Friday, August 2, 2019

Science X Newsletter Friday, Aug 2

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 2, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Two-dimensional (2-D) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with a microfluidic diamond quantum sensor

A 3-D model of the Milky Way Galaxy using data from Cepheids

An implantable device that produces energy using ultrasound

Technique uses magnets, light to control and reconfigure soft robots

Quantum entanglement in chemical reactions? Now there's a way to find out

Turning water into ice in the quantum realm

A wearable device so thin and soft you won't even notice it

Shining (star)light on the search for life

Supercomputing improves biomass fuel conversion

Fear of more dangerous second Zika, dengue infections unfounded in monkeys

Cutting pollution won't cause global warming spike, study finds

Researchers use machine learning technique to rapidly evaluate new transition metal compounds

Model predicts cognitive decline due to Alzheimer's, up to two years out

Converting waste, 'a leftover resource,' to biofuels reduces emissions

High insulin production may contribute to pancreatic cancer

Astronomy & Space news

A 3-D model of the Milky Way Galaxy using data from Cepheids

A team of researchers at the University of Warsaw has created the most accurate 3-D model of the Milky Way Galaxy to date. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group explains how they used measurements from a special group of pulsating stars to create the map.

Shining (star)light on the search for life

In the hunt for life on other worlds, astronomers scour over planets that are light-years away. They need ways to identify life from afar—but what counts as good evidence?

Scientists discover a new type of pulsating star

Scientists can tell a lot about a star by the light it gives off. The color, for example, reveals its surface temperature and the elements in and around it. Brightness correlates with a star's mass, and for many stars, brightness fluctuates, a bit like a flickering candle.

Can bacteria help people to mine asteroids?

Luis Zea is investigating the possibility of mining metals from asteroids in space using an unlikely agent: bacteria.

Image: Hubble traces a galaxy's outer reaches

Believe it or not, this long, luminous streak, speckled with bright blisters and pockets of material, is a spiral galaxy like our Milky Way. But how could that be? 

The uncertainty of detecting planets

Uncertainty in science is a good thing. Because here's how the scientific model works: you observe a phenomenon, then form a hypothesis about why that phenomenon is taking place, then test the hypothesis, which leads you to develop a new hypothesis, and so on. That process means it can be difficult to ever definitely know something. Instead, scientists work to understand the uncertainty in their measurements, their models, their conclusions.

Space data relay system shows its speed

A satellite network that can zoom in on ships at sea and check for oil spills in almost real time has demonstrated its capabilities at a high-level international event in Brussels.

Technology news

An implantable device that produces energy using ultrasound

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the Republic of Korea has developed a type of implantable device that produces energy using an external ultrasound source. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their device, how it was built and how well it worked when tested on animal tissue.

Technique uses magnets, light to control and reconfigure soft robots

Researchers from North Carolina State University and Elon University have developed a technique that allows them to remotely control the movement of soft robots, lock them into position for as long as needed and later reconfigure the robots into new shapes. The technique relies on light and magnetic fields.

A wearable device so thin and soft you won't even notice it

Wearable human-machine interfaces—devices that can collect and store important health information about the wearer, among other uses—have benefited from advances in electronics, materials and mechanical designs. But current models still can be bulky and uncomfortable, and they can't always handle multiple functions at one time.

Model predicts cognitive decline due to Alzheimer's, up to two years out

A new model developed at MIT can help predict if patients at risk for Alzheimer's disease will experience clinically significant cognitive decline due to the disease, by predicting their cognition test scores up to two years in the future.

Converting waste, 'a leftover resource,' to biofuels reduces emissions

The United States could produce enough energy each year by harnessing waste—from landfill refuse to cow manure—to power the states of Oregon and Washington, all while cutting the equivalent of 37 million cars' worth of carbon.

The next step in AI? Mimicking a baby's brain

The phrase "positive reinforcement," is something you hear more often in an article about child rearing than one about artificial intelligence. But according to Alice Parker, Dean's Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a little positive reinforcement is just what our AI machines need. Parker has been building electronic circuits for over a decade to reverse-engineer the human brain to better understand how it works and ultimately build artificial systems that mimic it. Her most recent paper, co-authored with Ph.D. student Kun Yue and colleagues from UC Riverside, was just published in the journal Science Advances and takes an important step towards that ultimate goal.

