Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Feb 25

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 25, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Modboat: A low-cost aquatic robot with a single motor

Cooling of a trapped ion to the quantum regime

Line of defense: Scientists report surprising evolutionary shift in snakes

Researchers report 'Sweyntooth' vulnerabilities in 480 Bluetooth devices

Two new double-lined spectroscopic binary white dwarfs identified by astronomers

'Electrical heat valve': Strontium cobalt oxide thin film changes thermal properties with applied voltage

Advancement simplifies laser-based medical imaging

Substance found in fossil fuels can transform into pure diamond

Lava flows tell 600-year story of biodiversity loss on tropical island

InSight detects gravity waves, low rumbles and devilish dust

Quadrupling turbines, US can meet 2030 wind-energy goals

New study associates intake of dairy milk with greater risk of breast cancer

Reducing nutrient pollution helps coral resist bleaching

Design of the W7-X fusion device enables it to overcome obstacles, scientists find

Want to catch a photon? Start by silencing the sun

Astronomy & Space news

Two new double-lined spectroscopic binary white dwarfs identified by astronomers

A team of U.S.-Canadian astronomers has conducted radial velocity observations of four binary white dwarf candidates. They report that two of them, designated WD 0311−649 and WD 1606+422, are apparently double-lined spectroscopic binary systems. The finding is detailed in a paper published February 14 on arXiv.org.

InSight detects gravity waves, low rumbles and devilish dust

More than a year after NASA's Mars InSight lander touched down in a pebble-filled crater on the Martian equator, the rusty red planet is now serving up its meteorological secrets: Gravity waves, surface swirling "dust devils," and the steady, low rumble of infrasound, Cornell and other researchers have found.

Future space detector LISA could reveal the secret life and death of stars

A team of astrophysicists led by Ph.D. student Mike Lau, from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), recently predicted that gravitational waves of double neutron stars may be detected by the future space satellite LISA. The results were presented at the 14th annual Australian National Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (ANITA) science workshop 2020. These measurements may help decipher the life and death of stars.

A year of surprising science from NASA's InSight Mars mission

A new understanding of Mars is beginning to emerge, thanks to the first year of NASA's InSight lander mission. Findings described in a set of six papers published today reveal a planet alive with quakes, dust devils and strange magnetic pulses.

Less than infinite: Space is becoming an orbital landfill

It's mind-boggling to think about anything in terms of infinity.

This is how ESA telescope Euclid is going to visualize dark matter

How can you see something that's invisible? Well, with Euclid! This future ESA telescope will map the structure of the universe and teach us more about invisible dark matter and dark energy. Scientific coordinator of Euclid and Leiden astronomer Henk Hoekstra explains how this works.

An ultraviolet instrument for ESA's Jupiter mission

An ultraviolet spectrograph (UVS) designed and built by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is the first scientific instrument to be delivered for integration onto the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft. Scheduled to launch in 2022 and arrive at Jupiter in 2030, JUICE will spend at least three years making detailed observations in the Jovian system before going into orbit around the solar system's largest moon, Ganymede.

Technology news

Modboat: A low-cost aquatic robot with a single motor

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's GRASP Laboratory have recently designed Modboat, a robotic boat that could be used to monitor oceans or carry out marine operations. This low-cost aquatic robot, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, can swim in the water using a single motor.

Researchers report 'Sweyntooth' vulnerabilities in 480 Bluetooth devices

Researchers from Singapore say they have found security flaws in more than 480 Bluetooth devices including smart home gadgets, fitness bracelets and medical instruments. The vulnerabilities, which were found in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) software development kits, could cause crashes or permit hackers to gain read/write access to devices.

Quadrupling turbines, US can meet 2030 wind-energy goals

The United States could generate 20% of its electricity in a breezy way within 10 years according to new Cornell research.

A ground penetrating support for self driving navigation in bad weather

Consumer confidence in the safety of self-driving cars continues to be a challenge for auto makers planning for an automated driving future, but add to that uneasiness over how well a self-driving car will manage in roads hit by bad weather conditions.

Researchers develop framework that improves Firefox security

Researchers from the University of California San Diego, University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University and Mozilla have developed a new framework to improve web browser security. The framework, called RLBox, has been integrated into Firefox to complement Firefox's other security-hardening efforts.

How do we remove biases in AI systems? Start by teaching them selective amnesia

Imagine if the next time you apply for a loan, a computer algorithm determines you need to pay a higher rate based primarily on your race, gender or zip code.

