Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Oct 30

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 30, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Dielectric metasurfaces for next-generation holograms

Lithium ion battery design can charge an electric vehicle in 10 minutes

Twisted physics: Magic angle graphene produces switchable patterns of superconductivity

Bundlemers (new polymer units) could transform industries

To survive in the human gut, bacteria need genetic 'passcode'

A new high-resolution map of how the brain is wired

Double-sided tape for tissues could replace surgical sutures

Globular cluster Terzan 9 investigated with MUSE

Climate models and geology reveal new insights into the East Asian monsoon

Empowering drug discovery by evaluating antivirals in thousands of single cells

Two-legged robot mimics human balance while running and jumping

Simulations explain giant exoplanets with eccentric, close-in orbits

System provides cooling with no electricity

Two million-year-old ice provides snapshot of Earth's greenhouse gas history

Classic energy theory fails to explain coral distribution across depth

Astronomy & Space news

Globular cluster Terzan 9 investigated with MUSE

Using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), an international team of astronomers has investigated Terzan 9—one of the most central globular clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. Results of the study, presented in a paper published October 22 on arXiv, provide more information about the properties of Terzan 9, which could help astronomers to better understand the chemical composition and nature of this cluster.

Simulations explain giant exoplanets with eccentric, close-in orbits

As planetary systems evolve, gravitational interactions between planets can fling some of them into eccentric elliptical orbits around the host star, or even out of the system altogether. Smaller planets should be more susceptible to this gravitational scattering, yet many gas giant exoplanets have been observed with eccentric orbits very different from the roughly circular orbits of the planets in our own solar system.

Astronomers discover ghosts of supernovas in nearby galaxy

Researchers from the University of Manchester, with international colleagues, have carried out a survey of a nearby galaxy.

NASA's latest exoplanet posters are a Halloween treat

Just in time for Halloween, NASA has released two new posters celebrating some truly terrifying exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. Free to download, the entertaining posters recall vintage horror movie advertisements but have a decidedly astronomical focus.

Image: Antarctic mist

As the Northern hemisphere tucks into longer nights, Antarctica bursts into its season of sunlight.

SwRI to plan Pluto orbiter mission

NASA has funded Southwest Research Institute to study the important attributes, feasibility and cost of a possible future Pluto orbiter mission. This study will develop the spacecraft and payload design requirements and make preliminary cost and risk assessments for new technologies.

Technology news

Lithium ion battery design can charge an electric vehicle in 10 minutes

Scientist have developed a lithium ion battery that charges at an elevated temperature to increase reaction rate but keeps the cell cool during discharge, showing the potential to add 200 miles of driving range to an electric car in 10 minutes. If scaled, the design is one potential strategy to alleviate concerns that all-electric vehicles lack sufficient cruise range to safely reach a destination without stalling mid-journey. The Pennsylvania State University researchers present the work October 30 in the journal Joule.

Double-sided tape for tissues could replace surgical sutures

Inspired by a sticky substance that spiders use to catch their prey, MIT engineers have designed a double-sided tape that can rapidly seal tissues together.

Two-legged robot mimics human balance while running and jumping

Rescuing victims from a burning building, a chemical spill, or any disaster that is inaccessible to human responders could one day be a mission for resilient, adaptable robots. Imagine, for instance, rescue-bots that can bound through rubble on all fours, then rise up on two legs to push aside a heavy obstacle or break through a locked door.

System provides cooling with no electricity

Imagine a device that can sit outside under blazing sunlight on a clear day, and without using any power cool things down by more than 23 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). It almost sounds like magic, but a new system designed by researchers at MIT and in Chile can do exactly that.

Phoenix rises with driverless Waymo signups

Waymo's autonomous cars have started picking up passengers in Phoenix, Arizona. Let's focus on autonomous: Nobody is at the wheel. Riders-only.

Robotic blocks can identify each other and self-assemble to form structures

Swarms of simple, interacting robots have the potential to unlock stealthy abilities for accomplishing complex tasks. Getting these robots to achieve a true hive-like mind of coordination, though, has proved to be a hurdle.

Engineers develop computerized bionic leg to help amputees walk faster, easier and with better balance

For a brief time, Kerry Finn felt like "The Terminator" or "The Six Million Dollar Man." The 60-year-old retired truck driver from Salt Lake County, Utah, lost his left leg to vascular disease from type 2 diabetes. But last year, he was one of 10 human subjects at the University of Utah to test one of the world's first truly bionic legs, a self-powered prosthetic limb with a computer processor and motorized joints in the ankle and knee that enable an amputee to walk with more power, vigor and better balance.

AT&T says HBO Max streaming service to launch in May for $15

AT&T said Tuesday that its HBO Max streaming service will launch in May for $15 a month, joining a crowded field.

Quibi: the new mobile-centric short-form streaming service

Quibi, the Hollywood-backed streaming service set to launch next April, will offer people on the go short-form content that can be viewed in 10-minute increments only on mobile phones.

Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot in talks to create $50 bn car giant

Fiat Chrysler and Groupe PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, announced Wednesday they are in merger talks that could propel them into the top ranks as the world's fourth largest automaker.

Volkswagen confident despite braking car market

German car giant Volkswagen said Wednesday it was confident of hitting financial targets despite a lower unit sales outlook, warning "vehicle markets will contract faster than previously anticipated in many regions".

Sony sees first-half net profit drop but lifts full-year forecast

Japan's Sony said Wednesday half-year net profit fell nearly 15 percent, but it upgraded its annual forecast on solid growth in its image-sensor and music sectors.

Gender neutral emojis hit screens in new Apple update

Apple has put out new gender neutral emojis of most of its people icons—including punks, clowns and zombies—as part of an update to its mobile operating system.

Beijing eyes facial recognition tech for metro security

Beijing will use facial recognition tools to speed up security checks in the city's overcrowded metro, using a 'credit system' to sort passengers into different channels, state-run media reported on Wednesday.

Automatic braking can be lifesaving (except when it's not), IIHS study finds

As the nation's pedestrian safety crisis continues, carmakers are gradually adopting automatic braking systems that are supposed to help vehicles avoid hitting people.

Edmunds tests Android Auto and Apple CarPlay updates

The fall season coincides with the reveal of the latest smartphones and operating systems from Apple and Google. This year in particular marks the first time that the two brands have significantly overhauled their automotive software—Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—to make them easier to use. Edmunds gives an overview of how these systems work and which new features our experts like the best.

Cranberry farmers want to build solar panels over their bogs

Plummeting cranberry prices and the country's ongoing trade wars have America's cranberry industry eyeing a possible new savior: solar power.

DNS-over-HTTPS: why the web's latest privacy tech is causing an outcry

A new technology promises to make your web browser more private than ever, keeping your internet activity from prying eyes. But some argue your data won't actually be all that private. And others are worried it could actually help criminals including child abusers to avoid justice. Here's what you need to know about DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH).

AI tool detects global fashion trends

On the king's birthday in Thailand—celebrated as Father's Day—people often wear yellow shirts emblazoned with the word "DAD."

A clear view through fog of city surveillance

CCTV—closed-circuit television—is widely used to carry out surveillance in a wide range of environments from military installations to shopping centres. Modern video surveillance, with recording and playback facilities, multiple cameras, and other infrastructure are quite unwieldy and rely on expensive computer servers that can process and store video.

Neural network reconstructs human thoughts from brain waves in real time

Researchers from Russian corporation Neurobotics and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have found a way to visualize a person's brain activity as actual images mimicking what they observe in real time. This will enable new post-stroke rehabilitation devices controlled by brain signals. The team published its research as a preprint on bioRxiv and posted a video online showing their "mind-reading" system at work.

Ford to offer over-the-air software updates across lineup

Beginning next year, Ford's redesigned vehicle models will allow software updates over the internet or through cellular phone connections.

Aircraft pilots usually cannot spot an encroaching drone, study shows

Skilled pilots approaching a runway usually can't see small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) encroaching on their airspace, and they virtually never detect motionless drones, a newly published study shows.

Facebook agrees to pay fine in Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook has agreed to pay a 500,000-pound ($643,000) fine in a privacy case stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, agreeing to accept the fine without admitting any liability.

Despite promising to stop, Facebook and Google are still selling political ads in Washington state

On Dec. 28 of last year, Facebook said it would stop selling ads about state and local elections in Washington state. Since that day, Facebook has sold at least $39,000 worth of ads about state and local elections in Washington state.

Blockchain offers promise for securing global supply chain

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform the global supply chain and improve both the speed and security of handling the flow of goods at international borders. But researchers say big questions remain about how the transformation will unfold.

Facebook profit climbs along with user base

Facebook on Wednesday reported that its quarterly profit grew along with its user base as it grapples with concerns ranging from political ads to cryptocurrency.

Twitter bans all political advertisements

Twitter is banning all political advertising from its service, saying social media companies give advertisers an unfair advantage in proliferating highly targeted, misleading messages.

Lyft loses money again but eyes profits in about 2 years

Lyft is continuing to lose staggering sums of money as it barrels ahead with impressive revenue growth, but its executives said they believe the company will turn a corner and reach profitability in about two years.

Apple overcomes iPhone slump with strong fiscal 4Q showing

Apple is still running a well-oiled moneymaking machine despite cooling demand for its hottest product, the iPhone.

Spotify launches standalone music app for kids

Spotify wants to hook your kids on music at an early age. And the Swedish company is doing so by launching a tailored Spotify Kids app on Wednesday, initially in beta and only in Ireland. Though make no mistake, Spotify has designs on spreading the service to other global markets, including the U.S.

Forget self-driving cars, this plane landed itself

I don't have a pilot's license. I'm not crazy about heights. I'm not even great at flight simulators on a computer.

Sony shutting down PlayStation VUE cut the cord service

This has not been a good week for cord cutters looking for cable TV alternatives.

Airbus cuts delivery forecast, profits in holding pattern

Airbus cut Wednesday its forecast for the number of planes it will deliver this year as it finds it difficult to meet ambitious targets to speed up production, while profits held steady in the third quarter.

