for $129

Apple has just started selling silicone "Smart Battery Cases" for the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR models, promising talk time for the phones that in some instances could exceed a day and a half. But if you think Apple's iPhones are expensive, consider that each of these optional cases fetches $129.

A three-camera iPhone? It may be one of three new models for 2019, report says

Ready for more iPhones?

Offices are too hot or too cold – is there a better way to control room temperature?

In any office, home or other shared space, there's almost always someone who's too cold, someone who's too hot – and someone who doesn't know what the fuss around the thermostat is all about.

Amazon, Facebook and Google don't need to spy on your conversations to know what you're talking about

If you've ever wondered if your phone is spying on you, you're not alone. One of the most hotly debated topics in technology today is the amount of data that firms surreptitiously gather about us online. You may well have shared the increasingly common experience of feeling creeped out by ads for something you recently discussed in a real life conversation or an online interaction.

Researchers explore benefits of immersive technology for soldiers

The emergence of next generation virtual and augmented reality devices like the Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens has increased interest in using mixed reality to simulate training, enhance command and control, and improve the effectiveness of warfighters on the battlefield.

New AI can detect urinary tract infections

New AI developed at the University of Surrey could identify and help reduce one of the top causes of hospitalisation for people living with dementia: urinary tract infections (UTI).

Drones shown to make traffic crash site assessments safer, faster and more accurate

Idling in a long highway line of slowed or stopped traffic on a busy highway can be more than an inconvenience for drivers and highway safety officers.

Final winter Detroit auto show a shadow of its former self

As row upon row of automakers' latest models gleam in the bright lights of the Detroit auto show, the exhibitors ready to greet industry insiders and journalists are looking down—into their smartphones.

Hyundai, Kia recall vehicles due to increased fire risk

Despite a government shutdown, Hyundai and Kia are moving ahead with a recall of about 168,000 vehicles to fix a fuel pipe problem that can cause engine fires. The problem stems from improper repairs during previous recalls for engine failures.

Snap to lose chief financial officer, its 2nd in a year

The company behind Snapchat is losing its second financial chief in less than a year as the social media service confronts a declining user base and stiff competition from bigger rivals.

Mobile app spend soars with China a top market: report

Mobile app downloads are surging around the world with growth in smartphone use, with nearly half coming from China, a market tracker said Wednesday.

US gambling operators have 90 days to comply with new rules

The Department of Justice will wait 90 days to implement a legal opinion that will affect online gambling.

YouTube clarifies rules on pranks as risky memes rage

YouTube on Tuesday clarified rules against posting videos of dangerous pranks, as risky "challenges" prompt people to video themselves doing things like biting into laundry soap or driving blindfolded.

Vietnam's newest airline Bamboo takes first flight

Vietnam's newest commercial carrier Bamboo Airways took flight Wednesday, officially entering Southeast Asia's crowded aviation sector where it will face stiff competition from established players.

The apps that can tell you if you're buying sustainably

What does sustainable shopping look like? From environmental impact to workers' rights, the term can cover so many aspects that buying sustainably can be a daunting task. But a new app that helps people select supermarket products by ethical preferences and an online database that brings transparency to supply chains aim to change that.

Sprint adds new rewards program in latest bid to rival AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile

T-Mobile has its T-Mobile Tuesdays, Verizon has its VerizonUp and AT&T has its AT&T Thanks. After long being the only carrier without one, Sprint on Tuesday is finally getting into the rewards game.

Edward C. Baig: Have a great idea for 5G? Verizon may give you a million dollars to make it happen

Think you've come up with a killer idea for exploiting the emerging next-generation wireless networks known as 5G?

Some Samsung phone owners can't delete Facebook app, report says

Dropping Facebook may be tougher than it appears for Samsung smartphone owners.

Ready for the Galaxy S10? Samsung to host 'Unpacked' press event on Feb. 20

Ten years ago, Samsung unveiled its very first Galaxy smartphone. On Feb. 20 at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Samsung hopes to celebrate the milestone with the expected launch of the S10 flagship handset.

