Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Sep 24

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 24, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

ShapeBots: a swarm of shape-shifting robots that visually display data

Quantum Hall-based superconducting interference device

Unusual Type II supernova discovered in NGC 1068

Seeing sound: Scientists observe how acoustic interactions change materials at the atomic level

Quantum observers may be entitled to their own facts

Numbers limit how accurately digital computers model chaos

New technique to improve ductility of ceramic materials for missiles, engines

Earth, wind, flora sway Trinidad sulfur levels

NASA in megadeal with Lockheed for moon mission

Jellyfish thrive in the man-made disruption of the oceans

Some high-cholesterol genes differ between countries

Google wins EU fight against worldwide 'right to be forgotten'

Neural style transfer reconstructs unseen Picasso painting

Achilles' heel identified in several neurodegenerative diseases

Engineered killer T cells could provide long-lasting immunity against cancer

Astronomy & Space news

Unusual Type II supernova discovered in NGC 1068

An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of an unusual Type II supernova in the galaxy NGC 1068, as part of the DLT40 survey. The newly detected event, designated SN 2018ivc, exhibits rapidly changing light curve, what is uncommon for stellar explosions of this type. The findings are detailed in a paper published September 16 on the arXiv preprint server.

NASA in megadeal with Lockheed for moon mission

NASA on Monday earmarked almost $3 billion to Lockheed Martin to build three Orion capsules, to allow US astronauts to return to the moon by 2024.

New study complicates theory that ancient impact pierced Moon's crust

The moon's largest and oldest impact crater likely doesn't have minerals from below the lunar crust on its surface, complicating a theory that an ancient massive impact event pierced the Moon's crust during the crater's formation, a new study finds.

Rocket team: Are solar eruptions messy, or neat?

First all appears quiet. Suddenly, a bright flash lights up the telescope. In an instant, jets of super-heated plasma bloom against the blackness of space.

Reconstructing the first successful lunar farside landing

In January of this year, China's Chang'E-4—the fourth version of a lunar spacecraft named for the Chinese goddess of the Moon—landed on the far side of the Moon. Due to the location of the landing, Chang'E-4 had to navigate autonomously, without the guidance of scientists on Earth.

A new satellite to understand how Earth is losing its cool

Following a rigorous selection process, ESA has selected a new satellite mission to fill in a critical missing piece of the climate jigsaw. By measuring radiation emitted by Earth into space, FORUM will provide new insight into the planet's radiation budget and how it is controlled.

Computing and the search for new planets

When MIT launched the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing this fall, one of the goals was to drive further innovation in computing across all of MIT's schools. Researchers are already expanding beyond traditional applications of computer science and using these techniques to advance a range of scientific fields, from cancer medicine to anthropology to design—and to the discovery of new planets.

Ice islands on Mars and Pluto could reveal past climate change

Many of the craters of Mars and Pluto feature relatively small ice islands unattached to their polar ice caps.

Unmanned Japan craft launched toward space station: operator

Japan on Wednesday launched an unmanned spacecraft towards the International Space Station, the operator said, after a fire early this month delayed the mission.

First Arab set for ISS says voyage will make 'history'

The Emirati astronaut who will make history by becoming the first Arab on the International Space Station said Tuesday he had received support from around the world before his "dream" mission.

Growing a smarter model for brain research in space

Researchers studying neurological diseases face several daunting challenges. For one thing, these conditions may take years or even decades to develop. On top of that, experimenting on the brains of healthy human beings simply is not ethical, and suitable human neurological models have not been readily available.

Image: Solar orbiter in magnetic field simulation facility

As part of its testing campaign to prepare for launch, ESA's Solar Orbiter spacecraft underwent a special set of tests in a very unique location, the magnetic field simulation facility near the IABG premises in Ottobrunn, Germany.

SpaceX Starship gets some fins


Could we feed one million people living on Mars?

A provocative new study looks at the resource utilization and technological strategies that would be needed to make a Mars population of one million people food self-sufficient. A detailed model of population growth, caloric needs, land use, and potential food sources showed that food self-sufficiency could be achieved within 100 years. The study is published in New Space: The Journal of Space Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Technology news

ShapeBots: a swarm of shape-shifting robots that visually display data

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder's ATLAS Institute have recently developed a swarm of little shape-changing robots, called ShapeBots. These self-transformable robots, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, can change both their individual and collective configuration, in order to display and visualize information in a variety of settings.

Google wins EU fight against worldwide 'right to be forgotten'

Google is not required to apply an EU "right to be forgotten" to its search engine domains outside Europe, the EU's top court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision.

Neural style transfer reconstructs unseen Picasso painting

Reconstructing lost art work just got a lot more interesting now that artificial intelligence experts know how to leverage technology as an art learning tool.

New standard of reference for assessing solar forecast proposed

Being able to accurately forecast how much solar energy reaches the surface of the Earth is key to guiding decisions for running solar power plants.

Algorithms could stop an 'internet of things' attack from bringing down the power grid

Last year, Princeton researchers identified a disturbing security flaw in which hackers could someday exploit internet-connected appliances to wreak havoc on the electrical grid. Now, the same research team has released algorithms to make the grid more resilient to such attacks.