Agriculture of the future: neural networks have learned to predict plant growth

Scientists from Skoltech have trained neural networks to evaluate and predict the plant growth pattern taking into account the main influencing factors and propose the optimal ratio between the nutrient requirements and other growth-driving parameters. The results of the study were published in the IEEE journal Transactions on Instrumentations and Measurements.

Carmaker tie-ups and break-ups

With US-Italian auto giant Fiat Chrysler and France's Groupe PSA in merger talks, here is a look at other major auto tie-up deals—or attempted deals—since the 1990s.

Africa targeted by Russian-led disinformation campaign: Facebook

Facebook said Wednesday it had taken down accounts linked to a Russian ally of President Vladimir Putin seeking to spread disinformation on the social network in eight African countries.

Boeing CEO grilled again amid calls for resignation

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg faced another round of tough questions on Wednesday, with US lawmakers calling out the aerospace giant for not holding top leaders accountable after two deadly crashes.

Beyond Netflix: A look at what you get with new streamers

Attention binge watchers: There's life beyond Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

Medicine & Health news

A new high-resolution map of how the brain is wired

In their quest to map the millions of neural highways and connections in the brain, researchers at the Allen Institute have made a significant step forward, unveiling a new high-resolution view of the wiring diagram of the mouse brain. Their study, which was published today in the journal Nature, traced thousands of connections between brain areas and lays the groundwork for researchers to better understand how brain circuitry might go awry in diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

Name that tune: Brain takes just 100 to 300 milliseconds to recognize familiar music

The human brain can recognise a familiar song within 100 to 300 milliseconds, highlighting the deep hold favourite tunes have on our memory, a UCL study finds.

Immune 'control switch' could prevent brain injury in premature babies

Researchers have discovered an immune control switch that could protect the brains of premature babies, who often suffer brain injuries when their immune response goes into overdrive.

Coordinated brain activation supports spatial learning and decision-making

Specialized brain activation "replays" the possible routes that rats can take as they navigate a space, helping them keep track of the paths they've already taken and choose among the routes that they can take next, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study published in the journal Neuron.

Mitochondrial activity in lung tumors predicts response to drug inhibitor

Researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have identified a new biomarker using a noninvasive imaging method that tracks mitochondrial activity in lung tumors. The level of activity could potentially predict which individuals with lung cancer will respond favorably to a complex I inhibitor that targets mitochondrial function and who may be resistant to current therapies. Prior to this study, there has not been a noninvasive way to track mitochondrial activity in lung tumors.

Immune response against skin-dwelling viruses prevents cancer

Viruses get a bad rap as potential cancer-causers, but at least one class of viruses that commonly live on human skin—so-called "low-risk" human papillomaviruses—appear to play an unwitting role in protecting us against skin cancer according to a new study published in Nature.

Initial testing of go/no-go 'boosting intervention' trials shows promise in helping people lose weight

A team of researchers from Cardiff University, Radboud University and the University of Exeter has carried out a survey of "boosting intervention" trials to find out how well such approaches work in helping people lose weight. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes the idea behind the approach and the results.

Study suggests acetaminophen in pregnancy linked to higher risk of ADHD, autism

Exposure to acetaminophen in the womb may increase a child's risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. The study was conducted by Xiaobing Wang, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues. It appears in JAMA Psychiatry.

Scientists identify new potential treatment pathway for cardiovascular disease

Scientists from the University of Sheffield have identified a new potential treatment pathway for cardiovascular disease.

Scientists reverse fibrosis in preclinical studies

In cell and mouse models, Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators have identified a way to slow and reverse the process of uncontrolled internal scarring, called fibrosis.

Predicting frailty, disability and death

Movement is a part of daily life that most people rarely spend time contemplating, but changes in such movements can portend disease and decline. Watch-like devices known as actimetry sensors, which can be worn on the wrist or ankle, allow researchers to collect information about a subject's motor activity. In a study led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital, researchers analyzed patterns of movement among elderly study participants and found that irregular, spontaneous fluctuations could predict a person's risk of frailty, disability and death years later. Their results are published in Science Translational Medicine.

Team publishes on highest resolution brain MRI scan

A new paper describes a breakthrough 100 micron resolution scan of the human brain that was created by a multidisciplinary team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers. The paper, which appeared in Scientific Data, highlights the highest resolution MRI scan of the whole human brain to be created to date, the images of which are 1,000 times more detailed than a standard clinical MRI scan.

Converging solutions: Artificial networks shed light on human face recognition

Our brains are so primed to recognize faces—or to tell people apart—that we rarely even stop to think about it, but what happens in the brain when it engages in such recognition is still far from understood. In a new study reported today in Nature Communications, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have shed new light on this issue. They found a striking similarity between the way in which faces are encoded in the brain and in successfully performing artificial intelligence systems known as deep neural networks.

For teens, multitasking makes them feel better—and worse

Multitasking makes adolescents feel both more positively and more negatively about the main task they're trying to accomplish, a new study finds.