Ford forecasts $112 mn Q4 loss amid restructuring costs

Ford said Wednesday it expected to post a $112 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2018 as the automaker implements a massive restructuring in the United States and Europe.

Fiserv buys First Data for $22B, creating fintech giant

Fiserv is buying First Data in a $22 billion all-stock deal, creating a giant player in the payments and financial technology sector.

What future for Renault after Ghosn scandal?

Behind bars in Japan, Carlos Ghosn has already been stripped of his leadership roles at Nissan and Mitsubishi—leaving questions for Renault, the third carmaker in their alliance, over who should steer the French company now.

House Republicans question telecoms on location tracking

Several House Republicans asked T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint how they share their users' cellphone location data, citing a recent report that telecoms are selling that information to shadowy companies without customer knowledge.

Sinclair debuts streaming service for its local TV stations

Sinclair Broadcast wants to "Stirr" up streaming.

French govt seeks new Renault boss, ditches Ghosn

The French government on Wednesday called for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, who has spent the last two months in Japanese custody, to be replaced as chief executive of carmaker Renault.

Court orders Italian govt to publicize cellphone risks

A consumers' group says an Italian tribunal has ordered a public information campaign about the possible health risks of cellular and cordless phones.

Medicine & Health news

When activated, 'social' brain circuits inhibit feeding behavior in mice

Feeding behavior and social stimulation activate intermingled but distinct brain circuits, and activating one circuit can inhibit the other, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University.

Schizophrenia linked to genetic structural abnormality in adolescent brain

Schizophrenia could be caused by a genetic mutation that causes a structural abnormality in the brain during adolescence. Therefore testing for the gene SLC39A8, and brain scans for schizophrenia could predict whether or not someone will develop it—researchers at the University of Warwick have found.

Scientists grow perfect human blood vessels in a petri dish

Scientists have managed to grow perfect human blood vessels as organoids in a petri dish for the first time.

Wearable sensor can detect hidden anxiety, depression in young children

Anxiety and depression are surprisingly common among young children—as many as one in five kids suffer from one of them, starting as early as the preschool years. But it can be hard to detect these conditions, known as "internalizing disorders," because the symptoms are so inward-facing that parents, teachers and doctors often fail to notice them.

Moving more in old age may protect brain from dementia

Older adults who move more than average, either in the form of daily exercise or just routine physical activity such as housework, may maintain more of their memory and thinking skills than people who are less active than average, even if they have brain lesions or biomarkers linked to dementia, according to a study by Rush University Medical Center published in the January 16, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Protecting oligodendrocytes may reduce the impact of multiple sclerosis

A small molecule, Sephin1, may be able to significantly delay harm to nerve cells caused by multiple sclerosis, a disabling immune-mediated disease that damages nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord.

Experimental treatment approach shows potential against Staphylococcus aureus

A new class of engineered proteins may counter infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus - a bacterial species considered one of the largest global health threats, a new study suggests.

Researchers rescue photoreceptors, prevent blindness in animal models of AMD

Using a novel patient-specific stem cell-based therapy, researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) prevented blindness in animal models of geographic atrophy, the advanced "dry" form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a leading cause of vision loss among people age 65 and older. The protocols established by the animal study, published January 16 in Science Translational Medicine, set the stage for a first-in-human clinical trial testing the therapy in people with geographic atrophy, for which there is currently no treatment.

Chaos in the body tunes up your immune system

Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system according to a recent discovery made by researchers at the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute. The discovery may prove to be of great significance for avoiding serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Study suggests facial masculinity not a sexual ornament signaling mate quality in humans

A team of researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Universiteit Leuven has found evidence that suggests facial masculinity is not a sexual ornament signaling mate quality in humans. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group reports their comparison of facial masculinity with both height and immunocompetence, and what they found.

Study defines differences among brain neurons that coincide with psychiatric conditions

It's no surprise to scientists that variety is the very essence of biology, not just the seasoning, but most previous studies of key brain cells have found little variability in a common cell process that involves how genetic information is read and acted on.