Health tracking sensor for pets and people monitors vital signs through fur or clothing

Imperial College London researchers have invented a new health tracking sensor for pets and people that monitors vital signs through fur or clothing.

Heating and cooling that anticipates your needs

According to a recent survey, about half of Americans feel their office is either too hot or too cold. A number of factors play into this issue of thermal comfort, but the hardest factor to control for is the one we're most interested in: humans themselves. Clothing choice and body shape are intrinsically tied to what temperature an individual will be most comfortable at.

Japan's ANA says to buy 20 more Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Japan's ANA Holdings said Tuesday it will buy 20 new Boeing 787-10 and 787-9 aircraft, with the planes expected to go into service between 2022 and 2025.

Turbomachine expander offers efficient, safe strategy for heating, cooling

A new device to help homeowners cut electricity bills could also provide more efficient and safer cooling options for companies and vehicles.

Travel giant Expedia says it will cut 3,000 jobs

Online travel giant Expedia will cut about 3,000 jobs after what the company described in a statement as "disappointing" performance last year.

Sustainable light sources: LEDs from bacterial production

In the FET Open project ENABLED, TU Graz protein designer Gustav Oberdorfer is working together with researchers from Spain and Italy on environmentally friendly and inexpensive light-emitting diodes.

When buying online, customers prefer live chat to phonecall

A new study from the U.S. published in the International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets, suggests that when people interact with non-domestic, i.e. foreign, e-commerce websites they prefer to use online "live chat" channels rather than the telephone.

How heat can be used to store renewable energy

The effect that fossil fuels are having on the climate emergency is driving an international push to use low-carbon sources of energy. At the moment, the best options for producing low-carbon energy on a large scale are wind and solar power. But despite improvements over the last few years to both their performance and cost, a significant problem remains: the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine. A power grid that relies on these fluctuating sources struggles to constantly match supply and demand, and so renewable energy sometimes goes to waste because it's not produced when needed.

NTSB: Driver in fatal Tesla crash was playing video game

The National Transportation Safety Board says the driver of a Tesla SUV who died in a Silicon Valley crash two years ago was playing a video game on his smartphone while his vehicle was being controlled by a partially automated driving system.

No checkout needed: Amazon opens cashier-less grocery store

Amazon wants to kill the supermarket checkout line.

Samsung says it leaked data on handful of UK customers

Samsung said Tuesday that a "technical error" caused its website to display other customers' personal information.

AFRL creates safer-than-steel synthetic winch cable for cargo aircraft

The C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fleet currently uses winch cables made of steel to pull pallets, vehicles and other items onto the aircraft from the ground via the aft ramp.

Driverless shuttles: what are we waiting for?

In the zero-carbon cities of the future, commuting to work may take the form of hailing a driverless shuttle through an app which ferries you from your door to the nearest public transport terminal. In fact, autonomous shuttles have been in development in restricted areas for the past few years. So what will it take to make them part of our daily commute?

Medicine & Health news

New study associates intake of dairy milk with greater risk of breast cancer

Intake of dairy milk is associated with a greater risk of breast cancer in women, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University Health.

Neural cells speed up function in 3-D bioprinted skeletal muscle constructs

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) scientists have improved upon the 3-D bioprinting technique they developed to engineer skeletal muscle as a potential therapy for replacing diseased or damaged muscle tissue, moving another step closer to someday being able to treat patients.

Scientists link ulcerative colitis to missing gut microbes

About 1 million people in the United States have ulcerative colitis, a serious disease of the colon that has no cure and whose cause is obscure. Now, a study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators has tied the condition to a missing microbe.

Breakthrough cochlear device could enable hearing-impaired people to detect pitch

Many may have seen the popular videos of awestruck babies who had been born profoundly deaf hearing a parent say "I love you" for the first time. These moving moments were made possible by surgically placed cochlear implants. Thanks to the devices—which have been in use since the 1980s—nearly a million people around the world have had the experience of hearing a loved one's voice for the first time or after a period of severe auditory loss. Nevertheless, cochlear implants have some serious limitations.

Managing pain in the age of opioids

The data supporting the use of opioids to treat chronic, non-cancer pain is quite weak, says Michael Ashburn, director of the Penn Pain Medicine Center at the Perelman School of Medicine. As few as one in five patients may have clinically meaningful pain relief six months after being placed on opioids, and the average pain relief that people experience if they do respond is 30-40%.