Switching to 'green' inhalers could reduce carbon emissions and cut costs

Many current inhalers for conditions such as asthma contain propellants that are potent greenhouse gases. A study from researchers at the University of Cambridge has found that switching to alternative, greener inhalers would not only result in large carbon savings, but could be achieved alongside reduced drug costs by using less expensive brands.

Study finds 'cluster of disadvantage' behind BAME psychosis rates

Excess psychosis diagnoses amongst Black and South Asian men in deprived urban areas could reflect a cluster of disadvantage in specific places, rather than individual experiences of deprivation alone, a study led by Queen Mary University of London researchers concludes.

Opioid-related gifts from pharma companies linked to physician prescribing by specialty

Physicians who received gifts from pharmaceutical companies related to opioid medications were more likely to prescribe opioids to their patients the following year, compared to physicians who did not receive such gifts, according to a new analysis led by health policy scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Prenatal air pollution exposure linked to infants' decreased heart rate response to stress

A mother's exposure to particulate air pollution during pregnancy is associated with reduced cardiac response to stress in six-month-old infants, according to Mount Sinai research published in Environmental Health Perspectives in October. This study is the first to find that particulate air pollution exposure in utero can affect heart rate variability, which is a known risk factor for health issues.

Drug overdoses driving down US life expectancy: health officials

Drug overdoses have driven the first significant reduction in US life expectancy since the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s, an official report published Wednesday showed.

New technique may reveal the health of human hair follicles

A variety of factors can stop hair from forming and growing properly, leading to hair diseases and baldness. A new method developed by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) recently examines the activity of hair follicles and could be useful for testing the effects of different treatments on hair growth.

Bariatric surgery may not lead to lower health care costs

Despite health benefits of improved survival and significant weight loss, bariatric surgery may not lead to lower health care costs, according to a Veterans Affairs study. The 10-year study is the longest follow-up to date of long-term health care costs after bariatric surgery in the United States.

How will your thinking and memory change with age?

How well eight-year-olds score on a test of thinking skills may be a predictor of how they will perform on tests of thinking and memory skills when they are 70 years old, according to a study published in the October 30, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also found that education level and socioeconomic status were also predictors of thinking and memory performance. Socioeconomic status was determined by people's occupation at age 53.

How neighborhood characteristics affect SNAP participation and food access

Cities are spatially diverse, with enclaves of different demographic groups, clusters of businesses, and pockets of low-income individuals living alongside the affluent

Cycles of reward: New insight into ADHD treatment

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a widespread condition with complex underlying causes. A stimulant drug called methylphenidate is a common ADHD treatment that impacts the brain's levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in systems of reward; however, methylphenidate has a potential for abuse, and its therapeutic effects are poorly understood.

Shaping a contemporary research strategy for HIV

To end the HIV epidemic in the United States, the use of behavioral and social science research—combined with biomedical strategies—is essential, according to a series of new papers in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS). The 15-article supplement was co-edited by two faculty members in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael B. Blank, Ph.D., co-director of the Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center, and David S. Metzger, Ph.D., director of the HIV Prevention Research Division in the department of Psychiatry and co-director of the Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center.

As the 9-to-5 work day disappears, our lives are growing more out of sync

You may have noticed the 9-to-5 work day is disappearing. We increasingly live our lives according to our individual schedules, although these are rarely completely within our individual control.

Female doctors are good for your health, but they experience a gender pay gap, discrimination, burnout and depression

The complaints are ubiquitous— "my doctor retired;" "my doctor is on maternity leave;" "the clinic isn't accepting new patients."

Teens who have a loving relationship with their mother are less likely to enter abusive relationships

A mother's warmth and acceptance toward her teenagers may help prevent those children from being in an abusive relationship later in life, even if her own marriage is contentious, according to a new University at Buffalo study.

Atom bomb tests used to age the immune system

The pulse of environmental carbon-14 released by atom bomb tests in the early years of the Cold War has allowed researchers to understand how humans can still mount an immune response to diverse pathogens well into their 50's and 60's, according to a study led by Jonas Frisén at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, publishing on October 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology.

Study finds caregiving can affect quality of life for up to a year after loss

Family members who have been the primary carer for a dying loved one may experience considerable grief and poor health and quality of life for several months after the person has died, new research led by Curtin University has found.

Study shows PTSD link to binge eating

Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report a higher number of binge eating symptoms than individuals who were exposed to trauma but did not develop PTSD symptoms, says a study by University of Manitoba researchers published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Researchers discover new genetic brain disease

Manchester researchers have contributed towards the discovery of a genetic brain disease which can cause paraplegia and epilepsy in sufferers.

High screen use among children can lower emotion understanding

When it comes to mobile devices, today's children may be guinea pigs in a gigantic experiment. They are the first humans to ever grow up in a smart world—a world that would have seemed like science fiction just a few decades ago. From infancy, their lives are filled with all kinds of interactive technology, like intelligent speakers and an invisible internet that spans the globe and connects everyone and everything. And they are surrounded by screens.

