Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jan 9

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 9, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Distilled 3-D (D3D) networks for video action recognition

Optoacoustic microscopy at multiple discrete frequencies

Drug sponge could minimize side effects of cancer treatment

Astronomers discover first direct evidence of white dwarf stars solidifying into crystals

Genes on the move help nose make sense of scents

Astronomers observe evolution of a black hole as it wolfs down stellar material

First evidence of gigantic remains from star explosions

Astronomers investigate open cluster NGC 6530

Study shows younger children and chimps less likely to make irrational decisions when social comparison is in play

New Caledonian crows found able to infer weight of an object by watching how it behaves in the wind

The lonely giant: Milky Way-sized galaxy lacking galactic neighbors

How trees and turnips grow fatter

X-ray pulse detected near event horizon as black hole devours star

Bee mite arrival in Hawaii causes pathogen changes in honeybee predators

Research explains public resistance to vaccination

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers discover first direct evidence of white dwarf stars solidifying into crystals

The first direct evidence of white dwarf stars solidifying into crystals has been discovered by astronomers at the University of Warwick, and our skies are filled with them.

Astronomers observe evolution of a black hole as it wolfs down stellar material

On March 11, an instrument aboard the International Space Station detected an enormous explosion of X-ray light that grew to be six times as bright as the Crab Nebula, nearly 10,000 light years away from Earth. Scientists determined the source was a black hole caught in the midst of an outburst—an extreme phase in which a black hole can spew brilliant bursts of X-ray energy as it devours an avalanche of gas and dust from a nearby star.

First evidence of gigantic remains from star explosions

Astrophysicists have found the first ever evidence of gigantic remains being formed from repeated explosions on the surface of a dead star in the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years from Earth. The remains or "super-remnant" measures almost 400 light years across. For comparison, it takes just 8 minutes for light from the Sun to reach us.

Astronomers investigate open cluster NGC 6530

Italian astronomers have investigated the young open cluster NGC 6530 by conducting a statistical study of its global properties. The research, which provides important insights on the cluster membership, was presented in a paper published December 29 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

The lonely giant: Milky Way-sized galaxy lacking galactic neighbors

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, fewer galaxies were born than expected—and that could create new questions for galaxy physics, according to a new University of Michigan study.

X-ray pulse detected near event horizon as black hole devours star

On Nov. 22, 2014, astronomers spotted a rare event in the night sky: A supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy, nearly 300 million light years from Earth, ripping apart a passing star. The event, known as a tidal disruption flare, for the black hole's massive tidal pull that tears a star apart, created a burst of X-ray activity near the center of the galaxy. Since then, a host of observatories have trained their sights on the event, in hopes of learning more about how black holes feed.

Canada's CHIME telescope detects second repeating fast radio burst

A Canadian-led team of scientists has found the second repeating fast radio burst (FRB) ever recorded. FRBs are short bursts of radio waves coming from far outside our Milky Way galaxy. Scientists believe FRBs emanate from powerful astrophysical phenomena billions of light years away.

Magellanic Clouds prove it's never too late to get active

Wondering about that New Year's Resolution to get more exercise?

Citizen scientists find new world with NASA telescope

Using data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, citizen scientists have discovered a planet roughly twice the size of Earth located within its star's habitable zone, the range of orbital distances where liquid water may exist on the planet's surface. The new world, known as K2-288Bb, could be rocky or could be a gas-rich planet similar to Neptune. Its size is rare among exoplanets—planets beyond our solar system.

Astronomers develop new tool to find merging galaxies

Today, at the 233rd AAS meeting in Seattle, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) announce that they have developed a new tool to find otherwise-hidden galaxy mergers in data from the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) survey of SDSS. These results show that by going beyond simple searches for merging galaxies based just on how they look, astronomers will now be able find more galaxy mergers than ever before.

Hubble Space Telescope's premier camera shuts down

The Hubble Space Telescope's premier camera has shut down because of a hardware problem.

Cosmic telescope zooms in on the beginning of time

Observations from Gemini Observatory identify a key fingerprint of an extremely distant quasar, allowing astronomers to sample light emitted from the dawn of time. Astronomers happened upon this deep glimpse into space and time thanks to an unremarkable foreground galaxy acting as a gravitational lens, which magnified the quasar's ancient light. The Gemini observations provide critical pieces of the puzzle in confirming this object as the brightest appearing quasar so early in the history of the Universe, raising hopes that more sources like this will be found.

Rotating black holes may serve as gentle portals for hyperspace travel

One of the most cherished science fiction scenarios is using a black hole as a portal to another dimension or time or universe. That fantasy may be closer to reality than previously imagined.