Green gaming: Video game firms make climate promises at UN

Gaming is going green—and some of the biggest game companies hope players will, too.

Facebook buys startup working on mind-control of machines

Facebook on Monday said it had made a deal to buy a startup working on ways to command computers or other devices using thought instead of taps, swipes, or keystrokes.

Australia probes PayPal amid child abuse payment fears

Australia's financial regulator on Tuesday ordered an investigation into global money transfer platform PayPal, amid concerns it may be being misused by sex offenders to buy child abuse material from Asia.

Highest EU court to rule on Google 'right to be forgotten' case

Europe's top court will on Tuesday rule whether US search giant Google must apply worldwide a ruling that it comply with requests to remove online links, or whether the "de-referencing" should be limited to just EU domains.

French retailers widening crypto acceptance

French retailers are gradually widening acceptance of payments in crypto currencies, a group of companies said Tuesday on the sidelines of Paris Retail Week.

Russian hacker pleads guilty in massive data theft scheme

A Russian hacker has admitted to his involvement in one of the biggest thefts of consumer data from a U.S. financial institution.

London keeps Uber on short license as it scrutinizes firm

London transport authorities on Tuesday gave Uber two months to continue operating in the city rather than the full five-year license the ride-hailing company had sought.

The next big effort in AI: Keeping L.A.'s water flowing post-earthquake

Can artificial intelligence save the L.A. water supply from a big earthquake?

We can make roof tiles with built-in solar cells—now the challenge is to make them cheaper

Despite being such a sunkissed country, Australia is still lagging behind in the race to embrace solar power. While solar panels adorn hundreds of thousands of rooftops throughout the nation, we have not yet seen the logical next step: buildings with solar photovoltaic cells as an integral part of their structure.

How an AI trained to read scientific papers could predict future discoveries

"Can machines think?", asked the famous mathematician, code breaker and computer scientist Alan Turing almost 70 years ago. Today, some experts have no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will soon be able to develop the kind of general intelligence that humans have. But others argue that machines will never measure up. Although AI can already outperform humans on certain tasks—just like calculators—they can't be taught human creativity.

'Pheno-Inspect' accelerates plant cultivation

What's the growth like? Have pests and diseases struck? Are the increased droughts affecting the plants? Breeders of new varieties have to collect extensive data on these questions. The start-up "Pheno-Inspect" of the University of Bonn wants to accelerate plant cultivation. Camera-equipped drones record the crops, software then automatically evaluates their properties using artificial intelligence methods. This indicates very quickly whether the new breed is a success. The project is supported by the "START-UP University Spin-offs" program.

Messaging app Kik to shut down amid cryptocurrency battle

Kik, a popular messaging app for young smartphone users, is shutting down as the company focuses on a legal battle over its cryptocurrency funding round.

Daimler says to pay 870 mn euro fine over diesel recalls

German car giant Daimler said Tuesday it will not contest an order from Stuttgart prosecutors to pay an 870 million euro ($957 million) fine over hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles that breached emissions rules.

Google vows to do more to protect your voice data

Google came under fire after media reports revealed that its contractors listened to customer audio recordings captured by the company's virtual assistant this year.

Big players jump into the stream, testing Netflix dominance

Shares of Netflix are opening in negative territory for the year—the first time that's happened since 2016—as major media players step into the stream to fight for subscribers.

New Mersey designs show tidal barriers bring more benefits than producing clean energy

An ambitious new Mersey barrage concept shows how tidal energy projects can offer many benefits to society in addition to clean renewable energy.

FAA misled Congress on Boeing MAX inspector training: report

US aviation officials misled Congress in declaring aviation inspectors were adequately prepared to assess pilot training on the Boeing 737 MAX and other planes, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

Autonomous quadruped designed to team with soldiers

Imagine a small U.S. Special Forces team conducting covert operations in a hostile territory. The mission requires the team be limited in size, but able to carry extensive equipment, both explosive and inert, in order to execute the mission. What makes this team so unique? It consists of both Soldiers and robots as team members.

Seeing is believing: Eye-tracking technology could help make driving safer

"Keep your eyes on the road."

Model helps choose wind farm locations, predicts output

The wind is always blowing somewhere, but deciding where to locate a wind farm is a bit more complicated than holding up a wet finger. Now a team of Penn State researchers have a model that can locate the best place for the wind farm and even help with 24-hour predictions of energy output.

WeWork founder Neumann: an unconventional leader steps aside

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, whose unconventional approach to business and governance pushed boundaries on Wall Street and Silicon Valley, stepped down as chief executive on Tuesday.

EU loses big Starbucks tax case, wins on Fiat

An EU court struck down an order by Brussels that Starbucks pay 30 million euros ($33 million) in back taxes Monday, in a decision with major significance for Apple, which is fighting a similar case.

New independent watchdog to keep extremists off internet

The leaders of New Zealand and France are backing a watchdog organization aimed at keeping internet platforms from being used by extremists—and preparing speedy responses to future attacks.

Wearable technology for seniors can call the ambulance

The team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), in collaboration with the Department of Geriatrics at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU), are developing a system that monitors the health conditions of the elderly. The system consists of several sensors and a controller—a portable device on a neck strap—that automatically calls for help in the time of need.

