Thursday, October 10, 2019

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Oct 10

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 10, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Demonstrating slow light in rubidium vapor using single photons from a trapped ion

Astronomers investigate a black hole candidate during outburst

CRISPR enzyme programmed to kill viruses in human cells

Researchers discover material that could someday power quantum computer

Water + air + electricity = hydrogen peroxide

New tool visualizes nature's benefits worldwide

Research shows that doing the twist is hot, unwinding is cool

Study suggests ice on lunar south pole may have more than one source

Capturing elephants from the wild hinders their reproduction for over a decade

For sea creatures, baseline shows disease as sentinel of change

System can minimize damage when self-driving vehicles crash

Compound in breast milk fights harmful bacteria

Distinguishing earthquake foreshocks and aftershocks

How skin cells from foot soles could help relieve amputees of stump injury

New study examines federal homeowner buyouts

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers investigate a black hole candidate during outburst

Using MeeKAT telescope, astronomers have studied a black hole candidate X-ray binary system known as H1743−322 during an outburst that took place last year. Results of the study, presented in a paper published October 1 on, could help astronomers to untangle the mysteries of black holes existing as part of binary systems.

Study suggests ice on lunar south pole may have more than one source

The discovery of ice deposits in craters scattered across the Moon's south pole has helped to renew interest in exploring the lunar surface, but no one is sure exactly when or how that ice got there. A new study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent.

Milky Way's center will be revealed by NASA's Webb Telescope

The center of our galaxy is a crowded place: A black hole weighing 4 million times as much as our sun is surrounded by millions of stars whipping around it at breakneck speeds. This extreme environment is bathed in intense ultraviolet light and X-ray radiation. Yet much of this activity is hidden from our view, obscured by vast swaths of interstellar dust.

For newborn planets, solar systems are naturally baby-proof

Numerical simulations by a group of astronomers, led by Mario Flock from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, have shown that young planetary systems are naturally "baby-proof": Physical mechanisms combine to keep young planets in the inner regions from taking a fatal plunge into the star. Similar processes also allow planets to be born close to stars—from pebbles trapped in a region close to the star. The research, which has been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, explains findings by the Kepler space telescopes that show a large number of super-Earths orbiting their stars very closely, at the edge of the baby-proof region.

Milky Way raids intergalactic 'bank accounts,' Hubble study finds

Our Milky Way is a frugal galaxy. Supernovas and violent stellar winds blow gas out of the galactic disk, but that gas falls back onto the galaxy to form new generations of stars. In an ambitious effort to conduct a full accounting of this recycling process, astronomers were surprised to find a surplus of incoming gas.

The Milky Way kidnapped several tiny galaxies from its neighbor

Just like the moon orbits the Earth, and the Earth orbits the sun, galaxies orbit each other according to the predictions of cosmology.

River relic spied by Mars Express

Mars may seem to be an alien world, but many of its features look eerily familiar—such as this ancient, dried-up river system that stretches out for nearly 700 kilometres across the surface, making it one of the longest valley networks on the planet.

Luca powers up for a spacewalk

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano is preparing to step out into space for his first spacewalk of the Beyond mission.

Astronomers show how supergiant stars repeatedly cool and heat up

An international team of professional and amateur astronomers, which includes Alex Lobel, astronomer at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, has determined in detail how the temperature of four yellow hypergiants increases from 4000 degrees to 8000 degrees and back again in a few decades. They will publish their findings in the professional journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Technology news

System can minimize damage when self-driving vehicles crash

Engineers have developed decision-making and motion-planning technology to limit injuries and damage when self-driving vehicles are involved in unavoidable crashes.

AAA tests hits versus misses in AEB systems

We're not there yet. Down the road we're about to reach 2020 but down the real road, a pedestrian is moving at a point when emergency braking must occur— yet vehicles aren't equipped with adequate detection technology to avoid calamity.

Engineers put Leonardo da Vinci's bridge design to the test

In 1502 A.D., Sultan Bayezid II sent out the Renaissance equivalent of a government RFP (request for proposals), seeking a design for a bridge to connect Istanbul with its neighbor city Galata. Leonardo da Vinci, already a well-known artist and inventor, came up with a novel bridge design that he described in a letter to the Sultan and sketched in a small drawing in his notebook.

New electrolyte stops rapid performance decline of next-generation lithium battery

Argonne's new electrolyte mixture stabilizes silicon anodes during cycling.

Under pressure from China, Apple pulls Hong Kong protest app

For people in Hong Kong angry over tactics used by the police to break up anti-government protests, the app was a handy little tool.

Social networks face quandary on politics in misinformation fight

As social media firms ramp up their fight against misinformation, politicians have been largely left exempt. To some, that's a huge problem.