Intel's Ice Lake launch has tech world poking, prodding

This week Intel watchers had their eyes peeled on reports about the first 10th-gen Ice Lake CPUs. The 10th Gen Intel Core processors are code-named "Ice Lake," and Ice Lake is built upon a "Sunny Cove" architecture that uses a 10nm process. Intel kicked off the first day of August by launching the processors—11 of them— designed for "remarkably sleek 2 in 1s and laptops."

Pentagon stalls $10 bn cloud contract eyed by Amazon

The Pentagon has put off awarding a $10 billion cloud computing contract sought by Amazon, saying Thursday that the process will be reviewed by the newly-appointed defense secretary.

There's no evidence 5G is going to harm our health, so let's stop worrying about it

Hype continues to surround the roll-out of 5G technology in Australia and across the world.

Liverpool: huge tidal power plant on the Mersey could make city a renewable energy hotspot

Liverpool has declared a climate emergency. The mayors of both the city itself and the surrounding "city region" have recognised the emergency, and both have suggested that a tidal barrage on the River Mersey could form part of the solution. And on a recent visit to the city, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would support the £3.5 billion project.

Some heart-rate monitors give less reliable readings for people of colour

Many smartwatches and other digital fitness trackers have a function for measuring heart rate. However, a recent report from Stat News suggests that these heart-rate monitors may not be all that accurate for people of colour and the darker your skin, the less reliable the reading.

Ancient predators inspire visionary research

Insects are inspiring University of South Australia researchers to create new technology based on their extraordinary vision.

New tool could reduce security analysts' workloads by automating data triage

During a cyberattack, security analysts focus on answering four key questions: what happened to the network, what was the impact, why did it happen, and what should be done? And while analysts utilize advancements in software and hardware tools in their response, the tools are unable to answer these questions as well as humans can.

Applied physical sciences research advances solar energy

In an article published this month in Science, researchers in the Huang Group in the College of Arts & Sciences' department of applied physical sciences at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill revealed a new method for stabilizing perovskite solar cells and discussed the implications it has on the future of solar energy and other technologies.

Photovoltaic power from textiles

Imagine a truck tarp that can harvest the energy of sunlight! With the help of new textile-based solar cells developed by Fraunhofer researchers, semitrailers could soon be producing the electricity needed to power cooling systems or other onboard equipment. In short, textile-based solar cells could soon be adding a whole new dimension to photovoltaics, complementing the use of conventional silicon-based solar cells.

New technology: Hygienic beer caps

UV light inactivates germs in drinking water. Until now, the disinfection process relied on mercury-vapor lamps, which emit light in the UV spectrum. However, mercury is a heavy metal that affects human health and the environment. Fraunhofer researchers are investigating a greener and more efficient alternative, which uses UV LEDs to destroy bacterial DNA. The technology is also suitable for disinfecting brewing water and for disinfecting the caps for bottled beer, soft drinks, and mineral water during the filling process.

A cooling system without harmful refrigerants

A discovery from 1917 becomes viable for the future. A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM is developing efficient magnetocaloric cooling systems that make do without harmful refrigerants. The esearchers hope to achieve 50 percent of the maximum efficiency level with their process. Comparable existing magnetocaloric systems reach only approximately 30 percent.

Boeing changing Max software to use 2 computers

Boeing is working on new software for the 737 Max that will use a second flight control computer to make the system more reliable, solving a problem that surfaced in June with the grounded jet, two people briefed on the matter said Friday.

Toyota Q1 net profit up nearly 4%, full-year profit revised down

Japanese car giant Toyota said Friday its first quarter net profit rose thanks to solid sales and cost cutting efforts, but it revised down full-year profit partly due to a stronger yen.

Ferrari sales, profits accelerate

Luxury sports carmaker Ferrari beat analyst expectations on Friday as sales and profits accelerated in the second quarter despite the global auto market hitting the brakes.

German car sales higher in July

The car market in Europe's largest economy Germany grew strongly in July, official data showed Friday, but figures for the year to date show sales barely beating 2018 levels.

