Monday, September 2, 2019

Science X Newsletter Monday, Sep 2

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A method to simulate strongly correlated phases of quantum gauge theories

New extremely X-ray-weak blazar discovered

Plant gene discovery could help reduce fertilizer pollution in waterways

Ability to detect directional gaze is not unique to humans

A comprehensive catalogue of human digestive tract bacteria

New feedback phenomenon found to drive increasing drought and aridity

Vintage film shows Thwaites Glacier ice shelf melting faster than previously observed

Map of broken brain networks shows why people lose speech in language-based dementia

Researchers uncover how popular drug helps in heart failure

Breast cancer can form 'sleeper cells' after drug treatment

Researchers reveal how bacteria behind hospital infections block out antibiotics

Bacteria in pneumonia attack using bleaching agent

A new reptile species from Wales named by Bristol student

Forest loss in Brazil contributing to rising temperatures

Sensor used at CERN could help gravitational wave hunters

Astronomy & Space news

New extremely X-ray-weak blazar discovered

Astronomers from Italy and Spain have detected a new blazar by analyzing data from two astronomical surveys. The newly found object, designated DESJ014132.4-542749.9, turns out to be an extremely X-ray-weak blazar at high redshift. The discovery is detailed in a paper published August 22 on

New research considers what lies below the moon's surface

A new study by geologists in Canada and the United States suggests a repository of precious metals may be locked deep below the moon's surface.

Image: Hubble views star nearing its end

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 5307, a planetary nebula that lies about 10,000 light-years from Earth. It can be seen in the constellation Centaurus (the Centaur), which can be seen primarily in the southern hemisphere.

Indian moon mission's landing module separates from orbiter

India's space agency says the landing module of the country's unmanned moon mission has separated from the orbiter ahead of its planned touchdown on the moon's south polar region this weekend.

Public website to track ESA spacecraft

Launching spacecraft into orbit around Earth and on voyages through the solar system relies on a network of antennas and ground stations across the globe.

Image: Night into day on Saturn's rings

In this image by the international Cassini spacecraft, Saturn's shadow is captured creeping across the rings. The bottom half of the image shows the bright rings reflecting sunlight from their icy particles, whereas the top is partially obscured in shadow from the gas giant.

Europe and US teaming up for asteroid deflection

Asteroid researchers and spacecraft engineers from the US, Europe and around the world will gather in Rome next week to discuss the latest progress in their common goal: an ambitious double-spacecraft mission to deflect an asteroid in space, to prove the technique as a viable method of planetary defense.

A 3-D printed telescope: The analog sky drifter

A unique 3-D printed telescope named the Analog Sky Drifter may spark a revolution in amateur telescope making.

Technology news

Novel math could bring machine learning to the next level

A team of Italian mathematicians, including a neuroscientist from the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown (CCU), in Lisbon, Portugal, has shown that artificial vision machines can learn to recognize complex images more quickly by using a mathematical theory that was developed 25 years ago by one of this new study's co-authors. Their results have been published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence.

The wall-climbing robot inspired by a leech

A soft and flexible leech-shaped robot that can climb vertical walls has been developed as part of a collaborative research project.

'Sense of urgency', as top tech players seek AI ethical rules

Top players in global tech companies kicked off work Monday to draw up global ethical standards related to data and artificial intelligence, with Microsoft's president voicing a "sense of urgency".

Microsoft patent talk includes foldable with electromagnetic coil

Microsoft's patent filing recently made public has juiced up curiosity over what Microsoft might debut sooner or later as its own version of a folding computing device.

Tracking down polluters

Proving criminal machinations can be difficult—for instance when those involved covertly discharge hazardous wastewater into sewers. A new sensor system developed by Fraunhofer researchers and their partners could soon help safety agencies establish wrongdoing: placed in a sewage canal, it detects relevant substances and helps isolate and expose polluters.

Developing embedded systems faster

Whether for the car or the drone: Developing image processing software for embedded systems takes a lot of time and is therefore very expensive. Now the Tulipp platform makes it possible to develop energy-efficient embedded image processing systems more quickly and less expensively, with a drastic reduction in time-to-market. The Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB is a member of the EU consortium which simplified the process.