Dark Energy Survey completes six-year mission

After scanning in depth about a quarter of the southern skies for six years and cataloguing hundreds of millions of distant galaxies, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) will finish taking data tomorrow, on Jan. 9.

Student simulates thousands of black holes

Lia Medeiros, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona, is developing mathematical models that will allow researchers to pit Einstein's Theory of General Relativity against the most powerful monsters of nature: supermassive black holes such as Sgr A*, which lurks at the center of the Milky Way.

Scientists orchestrate a symphony of the stars

A new stellar library has been created by UK and US scientists to, for the first time, give us a window of understanding on to our and other galaxies.

China's Yutu-2 rover is on the move on the far side of the moon

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) accomplished a historic feat last week (Thurs. Jan. 3rd) by landing a robotic mission on the "dark side" of the moon. Known as the Chang'e-4 mission, this lander-rover combination will explore the moon's South Pole-Aitken Basin as part of China's ongoing effort to conduct lunar exploration.

Still no word from Opportunity

Could this be the end of the Opportunity rover? There's been no signal from the rover since last summer, when a massive global dust storm descended on it. But even though the craft has been silent and unreachable for six-and-a-half months, NASA hasn't given up.

Technology news

Distilled 3-D (D3D) networks for video action recognition

A team of researchers at Google, the University of Michigan and Princeton University have recently developed a new method for video action recognition. Video action recognition entails identifying particular actions performed in video footage, such as opening a door, closing a door, etc.

A happy blue year for quantum computers: IBM unveils Q System One

At CES 2019, the Tuesday keynote by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, walked attendees through the IBM lens of core areas of computing: and one of the four was quantum computing—which comes as no surprise for those who have been following IBM's aggressive role in taking it out of the labs and into the hands of those wishing to explore it more.

Robots of the future: more R2D2 than C3PO

Researchers from Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, have offered a bold glimpse into what the robots of the future could look like. And it's nothing like C3PO, or a T-800 Terminator.

Model predicts lithium-ion batteries most competitive for storage applications by 2030

When leasing or buying a car, it's important to consider not just the sticker price, but the long-term recurring costs, such as gas and maintenance. Deciding how we're going to invest in clean energy storage requires a similar analysis, say researchers at Imperial College London. They developed a model to determine the lifetime costs of 9 electricity storage technologies for 12 different applications between 2015 and 2050. The model, which predicts lithium-ion batteries to be the cheapest technology in the coming decades, appears January 9 in the journal Joule, and is available open access (http://www.EnergyStorage.ninja).

Breaking barriers in solar energy

Stop for a moment and imagine an efficient highway system. No need to jockey for position, no choke-point merging from three lanes into one, no long idles at ill-timed traffic lights, no rolling roadblocks as the motorist ahead of you prepares for a turn that is still five miles away. Regardless of the number of cars, you would know what smooth sailing looks and feels like.

Nissan unveils new Leaf car after Ghosn's arrest delays it

Nissan is showing the beefed up version of its hit Leaf electric car as the Japanese automaker seeks to distance itself from the arrest of its star executive Carlos Ghosn.

We're techy, too! Deere, Tide maker head to CES gadget show

The companies founded by blacksmith John Deere and candle-and-soap-making duo Procter & Gamble may not be the hip purveyors of new technology they were in 1837.

For auto tech at CES, 'user experience' becomes the key

Technology firms tackling the challenge of autonomous driving are focusing on the "user experience" of vehicles that are increasingly becoming an extension of people's digital life.

Facebook CEO plans 2019 forums on tech's role in society

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his personal goal for 2019 on Tuesday: convening a series of public forums on how technology can better serve society.

Apple's Tim Cook got big pay bump in 2018: filing

Apple gave its chief executive Tim Cook a hefty 22 percent pay raise in 2018, bringing his total compensation for the year to almost $15.7 million according to a filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

US startup eyes next generation of burgers with relish

Can a "high-tech" burger help save the planet?

High-tech border wall plan on display at CES

The same technology used in self-driving cars is being touted as a potential high-tech solution to the US border wall conundrum—with some added benefits.

Researcher creates 'minimal chair' that can ship flat, take seconds to assemble with no tools

A Purdue University researcher has designed what he calls a "minimal chair" that can be shipped in a thin flat box, taking only seconds to assemble without tools, as part of an effort to create furniture design processes that could significantly change lean manufacturing across the world.

Autonomous robot that interacts with humans using natural language and vision processing

Purdue University researchers in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering are developing integrative language and vision software that may enable an autonomous robot to interact with people in different environments and accomplish navigational goals.

Twitter sentiment

Sentiment analysis is an increasingly important part of data mining, especially in the age of social media and social networking where there is endless opinion and commentary that could be of use to a wide range of stakeholders in commerce, other businesses, and even politics.