Neurofeedback helps to control learning success

Thanks to an interplay of inhibition and disinhibition of certain areas, our brain can always guarantee the processing of particularly important stimuli. Neuronal alpha-oscillations regulate the flow of information in certain regions of the brain so that capacities for the processing of new stimuli are released. "The correct timing of alpha oscillations is strongly related to performance in cognitive tasks and perception tests," explains Dr. Hubert Dinse from the Institute of Neuroinformatics and the Department of Neurology at Bergmannsheil.

Researchers look at risk of infection from water in the air at home

"Don't drink the water" might be good enough advice to keep you from getting sick in some places, but according to researchers from Arizona State and Drexel University, the admonition should probably be expanded to "...try not to breathe the water either." In research recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the group takes a closer look at how the spray from showers, sinks and toilets can expose us to the bacteria responsible for the most waterborne disease outbreaks in the country.

Study finds following heart health guidelines also reduces diabetes risk

Lifestyle and health factors that are good for your heart can also prevent diabetes, according to a new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine that published today in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Mosquito known to transmit malaria has been detected in Ethiopia for the first time

A type of mosquito that transmits malaria has been detected in Ethiopia for the first time, and the discovery has implications for putting more people at risk for malaria in new regions, according to a study led by a Baylor University researcher.

Difficulties with audiovisual processing contributes to dyslexia in children

A University at Buffalo psychologist has published a neuroimaging study that could help develop tests for early identification of dyslexia, a disorder that effects 80 percent of those diagnosed with difficulties reading, writing and spelling.

High pesticide exposure among farmers linked to poor sense of smell later

A Michigan State University study is the first to show an association between unusually high pesticide exposure and poor sense of smell among aging farmers.

Gastric bypass surgery may benefit muscle strength more than previously thought

Gastric bypass surgery improves relative muscle strength and physical performance in people with obesity, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Higher risk of fracture in type 1 diabetes may be linked to poor blood sugar control

Patients with type 1 diabetes and poor blood sugar control face a higher risk of fragility fracture—any fall from standing height or less that results in a broken bone—than type 1 diabetes patients with good blood sugar control, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

More donor livers could be used for transplantation, thanks to exciting new development

A procedure assessed by NICE and used in research led by the University of Birmingham has been hailed as an exciting development in increasing the number of livers which can be safely used for transplantation.

Novel imaging technology may reduce biopsies for breast tumors

In American women, breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death. While routine screening helps to detect breast cancer, existing technology frequently identifies suspicious lesions that turn out not to be cancer. In fact, up to 80 percent of the biopsies performed reveal the suspicious areas are not cancerous.

Researchers can predict childhood social transitions

Increasingly, children who identify as the gender "opposite" their sex at birth are changing their names, pronouns and often hairstyle and clothing. But questions remain for doctors, researchers and families: Who is transitioning now, and who is likely to later on? And does the transition itself change a child's sense of their own gender?

Alterations in hippocampal structural connections differentiate responders of electroconvulsive therapy

A new study in people with major depression reports that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) induces changes in the fibers connecting the hippocampus to brain regions involved in mood and emotion. Only patients who responded to the treatment showed these changes, and those who had the greatest changes in hippocampal pathways also showed the largest improvements in mood.

Exercise before surgery can protect both muscles and nerves, study suggests

Exercise can protect both muscle and nerves from damage caused by the restoration of blood flow after injury or surgery, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine shows.

New drug MDPV, or 'monkey dust', found in Australia. What is it and what are the harms?

Recent media reports have suggested a rise in a dangerous new party drug known as "monkey dust". This is a slang name for the drug MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone), as well as other members of the chemical class known as "synthetic cathinones", or "bath salts".

As the oceans rise, so do your risks of breast cancer

It is encouraging to see greater attention in the media to the issue of climate change and its effects on the life-support systems of the planet. The link between breast cancer and the environment, however, is being overlooked.

Claims that bilingualism keeps brains young could be 'wishful thinking'

Speaking two languages is a highly valuable skill but is an unlikely defence against age-related cognitive decline as previously thought, according to new research on ageing and bilingualism.