Monitoring bridge safety with wireless sensors

Tens of thousands of bridges across the country are deteriorating, creating potentially dangerous conditions. Particularly after a natural disaster, being able to assess a bridge's structural integrity can be critical.

AI learns complex gene-disease patterns

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being harnessed by researchers to track down genes that cause disease. A KAUST team is taking a creative, combined deep learning approach that uses data from multiple sources to teach algorithms how to find patterns between genes and diseases.

US senators press Amazon CEO Bezos for answers on product safety

Three Democratic senators asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday to explain what the company is doing to prevent third-party sellers from selling dangerous, illegal and misleading products on its platform, and called on him to undertake "a sweeping internal investigation of your enforcement and consumer-safety policies."

10 features we'd like to see on the next iPhone

Apple said this week it will stage a media event on Sept.10th, which is when the company is expected to introduce three new editions of the iPhone.

Circus reinvented in Montreal, this time with high-tech vibe

Montreal—the Canadian city that spawned the global juggernaut Cirque du Soleil—has once again reimagined the circus, this time tapping into the rich animation and video game production talent found in the Quebec metropolis.

France's second largest airline Aigle Azur goes into receivership

France's second-largest airline Aigle Azur went into receivership after filing for bankruptcy Monday, following years of losing millions of euros, France's civil aviation authority (DGAC) said.

Medicine & Health news

A comprehensive catalogue of human digestive tract bacteria

The human digestive tract is home to thousands of different strains of bacteria. Many of these are beneficial, while others contribute to health problems such as inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers from MIT and the Broad Institute have now isolated and preserved samples of nearly 8,000 of these strains, while also clarifying their genetic and metabolic context.

Map of broken brain networks shows why people lose speech in language-based dementia

For the first time, Northwestern Medicine scientists have pinpointed the location of dysfunctional brain networks that lead to impaired sentence production and word finding in primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a form of dementia in which patients often lose their language rather than their memory or thought process.

Researchers uncover how popular drug helps in heart failure

Results were released today from the first two clinical studies designed specifically to examine the effects of the heart drug sacubitril/valsartan on the structure and function of the failing heart. Treatment with sacubitril/valsartan, a combination angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI), substantially lowers rates of death and hospitalization in certain types of heart failure patients. However, the mechanisms by which the drug actually affects the heart are poorly understood.

Breast cancer can form 'sleeper cells' after drug treatment

Breast cancer medicines may force some cancer cells into 'sleeper mode', allowing them to potentially come back to life years after initial treatment.

Bacteria in pneumonia attack using bleaching agent

Research shows that bacteria use hydrogen peroxide to weaken the immune system and cause pneumonia. This according to a study at Umeå University and Stockholm University, Sweden. Hydrogen peroxide is also known as a bleaching agent that is used to whiten teeth or hair, as a stain remover, as well as for cleaning surfaces and disinfecting wounds.

Methylation of microRNA may be a new powerful biomarker for cancer

Researchers from Osaka University find a new way to distinguish individuals with early pancreatic cancer from healthy controls, representing a promising new metric in cancer diagnosis

Physicians more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day

It's only human that decision-making changes when people are rushed. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Harvard University conducted the first study in the United States to examine this phenomenon—using a national source of electronic health records—in primary care physicians when they decide whether to prescribe opioid painkillers. The findings were recently published in JAMA Network Open.

DNA changes accelerate body's aging process

DNA changes throughout a person's life can significantly increase their susceptibility to heart conditions and other age-related diseases, research suggests.

New study reveals 'smart' approach to detecting common heart condition

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology highlights the feasible use of mobile health (mHealth) devices to help with the screening and detection of a common heart condition.

Enzyme known for promoting cancer found to also protect healthy cells

New research from the University of Maryland and the National Institutes of Health reveals a new role for the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase's only known role in normal tissue was to protect certain cells that divide regularly, such as embryonic cells, sperm cells, adult stem cells and immune cells. Scientists thought telomerase was turned off in all other cells, except in cancerous tumors where it promotes unlimited cell division.

Mumps study shows immunity gaps among vaccinated people

Immunity against mumps virus appears insufficient in a fraction of college-aged people who were vaccinated in childhood, research from Emory Vaccine Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates. The findings highlight the need to better understand the immune response to mumps and mumps vaccines.

