Monday, October 28, 2019

Science X Newsletter Monday, Oct 28

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 28, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A deep learning approach to coordinate defensive escort teams

Gold-DNA nanosunflowers for efficient gene silencing and controlled transformation

An ultrathin nanoelectromechanical transducer made of hafnium zirconium oxide

The homeland of modern humans

ESO telescope reveals what could be the smallest dwarf planet yet in the solar system

New outburst detected from a luminous supersoft source in a nearby galaxy

New synthesis method yields degradable polymers

Crystallization clarified, researchers report

Overcoming weak governance will take decades with implications for climate adaptation

Underground fungal relationships key to thriving plants

Extent of human encroachment into world's protected areas revealed

Microscale rockets can travel through cellular landscapes

American whiskey found to leave distinctive 'fingerprint' when it evaporates

New research finding gives valleytronics a boost

Who will get depressed under major stress? Study shows promise of genetic risk prediction

Astronomy & Space news

ESO telescope reveals what could be the smallest dwarf planet yet in the solar system

Astronomers using ESO's SPHERE instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) have revealed that the asteroid Hygiea could be classified as a dwarf planet. The object is the fourth largest in the asteroid belt after Ceres, Vesta and Pallas. For the first time, astronomers have observed Hygiea in sufficiently high resolution to study its surface and determine its shape and size. They found that Hygiea is spherical, potentially taking the crown from Ceres as the smallest dwarf planet in the Solar System.

New outburst detected from a luminous supersoft source in a nearby galaxy

Astronomers from Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany have observed a new outburst from SSS1, a luminous transient supersoft X-ray source in the nearby galaxy NGC 300. The newly detected event could shed more light on the nature of this mysterious transient. The finding is detailed in a paper published October 18 on

Space: a major legal void

The internet of space is here. SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted this week using a connection provided by the first satellites in his high-speed Starlink constellation, which one day could include... 42,000 mini-satellites.

Stars pollute, but galaxies recycle

Galaxies were once thought of as lonely islands in the universe: clumps of matter floating through otherwise empty space. We now know they are surrounded by a much larger, yet nearly invisible cloud of dust and gas. Astronomers call it the circumgalactic medium, or CGM. The CGM acts as a giant recycling plant, absorbing matter ejected by the galaxy and later pushing it right back in.

New VIPER lunar rover to map water ice on the moon

NASA is sending a mobile robot to the South Pole of the moon to get a close-up view of the location and concentration of water ice in the region and for the first time ever, actually sample the water ice at the same pole where the first woman and next man will land in 2024 under the Artemis program.

Hubble captures cosmic face

In celebration of Halloween, this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures two galaxies of equal size in a collision that appears to resemble a ghostly face. This observation was made on 19 June 2019 in visible light by the telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

An overlooked piece of the solar dynamo puzzle

A previously unobserved mechanism is at work in the Sun's rotating plasma: a magnetic instability, which scientists had thought was physically impossible under these conditions. The effect might even play a crucial role in the formation of the Sun's magnetic field, say researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the University of Leeds and the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) in the journal Physical Review Fluids.

Image: Hubble captures the IC 4653 galaxy

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows IC 4653, a galaxy just over 80 million light-years from Earth. That may sound like quite a distance, but it's not that far on a cosmic scale. At these kinds of distances, the types and structures of the objects we see are similar to those in our local area.

Insight-HXMT team releases new results on black hole and neutron star X-ray binaries

Scientists with the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (Insight-HXMT) team presented their new results on black hole and neutron star X-ray binaries during a press conference held Oct. 25 at the first China Space Science Assembly in Xiamen.

Image: A ghost in the Pleiades

This ghostly image shows what can happen when an interstellar cloud passes too close to a star. Barnard's Merope Nebula, also known as IC 349, is a cloud of interstellar gas and dust traveling through the Pleiades star cluster at a relative speed of 11 kilometers per second. It is passing close to the star Merope, located 0.06 light years away from the cloud, which is equivalent to about 3,500 times the distance between the Earth and the sun. This passage is disrupting the nebula and creating the wispy effect seen in the image.

From 'cavewalking' to spacewalking

It might not be obvious, but there are many similarities between working deep underground and in outer space.

Video: Gaia astronomical revolution

Launched in December 2013, the Gaia mission is revolutionizing our understanding of the Milky Way. The space telescope is mapping our galaxy in unprecedented detail—measuring the position, movement and distance of stars.

Protected: DESI's 5000 eyes open as Kitt Peak Telescope prepares to map space and time

A new instrument on the 4-m Mayall telescope has opened its array of thousands of fiber-optic "eyes" to the cosmos and successfully captured the light from distant galaxies. The milestone marks the beginning of final testing for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which is poised to begin creating the most detailed map of the Universe ever undertaken. The Mayall telescope is located at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), which is operated by the National Science Foundation's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NSF's OIR Lab).

New Horizons team pieces together the best images they have of Pluto's far side

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. For decades, not much detail was known about the erstwhile planet. We assumed it was a frozen, dormant world.