Having a baby at a birth centre is as safe as hospital but results in less intervention

Having a baby at a birth centre is as safe as giving birth in hospital, according to our research, published today in the journal BMJ Open.

Women, young and old people are most risk adverse, research finds

Women, the young and older people are most risk averse when it comes to financial risk taking, according to new research from the University of Bristol and Cass Business School.

Pediatric cancers: Why some forms of leukemia only affect children

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) mainly affects children, with often poor prognosis despite several decades of research into more effective treatments. A new study explains why some forms of leukemia develop in very young children and identifies therapeutic targets.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric puts Latino patients' health at risk

Anti-immigrant remarks from the White House are taking a substantial toll on Latino patients' perceptions of their personal safety and are affecting their access to emergency health care, researchers report in a new study led by emergency medicine physicians at UC San Francisco.

Bilingual babies' brains are 'prepped' to respond to sign language

Babies raised listening to two spoken languages have a different brain response to British Sign Language compared to monolinguals, even if they have no previous sign language experience, a study from Goldsmiths, University of London has shown.

Study could aid degenerative disease therapies

Fresh insights into how nerves connect with muscles in the body could aid the development of therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Key gene in familial Alzheimer's disease regulates neuronal development

An international team of researchers led by the Institute of Neuroscience at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona describes a new route that promotes differentiation of neurons. The discovery demonstrates that there is a common mechanism between the neurodegeneration occurring in Alzheimer's and the proliferation of cancer cells.

What attracts people to endurance running?

Endurance running is often seen as a welcome escape from everyday life. But extraordinary experiences, such as running ultra-marathons, are not untouched by the competitive nature of contemporary consumer culture, a new thesis from Lund University in Sweden argues. The at times romanticized notion of experiencing complete freedom through running, co-exists with underlying motivating factors such as improving your personal brand and social image, the research shows.

Decades neglecting ancient disease typhoid fever has triggered a health emergency around the world

New extensively drug-resistant variants of an ancient and deadly disease—typhoid fever—are spreading across international borders. Cases have been reported in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iraq, Guatemala, UK, US, and Germany, as well as more recently in Australia and Canada. In recent years, drug resistant and travel-associated typhoid variants have also been spreading through the African continent. Under-reporting and international surveillance gaps mean that drug-resistant typhoid is probably even more extensive than we think.

Opioid crisis has cost Canada nearly $5 billion in lost productivity, student finds

Canada is losing at least $4.7 billion in labour productivity as a result of the opioid crisis, according to recent calculations by a University of Alberta undergraduate student in economics.

Immunotherapy for peanut allergy provides protection but not a cure

Researchers from King's have found that a potential treatment for peanut allergy provides some degree of protection but does not cure an allergic patient and this could explain why allergic reactions are still observed during treatment.

CDC: Most patients with vaping-related lung injury report THC use

(HealthDay)—Most patients with electronic cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) reported use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products in the three months preceding symptom onset, according to research published in the Oct. 28 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

FDA labeling restriction quickly reflected in oncology practice

(HealthDay)—The June 2018 U.S. Food and Drug Administration label restriction on first-line immunotherapy for advanced bladder cancer was associated with a decrease in immunotherapy use and an increase in chemotherapy use, according to a research letter published in the Sept. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Facebook launches preventive health tool

(HealthDay)—A new tool designed to help guide preventive care for heart disease, cancer, and seasonal flu was launched in the United States Monday by Facebook.

Machine learning leads to novel way to track tremor severity in Parkinson's patients

One of the hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD) is tremors. This involuntary movement disorder reduces quality of life by interrupting patients' activities such as writing and eating. Neurologists routinely measure tremors using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), which requires patients to perform specific tasks. Unfortunately, this evaluation is based on an onsite physical exam that only provides a snapshot of the patient's tremor experience in their day-to-day life.

Of all professions, construction workers most likely to use opioids and cocaine

Construction workers are more likely to use drugs than workers in other professions, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health.

Traffic exhaust at residential address increases the risk of stroke

High levels of traffic exhaust at one's residence increase the risk of stroke even in low-pollution environments, according to a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and other universities in Sweden. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that it is mainly black carbon from traffic exhaust that increases the risk for stroke, and not particulate matter from other sources.

Parental and peer input are linked to differing activity levels for boys and girls

Differences in levels of physical activity between boys and girls are linked to differences in levels of modeling and support by peers and parents, according to a new study in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Anne Reimers of Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany, and colleagues.

Study suggests interventions against frailty

Interventions aimed at reducing obesity and sedentary behavior, increasing intensity of physical activity, and improving success of smoking cessation tools have the potential to reduce the incidence of frailty, according to a study published October 30, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Nils Niederstrasser of de Montfort University, UK, and colleagues.

Study calls for screening for drug-resistant E. coli in capsulized fecal transplants

Rigorous donor screening for drug resistant E. coli in fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) is an essential means of preventing infections among patients, particularly those who are immunocompromised, says a study in The New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The publication describes cases of infection in two patients who received FMT capsules containing drug resistant Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL) E. coli. One patient died and the other was cured of infection.