You're gonna need a bigger boat? UMaine has printer for that

The world's largest 3D printer has created the world's largest 3D-printed boat. And the University of Maine demonstrated Thursday that it's seaworthy.

Researchers find way to harness AI creativity

Researchers have found a way to marry human creativity and artificial intelligence (AI) creativity to dramatically boost the performance of deep learning.

Plain language about health data is essential for transparency and trust

Ask any group of people if they have read and understood the last terms and conditions they agreed to, and you'll be lucky if anyone puts up their hand. This is not surprising given the estimate that it would take 76 work days for someone to read the privacy policies they encounter in one year.

One day, a plane could give you flying lessons

Vehicles make more decisions for people than we might realize – and they have been for a while. Just nine years after the Wright brothers successfully flew the first plane in 1903, autopilot was invented. Cruise control came along in 1948.

Materials' increased capacity, efficiency could lower the bar for hydrogen technology

Hydrogen as a carbon-free energy source could expand into a variety of sectors, including industrial processes, building heat and transportation. Currently, it powers a growing fleet of zero-emission vehicles, including trains in Germany, buses in South Korea, cars in California and forklifts worldwide. These vehicles use a fuel cell to combine hydrogen and oxygen gases, producing electricity that powers a motor. Water vapor is their only emission.

Smiles beam and walls blush: Architecture meets AI at Microsoft

Jenny Sabin is perched high on a scissor lift, her head poking through an opening of the porous fabric structure that she's struggling to stretch onto the exoskeleton of her installation piece, which is suspended in the airy atrium of building 99 on Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, campus.

Waymo is mapping L.A. in hopes of someday introducing driverless taxis

Waymo this week set three Chrysler Pacifica minivans crawling Los Angeles streets to make maps—but not the kind made for humans.

Employees of Microsoft's GitHub demand company cancel its contract with ICE

GitHub became the latest technology company to come under fire for its supporting role in the Trump administration's immigration clampdown Wednesday, with employees of the Microsoft-owned company demanding Chief Executive Nat Friedman cancel a $200,000 contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Biologically-inspired skin improves robots' sensory abilities

Sensitive synthetic skin enables robots to sense their own bodies and surroundings—a crucial capability if they are to be in close contact with people. Inspired by human skin, a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a system combining artificial skin with control algorithms and used it to create the first autonomous humanoid robot with full-body artificial skin.

Google yanks Hong Kong protester role-playing app

Google on Thursday removed from its online marketplace a mobile game that let people play as a Hong Kong protester, saying it violated a policy against cashing in on conflicts.

Auto suppliers hit as GM strike in US grinds on

As the General Motors strike grinds on, more auto suppliers and contractors are sending workers home, adding to the economic drag on Michigan and other US midwestern car manufacturing hubs.

Public to get access to Nuremberg trials digital recordings

Audio recordings from the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders will be made available to the public for the first time in digital form after nearly two years of work conducted in secret.

German shooter video stays online despite crackdown

Video of a deadly shooting in Germany was easily accessible on 4chan, BitChute and other sites Thursday, attracting tens of thousands of views, despite efforts by tech companies to curb the spread of violent content.

India's TCS misses quarterly profit estimates as demand slows

India's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Thursday reported weak quarterly earnings, missing profit estimates as demand for its key banking and financial sector services shrank.

Technology to use hot air balloons for rocket launches competes in a startup battlefield

Leo Aerospace, a Purdue University-affiliated startup looking to launch rockets with the help of hot air balloons, has taken to the technology battlefield to receive worldwide attention for its technology.

UK vacuum maker Dyson scraps electric car project

Dyson, the British company best known for groundbreaking vacuum cleaners, is scrapping its electric car project because it doesn't make business sense.

Delta profits up on strong demand, but shares fall on cost hit

Delta Air Lines reported higher third-quarter profits on Thursday and offered an upbeat outlook on US consumers but shares fell over a fourth-quarter forecast that reflects higher-than-expected costs.

Renault set to replace post-Ghosn CEO at Friday meeting: sources

French carmaker Renault is about to change CEO for the second time in a year, with Thierry Bollore, the man who took over from ousted auto titan Carlos Ghosn, set to be pushed out at a meeting on Friday, industry and government sources told AFP.

Medicine & Health news

Compound in breast milk fights harmful bacteria

Researchers at National Jewish Health and the University of Iowa have identified a compound in human breast milk that fights infections by harmful bacteria while allowing beneficial bacteria to thrive. Human breast milk has more than 200 times the amount of glycerol monolaurate (GML) than is found in cows' milk. Infant formula has none. GML is inexpensive to manufacture. Future research will determine if GML could be a beneficial additive to cow's milk and infant formula.

How skin cells from foot soles could help relieve amputees of stump injury

Imperial scientists hope to re-engineer stump skin for more comfortable prosthetics—using skin from the sole of the foot as a template.

