Monday, October 21, 2019

Science X Newsletter Monday, Oct 21

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 21, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The DUNE experiment could lead to new discoveries about solar neutrinos

Mystery solved: Ocean acidity in the last mass extinction

Study shows class bias in hiring based on few seconds of speech

Butterflies and plants evolved in sync, but moth 'ears' predated bats

Catastrophic events carry forests of trees thousands of miles to a burial at sea

Amazon's white bellbirds set new record for loudest bird call

Porous polymer coatings dynamically control light and heat

It takes two—a two-atom catalyst, that is—to make oxygen from water

Deepest look yet at brewer's yeasts reveals the diversity harnessed by humans

Northern peatlands may contain twice as much carbon as previously thought

Images offer most detailed glimpse yet into how skin senses temperature

'Missing' virus detected in dozens of children paralyzed by polio-like illness

'Artificial leaf' successfully produces clean gas

Microbiome: Untapped source of novel antimicrobials

Astronomers investigate IRAS 09002-473 cluster, find hundreds of probable member stars

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers investigate IRAS 09002-473 cluster, find hundreds of probable member stars

Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have investigated IRAS 09002-473, an embedded cluster of stars in the Vela Molecular Ridge. The study, presented in a paper published October 10 on, reveals more insights into the nature of this poorly studied cluster and identifies hundreds of its potential members.

Record-number of over 200,000 galaxies confirm: Galaxy mergers ignite star bursts

When two galaxies merge, there are brief periods of stellar baby booms. A group of astronomers led by Lingyu Wang (SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research) has now used a sample of over 200,000 galaxies to confirm that galaxy mergers are the driving force behind star bursts. It is the first time that scientists have used artificial intelligence in a galaxy merger study. The results are published in Astronomy & Astrophysics on October 21st.

What was the first color in the universe?

The universe bathes in a sea of light, from the blue-white flickering of young stars to the deep red glow of hydrogen clouds. Beyond the colors seen by human eyes, there are flashes of X-rays and gamma rays, powerful bursts of radio, and the faint, ever-present glow of the cosmic microwave background. The cosmos is filled with colors seen and unseen, ancient and new. But of all these, there was one color that appeared before all the others, the first color of the universe.

NASA's planetary protection review addresses changing reality of space exploration

NASA released a report Friday with recommendations from the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB) the agency established in response to a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report and a recommendation from the NASA Advisory Council.

Mars 2020 unwrapped and ready for testing

In this time-lapse video, taken on Oct. 4, 2019, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, bunny-suited engineers remove the inner layer of protective antistatic foil on the Mars 2020 rover after the vehicle was relocated from JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility to the Simulator Building for testing.

The rotation of Venus

Venus is covered in a thick layer of clouds, one reason that it appears so bright in the sky. Ancient astronomers had a good idea of what (since Copernicus) we know as its orbital period; the modern measurement is that Venus takes 224.65 days to complete one revolution around the Sun, a Venusian year. Because of the clouds, however, it has been difficult to measure the length of the Venusian day since the nominal method of watching a visible surface feature rotate around 360 degrees is not possible. In 1963, Earth-based radar observations penetrated the cloud cover and were able to measure a rotation rate of 243 days; more surprising is that Venus rotates on its axis in the opposite direction from that of most planets, so-called retrograde rotation. Subsequent ground-based radar studies came up with inconsistent values for the length, differing by about six minutes. The Magellan spacecraft completed its 487 day orbital mapping program in 1991 and concluded the correct number was slightly different still: 243.0185 days with an uncertainty of about nine seconds. But subsequent missions and ground-based observations found that the rate of rotation was actually not constant but seemed to vary, with models arguing that solar tidal torques and atmosphere drag on the surface could account for at least some of the variation.

Space may soon become a war zone – here's how that would work

At an upcoming summit in early December, NATO is expected to declare space as a "warfighting domain," partly in response to new developments in technology.

Solar orbiter ready to depart Europe

ESA's Solar Orbiter mission has completed its test campaign in Europe and is now being packed ready for its journey to Cape Canaveral at the end of this month, ahead of launch in February 2020.

Armoring satellites to survive and operate through attacks

Satellites do a lot of things—they help people navigate from one place to another, they deliver television programming, they search for new stars and exo-planets and they enable the U.S. nuclear deterrence strategy. But until recently, one thing they haven't done—or needed to do—is defend themselves.

Space mice and robots among latest science heading into space from Wallops Island

Space mice, radiation vests, robotic avatars and recycling polymers for 3-D printers are among the science experiments bound for the International Space Station on the next commercial resupply mission from Virginia.

Space mice and robots among latest science heading into space from Wallops Island

Space mice, radiation vests, robotic avatars and recycling polymers for 3-D printers are among the science experiments bound for the International Space Station on the next commercial resupply mission from Virginia.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope clears critical sunshield deployment testing

The sunshield for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has passed a test critical to preparing the observatory for its 2021 launch. Technicians and engineers fully deployed and tensioned each of the sunshield's five layers, successfully putting the sunshield into the same position it will be in a million miles from Earth.

Lucy mission completes critical design review

The Lucy mission led by Southwest Research Institute is one step closer to its 2021 launch to explore the Trojan asteroids, a population of ancient small bodies that share an orbit with Jupiter. With the successful completion of its critical design review last week, the Lucy spacecraft is on track to begin a 12-year journey of almost 4 billion miles to visit a record-breaking seven asteroids—one main belt asteroid and six Trojans.

Female spacewalking duo uplifted by excitement below

The astronauts who took part in the first all-female spacewalk are still uplifted by all the excitement down on Earth.

Technology news

'Artificial leaf' successfully produces clean gas

A widely-used gas that is currently produced from fossil fuels can instead be made by an 'artificial leaf' that uses only sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, and which could eventually be used to develop a sustainable liquid fuel alternative to petrol.

Google completes first drone delivery in the US

Alphabet (Google) subsidiary Wing has become the first company in the United States to deliver packages by drone.

New haptic arm places robotics within easy reach

Imagine being able to build and use a robotic device without the need for expensive, specialist kit or skills. That is the vision that researchers from the University of Bristol have turned into reality, creating a lightweight, affordable and simple solution for everyday users.

Artificial skin creates first ticklish devices

A new interface developed by researchers in Bristol and Paris takes touch technology to the next level, by providing an artificial skin-like membrane for augmenting interactive devices such as phones, wearables or computers.

Longest non-stop passenger flight arrives in Sydney

The longest non-stop passenger flight touched down in Australia Sunday morning after more than 19 hours in the air, a milestone journey from New York that Qantas hopes to parlay into commercial success.

