Friday, January 31, 2020

Science X Newsletter Friday, Jan 31

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 31, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Investigating dynamics of democratic elections using physics theory

Discovery takes pressure off blood measurements

Study provides first look at sperm microbiome using RNA sequencing

Robotic submarine snaps first-ever images at foundation of notorious Antarctic glacier

Got slime? Using regenerative biology to restore mucus production

Researchers identify possible new combination treatment for advanced melanoma

A projector had far too much fun with car tech

Could resetting our internal clocks help control diabetes?

A quantum of solid: A glass nanoparticle in the quantum regime

More countries publishing ecosystem accounts, considering environment in economic decisions

How the immune system becomes blind to cancer cells

First view of hydrogen at the metal-to-metal hydride interface

Nonflammable electrolyte for high-performance potassium batteries

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope ends mission of astronomical discovery

New light shed on neuronal circuits involved in behavior, learning and dysfunction

Astronomy & Space news

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope ends mission of astronomical discovery

After more than 16 years studying the universe in infrared light, revealing new wonders in our solar system, our galaxy and beyond, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope's mission has come to an end.

Warp factor: We've observed a spinning star that drags the fabric of space and time

One of the predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity is that any spinning body drags the very fabric of space-time in its vicinity around with it. This is known as "frame-dragging."

Space station's cosmic detector working after 4 spacewalks

The cosmic detector that required a series of difficult spacewalking repairs is back in action.

Your brain on Mars: How scientists will track astronauts' mental performance on missions

A journey to Mars is not going to be easy and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before we go. One interesting problem is how do we monitor the astronauts themselves. Of course, it is easy to monitor their heart rate and blood pressure, but is it possible to monitor what is going on inside their heads?

Making simulated cosmic dust—in the microwave

Cosmic dust is the key to the chemical evolution of stars, planets, and life itself, but its composition is not well understood, and we can't currently collect samples for analysis. A few examples have arrived on Earth as interplanetary dust particles and comet dust, in meteorites, but their complicated history means they may not be representative.

Image: Hubble spies bar, baby stars

The galaxy depicted in this image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is a barred spiral known as NGC 7541, in the constellation of Pisces (the Fishes). 

From Antarctica to space: Telemedicine at the limit

ESA is working with Argentina to test telemedicine device Tempus Pro in the harsh conditions of Antarctica as Europe prepares for its next phase of human exploration in space.

Technology news

Discovery takes pressure off blood measurements

Researchers at Monash University are on the verge of creating a revolutionary, portable blood pressure monitoring device that can provide data continuously to patients from the comfort of their home.

A projector had far too much fun with car tech

Stop it. You can fool a Tesla Autopilot system with a projector?

Study gets up close with near-death experiences

Those who momentarily shuffled off this mortal coil returned with positive perceptions of what they discovered on the other side—a finding that encourages researchers to dig deeper into the ways people describe near-death experiences, according to a joint study between Western and the University of Li├Ęge (Belgium).

Ginni Rometty, 1st female CEO at IBM, to step down in April

Ginni Rometty, the first female CEO in IBM's century-long history, is leaving the helm in April.

Atari plans to open video game-themed resorts in 8 US cities

Atari, the arcade game company that ushered in the gaming revolution in the 1980s, is opening eight video game-themed hotels across the United States, including ones in Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Amazon's latest milestone: 150 million Prime members

Amazon had another prime holiday season.

Nintendo says no new Switch in 2020

Japanese gaming giant Nintendo said Friday there would be no fresh model of its hot-selling Switch console this year, dashing the hopes of fans eager for a new version.

Autonomous vehicles could benefit health if cars are electric and shared

What impact will self-driving cars have on public health? The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has taken part in a study that analyzed the potential risks and benefits of autonomous vehicles for public health. The conclusions of the study, published in the Annual Review of Public Health, indicate that this new type of mobility could benefit public health if the cars are electric and the model used is based on ride sharing.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos, already the wealthiest person on the planet, just got billions richer

Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, got billions richer in minutes Thursday as Amazon shares soared in extended trading on news of a killer quarter driven by strong holiday sales.

The 49ers will win the Super Bowl, Alexa predicts, but Siri and Google Assistant won't say

The San Francisco 49ers are going to win the Super Bowl. That's what Amazon Alexa says anyway.

Coronavirus outbreak: Social media platforms scramble to contain misinformation

Hoaxes about the coronavirus are spreading as fast, if not faster, than the actual virus on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and the social media platforms are scrambling to contain the global outbreak.