Targeting immune cells may be potential therapy for Alzheimer's

Messy tangles of a protein called tau can be found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease and some other neurodegenerative diseases. In Alzheimer's, the tangles coalesce just before tissue damage becomes visible in brain scans and people start to become forgetful and confused.

Researchers isolate gut bacteria that can prevent and cure rotavirus infection

The presence of specific microbiota, or microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, can prevent and cure rotavirus infection, which is the leading cause of severe, life-threatening diarrhea in children worldwide, according to a new study by the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University.

New study reveals an innate genome immune response to retroviruses in koalas

A new study from researchers at UMass Medical School and the University of Queensland in Australia identifies a never-before-seen type of immune response in an animal already known for being unique: the koala bear. Koalas use a novel genetic defense system to fight off infection through retroviruses, a system identified when scientists focused on KoRV-A, a retrovirus sweeping through the koala population of Australia. This novel genetic response controls the production of the virus in the koala's germline, a previously undescribed mechanism comparable to the innate immune response well-known in mammals, and a discovery that sheds new light on the interaction between genetic evolution in vertebrates and invading retroviruses.

Gut immunity more developed before birth than previously thought

Most biology textbooks explain that the fetal immune system is largely undeveloped and that it learns after being exposed to the world at birth. New research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh challenges that paradigm, and provides the first comprehensive look at the immune system of the developing gut. The findings, published today in the journal Developmental Cell, show that the fetal gut has far more well-developed immune capabilities than previously thought.

Viagra shows promise for use in bone marrow transplants

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have demonstrated a new, rapid method to obtain donor stem cells for bone marrow transplants using a combination of Viagra and a second drug called Plerixafor.

Adding red light to artificial lungs to reduce carbon monoxide in poisoned patients

A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has found that it is possible to remove carbon monoxide (CO) from blood by shining a red light on it as it moves through an artificial lung. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, they describe their device and how well it worked during testing on rats.

Using tumor-derived organoids to estimate how well cancer patients will respond to chemo

A team of researchers with members from across the Netherlands has found that using organoids derived from patient tumors can be used to help determine how well a cancer patient will respond to chemotherapy. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes growing organoids from tumor tissue and testing them with chemo drugs.

Gene editing successfully used to treat cervical cancer in mice

The Griffith University scientists used CRISPR-Cas9 to successfully target and treat cervical cancer tumours in vivo (via injection into live and tumour-bearing mice) using "stealth" nanoparticles.

New research points to a connection between food comas and long-term memories

There may be a connection between food comas—resting after eating—and the formation of long-term memories, a team of neuroscientists concludes based on its study on brain activity in sea slugs.

Research sheds new light on how the brain forms and recalls memories

Neuroscientists at the University of Birmingham have proved how different parts of the human brain work together to create and retrieve episodic memory.

Scientists show how an experimental vaccine offers long-term protection against Ebola

In the recurring, deadly Ebola outbreaks in parts of Africa, today's health workers now have at least some tools to fight the disease: vaccines. Vaccines against Ebola have been administered to over 100,000 people to date, but they are barely out of the experimental stage. It is not known how well these vaccines will provide long-term protection across a broad population. Furthermore, on the basic scientific level, the effect of vaccination on the immune system and how the immune response of vaccinated individuals compares with that of individuals who have survived Ebola infections was not known.

'Sticky' gene may help Valium calm nerves

Between 1999 and 2017, the United States experienced a 10-fold increase in the number of people who died from overdoses of Valium and other benzodiazepines. For years, scientists thought that these powerful sedatives, which are used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and sleeping disorders, worked alone to calm nerves. Now, in an article published in Science, researchers from the National Institutes of Health show that this view of the drugs and the neural circuits they affect may have to change. In a study of mice, scientists discovered that both may need the assistance of a 'sticky' gene, named after a mythological figure, called Shisa7.

GPs stopped giving alcohol advice to patients when they stopped being paid to do so

When the Department of Health (England) introduced financial incentives to encourage general practitioners (GPs) to talk to patients about their drinking in April 2008, there was a small, gradual increase in screening and the provision of alcohol advice. However, when the incentives stopped in 2015, rates of screening and advice-giving decreased immediately, and have stayed low ever since.

Protective mediators can help heal injured tendon cells by attacking inflammation

Tendon tears, both to the rotator cuff and Achilles heel, are common injuries, especially in aged individuals. Painful and disabling, they can adversely impact quality of life. New approaches are required to help patients suffering from chronic tendon injuries. A novel study in The American Journal of Pathology identified mediators that promote resolution of inflammation as potential new therapeutics to push chronically injured tendons down an inflammation-resolving pathway.

New test offers improved diagnosis and management of chronic hepatitis B

A report in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describes a new and powerful laboratory tool that may improve the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The technique can simultaneously assess several indicators important for optimal patient management.

