Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Oct 1

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 1, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Studying a cell's crawling motion in a fluid

An approach to enhance question answering (QA) models

How microbes hack into cells and why cancer drugs might block them

Astronomers identify four globular cluster planetary nebulae candidates

Quantum material goes where none have gone before

Researchers' new method enables identifying a person through walls from candidate video footage, using only WiFi

Why magnetism in certain materials is different in atomically thin layers and their bulk forms

New research finds coastal living linked with better mental health

Biologists track the invasion of herbicide-resistant weeds into southwestern Ontario

Cracking how 'water bears' survive the extremes

Researchers publish comprehensive review on respiratory effects of vaping

Climate change could pit species against one another as they shift ranges

'Relaxed' enzymes may be at the root of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Massive iceberg breaks off Antarctica—but it's normal

Could the female orgasm be a happy remnant of evolution?

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers identify four globular cluster planetary nebulae candidates

Astronomers from Chile and Argentina report the detection of four new planetary nebulae (PN) candidates residing in galactic globular clusters (GCs). If confirmed, the discovery would double the number of known PNe in galactic GCs. The finding is presented in a paper published September 19 on the arXiv pre-print server.

NASA lander captures marsquakes, other Martian sounds

NASA's InSight lander on Mars has captured the low rumble of marsquakes and a symphony of other otherworldly sounds.

Iran state TV says country to launch 3 satellites this year

Iran's state TV says the country plans to send three satellites into orbit in the next three months despite a failed launch in August.

Technology news

An approach to enhance question answering (QA) models

Identifying the correct answer to a question often entails gathering large amounts of information and understanding complex ideas. In a recent study, a team of researchers at New York University (NYU) and Facebook AI Research (FAIR) investigated the possibility of automatically uncovering the underlying properties of problems such as question answering by examining how machine-learning models learn to solve related tasks. 

Researchers' new method enables identifying a person through walls from candidate video footage, using only WiFi

Researchers in the lab of UC Santa Barbara professor Yasamin Mostofi have enabled, for the first time, determining whether the person behind a wall is the same individual who appears in given video footage, using only a pair of WiFi transceivers outside.

Can the 'additive tree' model expand machine learning in medicine?

When health care providers order a test or prescribe a medicine, they want to be 100 percent confident in their decision. That means being able to explain their decision and study it over depending upon how a patient responds. As artificial intelligence's footprint increases in medicine, that ability to check work and follow the path of a decision can become a bit muddied. That's why the discovery of a once-hidden through-line between two popular predictive models used in artificial intelligence opens the door much wider to confidently spread machine learning further throughout health care. The discovery of the linking algorithm and the subsequent creation of the "additive tree" is now detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Patent talk: Apple logo could light up notifications

How could two blah words "adjustable decoration" garner so much chatter in days? Well, it's about Apple, that's one hotly scented trail, and it's about how the Apple logo might become more than a brain imprint for Apple products.

Ransomware hits hundreds of US schools, local governments: study

Hundreds of US municipalities, schools and health organizations have been hit by ransomware in 2019, leading to massive service disruptions, researchers said Tuesday.

Twitter lets users sideline unwanted direct messages

Twitter on Monday said it is rolling out a filter that will hide away unwanted direct messages, providing a new tool to stymie abuse.

The lashback against Facebook is getting stronger

Facebook leader Mark Zuckerberg recently took the unusual step of visiting lawmakers in Washington, including President Donald Trump in the White House. The reason? Congress's anti-trust sub-committee has started demanding documents from Facebook and other big tech firms. It's part of the committee's investigation into whether dominant tech firms are acting anti-competitively. And Zuckerberg's trip suggests the company is worried.

Streamed music and digital images have driven the comeback of vinyl and printed photos

The resurgence of vinyl records in a time of digital music and streaming is a story of how innovation can make technological comebacks possible. In the summer of 2019, the sales of vinyl albums are on the verge of becoming the largest source of revenue from physical sales in the music industry. This follows 15 years of upward trend—today, while remaining a niche product, the vinyl record may well eventually survive to be the only analogue medium for music, as the sales of CD continue their downward spiral.

Users need to consent to online tracking cookies: EU court

Online companies in the EU can no longer present internet users with a pre-checked box telling them cookies will be planted on their smartphone or computer if they don't deselect the option, under a ruling issued Tuesday.

Exploring cryptocurrency and blockchain in Iceland

Imagine a hairdryer running on high, continuously, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The energy it drains—about 40 kilowatts per hour—equals what one extremely powerful specialized computer uses to mine cryptocurrency. A single six-building data center outside a small town in northern Iceland houses nearly 30,000 of these machines.

Wind power from the sky

Anyone who has ever steered a child's kite knows the feeling: The wind grips the kite and pulls the string. The string is quickly tensioned, the spindle rotates between the fingers and is difficult to control. The question arises: Could this wild energy also be used to generate electricity?

Preventing manipulation in automated face recognition

From unlocking smartphones to speeding up airport security checks: the use of automated face recognition for personal identification continues to grow. But this authentication method is vulnerable to morphing attacks: criminals can misuse it by melding two different facial images into one. A single passport featuring a photograph manipulated this way can then be used by two different people. Together with their partners, Fraunhofer research teams are developing a system that foils this type of attack using machine learning methods.

