Friday, February 8, 2019

Science X Newsletter Friday, Feb 8

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 8, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

DeepCrack: a new hierarchical CNN-based method for crack segmentation

Scientists image conducting edges in a promising 2-D material

From supergiant to solar-mass star: Study finds HD 179821 less massive than previously thought

Researchers add porous envelope to aluminum plasmonics

Wine before beer, or beer before wine? Either way, you'll be hungover, study finds

Cancer cells' plasticity makes them harder to stop

Finding clues to a functional HIV cure

Richard Branson says he'll fly to space by July

Picture-guessing game play with computer will help AI effort grow some common sense

Scientists discover genes that help harmful bacteria thwart treatment

'X-ray gun' helps researchers pinpoint the origins of pottery found on ancient shipwreck

First transport measurements reveal intriguing properties of germanene

Nanomachines taught to fight cancer

Gummy-like robots that could help prevent disease

New method improves transplant safety in mice

Astronomy & Space news

From supergiant to solar-mass star: Study finds HD 179821 less massive than previously thought

A post-asymptotic giant branch (post-AGB) star known as HD 179821 turns out to be significantly less massive than previously thought, according to a new study. Using new data from ESA's Gaia satellite, astronomers found that HD 179821 is not a supergiant, which was suggested by previous observations, but is rather a solar-mass star. The finding is presented in a paper published January 28 on

Richard Branson says he'll fly to space by July

British billionaire Richard Branson plans to travel to space within the next four or five months aboard his own Virgin Galactic spaceship, he told AFP Thursday.

The composition of ancient meteorites

A team of Japanese and American scientists has visualized meteorite components at higher resolution than ever before. Their efforts have resulted in an enhanced understanding of substances inside carbonaceous chondrites, the organic-compound-containing meteorites that land on Earth. These substances include hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and water, all of which are needed for life.

360 Video: Curiosity rover departs Vera Rubin Ridge

After exploring Mars' Vera Rubin Ridge for more than a year, NASA's Curiosity rover recently moved on. But a new 360-video lets the public visit Curiosity's final drill site on the ridge, an area nicknamed "Rock Hall." The video was created from a panorama taken by the rover on Dec. 19. It includes images of its next destination—an area the team has been calling the "clay-bearing unit" and recently named "Glen Torridon—and the floor of Gale Crater, home to Mount Sharp, the geological feature the rover has been climbing since 2014.

Astronomers unlikely victims of Mexico's violence, crime

Astronomers have become the latest victims of Mexico's violence with activities at two observatories being reduced because their staff suffered crimes while travelling to the remote mountain sites, researchers said Thursday.

Video: Flying under Aeolus

Following the launch of Aeolus on 22 August 2018, scientists have been busy fine-tuning and calibrating this latest Earth Explorer satellite. Aeolus carries a revolutionary instrument, which comprises a powerful laser, a large telescope and a very sensitive receiver. It works by emitting short, powerful pulses –50 pulses per second –of ultraviolet light from a laser down into the atmosphere.

Asteroid from 'rare species' sighted in the cosmic wild

Astronomers have discovered an asteroid looping through the inner solar system on an exotic orbit. The unusual object is among the first asteroids ever found whose orbit is confined almost entirely within the orbit of Venus. The asteroid's existence hints at potentially significant numbers of space rocks arcing unseen in uncharted regions nearer to the sun.

Central Africa's first ever research-class astronomical observatory moves a step closer

Kenya could soon host the only research-class observatory in equatorial Africa, thanks to a collaboration between the nation and the UK.

Decision making in space

An academic at Royal Holloway has conducted research to see how people make decisions in space with zero gravity and the results prove this little-known area needs to be addressed.

Scientists scour the cosmos to find the origins of the periodic table's 118 elements

Since the invention of the periodic table 150 years ago this month, scientists have worked to fill in the rows of elements and make sense of their properties.

To save the Earth someday, team builds spacecraft to crash into an asteroid and shove it off course

A team of scientists, astronomers and engineers meets weekly in a conference room on a Howard County, Md., research campus and plans to save the world.