One in five cardiac rehab patients are depressed, anxious, or stressed

Patients with depression, anxiety or stress are more likely to drop out of cardiac rehabilitation, reports a study published on World Mental Health Day in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Social determinant screening useful for families with pediatric sickle cell disease

Individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) face the burdens of chronic illness and often racial disparities, both of which may increase vulnerability to adverse social determinants of health (SDoH). For children with SCD, living in poverty is associated with lower quality of life, higher healthcare utilization and higher complication rates. However, a new study from Boston Medical Center (BMC) demonstrates that hematologists can uncover the needs of families and connect them to local resources within a clinic visit with the hope of improving quality of life and clinical outcomes for their patients.

More patients with cardiovascular disease now die at home than in the hospital

Despite their wishes, many patients die in hospitals or other facilities. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death both globally and in the U.S., yet little is known about where patients with CVD die. In a new study, Haider Warraich, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, and colleagues assessed place of death for CVD patients from 2003 to 2017, finding that home has surpassed the hospital as the most common place of death for these patients. The results of their analysis are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

New study supports nervous system's role in age-related weakness

A study recently published by researchers from the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI) at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, in collaboration with a colleague from outside Ohio University, finds new evidence to support the belief that the nervous system plays an important role in age-related weakness.

Study shows brain mechanisms have potential to block arthritis pain

Millions of people around the world are affected by pain, a multidimensional experience characterized by interactions between our emotional, cognitive, sensory and motor functions. Because pain is a complex condition, treating it efficiently continues to pose challenge for physicians.

Illegal urban off-road vehicles as risky as motorcycles in cities

People who illegally ride off-road vehicles, such as dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles, on city streets suffer similar crash injuries as motorcyclists, but are less likely to die even though many riders don't wear helmets, according to a Rutgers researcher.

Researchers identify new therapeutic target for pulmonary fibrosis

Researchers in Japan have identified a genetic mutation that causes a severe lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) by killing the cells lining the lung's airways. The study, which will be published October 10 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), suggests that protecting these cells by inhibiting a cell death pathway called necroptosis could be a new therapeutic approach to treating IPF.

Study seeks to guide maternal weight gain in twin pregnancies

An old adage urges pregnant women to "eat for two." So with twins, is it "eat for three?" While that is likely bad advice, when it comes to twin pregnancies, clinicians don't have firm guidelines for ideal weight gain due to a lack of scientific study.

Researchers assert importance of diversity in genomics research

Broadening diversity among participants in human genomics research will maximize its potential to discover causes and possible treatments of diseases, requiring thoughtful study design and methodological considerations, write members of an international genomics consortium in the journal Cell.

Suicide in low- and middle-income countries

Future treatment and prevention of suicidal behaviour in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) should involve a wider range of approaches beyond just the treatment of psychiatric illness, according to a new University of Bristol study published on World Mental Health Day today [Thursday 10 October] in PLOS Medicine.

People pay more attention to stimuli they associate with danger

A new analysis of how people prioritize their attention when determining safety and danger in busy settings, such as crossing a road, suggests that a person will pay more attention to something if they learn it is associated with danger. Toby Wise of University College London, U.K., and colleagues report their findings in PLOS Computational Biology.

Endometriosis may be costing us much more than previously thought

Along with significant physical pain, endometriosis also hurts Australian women at the hip pocket, as well as having significant economic effects on society as a whole, a new study published today in PLOS ONE confirms.

Huntington's disease genetic mutations expand throughout life

The region of DNA associated with Huntington's disease has been shown to grow throughout life and contribute towards disease progression.

Severity of psoriasis related to the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

New results from a prospective, 12-month study indicate that the severity of psoriasis is associated with the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

From the bottom of boats to the human gut, this beneficial bacterium has many uses

By scraping tubeworms off the bottom of boats in San Diego Bay to study them, San Diego State University researchers discovered a beneficial bacterium that aids in establishing colonies could also be a boon for human health, because the same process might already take place in the human gut.

Study questions strategy of asking patients to self-report their physical fitness before surgery

Physicians ask patients two universal questions to determine whether they are healthy enough to undergo and recover from a major non-cardiac surgical procedure: whether or not they can climb a set of stairs, and if they can walk two blocks on level ground. The idea is to gain insight into patients' common physical activities and their cardiovascular fitness.

Mindfulness at work: A little bit goes a long way

Workplace wellness is expanding beyond annual blood pressure checks to include the benefits of meditation, yoga and other exercises designed to manage stress and center the mind. But do such practices, known as mindfulness, really work? New research from Wharton management professor Lindsey Cameron finds that including just a few minutes of mindfulness in each day makes employees more helpful and productive.

Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research

Who doesn't want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack?