How to take better photos with your smartphone, thanks to computational photography

Each time you snap a photo with your smartphone – depending on the make and model – it may perform more than a trillion operations for just that single image.

Power cut: Engineers create a wireless charger you can easily cut to shape

Researchers from the University of Tokyo developed a new system to charge electronic devices such as smartphones and smartwatches wirelessly. The method involves a cuttable, flexible power transfer sheet which charges devices wirelessly and can be molded or even cut with scissors to fit different-shaped surfaces and objects.

Guiding the way to a more sustainable energy future

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released an alarming report this October about what it would take to cap rising global temperatures at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Hitting this target has motivated countries to start developing and executing plans for decarbonization of their power generation and energy matrix, as well as other options, such as removing CO2 out of the atmosphere itself.

Remember virtual reality? Its buzz has faded at CES 2019

Just a few years ago, virtual reality was poised to take over the world. After decades of near misses, the revolution finally seemed imminent, with slick consumer headsets about to hit the market and industries from gaming and entertainment to social media ready to hop on the bandwagon.

Tesla sued over 2018 fatal crash

Tesla was sued Tuesday by the family of a passenger killed in a 2018 crash which they allege was due to a defective car battery, attorneys said.

Sex toys all the buzz at Vegas tech show

From the printing press and the VCR to virtual reality sex, adult entertainment has always been a major catalyst driving innovation and reshaping technology for the benefit of the porn pioneer.

German airports brace for Thursday strike

Thousands of passengers in Germany face disruption on Thursday following a strike call by security staff at three major airports, the powerful Verdi union said.

Japan court rejects Ghosn release bid

A Japanese court on Wednesday rejected a bid by former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to end his detention over alleged financial misconduct, a day after he denied all accusations in a dramatic court appearance.

Kosher high-tech office lures Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox

The office in central Jerusalem at first glance resembles many other start-ups—until you notice the religious books and entrepreneurs in traditional black suits.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and wife divorcing after 25 years

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are divorcing, ending a 25-year marriage that played a role in the creation of an e-commerce company that made Bezos one of the world's wealthiest people.

Trump campaign firm pleads guilty in Facebook data case

A UK consultancy working on Donald Trump's US election campaign pleaded guilty and was fined by a London court Wednesday over its refusal to release personal data it secretly hoovered off Facebook.

New York's iconic Chrysler Building up for sale

The Chrysler Building, one of the most iconic structures in New York, has been put up for sale by its owners, Emirati investment firm Mubadala and real estate group Tishman Speyer.

Medicine & Health news

Researchers overcome hurdle in CRISPR gene editing for muscular dystrophy

The gene editing technique known as CRISPR is a revolutionary approach to treating inherited diseases. However, the tool has yet to be used to effectively treat long-term, chronic conditions. A research team led by Dongsheng Duan, Ph.D., at the University of Missouri School of Medicine has identified and overcome a barrier in CRISPR gene editing that may lay the foundation for sustained treatments using the technique.

Study shows how specific gene variants may raise bipolar disorder risk

A new study by researchers at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT finds that the protein CPG2 is significantly less abundant in the brains of people with bipolar disorder (BD) and shows how specific mutations in the SYNE1 gene that encodes the protein undermine its expression and its function in neurons.

Scientists design protein that prods cancer-fighting T-cells

Scientists at UW Medicine's Institute for Protein Design (IPD) in Seattle have created a new protein that mimics the action of a key immune regulatory protein, interleukin 2 (IL-2).  IL-2 is a potent anticancer drug and an effective treatment for autoimmune disease, but its toxic side effects have limited its clinical usefulness.

Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer's disease

Poor sleep is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. People with the disease tend to wake up tired, and their nights become even less refreshing as memory loss and other symptoms worsen. But how and why restless nights are linked to Alzheimer's disease is not fully understood.

First smartphone app to detect opioid overdose and its precursors

At least 115 people die every day in the U.S. after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Women who start periods early are at greater risk of cardiovascular problems

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have conducted a study that has found young women who start having periods early and often have a high body mass index are more prone to cardiovascular problems later in life such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Schizophrenia linked with abnormal immune response to Epstein-Barr virus

New research from Johns Hopkins Medicine and Sheppard Pratt Health System shows that people in the study with schizophrenia also have higher levels of antibodies against the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a herpes virus that causes infectious mononucleosis, so-called mono.

Metabolite produced by gut microbiota from pomegranates reduces inflammatory bowel disease

Scientists at the University of Louisville have shown that a microbial metabolite, Urolithin A, derived from a compound found in berries and pomegranates, can reduce and protect against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Millions of people worldwide suffer from IBD in the form of either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, and few effective long-term treatments are available.

