Friday, February 15, 2019

Science X Newsletter Friday, Feb 15

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 15, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

IBM researchers develop a technique to virtually patch vulnerabilities ahead of threat

NASA heading back to Moon soon, and this time to stay

Tiny particles can switch back and forth between phases

How learning more about neuroscience might influence development of improved AI systems

Environmental noise found to enhance the transport of energy across a line of ions

Researchers reveal brain connections that disadvantage night owls

New molecular blueprint advances our understanding of photosynthesis

Immune stimulant molecule shown to prevent cancer

Study on measles transmission in China have implications for controlling the epidemic worldwide

Get fit for a fit gut: Exercise might improve health by increasing gut bacterial diversity

'Seeing' tails help sea snakes avoid predators

Shape-morphing joints allow these small robots to ace obstacles

Surprise findings turn up the temperature on the study of vernalization

Artificial intelligence can predict survival of ovarian cancer patients

'Cellular barcoding' reveals how breast cancer spreads

Astronomy & Space news

NASA heading back to Moon soon, and this time to stay

NASA is accelerating plans to return Americans to the Moon, and this time, the US space agency says it will be there to stay.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them locate this elusive expanse of missing matter.

From Chelyabinsk to Cuba: The meteor connection

On February 1, 2019 a bright meteor crossed the sky over Cuba in the middle of the day. The phenomenon, which was followed by a smoke trail (a characteristic cloud left by the burn in the atmosphere of a meteoroid) and a sonic boom, was witnessed by thousands of locals and tourists in the region of Pinar del Rio (western side of the island).

A river of stars in the solar neighborhood

Astronomy & Astrophysics publishes the work of researchers from the University of Vienna, who have found a river of stars, a stellar stream in astronomical parlance, covering most of the southern sky. The stream is relatively nearby and contains at least 4000 stars that have been moving together in space since they formed, about 1 billion years ago. Due to its proximity to Earth, this stream is a perfect workbench on which to test the disruption of clusters, measure the gravitational field of the Milky Way, and learn about coeval extrasolar planet populations with upcoming planet-finding missions. For their search, the authors used data from the ESA Gaia satellite.

Radio telescope gets upgrade at Brookhaven lab

A radio telescope at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has received a significant upgrade, advancing from one dish to four. The upgrades are part of the Laboratory's ongoing effort to test the merits of a radio telescope for a potential future project between national labs and DOE-sponsored universities. The scientists' ultimate goal is to look deep into the universe and gain a better understanding of periods of accelerated expansion and the nature of dark energy.

Protecting human heritage on the moon: Don't let 'one small step' become one giant mistake

Why did the hominin cross the plain? We may never know. But anthropologists are pretty sure that a smattering of bare footprints preserved in volcanic ash in Laetoli, Tanzania bear witness to an evolutionary milestone. These small steps, taken roughly 3.5 million years ago, mark an early successful attempt by our common human ancestor to stand upright and stride on two feet, instead of four.

Farewell, Opportunity: Rover dies, but its hugely successful Mars mission is helping us design the next one

NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars has been officially pronounced dead. Its amazingly successful mission lasted nearly 15 years, well beyond its initial three-month goal. Opportunity provided the first proof that water once existed on Mars and shaped its surface, a crucial piece of knowledge informing both current and future missions.

Year in space put US astronaut's disease defenses on alert

Nearly a year in space put astronaut Scott Kelly's immune system on high alert and changed the activity of some of his genes compared to his Earth-bound identical twin, researchers said Friday.

Space junk harpooned like whale in orbit-cleanup test

A harpoon flung from a satellite has successfully captured a piece of pretend space junk, like a whale.

Technology news

IBM researchers develop a technique to virtually patch vulnerabilities ahead of threat

Researchers at IBM have recently devised a new technique to virtually patch security vulnerabilities before they are found. Their approach, presented at the International Workshop on Information and Operational Technology, co-located with RAID18, leverages testing techniques for supervised learning-based data generation.