Engineers study icing/de-icing of wind turbine blades to improve winter power production

In Hui Hu's Iowa State University office, you can feel exactly what ice does to an airfoil.

Current, former VW bosses face 'market manipulation' charges

Weeks after its latest attempted new start with an all-electric car, Volkswagen is again in the legal weeds over its years-old "dieselgate" scandal, as charges against top executives pile on top of mass lawsuits by investors and car owners.

Israel's central bank gives go-ahead to new digital bank

Israel's central bank says it has granted a pair of high-profile entrepreneurs a license to open the country's first all-digital bank.

Slovenian flag carrier suspends flights in cash crisis

Slovenian flag carrier Adria Airways suspended all its flights on Tuesday over liquidity problems but said intensive talks were under way to resume operations.

ORNL develops, deploys AI capabilities across research portfolio

Processes like manufacturing aircraft parts, analyzing data from doctors' notes and identifying national security threats may seem unrelated, but at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, artificial intelligence is improving all of these tasks. To accelerate promising AI applications in diverse research fields, ORNL has established a labwide AI Initiative, and its success will help to ensure U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

Fiat Chrysler manager charged in US diesel emissions case

A senior manager at Fiat Chrysler has been charged with misleading US environmental regulators in the scandal over the automaker's use of "defeat devices" to evade emissions tests, the US Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Germany's Condor airline to keep flying with state loan

German charter airline Condor, a subsidiary of bankrupt British tour operator Thomas Cook, said Tuesday it had been granted a 380 million euro ($420 million) state bridging loan.

Medicine & Health news

Some high-cholesterol genes differ between countries

Some of the genes that predict the risk of high cholesterol don't apply to people from Uganda the same as they do in European populations, finds a new UCL-led study.

Achilles' heel identified in several neurodegenerative diseases

A Stanford research team has identified an oddball way brain cells spread inflammation in several neurodegenerative diseases—and an approach that could counter them all.

Engineered killer T cells could provide long-lasting immunity against cancer

They've been called the "special forces" of the immune system: invariant natural killer T cells. Although there are relatively few of them in the body, they are more powerful than many other immune cells.

Math models of flu transmission rates show dramatic savings with universal vaccine

A team of researchers from the Yale School of Public Health, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of Texas and the University of Florida has used math models to show that the development of a universal influenza vaccine could save tens of thousands of lives annually. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes how they used mathematical modeling to evaluate the impact of a universal flu vaccine and what they found.

Research shows heterogeneity in melanoma tumors prevents effective immune responses

Diversity—at least among cancer cells—is not a good thing. Weizmann Institute of Science research shows that in melanoma, tumors with cells that have differentiated into more diverse subtypes are less likely to be affected by the immune system, thus reducing the chance that immunotherapy will be effective. The findings of this research, which were published today in Cell, may provide better tools for designing personalized protocols for cancer patients, as well as pointing toward new avenues of research into anti-cancer vaccines.

Researchers find a new promising therapeutic target for glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is the most frequent and aggressive brain cancer due to its ability to escape the immune system. However, the way in which this tumor manages to induce this immune tolerance was not known in detail. A research published in PNAS carried out at the Instituto de Neurociencias UMH-CSIC, in Alicante (Spain), and the IMIB-Arrixaca in Murcia (Spain), has find out in detail how this tumor invade healthy tissue with hardly any resistance, a finding that could become glioblastoma's Achilles heel.

Study shows the biological clock influences immune response efficiency

According to a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the biological clock influences immune response efficacy. Indeed, CD8 T cells, which are essential to fight infections and cancers, function very differently according to the time of day. The study was carried out by a team of researchers led by Nicolas Cermakian, PhD, of the Douglas Research Centre, and Nathalie Labrecque, PhD, of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre.

Study finds potential therapeutic target for prostate cancers with PTEN mutation

PTEN, a tumor suppressor gene mutated in approximately 20% of primary prostate cancers, and in as many as 50% of androgen deprivation-resistant prostate cancers, relies on another gene, ARID4B, to function. These findings were published by George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center researchers in Nature Communications. This discovery provides a potential therapeutic target for prostate cancers carrying the common PTEN mutation.

Mice, like humans, fidget when deep in thought

Almost everyone fidgets, said Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Associate Professor Anne Churchland. She referred to a collage of videos she compiled of different people rocking back and forth in their chairs, clicking a pen, shaking their legs.

Cellular senescence is associated with age-related blood clots

Cells that become senescent irrevocably stop dividing under stress, spewing out a mix of inflammatory proteins that lead to chronic inflammation as more and more of the cells accumulate over time. Publishing in the September 24 edition of Cell Reports, researchers at the Buck Institute identified 44 specific senescence-associated proteins that are involved in blood clotting, marking the first time that cellular senescence has been associated with age-related blood clots.

'Report card' on diet trends: Low-quality carbs account for 42 percent of a day's calories

Despite years of steady advice and guidance on healthy eating, a 'report card' on the American diet shows adults are still consuming too many low-quality carbohydrates and more saturated fat than recommended, according to researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study, published today in JAMA, looked at dietary trends over an 18-year period.