Study reveals how soda industry influence helped shape obesity policy in China

A complex network of research funding, institutional ties and personal influence has allowed the Coca-Cola Company, through its connections with a nonprofit group, to exert substantial influence over obesity science and policy solutions in China, and as a result government policy aligns with the company's corporate interests, a Harvard study has found.

Study overturns dogma of cancer metabolism theory

Scientists at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have discovered that squamous cell skin cancers do not require increased glucose to power their development and growth, contrary to a long-held belief about cancer metabolism.

Cut to the chase: Can sex help start a relationship?

A budding relationship or just a one-night stand? The difference may not be immediately obvious, least of all to those directly involved. However, sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners, a new study finds.

New York announces $100 million universal health care plan

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday the city would spend $100 million to guarantee health care to all its residents regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay, bringing coverage to 600,000 uninsured people.

Lack of standard dosage for blood thinners can lead to bleeding during bariatric surgery

Rutgers researchers have found a way to reduce bleeding in patients following bariatric surgery.

Tiny digital 'tags' improve eye care by tracking every step

Technology that retailers use to make a shopping experience more efficient could also benefit your next eye appointment.

Widely used physical health drugs may help treat serious mental illness

Medications commonly used to combat physical health diseases, such as high blood pressure, could bring significant benefits to people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or non-affective psychoses, according to a large cohort study led by UCL.

Excessive body fat around the middle linked to smaller brain size

Carrying extra body fat, especially around the middle, may be linked to brain shrinkage, according to a study published in the January 9, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. For the study, researchers determined obesity by measuring body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio in study participants and found those with higher ratios of both measures had the lowest brain volume.

Step into the new year with the right shoes

If the shoe fits, you're on the right track to achieving your resolution for a healthier 2019, according to a podiatrist at Baylor College of Medicine. He offers tips for picking the right shoe no matter what your physical activity resolution may be.

Study defines new artificial intelligence standard in healthcare

FDNA, a leader in artificial intelligence and precision medicine, in collaboration with a team of influential scientists and researchers published a milestone study on the use of facial analysis in detecting genetic disorders. The findings in this paper suggest that this type of technology adds significant value in personalized care and will become a standard among deep learning based genomic tools.

The effects of video game-based exercise in preschool-aged children

The prevalence of childhood obesity has more than doubled (6.5 percent to 16.9 percent) in the United States over the past three decades, partially due to low physical activity. Today, few school settings offer opportunities for preschool children to engage in structured physical activity, let alone structured physical activity in the form of exergaming—active video games that are also a form of exercise.

Child abuse linked to risk of suicide in later life

Children who experience physical, sexual, and emotional abuse or neglect are at least two to three times more likely to attempt suicide in later life, according to the largest research review carried out of the topic.

Could a less sedentary lifestyle help to beat osteoporosis?

The effects on osteoporosis of prolonged periods of sitting – and the potential impact of less sedentary behaviour – are being explored in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

Maternal stress leads to overweight in children

Overweight is unhealthy. Yet more and more people in Germany are overweight, particularly children. As part of the LiNA mother-child study coordinated by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), researchers were able to identify mother's perceived stress during the first year of the child's life as a risk factor for developing overweight in infancy. According to the study recently published in the BMC Public Health specialist magazine, researchers from the UFZ, the University of Bristol and the Berlin Institute of Health found this to have long-lasting effects on girls' weight development in particular.

Exposure to cannabis and stress in adolescence can lead to anxiety disorders in adulthood

A new study conducted on laboratory animals shows that exposure to cannabis and stress during adolescence may lead to long-term anxiety disorders characterized by the presence of pathological fear. The work carried out by the Neuropharmacology Laboratory-NeuroPhar at Pompeu Fabra University, was led by the researchers Fernando Berrendero, now at Francisco de Vitoria University, and Rafael Maldonado, and has been published in the journal Neuropharmacology.

Insomnia has many faces

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience revealed that there are five types of insomnia. This finding was published on Monday January 7 by The Lancet Psychiatry. A commentary in the journal stated that the finding could be a new page in the history of insomnia, promoting discoveries on mechanisms and interventions.

How herpesviruses shape the immune system

Cytomegalovirus is widespread and remains in the body for a lifetime after infection. In healthy individuals, this virus is usually kept in check, but can become dangerous when the immune system is weakened or during pregnancy. DZIF scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed an analytic method that can very precisely detect viral infections using immune responses. This method could help identify gaps in protection early on, and make transplants safer in future.

Ways to eat well without breaking the bank

(HealthDay)—Is your budget at odds with your desire to eat healthy? Seafood, lean cuts of meat and fresh produce can be pricey, but there are many foods that let you stretch your shopping dollars.