Advances in the study of drugs to combat cognitive impairment in schizophrenia

A study by the UPV/EHU has assessed whether drugs used to delay cognitive deterioration in patients with Alzheimer's are effective in improving cognitive impairments in patients with schizophrenia. Through an analysis of nine clinical trials carried out worldwide, the researchers specified a series of methodological improvements in the study of drugs that ensure the functional recovery of these patients.

Effects of linoleic acid on inflammatory response depend on genes

The effects of linoleic acid on the human body are largely dependent on genes, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid. People carrying different variants of the FADS1 gene had different inflammatory responses and changes in their fasting glucose levels when supplementing their diet with linoleic acid-rich sunflower oil. This was the first time these associations were observed in humans.

How can weight gain during pregnancy be optimized?

If a pregnant woman gains excessive weight, it can pose a problem for both the mother and child. As a solution, regular counseling appointments have been proposed. Based on results with 2286 women, a team of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in cooperation with the Competence Center for Nutrition (KErn), has now shown that although counseling appointments as part of routine prenatal care can encourage a healthier lifestyle, they do not reduce weight gain.

Smartphones: Are they just a pain in the neck?

A large majority of the world's 3.4 billion smartphone users are putting their necks at risk every time they send a text, according to new research involving the University of South Australia.

Regulation and potential drug targets of tumor-associated Tregs

According to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), there will be 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths worldwide in 2018. Cancer is a serious disease that affects people all over the world. And studies on the treatment of tumors have far-reaching significance.

Vision scientists publish findings of lipid impact in the mechanism of dry eye disease

Jianzhong Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, along with co-author Kelly Nichols, O.D., MPH, Ph.D., FAAO, dean of the School of Optometry, has published a sensitive method facilitating dry eye disease studies in the Journal of Lipid Research. JLR is the most cited lipid journal in the world and is published by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

California must build workforce to serve older adults' behavioral health needs, report says

By 2030, there will be 9 million adults over age 65 in California—up from 6 million now—according to an estimate by the state's department of finance. But a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research finds that California's public mental health workforce is poorly prepared to address their mental health needs and provide treatment for substance abuse.

USPSTF recommends risk-reducing meds for breast cancer

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends risk-reducing medications for women at high risk for breast cancer who are at low risk for adverse events, but medications are not recommended for routine use. These recommendations form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Jan. 15 by the task force.

Stem cell transplant slows progression of multiple sclerosis

(HealthDay)—For patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCST) is associated with prolonged time to disease progression compared with disease-modifying therapy (DMT), according to a study published in the Jan. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Possible link found between exposure to household chemical and heart disease and cancer

Dichlorophenols (DCPs) are chemicals known to disrupt hormone systems. DCPs can be found in a variety of consumer and industrial products, such as deodorizers, antibacterial additives and even chlorinated drinking water.

Ketone body utilization decreases when blood flow to the heart is reduced

Ketone bodies (acetoacetic acid, beta-hydroxybutyric acid) are metabolites that can be used as energy sources like glucose and fatty acids. They can be converted into acetyl-CoA, which produces energy via the Krebs cycle in mitochondria, and are typically used as an alternative energy source during starvation, fasting, or periods of high-intensity exercise. However, their utilization rate in the heart and effect on disease conditions was poorly understood.

Boosting social functioning treatments for people with autism

A new study indicates the prevalence rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have now grown to 1 in 40, a jump from the rate of 1 in 65 published just two years ago. Indeed, ASD is now the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disorder in the U.S.

Why we shouldn't all be vegan

After decades in which the number of people choosing to cut out meat from their diet has steadily increased, 2019 is set to be the year the world changes the way that it eats. Or at least, that's the ambitious aim of a major campaign under the umbrella of an organisation simply called EAT. The core message is to discourage meat and dairy, seen as part of an "over-consumption of protein" – and specifically to target consumption of beef.