Rising fuel costs crimp profits at IAG airline group

Rising effective fuel costs helped push operating profits lower at British Airways parent company IAG in the first half of the year, although the group managed to increase revenue from passengers despite intense competition in the industry.

World's first electric hydrofoil jet ski

The University of Western Australia's Renewable Energy Vehicle Project (REV) has teamed up with technology partner Electro.Aero, a Perth-based start-up company, and funding sponsor Galaxy Resources, an ASX-listed lithium producer, to develop the world's first electric hydrofoil personal watercraft, named WaveFlyer.

Mercedes apologizes for SUV tweet, stresses CO2-neutral aim

Mercedes-Benz has apologized for a tweet that appeared to celebrate the carbon dioxide emissions of an SUV model.

Minivan sales keep falling, but experts say they'll live on

They were the suburban vehicle of choice in the 1990s and early 2000s, but ever since, minivans appeared to be riding the slow lane to extinction.

Stolen goods on Amazon? Shoppers won't care, experts say

News of an alleged Amazon theft ring involving contract delivery drivers is unlikely to make a dent in the online shopping giant's massive business. But it may make people more wary of letting deliveries into their house when they aren't there—a nascent project from both Amazon and Walmart .

Medicine & Health news

Fear of more dangerous second Zika, dengue infections unfounded in monkeys

An initial infection with dengue virus did not prime monkeys for an especially virulent infection of Zika virus, according to a study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nor did a bout with Zika make a follow-on dengue infection more dangerous.

High insulin production may contribute to pancreatic cancer

UBC scientists have demonstrated for the first time a causal link between high insulin levels and pancreatic cancer.

Researchers remove the need for anti-rejection drugs in transplant recipients

For decades, immunologists have been trying to train the transplant recipient's immune system to accept transplanted cells and organs without the long-term use of anti-rejection drugs. New University of Minnesota preclinical research shows that this is now possible.

Change the bias, change the behavior? Maybe not

The concept of implicit bias has made its way into the general consciousness, most often in the context of racial bias. More broadly, however, implicit biases can affect how people think of anything—from their thoughts about cookies to those about white men.

New research could explain why babies born during winter are at higher risk of developing mental health disorders

Levels of the stress hormone cortisol are higher in women who give birth in the autumn and winter than those who give birth in the spring or summer, finds a new study by researchers at Cardiff University.

Tumor macrophage marker offers unique target for treatment

Macrophages are white blood cells that accumulate in tumors, where they aid cancer progression. Now scientists have identified a surface protein found only on the macrophages residing in tumors, exposing a target for precise tumor treatments.

Hormone therapy linked to heart fat, hard arteries

Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment for menopause-related symptoms, and new research from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health reinforces the importance of tailoring hormone therapy to each patient, based on her individual risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

New stem cell combination could help to repair damaged hearts

A combination of heart cells derived from human stem cells could be the answer to developing a desperately-needed treatment for heart failure, according to new research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in Nature Biotechnology.

Knowing where the center of a space is helps inform spatial awareness

As you enter a new environment such as visiting a classroom for the first time, your brain takes in information about your surroundings to help inform where you are and what direction you are facing. Knowing where the center of the room is located helps provide a reference point for processing space. A Dartmouth study published in Science provides new insight into navigation and spatial learning by examining how the rat brain processes spatial information from the outside world in an egocentric framework and converts it to information in relation to the animal's spatial position in an allocentric framework (referenced to the world at-large).

Socially active 60-year-olds face lower dementia risk

Being more socially active in your 50s and 60s predicts a lower risk of developing dementia later on, finds a new UCL-led study.

How 'natural-killer' cells might help women avoid a deadly risk of childbirth

One of the most dangerous risks expectant mothers face as their delivery date approaches is a surprisingly common condition with a little-known name: placental accreta.

Paradoxical outcomes for Zika-exposed tots

In the midst of an unprecedented Zika crisis in Brazil, there were a few flickers of hope: Some babies appeared to be normal at birth, free of devastating birth defects that affected other Brazilian children exposed to the virus in utero. But according to a study published online July 8, 2019, in Nature Medicine and an accompanying commentary co-written by a Children's National clinician-researcher, the reality for Zika-exposed infants is much more complicated.