Women with CVD have worse self-reported outcomes

(HealthDay)—Compared with men, women with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) are more likely to report poorer patient experience, lower health-related quality of life, and poorer perception of their health, according to a study recently published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Reading with preschool children boosts language by eight months

Parents and carers who regularly read with small children are giving them a language advantage of eight months, a study shows.

Strict ordinances tied to lower youth tobacco use

(HealthDay)—Strict local tobacco retail licensing (TRL) regulation may lower rates of cigarette and electronic cigarette use among youth and young adults, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in Pediatrics.

USPSTF affirms guidance for hep B screening at first prenatal visit

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection screening in pregnant women at their first prenatal visit. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Jan. 8 by the task force.

Genomic analysis is important even for ultra-hypermutated tumors prior to immune therapy

New research from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) underscores the importance of genomic analysis of rare malignant tumors that are genetically unstable and have high numbers of gene mutations.

Research finds toilet stool may solve common bowel issues

Most people aren't eager to talk about how to improve bowel movements, but researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found the solution to common bowel issues may be as simple as boosting your feet on a stool.

Toxicity from all-grade AEs in prostate CA better reflects QOL

(HealthDay)—In prostate cancer, patient- and clinician-based cumulative toxicity scores comprising all-grade adverse events (AEs) better reflect the impact on patient quality of life (QoL) than scores comprising high-grade AEs only, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Take a stand against too much sitting at work

(HealthDay)—We know that the amount of sitting Americans do is now considered a health threat. Researchers estimate that the average adult spends more than 8 hours a day being sedentary, and it's not just all that time spent in front of the TV.

Are workers who sing together happier employees?

(HealthDay)—It's a novel idea, but joining a choir at work might lower your stress levels while on the job, a new British study suggests.

Friends' vaping could pose danger to kids with asthma

(HealthDay)—Add another danger that e-cigarettes pose to teenagers: A new study finds secondhand exposure to vaping may raise the chances of asthma attacks in adolescents with the respiratory condition.

Fruit- derived rutin combats the effects of jararaca viper venom

Rutin, a bioflavonoid (plant pigment) found in certain vegetables and fruits, protects mice against snake venom by minimizing bleeding and inflammation, according to a study performed at the Butantan Institute, a research institution belonging to the government of São Paulo State in Brazil.

Exploring the social epidemiology of the microbiome

The microbiome is emerging as a factor for many diseases for which there are known health disparities, pointing to the opportunity for investigation of this new area of biology in social and population health research. While recent research establishes the importance of the microbiome for human health, data on how the social environment shapes the microbiome is limited.

You're probably brushing your teeth wrong – here are four tips for better dental health

We all know the advice for healthy teeth – brush twice daily and don't eat too much sugar. So why do those of us following these instructions find we sometimes need a filling when we visit the dentist? The truth is, there's a little more to preventing tooth decay than these guidelines suggest. Here's what you need to know.

Women's reproductive lives are being interfered with on a large scale – new study

Reproductive coercive control is where a woman's decisions about contraception and pregnancy are interfered with. The concept was first described in 2010. We wanted to update the evidence to 2017 and widen the range of control activities to include family pressure and criminal behaviour, such as sex trafficking. We found that up to one in four women at sexual health clinics report coercion over their reproductive lives.

Let's untangle the murky politics around kids and food (and ditch the guilt)

Naturally, parents want the best for their children. While they shouldn't chastise themselves for offering the occasional treat, what used to be an "occasional" treat is becoming something that's "every day," or "several times a day."

While law makers squabble over pill testing, people should test their drugs at home

As the festival season ramps up this summer, so has the ecstasy death toll. There have now been five deaths that might have been preventable if people knew what was in the drugs they were taking.

How 'weight bias' is harming us all

People who live in large bodies find themselves the target of fat-phobic and body shaming messages on a daily basis.

Mechanism for impaired allergic inflammation in infants may explain hygiene hypothesis

The hygiene hypothesis may explain why asthma and other allergic airway diseases have dramatically increased over the past decades in industrialized countries. The hypothesis suggests that decreased exposure to microbial products in our cleaner homes and environments—due to improved sanitation or no longer growing up on farms—is the main driver of increased allergic airway disease.

Let's map our DNA and save billions each year in health costs

A UniSA scientist has called for Australia to embrace pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing to deliver medication more effectively and slash around $2.4 billion wasted each year through unsafe and ineffective drug prescriptions.

Fighting another virus? Blame your parents

Genetics may play a bigger role in the body's disease-fighting ability than scientists previously thought, according to the results from a new study of twins in Queensland, Australia.