Hand sanitizers effective, but handwashing is better

Whether they dangle from keychains, spritz from pens or froth and pump out of clinic and classroom dispensers, hand sanitizers are convenient alternatives to handwashing, and they do work.

Better treatment for diabetic foot ulcers

People with type 2 diabetes often suffer from poorly-healing infected wounds on their feet. Using existing methods, however, it takes two days to grow a bacterial culture used to identify the pathogens infecting the wound and their antibiotic resistance—and thus to find an effective antibiotic. With the help of a new rapid test developed by Fraunhofer researchers, it will take just one hour to obtain this information in the future.

Too much vitamin B can cause hip fracture

Many healthy individuals take high doses of vitamin B supplements. They take them to be on the safe side, thinking that it must be good for their health. The scope of this varies greatly from country to country. It is not common to sell high doses of vitamin B in Norway, but they are nevertheless easy to obtain via the Internet.

Brain hemorrhage surgery boosts survival, but disability risk still high

Doctors routinely recommend surgery for patients who suffer brain hemorrhages near the brain stem in an area called the cerebellum. However, an international meta-analysis shows that while patients who undergo surgery for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) survive at higher rates than those who do not receive surgery, they are also at high risk of significant disability, according to a new Yale-led study published in the journal JAMA.

Combat's other toll on veterans: increased risk of addiction

In what is described as the first study of its kind, a UConn professor has found that combat service substantially increased the risk of prescription painkiller abuse and illicit heroin use among active-duty American servicemen.

Social prescribing – who does it work for and why?

In a time when people are living longer, but with more complex healthcare needs, GPs are increasingly using social prescribing to help manage conditions.

Methamphetamine prices drop to record low

The price of a gram of methamphetamine has dropped to record lows in three North Island regions, while many South Island regions are also reporting substantial declines in prices for the drug.

Serum neurofilament is a discriminative biomarker between frontotemporal dementia and psychiatric disorders

Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia are often confused with symptoms occurring in psychiatric disorders. Reporting their findings in Journal of Neurology, Finnish researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Oulu show that serum neurofilament levels can be used as a diagnostic tool to differentiate between these conditions.

Researchers show path of an environmental estrogen through the womb using new technology

The human foetus is considered to be particularly sensitive to environmental contaminants. A team led by Benedikt Warth from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna and Tina Bürki from the Swiss Materials Science and Technology Institute, Empa, has now been able to demonstrate for the first time how the widespread food estrogen zearalenone behaves in the womb. Using a new analytical method, it was shown that the xenoestrogen migrates through the placenta and is partially converted to other harmful substances. The study was published in the current issue of the renowned journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Neurofeedback increases self-esteem by rebalancing brain circuits in depression

A study published in the journal Neuroimage: Clinical found that patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), who had recovered from symptoms, were able to strengthen some of their brain connections whilst thinking about guilt-evoking memories, thereby increasing their self-esteem. The research showed that connectivity between certain brain regions—previously found to be decreased when feeling guilt in people with a history of depression—could be strengthened in a single session of neurofeedback training through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), captured before and after the procedure. The study was conducted by the Brazilian organizations D"Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Federal University of ABC, in collaboration with King's College London, in the United Kingdom.

Screening for bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy not advised

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against screening for bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women who are not at increased risk for preterm delivery; for pregnant women at increased risk for preterm delivery, the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Oct. 8 by the USPSTF.

Pain relief: When to use cold, when to use heat

(HealthDay)—Sore from a workout? You don't have to reach for pain relief medicine when ice or heat will help. But when should you go cold and when should you go warm?

Nearly 5 million American kids are obese, new study finds

(HealthDay)—America's child obesity epidemic shows no signs of shrinking.

Tying the knot is tied to longer life span, new data shows

(HealthDay)—Married folks not only live longer than singles, but the longevity gap between the two groups is growing, U.S. government health statisticians report.

Boston Public Health Commission confirms first case of measles in a Boston resident since 2013

The Boston Public Health Commission confirmed a resident of Boston has been diagnosed with the measles for the first time since 2013.

Linguists track impact of cognitive decline across three decades of one writer's diaries

Researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) specializing in language variation and change have identified a specific relationship between an individual's use of language, and the transition from healthy to a diagnosis of severe dementia.

Racial, ethnic minorities want to see doctor who shares their culture

(HealthDay)—Minority racial and ethnic groups are more likely to perceive the importance of seeing a health care provider who shares or understands their culture, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in the National Health Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NHS needs to act on patient feedback, say health researchers

Researchers from the University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) are today making a series of recommendations for NHS mental health trusts to change the way they collect and use patient feedback to improve the quality of care for inpatients.

Rate of advancement of feeding volume does not impact survival

(HealthDay)—For very preterm or very low-birth-weight infants, advancing feeding volume in faster increments versus slower increments is not associated with a difference in survival without moderate or severe neurodevelopmental disability at 24 months, according to a study published in the Oct. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Musical perception: nature or nurture?

From a general perspective, harmony in music is the balance of the proportions between the different parts of a whole, which causes a feeling of pleasure. "When we listen to music, each sound we hear helps us to imagine what is coming next. It what we expect is fulfilled, we feel satisfied. But if not, we may be pleasantly surprised or upset," comments Carlota Pagès Portabella, a researcher with the Language and Comparative Cognition research group (LCC) at the Center for Brain and Cognition (CBC).

Fractionated carbon dioxide laser therapy, estrogen similar for menopause

(HealthDay)—For menopausal women with significant vaginal atrophy symptoms, fractionated carbon dioxide (CO2) vaginal laser therapy results in similar improvement to that seen with vaginal estrogen treatment, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Menopause.

Multigene testing for all breast cancer patients cost-effective

(HealthDay)—Unselected, multigene testing for all patients with breast cancer would be cost-effective in the United Kingdom and the United States, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in JAMA Oncology.

Odds of autism up in children with congenital heart disease

(HealthDay)—The odds of developing autism spectrum disorder (AuSD) are increased for children with congenital heart disease (CHD), according to a study published online Oct. 10 in Pediatrics.

Torn between work and family? It may not be good for heart health

When family demands affect work performance or work demands undermine family obligations, the resulting stress may contribute to decreased heart health, particularly among women, a new study finds.

New treatment offers hope for kids with deadly nerve cancer

(HealthDay)—Early treatment with an immune-boosting therapy might improve the outlook of young children with an advanced form of cancer, a new small study suggests.

New customized drug treatment bypasses a single child's unique mutation within a year of diagnosis

An unprecedented case at Boston Children's Hospital shows that it's possible to do something that's never been done before: identify a patient's unique mutation, design a customized drug to bypass it, manufacture and test the drug, and obtain permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin treating the patient—all in less than one year.

US urges shared decisions with pain patients taking opioids

U.S. health officials again warned doctors Thursday against abandoning chronic pain patients by abruptly stopping their opioid prescriptions.

E-cigarettes, tobacco and cannabis products are littering high schools

High schools in the San Francisco Bay Area are being contaminated by plastics and toxic litter from e-cigarettes, cannabis products and combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigarillos, a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has found.

Study identifies five patterns of gun ownership by motivation, practices, other features

A study of 429 firearm owners who answered the 2018 California Safety and Wellbeing Survey has identified five distinct types of firearm owners—early work that may help assess risk and tailor injury prevention strategies to owners preferences and practices.

Rotavirus infection may turn on type 1 diabetes

Rotavirus infection may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, according to a front matter article published October 10 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Leonard C. Harrison of the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues.

Number of people killed by vaping in US hits 26

Twenty-six people have died from illnesses associated with e-cigarette use since March, US health authorities said Thursday, while some 1,300 have suffered lung injuries linked to vaping.

Chinese study reveals underuse of lifesaving drugs after heart attacks

Many heart attack patients in China fail to receive beta-blockers which could prevent another event and save their life. The research is presented at the 30th Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology (GW-ICC).

Singapore to become first country to ban ads for very sugary drinks

Singapore will become the first country in the world to ban ads for the most unhealthy sugary drinks in its latest move to combat rising diabetes rates, the health ministry said Thursday.

Ebola virus now squeezed into 'corner' of DR Congo: WHO

Efforts to halt an Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo have made "significant progress", with the virus now contained to a far smaller and mainly rural area, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

Global Fund raises $13.92 billion to fight AIDS, TB, malaria

An organization that funds programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria raised at least $13.92 billion for the next three years at an international conference, French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday.

Why rats prefer company of the young and stressed

Researchers have identified a neural pathway implicated in social interaction between adult and juvenile animals, according to new research in rats published in JNeurosci.

Enhancing memory network via brain stimulation

Magnetic stimulation of the posterior parietal cortex increases functional connectivity of a neural network implicated in memory, shows human research published in eNeuro. This finding confirms a previous study, validating further exploration of this technique for experimental and clinical applications.

Texas records 1st death linked to e-cigarette use

Health officials in Texas say the state has recorded its first death associated with vaping-related lung illnesses.

Barley: A tasty alternative to rice

(HealthDay)—Looking for a simple yet delicious way to enjoy whole grains? Start with nutritious, easy-to-cook barley, a great swap for processed grains like white rice.

CarePartners Plus exploring joint venture for software built to prevent suicide in veterans

CarePartners Plus, a healthcare software firm based in Horsham, Pa., wants to get its product into consumers' hands as soon as possible.