Researchers look at novel methods to enhance battery performance

Researchers at Penn State are looking at innovative ways to improve energy storage in an effort to better utilize renewable energy technologies.

As cities grow, the Internet of Things can help us get on top of the waste crisis

Total global waste is expected to double from nearly 2 billion tonnes in 2016 to an estimated 4 billion tonnes by 2050 as consumer-oriented urban populations grow. As population growth increases consumption and waste, managing this waste is becoming an ever greater challenge. The Internet of Things (IoT) can be used to develop smarter and more effective ways of managing and reducing waste.

Attacking the clones: Dual techniques help reveal malicious image editing

It is relatively easy to clone parts of an image with photo editing software to remove objects and backgrounds or even to duplicate objects. A skillful digital artist will be able to do this almost seamlessly. Such artists with malicious intent can use cloning tools and to fake and forge images and detecting such distortions of the originals can be difficult even to those trained in the art themselves.

iPhone and Android users are getting 117 new emoji in 2020

New year. New emoji.

For $10 fee, startup offers unlimited calls and texts

A San Francisco startup may have the solution parents have been seeking for years. Free phone service—without an expensive monthly contract.

The most human algorithm

It is now possible to predict who the best candidate for receiving an organ transplant is, know whether clients of a bank will return the loans they request, choose the films that best coincide with the interests of consumers, or even select someone's ideal partner. Mathematical algorithms constantly analyse millions of items of data, identify patterns and make predictions about all areas of life. But in most cases, the results give little more than a closed prediction that cannot be interpreted and which is often affected by biases in the original data.

Facebook fights spread of misinformation about virus online

Facebook says it's working to limit the spread of misinformation and potentially harmful content about the coronavirus as bogus claims about the ongoing outbreak circulate online.

Amazon highlights taxes paid in pushback against critics

Amazon said Friday it paid more than $1 billion in US federal income taxes in 2019 as it pushed back at criticism over its corporate responsibility.

Waymo: Self-driving vehicle in manual mode at time of crash

A Waymo self-driving minivan operating in manual mode was involved in a rear-end collision in a Phoenix suburb caused by a sedan's reckless driving, the company said Friday.

Apple takes smartphone sales crown from Samsung

Apple was the top smartphone seller in the final quarter of last year, seizing the crown from Samsung, according to market trackers.

Amazon is big ... really, really big; workforce hits 500K

Need more proof that Amazon is big? It came this week.

Online ads still vulnerable to manipulation in US election

Older men in Arkansas might see a close-up photo of President Donald Trump pumping his fist in the air, along with a message asking them to donate $30 to his campaign for a Super Bowl commercial.

Twitter, Pinterest crack down on voter misinformation

Twitter and Pinterest are taking new steps to root out voting misinformation designed to suppress participation in the November elections.

China's factory activity falls in January as virus fears grow

China's manufacturing activity slipped in January, official data released Friday showed, as the country grapples with a new virus that has claimed more than 200 lives.

Facebook agrees to $550 million settlement in facial recognition class action lawsuit

Facebook has agreed to pay $550 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology in Illinois.

ViacomCBS names NBC exec to head CBS

ViacomCBS has named George Cheeks as president and CEO of CBS Entertainment group starting March 23.

Medicine & Health news

Researchers identify possible new combination treatment for advanced melanoma

A study by researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center suggests that using an immunotherapy drug called NKTR-214, also known as bempegaldesleukin, in combination with an infusion of anti-tumor immune cells, or T cells, may produce a stronger immune response that could help fight advanced melanoma.

Could resetting our internal clocks help control diabetes?

The circadian clock system (from the Latin "circa diem," about a day) allows organisms to anticipate periodic changes of geophysical time and to adjust to those changes. Nearly all cells comprise molecular clocks that regulate and synchronize metabolic functions to a 24-hour cycle of day-night changes. Today, increasing evidence show that disturbances in internal clocks stemming from frequent time zone changes, irregular work schedules and aging have a significant impact on the development of metabolic diseases in human beings, including type-2 diabetes.

How the immune system becomes blind to cancer cells

T cells play a huge role in our immune system's fight against modified cells in the body that can develop into cancer. Phagocytes and B cells identify changes in these cells and activate the T cells, which then start a full-blown program of destruction. This functions well in many cases—unless the cancer cells mutate and develop a kind of camouflage that let them escape the immune system undetected.