UV satellite will open new view on exploding stars and black holes

A new space telescope will open up an unprecedented view of the universe in ultraviolet light. The ULTRASAT satellite will provide fundamental new insights into high-energy phenomena such as supernova explosions, colliding neutron stars and active black holes, all of which can also generate gravitational waves and act as cosmic particle accelerators.

Giant neutrino telescope to open window to ultra-high-energy universe

The long-sought, elusive ultra-high-energy neutrinos—ghost-like particles that travel cosmological-scale distances—are key to understanding the Universe at the highest energies. Detecting them is challenging, but the Giant Radio Array for Neutrino Detection (GRAND), a next-generation neutrino detector is designed to find them.

Technology news

A deep learning approach to coordinate defensive escort teams

Advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling the development of artificial agents designed to assist humans in a variety of everyday settings. One of the many possible uses for these systems could be to escort humans or valuable goods that are being transferred from one location to another, defending them from threats or attacks.

An ultrathin nanoelectromechanical transducer made of hafnium zirconium oxide

Recently developed nanomechanical resonators that can operate at super-high (i.e., three to 30 GHz) and extremely high (30 to 300 GHz) frequency regimes could be extremely valuable for the development of more advanced semiconductor electronics such as wideband spectral processors and high-resolution resonant sensors. Integrated nanoelectromechanical transducers could enable the development of very small sensors and actuators to facilitate mechanical interaction with the outside world at the atomic level with ultra-high resolution. However, realizing integrated electromechanical transduction at the nanoscale has so far proved to be very challenging.

Robotics, coding become child's play: KOOV Trial Kit

Earlier this month, Sony Electronics announced an abbreviated take on the KOOV robotics kit that it showed in a 2017 video as a robotics and coding educational kit, made up of blocks, sensors, motors, actuators, and a companion app for educating children about coding and robotics designs.

New method promises advances in 3-D printing, manufacturing and biomedical applications

In a development offering great promise for additive manufacturing, Princeton University researchers have created a method to precisely create droplets using a jet of liquid. The technique allows manufacturers to quickly generate drops of material, finely control their size and locate them within a 3-D space.

System prevents speedy drones from crashing in unfamiliar areas

Autonomous drones are cautious when navigating the unknown. They creep forward, frequently mapping unfamiliar areas before proceeding lest they crash into undetected objects. But this slowdown isn't ideal for drones carrying out time-sensitive tasks, such as flying search-and-rescue missions through dense forests.

Helping autonomous vehicles see around corners

To improve the safety of autonomous systems, MIT engineers have developed a system that can sense tiny changes in shadows on the ground to determine if there's a moving object coming around the corner.

Supercomputer analyzes web traffic across entire internet

Using a supercomputing system, MIT researchers have developed a model that captures what web traffic looks like around the world on a given day, which can be used as a measurement tool for internet research and many other applications.

To rid electric grid of carbon, shore up green energy support

Cornell and Northwestern University engineers, along with a federal economist, have created an energy model that helps to remove carbon-generated power from the U.S. electric grid—replacing it with a greener, financially feasible wind, solar and hydro energy system.

Pentagon hands Microsoft $10B 'war cloud' deal, snubs Amazon

The Pentagon awarded Microsoft a $10 billion cloud computing contract , snubbing early front-runner Amazon, whose competitive bid drew criticism from President Donald Trump and its business rivals.

Facebook 'news tab' seeks to reboot its role with media

Facebook on Friday began rolling out its dedicated "news tab" with professionally produced content—the latest move by the social network to promote journalism and shed its reputation as a platform for misinformation.

Streaming TV war kicks into gear with Apple, Disney launches

The streaming television war is set to enter a new phase as titans Apple and Disney take direct aim at market leader Netflix, vying for consumers abandoning their cable TV bundles for on-demand services.

Contenders cramming TV streaming arena

Letting people watch whatever shows they want, wherever they wish on devices of their choice has become such a hit it is shaking up the television industry.

Streaming TV gears up for ad targeting

In the new world of streaming television, advertising is not going away, but is evolving to become more like marketing on the internet—targeted to specific groups or individuals.

5 milestones that created the internet, 50 years after the first network message

Fifty years ago, a UCLA computer science professor and his student sent the first message over the predecessor to the internet, a network called ARPANET.

Meet the robots that will be your colleagues—not your replacements

The latest industrial robots look like petting zoo versions of the big machines found in many modern factories—small, cute and you can play with them. But don't be deceived by their cuddly appearance. They have the potential to change the way humans work with machines and disrupt the existing market for industrial robots.

Energy companies turn to animal poo for clean power

In the search for clean electricity, power companies in Finland are going green by way of brown, and have set their sights on a previously untapped energy source: animal dung.

Teaching cars to drive with foresight

Good drivers anticipate dangerous situations and adjust their driving before things get dicey. Researchers at the University of Bonn now also want to teach this skill to self-driving cars. They will present a corresponding algorithm at the International Conference on Computer Vision which is held at Friday, November 1st, in Seoul. They will also present a data set that they used to train and test their approach. It will make it much easier to develop and improve such processes in the future.