Scanning Earth is the mission because time is running out

As a response to the climate crisis, a project effort seeks to do a LiDAR scan of the Earth's surface—as time runs out. What, that urgent? Two professors at Colorado State University appear to think so. They are archaeologist Chris Fisher and geographer, Steve Leisz.

Deep learning enlightens scholars puzzling over ancient texts

Deep learning can help scholars restore ancient Greek texts. Specifically, researchers at University of Oxford (Thea Sommerschield and Professor Jonathan Prag) and DeepMind (Yannis Assael) built Pythia, training a neural network to guess missing words or characters from Greek inscriptions.

A sharper definition of 'scale-free' provides better insights into networks

A network can be anything in which people or things are connected to one another: airports between which scheduled flights take place, people who can infect one another with diseases and the routers that connect computers via the internet. A better mathematical view of so-called "scale-free' networks helps to identify, for example, vulnerabilities in the network. Researchers from Northeastern University in Boston and TU Eindhoven have together drawn up a new mathematical definition of "scale-free." The lack of such a definition had put the value of decades of research in jeopardy. A remarkable dispute in the field of network research needed to be settled.

AI research achieves world-leading technology for visual recognition of people

AI is increasingly being used to help human operators handle massive amounts of images from CCTV and other security sources. Person re-identification (ReID) is a method in which an AI is able to recognize images of the same person taken from different cameras or on different occasions. This helps to track suspects across a CCTV network covering large public space, such as an underground network. ReID is challenging for machines as they have to consider and differentiate the same person under different light sources, poses and changes in appearance such as their clothes.

New lightweight, portable robotic suit to increase running and walking performance

While walking may not seem like a burden for most people, for others, this simple task can often feel exhausting. For patients recovering from surgery or stroke, those with Parkinson's Disease, those with restricted mobility, and even for soldiers or firemen carrying heavy loads over difficult terrain, walking or running can be a struggle.

Wind turbine design and placement can mitigate negative effect on birds

Wind energy is increasingly seen as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, as it contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that by 2050, wind turbines will contribute more than 20% of the global electricity supply. However, the rapid expansion of wind farms has raised concerns about the impact of wind turbines on wildlife.

New research center aims to make electronics more secure

The University of Cincinnati will lead a new National Science Foundation research center to protect electronics and networked systems from sabotage, hacking or spying.

Facebook says it will deliver News Corp stories

Facebook on Friday confirmed that some stories from News Corp, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, will be delivered at a new "tab" planned at the leading social network.

Boeing wants it to fly, but travelers fear the 737 MAX

On September 12, Boeing started putting out 30-second videos in which employees tout its planes' safety, hoping to reassure travelers about the 737 MAX that's been grounded worldwide since two crashes that killed 346 people.

Facebook's Marcus says Libra won't be controlled by a single company

Facebook executive David Marcus on Sunday tried to calm the fears of officials threatening to block its proposed digital currency, saying Libra won't be controlled by a single company.

Prevention better than cure at preventing young users from getting involved in cybercrime

Highly-targeted messaging campaigns from law enforcement can be surprisingly effective at dissuading young gamers from getting involved in cybercrime, a new study has suggested.

Public, election officials may be kept in the dark on hacks

If the FBI discovers that foreign hackers have infiltrated the networks of your county election office, you may not find out about it until after voting is over. And your governor and other state officials may be kept in the dark, too.

Online ordering boom gives rise to virtual restaurants

Frato's Pizza looks like a typical family restaurant, with its black-and-white checkered floor and red chairs. But in the kitchen, the cooks are whipping up dishes for four other restaurants at the same time.

What young people ask about when guaranteed anonymity

An analysis of almost 300,000 unsolicited questions written by young Norwegians on the website, has provided major insights into what they're really interested in today. Their bodies, health and identity are among the topics heading the list.

Study shows regulators are allowing utilities higher returns

For many years, all electric utilities in the U.S. were regulated monopolies. Although some states deregulated electricity generation over the past 20 years, electric utility companies in other states today remain monopolies. Providing an essential service without facing competition, unchecked monopolies have little incentive not to overcharge customers. This presents a problem.

Symbol of change for AI development

A mathematical framework that bridges the gap between high-level human-readable knowledge and statistical data has been developed by a KAUST team and is expected to improve machine learning.

Open access popular with researchers but full potential remains untapped, says new global study

Researchers are in favor of widening access to research but remain largely unaware of initiatives and services that have been established to encourage growth of open access (OA).

Why modified carbon nanotubes can help the reproducibility problem

The search for sustainable energy generation technology has led researchers to investigate various materials and their combinations in many types of devices. One such synthetic material, perovskite, is low-cost and easy to produce, and can be used in solar cells. Perovskite solar cells have attracted much attention because their power conversion efficiency (that is, their efficiency at turning sunlight into electricity) has seen dramatic improvements in recent years. However, it has proven difficult to implement them for large-scale energy generation because of a handful of issues.

New framework makes AI systems more transparent without sacrificing performance

Researchers are proposing a framework for artificial intelligence (AI) that would allow users to understand the rationale behind AI decisions. The work is significant, given the push move away from "black box" AI systems—particularly in sectors, such as military and law enforcement, where there is a need to justify decisions.

Preventing cyber security attacks lies in strategic, third-party investments, study finds

Companies interested in protecting themselves and their customers from cyber-attacks need to invest in themselves and the vendors that handle their data, according to new research from American University.

Novel method turns any 3-D object into a cubic style

One of the fast-growing areas in virtual reality/augmented reality is 3-D shape stylization, giving users the ability to automatically replicate detailed 3-D shapes in the digital world. Replicating cube-style shapes, for one, is a challenge due to its abstract properties, but developing such a framework that captures realistic cubic style of objects would contribute vastly to the growing field of 3-D shape stylization, making it easier and faster to reproduce this specific shape and artistic style in the virtual world.

India to build solar, wind farms along Pakistan border

India plans to build a string of renewable energy projects along its sun-baked, wind-whipped western border, officials said Monday, as New Delhi continues an ambitious programme to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels.

After decades in development, Honda's jets quietly evolving

Nearly four years after delivering its first jet, Honda is facing decisions as the company better known for cars and lawnmowers considers whether to sink billions more into its decades-in-the-making aircraft division.

Huawei exec: Chinese tech giant wants to be 'transparent'

A top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei said Friday that the company is prepared to be "open and transparent" as it looks to persuade the U.S. government that it can be trusted and that national security concerns about its technology are unfounded.

China talks up tech prowess in face of US rivalry

China on Sunday said it aims to become a "great power" in the online world and took a swipe at Washington on trade, kicking off its annual conference promoting the Communist Party's controlled and censored version of the internet.

