Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Feb 11

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 11, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Talek: A private messaging system that hides message contents and user communication patterns

The experimental observation of echoes in a single molecule

Deep reservoirs of 'sleeper' viruses are roadblocks to HIV cure

Cannabis use consistently leads to increase in susceptibility to false memories

Double nuclei in the galaxy IC 676 investigated by researchers

Study reveals details of 'golf ball asteroid'

How some mammals pause their pregnancies

Atom or noise? New method helps cryo-EM researchers tell the difference

Combining viral genomics and public health data revealed new details about mumps outbreaks

A happy partner leads to a healthier future

Adapting to climate change: We're doing it wrong

New method offers more stable, efficient electrocatalytic reactions

Cyclist and driver middle-finger wars: Enter the emoji jacket

Using sound and light to generate ultra-fast data transfer

Artificial atoms create stable qubits for quantum computing

Astronomy & Space news

Double nuclei in the galaxy IC 676 investigated by researchers

Chinese astronomers have carried out spectroscopic observations of the lenticular galaxy IC 676. Results of these observations provide more insights into the nature of the galaxy's double nuclei. The study was detailed in a paper published January 31 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Study reveals details of 'golf ball asteroid'

Asteroids come in all shapes and sizes, and now astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have observed an asteroid so heavily cratered that they are dubbing it the "golf ball asteroid."

Technology news

Talek: A private messaging system that hides message contents and user communication patterns

Encrypted messaging services, which prevent cyberattackers from reading the contents of messages exchanged by their users, have become increasingly popular over the past decade or so. While these services hide message content, malicious users can often use the network metadata to infer other information, such as the identity of users exchanging messages, when they are communicating, where their messages are sent, and how much data is transferred between them.

Cyclist and driver middle-finger wars: Enter the emoji jacket

Think Europe, think bicycles, as adults of all ages off to work or daily errands are on the road shared with automobiles. In 2020, bikes have become even more popular as environmental concerns have led to governments eager to promote clean air.

Computer scientists design a tool to identify the source of errors caused by software updates

We've all shared the frustration—software updates that are intended to make our applications run faster inadvertently end up doing just the opposite. These bugs, dubbed in the computer science field as performance regressions, are time-consuming to fix since locating software errors normally requires substantial human intervention.

Samsung unveils its new foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung on Tuesday unveiled a new foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip, its second attempt to sell consumers on phones with bendable screens and clamshell designs.

The curious case of OpenBazaar

A year after the infamous Silk Road darknet marketplace was shut down by the FBI in 2013 for facilitating the sales of all things from guns to cocaine, a group of programmers developed a new darknet market, aptly naming it "DarkMarket." Shortly after its launch, DarkMarket rebranded itself with a more innocuous name, "OpenBazaar."

UK approves high-speed railway despite soaring cost

Britain said Tuesday it will begin full construction work on its new high-speed railway line in April following years of delays, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed the project despite soaring costs.

Google HR chief stepping aside as worker activism rises

Google on Monday confirmed that head of human resources Eileen Naughton was stepping away from her job as "vice president of people operations" at the internet company.

737 MAX test flight not yet scheduled: FAA

A certification flight for Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft is not yet scheduled as there are still a few "issues to resolve", a top US air safety regulator said Tuesday.

Inside the mind of a hacker: Psychological profiles of cybercriminals

Whether cracking digital security for good or ill, hackers tend to be people who are manipulative, deceitful, exploitative, cynical and insensitive, according to research from the University at Buffalo School of Management.

Electricity's past and future in America

As Americans integrate renewable energy resources into the nation's power supply, a new research paper from the Baker Institute for Public Policy reviews how the country's electrical system developed and says that an understanding of its past can offer insights about its future.

Go local: How to keep the power on when disaster hits

Bushfires, storms and floods regularly leave thousands of Australian homes and businesses without power.

T-Mobile, Sprint near finish line for wireless megadeal

T-Mobile and Sprint said Tuesday they were taking the final steps to complete a tie-up that reshapes the US wireless industry after a federal court turned aside an antitrust challenge.

Deep learning can fool listeners by imitating any guitar amplifier

A study from the Aalto Acoustics Lab demonstrates that digital simulations of guitar amplifiers can sound just like the real thing. The implications are that as the software models continue to improve, they can replace traditional analogue guitar amplifiers, which are bulky, fragile and expensive.

Social robots teach cybersafety to elementary students

Fifth graders from The College School on the University of Delaware's Newark campus recently learned important lessons about safeguarding information online from an unusual teacher—Zenbo, the social robot.

London police deploy face scan tech, stirring privacy fears

London police started using facial recognition cameras on Tuesday to automatically scan for wanted people, as authorities adopt the technology that has raised concerns about increased surveillance and erosion of privacy.

Big Tech acquisitions over past decade to face fresh US review

A US regulatory agency said Tuesday it would review acquisitions made by five Big Tech firms over the past decade—opening the door to a wave of potential antitrust investigations.

Boeing reports no new jet orders in January

Boeing reported Tuesday no new plane orders in January and a drop in jet deliveries as the protracted grounding of the 737 MAX continued to weigh on the company.