Facebook to hand-pick publishers' content for new News service

Facebook on Friday continued with its ongoing efforts to give its users more control over what they see on the social network by launching Facebook News, a new option that will include more-personalized selection of content from some of the nation's best-known news outlets.

Google falls short on third-quarter profit

Google parent company Alphabet reported mixed third-quarter results Monday, beating analyst expectations for revenue but falling short on profits. The stock fell almost 3% immediately in after-hours trading, although it later made up roughly half of that drop.

Apple debuts AirPods Pro with noise cancelling, higher price

Apple is offering a $250 version of its wireless AirPods Pro earbuds with a new design and noise cancellation feature.

UAW says it has ratified General Motors contract, ending strike

General Motors hourly workers ratified a new contract with the auto giant on Friday, ending the longest automotive strike in the US in nearly 50 years.

Why more software development needs to go to the machines

Our expert: Justin Gottschlich leads the Machine Programming Research (MPR) team in the Systems and Software Research Lab. Justin's newly-formed research group focuses on the pioneering promise of machine programming, which is a fusion of machine learning, formal methods, programming languages, compilers and computer systems.

Horsepower, literally: Finnish horse show runs on manure

In a glimpse of the future, an entire sports event has been run on horse manure.

Toyota boosts presence in Poland on Brexit woes: media

Toyota said on Monday that it would boost production of components for hybrid vehicles at its plants in EU member Poland, with local media reporting the choice of location was underpinned by uncertainty over Brexit.

Instagram bans fictional snippets showing suicide

Fresh rules in place at Instagram on Monday ramped up a ban on images that might encourage suicide or self harm, adding drawings and other fictional content to the list.

AT&T makes changes in response to activist investor push

AT&T said it will look for more parts of its business to sell off and add two new board members after pressure from an activist investor.

Audit raps French energy giant EDF over nuclear project

An official report rapped French energy giant EDF on the knuckles Monday for lacking a "culture of quality," as reflected in huge delays and price overruns at a nuclear plant it has been building for more than a decade.

New US rules would require carriers to remove Chinese equipment

US regulators on Monday proposed rules to block telecom carriers from buying from Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE, and to remove any of their equipment already in place.

Ford announces it will cut 450 jobs in Canada

US automaker Ford said Monday it would lay off about 450 employees in Canada as it ends production of two vehicles currently assembled there.

Medicine & Health news

Who will get depressed under major stress? Study shows promise of genetic risk prediction

Depression doesn't come from one gene, one life event, or one personality trait. That's what makes it so hard to predict, prevent or treat effectively.

Scientists find potential biomarker for major symptom of depression: lack of motivation

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have identified biomarkers —genes and specific brain circuits in mice—associated with a common symptom of depression: lack of motivation.

Nerve cell protection free from side effects

The hormone erythropoietin (Epo) is a well-known doping substance that has a long history of abuse in endurance sports such as cycling. In addition to promoting red blood cell production (erythropoiesis), which improves the oxygen supply, Epo also protects nerve cells from cell death. In order to use this effect to cure neurodegenerative diseases, however, the negative effects caused by Epo through the stimulated formation of red blood cells need to be prevented. Researchers at the University of Göttingen have now discovered an alternative Epo receptor that could potentially also trigger protective effects in humans without the side effects on erythropoiesis. The results were published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.

Biomarker for schizophrenia can be detected in human hair

Working with model mice, postmortem human brains, and people with schizophrenia, researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science in Japan have discovered that a subtype of schizophrenia is related to abnormally high levels hydrogen sulfide in the brain. Experiments showed that this abnormality likely results from a DNA-modifying reaction during development that lasts throughout life. In addition to providing a new direction for research into drug therapies, higher-than-normal levels of the hydrogen sulfide-producing enzyme can act as biomarker for this type of schizophrenia.

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?

A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs. But obesity is also a complex condition that cannot be fully explained by the addiction model.

New insights could help block the path of cancer 'super-highways'

A key mechanism controlling tissue structure, which could help identify drugs that make it harder for cancer cells to spread, has been identified by researchers at the Francis Crick Institute.

Science shows hype about your opponent actually messes with your game

Buzz about tennis's newest rising stars—like 15-year-old prodigy Coco Gauff, who beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon—can be so intimidating it can make their opponents play worse, according to new research from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

New test improves diagnosis of a common genetic cause of autism

A new stand-alone test can more precisely diagnose people with a common genetic cause of autism than the current testing regime.

Novel formulation of an injectable drug to treat joint inflammation acts for ten days

Thanks to a new injectable formula, Brazilian researchers have succeeded in enhancing the efficacy and prolonging the duration of action of a drug commonly used to treat joint inflammation. The innovation involves lipid nanoparticles containing a high concentration of naproxen, which is gradually released into the affected joint to sustain the desired effect for up to 10 days without the need for repeated administration.

Direct relationship between depression and inflammation called into question

Depression has traditionally been linked to increased inflammation. Innovative research by psychologist Eiko Fried refutes this popular assumption. He shows that specific depression symptoms such as sleeping problems explain this relationship. Publication in Psychological Medicine .

Could more coffee bring a healthier microbiome?