Ex-Marine pilot dreams of ferrying folks into space

Mark Stucky fought in the Iraq war, once buzzed a Soviet warplane over the Sea of Japan and has flown all sorts of experimental aircraft.

Infographic: How not to lose a spacecraft

ESA's ultra-precise deep-space navigation technique – Delta-DOR – tells us where spacecraft are, accurate to within a few hundred metres, even at a distance of 100,000,000 km.

Video: Planetary scientist talks about her work with NASA studying asteroid Bennu

What can the asteroid Bennu tell us about the universe and its origins? Assistant astronomy professor Cristina Thomas talked to NAU-TV about her experience as a team member of NASA's OSIRIS REx mission, which landed on the asteroid late last year and is collecting samples of regolith, or loose surface material, which scientists think may have answers about the earliest history in the solar system.

Technology news

DeepCrack: a new hierarchical CNN-based method for crack segmentation

Detecting and analyzing cracks in man-made structures is an important task that can help to ensure that buildings are safe and well-maintained. As employing human workers to inspect buildings regularly can be very expensive, researchers have been trying to develop tools that can detect cracks automatically.

Picture-guessing game play with computer will help AI effort grow some common sense

As always, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence are on the case to push AI for the common good and in the process to push machine intelligence further along.

'Air traffic control' for driverless cars could speed up deployment

Combining human and artificial intelligence in autonomous vehicles could push driverless cars more quickly toward wide-scale adoption, University of Michigan researchers say.

New legislation needed to regulate police facial recognition technology

Facial recognition technology, being trialled by two major police forces in Britain, should be subjected to more rigorous testing and transparency, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Monash University.

Australia using new decryption powers even before planned review

Australian security agencies have begun using sweeping new powers to access encrypted communications even before a promised review meant to address concerns from the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook.

Tata Motors shares plunge 30% on Jaguar woes

Shares in India's Tata Motors tanked almost 30 percent on Friday after problems at its Jaguar Land Rover unit dragged the luxury carmaker to India's biggest quarterly loss.

Instagram curbs self-harm posts after teen suicide

Instagram has announced a clampdown on images of self-injury after a British teen who went online to read about suicide took her own life.

Australian parliamentary network hacked; no sign data stolen

Australia's leading cybersecurity agency is investigating a breach of the country's federal parliamentary computing network amid speculation of hacking by a foreign nation.

Why are Australians still using Facebook?

This weeks marks 15 years since Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg first set up the platform with his college roommate Eduardo Saverin. Since then, Facebook has grown into a giant global enterprise.

Addressing cooling needs and energy poverty targets in the Global South

While most of the northern hemisphere is currently in the icy grip of one of the coldest winters ever recorded, record-breaking heat is the problem in the south. The results of a new IIASA study show that between 1.8 and 4.1 billion people require access to indoor cooling to avoid heat-related stresses.

Australia streaks ahead to be renewables world champion

Research from the Australian National University (ANU) has found that Australia is installing renewable power per person each year faster than any other country, helping it to meet its entire Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets five years early.

Emoji are becoming more inclusive, but not necessarily more representative

At least 230 new emoji, when different skin tones and genders are included, are due to be released this year. That's a leap on 2018 when only 157 emoji were added to the Unicode Standard – the code used to support emoji on different platforms.

Cladding fire risks have been known for years. Lives depend on acting now, with no more delays

The fire at the Neo200 building on Spencer Street in the Melbourne CBD this week has eerie similarities to the Grenfell Tower disaster. Fortunately, instead of 72 people dead as at Grenfell, only one person was hospitalised for smoke inhalation.

Core technology for ultra-small 3-D image sensor

A KAIST research team developed a silicon optical phased array (OPA) chip, which can be a core component for three-dimensional image sensors. This research was co-led by Ph.D. candidate Seong-Hwan Kim and Dr. Jong-Bum You from the National Nanofab Center (NNFC).

What is the value of a robot life?

People are prepared to save a robot at the cost of human lives under certain conditions. One of these situations is when we believe the robot can experience pain. This has been indicated in research led by the team of Sari Nijssen of Radboud University, in collaboration with Barbara Müller of Radboud University and Markus Paulus from LMU Munich, which will appear in Social Cognition on 7 February.