Shining new light on the actions of key neurotransmitter in the brain

An international research collaboration has uncovered evidence that a common neurotransmitter can selectively regulate the excitability of neurons.

Heatwave exposure linked to increased risk of preterm birth in California

More than just causing discomfort, regional heatwaves have been associated with a number of health risks, particularly for children and the elderly.

How sleep helps teens deal with social stress

A new Michigan State University study found that a good night's sleep does adolescents good—beyond helping them stay awake in class. Adequate sleep can help teens navigate challenging social situations.

Diabetes drug reduces complications of long-term steroid therapy

A drug used to treat type 2 diabetes could offer a simple and cheap solution to reduce dangerous side effects of steroid treatment, new research from Queen Mary University of London suggests.

Study finds key mechanism for how typhoid bacteria infects

A new study has uncovered key details for how the Salmonella bacteria that causes typhoid fever identifies a host's immune cells and delivers toxins that disrupt the immune system and allow the pathogen to spread.

Study begins in US to test possible coronavirus treatment

The first clinical trial in the U.S. of a possible coronavirus treatment is underway in Nebraska and is eventually expected to include 400 patients at 50 locations around the world, officials said Tuesday.

Brain scan-blood test panel to help diagnose brain trauma following battlefield blasts

An array of tests that combines functional assessment with blood tests and brain scans promises more sensitive and objective estimation of brain degeneration in human veterans exposed to battlefield improvised explosive device (IED) blasts, according to research led by doctors at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. The study was published in Molecular Psychiatry on Tuesday, February 25, and featured on the journal's cover.

Too much of a good thing may lead to too much of a liver as well

All life is challenged by oxidants—reactive molecules or compounds that remove electrons from other molecules—often with adverse effect, commonly referred to as oxidative stress. Consequently, all organisms have evolved specialized antioxidant defenses. In humans and other multicellular animals, that defense depends upon a protein called NRF2 and its inhibitor, KEAP1.

Adults don't need tetanus, diphtheria boosters if fully vaccinated as children

Adults do not need tetanus or diphtheria booster shots if they've already completed their childhood vaccination series against these rare, but debilitating diseases, research published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases indicates.

Video game-like intervention shows promise in improving attention of children with ADHD

A four-week randomised controlled trial of 348 children aged 8-12 years, published in journal The Lancet Digital Health, suggests that a digital intervention for paediatric attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might help to improve inattention with minimal adverse effects. Further research is needed to confirm the clinical meaningfulness of the observed changes, but the digital nature of the intervention could help to improve access for some patients.

South Korea reports 60 new coronavirus cases, total 893

South Korea reported 60 more novel coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the smallest increase for four days in the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's morning updates.

WHO warns of pandemic risk after virus peaks in China

The new coronavirus has peaked in China but could still grow into a pandemic, the World Health Organization has warned, as infections mushroom in other countries.

China reports 71 more virus deaths

China on Tuesday reported another 71 deaths from the novel coronavirus, the lowest daily number of fatalities in over two weeks, which raised the toll to 2,663.

Author to fight retraction of study linking vaping to heart attack risk

(HealthDay)—A journal's retraction of a study linking electronic cigarettes with an increased risk for heart attack is being challenged by the author.

Wearable sensor powered by AI predicts worsening heart failure before hospitalization

A new wearable sensor that works in conjunction with artificial intelligence technology could help doctors remotely detect critical changes in heart failure patients days before a health crisis occurs and could prevent hospitalization, according to a study led by University of Utah Health and VA Salt Lake City Health Care System scientists. The researchers say the system could eventually help avert up to one in three heart failure readmissions in the weeks following initial discharge from the hospital and help patients sustain a better quality of life.

Iran virus deaths rise to 15, deputy minister among infected (Update)

Iran said Tuesday its coronavirus outbreak, the deadliest outside China, had claimed 15 lives and infected nearly 100 others—including the country's deputy health minister.

Study finds picking up a pingpong paddle may benefit people with Parkinson's

Pingpong may hold promise as a possible form of physical therapy for Parkinson's disease. People with Parkinson's who participated in a pingpong exercise program once a week for six months showed improvement in their Parkinson's symptoms, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 72nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, April 25 to May 1, 2020.