(HealthDay)—Debating whether or not you should have that second cup of coffee?

Teen marijuana use may have next-generation effects

Substance use at any age has consequences. Studies frequently cite the negative impacts—and occasionally tout some benefits of limited consumption—of alcohol and marijuana.

Which came first: Brain size or drinking propensity?

For years, researchers have observed that alcohol consumption is associated with reduced brain volume and concluded that drinking can literally shrink the brain.

Crimped or straight? Lung fiber shape influences elasticity

Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Congratulations! You've just done something completely ordinary, yet so mysterious that scientists still don't know everything about it.

Multiple factors aligned to establish sustained transmission of XDR-TB in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

A study published today in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) examines the evolutionary and epidemiologic history of an epidemic strain of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) - called LAM4/KZN- in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This strain was first reported in a 2005 outbreak in Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, where it was associated with 90 percent mortality among predominantly HIV infected individuals, and has since become widespread throughout the province. A new study identifies key host, pathogen and environmental factors that facilitated the success of this XDR-TB strain and steps that can be taken for early identification and containment of future epidemics.

Researchers identify improved avenues to train plastic surgeons in microsurgery

Microsurgery is an intricate and challenging surgical technique that involves using miniature instruments and sutures as fine as a hair strand aided by sophisticated microscopes. In plastic surgery, microsurgery is used to repair small damaged vessels and nerves following trauma, or in reconstructive procedures by moving a component of living tissue from one place of the body to another and reconnecting its vascular supply to this new region to keep its blood supply.

More severely obese kids should get surgery, MD group says

Even some severely obese preteens should be considered for weight loss surgery, according to new recommendations.

Study implicates flavored e-cigs in the teen vaping epidemic

A USC study has found that teens who vape candy- or fruit-flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to stick with the habit and vape more heavily, implicating flavors in the teen vaping epidemic.

Soft drinks found to be the crucial link between obesity and tooth wear

A new study published today in the journal Clinical Oral Investigations, has found that sugar-sweetened acidic drinks, such as soft drinks, is the common factor between obesity and tooth wear among adults.

AAP recommends greater access to surgical treatments for severe obesity

Recognizing that severe obesity is a serious and worsening public health crisis in children and adolescents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for greater access to metabolic and bariatric surgery, one of the few strategies that has been shown to be effective in treating the most severe forms of the chronic disease.

Middle-aged adults with borderline personality disorder potentially at higher risk for heart attacks

Middle-aged adults who show symptoms of borderline personality disorder may be at greater risk for a heart attack, as they show physical signs of worsening cardiovascular health more than other adults, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Medicare fraud and abuse linked to patient deaths and hospitalizations

Patients treated by health care professionals later excluded from the Medicare program for committing fraud and abuse were between 14 to 17 percent more likely to die than similar patients treated by non-excluded physicians, nurses, and other professionals, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Workplace sales ban on sugared drinks shows positive health effects

A workplace ban on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages led to a 48.5 percent average reduction in their consumption and significantly less belly fat among 202 participants in a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

In Wisconsin, three in five people with Down syndrome diagnosed with dementia by age 55

Not so many years ago, people with Down syndrome rarely survived to middle age. Many died young due to heart problems associated with the congenital condition.

In the wake of mass shootings, a reluctance to talk about gun safety

At a time when discussions about access to firearms and gun safety are paramount, trusted professionals find it difficult to have those conversations. A new study shows that in the months immediately following mass shootings, doctors are less likely to ask routine questions about gun safety in the home. Scientists at University of Utah Health carried out the research, which publishes online in JAMA Pediatrics on October 28.

Wastewater drug monitoring program provides insight into Australia's drug consumption

Queensland has some of the highest fentanyl consumption and MDA excretion levels in the country, according to the latest report by The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).

A new system to measure pain more accurately could help fight the opioid addiction crisis

Inside a labor room at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, nurses and physicians monitored Yingzi Lin's vitals, checking on her over the course of three days, and asking how much pain she was feeling. It was 2011, and she was preparing to have her first child.

Another way to detect lymphedema

Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) is a noninvasive technology that measures the amount of fluid in a limb. It works by sending low level electrical current through the arm or leg and measuring the resistance to current (impedance).

US-born residents more than five times likely to use prescription opioids than new immigrants

The longer immigrants live in the United States, the more likely they are to use prescription opioids—a fact that contradicts popular views linking wealth and health, and suggests that American culture is uniquely favorable toward prescribing opioids.

Could cannabis be a pain relief alternative to opioids?

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, deaths related to opioids in the state rose 13 percent between 2016 and 2017. In response to rising opioid use and associated deaths, the Alternative to Opioids Act of 2018 created the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program. The IDPH commissioned Dr. Julie Bobitt, the director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program at the University of Illinois, to evaluate the program. She discussed the preliminary data and the feasibility of cannabis as an opioid alternative in an interview with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.

What is 'attachment' and how does it affect our relationships?

Research across many years and many cultures has found around 35-40% of people say they feel insecure in their adult relationships. While 60-65% experience secure, loving and satisfying relationships.