UPS gets government approval to become a drone airline

UPS has won government approval to operate a nationwide fleet of drones, which will let the company expand deliveries on hospital campuses and move it one step closer to making deliveries to consumers.

Boeing still eyes 737 MAX return in 4Q: Boeing spokesman

Boeing continues to target the fourth quarter for regulatory approval to return the 737 MAX to service after two deadly crashes, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Zuckerberg to 'go to the mat' to fight breakup: report

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to "go to the mat" to fight a government attempt to break up the social media giant, according to a report Tuesday based on a leaked audio recording.

Court: FCC can dump net neutrality, but can't bar state laws

A federal court has cleared the way for state and local governments to bar internet providers from favoring some services over others, even as the court affirmed the Federal Communications Commission's right to dump national rules.

Remote-sensing technology to detect emissions from passing cars

Air pollution levels remain dangerously high in various parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization, 9 out of10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, such as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. Road transport is a major source of air pollution that leads to premature death and disease.

Turning problems into opportunities in urban areas

Currently, about 55 percent of the world's population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68 percent by 2050, according to a UN report. With several challenges posed by continued urbanization, successful management of cities has become more important than ever.

Emissions-free transport speeding up in Europe

Hydrogen-powered cars are seen as a potential solution to the pollution caused by gasoline and diesel engines, but the mass roll-out of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) hasn't yet materialized. As noted in a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy is costly, and the development of hydrogen infrastructure is slow and holding back widespread adoption.

Opel slashes hours amid German carmaker gloom

German carmaker Opel said Tuesday it would slash hours for workers at its main factory, highlighting a car industry hit by falling demand and a challenging technological transformation.

Affordable and mobile purification of dialysis water

People who suffer from end stage renal disease frequently undergo dialysis on a fixed schedule. For patients this artificial washing of the blood is a major burden. To remove toxins from the blood, large quantities of dialysis water for clearance are required. Until now there has been no solution so far to recover this dialysate cost-effectively. Therefore a cryo-purification method is being developed by Fraunhofer researchers that clears the water without loosing it. This approach not only reduces costs—it may even pave the way for a wearable artificial kidney by milder long-term dialysis treatment at complete water autonomy.

Moving e-cars into the fast lane

Researchers have been looking into silicon carbide, a promising alternative material for the semiconductor industry, for several years now. The Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM joined forces with partners in the SiC Module project to ramp up this type of power semiconductor for industrial manufacturing. Their effort goes to boost the efficiency of drivetrains in electric vehicles and extend these vehicles' range.

General Motors temporarily lays off 6,000 workers in Mexico due to strike

General Motors has laid off 6,000 workers in Mexico temporarily due to a US labor strike that has disrupted production at two plants south of the border that make pickup trucks, the company said Tuesday.

Medicine & Health news

How microbes hack into cells and why cancer drugs might block them

No matter the pathogen—virus, bacterium or fungus—many "pick a specific type of lock" on the surface of cells, which allows the microbe to break and enter into the inner sanctum of the host's genome.

New research finds coastal living linked with better mental health

Living close to the sea could support better mental health in England's poorest urban communities, finds a new study published today in the journal Health and Place.

Researchers publish comprehensive review on respiratory effects of vaping

Four scientists from four leading universities in the United States conducted a comprehensive review of all e-cigarette/vaping peer-reviewed scientific papers that pertain to the lungs and published their findings today in the British Medical Journal.

'Relaxed' enzymes may be at the root of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Treatments have been hard to pinpoint for a rare neurological disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), in part because so many variations of the condition exist. So far, mutations on more than 90 genes have been positively linked to the disorder; a patient needs just one of those mutations for the disease to emerge.

Study identifies brain protein that could put the brakes on Alzheimer's

University of California, Irvine biologists blazing new approaches to studying Alzheimer's disease have made a major finding on combating inflammation linked to the disease. The School of Biological Sciences researchers' discovery about the role of a protein called TOM-1 heralds a shift toward examining the molecular underpinnings of Alzheimer's processes.

Drug rediscovery protocol allows doctors to prescribe anticancer drugs outside of their approved use

A large team of researchers affiliated with institutions across the Netherlands has begun what they call a Drug Rediscovery protocol—a clinical trial of sorts that involves giving cancer patients anticancer drugs that are not typically used for their type of cancer. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their protocol and its purpose.

New study links vitamin C therapy to better survival rates after sepsis

New research led by Virginia Commonwealth University and published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that patients with sepsis and septic lung injury could have a better chance of survival and recover more quickly when treated with vitamin C infusions.

Neuroimaging reveals hidden communication between brain layers during reading

Language involves many different regions of the brain. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Donders Institute at Radboud University discovered previously hidden connections between brain layers during reading, in a neuroimaging study reported in PNAS.