About half of US adolescents report having private time with healthcare providers

Only about half of young people 13 to 26 years old in the United States report ever having time with their regular healthcare provider without a parent or someone else in the room, despite professional guidelines that recommend adolescents and young adults have access to confidential services and time for private discussions, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

BRCA Exchange aggregates data on thousands of BRCA variants to understand cancer risk

A global resource that includes data on thousands of inherited variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is available to the public. The BRCA Exchange was created through the BRCA Challenge, a long-term demonstration project initiated by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) to enhance sharing of BRCA1 and BRCA2 data. The resource, available through a website and a new smartphone app, allows clinicians to review expert classifications of variants in these major cancer predisposition genes as part of their individual assessment of complex questions related to cancer prevention, screening, and intervention for high-risk patients.

Study finds link between voter preference for Trump and bullying in middle schools

Bullying rates among middle school students in the spring of 2017 were 18 percent higher in localities where voters had favored Donald Trump than in those that had supported Hillary Clinton, according to a study published online today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association. Similarly, student reports of peers being teased or put down because of their race or ethnicity were 9 percent higher in localities favoring the Republican candidate.

Parental CPTSD increases transmission of trauma to offspring of Tutsi genocide survivors

Nearly 25 years after the genocide against the Tutsi of Rwanda took the lives of up to one million victims, the offspring of Tutsi survivors, who weren't even born at the time, are among those most affected by trauma, according to a new study published by researchers at Bar-Ilan University, in collaboration with a Rwandan therapist and genocide survivor.

Controlling children's behavior with screen time leads to more screen time, study reveals

Giving your child extra time on the iPad for good behaviour may not be the best idea according to a new University of Guelph study.

Two-thirds of stroke survivors are in exceptionally good mental health

Two-thirds of stroke survivors are in complete mental health despite the impact of their stroke, according to a large, nationally representative Canadian study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

Following Nepal's devastating 2015 earthquake, crisis in childhood malnutrition averted

Despite widespread destruction, including severe agricultural-related losses caused by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, child nutrition remained stable in the hardest hit areas, a new study finds.

New study finds worrisome statistics around medical cannabis users operating vehicles

More than half of people who take medical cannabis for chronic pain say they've driven under the influence of cannabis within two hours of using it, at least once in the last six months, according to a new study.

Stem cell study offers clues for optimizing bone marrow transplants and more

Bone marrow transplants, which involve transplanting healthy blood stem cells, offer the best treatment for many types of cancers, blood disorders and immune diseases. Even though 22,000 of these procedures are performed each year in the US, much remains to be understood about how they work.

Carrots or candy bars? Context shapes choice of healthy foods

Pop quiz: Given a choice between indulgent and healthy foods, what will most people pick? The answer may depend on what other foods sit nearby on the grocery shelf, suggests new research from Duke University.

Scientists develop universal Ebola treatment effective in single dose

There is a new medication that in one dose successfully protected nonhuman primates against a lethal infection of all strains of the deadly Ebola virus. The findings are now available in Cell Host & Microbe.

Long-duration space missions have lasting effects on spinal muscles

Astronauts who spend several months on the International Space Station have significant reductions in the size and density of paraspinal muscles of the trunk after returning to Earth, reports a study in Spine.

Drug may delay MS disability for some

An immune system drug may help prevent or slow complications in a type of multiple sclerosis known as secondary progressive MS, a new study finds.

Cancer patients may face greater risk of shingles

(HealthDay)—Newly diagnosed cancer patients may be at increased risk for the painful skin condition shingles, a new study finds.

Long work hours tied to poor glycemic control in T2DM

(HealthDay)—Long work hours (≥60 hours/week) are associated with poor glycemic control in young Japanese men with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

Nine cases of wound botulism ID'd in injection drug users

(HealthDay)—Among persons who inject drugs, nine cases of wound botulism were identified in Southern California from September 2017 to April 2018, according to research published in the Jan. 4 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Chemo-radiation combo tied to higher survival in peds Hodgkin

(HealthDay)—Combined modality treatment (CMT) is associated with improved overall survival in pediatric patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), according to a study published online Jan. 3 in JAMA Oncology.

Depression tied to worse asthma outcomes in urban teens

(HealthDay)—Depressive symptoms are prevalent among urban teens with asthma and are associated with worse outcomes, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in Academic Pediatrics.

Blood pressure may explain higher dementia risk in blacks

Older black adults with high blood pressure, and especially black men, show more severe cognitive declines than white adults who have high blood pressure, according to new research.

No increased fall risk with HTN treatment in older women

(HealthDay)—Treating high blood pressure (BP) is not associated with an increased fall risk among older women, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Misinterpretation of WHI results decreased use of hormones, even in women not at risk

Few studies have been as responsible for changing the course of treatment of menopause symptoms to the extent that the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) did. The number of women taking hormones dramatically dropped as a result of the study, leaving many women to needlessly abandon a treatment that offered symptomatic relief. That's according to a new study published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Newborns face risks when born to women with the flu

Pregnant women with influenza are more likely to experience complications, but how this affects infants is unclear. A new Birth Defects Research study uncovers the potential risks to infants.