New light shed on neuronal circuits involved in behavior, learning and dysfunction

Scientists at UNSW Sydney's Decision Neuroscience Lab have made a major discovery about the way brains influence behavior which challenges theory that has stood for 30 years.

Study clarifies genetic autism risk in PTEN patients

Cleveland Clinic researchers have identified for the first time an explanation of why patients with identical PTEN mutations often have vastly different clinical presentations.

Protein research seeks to induce tumor regression

MYC is a family of three related proteins that are overexpressed in cancer and which contribute to an estimated 100,000 cancer deaths annually in the United States.

Uncovering the neural basis for hypothetical thinking in rats

Coffee or tea? Sweater or coat? These decisions seem simple, but they require you to consider how the future might play out.

Pinpointing rare disease mutations

A new study from Queen Mary University of London and EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute has uncovered the genes essential for supporting life, which could help researchers to identify mutations responsible for rare childhood diseases.

The scent of a rose improves learning during sleep

Effortless learning during sleep is the dream of many people. The supportive effect of smells on learning success when presented both during learning and sleep was first proven in an extensive sleep laboratory study. Researchers at the University of Freiburg—Medical Center, the Freiburg Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (IGPP) and the Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg have now shown that this effect can be also achieved very easily outside the lab. For the study, pupils in two school classes learned English vocabulary—with and without scent sticks during the learning period and also at night. The students remembered the vocabulary much better with a scent. The study was published in the Nature Group's Open Access journal Scientific Reports on 27 January 2020.

75,000 in Wuhan infected with coronavirus: study estimates

More than 75,000 people—ten times the official tally of confirmed cases—have been infected with the coronavirus in Wuhan, ground zero of a global health emergency, according to research published Friday.

Mutation's role in blood cancers revealed by ideal team-up

A genetic mutation that disrupts how DNA sends messages to the rest of a cell has been linked to a large number of blood cancers. Thanks to a collaboration between biologists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), we now know how the mutation triggers a chain of biological events that lead to most leukemias.

Horseback riding combined with cognitive exercises can help children with ADHD and autism spectrum

Therapeutic horseback riding combined with brain-building exercises can improve the dexterity, coordination and strength of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, shows a study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

Can exercise improve video game performance?

Time spent playing video games is often seen as time stolen from physical activities. Research has shown that exercise has many physical and cognitive benefits. But what if exercise could benefit video game performance as well? A new study led by neuroscientist Dr. Marc Roig and his research team from the School of Physical & Occupational Therapy at McGill University, found, for the first time, that it can. The results of this study challenge the preponderant view that video gaming and physical activity are antagonistic activities. The findings were published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Want to change your personality? It may not be easy to do alone

Most people have an aspect of their personality they'd like to change, but without help it may be difficult to do so, according to a study led by a University of Arizona researcher and published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

China locked down 50 million people and has to keep them fed

Carrying permits demanding "fast passage," truck drivers rushed a 560-ton shipment of disinfectant from eastern China to Wuhan, the locked-down city of 11 million people at the center of a vast effort to contain a new viral disease.

US warns against China travel, as virus death toll hits 213

The United States told its citizens to avoid China after the World Health Organization declared a global coronavirus emergency, as the Chinese death toll rose Friday to 213 and total infections surpassed the SARS epidemic of two decades ago.

Giving some pregnant women progesterone could prevent 8,450 miscarriages a year: experts

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research say giving progesterone to women with early pregnancy bleeding and a history of miscarriage could lead to 8,450 more babies being born each year.

Researchers describe unique genetic identity of primordial lung progenitors

For the first time, researchers describe the genetic program behind primordial lung progenitors—embryonic cells that give rise to all the cells that form the lining of the respiratory system after birth. They believe this study has long-term implications for the treatment of diseases affecting the respiratory system, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and cystic fibrosis.

US advises no travel to China, where virus deaths top 200

The U.S. advised against all travel to China as the number of cases of a worrying new virus spiked more than tenfold in a week, including the highest death toll in a 24-hour period reported Friday.

Italy declares state of emergency over coronavirus

The Italian government declared a state of emergency on Friday to fast-track efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus strain after two cases were confirmed in Rome.

First UK cases of novel coronavirus confirmed

UK health officials said Friday that two people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, in Britain's first cases since the deadly outbreak emerged in China and spread globally.