Individuals with recent suicide attempts benefit from stories of overcoming suicidal ideation

The role of individuals with own experience of suicidal ideation is an important topic in suicide prevention. In a study recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Thomas Niederkrotenthaler and Benedikt Till from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at MedUni Vienna's Center for Public Health have shown, for the first time, that the preventive effect is particularly strong if vulnerable individuals—who have had suicidal ideation or even made a suicide attempt in the past year—read a personal report from someone who has already overcome a similar crisis.

IVF twins: two hearts, quadruple the risk

Twins born through IVF have quadruple the chance of having a congenital heart problem, according to research emerging from South Australia.

Croatia reports first confirmed coronavirus case in Balkans

Croatia confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the Balkans region on Tuesday after a young man who recently returned from Italy was found to have become infected.

Borders stay open as Italy coronavirus outbreak spreads south (Update)

Italy's European neighbours pledged to keep borders open Tuesday despite the new coronavirus spreading down the country to Tuscany and Sicily and a surge in the number of infected people.

Hundreds of tourists in Tenerife hotel lockdown over coronavirus (Update)

Hundreds of people were confined to a Tenerife hotel Tuesday after an Italian tourist was hospitalised in a suspected case of coronavirus, officials in Spain's Canary Islands said.

Iraq confirms four more novel coronavirus cases

Iraq on Tuesday confirmed four new cases of the novel coronavirus in an Iraqi family returning from neighbouring Iran, bringing its total number of diagnosed infections to five.

More virus deaths outside China raise pandemic fears

Fresh deaths and a surge in new coronavirus cases in Iran, Japan and South Korea on Tuesday fuelled fears of a pandemic, as the disease took root in some of the world's poorest—and worst-equipped—countries.

Opinion: New liver organ policy will adversely affect patients in rural US

A rushed proposal that became federal policy across the country this month will increase the cost and decrease access to life-saving care for patients in dire need of a liver transplant across much of the South and Midwest.

Medical school mistreatment tied to race, gender, and sexual orientation

Medical school students are being mistreated by fellow students, medical faculty, and supervising residents based on their race, gender, and sexual orientation, according to a new study led by Yale University researchers.

A redefining moment for heart failure

When they're not treating patients with heart disease, Drs. Nihar Desai and Tariq Ahmad are hard at work revising the definition of heart disease.

Reduced stress changes profile of various lipid compounds

Reduced stress is linked to changes in the profile of plasma metabolites, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. According to the researchers, the findings can shed light on the associations of psychological well-being with metabolism and the risk of disease. The study was published in Scientific Reports.

The hunt for a coronavirus cure is showing how science can change for the better

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared an international public health emergency over the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus. One day later, the Wellcome Trust research charity called for researchers, journals and funders around the world to share research data and findings relevant to the coronavirus rapidly and openly, to inform the public and help save lives.

Insurance and provider-related obstacles keep at-risk populations from continuing PrEP

most effective methods for HIV prevention among at-risk populations such as gay and bisexual men. When taken daily as directed, PrEP provides a 92-99 percent reduction in HIV risk. Research shows, however, that many gay and bisexual men begin a PrEP regimen and discontinue the medication shortly thereafter.

Coronavirus response shows the world may not be ready for climate-induced pandemics

For weeks, the second largest economy in the world screeched to a halt. Stunned by the rapid spread of coronavirus (now officially termed COVID-19), roughly half of China's population welcomed the Lunar New Year in a state of lockdown. City streets—that would have on any other year been filled with festive red lanterns and rosy-cheeked families—laid empty. Shopping malls were abandoned, two of the world's longest borders were closed, and thousands of travelers around the world were left stranded in quarantine.

The FODMAP diet is everywhere, but researchers warn it's not for weight loss

The FODMAP diet is used to help manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but it's becoming more popular. Now bloggers and so-called health gurus have jumped on board, claiming it can treat everything from acne to weight loss.

How the Mediterranean diet became No. 1—and why that's a problem

The Mediterranean diet was voted by a panel of 25 health and nutrition professionals as the best diet for 2020. Characterized by plant-based meals, the diet emphasizes eating less red meat and dairy, and more fish and unsaturated fatty acids like olive oil. Red wine can be enjoyed in moderation.

If you're ageing and on medication, it might be time to re-assess your alcohol intake

Drinking patterns tend to change as we age. The older we get, the more likely we are to drink on a daily basis. But older adults often perceive that drinking is only a problem if a person appears drunk.

