Thursday, August 15, 2019

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Aug 15

Dear Reader ,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

An evolutionary robotics approach for robot swarm cooperation

Study reports high-harmonic generation in an epsilon-near-zero material

Quantum system virtually cooled to half of its actual temperature

Controlled hydraulic fracturing sculpts mammalian embryos into shape

Three new Beta Cephei stars detected

Newfound superconductor material could be the 'silicon of quantum computers'

Versatile, portable exosuit assists with both walking and running

Virgin Galactic reveals futuristic outpost for space tourism

Ice sheets impact core elements of the Earth's carbon cycle

Stronger graphene oxide 'paper' made with weaker units

Amazon improves face analysis tech, adds fear

Who won the war? We did, says everyone

New study shows how autism can be measured through a non-verbal marker

Climate change 'disrupts' local plant diversity, study reveals

Immune cells drive gallstone formation

Astronomy & Space news

Three new Beta Cephei stars detected

Using NASA's prolonged Kepler mission, known as K2, astronomers have identified three new Beta Cephei stars. The newly found trio is an important addition to the still short list of known stars of this type. The finding is detailed in a paper published August 7 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Virgin Galactic reveals futuristic outpost for space tourism

Spaceport America is no longer just a shiny shell of hope that space tourism would one day launch from this remote spot in the New Mexico desert.

Total annihilation for supermassive stars

A renegade star exploding in a distant galaxy has forced astronomers to set aside decades of research and focus on a new breed of supernova that can utterly annihilate its parent star—leaving no remnant behind. The signature event, something astronomers had never witnessed before, may represent the way in which the most massive stars in the Universe, including the first stars, die.

Moon glows brighter than sun in images from NASA's Fermi

If our eyes could see high-energy radiation called gamma rays, the Moon would appear brighter than the Sun! That's how NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has seen our neighbor in space for the past decade.

Stellar evolution in real time detected in the old star T Ursae Minoris

An international team of astronomers succeeded in detecting signs of aging in the red supergiant star T UMi. The star in the Little Bear constellation is currently going through its last nuclear "hiccups," and will soon end its 1.2 billion year-long life.

A brief astronomical history of Saturn's amazing rings

Many dream of what they would do had they a time machine. Some would travel 100 million years back in time, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Not many, though, would think of taking a telescope with them, and if, having done so, observe Saturn and its rings.

How astronomers chase new worlds in TESS data

As pink liquid oozed around her shoes, astronomer Johanna Teske started to feel sick. She had been looking for new planets with the Planet Finder Spectrograph, an astronomical instrument resembling an industrial-sized refrigerator mounted to the Magellan II telescope. One night in October 2018, a hose leading to the instrument burst, causing pink coolant to spill onto sensitive parts of the instrument and the surrounding platform. Would Teske's search be ruined?

Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket

NASA's top official says the rocket expected to power the next mission to the moon is about 90 percent complete.

First DJ in space

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano made space (and music) history on 13 August when he broadcast the first DJ music set from orbit, performing to an audience of over 3000 people as part of the BigCityBeats WORLD CLUB DOME Cruise Edition.

Conceptual design ready for PLATO telescope simulator

SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research designs and builds a space simulator to test and calibrate eight out of twenty-six cameras for ESA's next exoplanet hunter telescope, PLATO. The conceptual design is now complete. PLATO will be able to spot smaller planets in larger orbits than its predecessors. This could lead to the discovery of Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone. The telescope is even sensitive enough to measure characteristics of potential atmospheres around these planets.

Technology news

An evolutionary robotics approach for robot swarm cooperation

Recombination, the rearrangement of genetic materials as a result of mating or of combining segments of DNA from different organisms, has numerous evolutionary advantages. For instance, it allows organisms to remove deleterious mutations from their genomes and take on more useful mutations.

Versatile, portable exosuit assists with both walking and running

Between walking at a leisurely pace and running for your life, human gaits can cover a wide range of speeds. Typically, we choose the gait that allows us to consume the least amount of energy at a given speed. For example, at low speeds, the metabolic rate of walking is lower than that of running in a slow jog; vice versa at high speeds, the metabolic rate of running is lower than that of speed walking.

Amazon improves face analysis tech, adds fear

Amazon's image recognition software is now able to detect fear. Amazon Web Services announced this as part of an update note about its facial recognition software, Rekognition.

How buildings can cut 80% of their carbon emissions by 2050

Energy use in buildings—from heating and cooling your home to keeping the lights on in the office—is responsible for over one-third of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States. Slashing building CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 would therefore contribute significantly to combatting climate change. A new model developed by researchers at two U.S. national laboratories suggests that reaching this target will require the installation of highly energy-efficient building technologies, new operational approaches, and electrification of building systems that consume fossil fuels directly, alongside increases in the share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Their work appears August 15 in the journal Joule.