For the first time, researcher observes crystallized iron product, hemozoin, made in mammals

Most people have some idea of how important iron is to their health, but Iqbal Hamza, professor in Animal and Avian Sciences, has made his seventeen-year career at the University of Maryland all about the study of iron and heme trafficking and regulation in the body. With his latest publication in eLife, Hamza has discovered a never-before-seen protection mechanism in mammals against the toxicity of free heme in the body—the production of a crystallized form of heme known as hemozoin. The production of hemozoin was previously thought only to be possible by blood-feeding organisms like those that cause malaria, but observing this protective phenomenon in mammals opens up entirely new lines of research into how heme tolerance occurs in humans and how this can be used to treat not only malaria and other parasitic infections, but also hemolytic diseases like sickle cell disease.

Exploring the brain in a new way: Researcher records neurons to understand cognition

Where is Waldo?

Room for improvement in drug dosage timing in hospitals

Too many hospitals provide medications according to the practicalities of their staffing schedules rather than the ideal dosing times for their patients, according to a new study led by experts at Cincinnati Children's.

Child deaths in Africa could be prevented by family planning

Children under 5 years of age in Africa are much more likely to die than those in wealthy countries as a direct result of poor health outcomes linked to air pollution, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, an increased family size, and environmental degradation, according to the first continent-wide investigation of its kind.

Babies have fewer respiratory infections if they have well-connected bacterial networks

Microscopic bacteria, which are present in all humans, cluster together and form communities in different parts of the body, such as the gut, lungs, nose and mouth. Now, for the first time, researchers have shown the extent to which these microbial communities are linked to each other across the body, and how these networks are associated with susceptibility to respiratory infections in babies.

Expanding Medicaid means chronic health problems get found and health improves, study finds

Nearly one in three low-income people who enrolled in Michigan's expanded Medicaid program discovered they had a chronic illness that had never been diagnosed before, according to a new study.

Monthly phone check-in may mean less depression for families of patients with dementia

A monthly, 40-minute phone call from a non-clinical professional may suppress or reverse the trajectory of depression so frequently experienced by family members caring for patients with dementia at home, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Hold the vodka: Russians cut drinking 40 percent under Putin

Russians might have a reputation as a nation of hard drinkers, but a report by the World Health Organization published Tuesday showed their alcohol consumption has dropped by more than 40 percent from its peak in the early 2000s.

CDC says people can contract tuberculosis from deer

(HealthDay)—According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans can contract a rare type of tuberculosis, called bovine tuberculosis, from deer.

Virtual medical visits get wary welcome from older adults, poll finds

The technology is there. The funding is nearly there. The health providers are getting there.

Heart failure medication often prescribed in insufficient doses

Important medications for the treatment of heart failure are often prescribed in lower dosages than recommended by international guidelines. A study with the participation of the Medical University of Vienna shows overly cautious prescription of the most common medication groups by treating physicians due to unintentional bias. The results are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Virtual reality treatment could help military veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder

Virtual reality technology could be used to help military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study concludes.

Engineering antibodies for diagnosis and immunotherapy

Professor John Whitelock is improving the smarts of antibodies and sending them into the extracellular area to outwit those clever cancer cells.

The impact of infertility on cancer patients

New research led by Western Sydney University has revealed that infertility—one of the most distressing long-term effects of cancer treatment—is often overlooked in advising patients about treatment, and in understanding the impact of cancer on the quality of life.

Study identifies therapeutic target for high blood pressure in the lungs

Researchers have identified a potential new therapeutic target for those who have high blood pressure in the lungs, or what is known as pulmonary hypertension secondary to pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease in which lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. The discovery helps explain the previously unknown mechanism behind the development of pulmonary hypertension in people with pulmonary fibrosis.

Map showing gene interactions could lead to new cancer therapies

Nearly 150,000 cancer-related deaths can be attributed annually to Epstein-Barr (EBV) virus, in part because of the lack of effective treatment options.

Can herbicides cause breast cancer? Scientists discover a piece to the puzzle.

Scientists know that the solution to preventing breast cancer won't come easily, but a collaborative team of scientists at Purdue University and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM)/Institut de Cancérologie de L'Ouest (ICO) in Nantes, France, say they've recently discovered one of the missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to cancer prevention.

Public health expert discusses the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes

Vaping-related illnesses and deaths have drawn national attention since they first were documented last month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 805 cases of lung injury and 12 deaths have been associated with e-cigarette use in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands as of Sept. 24, according to the CDC.

Busting flu vaccine myths to keep you safe

It is that time of year—flu season is upon us. While there is extensive research supporting vaccination and the impact on public health in fighting infectious disease, you may have questions about effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. Allow me to ease your mind about the flu vaccine, as it is important to protect yourself and your loved ones against this potentially life-threatening illness.

Screening for lung cancer based on risk could save lives

Changing the way individuals are selected to be screened for lung cancer, by considering their probability of getting or dying from lung cancer calculated from risk-prediction models, could prevent 14 percent of lung cancer deaths per year.

1 in 3 young adults are lonely—and it affects their mental health

More than one in three young adults aged 18 to 25 reported problematic levels of loneliness, according to a new report from Swinburne University and VicHealth.

Three studies reveal noteworthy trends regarding eating disorders in the U.S.

A School of Public Health professor has been extensively researching eating disorders in the United States and has found trends that warrant increased screening for the disorders, she explains.