Perceptions play big role in how residents feel about wind energy

When local residents feel the planning process for building wind turbines is fair and open, their perceptions of the often-controversial energy source remain steady or improve with time, according to a University of Michigan study.

In the fight against human trafficking, industrial engineers can help

An estimated 24.9 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking. The majority of these individuals are tricked, threatened, or coerced into forced labor in domestic work, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, the food industry, or other areas. Approximately one-fifth of them are forced into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. Although it's notoriously difficult to track, the industry is thought to be worth $150 billion.

Robbie the Robot becomes soap fan after watching Emmerdale to learn about dementia

Edge Hill University's robot, Robbie, has become a soap fan after watching episodes of popular UK drama Emmerdale to learn about dementia.

Grab a soda and go: Convenience stores get more convenient

Get ready to say good riddance to the checkout line.

Amazon reconsidering move to New York: report

Amazon is rethinking its decision to create an additional headquarters in New York City amid opposition from key political leaders and protests in the community, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Reports: Russian authorities make deal with Google

Russian news reports say that Google has agreed with national authorities to delete links to websites banned in Russia.

Data center smoke causes outage for Wells Fargo customers

Smoke at one of Wells Fargo's data centers left some of the bank's customers without access to online or mobile banking as well as accessing cash from ATMs on Thursday.

Common sense in robots isn't so common, but this Pictionary-like game could help change that

Super Bowl commercials this year featured robots and intelligent assistants interacting with humans in ways that far surpass the capabilities of real-world systems today. In one rather meta advertisement for a telecom provider, robots brainstorm with humans to come up with the premise for another commercial.

Canada partners with Lockheed Martin on next-gen warships

Canada announced Friday it had partnered with US weapons maker Lockheed Martin on a Can$815 million project to design 15 warships.

Medicine & Health news

Wine before beer, or beer before wine? Either way, you'll be hungover, study finds

"Beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer" goes the age-old aphorism. But scientists have now shown that it doesn't matter how you order your drinks—if you drink too much, you're still likely to be ill.

Cancer cells' plasticity makes them harder to stop

When metastatic cancer cells need to avoid a threat, they simply reprogram themselves. Rice University scientists are beginning to get a handle on how they survive hostile environments.

Finding clues to a functional HIV cure

George Mason University's Yuntao Wu is the lead scientist on a research team that has identified a measurable indicator that could prove instrumental in the fight against HIV.

New method improves transplant safety in mice

Blood stem cell transplants—also known as bone-marrow transplants—can cure many blood, immune, autoimmune, and metabolic disorders, from leukemia to sickle-cell disease. But to make sure the healthy blood cells "take," doctors first have to deplete the patient's own, defective blood stem cells using intensive chemotherapy or whole-body radiation. This wipes out the patient's immune system, raising the risk of infection and often causing serious side effects, including anemia, infertility, secondary cancers, organ damage, and even death.

The 2008 recession associated with greater decline in mortality in Europe

In recent decades, Europe has experienced a downward trend in the annual number of deaths. Not only was this trend not arrested by the economic recession that started in 2008, the rate of decline increased during the recession years. This acceleration is evidenced by the results of a study published in Nature Communications and led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

Probing hyperexcitability in fragile X syndrome

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have gained insight into a feature of fragile X syndrome, which is also seen in other neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Study finds gene does not increase risk for Type 2 diabetes in all Hispanic/Latino background groups equally

A recent study found that people of Mexican background are more likely to be at risk for Type 2 diabetes than other Hispanic/Latino background groups. The study, which was led by Bertha Hidalgo, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, examined variants—alterations to the DNA sequence—of the SLC16A11 gene in six different Hispanic and Latino background groups: Mexican, South American, Central American, Dominican, Puerto Rican and Cuban. The study was published in Scientific Reports.