Electric car charging stations may be portals for power grid cyberattacks

Electric cars are an essential component of a lower-carbon future, but a new report from researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering raises the specter that plug-in electric vehicles—and the charging stations that supply them—could be prime vectors for cyberattacks on urban power grids.

Engineers show off Astro the robot dog

What would you get if you combined Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa with Boston Dynamic's quadraped robots? You'd get "Astro," the four-legged seeing and hearing intelligent robodog.

Router guest networks lack adequate security, according to researchers

While many organizations and home networks use a host and guest network on the same router hardware to increase security, a new study by Ben-Gurion University indicates that routers from well-known manufacturers are vulnerable to cross-router data leaks through a malicious attack on one of the two separated networks.

Mexican start-up fights air pollution with artificial trees

Trees are one of the best things we have to clean the Earth's air, but they have certain drawbacks: they need time and space to grow.

Drones sensing by a whisker

A University of Queensland engineer has followed nature's example and developed whiskers for drones and robots, allowing machines to sense surroundings just as animals do.

Facilitating a smooth technological transition for citizens returning from prison

When searching for a job, most of us click onto a company website or a popular career site, push a few buttons, and apply. Even in our highly connected world, however, not everyone can find a job from behind a computer screen.

Alibaba revenue jumps in first quarter

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said Thursday that first quarter revenue beat analyst estimates, defying a slowing economy and a trade war with the United States.

The language gives it away: How an algorithm can help us detect fake news

Have you ever read something online and shared it among your networks, only to find out it was false?

ECB uncovers data breach in bank newsletter

Hackers had access for months to the contact information of hundreds of financial industry subscribers to a European Central Bank newsletter, the Frankfurt institution said Thursday.

Are Siri and Alexa making us ruder?

Is the way we bark out orders to digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant making us less polite? Prompted by growing concerns, two Brigham Young University information systems researchers decided to ask.

Instagram begins letting users report misinformation

Instagram on Thursday added a way for users to easily report deceptive posts at the photo and video-oriented social network owned by Facebook.

Russian pilot safely lands jetliner disabled by bird strike

A Russian pilot whose passenger jet lost power in both engines after colliding with a flock of gulls shortly after takeoff Thursday managed to land in a cornfield smoothly enough that only one of the 233 people on board was hurt seriously enough to be hospitalized.

Foxconn leaders, Wisconsin officials meet; details unclear

Foxconn Technology Group executives met Wednesday with Wisconsin's governor, legislative leaders and others but no one is saying much about what they discussed.

Employees urge Google not to work with US immigration officials

Hundreds of Google employees on Wednesday called on the internet titan to avoid working for US immigration officials until they stop "engaging in human rights abuses."

Irish airport flights suspended after runway plane fire

Flights were suspended at Shannon Airport in western Ireland for several hours on Thursday after fire broke out on the undercarriage of an aircraft on the runway, an airport spokesman said.

WTO to set up panel to judge US-China solar panel dispute

The World Trade Organization agreed Thursday to China's request to create a dispute panel tasked with judging whether US tariffs on solar panels violate international trade rules.

Medicine & Health news

New study shows how autism can be measured through a non-verbal marker

A Dartmouth-led research team has identified a non-verbal, neural marker of autism. This marker shows that individuals with autism are slower to dampen neural activity in response to visual signals in the brain. This first-of-its kind marker was found to be independent of intelligence and offers an objective way to potentially diagnose autism in the future. The results are published in Current Biology.

Immune cells drive gallstone formation

Sticky meshworks of DNA and proteins extruded by white blood cells called neutrophils act as the glue that binds together calcium and cholesterol crystals during gallstone formation, researchers in Germany report August 15 in the journal Immunity. Both genetic and pharmacological approaches that inhibited the formation of these so-called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) reduced the formation and growth of gallstones in mice.

Tweaked CRISPR in neurons gives scientists new power to probe brain diseases

A team of scientists at UC San Francisco and the National Institutes of Health have achieved another CRISPR first, one which may fundamentally alter the way scientists study brain diseases.

Non-invasive electrical stimulation alters blood flow in brain tumors

In a first-of-its kind study, neurologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) tested the use of non-invasive electrical stimulation as a novel therapeutic approach to brain tumors. In an experiment published in Science Advances, the scientists—led by Emiliano Santarnecchi, Ph.D., principal investigator at the Berenson-Allen Center For Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation at BIDMC—demonstrated that applying low-intensity electrical stimulation to the brains of patients with tumors resulted in decreased blood flow within tumors while leaving the rest of the brain unchanged. Although further study is needed, the findings suggest that a series of such treatments could modify tumor growth and progression.