With AGS Cocare, HELP, AGA expands reach of seminal delirium prevention program

A seminal program for preventing delirium (the medical term for abrupt, rapid-onset confusion or altered mental state, affecting millions of older adults annually) and loss of function for hospitalized older adults stands poised for a major expansion thanks to the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). As the soon-to-be newest addition to the AGS "CoCare" portfolio, a suite of programs helping embed geriatrics expertise in broader care for older adults, AGS CoCare: HELP represents a new step forward for a program that has already taken significant strides.

Update 'Nearest Relative' criteria under Mental Health Act to increase patient choice

The system in place under the Mental Health Act that places decision-making powers in the hands of the nearest relatives for people who are sectioned needs to be extended to others to improve patient choice, according to new research.

Vaping fallout: Small stores suffer as vapers turn away

The thousands of shops that sprang up in cities and towns across the country over the past decade to sell vaping products have seen a stunning reversal of fortune, with their sales plunging in just two months amid news reports that vaping has sickened nearly 1,300 people and killed 26.

Biology news

CRISPR enzyme programmed to kill viruses in human cells

Many of the world's most common or deadly human pathogens are RNA-based viruses—Ebola, Zika and flu, for example—and most have no FDA-approved treatments. A team led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has now turned a CRISPR RNA-cutting enzyme into an antiviral that can be programmed to detect and destroy RNA-based viruses in human cells.

Capturing elephants from the wild hinders their reproduction for over a decade

Capturing elephants to keep in captivity not only hinders their reproduction immediately, but also has a negative effect on their calves, according to new research.

For sea creatures, baseline shows disease as sentinel of change

The health of Earth's oceans is rapidly worsening, and newly published Cornell-led research has examined changes in reported diseases across undersea species at a global scale over a 44-year period.

Buttons and flies help biologists solve longtime DNA mystery

Biologists at Johns Hopkins University have uncovered an important clue in the longtime mystery of how long strands of DNA fold up to squeeze into microscopic cells, with each pair of chromosomes aligned to ensure perfect development.

AI and big data predict which research will influence future medical treatments

An artificial intelligence/machine learning model to predict which scientific advances are likely to eventually translate to the clinic has been developed by Ian Hutchins and colleagues in the Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA), a team led by George Santangelo at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This work, described in a Meta-Research article published October 10 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, aims to decrease the sometimes decades-long interval between scientific discovery and clinical application; the method determines the likelihood that a research article will be cited by a future clinical trial or guideline, an early indicator of translational progress.

'Tricked' bacteria open new pathways to antimicrobial treatments

Scientists have developed a new technique to trick bacteria into revealing hundreds of holes in their cell walls, opening the door for drugs that destroy bacteria's cells.

Online prototype could improve ocean migratory species governance

An online mapping and knowledge platform prototype could soon offer free and easily accessible information on the migratory patterns of endangered species in the ocean.

Honeybees are math stars

Start thinking about numbers and they can become large very quickly. The diameter of the universe is about 8.8×1023 km and the largest known number—googolplex, 1010100—outranks it enormously. Although that colossal concept was dreamt up by brilliant mathematicians, we're still pretty limited when it comes to assessing quantities at a glance. 'Humans have a threshold limit for instantly processing one to four elements accurately', says Adrian Dyer from RMIT University, Australia; and it seems that we are not alone. Scarlett Howard from RMIT and the Université de Toulouse, France, explains that guppies, angelfish and even honeybees are capable of distinguishing between quantities of three and four, although the trusty insects come unstuck at finer differences; they fail to differentiate between four and five, which made her wonder. According to Howard, honeybees are quite accomplished mathematicians. 'Recently, honeybees were shown to learn the rules of "less than" and "greater than" and apply these rules to evaluate numbers from zero to six', she says. Maybe numeracy wasn't the bees' problem; was it how the question was posed? The duo publishes their discovery that bees can discriminate between four and five if the training procedure is correct in Journal of Experimental Biology.

New insights into salamander limb development

A new paper by University of Kentucky researchers was recently published in the journal eLife, offering new insights and implications into the study of limb development and the evolution of vertebrate limbs.

Secrets to climate change adaptation uncovered in the European corn borer moth

A team of biologists led by Tufts University has found two genes that may permit some insect species to survive climate change by adjusting their biological annual clocks while others succumb. The ability to synchronize behavioral, morphological and other transitions with the seasons is integral to the life cycle of most insects. In the study published today in Current Biology, the researchers looked at the European corn borer moth (Ostrinia nubilalis) and pinpointed variation in two circadian clock genes—per and Pdfr—that enable different populations of the moth to adapt their transitions to longer or shorter winters.

A Lego-like approach to improve nature's own ability to kill dangerous bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers antibiotic resistance one of the most urgent public health threats, one that affects communities worldwide. The ramifications of bacteria's ability to become resistant to antibiotics can be seen in hospitals, public places, our food supply, and our water.