Facebook unveils fresh security measures for 2020 US elections

Facebook said Monday it was tightening its security for the 2020 US elections, with stepped up scrutiny of "state controlled" media seeking to manipulate American voters.

Tired of too many subscriptions? Apple TV+, Disney+ streaming launches add to overload

Quick test: Ask yourself how many subscriptions you're on the hook for.

Gita is a new cargo robot that can follow you, carry your stuff for about 4 hours

Consumer-focused personal robots have a spotty history.

Google Maps on iPhone is adding traffic features made popular by Waze

One of the most popular features on the Android version of Google Maps is finally coming to the iPhone.

Georgia county's experience shows perils of ransomware

On the first Saturday in March, computer screens at the 911 dispatch center in this small town went dark.

Medicine & Health news

'Missing' virus detected in dozens of children paralyzed by polio-like illness

A UC San Francisco-led research team has detected the immunological remnants of a common seasonal virus in spinal fluid from dozens of patients diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM)—a polio-like illness that causes permanent, sometimes life-threatening paralysis in young children. The findings provide the clearest evidence to date that AFM is caused by an enterovirus (EV) that invades and impairs the central nervous system.

Microbiome: Untapped source of novel antimicrobials

Just as Gold Rush prospectors once mined the Northern California hills for the shiny precious metal, "bioprospectors" are searching for a new prize: potential antimicrobial molecules—and they are hunting them down in the human microbiome.

Autism spectrum disorder risk linked to insufficient placental steroid

A study in experimental models suggests that allopregnanolone, one of many hormones produced by the placenta during pregnancy, is so essential to normal fetal brain development that when provision of that hormone decreases or stops abruptly—as occurs with premature birth—offspring are more likely to develop autism-like behaviors. A Children's National Hospital research team reports the findings Oct. 20, 2019, at the Neuroscience 2019 annual meeting.

No link found between youth contact sports and cognitive, mental health problems

Adolescents who play contact sports, including football, are no more likely to experience cognitive impairment, depression or suicidal thoughts in early adulthood than their peers, suggests a new University of Colorado Boulder study of nearly 11,000 youth followed for 14 years.

Animal study shows how stress and mother's abuse affects infant brain

A new study in rats shows the extent of brain damage in newborn rodents from even short-term abuse by their mother.

AI rivals expert radiologists at detecting brain hemorrhages

An algorithm developed by scientists at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley did better than two out of four expert radiologists at finding tiny brain hemorrhages in head scans—an advance that one day may help doctors treat patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), strokes and aneurysms.

Your healthcare provider's expectations on whether a treatment works may impact its effectiveness

If a doctor expects a treatment to be successful, a patient may experience less pain and have better outcomes, according to a new Dartmouth study published in Nature Human Behaviour. The findings reveal how social interactions between hypothetical healthcare providers and patients have the power to influence how patients perceive the effectiveness of a treatment, even when it is a placebo.

How the brain dials up the volume to hear someone in a crowd

Our brains have a remarkable ability to pick out one voice from among many. Now, a team of Columbia University neuroengineers has uncovered the steps that take place in the brain to make this feat possible. Today's discovery helps to solve a long-standing scientific question as to how the auditory cortex, the brain's listening center, can decode and amplify one voice over others—at lightning-fast speeds. This new-found knowledge also stands to spur development of hearing-aid technologies and brain-computer interfaces that more closely resemble the brain.

Repurposing heart drugs to target cancer cells

Senescence is a cellular stress response that results in the stable growth arrest of old and damaged cells. The past decade has revealed that senescent cells play important roles in a growing list of diseases from cancer, to arthritis, atherosclerosis and many more. Previous studies have shown that the specific elimination of senescent cells with drugs or using genetic tricks makes mice live healthier for longer. Eliminating senescent cells results in improvements in fibrosis, cataracts, atherosclerosis and in more than 20 other diseases.

New therapeutic strategy may help reverse autism behavioral abnormalities

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects 1 in 59 children in the U.S. Mutations in specific genes, such as PTEN, can explain many autism cases. While children with mutations in PTEN exhibit autism, macrocephaly (an abnormally large skull), intellectual disability and epilepsy, there are currently no effective treatment options for children affected by this condition. But a new study by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine offers a potential new approach to therapy.

Immune reaction causes organ damage from malaria infection

Malaria is one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases: a small mosquito bite delivers numerous malaria parasites into the bloodstream. The human body defends itself valiantly against the parasite, which usually results in periodic flu-like symptoms and severe fever. Severe cases of the disease are accompanied by tissue damage and result in potentially fatal organ failure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin discovered a possible mechanism behind these complications. The malaria parasite triggers an immune reaction in the bloodstream that is intended for local defense. If the immune response escalates and acts systemically, it damages the patient's own tissue. This involves a white blood cell type that is highly abundant in the blood: the neutrophil.

Less inflammation = better healing

Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly called heart attack, remains a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide, raising an urgent need for novel therapies.

Study sheds new light on the growth of bladder cancer

New Curtin University-led research has discovered that using drugs to target a pathway in the body that causes cancerous cells to spread aggressively may help to reduce the severity of bladder cancer.

Study reveals dementia risk in former professional footballers

A landmark study led by the University of Glasgow has revealed the first major insights into lifelong health outcomes in former professional footballers.

The night gardeners: Immune cells rewire, repair brain while we sleep

Science tells us that a lot of good things happen in our brains while we sleep—learning and memories are consolidated and waste is removed, among other things. New research shows for the first time that important immune cells called microglia—which play an important role in reorganizing the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage—are also primarily active while we sleep.

Gene variants influence size of brainstem, other structures

Researchers have found a link between 48 common genetic variations and the size of the brainstem and other subcortical structures deep within the brain. These structures control a wide array of functions ranging from learning and fear response to heart rate and voluntary movement. Damage to the structures is involved in the development of several diseases, including cognitive, psychiatric and movement disorders.

Researchers identify a new way to target treatment-resistant cancers

An international team of researchers has found a different way cancer becomes resistant to chemotherapy, suggesting a new target for drugs.

Research improves understanding of mechanism of atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart arrhythmia in humans. This condition increases the risk of heart failure, stroke, dementia and death, and current treatments have suboptimal efficacy and carry side effects. Looking to identify clues that might lead to better treatments, a group headed by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Heart Institute used a mouse model system to investigate how noncoding DNA regions that increase atrial fibrillation risk in humans work to predispose to the condition.