Why you shouldn't follow the health regimes of these 'peak zen' people

January is a popular month for newspapers to publish health and fitness articles, and this January is no exception. The latest article to catch my eye was published in The Times and featured three health fanatics who have reached "peak zen" (whatever that is). There's Alex Beer (38), a model, Tim Gray (39), founder of a web marketing company, and Dasha Maximov (30), a freelance business consultant.

Adolescent South Africans increasingly struggle with eating disorders, unhealthy eating attitudes and body image issues

Anorexia has traditionally been seen as a disease of the privileged. Most people believed that if you have anorexia, it meant you had an obsession with designer clothes that required a whittled waist. Who would shun food, after all, when they didn't even have enough of it to eat?

Eat to live, not to shrink

There are almost eight billion people on Earth and possibly 9 billion ideas of the perfect diet but there is no scientific proof the latest fad diet will work.

Born to run: just not on cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive psychostimulant that induces complex molecular, cellular and behavioral responses. Despite various approaches and years of pre-clinical studies, effective, mechanism-based therapies to assist with cocaine misuse and dependence are still sorely lacking. Although it is well understood that elevations of the brain chemical dopamine play a critical role in cocaine's ability to produce a "high—feelings that trigger the spiral into addiction—the actions of cocaine are far more complex.

How manganese produces a parkinsonian syndrome

Using X-ray fluorescence at synchrotrons DESY and ESRF, researchers in the Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan (CNRS/Université de Bordeaux) have demonstrated the consequences of a mutation responsible for a hereditary parkinsonian syndrome: accumulated manganese in the cells appears to disturb protein transport. This work, carried out with colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin (USA), was published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience on January 16, 2018.

Fighting perinatal mood and anxiety disorders on multiple levels

Over the past several decades, it's become increasingly recognized that perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), including postpartum depression, are more than just "baby blues." They're the most common complication of childbirth in the U.S., affecting about 14 percent of women in their lifetimes and up to 50 percent in some specific populations. PMADs can lead to a variety of adverse outcomes for both mothers and their babies, including poor breastfeeding rates, poor maternal-infant bonding, lower infant immunization rates and maternal suicides that account for up to 20 percent of postpartum deaths.

Athletes should build neck strength to avoid concussions, researchers recommend

Rutgers researchers have proposed a solution for athletes at higher risk for sports-related concussions, such as football and soccer: Protect your head with neck-strengthening exercises in the pre-season.

New yeast model of metabolic disorders may lead to life-saving therapies

There are hundreds of metabolic disorders—including phenylketonuria, tyrosinemia, maple syrup urine disease and homocystinuria. These disorders lead to congenital diseases that produce a critical enzyme deficiency that interferes with the body's metabolism. The pathologies and symptoms vary among the diseases, but all of them are usually fatal and have no known cure. Most metabolic disorders affect infants.

Research reveals mechanism for leukaemia cell growth, prompting new treatment hopes

A mechanism which drives leukaemia cell growth has been discovered by researchers at the University of Sussex, who believe their findings could help to inform new strategies when it comes to treating the cancer.

Common gene disorder causes serious 'stealth' disease, but could be easily treated

The western world's most common genetic disorder is a "stealth condition" that causes far higher levels of serious disease and disability than previously thought, despite being easy to detect and treat.

Acupressure relieves long-term symptoms of breast cancer treatment, study finds

A new study finds acupressure could be a low-cost, at-home solution to a suite of persistent side effects that linger after breast cancer treatment ends.

How bad will my postpartum depression be in 12 months?

A new Northwestern Medicine study was able to successfully predict if a new mother would experience worsening depressive symptoms over the first year after giving birth by identifying four maternal characteristics that put her at risk.

Less than half of US youth discuss sensitive topics with their doctors

Fewer than half of young people in the United States are having discussions of sensitive topics with their regular healthcare providers, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. This new research led by researchers at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health suggests that modifying healthcare delivery practices may improve discussions between youth and their healthcare providers. Youth-provider discussions are important opportunities to promote health for young people.