Drug accelerates blood system's recovery after chemotherapy, radiation

A drug developed by UCLA physician-scientists and chemists speeds up the regeneration of mouse and human blood stem cells after exposure to radiation. If the results can be replicated in humans, the compound could help people recover quicker from chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants.

Gut microbiome composition could make diarrhea less likely

Antibiotics are known to upset the balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract. In some cases, antibiotics can cause the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) to overgrow wildly, causing diarrhea and, in severe cases, life-threatening intestinal inflammation.

Monkey malaria breakthrough offers cure for relapsing malaria

A breakthrough in monkey malaria research by two University of Otago scientists could help scientists diagnose and treat a relapsing form of human malaria.

Optic nerve stimulation to aid the blind

Scientists from EPFL in Switzerland and Scuola Superiore Sant"Anna in Italy are developing technology for the blind that bypasses the eyeball entirely and sends messages to the brain. They do this by stimulating the optic nerve with a new type of intraneural electrode called OpticSELINE. Successfully tested in rabbits, they report their results in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

New pain organ discovered in the skin

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered a new sensory organ that is able to detect painful mechanical damage, such as pricks and impacts. The discovery is being published in the journal Science.

Relaxing of regulations for regenerative medicines has cascading effect internationally

Countries that relax regulations for regenerative medicines could be causing a downward spiral in international standards, according to new research published today.

Scientists uncover neuronal mechanism central to human free recall

Extraterrestrial scientists landing in a football stadium would be struck by the sight of the crowd suddenly standing up and shouting in unison. In a similar manner, since the nineties, researchers have observed a special pattern of neuronal activity in rodents: tens of thousands of nerve cells firing in unison in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. But, like an alien scientist, the researchers have not been able to understand the "language" of the rodents' minds when these mysterious synchronous bursts occurred.

MDM2 counteracts resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors for melanoma therapy

A study from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs led by Anna Vilgelm, MD, Ph.D., and Ann Richmond, Ph.D., has identified a possible second-line treatment for melanoma patients.

Study identifies characteristics of Lyme disease hospital patients in England and Wales

Patients with Lyme disease in England and Wales hospitals appear to be predominantly white, female and living in areas of low deprivation, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. The study, which examined data on 2,361 hospital patients collected between 1998 and 2015, also found an increase in Lyme disease incidence over time, with the number of new cases peaking in August each year and higher rates in central southern and western England. The findings may inform and help target health promotion messages.

Pores for thought: Ion channel study beckons first whole-brain simulation

Pores at the surface of neurons and muscle cells control your every thought, movement; the very beating of your heart. The way the pores behave—that is open, close, or lock for a short time (inactivate) depending on voltage—shapes signals in the form of ions moving across the cell surface.

Chemical screening suggests a two-pronged treatment for pediatric Ewing sarcoma

For children with Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, a combination of two different classes of drugs may work synergistically to turn off the drivers fueling this disease, finds a new study. The combination appears to be more powerful than relying on either treatment alone.

Pregnant transgender men at risk for depression and lack of care, study finds

Transgender men who become pregnant are at increased risk for depression and difficulty getting medical care due to a lack of knowledge among health care providers, a Rutgers study reports.

Premature mortality is partly predicted by city neighbourhood

We know that our environment affects our health. More specifically, it's understood that exposure to pollution and access to medical care play important supporting roles in maintaining health and wellness. A new in-depth study from Ryerson University assesses the link between premature mortality and a combination of environmental, health, socioeconomic and demographic characteristics within Toronto's 140 neighbourhoods and reaches some noteworthy conclusions, both anticipated and surprising.

Financial abuse of older adults by family members more common than scams by strangers

Despite numerous telephone, mail and internet scams directed toward older adults, relatives may perpetrate more financial elder abuse than strangers, suggests a new study by experts at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Smartphone app analyzes speech patterns to predict depression

Developed by a team led by Vishal Rana in Adelaide, South Australia, the Watchyourtalk app is a SaaS-based platform which runs in the background to a user's usual smartphone activity and collects data surrounding their word choice, semantic content, vocal tone and cognitive and linguistic state.

New biodegradable wound dressing developed

Scientists have developed a new biodegradable wound dressing that can speed up healing and is made from all-natural materials.

Moderate to heavy drinking during pregnancy alters genes in newborns, mothers

Mothers who drink moderate to high levels of alcohol during pregnancy may be changing their babies' DNA, according to a Rutgers-led study.