How learning more about neuroscience might influence development of improved AI systems

Deep-learning neural networks have come a long way in the past several years—we now have systems that are capable of beating people at complex games such as shogi, Go and chess. But is the progress of such systems limited by their basic architecture? Shimon Ullman, with the Weizmann Institute of Science, addresses this question in a Perspectives piece in the journal Science and suggests some ways computer scientists might reach beyond simple AI systems to create artificial general intelligence (AGI) systems.

Shape-morphing joints allow these small robots to ace obstacles

To walk. To jump. To swim. Nature's beings can use the same body parts to do a variety of things—like walk, jump and swim. Robots? Think about it. You generally see them do limited tasks with their mechanical designs and rigid links.

Amazon's exit could scare off tech companies from New York

Amazon jilted New York City on Valentine's Day, scrapping plans to build a massive headquarters campus in Queens amid fierce opposition from politicians angry about nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and the company's anti-union stance.

In America, high-speed train travel is off track

California's suspension this week of a high-speed rail project underscores the up-hill battle the modern mode of transport faces in the United States—including myriad cultural, political and economic obstacles.

Roblox, the game platform teaching young kids to code

With its Lego-like avatars and easy-to-learn coding for budding programmers, the online gaming app Roblox has cornered the market in younger gamers, with 80 million monthly users, many of them under 16.

Victory or catastrophe? Amazon's pull-out leaves New York divided

Thousands of lost jobs or a victory against a monolith: reactions were sharply divided Thursday after Amazon abandoned its plans for a new headquarters in New York.

Facebook taps user data to defend workers from threat

Facebook gathers intelligence from its platform to identify people who threaten the firm or its workers, the social network said Thursday in response to media reports of the security tactic.

Report: Facebook, FTC discussing 'multibillion dollar' fine

A report says Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission are negotiating a "multibillion dollar" fine for the social network's privacy lapses.

Alibaba takes stake in Chinese video platform Bilibili

Alibaba has bought an eight percent stake in Chinese online video sharing and entertainment service Bilibili for an undisclosed amount, state news agency Xinhua reported.

A transformer to drive the transition from AC to DC

EPFL researchers have developed a compact and efficient medium-frequency transformer. Their device is poised to enhance the flexibility and efficiency of tomorrow's smart grids and DC power distribution networks. An EPFL-made prototype has been thoroughly tested and presented in several tutorials designed for experts from the academic and industrial worlds.

Autonomous vehicles could revolutionise urban tourism

In the first study of its kind, academics from Surrey and the University of Oxford have examined how Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) may make a substantial impact on the future of urban tourism.

Study uses neural networks to define Dada

To make a Dadaist poem, artist Tristan Tzara once said, cut out each word of a newspaper article. Put the words into a bag and shake. Remove the words from the bag one at a time, and write them down in that order.

A new pipeline for 3-D video recording, compression, transmission and decompression

You might have a music video – and a Purdue University professor – to thank for making a future trip to see the doctor much easier.

New technology breaks through sign language barriers

Opportunities once distant to the hard-of-hearing community will become a reality with a breakthrough sign language translator. Engineers from Michigan State University developed and patented a technology that – unlike prior translator mechanisms – is non-invasive and as portable as a tube of Chapstick.

AI-based visual tech to be applied to CCTV cameras

A visually based artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed by South Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) will be deployed on CCTV cameras for detecting and preventing crimes.

NOAA satellites helped rescue 340 people in 2018

The pilot of the rowboat Alba had a noble goal – to raise awareness and funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. And he was going to row 3,400 nautical miles, from Norfolk, Va., to his home in Scotland, to do it.

Efforts to control cyber weapons ignore the agents who use them

Reports of malicious and targeted cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common around the world. In early February, for example, Australia's security agencies revealed there were investigating an attempted hack on the country's parliament, and hadn't ruled out another country being behind it.

How far should organizations be able to go to defend against cyberattacks?

