Thursday, September 5, 2019

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Sep 5

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 5, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Multifunctional metallic backbones for origami robotics

Heart regeneration: Scientists uncloak one of nature's deepest secrets

Scientists find new, long-hypothesized material state with signature of quantum disordered liquid-like magnetic moments

'Martian CSI' reveals how asteroid impacts created running water under red planet

NASA satellite spots a mystery that's gone in a flash

Largest-ever ancient-DNA study illuminates millennia of South and Central Asian prehistory

Kīlauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom off Hawai'i Island

Exotic physics phenomenon is observed for first time

Nanowires replace Newton's famous glass prism

Synthetic biologists extend functional life of cancer fighting circuitry in microbes

Scientists measure precise proton radius to help resolve decade-old puzzle

A molecular 'atlas' of animal development

Snack tax may be more effective than a sugary drink tax to tackle obesity

Genetic regions associated with left-handedness identified

Genome mining reveals novel production pathway for promising malaria treatment

Astronomy & Space news

'Martian CSI' reveals how asteroid impacts created running water under red planet

Modern analysis of Martian meteorites has revealed unprecedented details about how asteroid impacts help create temporary sources of running water on the red planet.

NASA satellite spots a mystery that's gone in a flash

Pops of bright blue and green in this image of the Fireworks galaxy (NGC 6946) show the locations of extremely bright sources of X-ray light captured by NASA's NuSTAR space observatory. Generated by some of the most energetic processes in the universe, these X-ray sources are rare compared to the many visible light sources in the background image. A new study, published in the Astrophysical Journal, offers some possible explanations for the surprise appearance of the green source near the center of the galaxy, which came into view and disappeared in a matter of weeks.

Team behind world's first black hole image wins 'Oscar of science'

The 347 scientists who collaborated to produce the world's first image of a black hole were honored Thursday with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, winning $3 million dollars for what is known as the "Oscars of science."

Tiny specks in space could be the key to finding Martian life

Next year, both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will send new rovers to Mars to hunt for evidence of past life.

Moon rocks could help reveal how life evolved on Earth – and may enable us to resurrect extinct species

Life is the last thing you would associate with the eternally dark craters of the lunar poles. But these craters could hold the key to explaining how complex, multi-cellular organisms evolved on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago, affording unimaginable insights into our planet's biological past.

Space station science return and spacecraft shuffle

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano's Beyond mission has kicked into high gear during the last two weeks. He has been keeping the International Space Station running smoothly as well as working remotely with European researchers—with even Luca's mealtimes the subject of experimental scrutiny.

Technology news

Multifunctional metallic backbones for origami robotics

Origami robots can be formed by tightly integrating multiple functions of actuation, sensing and communication. But the task is challenging as conventional materials including plastics and paper used for such robotic designs impose constraints to limit add-on functionalities. To install multifunctionalities to the system scientists must typically include external electronics that increase the weight of the robot. In a recent study now published on Science Robotics, Haitao Yang and colleagues at the interdisciplinary departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering in the U.S. and Singapore developed a graphene oxide (GO)-enabled templating synthesis process to produce reconfigurable, compliant and multifunctional metallic backbones. The backbones formed the basis for origami robots coupled with built-in strain sensing and wireless communication capabilities. Using the GO method, the researchers formed complex noble metal origamis as structural replications of paper templates.

Emotion-reading algorithms cannot predict intentions via facial expressions

Most algorithms have probably never heard the Eagles' song, "Lyin' Eyes." Otherwise, they'd do a better job of recognizing duplicity.

Video-based 'threat appeals' may lead to less texting and driving

Every year, motor vehicle crashes caused by distracted driving kill thousands of people, injure hundreds of thousands, and cost billions of dollars; and yet many drivers continue to text and drive, even though they know it's dangerous.

Asus will pack on 300-hertz refresh rate for gamers

Asus has stirred up interest in its gaming display for laptops. Asus fittingly chose Europe's largest consumer tech show for the debut site of its fast laptop gaming display. These are being tagged as gaming machines with 300Hz displays—meaning? These are gaming laptops that can push refresh rates to 300Hz.

Samsung to launch foldable smartphone after major delay

Tech giant Samsung has said it will launch its hotly anticipated first foldable smartphone on Friday, months after faulty screens forced an embarrassing delay of its release.

400 mn Facebook users' phone numbers exposed in privacy lapse: reports

Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, US media reported Wednesday.

Twitter nixes tweets by text after CEO account hack

Twitter on Wednesday halted users' ability to fire off tweets via text messages as it seeks to fix a vulnerability that led to CEO Jack Dorsey's account being hijacked.

Government vows action as German wind industry flags

The German government vowed to push through new measures to revive the country's ailing wind energy sector after hosting a crisis summit in Berlin on Thursday.

Time-saving software in an age of ever-expanding scientific data

It is hard to get people excited about software, says Eliza Grames, a doctoral candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology. Yet, the software she has developed is exciting for anyone about to embark on a new research and trying to determine whether it's actually … new.

Can computers be trained to understand body language?

Humans are able to "read" others' body language for cues on their emotional state. For instance, noticing that a friend is nervous by their tapping foot, or that a loved one who is standing tall feels confident. Now, a team of researchers at Penn State are exploring if computers can be trained to do the same.