'Silent' strokes common after surgery, researchers find

Canadian researchers have discovered that covert—or 'silent' - strokes are common in seniors after they have elective, non-cardiac surgery and double their risk of cognitive decline one year later.

Researchers discover previously unidentified mechanisms of obesity-induced insulin resistance

A research team at the LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed), has discovered the potentials of a SECISBP2 protein in adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) as a therapeutic biomarker in the treatment of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular diseases and cancers caused by obesity-induced insulin resistance. The findings, signaling a breakthrough for a new direction towards treating these diseases, were published in Science Advances, a top-tier and internationally recogniZed academic journal. The research team was led by Dr. Feng Yibin, Associate Director of the School of Chinese Medicine, HKUMed.

Researchers building glove to treat symptoms of stroke

Strokes often have a devastating impact on hands function. Now, Stanford researchers are collaborating on a vibrating glove that could improve hand function after a stroke.

Immune system and mental health are connected

Our understanding of how our psyche affects our immune system—and vice versa—has been limited. Until now.

How to stay healthy as flesh-eating bacteria infections move into new, more northern waters

infectious disease expert discusses how to stay healthy as flesh-eating bacteria infections move into new, more northern waters

Dog detectives sniff out harmful bacteria causing lung infections

Sniffer dogs have been trained to detect ultra-low concentrations of bacteria which cause lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.

Healthier homes could cut hospital stays for young children, researchers find

Almost 20 percent of hospital admissions of young children with acute respiratory infections could be prevented if their houses were free from damp and mold, researchers have found.

Researchers describe building blocks of HIV's protective shell

The genome of the HIV-1 virus is protected by a conical-shaped protein shell called a capsid, which performs many functions crucial to viral infection—shielding the virus from the immune system, attaching to cell's transport network, and hijacking cellular machinery to reproduce. The capsids are comprised of hundreds of copies of a viral protein that form specific patterns, some of which provoke defenses of the host cell and others which recruit help in spreading viral infection.

3-D facial photography offers quick way to predict sleep apnea

Three-dimensional facial photography can provide a simple and highly accurate method of predicting the presence of obstructive sleep apnea, according to a study led by The University of Western Australia.

The power of 4-D technology advances care for heart patients

A tool that has been around for decades shows new promise in helping people with heart disease. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that adding ultrasound imaging during the doctor's assessment of cardiac function could help improve diagnoses and treatments.

A day at the beach: Deep learning for a child

The beach offers a wide open playscape where children are fueled by curiosity. Whether at the beach or elsewhere outdoors, it helps to take a moment to see the world through the lens of a child who is discovering the world anew, and slow down to be present.

More cancer cases among women with sleep apnea

Women with severe sleep apnea appear to be at an elevated risk of getting cancer, a study shows. No causal relationship is demonstrated, but the link between nocturnal hypoxia in women and higher cancer risk is still clear.

Finnish discovery brings new insight on the functioning of the eye and retinal diseases

Finnish researchers have found cellular components in the epithelial tissue of the eye, which have previously been thought to only be present in electrically active tissues, such as those in nerves and the heart. A study at Tampere University found that these components, voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels, are involved in the renewal of sensory cells in the adjacent neural tissue, the retina. The research results are highly significant considering both the basic research of the eye and incurable retinal diseases because a clear understanding of the mechanisms of many diseases is still lacking.

Preventing ADHD: Positive mothers, well-behaved kids

Studies have shown that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children can be reduced through positive parenting: by encouraging them, reassuring them, structuring their tasks and, of course, giving affection.

Wiggling it beats a path for a better performance at school

Marching, wiggling and tapping a beat aids young children to develop their self-regulation skills and improve school readiness, as shown in newly-published QUT early childhood research.

New survey reveals dangerously high salt levels in picnic foods

A new survey by Action on Salt, based at Queen Mary University of London, has found that the food content of a "typical" picnic basket could contain more than 5g of salt.

Scars: Gone with the foam

A scar on the elbow that is strained with every movement, or a foot, on which a wound simply does not want to close—poorly healing injuries are a common cause of health restrictions. And although millions of people are affected in their everyday lives, the complex process of wound healing is not yet fully understood, let alone controllable. Empa researchers have, therefore, developed a foam that is supposed to be placed in skin wounds to support and optimize the natural healing process. With the Scaravoid project, Markus Rottmar and his team in Empa's Biointerfaces lab have taken a step in a new direction. "Traditional treatments target individual factors of wound healing, such as oxygen supply or moisture regulation, and only produce an inadequate tissue response," explains Rottmar. Within Scaravoid, which is sponsored by the Gebert Rüf Foundation, the healing process is to be understood and supported more comprehensively.