Surprise rheumatoid arthritis discovery points to new treatment for joint inflammation

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified an unexpected contributor to rheumatoid arthritis that may help explain the painful flare-ups associated with the disease. The discovery points to a potential new treatment for the autoimmune disorder and may also allow the use of a simple blood test to detect people at elevated risk for developing the condition.

Microbiome could be culprit when good drugs do harm

People sometimes suffer toxic side effects from drugs that help many others. Yale scientists have identified a surprising explanation—the gut microbiome.

Scientists catch heartbeat 'molecular switch' in action

Oxford University Radcliffe Department of Medicine researchers have developed a new method that uses a protein originally found in marine corals to visualise the flow of calcium that makes the heart beat.

How the brain responds to texture

Our hands and fingertips are amazingly sensitive to texture. We can easily distinguish coarse sandpaper from smooth glass, but we also pick up more subtle differences across a wide range of textures, like the slick sheen of silk or the soft give of cotton.

Positive thinking during pregnancy could help children's ability in math and science

Using data from Bristol's Children of the 90s study the research is one of a series from the University of Bristol, that examines a parental personality attribute known as the 'locus of control'. This is a psychological measure of how much someone believes that they have control over the outcome of events in their life or whether external forces beyond their control dictates how life turns out.

New drug brings unexpected hope in targeting cancer cells

An unexpected finding in pre-clinical platelet studies by Baker Institute researchers could provide a novel approach to targeting and destroying difficult-to-treat cancer cells, providing new therapeutic options for a range of cancers.

Size and time impact outcomes when mechanical clot removal used for large core strokes

Mechanical clot removal has been shown to be safe and effective in stroke patients with minimal damaged brain tissue. Ideal patient selection may also someday hold promise for strokes damaging large areas of brain tissue, according to late breaking science presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019.

Among Latinos, Puerto Rican children less likely to use their asthma inhalers

Compared to Mexican American children, Puerto Rican children were more likely to have poor or decreasing use of inhaled medication needed to control their asthma, according to new research published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Comprehensive review analyzes vocal-cord restoration in 18 Grammy Award-winning singers

A retrospective review of laser microsugery performed in 18 Grammy Award-winning performers treated by surgeons at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Division of Laryngeal Surgery has revealed insights into the treatment and management of vocal-cord disease in elite performers. Detailed photo-documentation is provided which demonstrates a range of microsurgical techniques that were created at MGH. This unique first-of-its kind investigation was published in a special supplement to the March 2019 issue of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, entitled Innovations in Laryngeal Surgery.

Intensive blood pressure lowering safe for clot-buster-treated stroke patients, but doesn't lessen disability

Intensive blood pressure lowering safely reduced the risk of bleeding in the brain in ischemic stroke patients being treated with clot-busting drugs, but did not improve post-stroke recovery, according to late breaking science presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019, a world premier meeting for researchers and clinicians dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease.

Miracle treatment or dangerous drug? Indonesia cashes in on Kratom

The sweltering backwaters of Indonesian Borneo have become the unlikely ground zero for the global production and export of Kratom, a tree leaf hailed by some as a miracle cure for everything from opioid addiction to anxiety.

Researchers develop human cell-based model to study small cell lung cancer

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine have used human embryonic stem cells to create a new model system that allows them to study the initiation and progression of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The study, which will be published February 8 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, reveals the distinct roles played by two critical tumor suppressor genes that are commonly mutated in these highly lethal cancers.

Team finds individualized diets are most effective for managing blood sugar levels

An individualized diet based on a person's genetics, microbiome and lifestyle is more effective in controlling blood glucose (sugar) levels than one that considers only nutritional composition of food, Mayo Clinic researchers have confirmed. The research published in the Feb. 8 edition of JAMA Network Open demonstrates that each person's body responds differently to similar foods, due to the unique composition of each person's gut microbiome—the complex community of trillions of bacteria within the digestive track.

Research links deprivation, inequality to poorer blood thinner outcomes

New University of Otago research is warning doctors to be wary of potential health risks for Māori and Pacific patients taking a common blood thinner.

Cycling fatalities almost halved since introduction of mandatory helmet laws

A UNSW Sydney study has shown a clear link between mandatory helmet laws and a drastic reduction in cycling fatalities.