Report examines how to make technology work for society

Automation is not likely to eliminate millions of jobs any time soon—but the U.S. still needs vastly improved policies if Americans are to build better careers and share prosperity as technological changes occur, according to a new MIT report about the workplace.

Apple iPhones could have been hacked for years – here's what to do about it

For many years, the Apple iPhone has been considered one of the most secure smart phones available. But despite this reputation, security issues that might affect millions of users came to light last week, when researchers at Google revealed they had discovered websites that can infect iPhones, iPads, and iPods with dangerous software.

Designing machines that see, understand and interpret their environment

Just imagine a pedestrian glued to a mobile phone screen while crossing the street and not paying much attention to the red traffic light. A car approaches, its driver is perhaps feeling a bit drowsy because of lack of sleep and isn't able to stop immediately. How can you avoid an accident in such a scene? From advanced driver assistance systems (ADASs) helping drivers navigate a vehicle, to search and rescue drones, to medical X-ray imaging, embedded vision technologies are increasingly used in a wide range of applications. These involve the integration of computer vision in machines that use algorithms to decode meaning from observing pixel patterns in images or video.

Recognising the signs

Machine recognition of sign languages is on the cards thanks to work by a team in India who are using a Microsoft Kinect movement-identifying controller. Writing in the International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics, the team explains how their system uses just 11 of the 20 joints tracked by a Kinect and can extract novel features per frame, based on distances, angles, and velocity involving upper body joints. The team reports how the algorithm recognizes 35 gestures from Indian sign in real time with almost 90 percent accuracy.

Friends with benefits: Can Facebook tackle your love life?

Facebook is tackling a new frontier: love.

On face recognition, Americans trust police over private firms

A majority of Americans trust law enforcement to use facial recognition technology responsibly but fewer are comfortable about its deployment by the private sector, a poll showed Thursday.

Research reveals new plan to maximize rideshare availability by routing empty cars

Time is money. Especially for rideshare drivers with companies like Uber and Lyft. New research in the INFORMS journal Operations Research looks at a new model for rideshare companies focusing on maximizing the availability of rideshares by optimally routing empty cars.

Office sharing startup WeWork cuts valuation target ahead of IPO

WeWork has slashed its valuation target by more than half after setting an ambitious goal for the fast-growing office-sharing startup, sources familiar with the company said Thursday.

GM hires Google to make infotainment system more like phones

General Motors is hiring Google to run key parts of its dashboard infotainment system, admitting that the tech firm can do a better job.

New York City sues T-Mobile for tricking customers

New York City is suing T-Mobile for what it calls "abusive sales tactics" at Metro by T-Mobile stores, the wireless carrier's prepaid phone brand.

Bots might prove harder to detect in 2020 elections

USC Information Sciences Institute (USC ISI) computer scientist, Emilio Ferrara, has new research indicating that bots or fake accounts enabled by artificial intelligence on social media have evolved and are now better able to copy human behaviors in order to avoid detection.

Nissan CEO Saikawa admits receiving excess pay

The head of crisis-hit Japanese automaker Nissan admitted Thursday he received more pay than he was entitled to but denied wrongdoing, as the firm's former chief faces financial misconduct charges.

Tech firms, US officials talk election protection at Facebook

Facebook said technology firms and US officials met at its Silicon Valley headquarters on Wednesday to collaborate on protecting next year's presidential election from cyber threats.

New study presents real-time biodynamic knee OA evaluation training robot

A research team, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has presented a system that can quantitatively complement the diagnosis of knee arthritis, which was performed only by X-ray and doctor's judgment.

A decade of renewable energy investment, led by solar, tops US $2.5 trillion

Global investment in new renewable energy capacity this decade—2010 to 2019 inclusive—is on course to hit USD 2.6 trillion, with more gigawatts of solar power capacity installed than any other generation technology, according to new figures published today.

Charges to be dropped against Airbus, Air France over 2009 crash: legal sources

French magistrates investigating the 2009 crash of a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in which 228 people died have ordered charges against Airbus and Air France be dropped, legal sources told AFP Thursday.

France's cash-strapped Aigle Azur to cancel all flights

France's second-largest airline Aigle Azur, which went into receivership this week, plans to cancel all flights starting Friday night as it seeks a takeover bid to save the company, according to an internal document seen by AFP on Thursday.

Medicine & Health news

Heart regeneration: Scientists uncloak one of nature's deepest secrets

The long-sought Holy Grail for heart attack patients has been a method to regenerate healthy new tissue, but the basic building blocks required to remodel an injured heart have remained elusive—until now.

Snack tax may be more effective than a sugary drink tax to tackle obesity

Taxing high sugar snacks such as biscuits, cakes, and sweets might be more effective at reducing obesity levels than increasing the price of sugar sweetened drinks, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Genetic regions associated with left-handedness identified

A new study has for the first time identified regions of the genome associated with left-handedness in the general population and linked their effects with brain architecture. The study, led by researchers at the University of Oxford who were funded by the Medical Research Council—part of UK Research and Innovation—and Wellcome, linked these genetic differences with the connections between areas of the brain related to language.

Brain circuit connects feeding and mood in response to stress

Many people have experienced stressful situations that trigger a particular mood and also change certain feelings toward food. An international team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine looked into the possibility of crosstalk between eating and mood and discovered a brain circuit in mouse models that connects the feeding and the mood centers of the brain. Published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, these findings may help explain some of the observations between changes in mood and metabolism and provide insights into future solutions to these problems by targeting this circuit.