Daimler profits plunge in 2019 on 'dieselgate' costs

Daimler chief executive Ola Kallenius suffered a grim first year in 2019 as profits tumbled at Mercedes-Benz's parent company due to billions in costs from the "dieselgate" scandal, and thousands of job cuts now lie ahead.

Intel, Vivo latest to drop out of tech show over virus fears

U.S. chip maker Intel and Chinese smartphone maker Vivo are among the latest companies to pull out of a major European technology fair over virus worries.

Artificial intelligence for machine tool maintenance

In mechanical engineering, maintaining and replacing defective components timely in machine tools is an important part of the manufacturing process. In the case of ball screw drives, such as those used in lathes to precisely guide the production of cylindrical components, wear has until now been determined manually.

Man killed in Tesla crash had complained about Autopilot

An Apple engineer who died when his Tesla Model X hit a concrete barrier on a Silicon Valley freeway had complained before his death that the SUV's Autopilot system would malfunction in the area where the crash happened.

Medicine & Health news

Deep reservoirs of 'sleeper' viruses are roadblocks to HIV cure

The major obstacle to curing HIV is a vast reservoir of "latent, replication-competent proviruses," which have infiltrated the very cells that help orchestrate the immune response.

Cannabis use consistently leads to increase in susceptibility to false memories

A team of researchers from The Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Germany and the U.S. has found evidence showing that the use of cannabis consistently leads to an increase in susceptibility to false memories. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials that they used to test the impact of cannabis use on memory recall, and what they found.

Combining viral genomics and public health data revealed new details about mumps outbreaks

In 2016 and 2017, a surge of mumps cases at Boston-area universities prompted researchers to study mumps virus transmission using genomic data, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and local university health services. As the outbreaks unfolded, the teams analyzed mumps virus genomes collected from patients, revealing new links between cases that first appeared unrelated and other details about how the disease was spreading that weren't apparent from the epidemiological investigation.

A happy partner leads to a healthier future

Science now supports the saying, "happy wife, happy life." Michigan State University research found that those who are optimistic contribute to the health of their partners, staving off the risk factors leading to Alzheimer's disease, dementia and cognitive decline as they grow old together.

Build-up of brain proteins affects genes in Alzheimer's disease

New research has shed fresh light on how the build-up of two proteins in the brain might affect the activity of genes involved in Alzheimer's disease.

DNA misfolding in white blood cells increases risk for type 1 diabetes

It's known that genetics, or an inherited genome, is a major determinant of one's risk for autoimmune diseases, like Type 1 diabetes. In human cells, a person's genome—about six feet of DNA—is compressed into the micrometer space of the nucleus via a three-dimensional folding process. Specialized proteins decode the genetic information, reading instruction from our genome in a sequence-specific manner. But what happens when a sequence variation leads to the misinterpretation of instruction, causing pathogenic misfolding of DNA inside the nucleus? Can the different folding patterns make us more susceptible to autoimmune diseases?

Sitting still linked to increased risk of depression in adolescents

Too much time sitting still—sedentary behaviour—is linked to an increased risk of depressive symptoms in adolescents, finds a new UCL-led study.

New method predicts individual response to Ebola infection

Not everyone who catches Ebola dies of the hemorrhagic virus infection. Some people mount a robust immune defense and recover fully. Yet risk factors for susceptibility to infection and disease severity remain poorly understood.

Prebiotics help mice fight melanoma by activating anti-tumor immunity

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that two prebiotics, mucin and inulin, slowed the growth of melanoma in mice by boosting the immune system's ability to fight cancer. In contrast to probiotics, which are live bacterial strains, prebiotics are "food" for bacteria and stimulate the growth of diverse beneficial populations. The study, published today in Cell Reports, provides further evidence that gut microbes have a role in shaping the immune response to cancer, and supports efforts to target the gut microbiome to enhance the efficacy of cancer therapy.

Mice 'detectives' hint at how humans read between the lines

Some people are annoyingly good at "reading between the lines." They seem to know, well before anyone else, who is the killer in a movie, or the meaning of an abstract poem. What these people are endowed with is a strong inference capability—using indirect evidence to figure out hidden information.

Eye-tracking data improves prosthetic hands

Prosthetic hands restore only some of the function lost through amputation. But combining electrical signals from forearm muscles with other sources of information, such as eye tracking, promises better prostheses. A study funded by the SNSF gives specialists access to valuable new data.

Shape-shifting stem cells are key to cancer metastasis and immune evasion

Just as people tend to become stuck in their ways as they grow older so too do cells. Neurons in the brain don't one day decide to become heart cells; skin cells repair wounds with skin cells rather than kidney cells.

Eight-molecule snake toxin packs biting force for aiding neurological conditions

A Griffith University pharmacologist has played a key role in the world-first discovery of an eight-molecule snake venom toxin with the potential to become a diagnostic tool or new drug for neurological and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and neuropathic pain.

Research: Genes are transcribed differently in childhood, have health impacts in adulthood

A team of researchers from the University of California, the University of Z├╝rich, Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that environmental conditions during childhood can impact the way genes are transcribed, resulting in health issues during adulthood. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of genetic markers in a database and what they learned from them.

Mitochondria study could help boost understanding of diabetes and aging

In a surprising study, Oregon State University researchers found that no matter how much stress they placed on mice from either a high-fat diet or strenuous exercise, the animals' mitochondria were able to adapt and continue their normal processes.