The deluge of cyberattacks sweeping across the world has governments and companies thinking about new ways to protect their digital systems, and the corporate and state secrets stored within. For a long time, cybersecurity experts have erected firewalls to keep out unwanted traffic and set up decoy targets on their networks to distract hackers who do get in. They have also scoured the internet for hints about what cybercriminals might be up to next to better protect themselves and their clients.

Can we trust scientific discoveries made using machine learning?

Rice University statistician Genevera Allen says scientists must keep questioning the accuracy and reproducibility of scientific discoveries made by machine-learning techniques until researchers develop new computational systems that can critique themselves.

Amazon invests in electric vehicle startup Rivian

Electric vehicle startup Rivian on Friday announced a $700 million investment round led by Amazon, which recently pumped money into a young self-driving car technology firm.

European car sales begin 2019 in reverse

European car sales fell by 4.6 percent in January from the same month last year, an industry body said Friday, in another worrying sign of economic slowdown.

Drone disrupts flights from Dubai

Suspected drone activity briefly disrupted flight departures Friday from Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international traffic, the airport said.

China's Didi to restructure following passenger murders

Chinese ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing will streamline operations and make cuts to non-core business units as it doubles down on safety after the murders of two passengers clobbered its image, a source familiar with the plans told AFP.

US Facebook fine over privacy could be in billions: reports

A US investigation into privacy violations by Facebook could result in a record fine running to billions of dollars, media reports said Friday.

Illinois Democrats ask Evers to review Foxconn plant impact

Illinois congressional Democrats have asked Wisconsin's new Democratic governor to re-evaluate the environmental impact of a sprawling plant that Foxconn Technology Group plans to build near the states' border, saying they are concerned it could exacerbate flooding in Chicago's northern suburbs.

Medicine & Health news

Researchers reveal brain connections that disadvantage night owls

'Night owls' - those who go to bed and get up later—have fundamental differences in their brain function compared to 'morning larks' , which mean they could be disadvantaged by the constraints of a normal working day.

Immune stimulant molecule shown to prevent cancer

A research team at the University of Louisville has discovered that an immune checkpoint molecule they developed for cancer immunotherapy, also protects against future development of multiple types of cancer when administered by itself.

Study on measles transmission in China have implications for controlling the epidemic worldwide

A new study on the measles epidemic in China has far-reaching implications for eliminating the infection globally, according to researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Using a new model-inference system developed at the Columbia Mailman School, the researchers were able to estimate population susceptibility and demographical characteristics in three key locations in China, in a period that spans the pre-vaccine and modern mass-vaccination eras. Until now, the dynamics of transmitting measles here had been largely unknown. The findings are published online in PLOS Computational Biology.

Get fit for a fit gut: Exercise might improve health by increasing gut bacterial diversity

Bacteria, often synonymous with infection and disease, may have an unfair reputation. Research indicates there are as many, if not more, bacterial cells in our bodies as human cells, meaning they play an important role in our physiology. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows that greater gut microbiota diversity (the number of different species and evenness of these species' populations) is related to better health. Now, research published in Experimental Physiology has suggested that the efficiency with which we transport oxygen to our tissues (cardiorespiratory fitness) is a far greater predictor of gut microbiota diversity than either body fat percentage or general physical activity.

Artificial intelligence can predict survival of ovarian cancer patients

The artificial intelligence software, created by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Melbourne, has been able to predict the prognosis of patients with ovarian cancer more accurately than current methods. It can also predict what treatment would be most effective for patients following diagnosis.

'Cellular barcoding' reveals how breast cancer spreads

A cutting-edge technique called cellular barcoding has been used to tag, track and pinpoint cells responsible for the spread of breast cancer from the main tumour into the blood and other organs.

'Lack of cleaning' in brain cells is central to Alzheimer's disease

An international research team with representation from the University of Copenhagen has created a better understanding of Alzheimer's. They have shown that the cleaning system of the brain cells, a process called mitophagy, is weakened in animals and humans with Alzheimer's. And when they improve mitophagy in the animals, the Alzheimer's symptoms nearly disappear.