Why respiratory infections are more deadly in those with diabetes

Since the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012, there have been more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the infection, resulting in greater than 800 deaths—an alarming fatality rate of 35 percent. For this reason, researchers have been eager to identify any risk factors that contribute to the development of severe or lethal disease. Current clinical evidence points to diabetes as a major risk factor in addition to other comorbidities including kidney disease, heart disease, and lung disease.

SNAP provides a model for ensuring a right to food

Alleviating food insecurity is often seen as one of the fundamental roles a country should fulfill. In some cases, this is encapsulated into a constitutionally formalized "right to food". In other cases, including the U.S., the right to food isn't formalized, but the U.S. government spends billions of dollars per year to help Americans obtain the food they need.

Smartphone app reminds heart patients to take their pills

Heart patients using a smartphone app reminder are more likely to take their medication than those who receive written instructions, according to a study presented at the 45th Argentine Congress of Cardiology (SAC 2019).

Colorectal surgery patients use fewer opioids, report less pain with enhanced recovery after surgery

Colorectal surgery patients who were a part of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program had less pain, while using nearly half as many opioids, according to research being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2019 annual meeting.

National poll: Half of parents have declined kids' play date invites

The new school year often leads to playdate invitations, sometimes between families who don't know each other.

Plant-based foods and Mediterranean diet associated with healthy gut microbiome

A study presented at UEG Week 2019 has shown that specific foods could provide protection for the gut, by helping bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties to thrive.

Resistance to antibiotics doubles in 20 years, new study finds

Resistance to commonly-used antibiotics for treating harmful bacteria related to a variety of stomach conditions has more than doubled in 20 years, new research presented today at UEG Week Barcelona 2019 has shown.

IBD prevalence three times higher than estimates and expected to rise, new study reveals

The number of people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) is three times higher than previous estimates, with sufferers also at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), according to new research presented today at UEG Week Barcelona 2019.

Episiotomy may be beneficial in reducing severe perineal tears among forceps and vacuum deliveries

The use of episiotomy during childbirth has declined in Canada, although its benefit in births assisted by forceps or vacuum merits reconsideration of this practice, according to a large study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Study: 20% of patients are prescribed opioids after cardiac device implantation surgery

One in five patients is prescribed opioids after having a pacemaker or similar device implanted, according to a large US study conducted at Mayo Clinic published in HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society and the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society published by Elsevier. Eighty percent of patients who were prescribed opioids had never taken them before. Investigators stress the importance of improving postoperative pain management following cardiac device procedures to reduce use of prescription opioids.

Limiting mealtimes may increase exercise motivation

Limiting access to food in mice increases levels of the hormone, ghrelin, which may also increase motivation to exercise, according to a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology.

Exercise capacity may affect cognitive health of survivors of childhood leukemia

A new study found a link between reduced exercise capacity and neurocognitive problems in survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common childhood cancer. The findings are published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

American Indians may have a higher risk for irregular heartbeat

Irregular heartbeat or atrial fibrillation (AFib) occurred more often among American Indians than among other racial and ethnic groups, according to new research published in Circulation, the American Heart Association's premier cardiovascular research journal.

Closures affect one in eight pharmacies in the US

In a report published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that despite an overall increase in the number of pharmacies in the U.S. from 2009 to 2015, one in eight pharmacies, or 9,654, had closed during this period.

Ugandans and Kenyans in cities happy to pay for food that is more nutritious

Ugandans and Kenyans in poor urban households are willing to pay a premium for more nutritious flour, new research shows. The study, led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), addresses huge knowledge gaps on consumers in urban slums and their interest in buying motivated nutritionally enriched foods.

Does time spent on social media impact mental health? New study shows screen time isn't the problem

The amount of time teenagers spend on social networking sites has risen 62.5 percent since 2012 and continues to grow. Just last year, the average time teenagers spent on social media was estimated as 2.6 hours per day. Critics have claimed that more screen time is increasing depression and anxiety in teenagers.

Technology increases sense of safety for domestic violence victims

Personal duress alarms (PDA) and security cameras could help people experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV) stay safe in their homes, according to UNSW research.

Inventive design illuminates neurons deep in the brain

An interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has produced a new type of neural probe with an innovative design, improving the way researchers study neurons deep in the brain. The work, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, combines CMU's expertise in materials science, engineering and biological sciences to advance the field of neuroscience.

The voice unmasked: How we hear image, emotion and identity

As the Australian premier season of The Masked Singer draws to a close, fans are listening hard to guess which celebrities remain behind the weird and wonderful costumes.

4 ways to talk with vaccine skeptics

Your neighbor is telling you about his new baby. He feels nervous about vaccinating, and says he's considering delaying Lucy's vaccines.

Anesthesia for breast cancer surgery has no influence on risk of tumor recurrence

One of the largest global studies in the field of anesthesia, in which the MedUni Vienna has participated, showed that, following curative breast cancer surgery under regional anesthesia, the risk of recurrence was not reduced in comparison to general anesthesia with opioids. These data disprove the assumption that anesthesia might have a negative impact on breast cancer recurrence. The results have been recently published in The Lancet.

Global alcohol marketing treaty could reduce drinking harm

A Massey University researcher is calling for an international convention to control alcohol marketing similar to the one that has been used to help reduce tobacco harm worldwide. As the global alcohol industry relies on unhealthy heavy drinking for the majority of their profits, the author says the industry often opposes effective health interventions like marketing regulation or reduced trading hours. The author says a global treaty would make it harder for companies to sue governments over restrictive marking regulations and curb targeted advertising on social media, which is concealed from regulators.

Research backs integrated health care role for pharmacists

A research team from the UTS Graduate School of Health, in collaboration with Western Sydney Primary Health Network, evaluated a consultation service for community pharmacists to triage, manage and appropriately refer patients to doctors for common ailments, such as coughs and colds, through agreed referral pathways for the first time in Australia.

Occupational use of disinfectants may up risk for developing COPD

Regular use of chemical disinfectants among nurses may be a risk factor for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online Oct. 18 in JAMA Network Open.

Simple test predicts dangerous pregnancy disorder

Edith Cowan University researchers have developed a simple, low-cost way to predict preeclampsia, a potentially deadly condition that affects pregnant women.

3-D mammography: More breast cancers detected

A pilot trial of 3-D mammography—tomosynthesis—has shown that breast cancer detection, recall for assessment, and screen reading time were each higher than for standard mammography, but it is too soon to tell if more detection leads to better health outcomes for women, according to the authors of research published today in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Bringing ethnic diversity to dementia research

The current body of research on dementia does not reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Australian population, leaving people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds receiving inequitable dementia care, according to the authors of a Perspective published today by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Parents left in the cold when it comes to kids with autism

First-line health professionals must vastly improve their communication and engagement with parents if they are to help address the growing prevalence of autism among children, say researchers from the University of South Australia.