MouseLight project maps 1,000 neurons (and counting) in the mouse brain

Scientists are batting a thousand in a project to reconstruct the mouse brain's wiring diagram.

Resistance can spread even without the use of antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance does not spread only where and when antibiotics are used in large quantities, ETH researchers conclude from laboratory experiments. Reducing antibiotic use alone is therefore not sufficient to curtail resistance, and should be done in conjunction with measures to prevent infection with resistant germs.

New medicine may enhance the effect of chemotherapy on pancreatic cancer

One of the major obstacles in the treatment of pancreatic cancer is the defense wall that is formed around the tumor. This "desmoplastic stroma" prevents chemotherapy from reaching the tumor. Scientists of the University of Twente now found out which part of the stroma can best be attacked. Furthermore, they discovered a peptide than can serve as an attacker. In "Science Advances' they show that using the combination of the peptide and the cytostatics, tumor volume can be drastically reduced. In a few years, the first therapeutic studies may be done.

Hookworm infection may cause cognitive impairment earlier than thought

Evidence from the lab of Raffi Aroian, Ph.D., shows that short-term human hookworm infection, even at low levels, can cause rapid, acute and measurable cognitive impairments in spatial memory among a mammalian animal model. These findings, published in Scientific Reports, highlight the global importance of hookworm elimination and suggest that additional, specific, spatial memory studies be carried out.

Cracking 'virus code' could help fight cancer

Virus experts from Cardiff University's School of Medicine have uncovered, for the first time, how a virus known as Adenovirus type 26 (Ad26), which has been used effectively in a tamed form as a vaccine, can infect human cells.

Researchers find acupuncture reduces alcohol withdrawal symptoms in rats

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the Republic of Korea and one from the U.S., has found that using acupuncture on alcohol-dependent rats can reduce withdrawal symptoms. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their study of a certain type of acupuncture and its relation to withdrawal symptoms in rats, and what they found.

New MRI technique can 'see' molecular changes in the brain

MRI's give us a picture of our body's insides—organs, bones, nerves and soft tissue. But what if MRI's could show us the molecular makeup of our body parts, and help doctors more quickly determine the onset of disease and begin treatment?

Taxing sweetened drinks by the amount of sugar could cut obesity and boost economic gains

Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages by the amount of sugar they contain, rather than by the liquid volume of these drinks, as several U.S. cities currently do, could produce even greater health benefits and economic gains, a team of researchers has concluded.

The future of mind control

Electrodes implanted in the brain help alleviate symptoms like the intrusive tremors associated with Parkinson's disease. But current probes face limitations due to their size and inflexibility. "The brain is squishy and these implants are rigid," said Shaun Patel. About four years ago, when he discovered Charles M. Lieber's ultra-flexible alternatives, he saw the future of brain-machine interfaces.

Innovative technique for labeling and mapping inhibitory neurons reveals diverse tuning profile

Neurons are complex, highly connected cells engaged with multiple networks throughout the brain, and they exhibit a wide range of activity. As such, individual neurons can perform many functions. Neurons are generally classified as either excitatory or inhibitory based on downstream effects on other cells, with each cell receiving a diverse array of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs that help shape that cell's unique properties. In a recent study, researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience revealed that inhibitory inputs to neurons in the visual cortex are more diverse than previously thought, suggesting that our current notion of neuronal connectivity may only reflect a part of the whole picture. The team of researchers explored how neurons are wired together and what effect these connections have on neuronal properties. Using genetic tools, imaging techniques, and optogenetics, they showed that inhibitory inputs onto single neurons can deviate from the canonical view of cortical circuits. The presence of this surprising, differentially-tuned inhibition suggests that cortical connectivity is more flexible than originally assumed, allowing for multiplexed computations.

Vegetarian and pescetarian diets linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease

Vegetarian (including vegan) and pescetarian diets may be linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease, or CHD for short, than diets that include meat, suggest the findings of a large UK study published in The BMJ today.

Study links hearing aids to lower risk of dementia, depression and falls

Older adults who get a hearing aid for a newly diagnosed hearing loss have a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia, depression or anxiety for the first time over the next three years, and a lower risk of suffering fall-related injuries, than those who leave their hearing loss uncorrected, a new study finds.

As light as a lemon: How the right smell can help with a negative body image

The scent of a lemon could help people feel better about their body image, new findings from University of Sussex research has revealed.

Pharmacists in the ER speed delivery of coagulation drug to bleeding patients

Millions of patients take blood thinners such as Coumadin to prevent blood clots that can cause strokes.

Negotiation: A three-step solution to affordable prescription drugs

Medicare often spends $3,590 for an individual's 30-day prescription after adjusting for all rebates, and prices continue to rise.

Mortality rates in Ebola survivors after hospital discharge could be 5 times higher compared with the general population

First study of its kind suggests Ebola survivors may be at increased risk of death in the first year after hospital discharge, particularly those who spent longer in hospital.

Sex and height might influence neck posture when viewing electronic handheld devices

Sex and height appear to influence how people flex their neck when viewing handheld devices, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Arkansas.