Lifetime effects of poverty take toll in older age

Childhood disadvantage is directly related to levels of physical, mental and social health in older age, according to new research from Massey University.

Researchers gaining a better understanding of perpetrators of intimate partner violence

Studies have shown that male victims of domestic violence are at greater risk of growing up to be perpetrators themselves. New research, done in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University, suggests potential pathways of how that devastating cycle might be broken.

Predictability of parent interaction positively influences child's development

A joint project of the University of Turku's FinnBrain study and the University of California-Irvine (US) investigated the impact of the predictability of parent interaction on a child's development.

What's the right way for scientists to edit human genes? 5 essential reads

Since scientists first figured out how to edit genes with precision using a technology called CRISPR, they've been grappling with when and how to do it ethically. Is it reasonable to edit human genes with CRISPR? What about human genes in reproductive cells that pass the edits on to future generations?

Time for action: UK drug deaths continue to rise

Every year since 2013, the UK's Office for National Statistics has reported an increase in drug-related deaths in England. Last year, we reported that drugs had overtaken traffic accidents as a leading cause of death. This year, they have outstripped suicides among men aged 35-49. As these deaths continue to rise ever higher, the government continues to cut funding for drug treatment and actively blocks services that would save people's lives.

Shouldn't there be a law against reckless opioid sales? Turns out, there is

The massive scale of prescription opioid shipments as the ongoing overdose epidemic unfolded has started to come into focus.

One in five awaiting new hip suffer acute pain

Almost 20 percent of people awaiting hip replacements are experiencing extreme pain or discomfort, a study shows.

Treating vision and hearing problems early can contribute to longer years in good health

Older adults aged 60 years and above with vision and hearing impairments may enjoy fewer years of life and healthspan compared to those with no impairments. Detecting and managing these conditions early could prolong the duration of life lived in good health by older adults, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) in Singapore.

How technology designed for space can help detect disease on Earth

Sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream leading to poor circulation and lack of blood perfusion of vital tissues and organs, is one of the most significant causes of premature death in the world. In the UK alone there are 120,000 hospital admissions and 44,000 deaths due to the disease every year. 14,000 of these deaths are thought to be preventable through improved diagnosis and reduced treatment delays.

Care less with helmet

The significance of some objects is so deeply entrenched in our psyche that we rely on them even when they are not actually helpful. This is the case with a bike helmet. Since our childhood, we learn that we are more protected in traffic when wearing a helmet on our head. The hard, stable headgear suggests safety—even if the wearer is not sitting on a bike and the helmet cannot fulfill its function. These are the findings of psychologists from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany in cooperation with the Canadian University of Victoria.

Too much of a good thing can be dangerous, finds researchers investigating hypoglycemia

For people with diabetes, taking medications and monitoring their blood sugar is part of the rhythm of their daily lives. However, according to new research from Mayo Clinic, more than 20% of adult patients in the U.S. are likely treated too intensively. This has caused thousands of potentially preventable emergency department visits and hospitalizations for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Uric acid pathologies shorten fly lifespan, highlighting need for screening in humans

Few people get their level of uric acid, a breakdown product of metabolism, measured in their blood. Based on Buck research published August 15 in PLOS Genetics, it might be time to rethink that, given that 20 percent of the population have elevated levels of uric acid, increasing their risk for gout, kidney stones, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and early death.

Many doctors refusing care of people prescribed opioids

(HealthDay)—Folks taking opioids for chronic pain may run into trouble if they need to find a new doctor.

More than half of younger patients skip or quit blood pressure meds

(HealthDay)—High blood pressure can be a killer. But a new study finds that more than half of younger patients—those under 65—who are prescribed high blood pressure meds either stop taking them within a few months or don't take them as prescribed.

Scientists 'get on the nerves' of cancer cells

Modulation of neuroreceptors can stop the growth of lung carcinoma (cancer) cells, according to a recent study conducted by a group of researchers from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBCh RAS) and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT)

Survey data suggests widespread bullying by superiors in medical residency training

Using questionnaire answers from thousands of internal medicine residents, primarily from U.S. training programs, a research team at Johns Hopkins Medicine says it has added to the evidence that bullying of medical trainees is fairly widespread. Bullying affects about 14% of medical trainees overall, but is particularly more prevalent among foreign-born trainees.

CDC: Over one-third of U.S. youth exposed to secondhand smoke

(HealthDay)—More than one-third of U.S. nonsmoking youth are exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) from tobacco, according to an August data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Burden of obesity-associated cancers shifted to younger age groups

(HealthDay)—From 2000 to 2016, there was a shift of the obesity-associated cancer (OAC) burden to younger age groups, according to a study published online Aug. 14 in JAMA Network Open.