Discovery of how colorectal cancer drug works will help more patients

Colorectal cancer is a common lethal disease, and treatment decisions are increasingly influenced by which genes are mutated within each patient. Some patients with a certain gene mutation benefit from a chemotherapy drug called cetuximab, although the mechanism of how this drug worked was unknown.

Outer hair cells regulate ear's sensitivity to sound

The ear's tiny outer hair cells adjust the sensitivity of neighbouring inner hair cells to sound levels rather than acting like an amplifier, suggests a new study published today in eLife.

Some parents pass on more mutations to their children than others

Everyone is a mutant but some are prone to diverge more than others, report scientists at University of Utah Health.

Industry has unduly influenced TV advertising regs on restricting unhealthy kids' foods

Industry has unduly influenced the regulations for TV advertising of unhealthy foods to children, likely weakening legislation in this area, argue doctors in an analysis, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Gum disease linked with higher risk of hypertension

People with gum disease (periodontitis) have a greater likelihood of high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a study published today in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Depression and binge-drinking more common among military partners

New research from King's College London suggests that depression and binge-drinking are more common among the female partners of UK military personnel than among comparable women outside the military community.

Hormone therapy linked to decrease level of diabetes biomarkers

The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) remains one of the most highly quoted when debating the benefits and risks of hormone therapy. Now a new study based on WHI data demonstrates that, among other benefits, hormone therapy decreases a number of metabolites that are directly linked with Type 2 diabetes. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25 to 28, 2019.

Racial/ethnic mortality disparities widen among many age groups

Years of progress towards reducing disparities in racial/ethnic group mortality rates in the United States came to a halt between 2009 and 2012, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Prior to this inflection period, improvements in mortality rates within the African American population had largely been closing the gap. Since then, racial/ethnic mortality rate disparities have been widening rather than shrinking among many age groups, especially the very young and middle-aged.

Deep brain stimulation for refractory severe tinnitus

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco and Veterans Affairs Health Care System, San Francisco investigated the safety and efficacy of deep brain stimulation in the treatment of refractory severe tinnitus in a small group of patients. They found the procedure to be safe and the results to be encouraging. Detailed findings are found in the article, "Phase I trial of caudate deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant tinnitus," by Steven W. Cheung, M.D., and colleagues, published today in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Self-silencing may lead to increased risk of stroke

Expressing your true feelings is not only good for your mental health, but it could also be important for your physical health. A new study associates self-silencing (inhibiting one's self-expression) with greater carotid plaque buildup which could lead to a stroke and other cardiovascular problems. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25 to 28, 2019.

Child abuse associated with physiologically detected hot flashes

Childhood abuse has been shown to lead to an array of health problems later in life. A new study now shows that such abuse may be linked with physiologically detected hot flashes. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

Menopausal night sweats linked with cognitive dysfunction

Experts frequently tout the value of a good night's sleep. However, a new study casts doubt on the value of sleep time suggesting that women who experience night sweats are more vulnerable to cognitive dysfunction as their sleep duration increases. These paradoxical study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

Lifestyle coaching proves effective in decreasing body fat and waist size

Losing weight during and after menopause is not easy, but it's not impossible, either. A new study out of Florida suggests that lifestyle coaching may be effective in reducing body mass index (BMI), body fat, and waist circumference, although the results are more easily obtained by premenopausal women. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25 to 28, 2019.

Microbes are a key marker of vaginal health during menopause

Certain species of bacteria are actually necessary to maintain vaginal health. The menopause transition, however, often upsets the natural balance of bacteria by decreasing the proportion of healthy bacteria and increasing vaginal pH. This can result in urogenital infections and other vaginal health problems. The importance of vaginal bacterial colonization patterns during menopause will be discussed at The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

Hot flashes shown to be linked to increased risk of later cardiovascular disease events

Previous studies suggested an association between hot flashes and cardiovascular (CVD) disease. But little research linked hot flashes to "hard" clinical CVD events like heart attacks and strokes. A new study measuring clinical CVD outcomes presents the strongest evidence of frequent or persistent hot flashes associated with higher CVD event risk. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

Vitamin D and fish oil show promise in prevention of cancer death and heart attacks

The VITamin D and OmegA-3 Trial (VITAL) is the largest and most recent to test whether vitamin D or fish oil can effectively prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease. Results to date have been mixed but show promise for some outcomes, now confirmed by updated pooled (meta) analyses. The latest results from VITAL will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

High-intensity surveillance colonoscopy reduces CRC risk, is cost-effective for patients with colorectal adenomas

High-intensity surveillance colonoscopy is effective and cost-effective for managing patients who have had precancerous adenomas found during screening, suggests a cost-effectiveness analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine. These findings support current but contended U.S. guidelines for surveillance colonoscopy.

China planning controls on e-cigarettes amid health concern

China plans to join governments that are imposing controls on tobacco liquid and additives for e-cigarettes amid rising concern about deaths and illnesses blamed on vaping, a state news agency said Tuesday.