Replacing animal testing with synthetic cell scaffolds

Electrospun synthetic cell scaffolds are not only more consistent than animal cells for cancer research, they hold the potential to replace animal testing.

Skin cancer diagnosis apps are unreliable and poorly regulated, study shows

Smartphone apps used as 'early warning systems' for skin cancer are poorly regulated and frequently cannot be relied upon to produce accurate results, according to new analysis by experts at the University of Birmingham.

Daily exposure to ozone pollution linked to increased risk of death

Daily exposure to ground level ozone in cities worldwide is associated with an increased risk of death, finds the largest study of its kind published by The BMJ today.

Alarmingly low rates of HIV testing among at-risk teenage boys

The majority of teenage boys most at risk for developing HIV are not being tested for the disease, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. This lack of testing feeds the growing epidemic of undiagnosed HIV infections in the United States.

Free radicals from immune cells are direct cause of salt-sensitive hypertension

In salt-sensitive hypertension, immune cells gather in the kidneys and shoot out free radicals, heightening blood pressure and damaging this pair of vital organs, scientists report.

Novel drug therapy shows promise for quality, quantity of kidneys available for transplant

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UH), Cleveland Clinic and Lifebanc (a Northeast Ohio organ-procurement organization) have developed a new way to preserve donated kidneys—a method that could extend the number and quality of kidneys available for transplant, saving more people with end-stage renal disease, more commonly known as "kidney failure."

Taiwan hits out at China virus travel bans

Taiwan on Tuesday hit out at countries that "confuse" it with China after the Philippines became the latest to impose a travel ban on the island over the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

China tightens movement restrictions in locked-down Wuhan

China tightened restrictions at the locked-down epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday, forbidding feverish people in Wuhan from visiting hospitals outside of their home districts.

Eight days in Wuhan, cut off from the world

For eight days, an AFP team lived and worked at the centre of a global health emergency, witnessing how life in the Chinese city of Wuhan was turned upside down as it was cut off from the world.

China virus deaths top 1,000 as WHO warns of 'very grave' global threat

The death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak surged past 1,000 in China on Tuesday as the World Health Organization warned that the epidemic poses a "very grave" global threat.

Hong Kong housing block evacuated after virus cluster find

More than 100 people were evacuated from a Hong Kong housing block on Tuesday after four residents in two different apartments tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Pilot program aims to improve reproducibility, utility, and ethics of biomedical research

Addressing the widespread concern over transparency and reproducibility in biomedical research, one of the largest institutions in German science has begun to provide a framework, interventions, and incentives for improving the quality and value of translational research. The program is described by its leader, Ulrich Dirnagl of Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), and colleagues in a new article publishing on February 11 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology.

One in five operations may lead to surprise bills, even when surgeon and hospital are in-network

As if recovering from surgery wasn't hard enough, a new study shows that one in five operations could result in an unwelcome surprise: a bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars that the patient didn't know they might owe.

UK team tests China virus vaccine on mice

A team of UK scientists believe they are among the first to start animal testing of a vaccine for the new coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people and spread around the world.

WHO warns of 'very grave' global virus threat

The head of the World Health Organization on Tuesday warned the novel coronavirus was a "very grave threat" for the world as he opened a conference to combat the epidemic.

World scientists meet to fight novel coronavirus

Scientists from around the world are reviewing how the novel coronavirus is transmitted and possible vaccines at a World Health Organization conference that kicked off on Tuesday.

New coronavirus found in Japan evacuees who initially tested negative

Two Japanese citizens evacuated from the epicentre of a novel coronavirus outbreak have been diagnosed with the infection after initially testing negative, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

China's daily death toll from virus tops 100 for first time

China's daily death toll from a new virus topped 100 for the first time and pushed the total for the outbreak above 1,000, authorities said Tuesday, after leader Xi Jinping visited a health center to rally public morale amid little sign the contagion is abating.

Study: High-tech Impella circulatory pump may increase risk of death and bleeding

A new national study finds that use of the Impella circulatory support device is associated with higher rates of death and major bleeding than a common alternative, especially among patients with acute myocardial infarction and cardiogenic shock who are implanted with mechanical circulatory support devices.

10,000 steps: Not quite magical when it comes to weight

For years now, 10,000 steps a day has become the gold standard for people trying to improve their health—and recent research shows some benefits can come from even just 7,500 steps. But if you're trying to prevent weight gain, a new Brigham Young University study suggests no number of steps alone will do the trick.

Getting at underlying factors of eating disorders

Subtle differences in brain activity may be the key to unlocking the cause of eating disorders and lead to a more proactive approach in tackling the disease.

New measure of biological age can predict health risks

People age in different ways. Biological age is a metric that scientists use to predict health risks, the relevance of which can be enhanced by combining different markers. Particularly important markers are frailty and the epigenetic clock, write researchers from Karolinska Institutet in a study published in eLife.

Caring for your heart is critical during the winter months

We may be starting the new year with mild temperatures, but we still have a long stretch of winter months ahead. As the temperatures inevitably turn more seasonable, it's important to keep up with your health, especially your heart.