Medical marijuana cleared for release to Louisiana patients

Medical marijuana is expected to start reaching select dispensaries in Louisiana on Tuesday, after the state agriculture department completed final testing and cleared therapeutic cannabis for release to patients.

Hungarian doctors separate Bangladeshi twins joined at head

Bangladeshi twins who were joined at the head were recovering Friday after Hungarian surgeons performed a marathon 30-hour operation to separate their skulls and brains.

Deep learning AI may identify atrial fibrillation from a normal rhythm ECG

An artificial intelligence (AI) model has been found to identify patients with intermittent atrial fibrillation even when performed during normal rhythm using a quick and non-invasive 10 second test, compared to current tests which can take weeks to years. Although early and requiring further research before implementation, the findings could aid doctors investigating unexplained strokes or heart failure, enabling appropriate treatment.

Researchers make immunotherapy work for treatment-resistant lymphoma

Mount Sinai researchers have developed a way to use immunotherapy drugs against treatment-resistant non-Hodgkin's lymphomas for the first time by combining them with stem cell transplantation, an approach that also dramatically increased the success of the drugs in melanoma and lung cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Discovery in August.

Experimental treatment slows prion disease, extends life of mice

Scientists using an experimental treatment have slowed the progression of scrapie, a degenerative central nervous disease caused by prions, in laboratory mice and greatly extended the rodents' lives, according to a new report in JCI Insight. The scientists used antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), synthetic compounds that inhibit the formation of specific proteins.

Veterans with traumatic brain injuries have higher suicide risk

Military veterans with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more than twice as likely to die by suicide compared with veterans without such a diagnosis, according to a newly published study by researchers led by faculty from the CU School of Medicine.

Cancer clinic closures limit access to care, increase Medicare spending

From 2008 to 2016, 380 cancer treatment facilities closed nationally, and another 390 practices struggled to stay open due to financial stress. According to the Community Oncology Alliance, cancer clinic closures place an additional burden on the nearly 20 percent of Americans living in rural areas due to limited local access to oncology care, forcing patients to travel farther for treatment.

Tiny blood cells could protect against cerebral palsy

Platelets—tiny cells critical for blood clotting—could be the key to protecting against brain damage occurring during pregnancy or around the time of birth.

Priority rule for organ donors could have unintended consequences

Several countries have combated low organ donor counts by implementing a priority rule that pushes registered donors to the front of the line if they ever need a transplant. However, according to a study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin published today in Management Science, this model has drawbacks.

Study: Available gun violence data doesn't show the full picture

The Journal of Behavioral Medicine has published its first special issue dedicated to gun violence, featuring research on gun violence data from Lori Ann Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy & Economics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Blight-busting demolitions reduced gun injuries, deaths in Detroit neighborhoods

For the past half-decade, Detroit's government and community groups have worked to tear down abandoned houses and other buildings in the city's most blight-stricken neighborhoods, in the name of public safety and quality of life.

Water treatment cuts parasitic roundworm infections affecting 800 million people

Roundworm infections can be reduced significantly simply by improving the treatment and quality of drinking water in high risk regions, according to an international team of researchers led by Tufts University.

Remember food safety when packing school lunches

Soon children will again be taking their lunches to school, and because they are at higher-than-normal risk for foodborne illness, parents and caregivers need to pack those lunches with food safety in mind, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

NAU team invents patented technology that speeds wound healing, prevents infection

The American population is aging, and conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. With those factors in place, the medical community has growing concerns about wound treatment. According to the American Professional Wound Care Association, about 15 percent of Medicare recipients suffer chronic, nonhealing wounds with an annual cost of about $30 billion.

People with intellectual disabilities are often not told about their medicines and their potential side effects

The 1.5m people in the UK with an intellectual disability experience significant health inequality. Research shows that they are more likely to develop health problems than the general population, they are more likely to have reduced access to healthcare, and they are more likely to receive poorer care.

Can collagen help fix Injured tendons? These tissue engineers think so.