Washington state law on behavioral care balances parental rights, teens' autonomy

When Ben Packard met with the 16-year-old girl a little over a year ago, she was a patient at Seattle Children's Hospital, where she'd been admitted after trying to kill herself. Her parents were distraught.

California legislates more sleep for better health

Teenagers don't get enough sleep, and California's effort to fix the problem may serve as a wake-up call to other states' lawmakers.

Rising number of workers are short on sleep, especially in health care, study shows

More than a third of workers in the United States report consistently not getting enough sleep, according to a new study. And the trend is especially prevalent among health care workers, researchers found.

Cryptocurrencies complicate effort to stop opioid dealers

The fight against the opioid crisis is facing a growing problem: Criminals are getting better at hiding the cryptocurrency transactions they use to buy drugs online.

Common early sign of cardiovascular disease also may indicate cancer risk, study finds

A Mayo Clinic-led study involving 488 cardiac patients whose cases were followed for up to 12 years finds that microvascular endothelial dysfunction, a common early sign of cardiovascular disease, is associated with a greater than twofold risk of cancer.

Compression garments can ease lymphedema. Covering costs? Not so easy

Every morning, Britta Vander Linden dons compression stockings, a cumbersome process she calls "putting on my legs."

Evidence backs women's choice on where to have their babies

Healthy women have more than twice the chance of a normal labour and birth in a planned birth centre birth compared to a planned hospital birth, a major Australian study has found.

How are psychiatric disorders linked to infections during pregnancy?

The mother's health is very important for the fetus's brain development during pregnancy. Many factors play key roles for healthy brain development, including nutrition, stress, hormonal balance and the mother's immune system.

New gene therapy for epilepsy provides on-demand release of endogenous substance

Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Medical University of Innsbruck have developed a new therapeutic concept for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy. It represents a gene therapy capable of suppressing seizures at their site of origin on demand. Having been shown to be effective in an animal model, the new method will now be optimized for clinical use. Results from this research have been published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

A machine learning-based algorithm to predict which cancer patients benefit from immunotherapy

Scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and Radboud University, have developed an algorithm that can predict which cancer patients are more likely to benefit from immunotherapy.

In T2DM patients, anemia tied to diabetic retinopathy

(HealthDay)—In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, anemia is associated with the development of diabetic retinopathy, according to a study published in the October issue of Medicine.

CDC: U.S. life expectancy up slightly, mortality lower in 2017

(HealthDay)—Life expectancy has increased slightly in the United States, and mortality is lower than in 2007, according to a report published Oct. 30 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

2011 to 2017 saw increase in heart disease deaths in the U.S.

(HealthDay)—From 2011 to 2017, the age-adjusted mortality rate decreased for heart disease, but the number of heart disease deaths increased, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in JAMA Cardiology.

Protect your heart through the holiday season

(HealthDay)—It's never too soon to take steps to safeguard your heart health, and that includes being aware of seasonal heart attack triggers.

Factors tied to pregnancy rates in women on dialysis explored

(HealthDay)—Due to impaired fertility, pregnancy is not common in women on dialysis, but the pregnancy rate is higher than previously thought, and several factors are associated with the likelihood of pregnancy, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Retina changes offer glimpse into body's heart health

Rising blood pressure and stiffening arteries—two risk markers for cardiovascular disease—create easily detectable changes in the tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, according to new research.

Wildfire smoke threatens health for miles around

(HealthDay)—Smoke from the wildfires raging in California poses a serious health risk—even to those far away from the blazes, an expert warns.

Avocados may help manage obesity, prevent diabetes

Your guacamole may hold the key to managing obesity and helping delay or prevent diabetes, according to a new study by a University of Guelph research team.

Number of Americans with dementia will double by 2040: Report

(HealthDay)—Nearly 13 million Americans will have dementia by 2040—nearly twice as many as today, a new report says.

Patients with mood, anxiety disorders share abnormalities in brain's control circuit

New research published today in JAMA Psychiatry shows for the first time that patients with mood and anxiety disorders share the same abnormalities in regions of the brain involved in emotional and cognitive control.

Report finds Americans' health is flagging

(HealthDay)—The United States just received its annual checkup, and the news isn't good.

Cumulative environmental exposures increase diabetes risk in rural populations

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers are the first to show that cumulative environmental exposures affect rural and urban populations differently when it comes to diabetes risk. Multiple environmental factors were associated with a greater risk for diabetes in rural and sparsely populated counties compared with their urban counterparts.

Cannabis use disorder is declining among young adolescents and young adults

The prevalence of cannabis use disorder decreased in 2002 to 2016 among frequent users, according to a new study conducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Changes in social attitudes and the traits of frequent users may explain the decline, according to researchers. This is one of the first studies to examine the general health profile of people using cannabis daily or almost daily and the trends in the prevalence of cannabis use disorder in this population. The findings are online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Seizures in babies: Team sheds light on why they have lifelong effects

A doctor at University of Virginia Children's is using an elegant new approach to mapping brain activity to shed light on what happens during seizures in newborns that can lead to behavioral issues and learning disabilities much later.