Brain discovery may explain mysterious cell death in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Scientists at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified a potential explanation for the mysterious death of specific brain cells seen in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Brain pathways of aversion identified

What happens in the brain when we feel discomfort? Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden are now one step closer to finding the answer. In a new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, they identify which pathways in the mouse brain control behaviour associated with aversion.

Tissue match on genome-wide level leads to longer preservation of kidney graft

The conformance of genetic characteristics is essential for the long-term function after kidney transplantation. This is the central result of a recent study in the top journal The Lancet with more than 500 patients after kidney transplantation, conducted by a global consortium led by Rainer Oberbauer and his colleagues Roman Reindl-Schwaighofer and Andreas Heinzel from the Division of Nephrology and Dialysis at MedUni Vienna.

New breakthroughs for muscular dystrophy research

A new study by Illinois State University's Andrés Vidal-Gadea is breaking ground in the field of muscular dystrophy research.

Bioengineers create ultrasmall, light-activated electrode for neural stimulation

PITTSBURGH (February 15, 2019) ... Neural stimulation is a developing technology that has beneficial therapeutic effects in neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease. While many advancements have been made, the implanted devices deteriorate over time and cause scarring in neural tissue. In a recently published paper, the University of Pittsburgh's Takashi D. Y. Kozai detailed a less invasive method of stimulation that would use an untethered ultrasmall electrode activated by light, a technique that may mitigate damage done by current methods.

3-D protein structure reveals a new mechanism for future anti-cancer drugs

A research team at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has discovered a new mechanism for a class of anti-cancer drugs known as E1 inhibitors.

Researchers find genetic vulnerability to menthol cigarette use

A genetic variant found only in people of African descent significantly increases a smoker's preference for cigarettes containing menthol, a flavor additive. The variant of the MRGPRX4 gene is five to eight times more frequent among smokers who use menthol cigarettes than other smokers, according to an international group of researchers supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. The multiethnic study is the first to look across all genes to identify genetic vulnerability to menthol cigarettes. The paper was published online in the journal PLOS Genetics on February 15, 2019.

US older women three times as likely to be treated for osteoporosis as men

Older women in the US are three times as likely to be treated for osteoporosis as men of the same age, reveals research published online in the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

Interval training may shed more pounds than continuous moderate intensity workout

Interval training may shed more pounds than a continuous moderate intensity workout, suggests a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

New study shows hidden genes may underlie autism severity

Scientists at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have implicated a largely hidden part of the human genome in the severity of autism symptoms, a discovery that could lead to new insights into the disorder and eventually to clinical therapies for the condition.

OSA patients with excessive daytime sleepiness at greatest risk of cardiovascular disease

Adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who experience excessive sleepiness while awake appear to be at far greater risk for cardiovascular diseases than those without excessive daytime sleepiness, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Immunotherapy combination generates responses against castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer

Some patients with metastatic prostate cancer respond to a combination of immune checkpoint inhibitors after hormonal therapy and chemotherapy have failed, according to early results from a clinical trial led by investigators at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center presented today at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.

General anesthesia is unlikely to have lasting effects on the developing brains of young children: study

A single hour of general anaesthesia in early infancy—longer than is necessary to perform the most common types of minor surgeries in childhood—does not result in measurable neurodevelopmental or behavioural problems up to the age of 5 years, according to the first randomised trial of its kind involving 722 infants in seven countries, published in The Lancet.

Teens living in US states allowing medical marijuana smoke less cannabis: study

According to a large-scale study of American high school students, legalizing medicinal marijuana has actually led to a drop in cannabis use among teenagers.

Immersive virtual reality therapy shows lasting effect of treatment for autism phobias

Virtual reality has been shown to help children with autism with nearly 45% remaining free from their fears and phobias six months after treatment.