Tendon injuries can happen in an instant. With a loud pop and a sharp pain, even the most casual athlete's lifestyle can be altered permanently. Jeff Ruberti, professor of bioengineering at Northeastern, learned this unfortunate lesson firsthand: While playing pickup soccer at a conference in 2017, he planted his foot to change directions, and instantly snapped his Achilles tendon.

Expanding pharmacy services increases both health-care and profit outcomes

Unlike many other health-care professions, pharmacists have both professional and business objectives. The majority of Canadian pharmacies are located in communities as opposed to in hospitals, selling retail products, like cosmetics and food, in addition to filling prescriptions.

Why the 'brain-eating' amoeba found in freshwater lakes – while rare – is so deadly

Composed of a single cell, amoeba seem harmless enough: They look like playful critters waltzing under the spotlight of a microscope until they come upon a group of bacteria. Then, these previously innocuous amoeba suddenly morph into sinister blobs, engulfing the bacteria and slowly ripping them apart with a bevy of digestive enzymes. It's hard to cry over murdered bacteria, but the digestive power of amoeba is the stuff of nightmares when it plays out in a human brain.

Children don't like nature as much as adults—but preferences change with age

A study of kids aged 4-11 suggests affinity for outdoors may not be inherent. Imagine staring at a lake backed by snow-capped mountains, walking through a secluded forest or listening to birds sing. Now imagine a busy downtown, with skyscrapers soaring up above the rush of trains and cars.

Human-animal hybrids are coming and could be used to grow organs for transplant – a philosopher weighs in

Around the world thousands of people are on organ donor waiting lists. While some of those people will receive the organ transplants they need in time, the sad reality is that many will die waiting. But controversial new research may provide a way to address this crisis.

Conspiracy theories and fear of needles contribute to vaccine hesitancy for many parents

Over 1,160 cases of measles have been confirmed in the U.S. in 2019. That is more measles cases in just seven months than any full year this decade, and, more problematically, more than all U.S. measles cases from 2010-2013 and 2015-2017 combined.

Grudges come naturally to kids – gratitude must be taught

Have you heard this tale? In ancient times, an escaped slave hid in a cave only to encounter a wounded lion. Although afraid, the man helps the lion, removing a thorn from its paw. The lion is forever grateful, shares his food with the man and, eventually, saves his life.

Insomnia: how to help children (and their parents) get a good night's sleep

As the day ends and evening begins, some parents are getting ready for a serious task. Not because they are preparing for a late shift at work, but because they are about to confront the battle of their children's bedtime.

Uganda begins largest trial of experimental Ebola vaccine

Researchers in Uganda have launched the largest-ever trial of the experimental Ebola vaccine that is expected to be deployed in neighboring Congo, where a deadly outbreak has killed over 1,800 people.

New tool uses swine respiratory cells to study influenza viruses

Studying how influenza viruses cause disease just got a little easier, thanks to a new tool developed at South Dakota State University.

Older people who go to church have better mental health

A new study released by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity uncovers some of the relationships between faith and mental health in Ireland.

Antibiotics through machine learning

Machine learning techniques can be used to search for new drugs for one of the most insidious causes of stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems, the bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori.

New treatment could improve care for two bone diseases

Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the University of Barcelona (UB) have described the ability of an inhibitor of the PI3Kα (BYL719) to block the ectopic bone formation in mice. This could lead to improve the treatment of two pathologies: heterotopic ossification and fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP, a rare bone disease). The study was led by Dr. Francesc Ventura, head of the Cell Signaling and Bone Biology group.

Resuscitation mat simplifies cardiac massage

Every year, some 10,000 people in Germany die from cardiac arrest, even though they could have been saved. In fact, only 15 percent of Germans say they would trust themselves to administer cardiac massage in an emergency situation. Now, an innovative new resuscitation mat is set to help inexperienced first responders resuscitate victims in cases of circulatory arrest. Equipped with integrated sensors, the first aid tool was developed by a team of Fraunhofer researchers in collaboration with students at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich.