Study reveals links between extreme weather events and poor mental health

People whose homes are damaged by storms or flooding are significantly more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, according to new research.

Polypill holds promise for tackling cardiovascular disease

Heart attacks and strokes are collectively the leading cause of death in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) worldwide. Treatment with four drugs—aspirin, a statin, an angiotensin converting-enzyme (ACE)-inhibitor, and a beta blocker—improves survival and quality of life among patients who have had a heart attack or stroke in the past; however, fewer than a quarter of eligible patients in LMICs receive these medications due to concerns about pill burden and cost.

New research offers solution to reduce organ shortage crisis

Eighteen people die every day waiting for transplants, and a new patient is added to the organ transplant list every 10 minutes. Much of the problem surrounds the lack of registered donors. New research in the INFORMS journal Management Science provides incentives that could lead to a solution and ultimately save lives.

Soldiers, athletes could have improved outcomes from traumatic brain injury

A traumatic brain injury is often easily suspected and can be confirmed and treated if necessary following an injury using a blood analysis, but scientists are reporting that even one mild blast to the brain can cause very subtle but permanent damage as well. Urine analysis taken within one week of a mild to traumatic brain injury also can provide faster diagnosis and treatment for such injuries.

New members found in a transcription factor complex that maintains beta cells

Beta cells in pancreatic islets produce insulin to exquisitely regulate blood glucose levels and, thus, provide energy to cells throughout the body. Loss or dysfunction of the beta cells results in diabetes, a major public health threat that can lead to heart disease, neuropathy, blindness and kidney failure.

Surging prescriptions, deaths: Australia faces opioid crisis

Half a world away from the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, Australia is facing a crisis of its own, with skyrocketing rates of opioid prescriptions and related deaths.

ASHG asserts core genetic data privacy principles for all research and funding arenas

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) today affirmed the crucial role of genetic and genomic data sharing to advance medicine and health research, and asserted core principles about privacy protections that should apply to all human genetics and genomics research regardless of funding source. The Society's views appear today in The American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG).

Novel study reveals presence of fungal DNA in the fetal human gut

A recent human study published in The FASEB Journal discovered the presence of fungal communities in the fetal gut. The study marks the first of its kind to observe fungal DNA in this developmental setting.

New WHO autoantibody reference reagent will benefit SLE patients

Reference reagents are important in diagnostics and care of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In a new study, an international team of researchers presents a new WHO autoantibody reference reagent that will help to align autoantibody analyses and thus to optimize diagnosis and treatment to patients irrespective of where they live. The findings are published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Zika virus infects the adult human brain and causes memory deficits in animal models

Zika virus attracted worldwide attention in recent years due to the devastating consequences of infection for pregnant women and their fetuses, many of which were born with microcephaly and other severe neurological malformations. Although ZIKV infection has historically been associated with relatively mild symptoms, a number of serious neurological complications were described in adult patients during the 2015 outbreak in America. Despite these clinical observations, why ZIKV is toxic to the adult brain and how neurological problems are caused in infected adults have remained unknown.

Sound waves for your health

You may not be able to hear them, but they help to diagnose and treat patients every day. In the past 40 years, ultrasound imaging has gone from blurry black-and-white images, to sharp 3-D images in real time. And the technology is still developing. Now, artificial intelligence is being tested for aid in interpreting ultrasound images.

Possible treatment breakthrough for the rare disease arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy type 5 (ARVC5) is a fatal genetic disease for which there is unfortunately no cure. Now, scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) and Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda Hospital (Spain) have discovered a possible treatment for this rare disease. The research team, whose findings are published in Circulation, show that strategies to inhibit the kinase GSK3β in mice with the disease reduce fibrosis and improve heart function.

Generational study looks for biological links between adverse childhood experiences and self-harm

New research from the University of Bristol is the first to use a large generational family study to examine links between childhood trauma, the impact of inflammation and self-harm.

'Natural killers' may help treat advanced solid cancerous tumors

An internal battle over oxygen can lead to major setbacks for people battling solid malignant tumors such as lung and brain cancers. Many solid tumors develop a severe lack of oxygen because they grow into large masses where the blood supply becomes progressively impaired. Cancer cells have adapted to grow in these situations, but immune cells have not.

When physicians integrate with hospitals, costs go up, study says

When physicians integrate with hospitals, the cost of health care rises even though there's no evidence patients get better treatment, according to a new paper by experts at Rice University and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX).

Study rejects link between common IBD drug and serious infections in children

In a new register-based study, Swedish and Danish researchers show that common drugs for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), so called TNF-α inhibitors, are not linked to increased risk of serious infections in children. Previous studies have shown an increased risk in corresponding adult patients. The results are published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Best treatment for herniated disc

Sudden back pain is often caused by a herniated disc. The intervertebral discs are a kind of buffer between the vertebrae and are heavily strained over the years. If they become brittle and break, parts of the tissue can extend outwards and press on the nerve or the spinal canal. This can cause severe pain. The lumbar spine is particularly often affected. The herniated disc often shrinks again on its own with the support of pain and inflammation inhibiting medication, but in more severe cases surgery is necessary.

What works best against varicose veins?

More than 40 million Americans suffer from varicose veins, which can be both unsightly and painful, but the best way to get rid of them hasn't been clear.

