Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Aug 6

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 6, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Study explores interactions between world leaders on social media

Antineutrino detection could help remotely monitor nuclear reactors

Ghosts of ancient explosions live on in stars today

Researchers suggest Lomonosov crater could be more evidence of mega-tsunami on Mars

A new way to block unwanted genetic transfer

Guacamole lovers, rejoice! The avocado genome has been sequenced

One in 300 thrives on very-early-to-bed, very-early-to-rise routine

Prenatal parental stress linked to behaviour problems in toddlers

Improving the magnetic bottle that controls fusion power on Earth

New study reveals impact of mining on coral reefs

Blood pressure monitoring may one day be easy as taking a video selfie

'Bone in a dish' opens new window on cancer initiation, metastasis, bone healing

Scientists create the world's thinnest gold

Team first to grow genetically engineered mini livers to study disease and therapeutics

How brain cells pick which connections to keep

Astronomy & Space news

Ghosts of ancient explosions live on in stars today

When small, dense stars called white dwarfs explode, they produce bright, short-lived flares called Type Ia supernovae. These supernovae are informative cosmological markers for astronomers—for example, they were used to prove that the universe is accelerating in its expansion.

Researchers suggest Lomonosov crater could be more evidence of mega-tsunami on Mars

A team of researchers from France, Australia and Spain has found evidence that suggests the Lomonosov crater impact event on Mars could have been the source of a mega-tsunami on the Red Planet billions of years ago. In their paper, published in Journal of Geophysical Research, the group outlines their study of the crater and the evidence that suggests it could have been ground zero for a massive tsunami.

New finds for Mars rover, seven years after landing

NASA's Curiosity rover has come a long way since touching down on Mars seven years ago. It has traveled a total of 13 miles (21 kilometers) and ascended 1,207 feet (368 meters) to its current location. Along the way, Curiosity discovered Mars had the conditions to support microbial life in the ancient past, among other things.

New study traces Io's volcanic tides

Hundreds of volcanoes pockmark the surface of Io, the third largest of Jupiter's 78 known moons, and the only body in our solar system other than Earth where widespread volcanism can be observed. The source of the moon's inner heat is radically different than Earth's, making the moon a unique system to investigate volcanism.

Repeating outflows of hot wind found close to black hole

An international team of astrophysicists from Southampton, Oxford and South Africa have detected a very hot, dense outflowing wind close to a black hole at least 25,000 light-years from Earth.

Dead planets can 'broadcast' for up to a billion years

Astronomers are planning to hunt for cores of exoplanets around white dwarf stars by 'tuning in' to the radio waves that they emit.

Two weeks of science and Beyond

Over two weeks have flown by since ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was launched to the International Space Station for his second six-month stay in orbit. His arrival, alongside NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Roscosmos Soyuz commander Alexander Skvortsov, boosted the Station's population to six and the crew has been busy ever since—performing a wide range of science in space.

NASA 'optometrists' verify Mars 2020 rover's 20/20 vision

Equipped with visionary science instruments, the Mars 2020 rover underwent an "eye" exam after several cameras were installed on it. The rover contains an armada of imaging capabilities, from wide-angle landscape cameras to narrow-angle high-resolution zoom lens cameras.

Space travel might fry your brain, causing permanent learning and memory problems

During the course of a deep space mission, astronauts are routinely in various degrees of peril. Depending on which Hollywood sci-fi thrillers you choose, these intrepid explorers are at the mercy of malicious aliens, psychotic computers, or collisions with asteroids or space debris. While these might all be possible concerns, remote or otherwise, the greatest real danger to astronauts may in fact be one that cannot be seen: space radiation.

Critical deployment of NASA Webb's secondary mirror a success

In order to do groundbreaking science, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope must first perform an extremely choreographed series of deployments, extensions, and movements that bring the observatory to life shortly after launch. Too big to fit in any rocket available in its fully deployed form, Webb was engineered to intricately fold in on itself to achieve a much smaller size during transport.

Technology news

Study explores interactions between world leaders on social media

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have recently carried out a study investigating the interactions among different world leaders and influential political figures on social media. Their findings, pre-published on arXiv, provide interesting new insight about how government actors use social media, which could help to better understand the role of new technologies in diplomatic exchanges.

How can robots land like birds?