Most physicians treating STIs do not have meds on hand

Most office-based physicians who provide sexually transmitted infections (STIs) services report not having on-site access to the recommended injectable medications for same-day treatment of gonorrhea and syphilis, according to a research letter published in the November issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Exploring the effect of fasting on age-related diseases

There are many indications that fasting promotes longevity. In recent years, much attention has been devoted to so-called caloric restriction mimetics (CMRs), substances that simulate the health-promoting effects of fasting without the need of life-style change. In a study published in EMBO Molecular Medicine, a research team led by Oliver Kepp and Guido Kroemer at the French Medical Research Council (INSERM) reports the identification of a novel candidate CRM. The substance may prove useful in the further research for the treatment of age-related diseases.

Fullerene compounds will help in the fight against lung cancer

A team of scientists from Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology, the Institute for Problems of Chemical Physics of Russian Academy of Sciences and National Taiwan University has discovered that fullerene compounds can effectively kill non-small-cell lung carcinoma cells and found the mechanisms behind their anti-tumor activity.

Fathers are 'cautionary tales' about health for some adults

Some adults see their mothers and fathers as still influencing their own health—but in very different ways, according to a new study.

Food waste research targets cardiovascular disease

Researchers are investigating how a by-product from rapeseed oil could reduce the potential formation of toxic compounds that can spark chronic kidney and cardiovascular disease.

Selfies the 'perfect tool' for narcissists, says researcher

When you're feeling down, does your mood improve after posting selfies online?

New biomarkers for childhood asthma may facilitate early diagnosis

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have followed children who have sought emergency care for wheezing during their first years of life and found specific biomarkers that can predict the need for asthma medication several years later. The study is published in the prestigious European Respiratory Journal.

The role of Klumpfuss in intestinal cell differentiation

Stem cells are essential for homeostasis and cell renewal in organs like skin, lung or intestine. During the course of life, their function decreases steadily, making this decline a main factor for the development of age-associated diseases. Researchers of the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Jena, Germany, and their colleagues of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, U.S., investigated the mechanisms of intestinal cell renewal in the model organism Drosophila. Their results show that the transcription factor Klumpfuss plays a key role in this process by precisely regulating the differentiation of cell types in the fly intestine.

Silencing RNA nanotherapy shows promise against pancreatic cancer

Despite advances in cancer survival, more than 90 percent of people with pancreatic cancer die within five years. Most patients with pancreatic tumors (and half of those with colorectal cancers) carry a mutation in the KRAS gene, which normally controls cell growth and death.

Make some noise: How background noise affects brain activity

Have you ever found it difficult to focus on a task due to background noise? Scientists at the University of Alberta are studying just how these sounds impact our brain activity—and what that impact means for designing neurotechnology.

The art of cancer caregiving: How art therapies benefits those caring for cancer patients

A cancer diagnosis is incredibly stressful for the person receiving the diagnosis. But those caring for the patient, both informally and formally, also experience stress, which can affect their own health and the patient's outcome. A study, led by researchers from Drexel University's Creative Art Therapies department in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, as well as researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, showed coloring and open-studio art therapy benefits stressed caregivers of cancer patients.

Can we reverse antibiotic resistance?

In the battle against antibiotic resistance, some scientists are trying a new approach: re-sensitising bacteria to drugs they no longer respond to so that existing antibiotics can hit their target once more.

HPV immunization program cuts pre-cancer rates by more than half

A school-based human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization program in British Columbia, Canada, is dramatically reducing rates of cervical pre-cancer in B.C. women, according to a new study.

Researchers find dairy products associated with higher risk of prostate cancer

A high consumption of dairy products, like milk and cheese, appears to be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to research published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Women with anemia twice as likely to need transfusion after cesarean delivery

Pregnant women with anemia are twice as likely to need blood transfusions after a cesarean delivery, as those without the condition, according to a study being presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting. Yet most pregnant women aren't screened early in their pregnancy for iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia.

Space and place in alcohol research

Every time someone drinks an alcoholic beverage, he or she will drink that beverage at some place and some time. Not surprisingly this means that the physical and social environments in which that drinking takes place will be affected by:

Machine learning model flags individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia for first time at national level

The FH Foundation, a leading research and advocacy organization, announced today that a machine learning algorithm effectively identified individuals with probable familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) for the first time at a national scale through its FIND FH initiative. FH is a common genetic disorder that carries a 20-times higher risk for life-threatening cardiovascular disease, but today less than 10 percent of the 1.3 million Americans born with FH are diagnosed.

First-ever US clinical trial of engineered iPSC-derived cell therapy for blood cancer

A new cancer clinical trial has opened at the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center that leverages the groundbreaking research on stem cells and natural killer (NK) cells done at the Masonic Cancer Center and applies it to attack acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and B-cell lymphoma. The first-of-its-kind NK cell cancer immunotherapy, called FT516, is manufactured from a human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) that has been genetically engineered to enhance its anti-tumor activity.

People are complicated, but their spit is 'shockingly complex'

Our physical and mental state influences our eating habits. But scientists are still trying to understand how one biological process affects how we eat. Warning: Learning more could kill your appetite.

If your health care provider is nice, you'll feel less pain

Having blood drawn by a courteous health care provider can really take the sting out of those procedures, suggests a study being presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting.

Stem cell research leads to insights into how Huntington's disease develops

Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal hereditary disease for which there is no cure. A novel study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, using pluripotent stem cells advances understanding of how the disease develops and may help pave the way for identifying pathways for future treatments. Results are published in the Journal of Huntington's Disease.

Researchers identify unique brain changes in people with Huntington's disease

The part of the brain that selectively degenerates in people with Huntington's disease (HD), called the striatum, is almost entirely destroyed in the late stages of the disease. Brain samples from mutant HD gene positive individuals who had not yet developed symptoms by time of death are extremely rare. As a consequence, very little is known about the active disease process that causes the devastating symptoms of HD.

Topical wound oxygen therapy helps heal diabetic foot ulcers

(HealthDay)—Adjuvant cyclical pressure topical wound oxygen (TWO2) therapy, compared with sham control therapy, in addition to optimal standard of care is superior for healing chronic diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), according to a study published online Oct. 16 in Diabetes Care.

Trainee demographics tied to passage of U.S. surgical boards

(HealthDay)—Resident race, ethnicity, sex, and family status at internship are associated with surgical board passage rates in the United States, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in JAMA Surgery.