Cheaper drug just as effective protecting heart in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

A new clinical trial conducted at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found a cost-effective generic medication works just as well as a more expensive drug in preserving cardiovascular function in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Veterans with mental health conditions have higher risk of heart disease, stroke

Veterans with specific mental health disorders—depression , psychosis and bipolar disorder—had an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease, according to new research published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

Machine learning could offer faster, more precise results for cardiac MRI scans

Cardiac MRI analysis can be performed significantly faster with similar precision to experts when using automated machine learning, according to new research published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, an American Heart Association journal.

Synchronized or independent neurons: This is how the brain encodes information

"Like a book in which the single pages are not all different but carry small portions of common text, or like a group of people who whistle a very similar tune": this is how our brain cells work, say scientists. It is the phenomenon of "co-relation," in which individual neurons do not always act as independent units in receiving and transmitting information but as a group of individuals with similar and simultaneous actions. Observing the electrical activity of these cells in the laboratory, together with the use of computerized mathematical models, a group of researchers led by Professor Michele Giugliano of SISSA has shed light for the first time on the cellular mechanisms behind these correlations. In the study, the scientists examined excitatory neurons, those intended to promote the electrical activity of other neurons, and inhibitory neurons, intended to suppress their activity. "Our discovery tells us that excitatory cells tend to prefer individuality and to reduce the redundancy of their own messages, while the inhibitory cells act together as one. This allows us to add a new piece to the understanding of how neurons organize information in the brain. The information is always represented by the electrical activity of groups of cells "explains Professor Giugliano. The study, which has seen the involvement of SISSA of Trieste and the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and of Pittsburgh, U.S., has just been published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Need for residential parenting services grows with birth interventions, finds largest-ever study

In the largest study of its kind, Western Sydney University researchers have found a link between birth interventions and the use of Residential Parenting Services (RPS).

Discovery of novel cancer signaling mechanism and design of new anticancer compound

Active mutations of a certain signaling receptor protein called KIT tyrosine kinase are found in several cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, the different locations in the AML cells where KIT induces cancer-specific signaling remain unclear. Now, a group of scientists from Japan has aimed to answer this question by using a newly synthesized compound (along with other existing ones) that targets intracellular transport, which may offer an attractive strategy to combat cancer.

Even mother's mild depressive symptoms affect the child's emotional well-being

According to recent research, even mild long-term depressive symptoms among mothers are connected with emotional problems among small children such as hyperactivity, aggressiveness and anxiety.

Music therapy aims to develop emotion regulation in preschoolers

Telling an adult, much less a preschooler, to calm down is easier said than done. But it is a skill that can be learned.

Study first to report benefits and safety of FODMAP diet in children

The low FODMAP diet, a diet low in carbohydrates that trigger digestive symptoms like bloating and stomach pain, is a useful treatment in children and adolescents with gastrointestinal problems, new University of Otago research confirms.

More efficient drug delivery within the brain by utilizing LAT1

According to a new study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland, the distribution of drug molecules within the brain can be improved by utilizing LAT1, which is expressed highly in the brain. By converting drug molecules temporarily into prodrugs, derivatives that can utilize LAT1 for cell entry and subsequently release the active parent drug within the target cells. This way one can achieve many times higher concentrations compared to the treatment with the parent drugs alone, which cannot utilize LAT1. This is very important, particularly in a situation where the final target protein is located inside the cells. This study was published in Scientific Reports in the beginning of September.

Mechanism for the formation of new blood vessels discovered

Researchers from Uppsala University have revealed for the first time a mechanism for how new blood vessels are formed and have shown the importance of this mechanism for embryo survival and organ function. The results could be developed to control the formation of new blood vessels in different diseases. The new study is published in the journal EMBO Reports.

Combining cardio, resistance training best for breast cancer patients, study suggests

Regular exercise during and after chemotherapy improves quality of life and reduces cancer-related symptoms, U of A researcher finds.

Animal-assisted therapy aids in spinal cord injury recovery

Every year, approximately 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injury are reported in the United States. Recovering from an SCI can take a huge mental, emotional and physical toll on patients, but animal-assisted therapy may play an integral role in easing some of the challenges patients face.

Chronic insomnia can be cured in cancer survivors with a basic sleep education class

Affecting as many as 30% of cancer survivors, chronic insomnia can be effectively treated with intensive cognitive-behavioral techniques, but such methods are time-consuming, costly, and limited by the availability of trained specialists. In a study published online today by the journal Cancer, investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that a single-session sleep education program for survivors can cure insomnia in many participants, and that those who don't benefit from this approach are often helped by a more extensive, but still modest, three-session program.

Survey suggests elderly patients with diabetes may favor more aggressive blood sugar control

Survey results of a national sample of elderly people with type 2 diabetes suggest that many long-time patients downplay medical and social factors that underpin professional recommendations for fewer medications and less aggressive treatment of high blood sugar.

An increasing number of countries are banning e-cigarettes – here's why

The White House recently announced plans to ban flavoured e-cigarettes—except for tobacco-flavoured products—because of a rise in the number of middle and high school students using these products.

Crying over plant-based milk: neither science nor history favours a dairy monopoly

Soy milk. Almond milk. Rice milk. To some dairy farmers these products are like a red rag to a bull.