Why confidence is key to persuasion

In persuasive communications, vocal cues affect a speaker's ability to persuade others.

Tumors alone may be linked to cancer patients' cognitive problems

New research suggests that both tumors and chemotherapy could be linked to the cognitive problems experienced by cancer patients because each affects the circadian clock, throwing off cellular processes related to behavior and memory.

Women find it more difficult to quit smoking

Women are half as likely to quit smoking as men, according to research presented at the 2019 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (CCC). Affordability of smoking cessation medications was another barrier to success.

The emotional, physical perks of planning a bucket list

Whether it's traveling to Hawaii, trekking to Machu Picchu or starting a community garden, creating a "bucket list" prioritizes ambitious goals or spells out how we want to be remembered. It also can bring emotional and physical health benefits.

A new theory of brain organization takes aim at the mystery of consciousness

Consciousness is one of the brain's most enigmatic mysteries. A new theory inspired by thermodynamics takes a high-level perspective of how neural networks in the brain transiently organize to give rise to memories, thought and consciousness.

Gluten-free diets won't help healthy guts

Healthy people who avoid gluten by choice may not get any benefit from the gluten-free restriction on their diet, according to new research.

Advances in antiaging research: Chemistry could hold the key to better health

Given the opportunity to live much longer lives, many of us might feel less than thrilled at the prospect. After all, you might think, who would want to live an extra 20 years dealing with arthritis, dementia or heart problems?

Expert: This year, let's make standard time permanent

Never again.

National experts recommend systemic improvements to reduce clinician burnout

The demands on a healthcare professional can quickly pile up.

Study: In the long run, drugs and talk therapy hold same value for people with depression

Spending an hour in talk therapy with a trained counselor costs much more, and takes more time, than swallowing an inexpensive antidepressant pill. But for people with a new diagnosis of major depression, the costs and benefits of the two approaches end up being equal after five years, a new study shows.

Treating the TOTAL patient: clinical trial reduces relapse

Despite modern therapies, 10% of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated in the U.S. relapse, which dramatically reduces their chance of survival. Results from a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital clinical trial reduced the rate of central nervous system (CNS) relapse. These findings, from the Total Therapy Study 16, appear as an advance online publication today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Looking at the way we walk can help predict cognitive decline

The way people walk is an indicator of how much their brains, as well as their bodies, are aging. Scientists reporting in a special supplement to the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD) say that gait disorders, particularly slowing gait, should be considered a marker of future cognitive decline. They propose testing motor performance as well as cognitive performance in older adults with mild cognitive impairments.

Lenalidomide may delay onset of myeloma-related bone, organ damage

The largest randomized trial in asymptomatic patients with smoldering multiple myeloma suggests that lenalidomide, a cancer drug, may delay the onset of bone and other myeloma-related organ damage. Results of the study, which was conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and funded by the National Cancer Institute, were published Friday, Oct. 25, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study underscores changes in brain structure, function in long-duration space missions

A new study demonstrates for the first time that changes in cognitive performance correlate with changes in brain structure in NASA astronauts following spaceflight. How the human brain adapts in space or in a microgravity environment is the subject of continuing research by neuroradiologist Donna R. Roberts, M.D., Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at the Medical University of South Carolina. The American Journal of Neuroradiology published Roberts' paper, "Prolonged Microgravity Affects Human Brain Structure and Function," online in October.

Psychiatric diagnoses 'neither necessary nor sufficient' for access to NHS care in UK

A new study, published in the Journal of Mental Health, finds psychiatric diagnoses are seldom used as entry criteria for NHS mental health services in the UK.

One avocado a day helps lower 'bad' cholesterol for heart healthy benefits

Move over, apples—new research from Penn State suggests that eating one avocado a day may help keep "bad cholesterol" at bay.

Training for Title IX investigators lacks tested, effective techniques

Interviews are the central component of any Title IX investigation, but new research finds the techniques investigators are using may not be the most effective.

New diagnostic method to determine liver cancer consistency

Universitätsmedizin Berlin have developed a new diagnostic technique which enables the grading of tumor consistency using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The researchers used an imaging technique known as tomoelastography to visualize the mechanical properties of liver tumors. Results from this research have been published in Cancer Research.

Are you an emotional eater?

(HealthDay)—Is emotional eating your downfall? One way to find out is with the EADES or "Eating and Appraisal Due to Emotions and Stress" questionnaire developed by Amy Ozier of Northern Illinois University.

HPV DNA identified in oral cavity of 6.2 percent of teen girls

(HealthDay)—Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA is detected in the oral cavities of about 6.2 percent of sexually active female adolescents, according to a study published online Oct. 25 in JAMA Network Open.

Too much salt might make you gain weight

(HealthDay)—Too much salt has long been linked to high blood pressure. In fact, one way to help control blood pressure is to reduce your salt intake. Research done at Vanderbilt University and published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that salt may also be involved in weight gain.

Delay of surgery for DCIS ups risk for invasive breast cancer

(HealthDay)—For each month of delay between diagnosis and surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), there is slightly worse survival and an increase in risk for invasive disease, according to a study published online Sept. 27 in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Study finds inflammatory protein can protect against spread of herpes virus

Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine—Phoenix have discovered a function in a pro-inflammatory protein that could play an important part in improving current and future therapeutics for the herpes virus.