Doctors and molecular engineers working to enlist the immune system to fight cancer

When telling the story of immunotherapy and cancer and how the two battle it out, it's awfully challenging not to pull out the old A Tale of Two Cities cliché. Because everyone agrees: It is the best of times in cancer research and treatment.

I have PCOS and I want to have a baby, what do I need to know?

Most women want and expect to have children. But women who have a chronic health condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often have concerns about childbearing, including whether they can become pregnant.

Even cancer can't get some patients to quit smoking. What could help them kick their habit?

After Mary Moore was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2016, she kept smoking, defying her doctors' advice and her sons' pleas.

High mortality rate for drug-resistant tuberculosis due to inaccurate tests

Inaccurate tests carried out on tuberculosis patients in developing countries often fail to detect resistance to drugs, leading to incorrect treatment and a higher mortality rate. These are the results of study by an international group of researchers led by a team at the University of Bern.

CRISPR revolutionized gene editing. Now its toolbox is expanding

The gene-editing tool that has revolutionized biology is becoming even more powerful.

No new HIV cases by 2030? Advocates in Chicago applaud Trump's goal but question how it will be carried out.

After state and national leaders announced efforts to eliminate the spread of HIV over the next decade, those involved in prevention efforts in Chicago applauded the plan but questioned how it would be carried out, particularly when it comes to reaching those who are disproportionately affected by the disease.

Not a morning person? These genes may be to blame

Perhaps you are one of those peppy people who spring into action with the sunrise.

How the policy change of making smoking-cessation drugs available over the counter can help

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that cigarette smoking reached an all-time low in 2017, with just 14 percent of Americans still indulging in the habit. However, despite the promising downward trend in smoking's popularity, it remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 480,000 deaths every year.

Here's what happens when you get goose bumps out of nowhere

Everyone has experienced "the chills" at some point. Your skin gets goose bumps and your body shivers uncontrollably. But why does it happen?

Chronic rhinosinusitis linked to depression, anxiety

(HealthDay)—Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is associated with incidence of depression and anxiety, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Q&A: Understanding secondary headache disorder

Dear Mayo Clinic: How can you tell when a headache requires additional diagnostic testing?

MDMA users more empathetic than other drug users

Long-term MDMA users have higher levels of empathy than cannabis and other drugs users, new research suggests.

New study proves the success of support for parents who have children taken into care

A scheme supporting parents who have had children taken into care has been praised by Cardiff University academics in charge of its first independent evaluation.

Infectious diseases: When a kiss is more than a kiss

Often referred to as the "kissing disease," mononucleosis is a common ailment caused by the Epstein-Barr virus that is transmitted through saliva.

In debates about drug use, fun is important

Millions of Australians use, or have used, illicit substances at some point in their life, while millions more are regular users of legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco or sleeping pills.

Why do parents kill their children? The facts about filicide in Australia

A six-month-old baby was killed earlier this week in what is suspected to be a murder-suicide. Police are investigating whether the child was killed by its father, after their bodies were found in a car on the Sunshine Coast.

Self-harm and social media: A knee-jerk ban on content could actually harm young people

Instagram has announced it will ban graphic self-harm images from the platform. The social media company has been under pressure from the UK government and health professionals – including Dame Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, who recently argued that social media companies have a duty of care to keep children safe.

Developing self-compassion: How to show yourself some love

(HealthDay)—A lot of importance is placed on developing self-esteem to create emotional well-being and to quiet the inner critic that causes people to doubt themselves. But even more essential to emotional wellness might be self-compassion—extending to yourself the same feelings of empathy and concern that you show others.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis: High mortality rate due to inaccurate tests

Inaccurate tests carried out on tuberculosis patients in developing countries often fail to reliably detect resistance to drugs, leading to incorrect treatment and a higher mortality rate. These are the results of study by an international group of researchers led by a team at the University of Bern published today.

Get the most from frozen vegetables

(HealthDay)—When it comes to cooking veggies, fresh from the farmer's market always tastes best. But when you're cooking produce out of season, head to the freezer section of your favorite store.