Study finds racial variation in post-op care after knee replacement surgery

A large study analyzing 107,000 knee replacement surgeries found that African Americans were significantly more likely than white patients to be discharged to an inpatient rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility rather than home care after the procedure. Researchers also found that African American patients under 65 were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 90 days of a knee replacement.

HIV drug stops Zika infection, strategy could halt infections caused by related viruses

Like an adjustable wrench that becomes the "go-to" tool because it is effective and can be used for a variety of purposes, an existing drug that can be adapted to halt the replication of different viruses would greatly expedite the treatment of different infectious diseases. Such a strategy would prevent thousands of deaths each year from diseases like dengue and Ebola, but whether it can be done has been unclear. Now, in new work, researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) show that repurposing an existing drug to treat viral diseases is in fact possible—potentially bypassing the decades needed to develop such a broad-spectrum drug from scratch.

Racial discrimination linked to suicidal thoughts in African American men

Suicide deaths among African American men have risen dramatically during the last 20 years, and racial discrimination may be a contributing factor in many cases, say University of Michigan researchers.

Tumors turn gut 'brain cells' into tumor growth promoters

Research led by North Carolina State University has found that when enteric glial cells are exposed to secretions from colon tumors, the glial cells convert into promoters of tumor growth. The work demonstrates enteric glial cells' importance in the tumor microenvironment and could lead to new targets for treatment of colon cancer.

Cleveland Clinic's first purely laparoscopic living donor surgery for liver transplant

Cleveland Clinic has successfully performed the Midwest's first purely laparoscopic living donor surgery for liver transplantation in an adult recipient. The advanced procedure is available at only a few hospitals worldwide, and Cleveland Clinic is the second U.S. academic medical center to offer this approach for living donor liver transplantation.

The amazing influence of gut microbes in our immune system

Could autoimmune and allergic conditions like Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis or type 1 diabetes one day be treated with microbes in your gut?

UN: More than 7 million malaria cases in Burundi outbreak

The World Health Organization says more than 7 million cases of malaria have been reported in Burundi this year. Officials blame the outbreak on factors including the lack of protective bed nets, problems with medicines and climate change.

Research on antibiotic use desperately needed as resistance crisis looms

Overuse of antibiotics in healthcare contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resulting in 2 million infections and 100,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, but research is lacking to inform antibiotic stewardship programs aimed at reining in unnecessary use of these powerful drugs, according to a Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) white paper published today in its journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

New research suggests proton radiation can benefit pts with challenging liver tumors

Two new studies support and inform the use of proton radiation therapy to treat patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a common but often fatal type of liver cancer for which there are limited treatment options. One study (Sanford et al.) suggests that proton radiation, compared to traditional photon radiation, can extend overall survival with reduced toxicity. A second study (Hsieh et al.) identifies predictors for reducing liver damage that can result from radiation treatments. Both studies were published in the September issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics, the flagship scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) (and made available online ahead of publication in January [Sanford et al.] or February [Hsieh et al.] 2019).

Try this healthy autumn apple dessert

(HealthDay)—Apples are a superfruit loaded with nutrients and soluble fiber. While warm apple pie is the quintessential American dessert, a few tweaks to the standard recipe can lighten the calorie load.

Former Juul exec alleges company shipped tainted products

A Juul Labs executive who was fired earlier this year is alleging that the vaping company knowingly shipped 1 million tainted nicotine pods to customers.

Biology news

To survive in the human gut, bacteria need genetic 'passcode'

Humans' guts are a dangerous place.

Classic energy theory fails to explain coral distribution across depth

Coral species richness at different depths is unrelated to energy availability, according to a new study analysing diversity across an Australasian reef.

At 2C warmer, lizards eat less healthily: study

Just two degrees of warming causes lizards to change their eating habits resulting in less healthy adult reptiles, according to research published Wednesday.

Genetic history of endangered Australian songbird could inspire an encore

The genetic history of a critically endangered songbird shows its best chance of survival is to protect its rapidly disappearing habitat.

Faster heartbeat helps deer mice to survive at high altitudes

Mice living at high altitudes in the American West carry a genetic variant that increases their heart rate, helping them cope with the low oxygen levels that occur at high elevations. Rena Schweizer of the University of Montana and colleagues report these findings in a new study published 30th October in PLOS Genetics.

Parasite manipulates algal metabolism for its own benefit

Microalgae can form massive assemblages in oceans, attracting many opportunistic organisms; these are capable of eliminating the entire algal population within a short time. However, the underlying mechanisms of this watery arms race are largely unknown. In a new publication in Nature Communications, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and the universities of Jena and Frankfurt show that a pathogenic fungus alters the metabolism of its host unicellular algae for its own purposes: The bioactive substances that are formed in the process benefit the fungi's own propagation while preventing the algae from proliferating. Eventually, the algae shrink and die.