Early life environment may lead to high blood pressure in children

Where a mother lives and the temperature outside while she is pregnant, among other environmental factors, can impact whether her child is prehypertensive or hypertensive during childhood, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Sleeping too much—or too little—boosts heart attack risk

Even if you are a non-smoker who exercises and has no genetic predisposition to cardiovascular disease, skimping on sleep—or getting too much of it—can boost your risk of heart attack, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study of nearly a half-million people.

Coalition issues international consensus on testosterone treatment for women

The Endocrine Society and 10 other internationally esteemed medical societies have today issued the first Global Position Statement on the use of testosterone in the treatment of women. The statement was published in four leading international medical journals and has been authored by a diverse team of leading experts based around the world.

Study shows metabolic surgery associated with lower risk of death and heart complications

A large Cleveland Clinic study shows that weight-loss surgery performed in patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity is associated with a lower risk of death and major adverse cardiovascular events than usual medical care. These patients also lost more weight, had better diabetes control, and used fewer medications for treatment of their diabetes and cardiovascular disease than those undergoing usual medical care.

Decline in sports-related sudden cardiac death linked with rise in bystander resuscitation

Fewer sports-related sudden cardiac arrest victims die nowadays, a trend linked with increased bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), reports a study presented today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology. The late breaking study also found that the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest during sports has not changed over the last decade.

Heart failure patients have similar odds of dementia-type brain lesions as stroke patients

A type of brain damage linked with dementia and cognitive impairment is as common in heart failure patients as it is in patients with a history of stroke, according to findings from the LIFE-Adult-Study presented today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.

Lifestyle, not genetics, explains most premature heart disease

Physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol play a greater role than genetics in many young patients with heart disease, according to research presented today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology. The findings show that healthy behaviours should be a top priority for reducing heart disease even in those with a family history of early onset.

Malaria infection is associated with increased risk of heart failure

Malaria infection is linked with a 30% raised risk of heart failure, according to a small study presented today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.

It takes a community to lower cardiovascular risk

Concerted effort by friends, family and non-physician health workers can make a dramatic difference in reducing the risk factors for heart problems in patients with hypertension, an international study by Hamilton researchers has found.

Consensus criteria for diagnosis, staging, and treatment response assessment of T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia

T-cell ProLymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL) is the most aggressive of all known forms of leukemia. Although many cancer drugs are now available, therapeutic success is limited for T-PLL patients. Until now, no international studies have been conducted and stand-alone studies are hardly comparable with each other, since they use different diagnostic and treatment response assessment criteria. Haemato-oncologist Philipp Staber from MedUni Vienna's Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology and member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna (CCC), instigated an international expert group, which has now produced the first ever binding consensus paper. This creates the basis for all further research into T-PLL. These consensus criteria have now been published as the lead article in the journal Blood.

Biocompatible stents provide better protection against occluded blood vessels

Cardiovascular stents are special implants used to widen blood vessels that have become constricted as a result of calcium deposits. In some cases, the body's immune system can reject these implants in a process known as foreign-body reaction. In a joint project with partners, Fraunhofer researchers in Dresden have now developed enhanced coatings that substantially improve the biocompatibility of stents.

Ultrasound sensor aids diagnosis of middle-ear infection

A new type of ultrasound transducer from Fraunhofer should soon be delivering a fast and reliable diagnosis of infection of the middle ear. A U.S. company and the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS are collaborating on the development and application of this technology. The transducer is integrated in an otoscope and helps physicians decide whether a course of antibiotics is really necessary.

Cancer susceptibility genes

Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified hundreds of genetic "risk" variants for human cancers. The vast majority likely contribute to cancer development by regulating the expression of other genes, but these target genes remain largely unexplored.

Molecular scissors technique to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance genes in bacterial communities 

The decreased efficacy of antibiotics is a global problem and hinders the therapeutic outcome of previously treatable bacterial infections. In Europe, an estimated 33,000 people die due to antibiotic resistant bacterial infections annually. Furthermore, these bacteria cause notable financial losses, for example, in animal husbandry. Due to the largely diminished pipeline for the development of new antibiotics, alternative treatments are urgently needed against antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. In her doctoral dissertation at University of Jyvaskyla, Pilvi Ruotsalainen developed molecular gene scissors that target and destroy antibiotic resistance genes and prevent their spread in bacterial communities.