RNAs play key role in protein aggregation and in neurodegenerative disease, according to new research

New research reveals RNAs, which are crucial for cells to produce proteins, are also involved in protein aggregation, where proteins do not fold properly and 'clump' together into aggregates. If cells cannot clear these away, they become toxic and prevent cells working properly. This discovery, led by scientists at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, reveals that RNAs act as a 'scaffold' to hold several proteins that stick to RNAs together, and that certain RNA molecules with distinct properties attract more proteins and encourage proteins to aggregate. They also investigated how an RNA called FMR1 is implicated in a neurodegenerative disease called Fragile X Tremor Syndrome, or FXTAS.

Does social media push teens to depression? New study says no

(HealthDay)—Time spent on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook probably isn't driving teenagers to depression, a new study contends.

Vitamin D and immune cells stimulate bone marrow disease

The bone marrow disease myelofibrosis is stimulated by excessive signaling from vitamin D and immune cells known as macrophages, reveals a Japanese research team. These findings could help to develop alternative treatments that do not target problem genes. The team was led by Research Fellow Kanako Wakahashi and Junior Associate Professor Yoshio Katayama (Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine) and the findings were published on February 4 in the online edition of Blood.

Increasing the dose intensity of chemotherapy reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence and death

Giving chemotherapy drugs every two weeks instead of the usual every three weeks reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence and death, according to new research.

3-D-printed tumor model shows interaction with immune cells

Around a glioblastoma, a very aggressive brain tumor, cells of the human immune system help the tumor instead of attacking it. To explore the interaction of these cells, scientists of the University of Twente have created a 3-D-bioprinted mini model of the brain. Compared to existing lab models, the results using this 3-D model match patient data much better. It will thus be a valuable way of testing new drugs, and could reduce the number of animal trials. The research is published in Advanced Materials.

Tackling tumour scar tissue could be key to treating pancreatic cancer

The first study in the world to take a detailed look at scar tissue in human pancreatic cancer has revealed a range of different scar tissue types that could help clinicians predict which patients will respond best to particular treatments.

How your genes could affect the quality of your marriage

How important is it to consider a romantic partner's genetic profile before getting married?

Study recommends reconsidering hepatitis A vaccination protocol to prevent a vaccine-resistant virus

Researchers of the University of Barcelona (UB) have used massive sequencing techniques with samples from patients to determine the evolution of the hepatitis A virus. The results, published in the journal EBioMedicine, show the presence of variants of the virus that could escape the effects of the vaccine. The study, led by the Research Group on Enteric Viruses of the UB, in collaboration with Vall d"Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Public Health Agency of Barcelona (ASPB), has implications for vaccination policies.

Study reveals complementary medicine use remains hidden to conventional medicine providers

Research reveals that 1 in 3 complementary medicine (CM) users do not disclose their CM use to their medical providers, posing significant direct and indirect risks of adverse effects and harm due to unsafe concurrent use of CM and conventional medicine use.

Study reveals how blood cells help wounds heal scar-free

New insights on circumventing a key obstacle on the road to anti-scarring treatment have been published by Maksim Plikus, an associate professor in development and cell biology at the UCI School of Biological Sciences and colleagues in Nature Communications. The research team discovered that the natural scar-free skin repair process relies partially on assistance from circulating blood cells. The results point the way toward possible treatments for scar-free wound healing that target the body's own blood cells.

Bridging the 'liking-gap,' researchers discuss awkwardness of conversations

Conversations are fundamental to relationships and wellbeing, but they often leave people feeling anxious, uncertain, and socially excluded. Social and personality psychologists will present their latest findings on how people engage in casual conversations, and what this means for our own performance anxiety.

When sequencing fails to pinpoint a rare disease

Routine sequencing has given unprecedented insight into the genetics of rare diseases, but genomics fails to diagnose up to half of patients who are tested. That's the problem German scientists tackled in a recent study in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. Using samples from patients in four countries, and a novel database on the neutrophil proteome, they were able to make genetic diagnoses for two children with severe congenital neutropenia whom typical sequencing had failed.