Safe infant sleep practices suboptimal across the U.S.

(HealthDay)—Safe infant sleep practices are suboptimal in the United States, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in Pediatrics.

Deadly heart problem might not be so deadly

An incurable condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may be less deadly than previously thought, according to a new study of sudden cardiac deaths among young people.

How to get the fruit and veggies you need without busting the budget

(HealthDay)—Fresh foods can be expensive, especially if you're trying to go organic. But if you want to eat healthier by skipping processed, packaged foods, it is possible to keep costs under control and still get in the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.

What to do if you have a bad reaction to cosmetics

(HealthDay)—One consequence of the government's limited role in regulating cosmetics is that questionable products may stay on store shelves and e-commerce sites despite complaints. Even when consumers report problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can't issue a recall—it can only recommend one.

Single-sport focus not good for children

(HealthDay)—Parents should try to keep their children from focusing on a single sport for as long as possible to reduce their risk for injuries and other problems, the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) says.

Many parents not following safe-sleep advice for babies

(HealthDay)—Many U.S. parents are not heeding recommendations on how to put their babies to sleep safely, a new government study finds.

Recent increase in fine particulate matter associated with more premature deaths in US

In the United States, annual average levels of fine particulate matter—PM2.5, a measure of solid particles and liquid droplets that are 2.5 micrometers or smaller found in the air—declined 24% from 2009 to 2016, then increased 5% between 2016 to 2018. In a new study, researchers explored how the increase occurred by looking at economic activity, wildfires, and enforcement of the Clean Air Act during this period. They found that the increase was associated with 9,700 additional premature deaths, and that these deaths represent damages of $89 billion.

Twin study shows what's good for the heart is good for the brain

Emory University researchers are giving us double the reasons to pay attention to our cardiovascular health—showing in a recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease that good heart health can equal good brain health.

Protein in blood protects against neuronal damage after brain hemorrhage

Patients who survive a cerebral hemorrhage may suffer delayed severe brain damage caused by free hemoglobin, which comes from red blood cells and damages neurons. Researchers at the University of Zurich and the UniversityHospital Zurich have now discovered a protective protein in the body called haptoglobin, which prevents this effect.

Pregnant women may soon be able to detect their own risk of preeclampsia with a smartphone

Roughly 15% of premature births in the U.S. happen due to a pregnancy complication caused by high blood pressure, called preeclampsia. While sometimes symptoms dissipate after the mother gives birth, preeclampsia can lead to permanent damage to the kidneys or death.

Clusters of illness linked to CBD vapes share 2nd connection

Some of the people rushing to emergency rooms thought the CBD vape they inhaled would help like a gentle medicine. Others puffed it for fun.

Study points to virus as culprit in kids' paralyzing illness

Scientists have found the strongest evidence yet that a virus is to blame for a mysterious illness that can start like the sniffles but quickly paralyze children.

Study suggests a new way to think about the brain's link to postpartum depression

Chronic stress during pregnancy triggers an immune response in the brain that has potential to alter brain functions in ways that could contribute to postpartum depression, new research in animals suggests.

Resistance to last resort drug arose in patient over 3 weeks

French investigators have described development of resistance to one of the last resort therapies used to treat extremely drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. That resistance arose in a single patient over a scant 22 days. They subsequently identified the single nucleotide mutation in P. aeruginosa that caused the resistance. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

One in three pain patients suffer side effects after ketamine infusion therapy

As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate the United States, ketamine use has grown as a pain management alternative, yet more than one in three patients may experience side effects such as hallucinations and visual disturbances, suggests new research presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia offers help and cure for picky eaters

Families dealing with the stress and frustration of their child's overly picky eating habits may have a new addition to their parental toolbox. Pediatric researchers recently described a brief group cognitive-behavioral therapy program that provides parents with specific techniques to improve their child's mealtime behaviors and expand the range of foods their children will eat. Although the study size was small, the parents involved reported "life-changing" improvements.

Family members can assist in preventing post-operative delirium by as much as 16.8%

In a study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers reported that training family members in delirium prevention approaches can significantly reduce the incidence of post-operative delirium by up to 16.8 percent within seven days after surgery. This is important because delirium, a sudden change in mental status, or sudden confusion often occurring after major surgery, acute illness, or hospitalization, can have serious complications such as functional and cognitive decline, prolonged hospital stays, institutionalization, and death.

One-third of children having tonsillectomies benefitted from opioid-free surgery and recovery

Nearly one-third of children who had surgery to remove their tonsils did not need opioids to get adequate pain relief during and after surgery, according to a study presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting.

Laughing gas helpful for labor pain, but epidural still top choice

Women report being very satisfied with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to manage labor pain, experiencing no adverse side effects to the baby, although over half of the women ultimately opted for an epidural or other pain management technique, suggests a study being presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting.

Opioids often prescribed after cesarean delivery even when not needed

Nearly 90% of women who did not use opioids in the hospital after cesarean delivery were nonetheless discharged with a prescription for opioids, according to a study presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting. A related study showed opioid prescribing upon discharge remained high, even after improvements were made to effectively manage pain after cesarean delivery with other medications during patients' hospital stays.

Preliminary medical marijuana research shows promise in lessening opioid use

Medical marijuana shows early promise to lessen opioid use and potential abuse, suggests a systematic review of published studies being presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting. However, much more rigorous scientific research must be done to determine if there truly are pain relief benefits to medical marijuana that can ease chronic pain and outweigh potential risks.

Many women and health care providers assume CBD safe during pregnancy despite lack of research

While most women of childbearing age understand drinking alcohol while pregnant is harmful, they may be less skeptical about the safety of cannabidiol (CBD), even though there is no evidence to support that belief, suggests a study being presented at the Anesthesiology 2019 annual meeting.

Neural-digital interface advances raise ethical and social issues

Human-machine interfaces raise important ethical and social issues. These technological innovations have the potential to restore, alter, or enhance cognitive or physical function in humans, but also may exacerbate existing social tensions around equality, identity, security, privacy, and access. A roundtable comprising researchers, ethicists, and an individual technology user will explore questions around the development, use, and governance of neural-digital interfaces at Neuroscience 2019, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

FMT is effective in IBS, but having a 'super-donor' is essential, new study finds

The results of a large, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study have confirmed that faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) using a single 'super-donor' is an effective and well tolerated treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), producing high rates of clinical response and marked symptom improvements. The study reported today, which involved a large cohort of patients with various subtypes of IBS, used several enhanced methodologies, and highlighted the importance of donor selection for optimising the effectiveness of FMT as a treatment for IBS.