Researchers develop novel heart pump to help people with heart failure

Dr. David Adlam, associate professor and interventional cardiologist in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Piyal Samara-Ratna, Mechanical Engineer in the Space Research Centre, have joined forces to combine medical and space research to develop a pump to help people with heart failure.

A life of low cholesterol and BP slashes heart and circulatory disease risk by 80 percent

Modest and sustained decreases in blood pressure and cholesterol levels reduces the lifetime risk of developing fatal heart and circulatory diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, according to research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The findings are being presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Paris and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Australia has an acetaminophen poisoning problem

Most of us take paracetamol (acetaminophen) every now and again to reduce pain or fever. As far as medications go, it's one we're unlikely to associate with harm.

How clean is your hospital room? To reduce the spread of infections, it could probably be cleaner

Imagine you need to go into hospital. First, you are likely to be seen in the emergency department, and then moved to a ward room for further treatment and recovery.

Why do men find a lower waist-to-hip ratio sexier?

Male turkeys famously will attempt to mate with a head on a stick. In fact, gobblers prize a snug snood over the whole hen. How far then can a man's ideal sexual partner be stripped?

How to get people to eat bugs and drink sewage

In wealthy societies we've become increasingly picky about what we eat. The "wrong" fruits and vegetables, the "wrong" animal parts, and the "wrong" animals inspire varying degrees of "yuck."

When caring hurts: Recognizing and responding to vicarious trauma

Every day across Australia, the compassion, empathy and expertise of thousands of social workers and counselors helps people from all walks of life come to terms with personal trauma.

Men who live alone have problems taking 'blood thinning' drug

Living alone is associated with difficulties using the "blood thinner" warfarin in men, but not women, according to research presented today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.

Anxiety and depression: Why doctors are prescribing gardening rather than drugs

Spending time in outdoors, taking time out of the everyday to surround yourself with greenery and living things can be one of life's great joys—and recent research also suggest it's good for your body and your brain.

Massachusetts communities at 'critical risk' for mosquito-borne virus

There is a "critical risk" for a dangerous mosquito-transmitted virus in 28 Massachusetts communities, the state health department warns.

A prescription for medicating your child safely

When your child is sick, taking the right medication can make all the difference—as long as it's correctly chosen and measured. But sometimes mistakes occur. Here are safety steps to help prevent medication errors from happening.

Early intensive vasodilation does not improve outcomes in acute heart failure

Early intensive vasodilation does not improve 180-day all-cause mortality and rehospitalization in patients hospitalized for acute heart failure, according to late breaking results of the GALACTIC trial presented in a Hot Line Session today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.1

The test that could save the life of long-time smokers

A test called CT lung cancer screening could save the lives of tens of thousands of American smokers and former smokers every year, but only only 4% of those eligible are getting it.

For the first time in five years, opioid overdose deaths declined in NC in 2018

After years of rising deaths from accidental drug overdoses, the body count in North Carolina is finally going down.

Lack of government action on NHS staffing undermines ambition to diagnose cancer early

In just one year, around 115,000 cancer patients in England are diagnosed too late to give them the best chance of survival, according to new calculations from Cancer Research UK released today.

Get smart about eggs

The word on eggs changes faster than you can say "sunny-side up." One day their cholesterol isn't a concern and the next day it is.

Chronic cocaine use modifies gene expression

Chronic cocaine use changes gene expression in the hippocampus, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

How humans have shaped dogs' brains

Dog brain structure varies across breeds and is correlated with specific behaviors, according to new research published in JNeurosci. These findings show how, by selectively breeding for certain behaviors, humans have shaped the brains of their best friends.

Biology news

Plant gene discovery could help reduce fertilizer pollution in waterways

Over-fertilization of agricultural fields is a huge environmental problem. Excess phosphorus from fertilized cropland frequently finds its way into nearby rivers and lakes. A resulting boom of aquatic plant growth can cause oxygen levels in the water to plunge, leading to fish die-offs and other harmful effects.