Study finds a dearth of mental health interventions for ethnic minority youth in the US

Hispanic and Latino youth are more likely to drink alcohol at a younger age than their African-American and non-Hispanic Caucasian peers, but they are less likely to receive treatment for substance abuse.

Shorter course of radiation therapy effective in treating men with prostate cancer

A new UCLA-led study shows that men with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer can safely undergo higher doses of radiation over a significantly shorter period of time and still have the same, successful outcomes as from a much longer course of treatment.

Sodium intake associated with increased lightheadedness in context of DASH-sodium trial

Lightheadedness with standing, otherwise known as postural lightheadedness, results from a gravitational drop in blood pressure and is common among adults. While mild in many adults, it has been cited as an important contributing factor in some harmful clinical events, such as falls. As a result, greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

MRI cardiac stress test shows promise at identifying fatal heart disease

The use of MRI to determine heart function has been slow to catch on, but a study from Duke Health researchers shows that stress cardiac MRI not only diagnoses disease, but can also predict which cases are potentially fatal.

Dengue virus infection may cause severe outcomes following Zika virus infection during pregnancy

Women who have previously been infected with dengue virus may be at risk for increased damage to their fetuses and placentas if they should later become infected with the Zika virus, researchers from the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai report.

Measles outbreak hits Val-Thorens ski resort in French Alps

French health authorities warned Friday of a surge in measles cases at the Val-Thorens ski resort, one of the highest in the Alps and a popular destination for both French and foreign tourists.

Study identifies new target to prevent, treat alcoholism

New research conducted at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, identifies a gene that could provide a new target for developing medication to prevent and treat alcoholism.

Washington lawmakers weigh vaccine bill amid outbreak

Amid a measles outbreak that has sickened more than 50 people in the Pacific Northwest, Washington lawmakers heard testimony Friday on a bill that would remove parents' ability to claim a personal or philosophical exemption to opt their school-age children out of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

Minimally-invasive surgery for brain bleeds may not be better at restoring function than standard me

Minimally-invasive surgery to remove blood from the brain along with intermittent dosing of a clot-busting drug after a brain bleed may not improve function better than medical therapy but it was associated with fewer deaths, according to late breaking science presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019.

Reversal agent decreases life-threatening bleeding

A drug that reverses the blood thinning effects of factor Xa inhibitors effectively stopped acute life-threatening bleeding in patients taking a factor Xa inhibitor blood thinner drug, according to late breaking science presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019.

Only one in three biomedical studies includes data on sex, significantly restricting real-world relevance of findings

Almost three quarters (70%) of biomedical research papers do not report outcomes for men and women, according to a new analysis of over 11.5 million medical research papers published between 1980 and 2016. Additionally, female authors were more likely to report on sex-differences, highlighting that diversity in the workforce—as well as the research population—is essential to produce the most rigorous and effective research.

Removing more blood via minimally invasive surgery more likely to improve hemorrhagic stroke recover

The greater the volume of blood removed from the brain via minimally invasive surgery after a cerebral hemorrhage the greater the odds of better functional recovery, according to late breaking science presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019.

With eye on 2020, Trump seizes on abortion issue

President Donald Trump is proposing a congressional ban on late-term abortions as he seeks to expand his conservative support ahead of the 2020 election.

Is there a science to romantic love?

Ximena Arriaga, professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, has known and admired Phillip Shaver for years. They are colleagues in the field of studying romantic relationships, a relatively new field. So she was thrilled to accept an invitation to an event this week where Shaver, distinguished professor emeritus of psychology at University of California, Davis, would receive the Society for Personality and Social Psychology's "Legacy" award.

FDA wants new meetings with Juul, Altria on teen vaping

The head of the Food and Drug Administration is questioning whether electronic cigarette maker Juul and its new partner Altria are following through on pledges to help stop underage vaping.