A health check based on epigenetics

Chemical reactions and molecular modifications change the genome of each and every human over the course of their lifetime. These modifications can result in disease, but they also provide a basis for determining a person's biological age. Fraunhofer scientists participating in the project "DrugTarget" have now developed a method that can quickly check the condition of the genome. This will help develop points of intervention for new medicines and will help inform people how youthful their bodies are.

New treatment option shown for heart failure fluid overload

Higher doses of spironolactone, a diuretic (water pill), can prevent the need for dialysis in selected heart failure patients, a UT Health San Antonio study found. The aggressive approach relieved fluid overload safely and effectively in patients who were not responding to conventional diuretics.

AI reveals new breast cancer types that respond differently to treatment

Scientists have used artificial intelligence to recognise patterns in breast cancer—and uncovered five new types of the disease each matched to different personalised treatments.

Surgery simulators are key to assessment of trainees

Machine learning-guided virtual reality simulators can help neurosurgeons develop the skills they need before they step in the operating room, according to a new study.

Frailty is a medical condition, not an inevitable result of aging

Frailty is not simply an adjective associated with old age, it is a medical condition all on its own. And it has significant medical, social and economic implications.

Sesame allergy is more common than previously known

Sesame allergy affects more than 1 million children and adults in the U.S., more than previously known, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

In medicine, young women continue to pay a higher price for family

Forty percent of female doctors in a new study stopped working or moved to working part time within a few years of finishing their medical training. In contrast, all of the male doctors kept working full time. The findings were published online today in JAMA Network Open.

Study finds genetic testing motivates behavior changes in families at risk for melanoma

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, and melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates more than 96,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year, and the disease will cause more than 7,000 deaths. Utah has a particularly high melanoma rate. A new study led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) and collaborators at Northwestern University (NW) and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) investigated whether genetic testing would motivate people at risk of developing melanoma to alter their behavior in order to reduce their risk. The study was published today in Genetics in Medicine.

Trouble driving at night? Yellow lenses won't help

(HealthDay)—"Night-driving" glasses that promise to dim the glare of headlights may not work as advertised, a new study finds.

Another video game risk to watch out for

(HealthDay)—Video games carry labels with an age-related rating, typically based on the level of violence, strong language and sexual content. But that's not the only guideline to consider.

Plasma assay promising for diagnosis of early Alzheimer disease

(HealthDay)—Plasma β-amyloid (Aβ)42/Aβ40 corresponds with amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) status, according to a study published online Aug. 1 in Neurology.

Mediterranean eating plan may help keep T2DM patients off meds

(HealthDay)—A Mediterranean eating plan (Med-EatPlan) plus extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) may delay the need for first glucose-lowering medication among participants with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

Hair loss not just a male problem

(HealthDay)—The sad sight of a receding hairline is not limited to men, a dermatologist says.

Florida latest place to declare emergency over hepatitis A

Officials have declared a public health emergency over the rising number of hepatitis A cases in Florida, the latest part of the country dealing with outbreaks of the liver disease.

Cities now see more overdose deaths than rural areas

U.S. drug overdose deaths, which have been concentrated in Appalachia and other rural areas for more than a dozen years, are back to being most common in big cities again, according to a government report issued Friday.

Former Ebola patients to mark 5 years since treatment in US

As the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history rages in Congo, a doctor who survived the deadly disease five years ago worries that people aren't paying enough attention.

Study identifies genetic differences that may increase risk of obesity, diabetes

In a Finnish study that included researchers from UCLA, the DNA from nearly 20,000 people was harnessed to identify genetic mutations that may increase the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and other diseases and conditions.

Love connections at heart of unique study

You meet someone. You hit it off.

Want to avoid a botched beauty procedure? This is what you need to be wary of

Recent news that more than a dozen cosmetic beauty operators have been shut down across Victoria in the last year will give many people cause for concern.

Beefing up security isn't the only way to make hospitals safer

Yesterday's strike by NSW hospital staff over security concerns has highlighted just how serious the issue of workplace violence has become for health-care workers.

Seven in DR Congo Ebola scare placed under surveillance: WHO

Seven relatives of a gold miner who died of Ebola in eastern DR Congo have been placed under surveillance as a precaution, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Hurricane checklist: batteries, bottled water—and A plan for heart care

With hurricane season in full swing, the constant counsel along the nation's coastlines is to be prepared.