Can watching movies detect autism?

Measuring children's gaze patterns as they watch movies of social interactions is a reliable way to accurately identify nearly half of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cases, according to a new study just published in Autism Research by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.

Lack of free time is not a barrier to Americans getting more exercise

Americans may not be too busy to exercise after all. A new RAND Corporation study finds that Americans average more than 5 hours of free time each day, with men generally having a bit more free time than women.

Doctors mostly dissatisfied with electronic health record systems

(HealthDay)—The majority of physicians are dissatisfied with their current electronic health record (EHR) systems, according to survey results released Oct. 16 by Medical Economics.

Postop antibiotics cut infections after facial plastic surgery

(HealthDay)—Postoperative antibiotic prescriptions are associated with reduced rates of infections after facial plastic surgery, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Spironolactone noninferior in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

(HealthDay)—In a head-to-head study of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, spironolactone was found to be noninferior to eplerenone for slowing the progression of heart damage in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), according to a study published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Almost half of Americans have been sleepy behind the wheel

(HealthDay)—Nearly half of American adults admit that they've fought to stay awake while driving, a new survey finds.

Predictors of immune response to hep B shot ID'd in lymphoma

(HealthDay)—For patients with lymphoma, the dose and frequency of hepatitis B vaccination, sex, Ann Arbor stage, and ibrutinib as part of the chemotherapy regimen are independent factors that affect the impact of the vaccine, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in Leukemia & Lymphoma.

How does hormone therapy affect heart health in transgender people?

Cardiovascular health in transgender people requires a multifaceted approach to care, according to a new report that looked at a range of issues in how hormone therapy affects heart health.

Study: People exposed to violence end up isolated, lonely and with chronic health problems

Christopher Lee was 15 years old when he was shot May 14, 2016, while on his bike outside his East Garfield Park home. Now 18, Lee was shot in the back, arm and chest, and was in the hospital for six days, where he had two surgeries in addition to staples and stitches. To this day, he said, he still has a bullet in his chest.

Attacking metastatic breast cancer with sound

Drugs can be safely delivered to cancerous lymph nodes via the lymphatic system and then released inside the nodes using sound waves. Tohoku University researchers tested the treatment on mice with metastatic breast cancer and published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

Thirty-three percent of people on anticoagulants take OTC supplements with potentially serious interactions

Nearly 98% percent of people prescribed direct-acting oral anticoagulants such as apixaban used over-the-counter products. Of those, 33% took at least one such product that, in combination with the anticoagulants, could cause dangerous internal bleeding. People on these medications largely lacked knowledge of some potentially serious interactions.

Financial incentives plus information decrease patient preference for diagnostic testing

Providing financial incentives to forego testing significantly decreases patient preference for testing, even when accounting for test benefit and risk. That is the finding of a study published in the October 2019 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), a journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).

Women surgical residents suffer more mistreatment, burnout, suicidal thoughts

Women surgical residents suffer more mistreatment than men, which leads to a higher burnout rate and more suicidal thoughts among female residents, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study that surveyed trainees in all accredited 260 U.S. general surgical residency programs.

Gabapentinoids appear increasingly to be prescribed, off-label, for cancer pain

Between 2005 and 2015, as the opioid crisis in America came into focus, prescriptions for gabapentinoid medications—gabapentin and pregabalin—to adults with cancer saw a two-fold increase, a University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center study has found.

Maternal and newborn health improves in rural Nigeria, Ethiopia and India but inequities still exist

Community-based health programs in parts of rural Nigeria, Ethiopia and India were successful in improving health care for mothers and newborns, but inequities still exist, according to a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

American Academy of Pediatrics looks at use of nonnutritive sweeteners by children

Nonnutritive or artificial sweeteners are a growing part of U.S. diets, now consumed by at least one in four children. A new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement offers a summary of the existing data around nonnutritive sweeteners and recommends future research into how they affect children's weight, taste preferences, the risk for diabetes, and long-term safety.

How Alzheimer's disease spreads through the brain

Tau can quickly spread between neurons but is not immediately harmful, according to research in mouse neurons published in JNeurosci. Intervening during the initial accumulation of tau could potentially halt the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists are developing a way to counter ulcerative colitis

Scientists from 34 countries with an IKBFU researcher among them are working on a medicine for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

New study points to another possible correlation between sleep and overall good health

As if you didn't already have enough to worry about to keep you up at night, a new study indicates that poor sleep can negatively affect your gut microbiome, which can, in turn, lead to additional health issues. Great.

EMPOWER for health act highlights a rare but important bipartisan priority: supporting us all as we age

Among several legislative proposals slated for a vote today in the U.S. House of Representatives, one in particular offers a glimpse at something unique: Bipartisan collaboration and support. But as experts from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) observe, that may be because the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 2781) stands poised to accomplish something as unique as it is necessary: Putting federal power behind training the health workforce we need as we age.