Breast cancer up to five times more likely to metastasize even 10 years after childbirth

A study by researchers at University of Colorado Cancer Center and Oregon Health & Science University published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network shows that breast cancers diagnosed in young women within 10 years of giving birth are more likely to metastasize, and thus more likely to cause death, than breast cancers in young women who gave birth less recently or not at all.

The best Rx for teens addicted to vaping? No one knows

The nation's top health authorities agree: Teen vaping is an epidemic that now affects some 3.6 million underage users of Juul and other e-cigarettes. But no one seems to know the best way to help teenagers who may be addicted to nicotine.

CHOP surgeons find opioids often overprescribed for elbow fractures in children

Opioid drugs prescribed to children for pain relief after a typical pediatric orthopaedic procedure may be significantly overprescribed, according to a new study by researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The patients used less than 25 percent of the drugs, suggesting a potential risk of opioid diversion.

Democratic governors have bold ideas to transform health care: Harvard researchers

Republican and Democratic governors have strikingly different visions for the future of health care, according to a new analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health. While Republican leaders favor maintaining or shrinking public health insurance programs, Democratic leaders are advancing several new proposals to expand public coverage, including "public option" and single-payer health reforms.

Unintended side effects: Antibiotic disruption of the gut microbiome dysregulates skeletal health

Microbes are often seen as pathogens that cause disease and antibiotics have been used successfully to combat these foreign invaders. In reality, the picture is more complex. Most of the time we live in harmony with our commensal gut microbiota, which is the collection of microorganisms colonizing the healthy gut. Commensal bacteria regulate host biological functions, including skeletal health. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) studying osteoimmunology, the interface of the skeletal and immune systems, have examined the impact of disrupting the healthy gut microbiome with antibiotics on post-pubertal skeletal development. Their results, published online on the January 16, 2019 in the American Journal of Pathology, showed that antibiotic disruption of the gut microbiota induced a pro-inflammatory response that led to increased activity of osteoclasts.

Strike up the band for better grades

(HealthDay)—Not every budding musician will become a rock star, but studying music has brain bonuses for kids, even those who don't take up an instrument until their teen years.

How getting a flu shot could save your life

(HealthDay)—It's not too late to get your flu shot, which can protect you in ways that may surprise you.

Infection as a baby led to heart valve surgery for teen

In middle school, Prince Pratt used to get short of breath walking between classes, walking up the stairs or when exercising. And he was gaining weight.

Dermatologists cut back on antibiotics but still prescribe the most

(HealthDay)—U.S. dermatologists are prescribing fewer antibiotics overall but are writing more short-term orders for the drugs, a new study finds.

Accidental IV dislodgement reported to be very common

(HealthDay)—Clinicians perceive accidental dislodgement of intravenous (IV) devices to be a common occurrence, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access.

Study: Despite progress, gay fathers and their children still structurally stigmatized

A study published in the February 2019 "Pediatrics" journal suggests the majority of gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma with potentially harmful physical and psychological effects, despite legal, media and social advances. Study participants specifically cited structural stigma, such as state laws and beliefs of religious communities, as affecting their experiences in multiple social contexts.

Survey questions cancer doctors' awareness of LGBTQ issues

Most oncologists say they don't know enough about how to treat patients with differences in sexual orientation or identity, but most are also interested in learning more, a new study finds.

Researchers discover new immune response regulators

The research groups of Academy Professor Riitta Lahesmaa and Research Director Laura Elo from Turku Centre for Biotechnology have discovered new proteins that regulate T cells in the human immune system. Some of these proteins are possible targets for drug development in treating immune-mediated diseases. The discovery was published in the new iScience journal.

Developing a better, faster diagnostic for cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis is the leading cause of waterborne diseases among humans in the United States, infecting almost 750,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Globally in 2010, nearly 100,000 cases were fatal.

Prosecutor: Drug maker pushed OxyContin despite danger signs

A member of the family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma told people at the prescription opioid painkiller's launch party in the 1990s that it would be "followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition," according to court documents filed Tuesday.