Pregnancy weight gain: what's right for you?

(HealthDay)—Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to unhealthy post-pregnancy weight for moms, and a higher risk of obesity and related conditions in their children. But not gaining enough weight has consequences, too.

Biology news

Orchestrating development in the fly embryo

Most multicellular organisms on Earth—including you—begin as a single fertilized egg and then undergo a complex choreography of cellular growth to become a functioning adult composed of countless cells. Understanding this process is a major goal in the field of developmental biology. Now, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, a new study illustrates how two proteins act like conductors, giving cues during the very earliest stages of a fruit fly's development.

Mapping the kinks in faulty DNA

Here is a challenge for you: copy letter-by-letter, word-for-word a document that is 1,200,000 pages long—that's a stack of paper higher than the Statue of Liberty. And don't make any typos  or miss any punctuation.

When plant roots learned to follow gravity

Highly developed seed plants evolved deep root systems that are able to sense Earth's gravity. The how and when of this evolutionary step has, until now, remained unknown. Plant biologists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have identified crucial components and processes which only developed in seed plants around 350 million years ago to enable fast and efficient gravity-driven root growth. The results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

New technology for protein complex discovery holds promise for biotechnology and crop improvement

Living cells survive and adapt by forming stable protein complexes that allow them to modulate protein activity, do mechanical work and convert signals into predictable responses, but identifying the proteins in those complexes is technically challenging. Purdue University researchers have developed a method to predict the composition of thousands of proteins complexes at one time, a discovery that will speed discoveries about cell functions.

To learn how poison frogs are adapting to warmer temperatures, scientists got crafty

There's a species of poison frog called the "strawberry frog" or the "blue jeans frog," depending on who you ask. These frogs are smaller than a quarter, with bright red bodies and navy blue limbs, and they live in shady Costa Rican forests. Or, they did, until humans began cutting the forests to create farmland. These sunny fields and pastures are hotter and drier than the forests, and scientists wanted to know how the strawberry frogs were adapting to their new environment. To figure it out, the researchers built mini temperature-controlled frog habitats to see what temperatures the frogs gravitated towards. They discovered that frogs from sunny pastures tend to seek out higher temperatures than their forest friends—but the ceiling for temperatures they can survive hasn't changed.

Research reveals bittersweet truth of how bee-friendly limonoids are made

Limonoids are a class of plant natural products whose complex chemistry has been intensively investigated for over 50 years.

Genes that first enabled plants to grow leaves identified by scientists

The genes that first enabled plants to grow shoots and conquer the land have been identified by University of Bristol researchers. The findings, published in Current Biology, explain how a 450-million years ago a switch enabled plants to delay reproduction and grow shoots, leaves and buds.

Fearing cougars more than wolves, Yellowstone elk manage threats from both predators

Wolves are charismatic, conspicuous, and easy to single out as the top predator affecting populations of elk, deer, and other prey animals. However, a new study has found that the secretive cougar is actually the main predator influencing the movement of elk across the winter range of northern Yellowstone National Park.

Biologists reverse engineer the microtubules that make up cell walls and spindles

Imagine standing in a lumberyard and being asked to build a house—without blueprints or instructions of any kind. The materials are all in front of you, but that doesn't mean you have the first idea how to get from point A to point B.

Eleven new species of rain frogs discovered in the tropical Andes

Eleven new to science species of rain frogs are described by two scientists from the Museum of Zoology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in the open-access journal ZooKeys. Discovered in the Ecuadorian Andes, the species are characterized in detail on the basis of genetic, morphological, bioacoustic, and ecological features.

Finding signs of happiness in chickens could help us understand their lives in captivity

When animal welfare campaigner Ruth Harrison published a book in 1964 called Animal Machines, there was a public outcry. Her vivid descriptions of post-war intensive farming started a discussion about animal welfare that led to new guidelines for safeguarding animals in human care. From this, the "Five Freedoms" were born.

Turtle embryos can choose their own sex, shows new research – but why?