General practitioner care for life-limiting conditions reduces need for emergency healthcare

Regular involvement of a GP in the care of children and young people with life-limiting conditions can reduce hospital admissions, a new study has found.

Study: General practitioner role important in supporting people who self-harm

Self-harm is a major public health concern and new research at Keele University has found that GPs recognize self-harm as a serious risk for suicide, but some do not feel equipped to manage people who self-harm.

Tracking tumor cells and unraveling hidden information

tumor cells circulating in the blood of cancer patients are important markers for early diagnosis, treatment success and patient prognosis. But since so few circulate, identifying them is a challenge. Thanks to artificial intelligence, researchers of the University of Twente managed to automate the process with a high level of accuracy. Additionally, the new technology not only detects the tumor cells, but also unravels hidden information. Extracellular vesicles, important in cell interaction, are classified, as well. The researchers presented their results in the February 10 issue of Nature Machine Intelligence.

A potential treatment for life-threatening neurological diseases

A group of life-threatening neurological conditions affecting children has been linked to an antibody that points to potential treatment, according to an observational multicenter study involving 535 children with central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disorders and encephalitis, published in The Lancet Neurology journal.

CDC outlines U.S. process of evaluating patients for novel coronavirus

Recognizing individuals at risk for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection is a key part of facilitating infection control and prevention and limiting transmission, according to research published in the Feb. 7 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Resting-state EEG can predict sertraline treatment outcomes

A latent-space machine learning algorithm tailored for resting-state electroencephalography (rsEEG) can predict treatment outcomes with sertraline in depression, according to a study published online Feb. 10 in Nature Biotechnology.

Puberty starts a year earlier for girls now than in the 1970s

Girls are entering puberty about a year earlier than they did back in the 1970s, according to global data on breast development.

AI may help guide patients to most effective antidepressant

Choosing the right antidepressant for someone who is depressed can be hit or miss. But a new study shows that artificial intelligence (AI) technology may be able to help.

What's the best way to administer the opioid OD antidote?

In the midst of a U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse, knowing how to quickly administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone could save a life.

FDA report continues to see no link between cellphones and cancer

After reviewing 11 years of published, scientific studies, the Food and Drug Administration remains convinced there's no obvious health risk posed by exposure to radio waves from mobile phones, according to a new report.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Three things women should know about heart disease

All women face the threat of heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Amy Pollak, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says there are many important things women should know about heart disease.

'Women my age tend to drink—it's normal'

Women aged 50-70 are more likely than younger women to consume alcohol at levels that exceed low risk drinking guidelines—and most think that's just perfectly fine.

The nose knows: Study establishes airborne exposure to harmful algal blooms' toxins

Florida has experienced numerous harmful algal blooms in recent years, including blue-green algae and their toxins in 2016 and 2018. Despite their intensity and frequency, there is scant data on human exposure to these blooms and concentrations of the toxins they produce in tissues of exposed individuals. The most common routes of human exposure to these toxins include direct contact, ingestion and inhalation. Little is known about airborne exposure to these toxins in recreationally and occupationally exposed humans.

Exercise your way to a better relationship

Want to spice up your relationship for Valentine's Day? Or maybe even start a new one off on the right foot? Go on an exercise date.

Aussies getting less radiation from CT scans than 5 years ago

Computed tomography (CT) procedures use ionising radiation to produce images of patients for better medical diagnosis and treatment, often avoiding more invasive tests.

The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?

The new coronavirus that emerged in central China at the end of last year has killed more than 1,000 people and spread around the world.

How the brain's immune system could be harnessed to improve memory

When it comes to memory, immune cells are known as the "bad cops" of the brain. But new research shows they could also be turned into "good cops" to power memory and learning.

Scientists develop non-invasive method to predict onset of dementia

Information gathered from routine visits to the doctor is enough to accurately predict a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, according to new research led by scientists from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University and Merck. The researchers developed and tested machine learning algorithms using data from electronic medical records to identify patients who may be at risk for developing the dementia.

Rabies: New prophylactic and therapeutic avenues

Rabies is still responsible for approximately 60,000 human deaths per year mostly in Asia and Africa, and affects especially underserved people. Yet, since the first vaccine developed by Louis Pasteur more than 130 years ago, prophylactic measures have significantly improved. They are now composed of the vaccine allied to purified human or equine rabies immunoglobulins. However, these immunoglobulins are expensive and not easy to reach in developing settings.

Social control among immune cells improves defense against infections

A simple mechanism, previously known from bacteria, ensures that the immune system strikes a balance between the rapid expansion of immune cells and the prevention of an excessive self-damaging reaction after an infection. This has now been deciphered by scientists at the University Hospital of Freiburg (Germany) and colleagues from the Netherlands and Great Britain. An infection quickly activates T-cells, which leads to their proliferation. The research team has now shown that these cells are able to perceive each other and—based on their density—jointly determine whether or not they should continue to proliferate. The newly discovered mechanism could also help to improve cancer immunotherapies. The study was published in the scientific journal Immunity on 11 February 2020.

Facebook postings by breast cancer patients initially surge, then decline over time

Transitions in breast cancer care are associated with significant increases in stress and anxiety, and this stress can negatively impact the mental and physical health of patients. Increasingly, patients are seeking support from friends and family through social media, including Facebook. A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health examined the posting behavior of breast cancer patients on Facebook and offers details on how—and possibly why—it changed over time.