Researchers discover how chlamydia takes up new DNA from host

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlamydia trachomatis is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterial disease in the U.S., totaling 1.7 million cases in 2017. Rates are highest among teenagers and young adults. Left untreated, chlamydia can cause blindness and sterility. Beyond the U.S., chlamydia is the leading sexually transmitted bacterial infection worldwide.

Carnivorous plant study captures universal rules of leaf making

Leaves display a remarkable range of forms from flat sheets with simple outlines to the cup-shaped traps found in carnivorous plants.

Impacts of low-dose exposure to antibiotics unveiled in zebrafish gut

An antibiotic commonly found at low concentrations in the environment can have major impacts on gut bacteria, report researchers at the University of Oregon.

Key uncertainties identified for models of mosquito distribution in the US

A computational analysis has identified key regions in the United States where model-based predictions of mosquito species distribution could be improved. Andrew Monaghan of the University of Colorado Boulder and colleagues present these findings in PLOS Computational Biology.

Scientists call on public to help solve snow gum murder mystery

Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) are asking the public to help investigate a phenomenon that's killing Australia's iconic snow gums.

Naturally occurring fungi could curb moose tick plague, entomologists find

Cheryl Sullivan was in the woods one warm October day, flicking yet another tick from her leg, "which felt like the tenth of the day," she says.

Liver fluke linked to liver disease in U.K. horses

A harmful parasite that costs the U.K. cattle and sheep industry an estimated £300 million per year may also be an under‐recognised cause of liver disease in horses, a study by the University of Liverpool has found.

Gut microbes can be picky eaters – here's why it matters

We choose our food for a variety of reasons, including personal preference, availability, cost and healthiness. But we should also take our gut microbes' preferences into account, a new study published in Cell suggests.

Removing invasive mice from the Farallon Islands would benefit threatened birds

New research from Point Blue Conservation Science shows the significant negative impact that invasive, non-native house mice on the Farallon Islands are having to the threatened ashy storm-petrel. Original modeling by ecologists published today in the journal Ecosphere shows the potential impacts to the petrel's population if mice are allowed to remain. The super-abundant mice encourage migrating burrowing owls to stay on the island, who later in the winter switch from eating mice to preying on the petrels.

Plant death may reveal genetic mechanisms underlying cell self-destruction

Hybrid plants—those produced by crossing two different types of parents—often die in conditions in which both parents would survive. It's called hybrid lethality. Certain hybrid tobacco plants, for example, thrive at 36 degrees Celsius, but die at 28 degrees Celsius, which is the temperature at which both parents would thrive.

Scientists track wheat aphids and their natural enemies for better pest management in Pakistan

For the first time, CABI scientists have studied the distribution and population dynamics of wheat aphids and their natural enemies in Pakistan through seasons and periods of time. This research could be useful to develop better pest management methods and safer, healthier crops in wheat production.

Tracking wild pigs in real time and understanding their interaction with agro-ecosystems

Domestic pigs can be cute, but invasive wild pigs—also known as feral swine—are another matter entirely. First brought to the U.S. by early European settlers, wild pigs have earned a reputation for being highly destructive creatures in North America. With few natural predators aside from humans, and the highest reproductive potential of any mammal of similar size, two to six million are wreaking havoc in at least 39 states and some Canadian provinces. In Texas alone, they do hundreds of millions of dollars in damages annually. They tear up recreational areas, occasionally even terrorizing tourists in state and national parks, and squeeze out other wildlife. In agricultural fields, wild pigs may eat the crops or indirectly damage them, or the soil, by creating wallows, scent marking, rooting up plants, or destroying fencing and equipment.

Scientists are decoding the genetic mechanisms of aging

The discovery in the 1990s that a mutation in a single gene of an experimental worm could double its lifespan set off a stampede of research on the molecular biology of aging and triggered hopes that drug therapies or other interventions could be developed to extend healthy human lifespan. But as is often the case in science, the genetic regulation of aging is more complicated than it first appeared.

Scientists speed up the evolution of yeast to create tastier and healthier alcohol

Researchers across Europe have started to speed up the evolutionary process of yeast to develop new or better flavours for wine and beer. The objective is for beer and wine producers to better accommodate changing consumer tastes and trends, such as anti-GMO sentiments and demand for low-alcohol products.

Malaysia finds hornbill 'ivory' in massive wildlife seizure

Almost 800 animal parts including a huge stash of hornbill "ivory", pangolin scales and deer's antlers, have been seized in a raid on Borneo island, officials in Malaysia said on Thursday.

Trophy hunting – can it really be justified by 'conservation benefits'?

Killing animals for fun is an activity which divides opinion. It can also be a highly emotive issue, with high profile cases like the death of Cecil the lion sparking global media coverage and outcry. There were even calls for the American dentist who admitted killing Cecil to be charged with illegal hunting.

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