The bizarre case of a woman who pees alcohol

Clinicians encountered a case of previously unrecognized auto-brewery syndrome in which a substantial amount of alcohol was produced by yeast fermenting sugar in a patient's urinary system, even though the patient had not consumed alcohol. This is similar to but distinct from the traditional auto-brewery syndrome, that the clinicians propose calling 'urinary auto-brewery syndrome' or 'bladder fermentation syndrome." A brief case report is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Further evidence adds weight to call for urgent action on salt targets

Most people get a blood pressure lowering benefit from eating less salt and the less you eat, the more you benefit, but for older people and those who already have high blood pressure the effect is even greater, according to new research published in the British Medical Journal today.

Opioids for chronic non-cancer pain doubled in quarter century

The number of people with chronic non-cancer pain prescribed an opioid medicine worldwide increased in the last two-and-a-half decades. But there was only a small number of studies reporting prescription data outside the United States, finds research led by the University of Sydney.

Mapping genetic variants driving toxicity to leukemia therapy

Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, alongside collaborators around the world, have created a comprehensive reference of functional variants in an important drug-metabolizing enzyme called NUDT15. This thorough understanding of NUDT15 variants provides an invaluable resource for predicting which patients being treated with thiopurine drugs for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are likely to experience toxicity. The work was published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Mental health problems combined with high alcohol intake increase risk of premature death

The risk of premature death doubles if you have mental health problems and drink more than the equivalent of two units per day, on average. This a shown in a study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

New drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy could help improve and prolong lives

Academics at Royal Holloway have developed a new genetic medicine that has been given the go ahead by the U.S Food and Drug Association (FDA) to be prescribed globally to a subset of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare genetic disease that causes muscle weakness and wasting.

Cook County's short-lived 'soda' tax worked, says new study

A study of beverage sales in Cook County, Illinois, shows that for four months in 2017—when the county implemented a penny-per-ounce tax on both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks—purchases of the taxed beverages decreased by 21%, even after an adjustment for cross-border shopping.

Allergists encourage parents of food-allergic kids to recognize their own anxiety

A new article in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) discusses the difficulties faced by parents of children with food allergies in not transferring their own anxieties to their children.

Lab-free infection test could eliminate guesswork for doctors

A new infection test, made up of sheets of paper patterned by lasers, has been developed by University of Southampton researchers to allow diagnosis at the point of care—helping doctors give patients the right treatment, faster.

Chronic inflammation in pregnancy linked to childhood neurodevelopmental delays

In pregnant women, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression and anxiety can increase the chances of learning delays, behavior problems and mental health issues in their children's early years. A new study reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier, strengthens evidence that chronic low-grade inflammation, common to these maternal conditions, may be partly to blame for the higher risk of childhood neurodevelopmental delays.

Getting quality autism therapy from thousands of miles away

(HealthDay)—By the time he was 7 months old, John Michael Crawford had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis, associated with a high risk of developmental delays, including autism.

A weak heart also damages the brain

If the heart pumps too little blood into the body, the brain is usually not adequately supplied with oxygen. Until now, however, it was unclear how this affects brain structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences together with colleagues from the Leipzig Heart Clinic, have now figured out that the grey matter also suffers from a weak heart.

Patients rank doctors lower if they experience long delays in waiting rooms

Doctors are increasingly rated by their patients for the quality of their care, but one seemingly unrelated issue can tank that all-important score: Long delays in the waiting room.

Outcomes steadily improve for multiple myeloma treated with ASCT

(HealthDay)—For patients with multiple myeloma (MM) treated with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), long-term outcomes have improved steadily, according to a study published in the Jan. 28 issue of Blood Advances.

Many kids in rural U.S. are all too familiar with handguns

(HealthDay)—About one-third of boys and 10% of girls in rural U.S. communities have carried a handgun, a new study finds. Many started carrying as early as sixth grade.

How safe is it to fly?

(HealthDay)—Buckle up and get ready for take-off: Flying has never been safer, an expert says.

Pot use among U.S. seniors nearly doubled in 3 years

(HealthDay)—Americans may want to rethink the stereotype of the pot-loving teen: More U.S. seniors are using the drug now than ever before.