Beliefs about uncommitted sex may put marriages at risk

A group of Florida State University researchers has found that an individual's premarital views about uncommitted sex may make it more difficult to remain blissfully married.

The pet effect: Researchers find furry friends ease depression, loneliness after spousal loss

As Healthy Aging Month is underway this September, Florida State University researchers have found the companionship of a pet after the loss of a spouse can help reduce feelings of depression and loneliness in older adults.

Daybreak app more than halves alcohol use in three months

Use of the Daybreak digital app, developed as an intervention to support high-risk drinking individuals looking to change their relationship with alcohol, can lead to clinically significant reductions in alcohol use, according to new research.

Here's what young people say helped them get through their parents' divorce

When parents separate or get divorced, it inevitably disrupts the lives of children, and can take a toll on their mental wellbeing. Over time, children learn to accommodate the changes—some more successfully than others. It's estimated that one in three children under the age of 16 in the UK experience their parents' separation.

Kids learn valuable life skills through rough-and-tumble play with their dads

Play is an important way for children to learn about the world around them.

Thinking of seeing a psychologist? Here's how to choose the therapy best for you

In any year, one in five Australians will experience symptoms of a mental illness.

Daily exercise can boost children's exam grades – new research

Most parents are aware that physical activity is good for children—as it can help to improve their sense of self and have a positive impact on their mental health and well-being. But it's less well known that being fit and active can also help to boost children's academic performance.

Measles outbreaks and political crises go hand in hand

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week announced that it no longer considered measles to be eradicated in the UK. Albania, the Czech Republic and Greece also lost their measles-free status.

How a sense of purpose can link creativity to happiness

There are plenty of famous artists who have produced highly creative work while they were deeply unhappy or suffering from poor mental health. In 1931, the poet T.S. Eliot wrote a letter to a friend describing his "considerable mental agony" and how he felt "on the verge of insanity". Vincent Van Gogh eventually took his own lifet, having written of "horrible fits of anxiety" and "feelings of emptiness and fatigue".

Researchers characterize lung inflammation associated with some cancer immnunotherapy

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a type of therapy that uses the immune system to fight cancer. They have been hailed as game changing, garnering a Nobel Prize last year and quickly becoming the standard of care for many tumor types such as melanoma and certain lung and head and neck cancers. But among patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who receive checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy, recent reports suggest that up to 19% may develop a dangerous complication: an inflammation of their lungs, dubbed checkpoint inhibitor pneumonitis (CIP). Now, Johns Hopkins researchers have for the first time studied the immune cells of NSCLC patients who have CIP and discovered what sets them apart from patients who don't develop CIP. The differences they pinpointed could lead to new ways to identify pneumonitis complications and treat them.

Proactively offering smokers free treatment to quit smoking is cost-effective

Quitting smoking is difficult and quit attempts are less likely to be successful without treatment. Many smokers want to quit and nearly half make a quit attempt each year, but most do so without the benefit of proven treatments.

Having an elder brother is associated with slower language development

Several studies had already demonstrated that children who have an elder sibling have poorer linguistic performance than those who have none. Now a research team at the CNRS, Hôpital Robert-Debré AP-HP, the EHESS, the ENS and the INSERM1 has reported a more specific result: this only concerns children who have an elder brother. This work was published on 14 August in Psychological Science.

PTSD linked to increased risk of ovarian cancer

Women who experienced six or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in life had a twofold greater risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women who never had any PTSD symptoms, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Moffitt Cancer Center.

Infant model of HIV opens new avenues for research

Researchers have developed an animal model to test HIV infection and therapies in infants, allowing them to develop biomarkers to predict viral rebound after antiretroviral therapy (ART) interruption. The simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-infected infant rhesus macaque model, a collaborative effort among researchers at several institutions, is described in a recent issue of the journal mBio.

Vaping may harm fertility in young women

E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes, according to a mouse study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

How sepsis care program saves lives and reduces costs

A sepsis care quality improvement program saves lives, shortens hospital stays and reduces healthcare costs, according to a study by researchers at Loyola Medicine and Loyola University Chicago.

Global analysis finds early onset colorectal cancer rising in many high-income countries

A new American Cancer Society study finds that colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence is increasing exclusively in young adults in nine high-income countries spanning three continents. The study, appearing in the journal Gut, finds the rising rates are in contrast to stable or declining trends in older adults, suggesting that changes in early-life exposures are increasing CRC risk.

New research discovers the financial cost of trachoma surveys

The global health community is working to eliminate trachoma, a bacterial disease that causes blindness. Researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have analyzed the costs of surveys that must track trachoma levels as part of these elimination efforts.

Source water key to bacterial water safety in remote Northern Australia

In the wet-dry topics of Australia, drinking water in remote communities is often sourced from groundwater bores. The geochemistry of that groundwater impacts the occurrence of opportunistic pathogens in the drinking water supply, researchers now report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Helminthic infections may be beneficial against HIV-1

Infection with parasitic helminths can reduce the susceptibility of T-cells to HIV-1 infection, according to a study published September 5 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Esther de Jong of the University of Amsterdam and William Paxton of the University of Liverpool, and colleagues.