The animal world has many weird and wonderful ways of having sex. Some animals, such as snails, are hermaphrodites—able to make both eggs and sperm simultaneously. Some, such as wrasses and parrot-fish, initially hatch as male but transition to female in later life as they get older. Still others, including some lizard species, have dispensed with males entirely, and the females reproduce by parthenogenesis—laying fully fertile eggs without the need for sperm.

Discovery of non-blooming orchid on Japanese subtropical islands

A group of Japanese scientists has discovered a new orchid species on Japan's subtropical islands of Amami-Oshima and Tokunoshima that bears fruit without once opening its flowers. They named the new species Gastrodia amamiana, and the findings were published in the online edition of Phytotaxa on August 2.

Investigating alternatives to opioids for dogs in pain

Opioids are among the most effective pain relievers in dogs and cats, but amid the U.S. opioid crisis it has become much more difficult for animal hospitals to access these drugs. This, coupled with the potential for abuse of opioids by pet owners or others, makes it increasingly imperative that veterinarians pursue alternatives.

Researchers discover new mechanism of microorganism resistance against free radicals

There are numerous different scenarios in which microorganisms are exposed to highly reactive molecules known as free radicals. These molecules are capable of damaging important cell components and may be generated during normal cell metabolism or in response to environmental factors. Free radicals play a significant role in antibiotic effectiveness, the development of diseases and the normal functioning of the human immune system. A team of researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin has discovered a previously unknown mechanism which enables microorganisms to protect themselves against free radicals. Their findings may help improve the efficacy of antimicrobial substances. Results from this research have been published in Nature.

US and China should collaborate, not compete, to bring AI to healthcare

In the wake of the U.S. government ordering the Chinese artificial intelligence company iCarbonX to divest its majority ownership stake in the Cambridge, Mass.-based company PatientsLikeMe, Eric Topol, M.D., of Scripps Research, argues for more, not less, collaboration between China and the U.S. on artificial intelligence development.

Endangered list sought for firefly with double-green flash

Peering through the darkness under the faint light of a peach-colored moon, wildlife biologist Jason Davis spots a telltale green flash in the bushes.

Study finds native bighorn sheep herds retain migratory diversity

On the surface, bighorn sheep migration is like that of many other large mammals, moving to higher elevations as snow melts in the springtime then returning to lower ground to forage as winter sets in.

Number of US fish stocks at sustainable levels remains near record high

Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the Status of U.S. Fisheries Annual Report to Congress, which details the status of 479 federally-managed stocks or stock complexes in the U.S. to identify which stocks are subject to overfishing, are overfished, or are rebuilt to sustainable levels.

Mystery deaths of dolphins, whales off Tuscany

Thirty-two dolphins and two whales have been found dead off the Tuscan coast since the beginning of the year, the Italian region's environmental protection agency said Friday.

Convention on Biological Diversity adopts indicator to track conservation of useful plants

The Biodiversity Indicators Partnership officially adopted in July a new indicator to track progress on the conservation of thousands of economically and culturally important plants. Developed by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and the Crop Trust, the indicator helps rate progress toward the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Aichi Biodiversity Target 13, which includes maintaining the genetic diversity of cultivated plants, their wild relatives, and other socioeconomically and culturally valuable flora. The metric is also listed as a relevant indicator for Sustainable Development Goal 2.5. But based on the very low average score for the plants in the index—about 3 out of 100—the indicator shows that much work remains to be done to achieve the conservation target.

New research shows effectiveness of laws for protecting imperiled species, remaining gaps

New research from the Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) at Defenders of Wildlife, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows for the first time the importance of expert agencies to protecting imperiled species. This paper, "Data Indicate the Importance of Expert Agencies in Conservation Policy," empirically supports the need for strong oversight of federal activities. It also suggests data-driven ways to improve efficiency without sacrificing protections. This is critical at a time when conservation laws and policies are under attack: understanding what works in conservation is essential in combatting the global biodiversity crisis.

Greening devastates the citrus industry—new research offers a solution

Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as greening, is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. Infected trees produce bitter fruits that are green, misshapen, and unsuitable for sale. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure and it typically dies within a few years. Greening has already devastated the Florida citrus industry and poses a threat to California and Texas as well as Australia and the Mediterranean region.

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