Ability to detect directional gaze is not unique to humans

The ability to detect the direction of someone's gaze is not unique to humans, as had been previously thought, according to new research.

Researchers reveal how bacteria behind hospital infections block out antibiotics

Drug-resistant bacteria responsible for deadly hospital-acquired infections shut out antibiotics by closing tiny doors in their cell walls.

Seeing memories being made

Researchers at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern have developed a novel tool for tracking and manipulating long-term memories as they are stored in the brains of fruit flies. The tool, reported recently in the journal PLOS Biology, will help investigate how memory works at the molecular level. Insights gained from the simpler fruit fly brain can later guide studies of human memory.

How early-stage embryos maintain their size

What controls the size of an embryo and, by extension, the size of tissue, organs and the whole organism?

Toxic frogs with weak defenses persist in the gene pool alongside stronger competitors

Diversity is a hallmark of life and it shows up in unexpected places. A multi-national team of evolutionary biologists investigated how two types of poison frog co-exist when only one might be expected. Their innovative study uncovers conditions where diversity flourishes against the odds, and offers new perspectives on chemical defense. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on September 2nd 2019.

Wild geese take climate action

Migratory animals are actively adjusting their traditions to climate change, new research has found.

Impact of climate change on global banana yields revealed

Climate change could negatively impact banana cultivation in some of the world's most important producing and exporting countries, a study has revealed.

Berlin zoo delights in rare birth of panda twins

Berlin zoo said Monday its resident panda Meng Meng had delivered twins, as it voiced delight at the first such births in the country.

Riding in cars with dogs

Compulsory testing of in-car dog restraints and better education about the dangers of having pets loose in the car are needed to ensure the safety of drivers and pets, a new study from the University of Adelaide suggests.

A 'rheostat' for cancer signals

WNT signaling pathways play important roles in cell growth, development and cancer. The classical or "canonical" WNT pathway and its atypical, "non-canonical" counterpart share a protein called DVL2 that "transduces" or converts one kind of signal to another.

Keeping your dog safe from toxic blue-green algae

When we see green, scummy water, we know better than to drink it or even swim in it. But the same is not true for many dogs, and that green scum could be a toxic blue-green algae bloom, which can be fatal to animals.

Spiders are threatened by climate change, and even arachnophobes should be worried

Is climate change making spiders more aggressive? A recent scientific study suggests so, as the researchers link aggressiveness to tropical cyclones, events that are expected to become more frequent and powerful with climate change. Unsurprisingly, the findings got considerable media coverage. After all, it matches justified fears of catastrophic climate change impacts, with the unjustified fear many people have of harmless spiders.

Some species in the Amazon face local wipeout despite plants' ability to recover from fire

Being rooted in one place gives plants the stability they need to grow and thrive. But as the Amazon fires show, that can quickly turn into a deadly disadvantage. Without any means of escape, it would seem that plants are powerless against the approaching flames. But while they can't run from fire, that doesn't necessarily mean certain death.

Waratah is an icon of the Aussie bush (and very nearly the national emblem)

On one of my first field trips as a young student, searching in sweltering September heat for banksia trees in the bush around Sydney, my eye was caught by a flash of remarkable crimson. Trudging over the red dust, we saw the beautiful waratah flower.

Mitochondrial DNA reveals unexpected ancestral connections

Biochemists study life on a molecular level. So, as a biochemist, it made sense to investigate my own existence at that deepest of levels, which is why I had my DNA sequenced—my mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, to be exact.

Birds in serious decline at Lake Constance

Within 30 years, the bird population around Lake Constance declined with increasing rapidity. While in 1980 around 465,000 breeding pairs were still living in the region, by 2012 the number had fallen to 345,000—a loss of 25 percent. These are the findings of a study carried out by researchers from the Ornithological Working Group at Lake Constance and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. Bird species that were once common like the house sparrow, the common blackbird, or the common starling have dwindled particularly rapidly. The numbers of many other species are too small for survival and their habitats in the Lake Constance region are shrinking.

Grand Canyon to make second run at corralling bison herd

In the two years since the Grand Canyon approved a plan to reduce the number of bison roaming in the national park, the herd has only grown in size.

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