Cost burden of disease progression high in multiple myeloma

(HealthDay)—The economic burden of disease progression is considerable among multiple myeloma (MM) patients receiving drug therapy across all lines of therapy (LOTs), according to a study published online Aug. 7 in Leukemia & Lymphoma.

Half of physician directors of NCI cancer centers receive industry payments

(HealthDay)—In 2017, about half of physician directors of National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers received industry payments, according to a research letter published online Aug. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Discovery of how cells override genetic changes

A discovery by scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) could lead researchers to a more effective way to treat pancreatic cancer. Their findings were published today in Developmental Cell.

Screening for cervical spine risk factors could reduce CT scans by half

An estimated 8 million children suffer blunt trauma annually, and while cervical spine injury (CSI) is serious, it is uncommon. Screening children suffering from blunt trauma for CSI risk factors could cut unnecessary computed tomography (CT) scans—and radiation exposure—by half, a prospective study of more than 4,000 children found.

Age could be key to women's worse quality of life post-stroke

After a stroke, women are known to have a worse health-related quality of life than men, both in the short term and long term. Now a study gives some insight into why, and what can be done to alter the aftermath.

FDA approves drug for most deadly form of tuberculosis

(HealthDay)—A new drug has been approved as part of a powerful, three-pronged treatment regimen for the most deadly strain of tuberculosis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.

FDA proposes graphic warning labels on cigarettes

(HealthDay)—Smokers would have to get past some gruesome imagery to purchase a pack of cigarettes under a new rule proposed Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Winning coaches' locker room secret

It's a staple of every sports movie: The team is down at the half, and the coach gives an inspirational locker room speech—think Gene Hackman in Hoosiers, Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night Lights—leading the team to come roaring back to victory. But do pep talks really work?

Researchers, national leaders support keeping feeding tube orders on POLST form

Susan Hickman, Ph.D., director of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute, and her colleagues nationwide are stressing the importance of including orders about artificial nutrition preferences on POLST (Provider's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) forms.

Mayo Clinic minute: Intermittent fasting facts

Intermittent fasting is cutting yourself off from any food or beverages, other than water, for a certain amount of time. Some fasting is for religious reasons, while others fast for weight loss. But is it a healthy way to lose weight?

Hepatitis A races across the country

Just before the Fourth of July, Trenton Burrell began feeling run-down and achy. Soon he could barely muster the energy to walk from one room to another. A friend shared an alarming observation: "You're turning yellow."

Vaccines, routines and screens: Tips for a healthy school year from a physician mom

It's back-to-school time, the time of year that often has parents rushing to buy school supplies, new clothes and healthy snacks to stock the pantry. It also tends to bring stress around homework, earlier bedtimes and an influx of colds and coughs. Dr. Tina Ardon, a family medicine physician and mom of three, provides some back-to-school tips to keep parents and kids healthy in this Q&A.

Expression of M gene segment of influenza A virus determines host range

The host range of the influenza A virus (IAV) is restricted by dysregulated expression of the M viral gene segment, according to a study published August 15 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Anice Lowen and John Steel of Emory University School of Medicine, and colleagues.

Vegetable-rich diet lowers fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients by raising good cholesterol

Higher levels of blood high-density lipoprotein (HDL)—or good cholesterol—may improve fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients, according to a new University at Buffalo-led study.

Discovery gives evolution clues and may affect drug interaction research

A biologist at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has shown that a key biological component in a worm's communication system can be repurposed to take on a different job, a critical finding about the workings of evolution that could one day affect research into drug interactions, agricultural bio-engineering, and a better understanding of genetic inheritance through multiple generations.

Health research funding lags for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

Clinical research funding continues to lag for the U.S. population of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, even though the nation's largest biomedical funding agency has pledged to prioritize research on diverse populations, a new study from Oregon State University shows.

Addiction intervention in hospital is a 'reachable moment'

Patients who meet an addiction medicine consult team while they're in the hospital are twice as likely to participate in treatment for substance use disorder after they go home, according to new research.

Adults with mild cognitive impairment can learn, benefit from mindfulness meditation

There's currently no known way to prevent older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from developing Alzheimer's disease.

Team links gene to children with physical and intellectual disabilities

Modern science and data sharing converged to underpin a study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, that identified a gene associated with a rare condition that results in physical and intellectual disabilities of children.