Committee pitches concept to settle all opioid lawsuits

A committee guiding OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy has suggested other drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains use Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the national opioid crisis.

The brain's favorite type of music

People prefer songs with only a moderate amount of uncertainty and unpredictability, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

$260 million deal averts 1st federal trial on opioid crisis

The nation's three biggest drug distributors and a major drugmaker agreed to an 11th-hour, $260 million settlement Monday over the deadly toll taken by opioids in two Ohio counties, averting what would have been the first federal trial over the crisis.

Biology news

Butterflies and plants evolved in sync, but moth 'ears' predated bats

Butterflies and moths rank among the most diverse groups in the animal kingdom, with nearly 160,000 known species, ranging from the iconic blue morpho to the crop-devouring armyworm.

Amazon's white bellbirds set new record for loudest bird call

Biologist Jeff Podos at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with Mario Cohn-Haft at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazĂ´nia, Brazil, report that they have recorded the loudest bird calls ever documented, made by dove-sized male white bellbirds as part of their mating rituals in the mountains of the northern Amazon. Details are in the latest Current Biology.

Deepest look yet at brewer's yeasts reveals the diversity harnessed by humans

Thousands of years ago, as humans tamed wild animals and plants into livestock and crops, their penchant for intoxication also led them to unwittingly domesticate a hidden workhorse of civilization: yeast.

Images offer most detailed glimpse yet into how skin senses temperature

Columbia University researchers have captured new detailed images of a temperature-sensing molecule in its open, intermediate, and closed states. The findings will help us understand the mechanics of hot, warm, cool, and cold sensation and accelerate the development of drugs for variety of conditions, including inflammatory skin disease, itch, and pain.

Song-learning neurons identified in songbirds

A group of brain cells, the corticobasal ganglia projecting neurons, are important for vocal learning in young birds, but not in adult birds, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide

A new study from EPFL scientists has found that bacteria use mechanical forces to divide, along with biological factors. The research, led by the groups of John McKinney and Georg Fantner at EPFL, came after recent studies suggested that bacterial division is not only governed by biology, but also by physics. However, this interplay is poorly understood.

New CRISPR genome editing system offers a wide range of versatility in human cells

A team from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has developed a new CRISPR genome-editing approach by combining two of the most important proteins in molecular biology—CRISPR-Cas9 and a reverse transcriptase—into a single machine.

Uncovering the principles behind RNA folding

A Northwestern Engineering research team led by Professor Julius Lucks has uncovered a new understanding of how RNA molecules act as cellular 'biosensors' to monitor and respond to changes in the environment by controlling gene expression. The findings could impact the design of future RNA-specific therapeutics as well as new synthetic biology tools that measure the presence of toxins in the environment.

Toad disguises itself as deadly viper to avoid attack

The first study of a toad mimicking a venomous snake reveals that it likely imitates one of Africa's largest vipers in both appearance and behavior, according to results published in the Journal of Natural History.

Lab-grown meat: Researchers grow muscle cells on edible fibers

Lab-grown or cultured meat could revolutionize food production, providing a greener, more sustainable, more ethical alternative to large-scale meat production. But getting lab-grown meat from the petri dish to the dinner plate requires solving several major problems, including how to make large amounts of it and how to make it feel and taste more like real meat.

California's crashing kelp forest

First the sea stars wasted to nothing. Then the purple urchins took over, eating and eating until the bull kelp forests were gone. The red abalone starved. Their fishery closed. Red sea urchins starved. Their fishery collapsed. And the ocean kept warming.

Comparisons of 4.7 million mtDNA sequences show GenBank is reliable for animal IDs

Did a murderer walk through the room? Did a shark just swim by? Is this a poisonous mushroom? Which reef species are lost when the coral dies? These questions can potentially be answered quickly and cheaply based on tiny samples of DNA found in the environment. But identifying DNA requires a trustworthy library of previously identified DNA sequences for comparison. Smithsonian scientists and their colleagues analyzed more than 4.7 million animal DNA sequences from GenBank, the most commonly used tool for this purpose, and discovered that animal identification errors are surprisingly rare—but sometimes quite funny.

Gimme six! Researchers discover aye-aye's extra finger

The world's weirdest little primate has gotten even weirder, thanks to the discovery of a tiny extra digit. A study led by researchers from North Carolina State University has found that aye-ayes possess small "pseudothumbs"—complete with their own fingerprints—that may help them grip objects and branches as they move through trees. This is the first accessory digit ever found in a primate.

How rat-eating monkeys help keep palm oil plants alive

Found as an ingredient in many processed and packaged foods, palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on October 21 have discovered an unlikely ally for palm oil production: pig-tailed macaques.

The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super-yeasts

An international team of scientists led by Prof. Kevin Verstrepen (VIB-KU-Leuven) and Prof. Steven Maere (VIB-UGent) has discovered that some of the most renowned classic Belgian beers, including Gueuze and Trappist ales, are fermented with a rare and unusual form of hybrid yeasts. These yeasts combine DNA of the traditional ale yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with that of more stress-resistant feral yeasts such as Saccharomyces kudriavzevii.

Coral discovery equips researchers with new environmental monitoring method

A rare element discovered in Great Barrier Reef coral skeletons will help scientists understand the environmental history of nearby regions.

How cells protect themselves from mitochondrial defects

Cells need powerhouses known as mitochondria to utilize the energy stored in our food. Most of the proteins required for this powerhouse function are encoded in the nucleus and transported into the mitochondria after they have been synthesized in the cytosol. Signal sequences are needed to allow the protein to enter the mitochondria. Once the protein has arrived there, the signal sequences are, however, removed. Up until now, researchers did not fully understand the importance of this removal of signal sequences. It was also unclear why flawed removal leads to a number of illnesses, such as diseases of the heart or brain.

Forests on the radar

With freely available radar data from satellites, biodiversity in forests can be analysed very well. In Nature Communications, researchers report that biodiversity even of tiny insects can be reliably modeled from space.

SciLifeLab and AstraZeneca use cryo-EM to advance biomedicine

A study published in Science Advances reveals the mechanism by which the receptor tyrosine kinase RET can increase neuronal survival in degenerative diseases. To understand the mechanism of this signalling complex, the study researchers examined the cryo-EM structure in its extracellular region, employing a new approach for data collection.

No place like home: Species are on the move, but many have nowhere to go

Many insects moving north in response to climate change find they have nowhere to go in Britain's intensively managed landscapes, according to new research.

Male deer stain their bellies according to their competitive context

When it is time for mating season, the period when red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) are in heat, the male deer bring out their best weapons in order to maintain their harem—that is to say, in order to win over the greatest number of females they can.