Why it finally makes sense to vaccinate boys against HPV

From September 2019, boys aged 12 and 13 in the UK are being offered free vaccination against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) for the first time. HPV causes cervical cancer, and girls and young women have been receiving the vaccine for over ten years. So why is it being rolled out for boys too? And why only now?

Unexpected microbiome collapse after admission to intensive care

Potentially harmful microbes overwhelm the healthy gut microbiota in intensive care patients, research has found.

Why we age: New theories gaining ground

Why do we age? It's a question that has had scientists scratching their heads for decades, but finally, we are starting to get some answers. Here is the story so far.

Antibiotic resistance: Why tests are key to arresting the trend

Infections are a leading cause of death worldwide. But widespread resistance to almost all available antibacterials is a reality in low and middle-income countries. It is thought to be most acute in sub-Saharan Africa.

Is there such thing as an addictive personality?

Most of us know somebody who tends to get over involved in certain behaviors, and the saying often goes that they must have an "addictive personality." But is there such a thing?

Three-in-one inhaler helps asthmatics breathe easy

Patients with severe asthma which is not controlled with standard treatment—leaving them at risk of severe asthma attacks—could benefit from using a single inhaler combining three, instead of two therapies, according to two phase 3 randomized controlled trials with over 2,500 patients across 17 countries, published in The Lancet and simultaneously presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Conference 2019.

Cell surface sensors could advance precision medicine

Researchers have found a way to identify multiple cell signaling proteins using a single cell rather than the billions of cells used previously.

Using a Fitbit and music to counteract insomnia

Lots of people like to listen to music at bedtime. With the advent of the portable music player and in-ear headphones, this phenomenon has become widespread. Of course, music can help improve our state of mind and perhaps even help those who suffer from insomnia to get to sleep. The downside is that once you have fallen asleep the music will keep playing and this might have detrimental effects on how deeply you sleep afterwards and perhaps even cause issues in terms of damage to hearing.

Studies compare the most effective rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury patients

A series of four studies led by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and published online together in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation shed light on the most effective rehabilitation practices for patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Research team tests novel immunotherapy against certain blood cancer cells

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children. This form of blood cancer is caused by malignant abnormal precursor cells of certain white blood cells, and usually leads to a rapidly progressive reduction of bone marrow function, and thus impaired blood formation. If left untreated, it quickly leads to death. Despite the severity of the disease, in many cases children today have good chances of survival and being cured. The current standard treatment consists of various forms of chemotherapy, but these cause severe side-effects because of their toxic effect on healthy cells, too.

Sugary drinks tax is working: Now it's time to target snacks

A sugar tax on soft drinks has now been in operation in the UK for more than a year and results so far seem to indicate it's working. But campaigners say more still needs to be done and that the next target should be biscuits, cakes and snacks –- many of which contain high amounts of sugar.

Barrier to rural opioid treatment: Driving distance to methadone clinics

People who live in rural counties in five states heavily affected by the opioid epidemic must drive longer distances to obtain methadone, a treatment for opioid addiction, compared to individuals from urban counties, say Yale researchers. Their study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggests these long drive times in rural counties could be reduced by making methadone more accessible in primary care clinics, they said.

Domestic violence reduces likelihood of mothers breastfeeding in developing countries

Mothers who have suffered from domestic violence are substantially less likely to follow recommended breastfeeding practices in low to middle-income countries, a new study shows.

Food insecurity in young adults raises risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma

A paradox of food insecurity in wealthy countries is its association with excess weight. Now, a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco finds that young adults in the United States who are food insecure not only are slightly more likely to be obese, they are significantly more likely to suffer from disorders associated with high body mass index, as well as obstructive airway diseases like asthma.

Acute psychotic illness triggered by Brexit Referendum

Political events can take a serious toll on mental health, a doctor has warned in the journal BMJ Case Reports, after treating a man with a brief episode of acute psychosis, triggered by the 2016 Referendum on Brexit—the process of the UK leaving the European Union (EU).

When should my child start speaking?

Children develop at varying rates in all sorts of ways, from when they take their first steps to when they understand that their own perspective might be different to someone else's. Language is no different so there is no set age at which a child should start talking.

Possible explanation of how an epileptic seizure spreads through the brain

In some forms of epilepsy, the function of certain "brake cells" in the brain is presumed to be disrupted. This may be one of the reasons why the electrical malfunction is able to spread from the point of origin across large parts of the brain. A current study by the University of Bonn, in which researchers from Lisbon were also involved, points in this direction. The results will be published shortly in the renowned Journal of Neuroscience.

Researchers identify genetic signals for the regulation of infant growth

Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway have identified new genetic signals for the regulation of how infants grow. This may be a crucial step in the fight against growth-related diseases.

Researchers develop MRI with lower magnetic field for cardiac and lung imaging condition

National Institutes of Health researchers, along with researchers at Siemens, have developed a high-performance, low magnetic-field MRI system that vastly improves image quality of the lungs and other internal structures of the human body. The new system is more compatible with interventional devices that could greatly enhance image-guided procedures that diagnose and treat disease, and the system makes medical imaging more affordable and accessible for patients.