Biology news

Underground fungal relationships key to thriving plants

For a plant to thrive, it needs the help of a friendly fungus—preferably one that will dig its way deep into the cells of the plant's roots.

Extent of human encroachment into world's protected areas revealed

A study of human activity within thousands of conservation spaces in over 150 countries suggests that—on average across the world—protected areas are not reducing the "anthropogenic pressure" on our most precious natural habitats.

Chicks born with ability to distinguish and avoid different dangers

Chicks are born with the knowledge to flee from predators rather than learning it from experience, according to a study by University of Trento and Queen Mary University of London.

First in-depth study of marine fungi and their cell-division cycles emerges

Marine fungi have long been overlooked in the research community, despite their likely contributions to the health of ocean ecosystems. Now, a first deep dive into the diversity of marine fungi and their cell division cycles has been published by a collaborative team at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), opening the door on this oft-neglected branch of the Kingdom Fungi.

Rare Bangladesh crocodile lays eggs in new hope for species

A rare river-dwelling crocodile has started to lay eggs after being paired with an introduced male, Bangladesh conservationists said Sunday, raising hopes a successful hatching could save the critically endangered species from extinction.

New species found in whale shark mouth

A whale shark's mouth might not seem like the most hospitable environment for a home, but Japanese researchers have found there's no place like it for a newly-discovered shrimp-like creature.

Satellite, drone photos could help predict infections of a widespread tropical disease

Satellite images, drone photos and even Google Earth could help identify communities most at risk for getting one of the world's worst tropical diseases.

Key role for calcium release in root development

The role of calcium is well understood as a function of signaling between plants and symbiotic fungi that assist nitrogen fixation and phosphate uptake.

Research team wants to eliminate dangerous plant diseases in rice

Rice is the No. 1 staple food for the world's poorest and most undernourished people. More than half of the world's population eats rice every day. In sub-Saharan Africa, rice is the fastest-growing food source, providing more food calories than any other crop. One dangerous threat to food security is the rice disease bacterial blight, caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo). The annual losses caused by bacterial blight are estimated at U.S. $3.6 billion in India alone. Xoo can destroy a smallholder's entire annual harvest, putting their food supply, income and land ownership at risk.

Scientists develop efficient methods to turn woody biomass into fuels

Increasing production of second-generation biofuels—those made from non-food biomass such as switchgrass, biomass sorghum, and corn stover—would lessen our reliance on burning fossil fuels, which contributes to climate change.

Consumer markets, companies linked to habitat loss for rare species in Brazil's savannah

Overseas consumer markets could be responsible for more than half of the impact of expanding soy production on rare species in one of the world's most biodiverse regions, the Cerrado savannah in Brazil, according to a new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Make fungi think they're starving to stop them having sex, say scientists

Tricking fungi into thinking they're starving could be the key to slowing down our evolutionary arms race with fungal pathogens, as hungry fungi don't want to have sex.

Researchers find 'protein-scaffolding' for repairing DNA damage

At the University of Copenhagen, researchers have discovered how some types of proteins stabilize damaged DNA and thereby preserve DNA function and integrity. This new finding also explains why people with inborn or acquired defects in certain proteins cannot keep their DNA stable and develop diseases such as cancer.

Signaling waves determine embryonic fates

Timing is everything for young cells waiting to determine their identities.

Study tracks evolutionary history of metabolic networks

By analyzing how metabolic enzymes are built and organized, researchers have reconstructed the evolutionary history of metabolism. Their study shows how metabolic networks—which drive every cellular process from protein building to DNA repair—became less random, more modular and more hierarchical over time, the researchers say.

New clues as to why mutations in the MYH9 gene cause broad spectrum of disorders in humans

Myosins are motor proteins that convert chemical energy into mechanical work, generating force and movement. Myosin II generates forces that are essential to drive cell movements and cell shape changes that generate tissue structure. While researchers know that mutations in the genes that encode nonmuscle myosin II lead to diseases, including severe congenital defects as well as blood platelet dysfunction, nephritis, and deafness in adults, they do not fully understand the mechanisms that translate altered myosin activity into specific changes in tissue organization and physiology.

Oil spill threatens rare Bangladesh dolphin breeding zone

An oil spill on a river in southeast Bangladesh has threatened the breeding ground of the critically endangered Ganges dolphin, environmentalists said Sunday, describing it as a "major disaster" for the mammal.

How new plant species get their names

Scientists count 1.4 million different names for plants on Earth. But botanists estimate there are just 300,000 existing species. That means there's a veritable Tower of Babel of plant names are kicking around.

Completing DNA synthesis

The final stage of DNA replication—"termination"—occurs when two DNA copy machines advance upon each other and unwind the final stretch of DNA. This process occurs about 60,000 times per human cell cycle and is crucial to prevent mutations.

Trout habitat improvements also benefit nongame native fish

Habitat improvements in the Laramie River intended to boost the brown trout fishery also have benefited native nongame fish, according to newly published research by University of Wyoming scientists.

Scientists call for improved approach to biodiversity targets on invasive species

A Monash-led international commentary on the harm caused by biological invasions has urged policy makers to develop conversation targets in a unified framework informed by new data integration methods developed in the last decade.