Revenge is more enjoyable than forgiveness—at least in stories

When it comes to entertainment, people enjoy seeing bad guys get their punishment more than seeing them be forgiven, a new study reveals.

'Virtual hospital' cuts EMS calls, ER visits and hospital admissions for high-use patients

A joint University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services project to provide virtual hospital services at home for patients with complex medical issues is showing promising early results, according to its senior medical director.

New ways to clean homes may help in Ghana's fight against bacterial disease

Bacteria that cause disease can be found in homes, schools and hospitals and are building up a resistance to antibiotic drugs. What this means is that, in the not-too-distant future, something as simple as a minor cut could develop into a life-threatening infection.

Medical waste offers insights into South Africa's use of pharmaceuticals

Much of what we know about human history comes from studying things that have been discarded. The archaeology of dumpsites and middens has long informed us about societies and their pasts. This has included how people survived and sustained themselves, what they gathered, made, amassed and discarded.

Depression memes may be a coping mechanism for people with mental illness

Internet memes are a bit like an inside joke you share with the entire internet. People can share experiences, opinions, and feelings easily by using an image that has a funny or relatable caption. While memes are usually light-hearted, many social media sites and forums are increasingly playing host to communities that share so-called depressive memes—memes about death, suicide, isolation, or hopelessness.

Coronavirus outbreak: New mapping tool that lets you scroll through timeline

In the final weeks of 2019, a virus slipped furtively from animal to human somewhere in the Chinese city of Wuhan. This inauspicious moment marked the sounding of a starting pistol, unheard at first but now echoing deafeningly across the globe. The race to stop a pandemic had begun.

Contraceptive pill: Interrupted supply is a bigger problem than it might appear

Hormonal contraceptives are in short supply in the UK. This has affected injectable and oral contraceptives and follows on from a reported shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) earlier in the year. Shortages of contraceptives may seem less urgent that shortages of, say, diabetes or cancer drugs, but they can lead to unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

Connecting the dots between climate change and healthcare

Boston's medical establishment is coming together to carry a message to area physicians and other health care workers: Climate change plays a role in many of the illnesses they see each day. A Feb. 13 symposium, "The Climate Crisis and Clinical Practice," at Harvard Medical School (HMS) aims to help them anticipate those health effects to better treat and advise patients, and to discuss relevant issues with them when appropriate. The symposium is supported by HMS, area teaching hospitals, medical associations, and the New England Journal of Medicine. The Gazette spoke with organizer Renee Salas, an emergency physician, HMS assistant professor of emergency medicine, and climate change and health expert, about the need for the gathering.

Simple blood test could help predict progression of Parkinson's disease

In order to provide the best medical care for newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, a method of predicting their cognitive and motor progression, beyond using purely clinical parameters, would have major implications for their management. A novel study published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease suggests that a blood test for inflammatory and cell senescence biomarkers may be a reliable predictor of cognitive decline, including identifying those who will develop an early dementia and motor progression in PD patients.

CBT can effectively reduce symptoms of chronic stress

Stress-related conditions such as adjustment disorder and clinical burnout can be effectively treated with a 12-week cognitive behavioral program, both when delivered as a face-to-face treatment and when delivered via the internet, according to a new doctoral thesis from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

One in five patients suffer from anxiety after stroke, study suggests

A team of researchers, led by the University of York, reviewed almost a hundred global studies involving 22,262 survivors of stroke.

Advisory calls for bridging inequities in rural health

People who live in rural America are vulnerable to heart disease. Breaking down health care barriers for these residents is an inequity problem that needs innovative approaches, according to a new advisory from the American Heart Association.

Children detect a speaker's politeness both through intonation and facial expression

Gesture and prosody (stress, rhythm and intonation) play an important role in the development of children's communication skills. Studies have traditionally focused rather on the role played by these elements in the early acquisition of lexical and morphosyntactic elements and less at older ages, when children use prosody and gesture to express pragmatic meanings such as politeness.

Study suggests taller young men may have lower dementia risk

Men who are taller in young adulthood, as an indicator of early-life circumstances, may have a lower risk of dementia in old age, suggests a study published today in eLife.

Long-distance skiers may have 'motor reserve' that can delay onset of Parkinson's disease

To better understand the relationship between physical activity and Parkinson's Disease (PD) investigators in Sweden analyzed medical records of nearly 200,000 long-distance skiers who took part in the Vasaloppet cross-country ski race. They established that a physically active lifestyle is associated with close to a 30% reduced risk for PD, which might be explained by a motor reserve among the physically active, however, this dissipates as individuals age. Their results are published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease (JPD).

WHO names deadly virus from China as 'COVID-19'

The UN health agency on Tuesday announced that "COVID-19" will be the official name of the deadly virus from China, saying the disease represented a "very grave threat" for the world but there was a "realistic chance" of stopping it.

Epilepsy treatment side effect: New insights about the brain

Though Genette Hofmann is still using her brain, last month she donated a bit of it—to science.