Multi-center study: Improving doctor-patient communication at the end of life

It's one of the most difficult conversations a doctor will have with a patient: whether and when to turn off the life-saving device that has kept their heart beating. To find out whether an intervention could increase the number of discussions between clinicians and patients with heart failure about the kinds of treatments they would want at the end of their lives, also known as advance care planning, researchers at The Mount Sinai Hospital developed a rigorous six-center study to investigate a novel communication intervention. The study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Second opinions from comprehensive cancer centers changed treatment plans for African-American patients

African American breast cancer patients who received second opinions from an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) experienced changes to their treatment plans, according to results of a developmental study presented at the 12th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held here Sept. 20-23.

New algorithm expands neurologists' ability to assess for clot-removing procedure

An algorithm developed by faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) can help physicians outside of major stroke treatment centers assess whether a patient suffering from ischemic stroke would benefit from an endovascular procedure to remove a clot blocking an artery.

Culturally tailored intervention enabled low-income Asian-American women to conduct HPV self-sampling test

A culturally tailored intervention to improve human papillomavirus (HPV) screening among low-income Asian American women significantly increased awareness and willingness to conduct a self-sampling test, according to results presented at the 12th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held Sept. 20–23.

Here's why, and how a new drug might change how doctors treat peanut allergies

Lauren Tilmont didn't believe it when her doctor told her a few years ago that he had a treatment that might allow her to eat peanuts, despite a lifelong allergy to them.

Everyday foods for better blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a risk factor for stroke, heart disease and other dangerous conditions, but it offers no early warning signs. That's why it's so important to have your pressure checked regularly.

Many female veterans troubled by history of sexual assault

More than one in 10 older female veterans experienced sexual assault while on active duty, a new study shows.

Guideline updates: Prevention, management of hepatitis C in adults with chronic kidney disease

In a synopsis of the 2018 Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) clinical practice guideline, published online Sept. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, updated recommendations are presented for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

A good reason to stop squabbling at home

Few families are able to escape squabbles completely, whether between spouses, children or other relatives.

Connecticut sees first death this year from mosquito-borne EEE

A Connecticut resident has died from eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), the first such death in the state since 2013, health officials report. In addition, another person in the state has contracted the infection, as an outbreak grows.

Tobacco giants still marketing cigarettes despite plain packaging legislation

Fresh evidence has revealed that major tobacco companies in the UK have made attempts to continue to market their products despite the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes nearly three years ago.

Tool kit provides real world guidelines for counseling for weight loss in primary care

Healthcare practitioners and researchers have a new tool to combat obesity in primary care settings, according to a study published in Obesity, the flagship journal of The Obesity Society.

Researchers identify factor essential for tendon growth

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) is essential for allowing tendons to adapt to physical activity and grow properly, according to basic science research by investigators at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). The findings provide a strong rationale for pursuing clinical trials to explore IGF1 as a new target for treating tendon injuries in humans.

Exploring the risk of ALL in children with Down syndrome

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), is the most common childhood cancer. Children with trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) are 10 to 20 times more likely to develop ALL than children without Down syndrome. Historically, children with Down syndrome and ALL had more complications from treatment and a poorer outcome. However, outcomes are improving as we learn more about ALL in Down syndrome and how to best provide treatment and supportive care.

US official expects 'hundreds more' cases of vaping illness

The number of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. could soon climb much higher, a public health official said Tuesday.

Researchers isolate switch that kills inactive HIV

Using genetic sequencing, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have identified a principal cellular player controlling HIV reproduction in immune cells which, when turned off or deleted, eliminates dormant HIV reservoirs.

Commit a crime? Loved ones got your back

Reading about a child abuse case or someone burglarizing homes often stirs feelings of disgust, anger and disbelief when it's learned the perpetrator's family or friends did nothing to stop it or report it to police.

Oncologists respond swiftly to FDA safety alerts, study finds

Within six months of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) move to restrict the label of two immunotherapies, usage of those therapies among oncologists dropped by about 50 percent, according to a new study from researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings come as the world of cancer medicine grapples with the rapid pace of approval for new therapies, particularly as it relates to the FDA's accelerated approval (AA) program. Researchers say these findings offer reassurance that oncologists can be nimble enough to quickly incorporate the latest guidelines into their practices when new safety data comes to light. JAMA published the results today.

Exercise prior to breast cancer associated with lower risk for heart disease

Older breast cancer patients who exercised before being diagnosed may be at a lower risk for cardiovascular disease compared to those who did not, according to a study published today in the inaugural issue of JACC: CardioOncology.

Low body-mass index with abdominal obesity is associated with worse heart failure outcomes in Asian

Having a lower body-mass index (BMI), but also having a higher waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), is associated with worse outcomes among Asian patients with heart failure, according to a study published September 24 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Carolyn Lam of the National Heart Centre Singapore, and colleagues. As noted by the authors, the combined use of BMI and abdominal measures could potentially inform heart failure management better, especially among the particularly vulnerable patients with low BMI and high WHtR in Asia.

Massachusetts temporarily banning sale of vaping products

The governor of Massachusetts on Tuesday declared a public health emergency and ordered a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products in the state.