Stitching together a 'Google Earth' for cancer

In southwest London, on the edge of Bushy Park, is a building whose occupants are responsible for measurements. Precise measurements, to be precise. The building is the gatekeeper of time, the resting place of the kilogram, and home to the scientists responsible for making sure the National Lottery balls are exactly the same.

Precision immunoprofiling could help reduce latent tuberculosis infection

New diagnostic tools such as machine learning and precision medicine could help identify tuberculosis patients with the highest risk of reactivation of the disease, according to a new University of Michigan study.

What are the connections between cancer and heart health?

Approximately every 40 seconds, an American will have a heart attack. The American Heart Association notes that heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

Service dogs benefit the well-being of their handlers, research shows

Low self-confidence. Social isolation. Longing for independence.

The language of conversation impacts on the 'synchronization' of our brains

Experts from the Basque research centre BCBL have shown for the first time that the way in which the activity of two brains is connected depends on whether the dialogue takes place in the native language or in a foreign language. As two people speak, their brains begin to work simultaneously, synchronizing and establishing a unique bond. This is what neuroscientists call brain synchronization.

Morning exercise improves brain health in older, overweight adults

An international research team led by The University of Western Australia and The Baker Institute in Melbourne has found a morning bout of exercise reduces the detrimental impact on the pattern of brain blood flow of prolonged sitting in older adults who are overweight or obese.

Can being born blind protect people from schizophrenia?

A study carried out by The University of Western Australia has provided compelling evidence that congenital/early cortical blindness – that is when people are blind from birth or shortly after—is protective against schizophrenia.

Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases have risen for the past four years to record highs in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest analysis. In California, the state health department found that the number of people diagnosed with syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia in 2017 was 45 percent higher than five years prior.

Biological responses to conflict differ in maltreated children

Parent-child conflict is inevitable as children grow, become more independent, and explore the limits of their behavior. However, in families where child maltreatment is present, biological responses to conflict may be altered in both parents and children, say researchers who measured the biological responses of mothers and children during problem-solving tasks to see how they differed in maltreating and non-maltreating families.

Lonely and isolated – but not by choice

The unpredictable winter weather can be dangerous for anybody. It can have a greater impact on older adults who struggle with their concerns for safety against their ability to get out of the house.

Women should be offered a choice of treatment options for miscarriage, study shows

Women experiencing miscarriage should be offered a choice in the treatment they receive, argues a new study from the University of Warwick that compares all treatment options for the first time.

Venoms are sources in the search for new medicines

Animal venoms are the subject of study at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. But in this case, the idea is not to find antidotes, but rather to use the properties of the venoms themselves to identify molecular targets of diseases and, armed with that knowledge, develop new compounds that can be used as medicines.

Suspicious spots on the lungs do not behave like metastases of rhabdomyosarcoma

Small spots on CT scans of the lungs of children with muscle cancer do not have an adverse effect on survival, according to an international research team in the Journal for Clinical Oncology. This conclusion has direct consequences for the treatment of the disease.

E-cigarette users show cancer-linked genetic changes

If you think vaping is benign, think again

For people at risk of mental illness, having access to treatment early can help

How can we best help Australians who are at risk of developing a mental health disorder? A new recommendation to expand the Better Access initiative would open up government-subsidised psychological care to this effect.

Women's heart attack symptoms are different, and clinical care must catch up

One evening, you tune in to your favourite medical drama. As the scene opens, the calm of the hospital is shattered when a patient grabs their chest and collapses to the floor. The impossibly good-looking medical team rush in and work feverishly to save the heart attack victim.

Not just for weightlifters: Study finds high-protein diet gives endurance athletes a boost

Protein has typically been thought of as an important nutrient for strength sports such as weightlifting. But new research from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education suggests a higher protein intake could also give endurance athletes an edge.

Blood clot discovery could pave way for treatment of blood diseases

Scientists have discovered new ways in which the body regulates blood clots, in a discovery which could one day lead to the development of better treatments that could help prevent and treat conditions including heart diseases, stroke and vascular dementia.