Testing a new therapy for horses struggling to breathe

Pixie, a thirteen-year-old Shetland pony, is only about one-fifth the size of most horses seen for asthma at Tufts Equine Center. That doesn't make his breathing problems any less significant, though.

Not all genes are necessary for survival: These species dropped extra genetic baggage

Humans, the latest tally suggests, have approximately 21,000 genes in our genome, the set of genetic information in an organism. But do we really need every gene we have? What if we lost three or four? What if we lost 3,000 or 4,000? Could we still function? Humans have variation in their genomes, but the overall size does not vary dramatically among individuals, with the exception of certain genetic disorders like Down's syndrome, which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 and all the genes that it carries.

Student maps Niagara's invasive species

They hitch rides on the soles of people's shoes and in water carried and dumped by ships, enabling them to sneak through borders undetected.

The Blinky Bill effect: When gum trees are cut down, where do the koalas go?

In the past two decades there has been an unprecedented increase in the area of blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) plantations in southern Australia. In southwest Victoria alone, some additional 80,000 hectares of commercial blue gum have been planted.

Argonaute proteins help fine-tune gene expression

A nuclear protein bound to RNA molecules affects chromatin structure and gene expression.

Helpful insects and landscape change

We might not notice them, but the crops farmers grow are protected by scores of tiny invertebrate bodyguards. Naturally occurring arthropods like spiders and lady beetles patrol crop fields looking for insects to eat. These natural enemies keep pests under control, making it easier to grow the crops we depend on.

Complex potato genome further unveiled

Scientists from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and scale-up Solynta, the inventor of hybrid potato breeding, have published the most complete genome sequence for potatoes to date. A unique aspect is that both sequence and plant material are made available for research (under specific conditions). This may in the future result in a potato that is more resistant to heat or drought or has a greater resistance to diseases.

New study reveals important yet unprotected global ocean areas

The largest synthesis of important marine areas conducted to date reveals that a large portion of Earth's oceans are considered important and are good candidates for protection. A first of its kind, the study was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers including Ellen Pikitch, Ph.D., and Christine Santora of Stony Brook University and Dr. Natasha Gownaris, a Ph.D. graduate of Stony Brook University. The team examined 10 diverse and internationally recognized maps depicting global marine priority areas. The findings, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, may serve as a roadmap for the goal set by the United Nations to create 10 percent of the ocean as marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2020.

Preserved pollen tells the history of floodplains

Many of us think about pollen only when allergy season is upon us.

Transforming DNA repair errors into assets

A new bioinformatics tool, MHcut, developed by researchers in Kyoto, Japan, and Montreal, Canada, reveals that a natural repair system for DNA damage, microhomology-mediated end joining, is probably far more common in humans than originally assumed. Using MHcut and commercial genome-editing technology, the researchers created mutations in iPS cells with extraordinary precision to model diseases without the need of patient samples. This combination, which can be read about in Nature Communications, will make it much easier to study diseases even when patients are rare or unavailable.

Lend me a flipper: Dolphins and cooperation

Cooperation is one of the most important abilities for any social species. From hunting, breeding, and child rearing, it has allowed many animals—including humans—to survive and thrive. As we better understand the details on how animals work together, researchers have been focusing on the degree of cooperation and the cognitive abilities required for such activity.

Yersinia: A novel genomic tool for identifying strains

The Yersinia genus covers a vast range of bacteria that are distinguished by criteria such as whether or not they are able to cause disease (their pathogenicity). For instance, Yersinia pestis causes plague, while the bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis are responsible for bowel diseases. Researchers at the Institut Pasteur have developed a new genomic analysis method for classifying and identifying all Yersinia strains and estimating their pathogenicity.

Drug overdose treatment for humans can detox turtles poisoned by red tide, study shows

A detox therapy used to treat overdoses in humans may help save endangered sea turtles from red tide poisoning.

Great Barrier Reef island coral decline

A long-term study of coral cover on island groups of the Great Barrier Reef has found declines of between 40 and 50 percent of live, hard corals at inshore island groups during the past few decades.

The frostier the flower, the more potent the cannabis

Cannabis flowers with the most mushroom-shaped hairs pack the biggest cannabinoid and fragrance punch, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Genetics reveal Pacific subspecies of fin whale

New genetic research has identified fin whales in the northern Pacific Ocean as a separate subspecies, reflecting a revolution in marine mammal taxonomy as scientists unravel the genetics of enormous animals otherwise too large to fit into laboratories.

Theory explains biological reasons that force fish to move poleward

The Gill-Oxygen Limitation Theory, known as GOLT, explains the biological reasons that force fish, particularly larger or older ones, to move poleward when the waters in their habitats heat-up due to climate change.

A step towards greater biomass uptake in Europe

Increasing the production and mobilization of biomass is crucial for tackling climate change, ensuring food security, creating sustainable raw materials and diversifying energy resources. In particular, the development of industrial crops able to grow on marginal or unused lands is expected to play an important role in driving the transition from a fossil- to a biobased economy.

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