DNA-reeling bacteria yield new insight on how superbugs acquire drug-resistance

A new study from Indiana University has revealed a previously unknown role a protein plays in helping bacteria reel in DNA in their environment—like a fisherman pulling up a catch from the ocean.

Listening in to how proteins talk and learning their language

Synthetic biologists have taken evolution of proteins into their own hands by changing some that occur in nature or even by synthesizing them from scratch. Such engineered proteins are used as highly efficacious drugs, components of synthetic gene circuits that sense biological signals, or in the production of high-value chemicals in ways that are more effective and sustainable than petroleum-based methods.

UK veterinary profession simply not ready for 'no deal' Brexit

The UK veterinary profession is simply not prepared for a 'No Deal' Brexit, warns the editor of Vet Record.

Move over, Honeycrisp: New apple to debut at grocery stores

They call it the Cosmic Crisp. It's not a video game, a superhero or the title of a Grateful Dead song.

Migratory birds arriving earlier, but they're not keeping pace with flowering, leaf-out 

An Aroostook County man's nature-based journal notes written in the mid-1900s are shedding light on ecological effects of climate change in understudied northern Maine.

Microscopic spines connect worm neurons

Dendritic "spines"—small protrusions on the receiving side of the connection (synapse) between two nerve cells—are recognized as key functional components of neuronal circuits in mammals. The shapes and numbers of spines are regulated by neuronal activity and correlate with learning and memory.

Getting revegetation right with genetics

Eucalypts, wattles, banksias, grevilleas and other Australian native plants are some of the most fascinating and unique flora on Earth.

How Antarctic krill fertilize the oceans and even store carbon

Krill are best known as whale food. But few people realize that these small, shrimp-like creatures are also important to the health of the ocean and the atmosphere. In fact, Antarctic krill can fertilize the oceans, ultimately supporting marine life from tiny plankton through to massive whales and, through their feces, they can increase the store of carbon in the deep ocean.

We need to understand the culture of whales so we can save them

We often think of culture as solely human. We think of our music, our clothes, our food, our languages. However, culture stretches far beyond Homo sapiens. As evidence of the existence of culture in other animal groups emerges (from insects, rats, fish to land mammals, primates and dolphins), humans need to rethink what it means to have culture. We must accept that what we have long considered our own might be shared.

Colorful Tennessee fish protected as endangered

n response to a petition and lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected the Barrens topminnow today under the Endangered Species Act. The small, colorful fish is found only in central Tennessee in clear, spring-fed streams on the Barrens Plateau in Cannon, Coffee and Warren counties.

From biomedicine to buzz pollination: why we need a plan 'bee'

With Extinction Rebellion's mass bee-themed 'die ins' hitting the international news, we're reminded again that our bees are facing many threats—from climate change and loss of native plants to food fights with honey bees.

Mapping millet genetics

In the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa, conditions can be difficult for crops. Plants need to have short growing seasons, survive on poor soils and tolerate environmental stresses.

Edible grasshoppers can be modified for better fatty acid composition

It is possible to modify the fatty acid composition of edible grasshoppers by adding essential fatty acids in their feed, new research from the University of Eastern Finland shows. The study focused on the long-horned grasshopper Ruspolia differens, an economically and nutritionally important insect species that is common and widespread in Africa.

Why don't evergreens change color and drop their leaves every fall?

It's autumn in the Northern Hemisphere—otherwise known as leaf-peeping season. Now is when people head outside to soak up the annual display of orange, red and yellow foliage painted across the landscape.

New knowledge of the muscular system important for future treatment of diseases

When a muscle is activated, it is the proteins myosin and actin that go to work. Myosin molecules take hold of actin molecules and pull, like rope pulling, in a process that gets energy from the use of the cellular fuel ATP. In his dissertation, Mohammad Ashikur Rahman has conducted extensive studies of the mechanical actin and myosin process at the molecular level. These studies have provided new basic scientific knowledge, but the insights are, however, also of value for developing future treatment of diseases of the skeletal muscle and heart, and for counteracting muscle weakness in the elderly.

Insects share the same signaling pathway to form their three-dimensional body

A signalling pathway controlling morphogenesis, the formation of the three-dimensional body shape in the fruit fly Drosophila, also has pivotal functions for early embryonic development in other insects like beetles, crickets and bugs. In these insects, the pathway is even required for the formation of the primary cell layer of the embryo. The discovery of this early function in phylogenetically distant insects suggests that the Fog (folded gastrulation) pathway fulfills a central developmental function in all insects and thus belongs to the archetypical repertoire of insect embryo formation. This is the outcome of a study Professor Siegfried Roth and his team conducted at the Institute of Zoology of the University of Cologne entitled "Fog signaling has diverse roles in epithelial morphogenesis in insects," which has been published in the journal eLife.

A complex marriage arrangement: New insights and unanswered questions in plant heterostyly

The study of plant reproductive systems provides crucial insights into ecological interactions and the process of evolutionary change. Reproductive success is closely allied to overall fitness, and understanding the mechanisms and drivers of reproductive fitness can help us understand the causes and consequences of the remarkable diversity of plant reproductive strategies.

Defining the centromere

The division of cells is a highly-regulated and complex process which requires the organised collaboration of a multitude of different cellular components. Although the basic principles are known, many components and their workings are still unidentified. Scientists from the project group "Kinetochore Biology" at the IPK in Gatersleben are shedding light on the diverse landscape of kinetochores. Kinetochores are required for the interaction with the spindle apparatus and segregation of the chromosomes. Within an international collaboration, the scientists recently uncovered a chaperone protein which affects loading of CenH3 to centromeres—a crucial step for the assembly of the kinetochores. Knowledge about the regulation of centromeres will help develop methods to speed-up the breeding process of crop plants.

How the mouse X and Y chromosomes compete with each other to control offspring

The molecular function of genes in mice has a major influence on the sex of their offspring, according to a new discovery that reveals more about the impact of genes on animal fertility.

The size of a bus, rare and endangered whale shark spotted off Florida coast

Bigger than Jaws, but not nearly as dangerous, the largest fish in the sea, a whale shark, was spotted off the Florida coast.

Data mining applied to scholarly publications to finally reveal Earth's biodiversity

At a time when a million species are at risk of extinction, according to a recent UN report, ironically, we don't know how many species there are on Earth, nor have we noted down all those that we have come to know on a single list. In fact, we don't even know how many species we would have put on such a list.

Dozens of elephants die in Zimbabwe drought

At least 55 elephants have died in a month in Zimbabwe due to a lack of food and water, its wildlife agency said Monday, as the country faces one of the worst droughts in its history.

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