Weight cycling does not adversely affect cardiovascular outcomes in women with suspected myocardial ischemia

In a recently published study, Vera Bittner, M.D., professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Cardiovascular Disease, and colleagues have demonstrated that weight cycling is associated with a lower rate of adverse cardiovascular outcomes in women with suspected ischemia, such as stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

A 'fountain of youth' pill? Sure, if you're a mouse

Renowned Harvard University geneticist David Sinclair recently made a startling assertion: Scientific data shows he has knocked more than two decades off his biological age.

Quinn on Nutrition: Love your heart

I was fascinated to discover from heart experts at Cleveland Clinic that I was no bigger than a poppy seed when my heart first began to beat during my mom's 4th week of pregnancy. With no effort on my part, my heart beats 100,000 times a day. Each minute, this 10-ounce muscle pumps 1.5 gallons of blood through 6 thousand miles of vessels to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to my body cells. Yikes.

Introduction of flat-rate payments accompanied by an increase in readmission rates

Seven years after the introduction of flat-rate payments at Swiss hospitals, a major study has revealed a slight increase in readmission rates. Researchers from the University of Basel and the cantonal hospital of Aarau reported the findings in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Boosting your diet for exercise

(HealthDay)—A typical workout doesn't give you license to eat whatever you want.

How to choose the right cooking oils

(HealthDay)—Oils are one of the most widely used ingredients in cooking and are healthy alternatives to butter and margarine.

Anti-vaxxers: admitting that vaccinology is an imperfect science may be a better way to defeat sceptics

Around the world, vaccines are in retreat, shunned by populations who, for the most part, have never been exposed to the diseases that blighted or shortened the lives of their grandparents' generation. But with the possible exception of quinine – for centuries the only treatment for malaria – and antibiotics, vaccines have saved more lives than any other intervention in medical history.

Teaching archaeology in care homes, I learned how older people are often the best students

As health care improves and more people live healthier and longer lives, the elderly population of Earth will balloon. There were 66m people in the UK in mid-2017, and nearly 12m – or 18.2% – of them were aged 65 years and over. By 2040, that number is expected to rise to 24.2%.

Adolescents have a fundamental need to contribute

No longer children but not yet adults, adolescents need opportunities to learn and prepare for their entrance into the broader society. But, as schooling increasingly extends the adolescent period and teenagers get dismissed as supposedly selfish and irresponsible, has society forgotten an important developmental need of our youth?

Patients' own cells could be the key to treating Crohn's disease

A new technique using patients' own modified cells to treat Crohn's disease has been proven to be effective in experiments using human cells, with a clinical trial of the treatment expected to start in the next six months.

Intervention can boost rates of exclusive breastfeeding

Interventions which educate and support new mothers in West Africa to exclusively breastfeed (where infants are only fed breast milk) can significantly increase the practice, according to new research published in The Lancet Global Health.

Researchers describe the first model of mitochondrial epilepsy

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have become the first to describe a model of mitochondrial epilepsy which raises hope for better therapies for patients with this incapacitating condition. Their paper has been published in BRAIN, the peer-reviewed international journal of neurology.

The science behind big '80s hairstyles

The '80s was a decade full of neon leg warmers, power ballads and big hair. But how did we get that big hair that was so bad it's good? A little bit of teasing and a lot of chemistry.

Getting behind the wheel on opioids: could be a road to tragedy

Driving while on prescription opioids plays an increasingly significant role in fatal motor vehicle crashes, irrespective of alcohol use and demographic characteristics, according to a new study conducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are published online in JAMA Network Open.

Push-up capacity linked with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease events among men

Active, middle-aged men able to complete more than 40 push-ups had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes—including diagnoses of coronary artery disease and major events such as heart failure—during 10 years of follow-up compared with those who were able to do less than 10 push-ups during the baseline exam.

Novel app uses AI to guide, support cancer patients

Artificial Intelligence is helping to guide and support some 50 breast cancer patients in rural Georgia through a novel mobile application that gives them personalized recommendations on everything from side effects to insurance.