Finger joint enlargements may be linked to knee osteoarthritis

Heberden's nodes (HNs) are bony enlargements of the finger joints that are readily detectable in a routine physical exam and are considered hallmarks of osteoarthritis. A new Arthritis & Rheumatology study found that the presence of HNs may also indicate structural damage associated with knee osteoarthritis.

Does PTSD affect heart disease and cancer risk?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as the metabolic syndrome, in a new study.

Couples intervention may help partners of patients with diabetes

A new Diabetic Medicine study reveals that couples interventions may have beneficial effects for partners of individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Investigational cream may help patients with inflammatory skin disease

A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology indicates that an investigational nonsteroidal topical cream (PAC-14028) may be effective for treating atopic dermatitis, one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases.

Cigarette smoking may contribute to worse outcomes in bladder cancer patients

In a study of patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer who had undergone radical cystectomy, cigarette smoking was linked with poor response to cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Also, current smokers in the study, published in BJU International, were at significantly higher risk of cancer recurrence compared with former and never smokers.

Certain psychiatric drugs linked with elevated pneumonia risk

A review of published studies indicates that use of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine related drugs (BZRDs), which are prescribed to treat various psychiatric diseases, may increase the risk of pneumonia.

Depression and obesity linked to greater likelihood of hip pain

In a representative sample of the German population, older age, obesity, and depressive disorder were associated with experiencing chronic hip pain.

Patient re-contact after revision of genomic test results: A new ACMG points to consider

Genomic testing is becoming increasingly common in medicine. Moreover, ongoing advances in technology and an ever-increasing understanding of what genetic variants mean can result in reinterpretation of the clinical significance of variants found in patients. This can occur when the patient's indications for the original test are unchanged or when their phentoypes or family histories require a broader reanalysis or repeat of the test.

Negative social media behaviors may be associated with depression in millennials

Certain social media factors were linked with major depressive disorder (MDD) in a Journal of Applied Biobehavioural Research study of Millennials.

Customization for patients with abdominal aneurysm based on 3-D ultrasound imaging

Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology and the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven have succeeded in non-invasively measuring the elasticity and estimating the stresses in the human abdominal aorta using 3-D ultrasound. Vascular surgeons can possibly use these metrics to better predict if and when an aneurysm, a dilation of the abdominal artery, should undergo a preventive operation to avoid a life-threatening internal hemorrhage. Unnecessary operations can also be avoided. Emiel van Disseldorp will be awarded his Ph.D. for this research on 10 January.

The case for optimism in reducing Indigenous suicide

2018 Australian of the Year (WA) Dr. Tracy Westerman talks Aboriginal mental health, suicide and positivity.

Zambian firm halts production of 'erection' energy drink

A Zambian firm said Wednesday it had suspended production of an energy drink after a consumer in Uganda complained of a prolonged erection, with tests suggesting it contained the active ingredient of Viagra.

New data emphasize importance of avoiding hypoglycemic glucose levels in type 1 diabetes

Researchers have shown that measures of biochemical hypoglycemia in fingerstick blood samples are associated with an increased risk of severe hypoglycemic events. The results of this new study, which further emphasize the dangers of hypoglycemic blood glucose levels, are published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics (DTT).

Biology news

Genes on the move help nose make sense of scents

The human nose can distinguish one trillion different scents—an extraordinary feat that requires 10 million specialized nerve cells, or neurons, in the nose, and a family of more than 400 dedicated genes. But precisely how these genes and neurons work in concert to pick out a particular scent has long puzzled scientists. This is in large part because the gene activity inside each neuron—where each of these 10 million neurons only chooses to activate one of these hundreds of dedicated genes—seemed far too simple to account for the sheer number of scents that the nose must parse.

Study shows younger children and chimps less likely to make irrational decisions when social comparison is in play

A team of researchers affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Yale University and the University of Göttingen, has found that older children are more likely to make seemingly irrational decisions when social comparison is at play. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, the group describes experiments they carried out with chimps and children of various ages and what they found.

New Caledonian crows found able to infer weight of an object by watching how it behaves in the wind

A team of researchers with members affiliated with the University of Auckland, the University of Cambridge, Bertha von Suttner University and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History has found evidence that suggests New Caledonian crows can infer the weight of an object by watching how it behaves in the wind. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes experiments they carried out with crows they captured and what they found.

How trees and turnips grow fatter

Two international research teams have identified key regulatory networks controlling how plants grow 'outwards', which could help us to grow trees to be more efficient carbon sinks and increase vegetable crop yields.