Exposure to BPA in the womb linked to wheezing and poorer lung function in children

Madrid, Spain: Pregnant women exposed to higher levels of the commonly used chemical bisphenol A (BPA) are more likely to have children who suffer with wheezing and poorer lung function, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

New species of parasite is identified in fatal case of visceral leishmaniasis

Brazilian researchers believe they have identified in patients treated at the University Hospital (HU) in Aracaju, state of Sergipe, a new species of parasite that can cause a disease similar to visceral leishmaniasis but is resistant to the treatments currently available. At least one person has died from complications associated with infection by the parasite.

Revolutionary simple blood tests for diabetic complications, cancer

With a revolutionary new approach that analyzed just a few drops of blood, Northwestern Medicine scientists and international collaborators detected earlier and more accurately if diabetic patients had developed life-threatening vascular complications such as heart disease, atherosclerosis and kidney failure.

High-fructose and high-fat diet damages liver mitochondria, study finds

Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center have found that high levels of fructose in the diet inhibit the liver's ability to properly metabolize fat. This effect is specific to fructose. Indeed, equally high levels of glucose in the diet actually improve the fat-burning function of the liver. This explains why high dietary fructose has more negative health impacts than glucose does, even though they have the same caloric content.

Washington state bans sale of flavored electronic cigarettes

(HealthDay)—Washington has become the fourth state to ban flavored vaping products, joining Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island, CBS News reports.

Mavyret approved as 8-week treatment for hep C, compensated cirrhosis

(HealthDay)—Approval of Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) tablets has been expanded to eight-week treatment for treatment-naive patients aged 12 years and older with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1 through 6 and compensated cirrhosis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last week.

Radiation for head and neck cancer may cause problems years later

(HealthDay)—Ten years after radiation treatment for head and neck cancer, some patients may develop problems speaking and swallowing, a new study finds.

Glycemic control worse than thought in adults with T1DM

(HealthDay)—For adults with type 1 diabetes, glycemic control may be worse than previously thought, and rates of all complications increase with increasing hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), according to a study published online Sept. 23 in Diabetes Care.

Decrease in stroke incidence continued through 2017 in ARIC

(HealthDay)—In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, the decrease in stroke rates reported for 1987 to 2011 extended to 2017, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in JAMA Neurology.

Incidence of HPV-positive head and neck cancer up in the U.S.

(HealthDay)—The rate of head and neck cancers has risen since the 1970s, and most are linked to human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a study recently published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Elderly who start thiopurine therapy for IBD have higher risk for adverse events

(HealthDay)—Elderly patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at higher risk for adverse events (AEs) related to the use of thiopurines, according to a study published in the October issue of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Stroke rate continues to fall among older Americans

(HealthDay)—Starting in the late 1980s, stroke rates among older Americans began to fall—and the decline shows no signs of stopping, a new study finds.

Make neighborhoods green for heart health? The idea is taking root

Neighborhoods filled with trees, grass and other flora not only improve the air and clear the mind – they also can reduce heart disease risk, recent studies suggest.

Rituxan approved for pediatric patients with rare vasculitis diseases

(HealthDay)—Rituxan (rituximab) injection was granted the first approval for a drug to treat granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) in combination with glucocorticoids in children 2 years and older, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday.

Why maintaining weight loss demands more than willpower

(HealthDay)—Scientists are learning more about why keeping off lost weight is so hard—and a pair of studies suggest it's more than a question of sheer willpower.

How to wait out a blue mood

(HealthDay)—Feel bad about feeling bad? Don't.

Childhood TB shot may offer long-term protection from lung cancer

(HealthDay)—A tuberculosis vaccine commonly used in other parts of the world might reduce a person's risk of developing lung cancer if given early in childhood, a six-decade-long study reports.

How a plant-based diet can ease rheumatoid arthritis

Switching to a plant-based diet can alleviate the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, a new study shows.

Full-body interaction videogames enhance social skills in children with autism disorders

Narcís Parés, a member of the Cognitive Media Technologies research group of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) at UPF, is working on a research line known as "full-body interaction." At his laboratory, he designs different applications based on interaction in order to study the mediation of experiences. In conjunction with Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, he created Pico's Adventure, a videogame based on full-body interaction that encourages social communication among participants.

No evidence that power posing works: study

Striking a power pose before an important meeting or interview is not going to boost your confidence or make you feel more powerful, says an Iowa State University researcher.

Mild-to-moderate hearing loss in children leads to changes in how brain processes sound

Deafness in early childhood is known to lead to lasting changes in how sounds are processed in the brain, but new research published today in eLife shows that even mild-to-moderate levels of hearing loss in young children can lead to similar changes.

Stem cell treatments for shoulder and elbow injuries flourish, but so far there's little evidence they work

The utilization of stem cell therapies for augmentation of tissue healing has far outpaced the supporting scientific and clinical data, largely due to aggressive marketing that has led to widespread and often inappropriate use of cell therapy approaches in the United States. Two critical reviews in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery examine the current status of biologic approaches for common shoulder and elbow problems. The authors discuss areas where the current evidence base is weak or controversial and recommend where further studies are required.