Cancer cachexia: Extracellular ligand helps to prevent muscle loss

Cancer cachexia is a complex metabolic disease accounting for approximately one third of all cancer-related deaths worldwide. So far, there is no effective therapy for this muscle wasting disease. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute on Aging—Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena, Germany, show that the extracellular ligand Wnt7a effectively counteracts muscle wasting through activation of the anabolic AKT/mTOR pathway and thereby reverts the loss of muscle stem cell functionality and muscle mass. The results have now been published in the journal Molecular Therapy: Oncolytics.

What we see affects what we feel

Chronic back pain is reduced when people watch a real-time video of their back for a short time. Watching it also increases the effectiveness of therapies such as massage. This has been shown by studies conducted by the team of Professor Martin Diers from the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the LWL University Hospital of the Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum (RUB). The specialists therefore recommend the so-called multisensory integration in the treatment of pain.

Cynicism and disrespect: A vicious cycle

An international team of scientists has found out that being treated disrespectfully can lead people to develop cynical beliefs about human nature. Cynical beliefs about human nature, in turn, contribute to again being treated disrespectfully by others—and behaving disrespectfully towards others oneself. Through elaborate cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental studies, the scientists showed that disrespect and cynicism constitute a vicious circle.

New study shows significant increase in weight after breast cancer

New study findings suggest that weight gain after breast cancer is a greater problem than previously thought. The first national survey on weight after breast cancer in Australia, published in BMC Cancer journal, found close to two-thirds (63.7%) of women reported weight gain at an average of nine kilograms after a breast cancer diagnosis, and overall nearly one-in-five women (17%) added more than 20 kilograms.

Study investigates moral distress of physicians who care for older adults

In a new study, researchers from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University Health provide insight into physician moral distress, a condition correlated with burnout and depression. The researchers report that about four of 10 doctors caring for older adult patients who require a surrogate decision-maker experienced moral distress.

Desperate to stop virus' spread, countries limit travel

Officials scrambled Tuesday to halt the spread of the burgeoning new virus, from northern Italy where troops were dispatched to enforce quarantines and schools were shuttered, to South Korea, where some neighborhoods in a city of 2.5 million were brought to a near standstill.

Variety is key for the fittest Americans

(HealthDay)—Very fit American adults enjoy a wider range of physical activities than those who are less active, a new study finds.

This year's flu shot has cut doctor visits for flu nearly by half, CDC reports

This year's flu shot is doing a fairly average job of protecting people against the pervasive winter virus, according to the annual interim effectiveness report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stalked by the fear that dementia is stalking you

Do I know I'm at risk for developing dementia? You bet.

New pieces added to the molecular puzzle of rheumatoid arthritis

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers have revealed new details about how joint inflammation evolves in rheumatoid arthritis, and the cells that prolong the inflammatory attack.

Guidance issued for food intake in inflammatory bowel disease

(HealthDay)—In an article from the International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, published online Feb. 14 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, recommendations are presented regarding specific food consumption for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Medication treatment may lower risk for opioid overdose death

(HealthDay)—Medication treatment with methadone and buprenorphine is associated with a significantly lower risk for overdose death for people with opioid use disorder (OUD) compared with nonmedication treatment, but this lower risk does not persist after discontinuing treatment, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in Addiction.

Different foods linked to risk for ischemic, hemorrhagic stroke

(HealthDay)—Different foods are associated with the risk for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in the European Heart Journal.

Antibiotics, corticosteroids beneficial in COPD exacerbations

(HealthDay)—For adults with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), antibiotics and systemic corticosteroids are associated with less treatment failure, according to a review published online Feb. 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Long-term antidepressant use appears to raise risk for T2DM

(HealthDay)—Long-term antidepressant use increases the risk for type 2 diabetes onset in a time- and dose-dependent manner, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in Diabetes Care.

Could heartburn meds spur growth of drug-resistant germs in your gut?

(HealthDay)—Common heartburn meds may foster the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the gut, a new research review suggests.

Bad sleep, bad diet... bad heart?

(HealthDay)—It's a dangerous equation: Poor sleep triggers a bad diet, and the two can equal a higher risk for obesity and heart disease in women, a new study contends.

Legacy of discrimination reflected in health inequality

Risk factors that can lead to heart disease and stroke include obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. For African Americans, another issue also threatens their cardiovascular health: discrimination.

Successful transcatheter mitral valve repair that enhances postoperative recovery

A group of researchers led by Professor Yoshiki Sawa of the Cardiovascular Group in the Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, succeeded, in beating-heart surgery, to repair a mitral valve.