Outcomes of birth options after a previous cesarean section

A large cohort study of women who have had one or more previous cesarean sections suggests that attempting a vaginal birth in a subsequent pregnancy is associated with higher health risks to both the mother and the infant than electing for another cesarean.

A healthy diet may help prevent kidney disease

Maintaining a healthy diet may help prevent kidney disease, according to an analysis of published studies. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of CJASN.

Pivotal role found for IgG autoantibodies in IgA nephropathy

The most common form of the kidney disease called glomerulonephritis is IgA nephropathy.

4 steps to stealth health during a fall getaway

Summer is over, but it's not too late to plan a fall getaway for some R&R and sightseeing. After all, the shoulder season—those months before and after peak summer travel time—is primed for good deals and smaller crowds. But just remember: Physical activity can be part of the fun, too.

Only thing certain about flu season: you need to get your shot

(HealthDay)—Although no one knows yet how severe this flu season will be, now is the time to get vaccinated, health officials say.

Train tracks deadly for kids, but many parents underestimate the danger

(HealthDay)—Think the chances that your kid could be hit by a train are slim to none?

Percentage of women in internal med residencies increasing

(HealthDay)—From 1999 to 2016, the percentage of women in internal medicine residencies increased, but the percentage in subspecialty fellowships decreased, according to a research letter published online Sept. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

More discussion needed about vulvovaginal health at well woman visits

Despite the wealth of information now available about menopause, women are still not comfortable in proactively discussing vaginal issues related to menopause with their healthcare providers, who appear equally uncomfortable and unlikely to initiate the conversation. That's according to a new study which will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

Simple lifestyle modifications key to preventing large percentage of breast cancer cases

Expert reports estimate that one in three breast cancer cases could be prevented by lifestyle modifications. Those modifications include such basics as weight management, physical activity, nutrition, and alcohol consumption, among others. The latest research on risk management and most current lifestyle recommendations will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

Why do estradiol levels vary among women using hormone therapy?

The benefits of hormone therapy (HT) on atherosclerosis relates to achieved estradiol levels among those women who initiate HT early in postmenopause. Despite the use of hormones, however, women's estradiol levels are often inconsistent. A new study identifies the various determinants of estradiol levels among healthy women using HT. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25 to 28, 2019.

Pakistani officials say outbreak of dengue fever kills 20

Pakistani health officials are battling an outbreak of dengue fever in the South Asian nation, confirming over 10,000 cases and 20 deaths in recent months.

Utah launches $2 million suicide prevention campaign

Utah leaders have announced a $2 million suicide prevention campaign to combat a spike in teen suicides throughout the state and encourage residents to prioritize their mental health.

Disparities in toxic heavy metal exposures correlated with increased risk of breast cancer among minority populations

Among women in Chicago, African Americans and Hispanics were exposed to higher levels of ambient toxic heavy metals compared with non-Hispanic whites, and this increased exposure correlated with increased incidence of breast cancer, according to results presented at the 12th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held Sept. 20–23.

Poor and minority patients are more likely to have cancer detected via emergency room visit

Medicare patients from lower socioeconomic groups and several ethnic minority groups were more likely than their wealthier, whiter peers to be diagnosed with cancer following an emergency room visit, according to results of a study presented at the 12th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held here Sept. 20-23.

West Nile virus in the New World: Reflections on 20 years in pursuit of an elusive foe

In 1999, West Nile virus was detected in the United States for the first time, and within five years it had spread from New York across the contiguous United States and into Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America. Transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds, West Nile virus has served as a wake-up call to the challenge of preventing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in the era of globalized trade and travel.

Survey reveals low levels of awareness in men about prostate health and function

Awareness of prostate health is alarmingly low in men over 50, a new survey commissioned by the European Association of Urology (EAU) has revealed, despite the fact that at the age of 60 and over, 40 percent of men suffer from an enlarged prostate.

Large-scale enhanced recovery program improves outcomes for bariatric surgery patients

A large-scale implementation of a protocol to improve recovery of patients after weight-loss operations was found to reduce rates of extended hospitalization by almost half at 36 participating accredited bariatric surgery centers nationwide, according to a study published online ahead of print in the current issue of the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. The initiative, titled ENERGY—for Employing Enhanced Recovery Goals in Bariatric Surgery—compared outcomes of 8,946 bariatric operations before with 9,102 operations that occurred after implementation of the protocol, known as an enhanced recovery program (ERP).

Biology news

Jellyfish thrive in the man-made disruption of the oceans

Thousands of them plague our beaches to the horror of holidaymakers who dread their sting, but thanks to man's disruption of the oceans, jellyfish are thriving.

Virus may jump species through 'rock-and-roll' motion with receptors

Like a janitor thumbing through a keychain to find just the right key to open a lock, the "rock-and-roll" motion of the canine parvovirus during the binding process may help explain how the virus can find the spot on a receptor to infect not just dogs, but multiple species, according to an international team of researchers. The model also could lead to a better understanding of how viruses enter a human body.