New NIH research policy seeks greater inclusion across lifespan

The pipeline of research supporting care as we age is about to look a bit more like the country it serves—and for good reason. Beginning this year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America's premier institution for medical research, will for the first time in its history require NIH-funded scholars to eliminate arbitrary age limits in their work, age limits that previously allowed for excluding groups like older people without just cause. A series of articles recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) explores how the change came to fruition—in large part thanks to advocacy from organizations like the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and its member experts—and why the change matters, particularly in a world where living longer is possible thanks to past breakthroughs originating at the NIH.

Biology news

Nested CRISPR enables efficient genome editing using long DNA fragments

CRISPR is a technique that is revolutionizing biomedical research through high-precision genome editing. However, even though it allows the creation or correction of mutations consisting of a single or few nucleotides with relative ease, it still possesses limitations for larger fragments of DNA in the genome. For instance, the genomic insertion of a gene that produces a fluorescent protein such as the widely-used GFP suffers from poor efficiency and involves complicated cloning steps.

Chimpanzee 'mini-brains' hint at secrets of human evolution

At some point during human evolution, a handful of genetic changes triggered a dramatic threefold expansion of the brain's neocortex, the wrinkly outermost layer of brain tissue responsible for everything from language to self-awareness to abstract thought. Identifying what drove this evolutionary shift is fundamental to understanding what makes us human, but has been particularly challenging for scientists because of ethical prohibitions against studying the developing brains of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, in the lab.

Sea snakes that can't drink seawater

Surrounded by salty water, sea snakes sometimes live a thirsty existence. Previously, scientists thought that they were able to drink seawater, but recent research has shown that they need to access freshwater. A new study published in PLOS ONE on Feb. 7 and led by Harvey Lillywhite, professor of biology of the University of Florida, shows that sea snakes living where there is drought relieve their dehydration as soon as the wet season hits, and do so by obtaining freshwater from "lenses" that form on the surface of the ocean during heavy rain—events in which the salinity at the surface decreases enough for the water to be drinkable.

Genome scientists develop novel approaches to studying widespread form of malaria

Scientists at the Institute of Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have developed a novel way with genome sequences to study and better understand transmission, treat and ultimately eradicate Plasmodium vivax, the most widespread form of malaria. P. vivax is a single-celled transmitted by mosquitoes. It is the most widespread human malaria parasite, responsible for more than 8.5 million clinical malaria cases worldwide and threatening more than two billion people in 90 countries. Unlike Plasmodium falciparum, another species of malaria, P. vivax cannot be cultured in vitro and remains poorly understood and resilient to elimination efforts.

Shark Bay: A World Heritage Site at catastrophic risk

The devastating bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017 rightly captured the world's attention. But what's less widely known is that another World Heritage-listed marine ecosystem in Australia, Shark Bay, was also recently devastated by extreme temperatures, when a brutal marine heatwave struck off Western Australia in 2011.

DNA traces on wild flowers reveal insect visitors

Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have discovered that insects leave tiny DNA traces on the flowers they visit. This newly developed eDNA method holds a vast potential for documenting unknown insect-plant interactions, keeping track of endangered pollinators, such as wild bees and butterflies, as well as in the management of unwanted pest species.

Researchers discover corn plants call in hungry nematodes when resistant rootworms attack

Someday – in some scientifically savvy encyclopedia perhaps – the word "resilience" may include a photograph of the Western Corn Rootworm. This crafty, intrepid rootworm has found a way to circumvent just about every defense a corn plant and its advocates have thrown at it.

Fluconazole makes fungi sexually active

The yeast Candida albicans occurs in most healthy people as a harmless colonizer in the digestive tract. However, it can also cause life-threatening infections, especially in immunocompromised patients.

Think big—at least when it comes to global conservation

According to a group of international researchers, the potential for large countries to contribute to environmental protection is being overlooked.

How to keep your pets safe from marijuana poisoning

If you live with a pet, there is a good chance you consider it to be a member of your family. It is well established that companion animals, ranging from cats and dogs through to birds and rodents, can have a positive health benefit in our lives.

This email is a free service of Science X Network
You received this email because you subscribed to our list.
If you do not wish to receive such emails in the future, please unsubscribe here.
You are subscribed as You may manage your subscription options from your Science X profile


No comments: