Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Aug 7

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 7, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A hybrid material that switches reversibly between two stable solid states

Climate change likely to increase human exposure to toxic methylmercury

Astronomers identify dozens of new Beta Cephei stars

Earth's last magnetic field reversal took far longer than once thought

A marine microbe could play increasingly important role in regulating climate

Researchers uncover hidden topological insulator states in bismuth crystals

Astrophysical shock phenomena reproduced in the laboratory

Study finds workers would rather be replaced by a robot than another person

Researchers design a light-trapping, color-converting crystal

Staring at seagulls could save your chips

A whopping 'squawkzilla': Meet 'Hercules'—the giant parrot that dwarfs its modern cousins

Cooperation with high status individuals may increase one's own status

Animal collectives like ants should move through their environment like 'savvy gamblers'

Hordes of Earth's toughest creatures may now be living on Moon

Study of microfossils maps extreme global warming and environmental change

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers identify dozens of new Beta Cephei stars

Using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), astronomers have detected 86 new Beta Cephei (β Cep) stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The discovery, detailed in a paper published July 26 on the arXiv pre-print repository, greatly improves the number of galactic β Cep stars known to date.

Hordes of Earth's toughest creatures may now be living on Moon

There might be life on the Moon after all: thousands of virtually indestructible creatures that can withstand extreme radiation, sizzling heat, the coldest temperatures of the universe, and decades without food.

Astronomers reveal true colors of evolving galactic beasts

Astronomers have identified a rare moment in the life of some of the universe's most energetic objects. Quasars were first observed 60 years ago, but their origins still remain a mystery. Now researchers at Durham University, UK, have spotted what they suggest is a "brief transition phase" in the development of these galactic giants that could shed light on how quasars and their host galaxies evolve. The new research is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Astronomers discover vast ancient galaxies, which could shed light on dark matter

Astronomers have used the combined power of multiple astronomical observatories around the world and in space to discover a treasure trove of previously unknown ancient massive galaxies. This is the first multiple discovery of its kind, and such an abundance of this type of galaxy defies current models of the universe. These galaxies are also intimately connected with supermassive black holes and the distribution of dark matter.

Moonquakes tumble boulders, build lunar scarps

The Apollo Moon buggies weren't the only things rolling over the Moon's surface in the early 1970s.

ALMA dives into black hole's 'sphere of influence'

What happens inside a black hole stays inside a black hole, but what happens inside a black hole's "sphere of influence"—the innermost region of a galaxy where a black hole's gravity is the dominant force—is of intense interest to astronomers and can help determine the mass of a black hole as well as its impact on its galactic neighborhood.

Anatomy of a cosmic seagull

Colourful and wispy, this intriguing collection of objects is known as the Seagull Nebula, named for its resemblance to a gull in flight. Made up of dust, hydrogen, helium and traces of heavier elements, this region is the hot and energetic birthplace of new stars. The remarkable detail captured here by ESO's VLT Survey Telescope (VST) reveals the individual astronomical objects that make up the celestial bird, as well as the finer features within them. The VST is one of the largest survey telescopes in the world observing the sky in visible light.

What are light echoes? Using reflections of light to see even further back in time

When we look outward into space, we're looking backward in time. That's because light moves at the speed of light. It takes time for the light to reach us.

Technology news

Study finds workers would rather be replaced by a robot than another person

A trio of researchers with the Technical University of Munich and Erasmus University Rotterdam has found evidence that suggests workers would rather be replaced by a robot rather than another human being. In their paper published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, Armin Granulo, Christoph Fuchs and Stefano Puntoni describe responses from several groups of people regarding job security, and what they found.

How much energy storage costs must fall to reach renewable energy's full potential

The cost of energy storage will be critical in determining how much renewable energy can contribute to the decarbonization of electricity. But how far must energy storage costs fall? In a study published August 7 in the journal Joule, MIT researchers answer this question. They quantify cost targets for storage technologies to enable solar and wind energy with storage to reach competitiveness with other on-demand energy sources. They also examine what kinds of batteries and other technologies might reach these targets.

Arque is a seahorse-inspired artificial tail

Why would a fairly sane person want to walk around with a robotic tail? Getting technical (or clinical) there are plausible reasons posed by three researchers in Japan, and they are getting much attention.

Ultrathin solar cells achieve a record of nearly 20 percent efficiency

Researchers at the Centre de Nanosciences et de Nanotechnologies (C2N), in collaboration with researchers at the German Fraunhofer ISE, have trapped sunlight efficiently in a solar cell thanks to an ultrathin absorbing layer made of 205 nm-thick GaAs on a nanostructured back mirror. This new architecture raised efficiency of the cell to nearly 20 percent.

Computer-aided knitting: Machine learning for customized clothing

The oldest known knitting item dates back to Egypt in the Middle Ages, by way of a pair of carefully handcrafted socks. Although handmade clothes have occupied our closets for centuries, a recent influx of high-tech knitting machines have changed how we now create our favorite pieces.

Natural gas storage research could combat global warming

To help combat global warming, a team led by Dr. Mert Atilhan from Texas A&M University and Dr. Cafer Yavuz at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), is working on a new porous polymer that can store natural gas more effectively than anything currently being used. Their research focuses on adsorbed natural gas (ANG), a process to store natural gas that is a safer and cheaper alternative to compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas.

Samsung seeks alternatives to Japanese suppliers in trade row

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, is seeking alternatives to Japanese suppliers for some key materials, it said Wednesday with Seoul and Tokyo embroiled in a bitter trade dispute.

British Airways cancels flights following IT failure

British Airways was forced to cancel some flights to and from London on Wednesday after it suffered "a systems issue".

8chan owner blasts 'sinister' shutdown attempts

Moves to shut down the chat forum 8chan are "sinister" and "cowardly", its owner said Wednesday after he was called to appear before US Congress to explain the hate content linked to deadly US shootings.

Jet ignition technology could boost efficiency and lower emissions of combustion engines

The same technology used in jets soon may be powering personal cars and other automobiles.

Can simulators prevent police car wrecks?

Police car wrecks are the biggest risk management expense related to law enforcement, causing local governments to lose money. New research from the University of Georgia shows that a driver training program can result in big savings.

Facebook's Libra: It's not the 'crypto' that's the issue, it's the organisation behind it

In all the hype that has surrounded its Libra currency, Facebook has been able to distract attention away from an important issue. Libra is being hyped as Facebook's bitcoin but it's really a proposal for a global payments system. And that system will be controlled by a small and exclusive club of private firms.

Engineers work on warning system for urban flooding using traffic cameras

It's the night of Sept. 8, 2014. Over metropolitan Phoenix, a summer monsoon collides with a dying Pacific hurricane. Rain gushes from the skies. Freeway pumps on Interstate 10 fail. Early morning commuters abandon their cars, which simply float away. Interstate 17 and U.S. 60 in Mesa also flood because pumps can't cope with the deluge. City officials close dozens of streets. The mayor of Mesa calls the flooding a "slow-moving disaster." The governor declares a statewide emergency.

Wearable pet devices are putting human privacy at risk

The billion-dollar pet industry now has a growing market dedicated to wearable devices but new research from the University of Bristol has found these devices capture more data on the owners rather than their pets.

Orlando publisher adopts realistic voice technology

An Orlando digital publisher has adopted technology distributed by Amazon that makes the stilted robotic voices often associated with text-to-speech services sound more natural.

AI company Hypergiant to help consulting firm turn intellectual property into products

A Texas-based artificial intelligence startup will work with technology consultant giant Booz Allen Hamilton to develop artificial intelligence products for the federal government and commercial companies.

With AI and other tech, Anat Caspi focuses on helping people with disabilities

While walking beneath a canopy of trees on the winding Burke Gilman trail, artificial intelligence researcher Anat Caspi pointed to the evenness of the terrain along the University of Washington campus periphery. "A lot of times we don't want the shortest path," Caspi said over the din of traffic whizzing by. The scenic route she picked for its level ground, while not the most direct, allowed her to walk and talk.

FedEx cuts ties with Amazon in sign of new rivalry

FedEx said Wednesday it would stop making ground deliveries for Amazon in the latest sign of competition between the two firms.

Boeing CEO still expects 737 MAX to be cleared to fly this year

Boeing's chief executive reaffirmed Wednesday he expects the 737 MAX will be cleared to return to the skies this year, but reiterated the company could further cut production in case of regulatory delays.

Q&A: Microsoft's Lili Cheng talks about emotionally intelligent machines

For machines to be truly intelligent, some artificial intelligence (AI) researchers believe that computers must recognize, understand and respond to human emotions. In short, machines must be equipped with emotional intelligence: the ability to express and identify one's emotions, and to empathetically interact with others.

Wearable motion sensors could save unborn babies

The thump, thump of a baby's heartbeat is a milestone in any pregnancy. Now, researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have developed a technique that could allow expectant parents to hear their baby's heartbeat continuously at home with a non-invasive and safe device that is potentially more accurate than any fetal heartrate monitor currently available in the market.

More disclosure on 'loot box' odds planned by game console makers

Kings of the video game console world plan to require games hawking "loot boxes" to tell players how likely they are to get prized booty.

French Deliveroo cyclists urge boycott in pay dispute

Cyclists whisking meals for the food courier service Deliveroo in France called on clients to boycott the company Wednesday, after management imposed new pay scales they say will lower their wages.

IKEA and Sonos team up for SYMFONISK speakers and a lamp

For years, the Sonos Wi-Fi speakers have been beloved by music fans for the ease of listening to streaming music at home with great sound. Also, add the ability to add multiple speakers for even better sound without having to resort to stringing speaker wire all over.

Microsoft says it 'listens' to conversations only with permission

Microsoft said Wednesday its contractors listen to conversations to hone voice translation features offered by Skype and its digital assistant Cortana, but only when obtaining user permission.

Cobalt hits headlines as Glencore shuts key mine

Cobalt hit the headlines Wednesday after Glencore shut a key African facility that mines the rare metal—and blamed prices that have been tumbling from highs seen in recent years on battery demand.

8chan owner heading to US as lawmakers seek answers

The owner of the online message board 8chan says he's headed shortly to the United States, where lawmakers want to question him on his site's use as a megaphone by violent white supremacists.

Verizon's unveils cheaper unlimited smartphone plans that lets each family member choose their own

Verizon Wireless has announced a new set of unlimited "mix and max" wireless pricing plans that that will let you, your spouse and your kids potentially each choose your own plan. Each family member may have to do a little bit of work to sort through the details and determine just which plan might make the most sense for them.

Medicine & Health news

Blood pressure recording over 24 hours is the best predictor of heart and vascular disease

High blood pressure is the most important treatable risk factor for diseases of the heart and the arterial system. Blood pressure recorded over 24 hours predicts these complications more accurately than blood pressure measured on a single occasion. That is the conclusion of an international study coordinated by Professors Jan A. Staessen and Zhen-Yu Zhang of KU Leuven in Belgium. Dr. Gladys Maestre from the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, supervised the study in Venezuela, one of the participating countries. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Virtual treasure hunt shows brain maps time sequence of memories

People have little difficulty remembering the chronology of events, determining how much time passed between two events, and which one occurred first. Apparently, memories of events in the brain are linked when they occur closely together. Using an experiment that combines virtual reality and brain scan technology, Jacob Bellmund and Christian Doeller from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences describe how a temporal map of memories is created in the brain.

Knocking out cystic fibrosis: CRISPR-Cas may treat the genetic cause

The fight against cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease for which no cure is currently available, continues, targeting in particular some of the mutations that cause it. In a new study, a research team of the Cibio Department of the University of Trento used genome editing to prove the efficacy of CRISPR-Cas to treat the genetic problem that causes the disease.

Forgotten immune cells protective in mouse model of multiple sclerosis

A seldom-studied class of immune cells may reduce the friendly fire that drives autoimmune disease, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Stimulating these protective cells could lead to new therapies for diseases in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues, such as multiple sclerosis and celiac disease.

Fast-food availability near commute route linked to BMI

In a study of commuting workers, the number of different types of food stores available near residences and commute routes—but not near workplaces—had a significant association with body mass index (BMI). Adriana Dornelles of Arizona State University, U.S. presents these findings in the open access journal PLOS ONE on August 7, 2019.

Study finds routine hits playing football cause damage to the brain

New research led by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Rochester Medical Center indicates that concussions aren't the sole cause of damage to the brain in contact sports. A study of college football players found that typical hits sustained from playing just one season cause structural changes to the brain.

Gluten response in coeliac patients could lead to diagnostic test

Distinct markers in the blood of people with coeliac disease have been detected within a few hours of gluten being consumed.

Optimistic people sleep better, longer, study finds

People who are the most optimistic tend to be better sleepers, a study of young and middle-aged adults found.

New 'liquid biopsy' blood test improves breast cancer diagnostics

A new type of blood test for breast cancer could help avoid thousands of unnecessary surgeries and otherwise precisely monitor disease progression, according to a study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

New intra-nasal imaging to study airways in patients with cystic fibrosis

A paper published today in Science Translational Medicine describes a simple, minimally invasive new tool for viewing differences in the nasal airways of cystic fibrosis patients in vivo at a cellular level. The new technique provides high-resolution images of the hair-like structures called cilia that line nasal airways as well as detailed features of the clearance of mucus, which is impaired in people with CF, causing significant morbidity.

All-natural and low-sugar: kombucha takes the US by storm

The recent US kombucha craze has been fermenting for decades. All-natural, low-sugar, and packed with supposed health benefits, the once-niche drink has invaded grocery stores, supermarkets and cafes.

Most seniors with dementia live at home, despite pain, anxiety, poor health

Contrary to popular belief, most older Americans with advancing dementia remain in their own homes—many until they die. But a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has revealed that this population may endure more pain and have more complex or unaddressed medical needs than their counterparts in nursing homes.

Substituting poultry for red meat may reduce breast cancer risk

Results from a new study suggest that red meat consumption may increase the risk of breast cancer, whereas poultry consumption may be protective against breast cancer risk. The findings are published in the International Journal of Cancer.

Researchers say pioneering emergency eye care trial leads to quicker treatment times

A trial virtual emergency consultation programme for eye patients has led to quicker treatment times and removed the need for follow up hospital appointments in more than half of cases, according to researchers.

Blood clotting proteins in urine discovered as biomarkers of lupus nephritis

University of Houston researcher Chandra Mohan is reporting in Arthritis Research and Therapy that clotting proteins, both those that promote blood clots (pro-thrombotic) and those that work to dissipate them (thrombolytic), are elevated in the urine of patients who suffer from lupus nephritis (LN).

Eating more plant-based foods may be linked to better heart health

Eating mostly plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods may be linked to better heart health and a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Cancer in the oldest old: The fastest growing age group in the US

A new report looks at cancer in adults 85 and older and finds incidence and mortality trends are generally similar to those in people 65 to 84, but screening is unexpectedly high and survival is poorer. The report appears in the American Cancer Society journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Persistent inflammation in sepsis survivors linked to higher mortality rates

One out of four sepsis patients who survive their hospital stay have elevated levels of inflammation a year after discharge, and they are at higher risk for major health problems and death, according to a study led by physician-scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Can a midnight snack help shiftworkers?

Shiftworkers benefit more from a snack than a midnight meal, according to South Australian researchers.

Physicians call for an end to conversion therapy

Conversion therapy is a broad term used to describe practices and actions aimed at changing people's sexual orientation or gender identity—to turn anyone who doesn't identify as "straight" into a "straight" person. Historically, conversion therapies have used electroshock therapy, chemical drugs, hormone administrations and even surgery. While these extreme practices are becoming rarer, many other harmful actions are still taking place, negatively impacting both children and adolescents as well as adults in the U.S., according to a perspective in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Major surgery associated with small, long term decline in brain functioning

Major surgery is associated with a small long-term decline in cognitive functioning—equivalent, on average, to less than five months of natural brain ageing, finds a study in The BMJ today.

New study sheds light on novel exercise treatment for common form of cardiovascular disease

Weight training—also called resistance training—can help people with peripheral artery disease reduce painful symptoms like muscle cramps during walking, a study by UNSW medical researchers recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown.

Six ways the world has empowered and enabled breastfeeding

In an ideal world, the value of breastfeeding would go uncontested, and mothers would be supported to do it in all places and spaces. But unfortunately this is not the case. Even in the UK, a country which is so progressive in other health areas, breastfeeding mothers do not receive the support they need to naturally feed their babies and cuts to support services are still being made.

Insomnia in pregnancy is common, but it's not normal

Many pregnant women find themselves waking up in the middle of night to go the bathroom (for the third time) or struggling to find a comfortable sleep position.

#HelloMyNameIs: A simple act to improve patients' experiences of care

In 2011, Dr. Kate Granger, a British geriatrician was diagnosed with cancer and her subsequent hospital stays and visits began. As a care provider, she noticed something simple, yet significant, that was often missed by the hospital staff. When staff showed up with updates on her illness, they weren't always introducing themselves.

Almonds don't lactate, but that's no reason to start calling it 'almond juice'

At a conference about disruptive innovations in food production last week, dairy industry spokespeople criticized the "milk" labeling of non-dairy products such as almond or rice milks.

Taxing sugary drinks can benefit Indonesia, research suggests

Obesity and diabetes used to be rich world problems. But diets in lower-income countries are shifting. More people are eating more processed foods and foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fat. As a result, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke are becoming major health concerns in middle-income countries, including Indonesia.

How to recognize a heart attack: It's not like on TV

What kind of person do you imagine having a heart attack? Is it a middle-aged white businessman clutching his chest? Someone like the Roger Sterling character from the popular television series Mad Men, who had two heart attacks in season 1?

Providing veterans with video-enabled tablets leads to improved mental health care access

A Veterans Health Administration (VHA) program that provides tablets to veterans with mental disorders leads to improved access and continuity of care. A new study published online in Psychiatric Services in Advance finds that video-enabled tablets can improve mental health care access for patients who experience barriers because of geographic, social, or health-related circumstances.

Poor pneumonia outcomes tied to overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics

Overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics is associated with increased mortality and other poor outcomes in adults admitted for community-onset pneumonia, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of the European Respiratory Journal.

Vulnerable preemie babies often behind on vaccines

Preemies often lag behind full-term babies in getting routine vaccinations—and the difference remains at age 3, a new study finds.

Asbestosis toxicity study identifies potential of novel mineral treatment

Asbestos-related cancers include lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma (MM) for which there is no cure. Most patients with MM die within two years of diagnosis and despite the banning of asbestos in many countries MM related deaths are predicted to rise in both industrialised and developing countries.

Nanosecond pulsed electric fields activate immune cells

Nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) produce strong electrical effects by focusing a high powered electrical pulse over a very short period of time. They are attracting attention as a method of physically stimulating matter in various fields, particularly in the life sciences. Recently, researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan found that stimulating immune cells with nsPEFs can cause them to respond as if they were being stimulated by bacteria.

Transport by mobile stroke units get patients quicker treatment than ambulance

Every second counts for stroke patients, as studies show they can lose up to 27 million brain cells per minute. Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) recently published new findings in Stroke that show patients transported to the hospital by mobile stroke unit instead of standard ambulance received a clot-busting procedure an average of 10 minutes faster, which could potentially save up to 270 million neurons per patient.

New test to snare those lying about a person's identity

A new test developed by the University of Stirling could help police to determine when criminals or witnesses are lying about their knowledge of a person's identity.

Nearly 3 in 10 Philadelphians know someone who's died from opioid use, Pew survey finds

In a stark illustration of the depths of Philadelphia's opioid crisis, a new survey of city residents found that nearly a third—29% - know someone who has died from opioid use.

Brain stimulation for PTSD patients

For 8-million adults who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in any given year, medication and cognitive therapy have been the treatment protocol. Now, University of Houston assistant professor of electrical engineering Rose T. Faghih is reporting in Frontiers in Neuroscience that a closed-loop brain stimulator, based on sweat response, can be developed not only for PTSD patients, but also for those who suffer an array of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Gene mutation combo linked to common cancer in women

Michigan State University researchers, in collaboration with the Van Andel Institute, have identified a combination of two gene mutations that is linked to endometrial cancer.

Medical mistrust impacts African American men's preventive health, but racism also matters

Mistrust of health care providers, fueled by painful experiences with racism, makes African American men more likely to delay routine screenings and doctor's appointments, according to a new study in the journal Behavioral Medicine by the Health Disparities Institute (HDI) at UConn Health, with potentially serious implications for their overall health.

Researchers identify key proteins for the repair of nerve fibers

Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) have identified a group of proteins that help to regenerate damaged nerve cells. Their findings are reported in the journal Neuron.

Lung lining fluid key to elderly susceptibility to tuberculosis disease

Old lungs are not as capable as young lungs of fighting off an infection of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB), placing seniors at a greater risk of developing TB. The microbe that causes this infectious disease, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), currently kills more people in the world than any other pathogen.

Paris child at risk of lead poisoning after Notre Dame fire

Health officials in Paris said Wednesday that a young boy needs medical monitoring because tests conducted after the Notre Dame Cathedral fire showed that he was at risk of lead poisoning.

New score predicts risk for VTE in those with multiple myeloma

(HealthDay)—A new risk prediction score outperforms current guidelines for predicting venous thromboembolism (VTE) in multiple myeloma (MM), according to a study published online Aug. 4 in the American Journal of Hematology.

Addition of sotagliflozin for T1DM alters renal hemodynamics

(HealthDay)—Sotagliflozin (SOTA), a dual sodium-glucose cotransporter 1 inhibitor (SGLT1i) and SGLT2i, is associated with short- and long-term renal hemodynamic changes in patients with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online Aug. 1 in Diabetes Care.

Medicare spending on essential medicines up 116 percent from 2011 to 2015

(HealthDay)—Spending associated with essential medicines grew substantially from 2011 to 2015 for Medicare Part D beneficiaries, according to a study published online July 17 in The BMJ.

A wake-up call on teen sleep—why doctors want school bells to ring later

Kids may be sleeping in to rest up for the upcoming school year, but there are some big questions keeping experts up at night.

Study evaluates effects of noninvasive neuromodulation used to treat obesity

Novel approaches that have been tested to treat obesity include noninvasive neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Studies performed to date have suggested that this method does in fact help reduce appetite, food intake and body weight, but only in some subjects.

Is pot safe when pregnant? Study seeks answer, draws critics

Pregnancy started out rough for Leslie Siu. Morning sickness and migraines had her reeling and barely able to function at a demanding New York marketing job, so like rising numbers of U.S. mothers-to-be, she turned to marijuana.

New data indicate rise in opioid use for migraine treatment

An increasing number of Americans are using opioids to treat their migraine headaches, despite the fact that opioids are not the recommended first-line therapy for migraine in most cases. That's according to the ObserVational Survey of the Epidemiology, tReatment and Care Of MigrainE (OVERCOME) study, a web-based patient survey of people living with migraine. Migraine care specialist Sait Ashina, MD, a neurologist and Director of the Comprehensive Headache Center at the Arnold-Warfield Pain Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), presented the survey findings at the 61st annual meeting of the American Headache Society.

Internet can be valuable tool for people with undiagnosed rare disorders

The internet can serve as a pathway to diagnosis and care for people who suspect they have a rare condition that has not been identified by their physicians, according to a study by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Marijuana legalization reduces opioid deaths

A new Economic Inquiry study finds that marijuana access leads to reductions in opioid-related deaths.

Erectile dysfunction associated with lower work productivity in men

Erectile dysfunction (ED) was linked with loss of work productivity and with lower health-related quality of life in an International Journal of Clinical Practice study of more than 52,000 men from eight countries.

Nordic walking can provide multiple benefits for patients with breast cancer

An analysis of published studies found that Nordic walking—a low impact aerobic activity consisting in walking with poles—can benefit patients with breast cancer by having a positive impact on swelling, physical fitness, disability, and quality of life.

Pain medications linked to higher cardiovascular risks in patients with osteoarthritis

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to control the pain and inflammation in individuals with osteoarthritis (OA), but a new Arthritis & Rheumatology study suggests that NSAIDs contribute to cardiovascular side effects in these patients.

Study examines cannabis' effects on brain neurochemistry

A new Addiction Biology study provides the first evidence of a blunted response to stress-induced dopamine signaling in the brain's prefrontal cortex in individuals at high risk for psychosis who regularly used cannabis.

The impacts of smoking on patients with ulcerative colitis

Because smokers are less likely to develop ulcerative colitis (UC), a type of inflammatory bowel disease, patients with UC may be tempted to start smoking to lessen their symptoms. Researchers found no beneficial effects of smoking, however, in a nationwide study that included 6,754 patients with UC.

Low vitamin D levels linked to non-motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease

In an Acta Neurologica Scandinavia study of 182 patients with Parkinson's disease and 185 healthy controls, patients with Parkinson's disease had significantly lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. Also, patients with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to fall, and to experience sleep problems, depression, and anxiety.

Younger colorectal cancer patients: A missed opportunity for non-emergency diagnoses

In an analysis of information on 10,463 UK patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer from 2006 to 2013, patients under the age of 50 years were more likely to initially experience non-specific symptoms before being referred to cancer specialists.

Deregulated mTOR is responsible for autophagy defects, exacerbating kidney stone formation

Kidney stone disease is a lifestyle-related disease; however, effective medical treatment is not yet well established. As cellular damage in renal tubular cells is responsible for the disease, researchers have focused on the role of autophagy in a new study. They report that autophagy compromised by mTOR deregulation is a fundamental feature in the pathology of kidney stone formation, and propose that chemical inhibition of mTOR could be a prospective strategy for disease suppression.

Surgical planning for head and neck cancer benefits from FDG-PET/CT

The Journal of Clinical Oncology has published the results of the largest prospective multicenter trial conducted of FDG-PET/CT in head and neck cancer, providing rigorous data about its performance. The nonrandomized phase two trial, ACRIN 6685, followed 287 patients with newly diagnosed stage T2 to T4 disease, all being considered for surgery when at least one side of the neck had no evidence of lymph node involvement based on a physical exam, preoperative MRI, and/or a CT evaluation (clinically node-negative or cN0). It found that FDG-PET/CT imaging achieved a true negative in 94 percent of patients (by standardized uptake value (SUV) analysis), or 87 percent of patients (by visual assessment). The trial was designed and conducted by researchers in the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group with support from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Are emulsifiers bad? Not enough evidence to say we should stop eating them

Food additives do a lot of good: they prolong shelf life, improve taste and texture, and add colour to otherwise unappealing products. They are also highly controversial and garner a lot of media attention. But are additives really bad for your health, or are headlines like "E-numbers in ice cream 'could increase YOUR risk of bowel cancer'" just fear-mongering?

'Set' of gun laws needed to reduce gun violence

After 34 people were killed in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend, bipartisan legislation for universal background checks is gaining traction in the US Senate. Now, a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) study finds that laws restricting who can have a gun are most effective in reducing firearm homicides, but that different laws are more effective in urban and in suburban/rural areas.

New quantitative method standardizes phage virulence determination

Researchers have developed a simple, fast, and standardized method for measuring phage virulence quantitatively, which can expediate phage therapy development by allowing robust individual and combined testing of phage efficacy. The method, which takes into account all factors affecting virulence, is published in a preview issue of PHAGE: Therapy, Applications, and Research, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers launching in early 2020.

Virtual patients and in silico clinical studies improve blue light treatment for psoriasis

A new study supports the use of virtual patients and in silico clinical studies to evaluate the effectiveness of blue light to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. Researchers also demonstrated that this in silico approach can be used to improve the treatment response of patients with psoriasis to blue light by modifying the settings of the therapeutic protocol, as reported in the study published in Systems Medicine, an open access journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Infectious diseases A-Z: Measles cases in 30 states

Measles infections are now confirmed in 30 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "We have more measles cases than we have had in the last 30 years," says Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group.

Collaboration sees sustained increase in imaging history quality from ordering providers

According to an ahead-of-print "Focus On" article published in the November issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), collaborative research has not only standardized the definition of a complete imaging history, but also engineered systems to include supportive prompts in the order entry interface with a single keystroke—sustainably improving the quality of imaging histories, themselves.

Opioid use and misuse three months after ED visit for acute pain

Opioid use at the three-month follow-up in emergency department patients discharged with an opioid prescription for acute pain is relatively low and not necessarily synonymous with opioid misuse. That is the conclusion of a study to be published in the August 2019 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), a journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).

Biology news

Staring at seagulls could save your chips

Staring at seagulls makes them less likely to steal your food, new research shows.

A common honey bee disease is spread through flowers

James Cook University scientists have discovered a common honey bee disease can be deadly to native Australian wild bees and can be transmitted by flowers—the first time this link has been made.

Depleted seamounts near Hawaii recovering after decades of federal protection

For decades, overfishing and trawling devastated parts of an underwater mountain range in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, wrecking deep-sea corals and destroying much of their ecological community.

Whole genome sequencing may help officials get a handle on disease outbreaks

Whole genome sequencing technology may give epidemiologists and healthcare workers a powerful weapon in tracking and, possibly, controlling outbreaks of serious diseases, according to a team of researchers.

Blue sharks ride deep-swirling currents to the ocean's midwater at mealtime

When you're hungry, wouldn't it be nice to just slip into a tunnel that rushes you off to a grand buffet? It sounds like something Elon Musk might dream up, but it turns out, certain species of sharks appear to have this luxury.

Where are the bees? Tracking down which flowers they pollinate

Researchers at UEA and the Earlham Institute (EI) have developed a new method to rapidly identify the sources of bee pollen to understand which flowers are important for bees.

Fear of predators causes PTSD-like changes in brains of wild animals

Fear can be measured in the brain and fearful life-threatening events can leave quantifiable long-lasting traces in the neural circuitry of the brain with enduring effects on behaviour, as shown most clearly in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Why so fly: Scientists discover some fruit flies learn better than others

Fruit flies could one day provide new avenues to discover additional genes that contribute to a person's ability to learn and remember. Scientists at the University of Missouri are studying genes of fruit flies to explore why an individual fly can be a better learner than another. Many of those genes in fruit flies are similar to those found in people.

Italian hydroponics farm bets on 'red gold'

The Italian tomato is prized around the world, but its reputation has soured in recent years over reports of mafia infiltration, slave labour and toxic fires that poison water sources.

Surprising level of biodiversity found among western New York lichen populations

The iron smelters and coal-fired power plants may be gone, but the imprint of a rust-belt region's industrial legacy remains in its lichen communities. Lichens are the proverbial "canaries in the coal mine" when it comes to looking at the damaging effects of pollution in a given area, said Robert J. Warren, associate professor of biology.

Don't fear the pholcid: Daddy long-legs' venom is only dangerous if you're an insect

You've probably heard the urban legend: Daddy long-leg spiders possess extremely toxic venom—so toxic that it would kill a human if only their fangs were long/strong enough to penetrate human skin.

Secrets of Chimanimani revealed in biodiversity surveys

Despite not boasting the fame of the Serengeti or Kruger National Park, Chimanimani, straddling the Mozambican and Zimbabwean border, is an area like no other. Diverse landscapes and unique plant and animal species coexist together in this comparatively unheralded region of southern Africa.

Stranger sea things turning up off Nova Scotia shores

Lloyd Bond has been diving the waters of Nova Scotia for the last 20 years, often coming across flatfish, lobster and sea urchins that typically populate cooler northern climates.

The surprising merit of giant clam feces

Coral reefs are a hotspot of biodiversity, hosting numerous species of animals and fish that help one another maintain a harmonious environment. One of these species is the giant clam. They are the biggest shellfish in the world, with 13 species found so far. One of the most famous species, Tridacna gigas, can live more than 100 years and grow to more than a meter wide. Their size and beautiful shells have led to their popularity as ornaments and as a delicacy, but this has resulted in their endangerment.

Research cruise off California finds life lacking in parts of the ocean

In parts of the California Current this summer, the ocean was clear, azure and almost empty.

Virginia's 'Founding Forest' was decimated. Now the longleaf pine is making a comeback

On a cloudy day, Rebecca Wilson strolled along a sandy path at a nature preserve brimming with young longleaf pine—a peculiar tree with long green needles and a taste for fire.

Study raises concerns about prevalent orchid viruses

In a Plants, People, Planet study, researchers investigated the evolution of the two most prevalent orchid viruses using information representing their global distribution. The study revealed that considerable international trade of cultivated orchids has effectively "homogenised" the genetic diversity of the viruses. In other words, the two viruses have displayed few genetic differences since their first emergence, across countries and host plants.

Human activity likely affects giraffe's social networks

In a new Ethology study, researchers examined information on two adjacent giraffe populations in Kenya to determine whether human activities and high predation affect their social networks.

Medication in the environment affects feeding behavior of fish

Scientists are increasingly warning that prescription drugs can affect wildlife and ecosystems when they find their way into the environment. In a new Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry study, investigators found that the anxiety and depression drug Escitalopram—at concentrations similar to those measured in the environment—can inhibit fish foraging and eating behavior.

Two heads better than one? Homing pigeons flap faster to fly together

Wildlife researchers have long tried to understand why birds fly in flocks, ranging from structured V-formations to loose clusters that involve complex aerodynamic interactions between group members. Frequently cited benefits of collective travel include improved flight efficiency, enhanced navigation and greater safety from predators.

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