Under the watchful eyes of five high-speed cameras, a small, pale-blue bird named Gary waits for the signal to fly. Diana Chin, a graduate student at Stanford University and Gary's trainer, points her finger to a perch about 20 inches away. The catch here is that the perch is covered in Teflon, making it seemingly impossible to stably grasp.

Seeing how computers 'think' helps humans stump machines and reveals AI weaknesses

The holy grail of artificial intelligence is a machine that truly understands human language and interprets meaning from complex, nuanced passages. When IBM's Watson computer beat famed "Jeopardy!"  champion Ken Jennings in 2011, it seemed as if that milestone had been met. However, anyone who has tried to have a conversation with virtual assistant Siri knows that computers have a long way to go to truly understand human language. To get better at understanding language, computer systems must train using questions that challenge them and reflect the full complexity of human language.

Robotic cane shown to improve stability in walking

By adding electronics and computation technology to a simple cane that has been around since ancient times, a team of researchers at Columbia Engineering have transformed it into a 21st century robotic device that can provide light-touch assistance in walking to the aged and others with impaired mobility.

Researchers explore natural language processing to assess chess moves

Chess and AI are in the news again, this time in reports about a team who explore a model for chess via natural language processing (NLP). The learning mechanism was chess chatter—well chosen chatter. They pretrained on commentary sentiments that were associated with chess moves. The sentiments guided the agent's decision making.

Privacy watchdogs warn Facebook over Libra currency

Global privacy regulators joined forces Tuesday to demand guarantees from Facebook on how it will protect users' financial data when it launches its planned cryptocurrency, Libra.

Lessons to be learnt from Ghana's excess electricity shambles

Access to energy plays a critical role in economic development. But bad government policies have affected energy security in many developing countries.

The Apple credit card is here

The Apple credit card designed primarily for mobile use is here.

Automating artificial intelligence for medical decision-making

MIT computer scientists are hoping to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence to improve medical decision-making, by automating a key step that's usually done by hand—and that's becoming more laborious as certain datasets grow ever-larger.

Australia should explore nuclear waste before trying domestic nuclear power

Last year Australia sold more than 7,000 tonnes of uranium at a value of nearly A$600 million.

Study finds racial bias in tweets flagged as hate speech

Tweets believed to be written by African Americans are much more likely to be tagged as hate speech than tweets associated with whites, according to a Cornell study analyzing five collections of Twitter data marked for abusive language.

AI is here to stay. Now we need to ensure everyone benefits

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already in use in many sectors. Its contribution is expected to rise steadily, driven by advances in data storage, computer processing power and connectivity.

Data-driven elections and the key questions about voter surveillance

The upcoming Canadian federal election once again raises the spectre of interference and disruption through the misuse and abuse of personal data.

Hackers get stuck in an evolving honeypot

Malware, malicious software, is on the rise, whether in the form of Trojans, worms, and viruses, bot-net systems, denial of service tools, and hacking programs. Antivirus, firewall, and intrusion detection systems are all essential components of the protections a systems operator might put in place on their users' computers and the network they operate. Unfortunately, these are passive rather than active protections and so there are limitations to how well they can protect digital resources especially given the dynamic and evolving nature of attacks on seemingly robust systems.

Amazon's self-driving delivery robots head to California

Amazon's self-driving robots will be roaming the streets of another neighborhood.

Sweden's Klarna, Europe's most valuable fintech after cash call

Swedish payment solutions provider Klarna said Tuesday it had raised $460 million (411 million euro) in an equity round, making it the most valuable financial technology company in Europe at $5.5 billion.

Panels overturns settlement approval in Google privacy suit

A federal appeals court has rejected a settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging that Google spied on users' online activity using tracking "cookies," even when privacy settings were set to prevent the snooping.

GateHouse, Gannett to merge for $1.4B, build newspaper giant

Two of the largest U.S. newspaper companies have agreed to combine for roughly $1.4 billion, creating a new industry giant that hopes to manage the crisis of print's decline through sheer size.

Car market slowdown 'threatens jobs at Bosch'

A global car market expected to slow this year and the continuing aftershocks of a sector-wide diesel cheating scandal will hit jobs at the world's biggest component supplier Bosch, its boss said Tuesday.

Tencent set to take stake in Universal Music

Chinese internet giant Tencent is in early talks to take a stake in the Universal Music Group, a behemoth in the global music industry, UMG's French owner said on Tuesday.

Rolls-Royce expresses optimism over Brexit plans

UK enginemaker Rolls-Royce on Tuesday expressed confidence over plans for Britain's departure from the European Union, but revealed that the pound's Brexit-fuelled slump has left it languishing in the red.

Fold-out energy tower for festivals is ready for practical use

Almost all festivals in Europe use polluting diesel generators as their power supply. As a sustainable alternative, TU/e researchers and 9 companies have developed a 21-meter high fold-out tower with solar collectors and a wind turbine. Today, the GEM-tower was fully erected on the TU/e campus for the first time, ahead of the first practical test that will take place next week during Pukkelpop.

Making local energy markets smarter

One of Europe's main challenges is creating a low-carbon energy system that's efficient and secure. Our electricity networks in particular need to be upgraded to a system of highly efficient, flexible networks that match current production and consumption patterns and developments in technologies.

Reconstructing histological slices into 3-D images

Despite advances in 3D imaging such as MRI and CT, scientists still rely on slicing a specimen into 2-D sections to acquire the most detailed information. Using this information, they then try to reconstruct a 3-D image of the specimen. Researchers from Nara Institute of Science and Technology report a new algorithm that can do this task at less cost and higher robustness than standard methods.

New technology to monitor anti-Polish hate online

Artificial intelligence is being used to tackle anti-Polish hate crime in the run up to Brexit.

Mastercard to buy Nets payments services for $3.2 billion

US financial services company MasterCard has agreed to acquire Danish payment service company Nets' account-to-account payment business for 2.85 billion euro ($3.19 billion), the Danish company said Tuesday.

Trump revives political bias accusations against Google

US President Donald Trump revived his criticism of Google on Tuesday, referencing a fired engineer who claimed the internet giant was working against his re-election.

Medicine & Health news

One in 300 thrives on very-early-to-bed, very-early-to-rise routine

A quirk of the body clock that lures some people to sleep at 8 p.m., enabling them to greet the new day as early as 4 a.m., may be significantly more common than previously believed.

Prenatal parental stress linked to behaviour problems in toddlers

Expectant parents' emotional struggles predict emotional and behavioural problems in 2-year-olds, new research shows. The same study reveals, for the first time, that couple conflict helps explain emotional problems in very young children.

Blood pressure monitoring may one day be easy as taking a video selfie

Blood pressure monitoring might one day become as easy as taking a video selfie, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, an American Heart Association journal.

'Bone in a dish' opens new window on cancer initiation, metastasis, bone healing

Researchers in Oregon have engineered a material that replicates human bone tissue with an unprecedented level of precision, from its microscopic crystal structure to its biological activity. They are using it to explore fundamental disease processes, such as the origin of metastatic tumors in bone, and as a treatment for large bone injuries.

Team first to grow genetically engineered mini livers to study disease and therapeutics

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are the first to grow genetically modified miniature human livers in the laboratory, to emulate human liver disease progression and test therapeutics.

How brain cells pick which connections to keep

Brain cells, or neurons, constantly tinker with their circuit connections, a crucial feature that allows the brain to store and process information. While neurons frequently test out new potential partners through transient contacts, only a fraction of fledging junctions, called synapses, are selected to become permanent.

APOE variants' effect on mortality studied in 38,000

A new study of 38,537 persons of European ancestry suggests that a rare variation of a gene called APOE may be protective and prolong life, in sharp contrast to a more widely studied APOE variant that increases risk of death.

Study links progenitor cells to age-related prostate growth

The prostates of older mice contain more luminal progenitor cells—cells capable of generating new prostate tissue—than the prostates of younger mice, UCLA researchers have discovered.

Kids might be naturally immunized after C. difficile colonization in infancy

Exposure to C. difficile in infancy produces an immune response that might protect against this gastrointestinal infection later in childhood, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases journal. Researchers found that infants who were naturally exposed to C. difficile in the environment and became colonized with the bacteria had antibodies in their blood. Analyses using a state-of-the-art assay revealed that these antibodies neutralized toxins that cause C. difficile infection, preventing harmful effects to cells exposed to these toxins. This suggests that a natural immunization occurs, although future studies will need to determine if it would prevent illness years later after another C. difficile exposure.