Bee mite arrival in Hawaii causes pathogen changes in honeybee predators

The reddish-brown varroa mite, a parasite of honeybees and accidentally introduced in the Big Island of Hawaii in 2007-08, is about the size of a pinhead. Yet, its effects there are concerning to entomologists because the mite is found nearly everywhere honeybees are present.

Ancient gene duplication gave grasses multiple ways to wait out winter

If you've ever grown carrots in your garden and puzzled over never once seeing them flower, don't blame your lack of a green thumb.

Giant singers from neighboring oceans share song parts over time

Singing humpback whales from different ocean basins seem to be picking up musical ideas from afar, and incorporating these new phrases and themes into the latest song, according to a newly published study in Royal Society Open Science that's helping scientists better understand how whales learn and change their musical compositions.

T. rex bite 'no match for a finch'

Tyrannosaurus rex, renowned for being one of the most fearsome creatures to have ever lived, evolved a bite that was less impressive in relation to its body size than a tiny Galapagos ground finch, scientists say.

Scientists confirm that chromosomes are formed by stacked layers

A new study based on electron microscopy techniques at low temperatures demonstrates that during mitosis, chromosome DNA is packed in stacked layers of chromatin. The research, published in EMBO Journal, confirms a surprising structure proposed by UAB researchers over a decade ago, but criticized due to the limitations of the technique used.

Evidence found of oysters syncing valve behavior with lunar cycle

A team of researchers from the University of Bordeaux and CNRS, EPOC, UMR has found evidence that suggests oysters sync their valve behavior with the lunar cycle. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes their study of oysters in the wild over three and a half lunar cycles and what they observed.

Study finds two billion birds migrate over Gulf Coast

A new study combining data from citizen scientists and weather radar stations is providing detailed insights into spring bird migration along the Gulf of Mexico and how these journeys may be affected by climate change. Findings on the timing, location, and intensity of these bird movements are published in the journal Global Change Biology.

Singapore eco-tourism plan sparks squawks of protest

Singapore is creating a vast eco-tourism zone in a bid to bring in more visitors, but environmentalists fear the development will damage natural habitats and are already blaming it for a series of animal deaths.

Scientists forecast where is the highly invasive fall armyworm to strike next

Known to be feeding on many economically important crops cultured across the world, including maize, rice, sugarcane, sorghum, beet, tomato, potato, cotton and pasture grasses, the larvae of the native to the Americas fall armyworm moth seem to have already found a successful survival strategy in a diverse and changing world.

New research is using drones to tackle climate change

A team of Nottingham scientists is using drones to survey woody climbing plants and better understand how they may affect the carbon balance of tropical rainforests.

For night vision, snakes see a clear choice

San Diego State University doctoral student Hannes Schraft wanted to learn whether rattlesnakes find their way around at night with their eyes alone, or get an assist from the same thermal-sensing abilities they use to hunt prey.

New technology serves as fish body double

Hundreds of surrogate "fish" will be put to work at dams around the world through an agreement between ATS—Advanced Telemetry Systems—and the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to improve operations and increase sustainability.

Study pinpoints how Salmonella sneaks into plant roots

In recent years, contamination of salad vegetables by E. coli and salmonella bacteria—the most common causes of food poisoning—have led to large-scale recalls. Although most salmonella outbreaks are linked to contamination from post-harvest handling and transportation, this infectious bacterium can also enter the plant earlier, from contaminated soil.

Childhood stress of mice affects their offspring behavior

Russian neuroscientists report that the stress experienced by mice during their first weeks of life affects not only them, but also their offspring. The data will help to understand how negative experience in early life affects the mammalian brain. The results are published in Genes, Brain and Behavior.

The quest for the missing proteins in rice

Researchers have identified over 5,700 new proteins in rice and are calling for a global effort to find the remaining missing proteins, in a new study co-authored by Macquarie University.

Researchers uncover new mechanism of gene regulation involved in tumor progression

Genes contain all the information needed for the functioning of cells, tissues and organs. Gene expression, meaning when and how the genes are read and executed, is thoroughly regulated like an assembly line with several activities happening one after another.

Flies release neuronal brakes to fly longer

While mechanical and biophysical aspects of insect flight are well studied, the neurobiology and circuitry underlying it remain poorly understood. For insects, while muscles provide the power for flying, the brain coordinates strategic planning. In the case of a hungry fly, this could mean using its powerful olfaction to sense food, such as a rotten banana, and then navigating the distance to reach it, which may require flying for several minutes or even an hour or more. How does the insect brain coordinate the timing for such long flight bouts? A group of scientists at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, have answered this question in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Elephants take to the road for reliable resources

An elephant never forgets. This seems to be the case, at least, for elephants roaming about Namibia, looking for food, fresh water, and other resources.


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