New contrast agent could make MRIs safer

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have taken a key step forward in developing a new, possibly safer contrast agent for use in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams. Contrast enhanced MRI is a widely used diagnostic tool with over 30 million procedures performed annually. Currently, gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) are used for this purpose, but recently concerns have been raised about the long-term safety of the gadolinium metal ion. The study's senior author is Eric M. Gale, Ph.D., assistant in Biomedical Engineering at MGH, and assistant professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Study finds lack of racial diversity in cancer drug clinical trials

New research published this week in JAMA Oncology has found a lack of racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials for cancer drugs.

Trauma begets trauma: Bullying associated with increased suicide attempts among 12-to-15-year-olds

A new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports that bullying victimization may increase the risk of suicide attempts among young adolescents by approximately three-times worldwide.

UN appoints new HIV/AIDS chief after controversy

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed a new HIV/AIDS chief on Wednesday after the previous incumbent left accused of serious mismanagement.

New study offers hope for people suffering from chronic pain

Persistent pain, particularly neuropathic pain (NP), is a major health problem triggered by damage to or malfunction of the nervous system or by chronic diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. NP is seen as a sizable economic and social burden, with a prevalence of up to 10 % in the general population according to some estimates. Current treatments for this condition are unsatisfactory and commonly associated with side effects.

How to relieve dry, irritated eyes

(HealthDay)—Do all the ads for dry eye relief have you thinking you could have this condition? If you've ever felt like you had a grain of sand in your eye when nowhere close to the beach, you could be experiencing dry eye.

Spice up your meals with habanero chili chutney

(HealthDay)—If you're a chili pepper lover who can take the heat, then take it to the next level with super spicy habaneros.

As whooping cough evolves, WVU researcher studies how to maintain vaccine's effectiveness

Scientists and bacteria are locked in an arms race. Over time, bacteria can evolve to resist today's powerful vaccines.

When the cardiology patient ends up in the oncology care ward

If you end up needing to go to the hospital, often times you're hoping to get a bed without having to wait hours, but a new study shows you may want to wait a little longer, so that you are placed in the best ward for your needs. New research in the upcoming INFORMS journal Management Science shows that among patients admitted to the hospital, 19.6% are placed in beds in a ward outside the area of care they require. These patients who are placed 'off service' end up experiencing a 23% longer hospital stay and a higher chance of being readmitted within a month.

Does opioid maintenance treatment during pregnancy harm newborns?

A new Pharmacology Research & Perspectives study found no harm to newborns from opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) during pregnancy compared with no treatment.

Gov't wants a new 911-like number just for suicide hotline

With suicides on the rise , the U.S. government wants to make the national crisis hotline easier to reach.

OxyContin maker Purdue agrees to provide research data

The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin has agreed to provide access to propriety research and other data to researchers at Oklahoma State University to help them find causes and treatments for drug addiction.

New Jersey's medically assisted suicide law put on hold

A New Jersey judge put a temporary hold on a new law allowing terminally ill patients to seek life-ending drugs.

Biology news

Controlled hydraulic fracturing sculpts mammalian embryos into shape

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process most often associated with shale gas extraction, but a team of researchers from Institut Curie at the Sorbonne, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology at the College de France have concluded that self-fracking is the mechanism that moves an embryo (here, a mouse) from a radially symmetric accumulation of cells to a bilaterally symmetric blastocyst.

Climate change 'disrupts' local plant diversity, study reveals

Faster rates of climate change could be increasing the diversity of plant species in many places, according to research from the University of York.

Research: Previously unknown aspect of cell internalization during embryonic development

A team of researchers from Aix Marseille Université and CNRS, the Turing Centre for Living Systems, the University of Chicago and Collège de France has found a previously unknown aspect of cell internalization that occurs during embryonic development in the fruit fly. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their study of embryonic development in Drosophila melanogaster—the common fruit fly—and what they learned from it. Kristen Panfilio with the University of Warwick has published a News and Views piece outlining the work by the team in the same journal issue.

Rapid metabolism change helped mammals to thrive in colder climate

Hedgehogs, rabbits, primates and even giraffe have all benefited in the evolutionary race due to their ability to adapt their metabolism to cope with a changing climate, according to new research.

Bloodsucker discovered: First North American medicinal leech described in over 40 years

Freshwater wetlands from Georgia to New York are home to a previously unrecognized species of medicinal leech, according to scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of National History. The new species, named Macrobdella mimicus, was first identified from specimens collected in southern Maryland, prompting a search through marshes and museum collections that ultimately revealed that the leech has long occupied a range that stretches throughout the Piedmont region of the eastern United States, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coast.

Extinct Caribbean bird yields DNA after 2,500 years in watery grave

Scientists have recovered the first genetic data from an extinct bird in the Caribbean, thanks to the remarkably preserved bones of a Creighton's caracara from a flooded sinkhole on Great Abaco Island.