One therapy bests others at motivating kids with autism to speak, study finds

Pivotal response treatment involving parents works better than other existing therapies at motivating children with autism and significant speech delays to talk, according to the results of a large study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Pregnancy problems may lead to later cardiac trouble in adult children

A new study in Cardiovascular Research finds that female offspring of females with polycystic ovary syndrome have an increased risk for developing cardiac dysfunction.

Many post on social media under the influence of drugs—and regret it

Posting on social media, texting, and appearing in photos while high is prevalent among people who use drugs—and many regret these behaviors, according to a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health.

WVU researcher tailors first-responder app to improve stroke outcomes

Doctors have about three hours to administer the most effective treatment for the most common type of stroke. If they miss that window, recovery becomes questionable, and survival rates plummet.

Louisiana launching medical marijuana after years of waiting

Louisiana is becoming the first Deep South state to dispense medical marijuana on Tuesday, four years after state lawmakers agreed to give patients access to therapeutic cannabis.

No, there's still no link between video games and violence

Do video games trigger violent behavior? Scientific studies have found no link. But the persistent theory is back in the headlines following the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas , on Saturday.

Study explores blood-brain barrier leakage in CNS infections

A new study published in the journal mBio shines light on the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that occurs during many infections of the central nervous system. The findings implicate interferon gamma, a major cytokine upregulated in most central nervous system (CNS) viral infections, as a major contributor of blood brain barrier breakdown. Using an experimental viral encephalitis mouse model in which mice are infected with reovirus, the research provides new insight into how the breakdown occurs, which may lead to new therapeutic avenues.

Most independent charity drug assistance programs exclude the uninsured

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined independent charity prescription drug assistance programs in the U.S. and found that nearly all—97 percent—did not provide coverage for uninsured patients.

Biomarkers confirm higher incidence of thyroid cancer among World Trade Center responders

The incidence of thyroid cancer among first responders who volunteered or were employed as firefighters, rescue personnel and cleanup workers at Ground Zero in New York on or after September 11, 2001, is three times higher than that in the general population.

Human breast milk may help babies tell time via circadian signals from mom

Human breast milk is more than a meal—it's also a clock, providing time-of-day information to infants. The composition of breast milk changes across the day, giving energizing morning milk a different cocktail of ingredients than soothing evening milk. Researchers believe this "chrononutrition" may help program infants' emerging circadian biology, the internal timekeeper that allows babies to distinguish day from night.

Mums in prison or whose babies are in care need breastfeeding support too

Australian women want to breastfeed but many struggle. And the most disadvantaged face the biggest challenges.

Why drug cheats are still being caught seven years after the 2012 London Olympics

When two swimmers refused to acknowledge victories by Chinese swimmer Sun Yang at the last month's world swimming championships, the very public protests riveted the swimming world and cast a spotlight (again) on suspected doping in sport.

Philippines declares dengue outbreak a national epidemic

The Philippines' Department of Health on Tuesday declared the country's outbreak of dengue to be a national epidemic.

Study: Racial tension may stem from fear of exposure to infectious diseases

Social scientists have long worked to understand the roots of racial prejudice in the U.S., and for years, the story went like this: As different groups are exposed to others, their prejudice against those others increases.

Type 2 diabetes: Small reduction in alcohol, big reduction in heart disease risk

People with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of getting cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke. Lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity, affect the risk of developing diabetes, but there has been little research about how people with diabetes can change their lifestyle to lower their long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. Our research set out to fill in this gap in the evidence.

Promoting low-sugar drinks on touch screen menus encourages customers to make healthier choices

Fast food diners can be encouraged to make healthier choices by changing the position of items on the menu, a study has found.

World-first insulin technology will provide better diabetes care

Distinguished Professor Geoff Chase, from the University of Canterbury (UC) College of Engineering, is working on world-first insulin sensor technology to enable 'right now' measurement for those managing type 2 diabetes.

Hep C prevention still necessary despite advances in treatment

There needs to be more attention given to the prevention of hepatitis C, a UNSW Sydney report says.

Tips for managing distress in children following traumatic events

Whether it is the local evening news or a 24-hour cable news channel, images of violence inundates our homes. These scenes can be disturbing and stressful, especially for children. It is important to manage distress and take appropriate steps in helping your children and adolescents following traumatic events.

Treatable cancers killing thousands in Pacific

People living in the Pacific Islands are dying regularly from highly treatable cancers because of a lack of cancer care services around the region, researchers say.

6 things bicyclists can do to keep out of emergency rooms

Defensive driving isn't just a concept reserved for automobile drivers.

The growing trend of emotional support animals

A dog in the grocery store; a cat in the cabin of an airplane; a bird in a coffee shop—companion creatures labelled as Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are showing up more and more in places previously understood to be animal-free. It's part of a growing trend which includes "certifying" animals to provide emotional assistance to a person with a diagnosable mental condition or emotional disorder.

A prescription for exercise

Richard Carpenter, 75, was going through the mail one day last year when he saw a postcard from UCI seeking participants for a study on whether exercise can help with age-related memory loss.

Do neurocysticercosis-related seizures lead to epilepsy?

Neurocysticercosis, an infection of the brain with pork tapeworm larvae, is highly endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia, and increasingly common in developed countries like the U.S. due to immigration. The larvae form cysts in the brain, which can cause a variety of neurological symptoms, seizures being the most common. Previous literature has suggested that neurocysticercosis is an important cause of epilepsy in developing countries where it is endemic. The standard treatment for neurocysticercosis is antiparasitic medication, such as albendazole, although it does not kill the parasite in all patients.

Why do I grunt when I bend over?

You never think it's going to happen to you. Then suddenly you're middle-aged and you find yourself grunting when you pick up something from the floor or groaning when you get out of the chair.

A simple method to improve heart-attack repair using stem cell-derived heart muscle cells

The heart cannot regenerate muscle tissue after a heart attack has killed part of the muscle wall. That dead tissue can strain surrounding muscle, leading to a lethal heart enlargement.

Sleep interrupted: What's keeping us up at night?

One of the largest longitudinal studies to date examined evening consumption of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine among an African-American cohort and objectively measured sleep outcomes in their natural environments instead of laboratory or observatory settings. The study involved 785 participants and totaled 5,164 days of concurrent actigraphy and daily sleep diaries that recorded how much alcohol, caffeine or nicotine they consumed within four hours of bedtime. Results may be good news for coffee lovers, bad news for smokers.

Neuropathology tied to dementia ID'd in football players who had CTE

(HealthDay)—White matter rarefaction, arteriolosclerosis, and dorsolateral frontal cortex (DLFC) neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are independently associated with dementia among older men who played football and had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), according to a study published online Aug. 5 in JAMA Neurology.

Risk for mental health disorders up for adults with cerebral palsy

(HealthDay)—Adults with cerebral palsy (CP) have an increased prevalence of mental health disorders, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

3 ways to improve your eating habits

(HealthDay)—You've made the decision to improve your eating habits, but where should you begin? It can seem overwhelming at first.

Try yellow peas for protein punch

(HealthDay)—In the quest for more plant-based protein sources, yellow peas have been getting a lot of good press. And the number of packaged foods enhanced with this "pea protein" has tripled in the last few years.

Scientists shed new light on how we perceive vibrations through touch

Researchers have demonstrated a universal decoding system in humans that determines how we perceive vibrations of different frequencies through touch.

Kappa opioid receptor influences naltrexone's effects on drinking alcohol

Researchers at Yale University have identified how naltrexone, a medication used to treat alcohol use disorder, reduces craving and consumption in heavy drinkers. The findings appear in Biological Psychiatry published by Elsevier. Although naltrexone is an approved treatment for alcohol use disorder, it only works in some people, which has led doctors to stop prescribing the drug. The new findings provide a better understanding of how naltrexone works in the brain, which could help identify people who would benefit from the treatment.

Perceptions of unemployment benefits and impacts on the job search

New University of Minnesota research examines how the perception of unemployment benefits—including the amount and duration of support—affects how people who are unemployed approach their job search.

Health professionals turn to outside, informal sources for health information during a crisis

A collaboration between the University of Minnesota and the University of Texas at Austin found healthcare workers expected to provide treatment for patients with a highly-infectious disease turned to sources outside of their organizations (e.g., professional associations and social media) to find information, in addition to official briefs and memos.

Stress linked to worse outcomes for young women with heart disease

Stress is much more harmful for young and middle-aged women with cardiovascular disease than for other patients, new research indicates.

New hormone injection aids weight loss in obese patients

An injection has helped reduce body weight and glucose levels in patients with diabetes and obesity in four weeks.

Internal body fat is significant to the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes

Excess internal body fat is a key driver for the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type-2 diabetes (T2D), a recent position statement published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology concludes.

Thyroid screening may not be needed in all youth with psychiatric disorders

A new study from researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children's looks at the prevalence of abnormal thyroid function in youth with severe mood and anxiety disorder. It is the largest study to date of this population and will help mental health professionals better understand the predictors of abnormal thyroid function, like weight gain, family history or treatment with certain medications.

Philippines rejects dengue vaccine as outbreak leaves hundreds dead

The Philippines stood firm Tuesday on its ban on the world's first dengue vaccine while declaring a nationwide epidemic from the mosquito-borne disease that it said has killed hundreds this year.

Amyloid is a less accurate marker for measuring severity, progression of Alzheimer's

While the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain may be a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, giving patients an amyloid PET scan is not an effective method for measuring their cognitive function, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University. The researchers concluded that fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET, which measures the brain's glucose consumption as a marker of neural activity, is a stronger approach for assessing the progression and severity of Alzheimer's and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as compared to florbetapir-PET scans, which reveal amyloid protein deposits in the brain. This suggests that FDG-PET is also a better means for determining the effectiveness of Alzheimer's therapies, as well as tracking patients' disease advancement, in both clinical and research settings. Results of this study are detailed in the August issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Low specificity limits use of focused cardiac ultrasonography

(HealthDay)—Incorporating focused cardiac ultrasonography (FoCUS) into clinical examination has greater sensitivity, but not greater specificity, than clinical assessment alone for identifying left ventricular dysfunction and aortic or mitral valve disease, according to a review published Aug. 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Ranking for abdominal surgeries not linked to patient outcomes

(HealthDay)—Patient outcomes may not be better at top-ranked hospitals for common advanced laparoscopic abdominal operations, according to a study published online July 31 in JAMA Surgery.

Children with ADHD have differences in part of brain controlling movement

(HealthDay)—Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have differences in the brain that limit appropriate responses to "stop cues," according to a study published online July 17 in Neurology.

Bone health management key in childhood cancer survivors

(HealthDay)—As part of a literature review, published in the June issue of the Annals of Oncology, recommendations are presented for the management of bone health in survivors of childhood cancer.

Routine screening for pancreatic cancer not warranted, expert panel says

(HealthDay)—There's nothing to be gained by screening for pancreatic cancer in people with no signs or symptoms of the lethal tumor, according to an influential U.S. panel of experts.

Heart-on-a-chip mimics drug response seen in humans

Researchers from TARA Biosystems, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today published data demonstrating that TARA's engineered heart-on-a-chip system replicated drug responses found in adult humans. The findings, published in the journal Toxicological Sciences, show TARA's 3-D-cardiac tissue platform can predict how human hearts will respond to a wide range of drugs, something that has been a challenge in pre-clinical models until now.

Newly developed approach shows promise in silencing HIV infection

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a new potential medication that works with an HIV-infected person's own body to further suppress the ever present but silent virus that available HIV treatments are unable to combat.

Do heart supplements work?

Which dietary supplements should you take to improve heart health? The answer may be none. Research published in Annals of Internal Medicine shows that many supplements do not reduce your risk of heart disease. Dr. M. Hassan Murad, a Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist, is a co-author of the study.

Raising the standard for psychology research

In recent years, efforts to understand the workings of the mind have taken on new-found urgency. Not only are psychological and neurological disorders—from Alzheimer's disease and strokes to autism and anxiety—becoming more widespread, new tools and methods have emerged that allow scientists to explore the structure of, and activity within, the brain with greater granularity.

Research advances to better target debilitating effects of cachexia syndrome

A study published in Cell Reports Aug. 6 describes the generation of a new mouse model developed at Hollings Cancer Center that could lead to a better understanding of the cachexia syndrome. This wasting condition, characterized by excessive weight loss, has one of the highest incidences in pancreatic cancer patients.

Canada's new dementia strategy needs commitment to be successful

Canada's new national dementia strategy can be successful with sustained political will, adequate funding, measurable targets and a commitment from all Canadians to achieve its goals, argues an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Maternal and child health and nutrition: Week 1 of the PLOS Medicine Special Issue

This week, we see the publication of the first papers in PLOS Medicine's special issue on nutrition in maternal and child health, advised by Guest Editors Dr. Lars Åke Persson of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and based at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa; Dr. Kathleen M. Rasmussen of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; and Dr. Huixia Yang of Peking University First Hospital and the Chinese Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Romania plans anti-obesity tax on sugary drinks

Romania announced Tuesday plans to levy a tax on sugary soft drinks to combat obesity, following the lead of other European countries such as France.

Improving mental health in rainbow communities

Research from Victoria University of Wellington has helped create a new resource to address the high rate of mental health difficulties faced by New Zealand's rainbow communities.

Protection from mosquitoes key to avoid West Nile virus

August to September is the peak of the West Nile virus (WNV) season and Atlanta area health officials have reported finding mosquitoes testing positive for the pathogen, including from 11 locations across DeKalb County. No human cases, however, have been reported.

Dietary choline associates with reduced risk of dementia

A new study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland is the first to observe that dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Phosphatidylcholine was also linked to enhanced cognitive performance. The main dietary sources of phosphatidylcholine were eggs and meat. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Seventh edition of APA's best-selling publication manual to publish in October with a 700,000 first

The long-expected seventh edition of the best-selling Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association will go on sale in October, with a first printing of 700,000 copies, APA announced at the opening of APA 2019, the association's 127th annual convention.

Vaping likely to blame for 14 hospitalizations in two states

(HealthDay)—Possible vaping-related breathing problems have led to the hospitalization of 14 teens and young adults in two states. There were 11 cases of severe breathing problems in Wisconsin and three in Illinois, CNN reported.

In Burundi, 1,800 dead as malaria 'epidemic' rages: UN

Malaria has killed more than 1,800 people in Burundi this year, the UN's humanitarian agency says, a death toll rivalling a deadly Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Stroke showed he wasn't bulletproof—but he could still be a hero

At 44, A.Jaye Johnson was relearning how to talk, walk and perform basic skills, like using a fork.

Boom in overdose-reversing drug is tied to fewer drug deaths

Prescriptions of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone are soaring, and experts say that could be a reason overdose deaths have stopped rising for the first time in nearly three decades.

Biology news

A new way to block unwanted genetic transfer

We receive half of our genes from each biological parent, so there's no avoiding inheriting a blend of characteristics from both. Yet, for single-celled organisms like bacteria that reproduce by splitting into two identical cells, injecting variety into the gene pool isn't so easy. Random mutations add some diversity, but there's a much faster way for bacteria to reshuffle their genes and confer evolutionary advantages like antibiotic resistance or pathogenicity.

Guacamole lovers, rejoice! The avocado genome has been sequenced

We now know the DNA of guacamole.

Industrial fishing behind plummeting shark numbers

A team of researchers, led by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), has discovered that sharks are much rarer in habitats nearer large human populations and fish markets. The team also found that the average body size of sharks and other marine predators fell dramatically in these areas, where sharks are caught and killed intensively for their meat and fins.

What do you mean the hamburger isn't all that American?

Say you're a scientist who studies the origins and history of food, and you want to communicate to the world your findings that the all-American hamburger—including the side of fries—doesn't contain a single ingredient that originally came from the United States. You could publish an article in a top-notch journal, ask a communications officer to write a press release about the paper, or take to Twitter and tell your hundreds of devoted followers all about your discovery. All of these create some impact.

New study could reset how scientists view sex determination in painted turtle populations

A new study from Iowa State University scientists could flip the established framework for how scientists believe geography influences sex determination in painted turtles on its shell.

Strange coral spawning improving Great Barrier Reef's resilience

A phenomenon that makes coral spawn more than once a year is improving the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

Thyroid hormone can alter color vision in zebrafish, potentially in humans

Exposure to thyroid hormone can alter eye function in zebrafish, a result with implications for curing color blindness and retinal degeneration in humans.

Neonicotinoids may have an unexplored harmful exposure route to beneficial insects

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Spain has found neonicotinoids represent an unexplored harmful exposure route to beneficial insects via honeydew. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of beneficial insect exposure to neonicotinoids and what they learned.

Road verges provide refuge for pollinators

Roadside verges provide a vital refuge for pollinators—but they must be managed better, new research shows.

'Mega-fires' may be too extreme even for a bird that loves fire

Fire is a natural part of western forests, but the changing nature of fire in many parts of North America may pose challenges for birds. One bird in particular, the Black-backed Woodpecker, specializes in using recently-burned forests in western North America, but like humans looking for a new family home, it's picky about exactly where it settles. New research published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications suggests that these birds actually prefer to nest near the edges of burned patches—and these edges are getting harder to find as wildfires have become bigger and more severe.

A hog in wolf's clothing

Human and wildlife conflict has increased along with expanding human populations, particularly when wildlife endanger humans or their livelihoods. Most research on human-wildlife conflict has focused on the ways tigers, wolves, and other predators impact livestock even though noncarnivores also threaten livestock.

Habitat loss could have negative implications for long-term health of polar bears

Retreating sea ice in the Arctic is altering the gut bacteria of polar bears, potentially holding negative implications for the long-term health of the species, finds a new study by Cardiff University and the United States Geological Survey.

Is that avocado brown already? Genetic research could help

Avocados are famous for having a frustratingly short period of consumption. They're hard as rocks for a while and as soon as you try to eat one, they've turned to brown mush.

Climate change could shrink oyster habitat in California

Ocean acidification is bad news for shellfish, making it harder for them to form their calcium-based shells. But several other factors related to climate change could also make California bays less hospitable to shelled organisms like oysters, which are a key part of the food web.

Can we really restore or protect natural habitats to 'offset' those we destroy?

In the forests of northern Sweden, a major train line cuts through land originally protected for migratory birds—so new seasonal wetlands have been established for the birds nearby. In southern Uganda, a huge hydropower dam has flooded swathes of tropical forest—so degraded forests nearby have been restored and the lands they sit on protected. On the remote, wild shores of the Caspian Sea, a strategic port runs the risk of disturbing threatened seals—so entire islands have been created to ensure the mammals have sufficient habitat.

Energy development wins when it's pitted against endangered species

Widespread species decline at the hands of humans is a powerful tale. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than 27 percent of 100,000 assessed species are threatened with extinction. This disappearance is a warning that something is amiss on Earth.

Houseplants ability to survive drought can provide useful knowledge for the climate change era

Researchers from the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, have in collaboration with researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in England, demonstrated that certain Aloe species shrink, or more scientifically speaking—fold—their cell walls together. In doing so, the plants preserve resources during drought. Concurrently, the carbohydrate (polysaccharide) composition of their cell walls are altered. The results have just been published in the journal Plant, Cell and Environment.

Data tool helps decipher mouse's calls

Technology that can help interpret inaudible calls from laboratory mice has been developed in a bid to improve research.

Mass starvation of reindeer linked to climate change and habitat loss

Reindeer are incredibly hardy creatures—they survived the last Ice Age and today live in some of the world's most inhospitable landscapes. Despite their fine-tuned adaptations to life in the Arctic and after over 600,000 years of living there, reindeer are struggling to survive the rapid changes happening all around them.

Robot cameras reveal secret lives of basking sharks

An autonomous SharkCam has been used in the UK for the first time to observe the behavior of basking sharks in the Inner Hebrides.

Thyme essential oil in corn starch particles combats Aedes aegypti larvae

Corn starch, an abundant, cheap and biodegradable raw material, is the basis for a novel larvicide developed by researchers at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil. The material is used in microcapsules for storage and controlled release of active compounds to kill larvae of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue, zika, yellow fever and chikungunya.

Knowing berry pests' varied diets may help control them

With New York state's $20 million berry industry entering peak season, an invasive fruit fly is thriving.

Coming to a farm near you: The humble microbe boosting Europe's food industry

Farmers who want to produce bigger chickens, fewer greenhouse gas-filled cow burps or healthier animals are increasingly able to turn to one tiny source: microbes.

What can you do with two omes that you can't do with one?

What can you learn from two omes that you can't tell from one? You might determine how different bacterial strains in a water sample contribute specific functions to its overall microbiome. You might find that duplication of a section of a chromosome in cancer cells has wide-reaching effects on important proteins—or that it has a smaller effect than expected. First, though, you need to find a way to wrangle gigabytes of data saved in numerous, perhaps incompatible formats.

New plant galls research includes most comprehensive study of role of hormones

Some insects have the ability to manipulate plants to produce new organs known as galls, which manifest as abnormal growths on leaves, branches, or twigs. These galls provide insects and their offspring with food and shelter. Insects are also able to redirect the plant's nutrients, such as sugar, toward their galls, sometimes leaving the plant malnourished.

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