Doctor offers unique perspective as father of a child with rare genetic disease

From a professional standpoint, Nathan Hoot, MD, Ph.D., understands the value of medical research that leads to new, groundbreaking drugs in the treatment of rare diseases. And as an emergency medicine physician, he's familiar with adjusting ventilators and managing patients' airways. But the magnitude of these matters also weigh on Hoot personally—as the father of a son with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic disease that affects the part of the nervous system controlling voluntary muscle movement.

Juul stops funding San Francisco vaping measure

Juul Labs Inc. announced Monday that it will stop supporting a ballot measure to overturn an anti-vaping law in San Francisco, effectively killing the campaign.

Bacteria passed from mother to baby may play a role in later health

The bacteria and viruses a baby inherit from its mother play a crucial role in determining the child's health in later life, according to research that could lead to new interventions to tackle conditions like obesity, allergies and colic.

Predicting the risk of kidney transplant loss with artificial intelligence

Chronic kidney disease affects 1 out of 10 people worldwide and is steadily increasing. When it reaches end-stage renal disease and endangers the lives of patients, dialysis or transplantation is required. Renal transplantation is the treatment of choice, offering a better quality of life and survival chances to patients. Unfortunately, due to the lack of available organs, approximately 55% of patients with end-stage renal disease are still treated by dialysis, representing an annual cost of €2.6 billion in France and $42 billion in the U.S..

5 things to know about immunotherapy and breast cancer

If you follow news about medical breakthroughs, you have undoubtedly heard about immunotherapy to treat cancer.

Big box pharmacies offer lowest cash prices for generic drugs

Compared with large chains, independent pharmacies and small chains had the highest cash prices for generic drugs and big-box pharmacies the lowest. Cash prices for brand-name drugs were similar across all types of retail pharmacies. Findings from a national cross-sectional study are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

If a medicine is too expensive, should a hospital make its own?

When Marleen Kemper was a child, she watched two of her primary-school classmates get ill. One had a brain tumor, and the other contracted an infection in his gut. Both of them died. Kemper was around ten at the time, and knew that she didn't want to see another friend perish. She told her parents she wanted to do something that would prevent others dying. She wanted to be a doctor.

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.

Radiology organizations publish statement on ethics of AI in Radiology

Experts in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in radiology, from many of the world's leading radiology, medical physics and imaging informatics groups, today published an aspirational statement to guide the development of AI in radiology. The multi-society statement focuses on three major areas: data, algorithms and practice. Simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, Radiology, Insights into Imaging and the Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal, the paper also sought to address and incorporate feedback received from patients, radiologists, regulators and other stakeholders during a comment period that ended in April 2019.

Verbal autopsies used in push to better track global deaths

One afternoon last month, a young woman with a tablet computer sat next to Alphonsine Umurerwa on the living room couch, asking questions, listening carefully.

Watchdog finds DEA was 'slow to respond' to opioid epidemic

The Drug Enforcement Administration was "slow to respond" as America grappled with a rising opioid epidemic, the Justice Department's inspector general said in a report Tuesday that faulted the agency for cutting back use of a key enforcement tool and continuing to raise production quotas even as the number of deaths rose.

North Carolina Legionnaires' case count climbs to 79

(HealthDay)—The number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease linked to a North Carolina state fair now stands at 79, including 55 people hospitalized and one death.

Laboratory to join ATOM to transform drug discovery with AI

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 38 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. The current process for drug discovery is slow and sequential, and often involves high failure rates for drug candidates. Can artificial intelligence (AI) be used to transform the existing drug discovery process into a rapid, integrated, and patient-centric model? Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory think so.

Uncovering new therapeutic targets for airway inflammation in sickle cell disease

A new study by De, Agrawal, Morrone et al, chal-lenges the common notion that airway inflammation in Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is secondary to asthma, even though the two disorders often coexist. In a recent pilot, cross sectional study, both systemic and airway inflammatory markers were compared in patients with sickle cell disease with and without asthma or obstructive airway symptoms. Their findings suggest that monocytes may play an important role in pulmonary inflammation in SCD. They propose that additional studies looking into the underlying mechanisms of pulmonary inflammation in SCD may help researchers to develop more targeted therapies for these patients. These findings are published in Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology.

Fourth baby born after uterus transplant in Dallas

Kayla and Lance Edwards are excited to publicly announce the birth of their daughter Indy Pearl Edwards through a landmark uterus transplant clinical trial at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, a part of Baylor Scott & White Health.

ATS/IDSA publishes clinical guideline on community acquired pneumonia

The American Thoracic Society and the Infectious Diseases Society of America have published an official clinical guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of adults with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the ATS's Oct. 1 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Study demonstrates HIV antibody responses within six weeks of initial vaccination

An early phase study was conducted in the U.S. in which different combinations of DNA (DNA-HIV-PT123) and protein (AIDSVAX B/E) vaccines were administered in four randomized treatment groups (T1, T2, T3, T4), to determine which strategy would induce favorable HIV-specific antibody and T-cell responses. The study led by protocol co-chair and Investigator at the Emory Center for AIDS Research Nadine Rouphael, M.D. and chair and professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center Michael Keefer, M.D. demonstrated that DNA (DNA-HIV-PT123) and protein (AIDSVAX B/E) combination vaccine regimens induced high magnitude and long-lasting binding antibody responses and that more rapid potentially protective immune responses were observed when the vaccine regimens were co-administered. The "DNA priming and gp120 boosting induces HIV-specific antibodies in randomized clinical trial" findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on September 30.