FDA to resume inspections of riskier foods

(HealthDay)—Routine inspections of riskier foods will resume as early as today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

AGA releases guide to care for women with IBD throughout family planning

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) announced "Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Pregnancy Clinical Care Pathway—A Report from the American Gastroenterological Association IBD Parenthood Project Working Group" published online today ahead of print. The new pathway creates a standardized work flow among health care providers (HCPs) who treat women with IBD throughout all stages of family planning. AGA developed the pathway in partnership with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and patient support network, Girls With Guts.

MTN researchers begin safety study of a 90-day vaginal ring containing tenofovir

A vaginal ring designed to protect women against both HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is being tested in a new study that aims to determine whether its use for three months is safe. The Phase I study, known as MTN-038, is being conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health-funded Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) at three U.S. trial sites.

First international consensus on fibromuscular dysplasia

The "First international consensus on the diagnosis and management of fibromuscular dysplasia" (FMD) has been published online first today in Vascular Medicine and the Journal of Hypertension. The consensus document was written by a committee of international experts in the field commissioned by the Society for Vascular Medicine (SVM) and the Working Group "Hypertension and the Kidney" of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH). The writing committee was co-chaired by Dr. Heather Gornik (Cleveland, OH, USA) of SVM and Dr. Alexandre Persu (Brussels, Belgium) of ESH and includes leading clinical experts and researchers in the field of FMD.

Need hospital care or tests? Some ways to get cost estimates

Want to know how much your hospital is going to charge for that knee surgery?

Biology news

How stem cells self-organize in the developing embryo

Embryonic development is a process of profound physical transformation, one that has challenged researchers for centuries. How do genes and molecules control forces and tissue stiffness to orchestrate the emergence of form in the developing embryo? How are the precise mechanics underlying emergence of the complexity of our organs and tissues encoded in our DNA?

Poisons or medicines? Cyanobacteria toxins protect tiny lake dwellers from parasites

The cyanobacteria blooms that plague western Lake Erie each summer are both an unsightly nuisance and a potential public health hazard, producing liver toxins that can be harmful to humans and their pets.

'Junk' science? For some crabs at least, size does matter

Size does matter, at least when it comes to some hermit crabs, who appear to have evolved longer penises so they can stay in their shells to protect their homes during sex.

'Zebra' tribal bodypaint cuts fly bites 10-fold: study

Traditional white-striped bodypainting practiced by indigenous communities mimics zebra stripes to reduce the number of potentially harmful horsefly bites a person receives by up to 10-fold, according to new research published Wednesday.

Marine mammals and sea turtles recovering after Endangered Species Act protection

More than three-quarters of marine mammal and sea turtle populations have significantly increased after listing of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), according to a study published January 16 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Abel Valdivia of the Center for Biological Diversity in California, and colleagues. The findings suggest that conservation measures such as tailored species management and fishery regulations, in addition to other national and international measures, appear to have been largely successful in promoting species recovery, leading to the delisting of some species and to increases in most populations.

Gut bacteria make key amino acids dispensable, expanding food options for invasive flies

Fruit flies fed antibiotics to supress their gut microbiome are forced to avoid the best food patches if they lack vital amino acids, according to a study by Boaz Yuval from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel and Chang-Ying Nui from Huazhong Agricultural University in China, publishing January 16, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Ozaena ground beetles likely parasitize ants throughout their life cycle

Ozaena ground beetles likely have anatomical adaptations enabling them to parasitize ant nests throughout their life cycle, according to a study published January 16, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wendy Moore from the University of Arizona, USA, and colleagues.

Study shows no long-term removal of Neandertal DNA from Europeans

A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has found evidence that suggests there has been no long-term removal of Neandertal DNA from modern Europeans. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes using whole-genome simulations to trace the history of Neandertal DNA in the human genome and what they found.

Researchers set standards for models in biodiversity assessments

Over the past 20 years, more than 6000 studies have used one of the most common classes of biodiversity modeling, species distribution models (SDMs). Over half of the studies using SDMs sought to apply their results to at least one type of biodiversity assessment, including forecasting the effects of climate change on biodiversity, or selecting places for protected areas, habitat restoration, and/or species translocation.