Genetic redundancy aids competition among bacteria in symbiosis with squid

The molecular mechanism used by many bacteria to kill neighboring cells has redundancy built into its genetic makeup, which could allow for the mechanism to be expressed in different environments. Some strains of luminescent bacteria that compete to colonize the light organs of the Hawaiian bobtail squid kill nearby cells of different bacterial strains using the "type VI secretion system (T6SS)." Researchers at Penn State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have now shown that the genomes of these bacteria contain two copies of a gene required for T6SS and that the system still works when either copy of the gene is disabled, but not both.

California defies White House to ban controversial pesticide

California will outlaw the use of a pesticide linked to developmental problems in humans after President Donald Trump's administration scrapped plans for a nationwide ban, state health officials said Wednesday.

Stressed plants must have iron under control

When land plants' nutrient availability dwindles, they have to respond to this stress. Plant researchers at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) have used available data to examine which genes plants activate in the event of stress and what they mean. They published their findings in the journal iScience.

Researchers dish up digital avocado

It's an ancient fruit, but the avocado has been brought into the new millennium with the publication of its draft genome, which may be the key to improvements in future crops.

Drought spells changes for soil microbes

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Kansas State University found that soil drying significantly affected the structure and function of soil microbial communities.

Newly discovered mussels may help refocus conservation efforts in Texas

A team of researchers recently discovered two new freshwater mussel species in Texas, which will likely impact current conservation efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

How ancient seafarers and their dogs helped a humble louse conquer the world

This is the story of how a parasitic, skin-chewing insect came to conquer the world.

Is scruffing the best way to handle an upset cat?

Many of us were taught that "scruffing" a cat—or grabbing the animal by the loose skin at the back of the neck—is not only an effective mode of restraint, but also causes cats to relax. The thought behind this is that kittens relax when their mom carries them by the scruff.

Ghana wants to grow more cashews. But what about unintended consequences?

Over at least the last decade, one of Ghana's most vital breadbaskets has been converted into cashew nut production to feed export markets. Bono East, Bono and the Ahafo regions—previously known as the Brong Ahafo region—are being transformed by cashew production. This growth has positioned Ghana as one of the largest producers of raw cashew nuts in Africa.

What goes up must come down—landing locusts crash on their heads

For many grasshoppers and other insects jumping is a fast and effective way to escape from their predators. In particular desert locusts are known for their powerful jumps. To avoid catapulting into the wrong direction, locusts are able to precisely control the movement of their prominent hind legs. However, what happens when the locusts want to land? Are they also able to precisely control their landing movements like airplanes do? Do they slow down to prevent damage to their body?

Why captive breeding will not save the wild tiger

Let's be clear—tigers are perilously close to extinction.

Now endangered: The very act that protects wildlife

The Trump administration recently announced a proposal that would gut the Endangered Species Act. The news follows in the wake of a report from the United Nations earlier this year that more than 1 million plants and animals around the world face extinction, some within decades, owing to human development, climate change and other threats. Mark Urban, director of UConn's Center of Biological Risk, and associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, explains what the change would mean for America's wild animals and plants.

'Finding Dory' did not increase demand for pet fish, despite viral media stories

If a piece of information is repeated often enough, it will eventually be believed, even if there is no evidence for it. One example of this features the friendly clownfish Nemo and his side-kick Dory, a blue tang fish, who you may know from the animated blockbusters Finding Nemo and Finding Dory.

Discovery could pave the way for disease-resistant rice crops

Researchers have uncovered an unusual protein activity in rice that can be exploited to give crops an edge in the evolutionary arms race against rice blast disease, a major threat to rice production around the world.

Enriched environment in aquaculture enhances the survival of fish from bacterial disease

A cooperative study conducted by University of Jyväskylä and Natural Resources institute Finland (Luke), revealed that enriched rearing of juvenile fish significantly enhances the survival of fish from bacterial infection commonly seen in rearing conditions. That may also improve the post release survival of the fish after stocking into the wild. The study has been published in Journal of Applied Ecology.

Research suggests glyphosate lowers pH of dicamba spray mixtures below acceptable levels

A University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture study published in the Journal of Weed Technology found that mixing glyphosate with formulations of dicamba consistently lowered the pH of the spray solution below 5.0—a critical value according to the latest dicamba application labels. These labels recommend maintaining a spray solution pH above 5.0 to reduce potential for dicamba volatility.

Countries push to protect sharks, rays

Dozens of countries will push at a global meeting for regulations on trade in 18 types of shark and ray, with conservationists warning Thursday of looming extinction for many species.

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