Cerebral reperfusion of reading network predicts recovery of reading ability after stroke

A team of New Jersey stroke researchers has linked recovery of reading and language competence with cerebral blood flow in the left reading network. Their findings may contribute to new approaches to identifying and treating reading deficits after stroke. The open access article, "Cerebral perfusion of the left reading network predicts recovery of reading in subacute to chronic stroke" was epublished on August 26, 2019 in Human Brain Mapping. The authors are Olga Boukrina, Ph.D., and A.M. Barrett, MD, of Kessler Foundation, and William Graves, Ph.D., of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Collaboration may improve access to HIV testing, primary care

Getting better access to testing and proper primary care for individuals vulnerable to HIV could be as simple as a telephone call or email among health providers.

Geriatrics experts on gender equity in health care: 'When women rise, we all rise'

Putting power and potential behind gender equity in health care isn't just common sense. It's critical to the future of health, safety, and independence for us all as we age, so says the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) in a new position statement released today, International Day of Older Persons. The statement outlines strategic objectives that can help us achieve a simple truth: "When women rise, we all rise."

San Francisco campaign to stop e-cigarette measure pushes on

A campaign to defeat an industry-backed e-cigarette measure on San Francisco's ballot will push on despite the announcement by Juul Labs Inc. that it will stop financially supporting the proposal to overturn a city ban on e-cigarettes and vape product sales.

Biology news

Biologists track the invasion of herbicide-resistant weeds into southwestern Ontario

A team including evolutionary biologists from the University of Toronto (U of T) have identified the ways in which herbicide-resistant strains of an invasive weed named common waterhemp have emerged in fields of soy and corn in southwestern Ontario.

Cracking how 'water bears' survive the extremes

Diminutive animals known as tardigrades appear to us as plump, squeezable toys, earning them irresistible nicknames such as "water bears" and "moss piglets."

Climate change could pit species against one another as they shift ranges

Species have few good options when it comes to surviving climate change—they can genetically adapt to new conditions, shift their ranges, or both.

Could the female orgasm be a happy remnant of evolution?

Have scientists solved the mystery of the female orgasm?

250-million-year-old evolutionary remnants seen in muscles of human embryos

A team of evolutionary biologists, led by Dr. Rui Diogo at Howard University, and writing in the journal Development, have demonstrated that numerous atavistic limb muscles—known to be present in many limbed animals but usually absent in adult humans—are actually formed during early human development and then lost prior to birth. Strikingly, some of these muscles, such as the dorsometacarpales shown in the picture, disappeared from our adult ancestors more than 250 million years ago, during the transition from synapsid reptiles to mammals.

Coral bleaching is caused by more than just heat

Analysis of reef damage in the Indo-Pacific during the 2016 El Nino reveals that several stressors influence bleaching.

Fish may be key to controlling growth of reef bacteria

In response to local and global climate stressors, a type of bright red bacteria has proliferated on reefs worldwide often snuffing the life out of precious corals and changing the reef ecosystem.

Protozoans and pathogens make for an infectious mix

Single celled organisms in the environment are protecting pathogenic bacteria and priming them for human infection, an international team of researchers has discovered.

Did long ago tsunamis lead to mysterious, tropical fungal outbreak in Pacific northwest?

The Great Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 and the tsunamis it spawned may have washed a tropical fungus ashore, leading to a subsequent outbreak of often-fatal infections among people in coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest, according to a paper co-authored by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the nonprofit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope.

Bacteria bullets target toxic algae

Communities across the United States and around the world, along salty bays to freshwater lakes, increasingly are grappling with the dangerous effects of microscopic algae that suddenly grow out of control in these waters. This dramatic growth may be triggered by storms, a glut of nutrients, rising temperatures and potentially other factors.

Surrogacy advance could aid rare chicken breeds

Hens that cannot produce their own chicks have successfully acted as surrogates for rare chicken breeds.

Species could buffer reproduction against climate change through sperm and egg plasticity

Beetles have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to reproduce despite warmer temperatures—according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

'Poisoned arrowhead' used by warring bacteria could lead to new antibiotics

A weapon bacteria use to vanquish their competitors could be copied to create new forms of antibiotics, according to Imperial College London research.

High-resolution RNA-sequencing enables detection of disease at its earliest stages

Researchers in Sweden and the U.S. have devised a new method for studying individual cells in human tissue, which could lead to even earlier detection of diseases such as cancer and ALS. The method offers a 1,400-fold increase in spatial resolution.

Glowing bacteria in anglerfish 'lamp' come from the water

New research shows that female deep-sea anglerfish's bioluminescent bacteria—which illuminate their "headlamp"—most likely come from the water.

An 'earthquake' in the cell: Scientists discover how a modification of the nuclear lamina maintains nuclear shape

The genetic material of each mammalian cell is safeguarded within the cell's nucleus. In healthy organisms, the usually round-shaped nucleus gets its stability from the nuclear envelope and the nuclear lamina. The latter is a network of proteins sandwiched between the inner nuclear envelope and the DNA, and largely shapes nuclear form.