Baby born with 'one-of-a-kind' heart receives transplant

When a test showed a dangerous drop in the heart rate of Courtney Agnoli's unborn daughter, the doctor who urgently admitted her to the hospital said, "You aren't leaving here without a baby."

Being an African American 'superwoman' might come with a price

The image of the strong African American woman—resilient, driven to succeed, devoted to those around her—is rooted in generations of history. Many women see it as a proud legacy that helps shield them from the insults of entrenched discrimination.

U.S. heroin use nearly doubled over two decades

(HealthDay)—Nearly twice as many people in the United States used heroin in 2018 as did in 2002, a new government study shows.

Lupus patients who take their medications lower their diabetes risk

Patients with lupus who take their medications as prescribed have much lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a common complication of the disease, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Teens with a history of ADHD need stronger monitoring of health risks

Adolescents with a history of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at an increased risk for a multitude of adverse outcomes, including sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), mental health conditions, and car accidents. Researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) wanted to better understand how primary care doctors addressed these risks with patients as they transitioned from childhood to young adulthood. They found that although doctors generally discuss depression, substance abuse, and suicide risk with patients who have a history of ADHD, they rarely discuss safe driving with them and most of the time they do not monitor patients for risky sexual behavior.

New technique allows scientists to study parasitic infections one cell at a time

A new technique may help scientists study the body's immune response to intestinal parasite infections one gut cell at a time, according to a study published today in eLife.

Telehealth interventions associated with improved obstetric outcomes

Telehealth interventions are associated with improved obstetric outcomes, according to a review published from physician-researchers at the George Washington University. The article, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, presents a systematic review of studies on telehealth interventions that report health outcomes in selected areas in low-risk obstetrics, family planning, and gynecologic conditions.

Recent advances in addressing tuberculosis give hope for future

In September 2018, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, issued its Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Research, which outlined research priorities to reduce and ultimately end the burden of tuberculosis (TB). TB is a bacterial disease that has claimed the lives of more than a billion people in the past two centuries. Now, a new "Perspective" in The Journal of Infectious Diseases by NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and other Institute officials summarizes recent progress in improved TB diagnostics, therapeutic regimens and prevention approaches that made 2019 a "banner year" for TB research.

Pedal to the metal: Speeding up treatments for ALS

A therapeutic intervention for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, could be on the horizon thanks to unexpected findings by University of Arizona researchers.

Stroke: Macrophages migrate from the blood

Macrophages are part of the innate immune system and essential for brain development and function. Using a novel method, scientists from Jena University Hospital, the University of Bonn and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York (USA) succeeded in visualizing macrophages that were formed in the bone marrow. In studies on mice, this technology enabled the researchers to observe that shortly after a stroke, numerous macrophages that had migrated from the blood begin to attack dead and adjacent healthy brain tissue. The results have now been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Young men unaware of risks of HPV infection and need for HPV vaccination

Young sexual minority men—including those who are gay, bisexual, queer or straight-identified men who have sex with men—do not fully understand their risk for human papillomavirus (HPV) due to a lack of information from health care providers, according to Rutgers researchers.

Research could help reduce disease incidence in organ donors

Kidney transplantation is the gold standard treatment for end-stage kidney disease and is associated with an advantage over dialysis in both survival and quality of life.

Clostridioides difficile infection flourishes with a high-protein, high-fat diet

Diets like the Keto, Paleo and Atkins focus on high-fat, high-protein meals that are often low in carbohydrates. This mix may appeal to Clostridioides difficile bacteria, too.

Nearly 200 evacuees to leave coronavirus quarantine in US

Nearly 200 evacuees prepared Tuesday to end their two-week quarantine at a Southern California military base where they have been living since flying out of China during a deadly viral outbreak.

Trial shows using two drugs not better than one when treating MRSA blood infections

Researchers attempting to improve the treatment for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood infections have discovered the combination of two antibiotics was no better than one, and led to more adverse effects.

Studies gauge effect of soft drink taxation, advertising and labeling laws

Laws affecting the labeling, marketing and taxation of sugary soft drinks impact the behavior of both consumers and manufacturers, according to two studies published this week in PLOS Medicine.

Research points to potential brain marker of stress and its effects on problem solving

Stress response is the body's normal physiological reaction to a situation that it perceives as threatening. However, stress can also impact important aspects of thinking, including problem solving. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders have discovered a potential indicator of how stress affects the brain and alters its ability to problem solve. These findings could ultimately understand and optimize treatment for patients suffering from stress-related illnesses.

Researchers discover key protein in endometrial cancer growth

The hormone estrogen plays many critical roles in men and women, in both healthy tissues and in cancer. In breast and gynecologic cancers, estrogen sends signals to tumors instructing the cancer cells to grow out of control. In recent years, studies have shed light on the growth-promoting role of estrogen in breast cancer. In endometrial cancer, which arises in the lining of the uterus, estrogen is known to play a critical role in tumor development, yet many insights from how it affects breast cancer do not apply to endometrial cancer. New research, published today in the journal Cancer Research, outlines findings scientists hope will advance our understanding of endometrial cancer and lead to more effective treatments.