Discovery of neuronal ensemble activities orchestrated to represent one memory

The brain stores memories through a neuronal ensemble, termed engram cells. A unique system was established to transfer neuronal population activity into light with discrimination between engram and non-engram cells using fluorescence proteins. By using this system, it is revealed that engram sub-ensembles represent distinct pieces of information, which are then orchestrated to constitute an entire memory. In addition, some sub-ensembles preferentially reappear during post-learning sleep, and these replayed sub-ensembles are more likely to be reactivated during retrieval.

Apathy as an indicator of progression in Huntington's disease

Researchers from the brain cognition and plasticity group of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Neuroscience Institute of the University of Barcelona (UBNeuro) have led an innovative study that identifies modifications in the connectivity of cerebral white matter associated with the heterogeneous nature of apathy in Huntington's disease (HD), making it possible to use this syndrome as a biomarker of disease progression. Their findings, published in Neuroimage: Clinical, may also lead to personalized treatments for apathy as a multidimensional syndrome in other neurodegenerative disorders.

Secrets to soothing a cranky baby safely

(HealthDay)—Trying to calm a cranky baby can be stressful for parents, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has an important caution about what not to do.

Johns Hopkins opening new psychedelic research center, studying use of 'magic mushrooms' and more

Johns Hopkins Medicine is launching a new psychedelic research center where scientists will test the potential of so-called magic mushrooms and other drugs to treat some of the toughest mental health and addiction challenges.

Updated recommendations, levels of care categorized for pediatric ICUs

(HealthDay)—Three levels of care are recommended for pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) patients, according to a policy statement published online Sept. 4 in Pediatrics.

Algorithm based on response, biology guides neuroblastoma therapy

(HealthDay)—Use of a response- and biology-based treatment algorithm for intermediate-risk neuroblastoma is associated with excellent survival and reduces treatment for some patients, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

New Facebook, Instagram pop-ups counter vaccine misinformation

(HealthDay)—Educational pop-up windows will now appear on Facebook and Instagram when people search for vaccine-related content.

Q&A: Pain after knee replacement surgery

Dear Mayo Clinic: It has been months since I had knee replacement surgery, but my knee is still hurting. Can anything be done at this point, or does the surgery just not eliminate pain in some patients?

Researcher studies differences in the immune systems of men and women

Females are less susceptible to infection but are 10 times more likely than males to develop an autoimmune disorder, such as hypothyroidism or rheumatoid arthritis. The female immune system is "a double-edged sword" in that way, said Jennifer Franko, a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology at the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Unique report details dermatological progression and effective treatment of a severe jellyfish sting

A detailed case report and comprehensive sequence of photographs in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, published by Elsevier, document the dermatological progression of a patient stung by a jellyfish off the coast of Cambodia. The aim of this report is to guide clinicians and patients to understand what to expect after such a sting and steps to increase the probability of a full recovery.

High blood pressure treatment may slow cognitive decline

High blood pressure appears to accelerate cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults, but treating high blood pressure may slow this down, according to a preliminary study presented by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Artificial intelligence approaches may improve diagnostics of kidney disease

Two new studies reveal that modern machine learning—a branch of artificial intelligence in which systems learn from data, identify patterns, and make decisions—may augment traditional diagnostics of kidney disease. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of JASN.

New study confirms protective effect of diabetes drugs against kidney failure

A new meta-analysis published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology today has found that SGLT2 inhibitors can reduce the risk of dialysis, transplantation, or death due to kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes.

Stopping progression of tissue injury after button battery ingestion

Button battery injuries in children have been increasingly severe—resulting in devastating injuries and even death. Button batteries damage esophageal tissue through isothermic hydrolysis reactions, resulting in alkaline caustic injury, which leads to tissue necrosis. Prompt removal of the battery is critical to minimizing damage. However, when children swallow a button battery, the injury can progress even after it is removed.

Marijuana use among US college students reaches new 35-year high

College students' use of marijuana in 2018 was at the highest level seen in the past three-and-a-half decades, according to the University of Michigan's annual national Monitoring the Future Panel study.

Research shows OB-GYNs hesitate to talk about fertility

A new study shows that many OB-GYNs are uncomfortable counseling their patients on fertility at a time when more women are delaying pregnancy and needing their doctors to be more vigilant about this education.

Low income cancer patients and those without insurance see fewer trial benefits

When it comes to benefiting from experimental treatments offered in cancer clinical trials, your health insurance status and where you live matters, according to results of two new research studies to be presented at the 2019 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, held September 6 and 7 in San Diego.

Study examines personality and motivation in relation to internet gaming disorder

A new study examining the relationships among personality, motivation, and internet gaming disorder (IGD) found that predictors of IGD include male gender, neurotic and introverted personality traits, and motivation related to achievement. The Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling study included 1,881 adults from various countries.

Social networking sites affect nurses' performance

Addiction to social networking sites reduces nurses' performance and affects their ability to concentrate on assigned tasks, according to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. The study found that nurses can take "self-management" steps to address the issue, however.

Best strategy for managing hypertension and preeclampsia at end of pregnancy

In 2009, the Hypertension and Preeclampsia Intervention Trial At near Term-I (HYPITAT- I) trial showed that inducing labor in women with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia at the end of pregnancy reduces the number of high risk situations for the mother, without compromising the health of newborns. An analysis published in Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology evaluated the impact of the HYPITAT-I findings on timing of labor and subsequent outcomes for mother and child in the Netherlands.

Should patients continue blood thinners after experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding?

Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs, which are blood thinners such as warfarin and aspirin, are commonly taken to reduce the risk of potentially fatal blood clots, but they carry an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Modifiable risk factors contribute to gout

Elevated urate in the blood (hyperuricemia) is a precursor of gout, which is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis worldwide. A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology that included 14,624 U.S. adults found that four modifiable risk factors—body mass index, diet, alcohol consumption, and diuretic use—each have important roles in the development of hyperuricemia.

Medication adherence may affect risk of hospitalization and early death

A recent analysis of published studies examined the clinical consequences of medication adherence. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology analysis found that medication adherence is linked with lower risks of needing to be hospitalised and of dying early.

Eating mushrooms may help lower prostate cancer risk

A new study published in the International Journal of Cancer found an inverse relationship between mushroom consumption and the development of prostate cancer among middle-aged and elderly Japanese men, suggesting that regular mushroom intake might help to prevent prostate cancer.

Migraines linked to higher risk of dementia

Dementia is the most common neurological disease in older adults, whereas headaches, including migraines, are the most common neurological disorder across all ages. In a recent study in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that included 679 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older, migraines were a significant risk factor for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

Coffee may protect against gallstones

Drinking more coffee may help reduce the risk of developing gallstones, according to a new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Traditional and electronic cigarettes linked to poor sleep

Use of traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes was linked with more sleep difficulties in a recent Journal of Sleep Research study.

Obesity and psychosocial well-being among patients with cancer

In a study published in Psycho-Oncology, excess weight was linked with poorer psychosocial health among older adults diagnosed with breast cancer or prostate cancer. The association was not seen in older patients with colon cancer, however.

Weight change and bone health in older adults with obesity

Weight loss in older adults is accompanied by loss in bone mineral density (BMD) and an increased risk of bone fracture.

California bill targets doctors who sell fake vaccine medical exemptions

A bill that targets doctors who sell fraudulent medical exemptions for vaccinations was passed Tuesday by California's state Assembly.

Aussies don't know enough about nicotine vaping products

There are a lot of misconceptions around nicotine vaping products (NVP) in Australia, according to a survey of 470 pharmacy customers in Brisbane, 37 per cent of whom believed NVPs are just as harmful as regular cigarettes.

A tasty, good-for-you treat: roasted garlic

(HealthDay)—Few ingredients span the range of international cuisines as much as garlic. Garlic has a rich and interesting history as both a flavoring and a medicinal food.

Now a 2-time survivor, Tedy Bruschi still tackling stroke awareness

Former NFL star Tedy Bruschi spent the last 14 years showing what a stroke survivor could do: continue playing pro football, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, run the Boston Marathon.

Updated Barrett's Guideline aims to improve patient outcomes

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has released its updated "ASGE guideline on screening and surveillance of Barrett's esophagus," published in the September issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Fix and prevent health disparities in children by supporting mom, and dad

According to the recent National Academies report on health disparities in children, one of the most important factors in preventing and addressing disparities is the well-being of the child's primary caregiver. This finding is based on decades of developmental psychology research from Arizona State University scientists and others. When the primary caregiver is supported, the caregiver-child attachment can buffer against adversities like poverty, trauma and chronic stress.

Biology news

Synthetic biologists extend functional life of cancer fighting circuitry in microbes

Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a method to significantly extend the life of gene circuits used to instruct microbes to do things such as produce and deliver drugs, break down chemicals and serve as environmental sensors.

A molecular 'atlas' of animal development

In a paper in Science this week, Penn researchers report the first detailed molecular characterization of how every cell changes during animal embryonic development. The work, led by the laboratories of Perelman School of Medicine's John I. Murray, the School of Arts and Sciences' Junhyong Kim, and Robert Waterston of the University of Washington (UW), used the latest technology in the emergent field of single cell biology to profile more than 80,000 cells in the embryo of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

From the tropics to the boreal, temperature drives ecosystem functioning

University of Arizona ecology and evolutionary biology processor Brian Enquist and former doctoral student Vanessa Buzzard trekked across the Americas: from moist, tropical jungles in Panama to the frigid boreal forests in Colorado to the wet temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest. Along the way, they collected soil samples, enveloped trees in belts to measure growth on a fine scale, and planted sensors that continue to collect data on soil moisture and temperature, which varies widely between forests.

Copy cat: Chinese firm creates first cloned kitten

Seven months after Huang Yu's pet cat Garlic died, the British shorthair was given a 10th life.

Realistic robots get under Galapagos lizards' skin

Male lava lizards are sensitive to the timing of their opponents' responses during contest displays, with quicker responses being perceived as more aggressive, a study in Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology suggests.

Size matters: How cells pack in epithelial tissues

Small-cell clones in proliferating epithelia—tissues that line all body surfaces—organize very differently than their normal-sized counterparts, according to a recent study from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Published online September 5, 2019, in Developmental Cell, these findings from the laboratory of Matthew Gibson, Ph.D., may contribute to a better understanding of how some human diseases progress.

Plant research could benefit wastewater treatment, biofuels and antibiotics

Chinese and Rutgers scientists have discovered how aquatic plants cope with water pollution, a major ecological question that could help boost their use in wastewater treatment, biofuels, antibiotics and other applications.

The Swiss Army knife of gene editing gets new control

When researchers want to edit, activate, or silence a gene in any living organism, from bacteria to humans, they often turn to CRISPR/Cas9, a complex of RNA and protein that can act like a genetic Swiss Army knife.

New study tracks sulfur-based metabolism in the open ocean

One of the planet's most active ecosystems is one most people rarely encounter and scientists are only starting to explore. The open ocean contains tiny organisms—phytoplankton—that perform half the photosynthesis on Earth, helping generate oxygen for animals on land.

Coastal infrastructure urgently needs a rethink, marine ecologists say

UNSW scientists have released a world-first framework for guiding the building and management of coastal infrastructure at a global scale. It is hoped that the framework—published today in journal BioScience—will influence decisions in ways that help coastal systems to resist or recover from the impacts of climate change and construction.

Could the Loch Ness monster be a giant eel?

Is the Loch Ness monster a shark? A giant catfish? A sturgeon? No, it's a giant eel! Or at least it could be, according to a study published on Thursday.

The paradox of different house flies with few genetic differences

In the steamy, often filthy world of the humble house fly, (the Musca domestica) clear division exists among the males of the species. Though not a civil war, there are differences, to be sure, between males in the north and those that hail from the south. Finding out why those differences appear in the genetic sequences of the northerners and southerners is key to understanding nothing less than sex determination, but there is an essential paradox: The genetic difference is trivial.

Underwater soundscapes reveal differences in marine environments

Storms, boat traffic, animal noises and more contribute to the underwater sound environment in the ocean, even in areas considered protected, a new study from Oregon State University shows.

European whitefish is healthy to eat, but the nutritional quality varies between seasons

Research by an international team of scientists has shed new light on the nutritional quality of whitefish, revealing that the tasty fish is best to eat in late summer. Whitefish growth and spawning cycles lead to differences in both fish condition and nutritional quality. The measurements done in the research showed that omega-3 fatty acid concentration in European whitefish muscle declined by 60 percent from the end of the growing season to the spawning time in winter. The research was completed in University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and was published in Freshwater Biology in August 2019.

Solving a hidden threat to New Zealand's meat and dairy industry

Associate Professors Bridget Stocker and Mattie Timmer from Victoria University of Wellington are working with AgResearch to help address this problem, developing vaccines to help prevent ovine pneumonia, with promising early results.

High standards of female songbirds could be driving their mates to evolve

Hearing longer love songs from songbirds in your backyard? Chalk it up to sexual preference—and high standards.

Experts sequence the genome of an endemic spider from the Canary Islands

A research team of the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona has sequenced the genome of the spider Dysdera silvatica Schmidt 1981, an endemic species living in the laurel forests in the islands La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro in the Canary Islands (Spain). The new study reveals the first genome sequencing of an arthropod in the Canary Islands, an archipelago with a rich biodiversity regarding endemic species that are distributed around the insular area.

Diversity increases ecosystem stability

Forests with a large variety of species are more productive and stable under stress than monocultures: scientists from the University of Freiburg have confirmed this with data from the world's oldest field trial on the diversity of tropical tree species. The team around PhD student Florian Schnabel has published its results in the journal Global Change Biology.

Tonkin snub-nosed monkey resurgence offers renewed hope for rare Vietnamese primate

The most crucial population of a critically endangered monkey—found only in northern Vietnam—has virtually trebled in number since Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and partners first came to its rescue, according to the results of the latest survey.

Biologists uncover a way to waterproof plants

Scientists at Utrecht University have discovered how some plants can quickly detect that they are under water when flooded, and initiate processes that prevents them from drowning. Floods cause widespread yield losses annually due to the extreme flood sensitivity of most major crops. In a study published in Nature Communications, the researchers demonstrate how plants use the gaseous hormone ethylene as a signal to trigger underwater survival reactions. The identification of this signaling mechanism and the genes involved can potentially pave the way towards stress resilient, flood-proof crops that can sustain yields even under stressful conditions.

SPEECHLESS, SCREAM and stomata development in plant leaves

Plants constantly make trade-offs in their decisions: more light means more opportunity for photosynthesis, but then hot temperatures and dry air makes wilting more likely. Stomata—microscopic valves on the surface of a leaf's epidermis—are at the forefront of these trade-offs: stomata open to acquire fresh air (and the carbon dioxide in it) for photosynthesis, but water loss through stomatal pores causes plants to become dehydrated, and eventually to wilt.

Climate change could bring short-term gain, long-term pain for loggerhead turtles

An overwhelming scientific consensus affirms that for thousands of species across the globe, climate change is an immediate and existential threat.

Take that, rat! New York turns to alcohol in rodent fight

New York unveiled its latest weapon Thursday in the city's long-running war against rats—alcohol.

Squirrels, bees could get US aid but not Yellowstone's bison

U.S. wildlife officials rejected petitions Thursday to protect Yellowstone National Park's storied bison herds but pledged to consider protections for two other species—a tiny, endangered squirrel in Arizona and bees that pollinate rare desert flowers in Nevada.

Brown trout genome will help explain species' genetic superpowers

Better conservation and management of fish stocks is on the horizon, after the completion of the brown trout reference genome by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators. The genome will help settle a longstanding debate about whether the physically-varied brown trout is actually a single species or several, and give insights into their ability to quickly adapt to multiple environments.

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