Collagen fibers encourage cell streaming through balancing act

Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up skin, bone, tendons and other soft tissues. Its fibrous nature helps cells to move throughout the body, but until now, it wasn't clear how the length of fibers influences how cells move in groups.

The hidden ark: How a grassroots initiative can help save fish from extinction

Freshwater fish are a highly diverse group representing nearly half of all fish species. Due to accelerating human activities, they are also the most threatened vertebrate group, and are disappearing faster than they can be described. Currently, half of all freshwater fish species are still not formally assessed by conservation organizations, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), resulting in many species becoming extinct before conservation actions can even be initiated.

Jellyfish's 'superpowers' gained through cellular mechanism

Jellyfish possess the ability to regenerate body parts. A team of Japanese scientists has now revealed the cellular mechanisms that give jellyfish these remarkable regenerative powers. Their findings were published on August 26, 2019 in PeerJ.

Baby sharks know when to run away from hurricanes

When a hurricane is coming, even baby sharks get out of the way.

A step toward controlling soybean rust

The United States is the world's leading soybean producer, and soybeans are used to produce biodiesel. The fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi causes Asian Soybean Rust (ASR) and is the major pathogen of soybean. Left uncontrolled, soybean rust could reduce crop yields by as much as 90 percent.

Crocodile-killing bacteria identified by researchers

A groundbreaking study by a north Australian research team which identified a deadly bacterium responsible for killing saltwater crocodiles at a Top End Wildlife Park has recently been published in the journal, Microbial Genomics.

Indonesia scraps plans to close komodo dragon island

Indonesia has scrapped plans to ban tourists from an island home to komodo dragons and will instead limit visitor numbers and raise entry prices to create a "premium destination", officials said.

New method improves measurement of animal behavior using deep learning

A new toolkit goes beyond existing machine learning methods by measuring body posture in animals with high speed and accuracy. Developed by researchers from the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective behavior at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, this deep learning toolkit, called DeepPoseKit, combines previous methods for pose estimation with state-of-the-art developments in computer science. These newly-developed deep learning methods can correctly measure body posture from previously-unseen images after being trained with only 100 examples and can be applied to study wild animals in challenging field settings. Published today in the open access journal eLife, the study is advancing the field of animal behavior with next-generation tools while at the same time providing an accessible system for non-experts to easily apply machine learning to their behavioral research.

Horse nutrition: Prebiotics do more harm than good

Prebiotics are only able to help stabilise the intestinal flora of horses to a limited degree. Before they can reach the intestines, commercially available supplements partially break down in the animals' stomachs, which can lead to inflammation of the stomach lining. This was discovered by researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo). The team therefore suggests preparing prebiotic food supplements so that they don't take effect until they reach the large intestine. The study appeared recently in the journal PLOS ONE.

How sustainable is tuna? New global catch database exposes dangerous fishing trends

Appearing in everything from sushi rolls to sandwiches, tuna are among the world's favourite fish. But are our current tuna fishing habits sustainable?

Predators and hidey-holes are good for reef fish populations

New research highlights two factors that play a critical role in supporting reef fish populations and—ultimately—creating conditions that are more favorable for the growth of both coral reefs and seagrass.

Condor chick makes 1st flight attempt from Utah cliff

In another sign that California condors are making a comeback in the wild three decades after nearing the brink of extinction, a condor chick left its nest and made its first attempt at flight in Utah's Zion National Park.

Tougher penalties to protect Sri Lanka elephants after mass deaths

Sri Lanka announced harsher penalties in a bid to protect wild elephants on Tuesday, as investigators probed whether seven jumbos found poisoned over the weekend were killed by villagers.

Researchers open a new path to end citric fruit alternate bearing

Researchers of Valencia's Polytechnic University and international collaborators have established the epigenetic mechanism through which citrus fruit inhibits the flowering of citric fruit trees. This discovery is essential to understand alternate bearing, a phenomenon that affects a large number of the most prized citric fruit varieties and which globally accounts for annual losses of around €20 billion. This finding opens a new path to solve this issue and limit the losses that it creates in the sector. Their work has been published in the journal New Phytologist.

Lab-made blood vessels: Mechanics matters

Biodegradable tubes that turn into living blood vessels once implanted in the human body. In an imaginary, modern remake of Fantastic Voyage, Isaac Asimov would probably navigate his submersible through the folds of our cardiovascular system, to figure out how this process occurs. And, he would understand that, regardless of how perfect these tubes look in the lab, once implanted in the human body, their performances are drastically influenced by the mechanical loading imposed by the blood flow and pressure. Eline Van Haaften, Ph.D. candidate from Biomedical Engineering, developed a bioreactor that mimics blood circulation within the body. She identified some of the possible causes of failure of lab-made vessels. Her results could be used to improve the design of lab-made vessels and accelerate clinical translation for patients with cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Van Haaften defends her Ph.D. thesis on October 1st at TU/e.

Gene responsible for lutein esterification in bread wheat identified

Researchers Jacinta Watkins and Barry Pogson from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology, Australian National University, together with others at ANU and their colleagues at the University of Adelaide, University of Sydney, and University of Toronto, designed their study to understand the esterification of lutein in wheat grain.

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