Study finds children with autism more likely to face maltreatment

A recent study by Vanderbilt researchers of 11 counties in Middle Tennessee revealed that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were nearly 2.5 times more likely than children without ASD to be reported to the Child Abuse Hotline by the age of 8.

AHA news: heart-stopping drama of on-screen CPR doesn't always reflect reality

When we watch movies and TV, we know that people can't actually fly, zombies aren't real and animals can't talk, among other scenarios presented for our entertainment.

First customizable insulin pump approved

(HealthDay)—The Tandem Diabetes Care t-Slim X2 insulin pump, which allows a patient to customize treatment, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sports medicine society updates concussion guidelines

(HealthDay)—The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) has released an updated position statement on concussion in sports. The statement was published in the February issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Risk factors ID'd for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma mortality

(HealthDay)—Age, stage, and Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) are risk factors for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)-specific death in older patients, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in Cancer.

Study suggests Chilean food regulations are changing food perceptions, norms, behaviors

Food regulations targeted at reducing obesity make a positive impact on those most likely to purchase the family's food—mothers.

Why some brain tumors respond to immunotherapy

Columbia researchers have learned why some glioblastomas—the most common type of brain cancer—respond to immunotherapy. The findings could help identify patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment with immunotherapy drugs and lead to the development of more broadly effective treatments.

Researchers develop drug to rejuvenate muscle cells

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have developed a promising drug that has proven to significantly increase muscle size, strength and metabolic state in aged mice, according to a study just published in Biochemical Pharmacology.

Drug company used rap video to push for higher doses, sales

Employees at a drug company accused of bribing doctors rapped and danced around a person dressed as a bottle of the highly addictive fentanyl spray in a video meant to motivate sales reps into getting patients on higher doses.

Open-science model for drug discovery expands to neurodegenerative diseases

Parkinson's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis are the newest frontiers for open science drug discovery, a global movement led by academic scientists in Toronto that puts knowledge sharing and medication affordability ahead of patents and profits.

Biology news

New molecular blueprint advances our understanding of photosynthesis

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have used one of the most advanced microscopes in the world to reveal the structure of a large protein complex crucial to photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into cellular energy.

'Seeing' tails help sea snakes avoid predators

New research has revealed the fascinating adaptation of some Australian sea snakes that helps protect their vulnerable paddle-shaped tails from predators.

Surprise findings turn up the temperature on the study of vernalization

Researchers have uncovered new evidence about the agriculturally important process of vernalization in a development that could help farmers deal with financially damaging weather fluctuations.

How proteins become embedded in a cell membrane

Many proteins with important biological functions are embedded in a biomembrane in the cells of humans and other living organisms. But how do they get in there in the first place? Researchers in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich have investigated the matter.

The friendly extortioner takes it all

Cooperating with other people makes many things easier. However, competition is also a characteristic aspect of our society. In their struggle for contracts and positions, people have to be more successful than their competitors and colleagues. When will cooperation lead to success, and when is egoism more effective? Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Ploen have developed an experiment that enables them to examine the success rate of cooperative and egoistic behaviour strategies. A strategy referred to as "extortion" is particularly successful, according to the researchers. This strategy that alternates between cooperation and egoism is difficult for the co-player to resist. The extortion strategy is especially effective when there is strong competitive pressure – that is if there can be only one winner.

Biologists identify honeybee 'clean' genes known for improving survival

The key to breeding disease-resistant honeybees could lie in a group of genes—known for controlling hygienic behaviour—that enable colonies to limit the spread of harmful mites and bacteria, according to genomics research conducted at York University.

Prickly pears: 'humble' cactus brings hope to Algeria

For generations Algerians like the Gueldasmi family have barely eked out a living growing prickly pear fruits, but thanks to the cactus's new found virtues their lives are steadily improving.

How accurate are dog-activity trackers?