Triplex vaccine reduces rate of CMV complications in transplant recipients

Patients who underwent a stem cell transplant and received the Triplex vaccine to prevent a type of herpes virus—cytomegalovirus (CMV) - from duplicating out of control were 50% less likely to develop health complications related to the virus than patients who did not take Triplex, according to a City of Hope-led study published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Creating the ideal nasal tip contour

The dramatic shift in how nasal tip surgery is being performed given changes in the intended goals and evolving techniques is highlighted in a Special Communication by and interview with Dean Toriumi, MD, published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine.

STDs on the rise: The evidence of claims data

Private insurance claim lines for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) rose 76 percent nationally from 2007 to 2018, according to a new study of STDs from FAIR Health, a national, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information. The study results, which are being released today in the form of an infographic, are based on analysis of data from FAIR Health's comprehensive repository of over 30 billion private healthcare claim records—the largest in the country.

Adding maraviroc to standard c-ART does not seem to improve clinical outcomes for patients with advanced HIV infection

Adding maraviroc to standard combined antiretroviral therapy (c-ART) does not seem to improve clinical outcomes for patients initiating treatment for advanced HIV infection. Findings from a double-blind randomized controlled trial are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Improving well-being in nursing homes

Residential care facilities and nursing homes are not widely regarded as appealing places to live or work. In both professional practice and research, the emphasis is often on reducing negative aspects such as the heavy workload of nursing staff and the loneliness experienced by residents. In her doctoral thesis, University of Twente Ph.D. candidate Noortje Kloos introduces a positive psychological perspective on working and living in nursing home facilities, focusing specifically on optimizing functioning and enhancing the positive aspects of life.

Medical group opposes states' limits on trans youth access to treatment

A group of medical professionals in southern states opposes proposals that would limit transgender minors' access to gender-affirming health care such as hormone therapy and surgery.

Eight ways to make every day a Valentine for your kids

(HealthDay)—As Valentine's Day approaches, parents are reminded to shower their children with love and attention throughout the year.

Can T'ai Chi alleviate chronic low back pain in older adults?

A new study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of using T'ai Chi to improve chronic low back pain in adults over 65 years of age compared to health education and usual care. The results of this randomized controlled trial are published in JACM, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Understanding how laws affect public health: An update on legal epidemiology

Laws can have important effects on public health risks and outcomes, while research can provide key evidence to inform effective health-related laws and policies. An introduction to the increasingly influential field of legal epidemiology is presented in a special supplement to the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (JPHMP).

Digital intervention reduces depressive symptoms in people living with HIV

Globally more than 36 million people are living with HIV (PLWH), and a third of them have elevated depressive symptoms. Most PLWH live in developing countries with limited access to mental health services due to HIV-related stigma and a shortage of mental health professionals. Widely accessible smart phones offer a promising intervention delivery mode to address this gap.

Injectable drug for faster healing of bone fractures prepares for clinical trials

One in three adults aged 60 and over suffering from a hip fracture dies within one year. Now, a Purdue University-affiliated startup is moving closer to the start of clinical trials for a novel injectable drug that is targeted to heal broken bones faster and strengthen weak bones.

Spanish government passes 1st hurdle to legalize euthanasia

Spain's parliament has endorsed an effort by the new Socialist-led government to legalize euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

Tenet Healthcare to pay $1.4M to settle cardiac lawsuit

Tenet Healthcare Corporation and its Southern California hospital Desert Regional Medical Center will pay $1.41 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly charged Medicare for implanting unnecessary cardiac monitors in patients, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

WHO chief 'very encouraged' by dip in Congo Ebola cases

The head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday that experts are "very encouraged" after only three new cases of Ebola have been reported in the past week in eastern Congo, a sign that the world's second deadliest Ebola epidemic in history could finally be waning after 18 months.

Biology news

How some mammals pause their pregnancies

How do some mammals postpone the development of their embryos to await better conditions for having offspring? A recent study at the UW Medicine Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine explored this reproductive enigma, which can occur in more than 130 species of mammals as well as in some marsupials.

Atom or noise? New method helps cryo-EM researchers tell the difference

Cryogenic electron microscopy, or cryo-EM, has reached the point where researchers could in principle image individual atoms in a 3-D reconstruction of a molecule—but just because they could see those details doesn't always mean they do. Now, researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have proposed a new way to quantify how accurate such reconstructions are and, in the process, how confident they can be in their molecular interpretations.

Study identifies interaction that promotes cancerous state in cells

When the machinery that guides the transition of stem cells to somatic cells doesn't shut down properly, cells can become cancerous. Identifying the mechanisms that impede those processes would offer scientists a target for cancer research.

Climate warming disrupts tree seed production

Research involving the University of Liverpool has revealed the effect of climate warming on the complex interactions between beech trees and the insects that eat their seeds.

Sexual reproduction: Sometimes it's just not worth the effort, study finds

Why do most plants and animals engage in sexual reproduction?

Observational study reveals short-range interactions govern dynamics of microbial communities

Microbial communities are known to be indispensable for our planet. But surprisingly little is known about how they function. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology and ETH Zurich are now shedding a little light on this subject.

Viruses reprogram cells into different virocells

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, so the adage goes, it must be a duck. But if the duck gets infected by a virus so that it no longer looks or quacks like one, is it still a duck? For a team led by researchers from The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan studying how virus infections cause significant metabolic changes in marine microbes, the answer is no. They refer to the infected microbial cells as virocells, a change in name first described in 2011 which reflects the metabolic changes they've undergone.