AI reveals nature of RNA-protein interactions

A new computational tool developed by KAUST scientists uses artificial intelligence (AI) to infer the RNA-binding properties of proteins. The software, called NucleicNet, outperforms other algorithmic models of its kind and provides additional biological insights that could aid in drug design and development.

Bacteria and fungi show a precise daily rhythm in tropical air

Scientists from the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have found that the air in the tropics is teeming with a rich and diverse range of at least 725 different microorganisms.

Using probiotics to protect honey bees against fatal disease

Probiotics, beneficial microorganisms best known for promoting gut health in humans, are now being used by Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute scientists to save honey bee colonies from collapse. A new study published in the Nature journal ISME J demonstrates how probiotics could potentially stave off a common bacterial hive infestation called American Foulbrood.

Researchers double sorghum grain yield to improve food supply

Plant scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), in their search for solutions to global food production challenges, have doubled the amount of grains that a sorghum plant can yield.

Latest Australia shark attack sparks tourism concerns

Tourism operators want aerial shark patrols to be introduced in Australia's Whitsunday Islands as they try to stem falling visitor numbers following a spate of attacks along the Great Barrier Reef.

Hundreds of koalas feared dead in Australian wildfires

Conservationists fear hundreds of koalas have perished in wildfires that have razed prime habitat on Australia's east coast.

Detection dogs and DNA on the trail of endangered lizards

Detection dogs trained to sniff out the scat of an endangered lizard in California's San Joaquin Valley, combined with genetic species identification, could represent a new noninvasive sampling technique for lizard conservation worldwide. That is according to a study published today from the University of California, Davis, in partnership with the nonprofit Working Dogs for Conservation, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Some animals pause their own pregnancies, but how they do it is still a mystery

Putting your pregnancy on pause until the time is right to give birth sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, but for many mammals what's known as "embryonic diapause" is an essential part of raising their young.

New platform enables faster and easier measurement of cell-generated forces

When the best tool for the job isn't good enough, engineers figure out how to build a new one. That's what John Slater, University of Delaware assistant professor of biomedical engineering, did with a technique called traction force microscopy (TFM), which is commonly used by scientists, engineers, and biophysicists to measure the forces generated by cells on their surrounding environments.

In Southeast Asia, illegal hunting is a more immediate threat to wildlife than forest degradation

A new study carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature Vietnam (WWF-Vietnam) and the Sabah Forestry Department of the Government of Malaysia suggests that for ground dwelling mammal and bird communities, illegal hunting using indiscriminate snares may be a more immediate threat than forest degradation through selective logging. The researchers conducted a large scale camera-trapping study to compare several forest areas with logging concessions in Malaysian Borneo and protected areas in the Annamites ecoregion of Vietnam and Laos known to be subjected to illegal hunting. The results, published in the journal Communications Biology, show severe defaunation in snared forests compared to logged forests.

Researchers develop model for more realistic risk assessment of pesticides

Toxic substances such as pesticides can cause effects on sensitive individuals in concentrations up to 10,000 times lower than previously assumed. This was shown by Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in their latest study published in Scientific Reports. For understanding these results, the level of stress plays an important role. Most surprisingly: Either too much or too little stress can lead to a higher sensitivity to toxicants.

In one direction or the other: That is how DNA is unwound

Joining computer simulations and lab experiments, an international research group sheds light on one of the key mechanisms of cell life.

Impact of water droplets on leaves quickly triggers stress responses in plants

In contrast to humans, plants cannot feel pain. However, so-called mechanical stimulation—rain, wind and physical impact from humans and animals—contributes to the activation of a plant's defence system at a biochemical level. This in turn triggers a stress hormone that, among other things, can lead to the strengthening of a plant's immune system.

New evidence that bacteria drive biodiversity in the Cape Floral Region

Botanists from Stellenbosch University (SU) have come one step closer to unraveling the mystery of the Cape Floral Region's extraordinary levels of biodiversity.

To avoid cassava disease, Tanzanian farmers can plant certain varieties in certain seasons

A nutty-flavored, starchy root vegetable, cassava (also known as yuca) is one of the most drought-resistant crops and is a major source of calories and carbs for people in developing countries, serving as the primary food for more than 800 million people. However, the crop is vulnerable to virus diseases, such as cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), which poses the biggest threat to production in East and Central Africa.

Crab disease poses threat to shellfish stocks

Shore crabs carry parasites that pose a major threat to shellfish stocks. In a new study, Swansea University researchers have used several different detection methods, including taking DNA from seawater, to build up the first comprehensive picture of the problem.

Malawi fights tsetse flies, disease after wildlife relocated

The relocation of hundreds of elephants to Malawi's largest wildlife reserve was meant to be a sign of hope and renewal in this southern African nation. Then nearby residents began falling ill.

Bayer reports surge in number of legal cases over Roundup

German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer reported Wednesday US legal cases over weedkiller Roundup have more than doubled, but investors appeared more focused on the group's strong business performance.

Researcher goes to bat, discovers new winged species

The Bayou City is home to some impressive bat colonies, but University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) researcher Dr. Amy Baird's latest discovery spreads its wings more than 2,000 miles away.

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