Babies born with low birth weights are more likely to have poor cardiorespiratory fitness

Babies born with low birth weights are more likely to have poor cardiorespiratory fitness later in life than their normal-weight peers, according to a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The findings underscore the importance of prevention strategies to reduce low birth weights, even among those carried to at-term delivery.

Study shows dramatic increase in naloxone dispensing in Ohio

It's not an over-the-counter drug, but naloxone can now be dispensed by a pharmacist without a prescription in some states. Researchers have found it's made a huge impact on the number of prescriptions being dispensed in Ohio.

Lung cancer screening decision aid delivered through tobacco quitlines improves informed decision-making

In the first comparative clinical trial of lung cancer screening decision aid versus standard educational information, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have shown that a decision aid delivered through tobacco quitlines effectively reaches a screening-eligible population and results in informed decisions about lung cancer screening.

Spike in colorectal cancer from age 49 to 50 suggests many undiagnosed before screenings

A year-by-year age analysis of colorectal cancer rates among U.S. adults finds a 46% increase in new diagnoses from ages 49 to 50, indicating that many latent cases of the disease are likely going undiagnosed until routine screenings begin at 50, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.

Jump in employment seen among Medicaid expansion enrollees, especially the most vulnerable

Getting covered by health insurance may have a major impact on a low-income person's ability to get a job or enroll in school, according to a new study that gives the first direct look at the relationship between the two.

Top doctors 'undertest' patients to demonstrate diagnostic prowess to peers, study finds

Some expert medical diagnosticians may limit the number of patient tests they order as a way to signal a high level of competence to their peers, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

A new contributor to atherosclerosis

Free radicals produced during oxidative stress react with membrane fatty acids to yield highly reactive lipid aldehydes, which can modify proteins and cause cellular or tissue damage.

Imaging nerve regeneration provides insight to success of repair

When peripheral nerves are injured and surgically repaired, regeneration must occur in a timely fashion to restore sensory and motor function. Current methods for following nerve regeneration provide only limited information and may delay a needed second surgical intervention and lead to poor outcomes.

Coronavirus: Why China's strategy to contain the virus might work

On January 23, the authorities of Wuhan City, China, sealed off the motorways and shut down all public transport to stop the coronavirus outbreak from spreading. Shortly afterwards, at least ten other cities in China were under quarantine orders, most of them located in the areas surrounding Wuhan.

Tracking the path of an outbreak with cognitive interviews

An interviewing technique created by an FIU professor may help world health officials identify more people exposed to an infectious disease including the Coronavirus.

Coronavirus: How worried should I be about the shortage of face masks?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has just declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

Scale of substance misuse among adolescents in residential care revealed

Young people in residential care need better support to overcome a range of challenges, Cardiff University academics say.

New CDC stats: Adults expected to live a little longer, heart disease still top killer

Life expectancy increased in 2018 for the first time in several years, and the rate of heart disease deaths saw a slight dip—though it remains the nation's top killer, according to new federal reports.

Uncovering the unusual way aggregates hijack proteins

Utrecht scientists have uncovered how aggregates alter the behavior of Tau protein, known to play a role in Alzheimer's disease. On a molecular level, the researchers have revealed why certain proteins tend to bind to Tau proteins. The key is the unusual way these proteins bind to Tau. The findings are published in Nature Communications.

Coronavirus grown in lab outside China for first time, aiding the search for vaccine

Scientists at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia, announced Jan. 29 that they were able to grow the Wuhan coronavirus from a patient sample in the laboratory. This was the first time the virus had been grown in a lab outside China.

Academic says the medical marijuana industry is using 'underhand' marketing strategies

An academic from the University of York claims that some marijuana companies are using underhand marketing techniques to mislead consumers about their products' medicinal benefits.

Fewer scars in the central nervous system

Neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs), from the so-called subventricular zone (SVZ), can help to repair a brain damaged by central nervous system disorders. It is known that the microenvironment within the SVZ directs the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) toward cells in the nerve tissue. However, researchers have not yet been able to explain why NSPCs do not develop into neurons after injuries to the central nervous system, but rather into astrocytes. Astrocytes play a major role in the formation of scars and thus interfere with the regeneration of the nerves in the central nervous system. A team led by Prof. Dr. Christian Schachtrup and Lauriane Pous from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Freiburg has now succeeded in analyzing a further step in these processes in the brain. The scientists present their results in the current issue of Nature Communications.

Coronavirus outbreak: quarantining millions in China is unprecedented and wrong

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. China has recorded over 8,246 cases, but just 170 deaths from the disease. As far as emerging diseases go, this virus appears relatively insipid.

U.S. rural breast cancer patients must routinely travel long distances for treatment

The closing of rural hospitals and specialty care units is causing many people, including breast cancer patients, to seek treatment far from home. A study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health recently found that U.S. rural breast cancer patients typically travel three times farther than urban women for radiation therapy to treat their disease.

Drug class provides cardiovascular benefit for all patients with type 2 diabetes

All type 2 diabetes patient subgroups are likely to achieve cardiovascular protection from the use of SGLT2 inhibitors, according to a large multi-study review published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Anti-carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule antibody for fluorescence visualization

In this Oncotarget study, the authors test a novel anti-CEACAM antibody conjugated to a fluorescent dye for detection of multiple CEACAM antigens to enhance visualization of colorectal PDOX tumors and metastases in murine models.

How much will the coronavirus spread? It's a question of biology and math

When a Lehigh Valley man came down with a fever, diarrhea, and cough, he made no connection between his symptoms and those of the more than 2,000 people who had been sickened with a mysterious new virus that had emerged in China.

Novel coronavirus receptors show similarities to SARS-CoV, according to new analysis

The recent emergence of Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has put the world on high alert for transcontinental transmission, reminiscent of the outbreak of SARS—also a coronavirus—in 2002-2003.

Receptors under flow: Mechanosensitive GPCRs

An LMU team has clarified how a receptor which is involved in the regulation of vital physiological processes senses the mechanical forces that act on blood vessels. The findings could suggest new therapies for diseases of the vasculature.

Brain imaging provides little insight in insanity evaluation

Sophisticated brain imaging, like an MRI, has limited applicability in assessing a defendant's sanity, investigators say.

Do less and get stronger: Science proves you can lift less with better results

Weightlifters could do less and get stronger by changing the amount they lift each session, according to new research.

Study looks at the effect of Medicaid expansion on the substance use disorder treatment workforce

Lawmakers have focused a great deal of attention on alleviating the opioid public health crisis, while at the same time addressing across-the-board concerns regarding affordability of healthcare. State level Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act is one of those efforts, which targets low-income non-elderly adult populations, who tend to be more at risk of substance use disorders.

Congenital heart disease more deadly in low-income countries

Even though mortality from congenital heart disease (CHD) has declined over the last three decades as diagnosis and treatments have advanced, the chances for a child to survive a CHD diagnosis significantly differs based on the country where he or she is born.

Highly active HIV antibody restricts development of viral resistance

Antiretroviral drugs are the gold standard for the treatment of HIV infection. They are highly effective in suppressing replication of the virus but require lifelong daily application and can be associated with side effects. Due to the high mutability of HIV and its capacity for rapid adaptation, combinations of antiretroviral agents are required to prevent the development of drug resistance and treatment failure.

Modelling study estimates spread of 2019 novel coronavirus

New modelling research, published in The Lancet, estimates that up to 75,800 individuals in the Chinese city of Wuhan may have been infected with 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of January 25, 2020. Authors caution that given the lack of a robust and detailed timeline of records of suspected, probable, and confirmed cases and close contacts, the true size of the epidemic and its pandemic potential remains unclear.

Institut Pasteur sequences the whole genome of the Wuhan coronavirus, 2019-nCoV

On January 24, 2020, the French Ministry of Health confirmed the first three cases of patients affected by the Wuhan coronavirus. On January 29, 2020, the Institut Pasteur, which is responsible for monitoring respiratory viruses in France, sequenced the whole genome of the coronavirus known as "2019-nCoV", becoming the first institution in Europe to sequence the virus since the start of the outbreak. The virus was sequenced at the Institut Pasteur's Mutualized Platform for Microbiology (P2M), which performs genome sequencing on bacterial, viral, fungal and parasite strains received by National Reference Centers and World Health Organization Collaborating Centers for the purpose of infectious disease surveillance.

Toward a portable concussion detector that relies on an infrared laser

With no way to reliably tell whether an athlete has a concussion, many may be playing with an undiagnosed injury. Likewise, 2 million people die every year because we don't have an early warning when brain cells are dying—and another 4 million experience cognitive disabilities.

Chinese official says slow response made virus epidemic worse

China's delayed response to the discovery of a deadly new coronavirus infection worsened the epidemic, the most senior official from the city at the centre of the outbreak said Friday.

Russia confirms first two coronavirus cases

Russia said Friday that two Chinese citizens had tested positive for the new coronavirus in the country's first cases since the deadly outbreak emerged in China, and announced new travel restrictions.

Thai taxi driver is kingdom's first human-to-human transmission of virus

A Thai taxi driver has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, health officials said Friday, in the kingdom's first case of human-to-human transmission of the deadly sickness which has sparked a global health alert.

In early stages, novel 2019 coronavirus doubling every 7.4 days

(HealthDay)—In the early stages, the novel 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected pneumonia (NCIP) epidemic doubled in size every 7.4 days, according to a study published online Jan. 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Opioid prescribing rates down at state level from 2010 to 2016

(HealthDay)—Prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) data from individual states show a decline in opioid prescribing rates in 11 participating states from 2010 to 2016, according to research published in the Jan. 31 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC releases first data on maternal mortality since 2007

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics has released the first national data on maternal mortality since 2007. The data are presented in three National Vital Statistics Reports.

Mood disorders common with rheumatoid arthritis

(HealthDay)—Depression and anxiety are common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Jan. 6 in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Early treatment tied to less disability with pediatric-onset MS

(HealthDay)—Timing of treatment start is an important predictor of disability accumulation in patients with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online Jan. 17 in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

These Super Sunday puppies aren't just adorable, they can be good for health

It's hard to believe, but America's favorite puppy wrangler used to live in a housing development that didn't allow pets.

Coronavirus doesn't have to scare you or your kids, psychologists say

(HealthDay)—Coronavirus is all over the news, and people are talking about the latest outbreak that started in China and appears to be rapidly spreading to other countries.

Your game plan for keeping 'Super Bowl Flu' at bay

(HealthDay)—Don't get tackled by the flu if you go to a Super Bowl party this weekend.

Too much Super Bowl can mean too little sleep

(HealthDay)—Your Super Bowl party this Sunday may leave you feeling beat on Monday morning, a new survey finds.

Religiousness linked to improved quality of life for people with HIV

Adults living with HIV in Washington, D.C., were more likely to feel higher levels of emotional and physical well-being if they attended religious services regularly, prayed daily, felt "God's presence," and self-identified as religious or spiritual, according to research published online Jan. 29, 2020, in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. By contrast, patients living with HIV who had the lowest levels of quality of life and more mental health challenges were privately religious, potentially eschewing organized religion due to fears about being stigmatized or ostracized.

New research looks at type 1 diabetes and changes in the environment

Studies have shown a rapid increase in new cases of type 1 diabetes worldwide. However, scientists and researchers have struggled to identify a direct cause. Many have questioned if changes in the environment or lifestyle have impacted the disease. In a newly released review paper published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, faculty from the Colorado School of Public Health at the Anschutz Medical Campus examined whether any environmental exposures can explain why type 1 diabetes is on the rise.

Cyprus treats first suspected case of coronavirus

Cyprus said on Friday it was treating its first suspected case of coronavirus after a man arrived from China showing signs of the illness.

Coronavirus vaccine will take months: biotech exec

No manufacturer will have a coronavirus vaccine ready for use before the middle of 2020, despite an intensive global effort, a biotech executive told AFP on Friday.

US bans entry to foreign nationals who traveled to China

The US said Friday it was declaring a public health emergency and temporarily banning the entry of foreign nationals who had traveled to China over the past two weeks to contain the spread of a deadly new virus.

Airlines curb or cancel China flights

A number of airlines say they are halting or reducing flights to China as the country struggles to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

In brief: Choice of anesthesia may affect breast cancer metastases

A new study led by Stony Brook University Cancer Center researchers to be published in Nature Communications suggests that the choice of anesthesia may change the metastatic process of breast cancer by affecting the cytokine and microenvironment.

Putting neglected tropical diseases in the spotlight: Lessons learned from Chagas disease

Today, January 30th 2020, is the inaugural World Neglected Tropical Diseases day. For the first time, global community leaders, health experts, civil society advocates, and policymakers have united to raise awareness about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), in hopes of removing the "neglected" label from the group's name. But what are these NTDs, and why are they neglected?

Migraine rats, medical facts

Migraine mechanisms are still far from being fully understood. Escalating data from animal models are "fact-checking" the neurophysiological and behavioral correlates of the migraine experience in humans. A series of studies published in the journal Cephalalgia, the official journal of the International Headache Society, have described the underlying mechanisms and molecules related to migraine, and how they may be affected by current anti-migraine drugs or might translate into new therapies.

Virtual crossmatching improves quality of life for kidney transplant patients

Virtual antibody crossmatching is a safe and efficient way of selecting kidney transplant recipients. Two years after implementing the process, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) division of transplant surgery, Charleston, concluded that the technique was just as accurate and sensitive as physical crossmatch, the current gold standard, and much quicker. Virtual crossmatching reduced the time kidneys were kept on ice while awaiting identification of a suitable recipient, improved scheduling for surgeons and operating room staff, and alleviated emotional and logistical stress on patients who were called to the hospital only to be sent home hours later after a more suitable recipient was identified. A study of the process and its effects on clinical and surgical practice outcomes appears in an "article in press" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website in advance of print publication.

US announces 14-day quarantine on 195 virus evacuees

The US on Friday issued a rare federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans who were evacuated from the Chinese city at the center of a deadly global virus epidemic.

Delta, American and United suspend flights between US, China

Delta, American and United said Friday they will suspend all flights between the U.S. and mainland China, following the lead of several major international carriers that have stopped flying to China as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

Biology news

Study provides first look at sperm microbiome using RNA sequencing

A new collaborative study published by a research team from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the CReATe Fertility Centre and the University of Massachusetts Amherst provides the first in-depth look at the microbiome of human sperm utilizing RNA sequencing with sufficient sensitivity to identify contamination and pathogenic bacterial colonization.

Got slime? Using regenerative biology to restore mucus production

Let's talk about slime.

Endoplasmic reticulum found to contact at least two membraneless compartments and influence their behavior

A team of researchers at the University of Colorado has found that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) makes contact with at least two membraneless compartments in cells and influences their behavior. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their work with live-cell fluorescence microscopy of human cells and what they found.

A tsetse fly's bite can be fatal: New research takes a step toward ending that

When an infected tsetse fly bites humans or other mammals to feed on their blood, microscopic parasites (African trypanosomes) in the fly's saliva are transferred. The unfortunate recipient of the bite, once infected, often faces severe health consequences, even death.

Zoo improvements should benefit all animals

Zoo improvements should benefit all animals and include a wide range of "enrichment" techniques, researchers say.

New potato varieties have lower levels of probable carcinogen

Mary Ellen Camire has some good news about french fries.

Survival of Australian species hinges on working together

When faced with unfavorable environmental conditions, rodent species are likely to form social groups and work cooperatively, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Western Australia.

Study identifies the first potentially invasive species to reach the Antarctica on drifting marine algae

Drifting algae in the Austral Ocean can bring invasive species to the Antarctic coasts, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. The new study describes the first scientific evidence of a potentially invasive and colonial species –the marine bryozoan Membranipora membranacea- which reaches the Antarctic latitude islands in macroalgae that drift in the marine environment.

How do woodpeckers avoid brain injury?

Slamming a beak against the trunk of a tree would seem like an activity that would cause headaches, jaw aches and serious neck and brain injuries. Yet woodpeckers can do this 20 times per second and suffer no ill effects.

Efficient cryopreservation of genetically modified rat spermatozoa

Rat spermatozoa are two to four times larger than that of other animal species and are easily damaged by changes in pH, osmotic pressure, and temperature. Because these animals are very frequently used in medical research, a cryopreservation method was developed nearly 20 years ago. However, rat spermatozoa motility after thawing is extremely poor, and unless artificial insemination is performed at night (10:00-11:00 pm) no offspring will be produced. Furthermore, the number of offspring produced after successful artificial insemination is often lower than normal so the cryopreservation of rat sperm is not typically considered practical.

Not-so-dirty birds? Not enough evidence to link wild birds to food-borne illness

When food makes people sick, some blame birds because they hang around farms, and their feces can contain E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter, three common pathogens that can cause food-borne illness.

Simplifying simple sequence repeats

Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) are regions of DNA with high diversity, and they have long been a mainstay for botanists examining the genetic structure of plant populations. However, as the cost of sequencing DNA continues to plummet and genetic technologies advance, newer techniques for mapping genetic diversity such as genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) or RAD-seq have begun to rival the traditional use of SSRs. In research presented in a recent issue of Applications in Plant Sciences, Dr. Mark Chapman optimized the process of identifying SSRs from genomic and transcriptomic data, helping to assure the continued use and relevance of SSRs in the age of high-throughput sequencing (HTS).

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