Researchers find new method to allow corals to rapidly respond to climate change

For the first time, a team of marine biology and environmental genomics researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) have demonstrated that epigenetic modifications in reef-building corals can be transmitted from parents to their offspring. This discovery, reported in a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change, not only enhances the biological understanding of corals, it also opens up new approaches to stem the loss of this foundation species of marine ecosystems. The findings suggest that generating pre-adapted coral colonies and larvae via epigenetic conditioning would enable the creation of seeding populations that can naturally repopulate dying reefs.

Building better base editors

CRISPR-based gene editing has potential therapeutic benefits but also some technical shortcomings. One set of these gene editing tools, base editors, can rewrite the four individual DNA letters, or bases— A, C, T or G—which represent key chemical building blocks of DNA, adenine, cytosine, thymine, and guanine.

Live imaging of flowers reveals hidden secrets of plant reproduction

Scientists have developed a way to image sexual reproduction in living flowers, according to a study published today in the open-access journal eLife.

How some butterflies developed the ability to change their eyespot size

New insight on how a butterfly species developed the ability to adjust its wing eyespot size in response to temperature has been published today in eLife.

More than just a carnival trick: Researchers can guess your age based on your microbes

Our microbiomes—the complex communities of microbes that live in, on and around us—are influenced by our diets, habits, environments and genes, and are known to change with age. In turn, the makeup of our microbiomes, particularly in the gut, is well-recognized for its influence on our health. For example, gut microbiome composition has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease, obesity, even neurological disorders, such as autism.

They were once domestic pets, then natural selection made dingoes wild

Believed to have been pets at one stage in their evolution, the origins of the Australian dingo are shrouded in mystery, compelling generations of biologists to snoop for clues about their early history. New evidence has recently been revealed by a genomic study that offers tantalizing details about their adaptation from domesticated to wild animals.

New research shows how the malaria parasite grows and multiplies

Scientists have made a major breakthrough in understanding how the parasite that causes malaria is able to multiply at such an alarming rate, which could be a vital clue in discovering how it has evolved, and how it can be stopped.

Orb-weaver spiders' yellow and black pattern helps them lure prey

Being inconspicuous might seem the best strategy for spiders to catch potential prey in their webs, but many orb-web spiders, which hunt in this way, are brightly coloured. New research finds their distinct yellow and black pattern is actually essential in luring prey. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal: Functional Ecology.

Mediterranean great white sharks found to have 3.2 million-year-old origins

The great white shark has been in the Mediterranean for 3.2 million years, way longer than researchers have hypothesized until now. The white sharks currently living in the Mediterranean are genetically closer to those of the Pacific Ocean than to their neighbors inhabiting the Atlantic.

New treatment tackles costly parasitic disease for freshwater farmed and ornamental fish

A compound has been identified by researchers from the EU-funded ParaFishControl project, which examines fish-parasite interactions in aquaculture. Its effectiveness in treating certain parasitic diseases led researchers to submit a patent for its production.

Bush-crickets' ears unlock the science to developing revolutionary hearing sensors

New research has found that bush-crickets' ear canals have evolved to work in the same way as mammals' ears to amplify sound and modulate sound pressure—and the findings could help scientists make better acoustic sensors for human use.

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense

The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media.

When introduced species are cute and lovable, culling them is a tricky proposition

Almost one in five Australians think introduced horses and foxes are native to Australia, and others don't want "cute" or "charismatic" animals culled, even when they damage the environment. So what are the implications of these attitudes as we help nature recover from bushfires?

It's true: Mosquitoes prefer to bite some people over others

It's always you, isn't it? The person busy swatting away buzzing backyard mosquitoes or nursing an arm full of itchy red lumps after a weekend camping trip.

How to reduce the number of birds killed by buildings

As high-rise cities grow upwards and outwards, increasing numbers of birds die by crashing into glass buildings each year. And of course many others break beaks, wings and legs or suffer other physical harm. But we can help eradicate the danger by good design.

Diseases spread from wildlife pose risk to livestock and humans in Alberta, scientists find

Diseases transmitted from wildlife are a common threat to livestock and humans in Alberta, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists.

Why the goby can conquer the waters of the world

The round goby, one of the most common invasive freshwater fish in the world, boasts a particularly robust immune system, which could be one of the reasons for its excellent adaptability. This is the result of genome research by an international team of biologists, coordinated at the University of Basel and published in the journal BMC Biology.

Beloved Colombian hippos pose environmental dilemma

At dusk, the street lights flicker on around a city park, located not far from the Magdalena River in Colombia. An enormous figure emerges from the shadows. It lumbers forward, stopping to graze on the grass. The scene verges on surreal: A hippopotamus—in South America.

Tea trees crave water during hot and dry summer days

The iconic Australian tea tree (Melaleuca decora) is more vulnerable than native eucalypt species to extreme temperature and moisture stress, Western Sydney University researcher Anne Griebel has discovered. 

Central European pests are migrating northward

The nun moth was only a rare inhabitant in Finland only 20 years ago. As a winner of climate change, its population growth has been rapid—as confirmed by pheromone trappings in summer 2019.


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