Male common marmosets smell female fertility

Scientists from the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology found that male common marmosets are able to detect the fertile phase of females based on changes in their body odor. Using a combination of chemical analyses and a behavioral test they found that female common marmosets release various substances that produce a specific smell during their fertile phase and that males can perceive these olfactory changes.

Uncovering the hidden intelligence of collectives

In a group of animals, who deals with new information coming from the environment? Researchers from the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior have discovered that the answer lies not in who, but in where: information can be processed, not only by individual animals, but also in the invisible connections between them. The international team of scientists provides evidence of information processing occurring in the physical structure of animal groups. The study demonstrates that animals can encode information about their environment in the architecture of their groups and provides rare insight into how animal collectives are able to behaviorally adapt to a changing world.

Scientists decode DNA of coral and all its microscopic supporters

Scientists have seen for the first time how corals collaborate with other microscopic life to build and grow.

The shared evolution of the Tasmanian tiger and the wolf

The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was one of Australia's most enigmatic native species.

Study: Geography, not genetics, influences American pika's response to climate change

A very large team of researchers from across the U.S. along with a few from Canada and Australia has found that geography is playing more of a role in how the American pika is responding to climate change than genetics. In their paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the group describes their exhaustive study of the small animal and what they found. Meagan Oldfather with the University of Colorado Boulder has published a News & Views piece in the same journal issue outlining the work by the team.

Tapeworms need to keep their head to regenerate

Scientists have identified the stem cells that allow tapeworms to regenerate and found that their location in proximity to the head is essential, according to a new study in eLife.

For baboons, a mother's history of hardship can have lasting effects on her kids too

Numerous studies show that children who had a rough start in life are more likely to have health problems later on.

What wolves' teeth reveal about their lives

UCLA evolutionary biologist Blaire Van Valkenburgh has spent more than three decades studying the skulls of many species of large carnivores—including wolves, lions and tigers— that lived from 50,000 years ago to the present. She reports today in the journal eLife the answer to a puzzling question.

Scientists and key figures develop vision for managing UK land and seas after Brexit

Researchers have outlined how fishing and farming policies could be created to protect employment opportunities and the environment after Brexit.

Bats starving to death in Australia drought

Large numbers of bats are being found severely emaciated or starved to death in Australia amid a prolonged drought that is crippling their food supply, according to wildlife carers and environment officials.

Better 'housekeeping' in wood-decomposing fungi

Scientists hope to harness fungi that decompose the most abundant type of biomass in wood, lignocellulose. Lignocellulose could be used to create the building-blocks of polymers for bioproducts. The key to understanding how fungal enzymes break down wood is to examine gene expression patterns. These patterns are typically measured in comparison to so-called 'housekeeping genes.' Housekeeping genes are expressed at reliable, steady levels. But conventional housekeeping genes in other fungi are not steadily expressed in wood-decomposing fungi. In a recent study, scientists found better, more steadily expressed housekeeping genes to reliably measure gene expression across the entire genome of these important fungi.

When disease threatens animals, predators might provide the remedy

When disease shows up in wild animal populations, there aren't pharmacies or vets to turn to. The best solution might actually be the one thing they spend their lives avoiding—predators.

The problem with promoting 'responsible dog ownership'

Dog welfare campaigns that tell people to be "responsible owners" don't help to promote behaviour change, a new University of Liverpool report suggests.

Crystal growth kinetics and its link to evolution: New findings about biomineralization in molluscan shells

The research group of Dr. Igor Zlotnikov from the Center for Molecular Bioengineering (B CUBE) of TU Dresden demonstrate in its latest publication that the physics of materials has a strong impact on the possible structures that molluscan shells can produce. This research shows how fundamental physical laws, such as crystal growth kinetics and thermodynamics, can constrain the outcome of evolution and helps explain why we see the repeated development of certain structures through deep time.

Discovery of an endangered species in a well-known cave raises questions

You'd think there'd be no way someone could newly discover an endangered species hanging out in Fern Cave in the Paint Rock River valley of Jackson County, so close to Huntsville, home to thousands of spelunkers exploring every cave, nook and cranny.

Improved mapping of Swedish genes from 1,000 individuals

People—or more specifically just Swedes—are more like chimpanzees than previously known. This is indicated in a genetic mapping of one thousand Swedish individuals, where new DNA sequences that should be included in the reference genome have been identified.

Seoul confirms 4th swine fever case, asks Pyongyang for cooperation

South Korea confirmed its fourth case of African swine fever on Tuesday, as Pyongyang was yet to respond to Seoul's request to make joint efforts to tackle the deadly animal disease.

Crappy news for the dung beetle and those who depend on them

You mightn't think that the life of a dung beetle, a creature who eats poop every day of its short life, could get any worse, but you'd be wrong. Dung beetles, also known as rollers, pretty much live in manure. They can be found in a variety of environments-deserts, prairies, forests-and they subsist on poop. Dung beetles provide a highly useful service to the environment and to us. How? By simply living their lives, these valuable insects conduct "ecosystem services" that are important to agriculture, such as redistributing nutrients in the soil, controlling pests and reducing greenhouse gasses. Yet, dung beetles are one of the most threatened terrestrial animal species; and one of the main threats is the excessive use of veterinary medical products that are excreted in dung.

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