Proteins use a lock and key system to bind to DNA

You can think of DNA as a string of letters—As, Cs, Ts, and Gs—that together spell out the information needed for the construction and function of cells. Each cell in your body shares the same DNA. So, for cells to take on their differing roles, they must be able to turn on and off specific genes with precise control. The genes active in a brain cell, for instance, are different than those active in a skin cell.

60 percent of coffee varieties face 'extinction risk'

Three in five species of wild coffee are at risk of extinction as a deadly mix of climate change, disease and deforestation puts the future of the world's favourite beverage in jeopardy, new research warned Wednesday.

Romeo and Juliet: the last hopes to save Bolivian aquatic frog

Almost a year after conservationists sent out a plea to help save a species of Bolivian aquatic frog by finding a mate for the last remaining member, Romeo, his very own Juliet has been tracked down deep inside a cloud forest.

Velcro for human cells

The ability of cells to adhere to each other and to their environment is the basis for multicellular life. Adhesion occurs via diverse receptors at the surface of cells that bind to specific ligands in their surroundings. Despite the importance of these adhesion receptors, there is a paucity of tools available for precisely controlling their interactions with the environment. To address this limitation, an interdisciplinary team of scientists from the Freiburg Signalling Research Excellence Clusters BIOSS and CIBSS have engineered an adhesion receptor and a complementary synthetic extracellular environment that can be activated by light. This system can be adapted to render other receptor–ligand interactions amenable to precise manipulation with light. The scientists have published their new optogenetic system in Communications Biology.

How Candida albicans exploits lack of oxygen to cause disease

Scientists from Umeå university have shown that the yeast Candida albicans can modulate and adapt to low oxygen levels in different body niches to cause infection and to harm the host. Studying adaption to hypoxic or anoxic niches is particularly fruitful for characterizing the pathogenicity of C. albicans toward the development of better therapeutic approaches. Details about the study are published in the journal MBio, a publication of the American Society of Microbiology.

Research advancing biological control of invasive plant species

Academics from Royal Holloway, University of London in collaboration with The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience (CABI) and the University of Reading are the first in Europe to study the ecological effects of a rust fungus on the invasive plant species, Himalayan Balsam, in the field.

Tanzania forest to be protected as a result of major scientific discoveries

The United Republic of Tanzania has announced it will protect a globally unique forest ecosystem in East Africa, following research that demonstrated it is under threat from illegal activities including tree-cutting for charcoal and the poaching of elephants and other animals.

Ocean giant gets a health check: Combination blood, tissue test reveals whale shark diets

Whale sharks, the world's largest fish, likely endure periods of starvation and may eat more plants than previously thought, according to the first results of a new health check developed at the University of Tokyo. Ocean scientists now have a powerful, simple tool to discover the diets, migrations, and conservation needs of this endangered species.

Mathematical model can improve our knowledge on cancer

Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, have developed a new mathematical tool to characterize what happens when cells lose their polarity (direction) in diseases such as cancer. The result is advancing the understanding of how the fertilized egg cell develops into a complete organism.

What's in a species? Biologist helps determine wolf taxonomy

It's right there in the name: The Endangered Species Act is meant to protect endangered species of animals.

Map of chemicals in jellyfish could be the future to protecting UK waters and marine life

Scientists at the University of Southampton have developed maps of chemicals found in jellyfish which could offer a new tool for conservation in British waters and fisheries. The maps will also be able to detect fraudulently labelled food in retail outlets by helping to trace the origins of seafood.

Urbanization may hold key to tiger survival

A new WCS-led study published in the journal Biological Conservation says the future of tigers in Asia is linked the path of demographic transition—for humans. The study marks the first-of-its-kind analysis that overlays human population scenarios with the fate of these endangered big cats.

New leash on life? Staying slim keeps pooches happy, healthy

Carrying extra pounds isn't just bad for humans: New research indicates dogs' lives may be significantly shorter if they're overweight.


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