There are countless gadgets available these days for people to track everything from our heart rate to our stress levels. So perhaps it's no surprise that there also are quite a few products that now claim to similarly monitor your dog's activity and health, including tracking what your pet is up to all day at home while you're at work.

In zebrafish eggs, most rapidly growing cell inhibits neighbors through mechanical signals

"The winner takes it all, the loser standing small"—that's not just true in the famous ABBA song, but also in animal development. Frequently, a group of cells starts out all being the same. But then one cell puts the brake on its neighbors, sending inhibitory signals that stop their differentiation. The "winning" cell, in the end, is different from its neighbors. So far, the only signalling mechanism known to be responsible for such a lateral inhibition was the Notch-Delta signalling pathway. Postdoc Peng Xia and Professor Carl-Philipp Heisenberg at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), have now described a new mechanism for lateral inhibition in a publication in today's edition of Cell. In zebrafish ovarian follicles, granulosa cells in the envelope that surround the oocyte do not use the Notch-Delta signaling pathway for lateral inhibition, but compete mechanically—the winning cell grows more rapidly and inhibits the growth of its neighbors by mechanically compressing them, thereby becoming the sole micropyle precursor cell—a cell that later plays an important role for the fertilisation of the egg.

Is hemp the same thing as marijuana?

There's been a lot of discussion about hemp recently, since the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp for the first time since the passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (or, practically speaking, since the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act).

Animal populations bounce back faster in marine protected areas

A new paper in the American Naturalist discusses the significant role marine protected areas can play in preventing the extinction of commercially harvested species like abalone. MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Charles A. Boch participated in the study, which examined abalone population models and how protected areas can ensure animals survive catastrophic events that could otherwise wipe out a population.

Virus-infested fungus could help cut chemical pesticides

The evidence against chemical pesticides is mounting. An estimated 7m people are at risk from exposure to pesticides globally, while a million a year suffer or die from pesticide associated diseases. And that says nothing of the damage they are thought to be doing to other wildlife. Yet when humanity needs to produce approximately two billion tons of crops every year to feed itself and the population is still increasing, it's difficult to see how we can grow the necessary food without pesticides.

Free access to research will help save horses and ponies

Laminitis—a complex, common and often devastating disease—is the second biggest killer of domestic horses. Now a body of important research on it has been compiled and shared online for equine vets and others to access.

Scientists fine-tune method to save rhinos

Only two northern white rhinos exist in the world: both are female and neither can bear calves. But scientists have not given up hope of saving the species from extinction.

Spare 10 minutes to make science leap forward

Today sees the launch of an innovative Citizen Science Project by Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron science facility.The project uses a crowdsourcing model to call on people of all ages around the world to help speed up the analysis of the terabytes of data that Diamond generates every day. The first task set for citizen scientists is to spend a few minutes looking at a series of screens to identify viruses. More tasks will be set for other targets over the next three years. This will help train Artificial Intelligence systems (AI) and develop new ways of segmenting data, with the aim to automate the data segmentation processes. Doing this will dramatically speed up scientists' ability to understand their research data in a matter of days rather than the current weeks, allowing for a faster path to understanding disease structures, and perhaps speeding up pathways to drug development.

A new study looks at ways to cut roadkill numbers for small and medium-sized mammals

Most motorists pay little attention to the amount of roadkill they drive over or past on the highway, except when swerving to avoid it.

Study shows hope for fighting disease known as Ebola of frogs

Despite widespread infection, some frog populations are surviving a deadly disease that is the equivalent of mankind's Ebola virus. The reason —genetic diversity.

Hong Kong seizes $1m of rhino horn in record airport haul

Two men carrying at least 24 severed rhino horns were arrested in Hong Kong airport by customs officers who said it was their largest ever seizure of rhino contraband smuggled by air passengers.

US judge rules against butterfly sanctuary opposed to Trump's wall

A US judge ruled Thursday against a butterfly sanctuary that had sued to keep President Donald Trump's proposed border wall from cutting the refuge in two.


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