Abbreviated MRI outperforms 3-D mammograms at finding cancer in dense breasts

According to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, abbreviated breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detected significantly more cancers than digital breast tomosynthesis (3-D mammography) in average-risk women with dense breast tissue. The study compared the 10-minute MRI exam to 3-D mammography, in women with dense breasts, because the ability of mammography to detect breast cancer is limited in these women. The ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (ECOG-ACRIN) designed and conducted the study (EA1141) with funding from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and Bracco Diagnostics Inc. (Monroe Township, NJ).

New study shows the effects of obesity mirror those of aging

Globally, an estimated 1.9 billion adults and 380 million children are overweight or obese. According to the World Health Organization, more people are dying from being overweight than underweight. Researchers at Concordia are urging health authorities to rethink their approach to obesity.

NIH clinical trial of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 begins

A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha. The trial regulatory sponsor is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. This is the first clinical trial in the United States to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19, the respiratory disease first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Austria places Innsbruck hotel under lockdown over coronavirus

Austria placed a hotel in the Alpine city of Innsbruck under lockdown on Tuesday after an Italian receptionist working there contracted the coronavirus, becoming one of the country's first cases.

Coronavirus monitoring systems strained to the extreme

Under-reporting, competing recommendations on how long those infected should be isolated, doubts on detection tests—the rapid climb in coronavirus cases outside China highlights weaknesses in the methods used to spot and track the deadly virus.

Virus spreads to new countries as top official warns world 'not ready'

The coronavirus epidemic caused more death and disruption on Tuesday, spreading to new countries as a top health official warned the world was "simply not ready" to contain it.

Switzerland reports first case of new coronavirus

Switzerland reported its first case of new coronavirus on Tuesday, after outbreaks were identified in its main neighbours Austria, France, Germany and Italy.

Health authorities expect coronavirus spread on US soil

American health authorities said Tuesday they ultimately expect the novel coronavirus to spread in the United States and are urging local governments, businesses, and schools to develop plans like canceling mass gatherings or switching to teleworking.

5 European nations report virus cases with Italy link

Five European countries announced cases of COVID-19 disease Tuesday in people who had recently traveled from the Lombardy region in Italy, where the virus emerged as a fast-growing cluster last week.

Study finds gender disparities in hematology research success

Hematologists who complete a mentored training program experience greater levels of academic success than those who do not; however, a study published today in Blood Advances suggests a slight discrepancy in success levels between male and female hematologists. The study, which examined the effect of caregiving responsibilities on academic success, identified that, on average, men had one more first- or senior-authored publication than women, and almost twice as many total publications. Surprisingly, the study found that self-identification as a caregiver was associated with decreased productivity for men but not women.

Weight-based bullying linked to increased adolescent alcohol, marijuana use

Adolescents who are bullied about their weight or body shape may be more likely to use alcohol or marijuana than those who are not bullied, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Mortality decreased with further treatment for opioid use disorder after detox

A new study shows that people with opioid use disorder who enter inpatient medically managed withdrawal treatment (detox) do not usually receive further treatment, including medication for opioid use disorder or additional inpatient treatment. Those who did receive further treatment with medication (methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone) or residential treatment were more likely to survive to 12 months. Published in Addiction, this study emphasizes the importance of keeping people with opioid use disorder engaged in treatment in order to increase their chances of survival.

'Time is everything': World braces for spread of new virus

China's massive travel restrictions, house-to-house checks, huge isolation wards and lockdowns of entire cities bought the world valuable time to prepare for the global spread of the new virus.

UAE limits flights to Iran from Dubai over virus outbreak

Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel, said Tuesday that the United Arab Emirates is limiting flights to Iran over the outbreak of the new coronavirus, just a day after it spread across multiple Mideast nations from the Islamic Republic.

Women older than 75 may not reap death benefit from continued mammography screening

Healthy women over the age of 75 years might not benefit from continuing breast cancer screening. Researchers used data from the Medicare program to estimate the risk of breast cancer mortality under two strategies: continuing versus stopping screening in older women. They found a small mortality benefit for continuing to screen women between the ages of 70 to 74, but not those between 75 to 84. Findings from this population-based observational study are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

ACR releases reproductive health guideline for patients with rheumatic diseases

Today, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) published the 2020 Guideline for the Management of Reproductive Health in Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases. This is the first, evidence-based, clinical practice guideline related to the management of reproductive health issues for all patients with rheumatic diseases. With 131 recommendations, the guideline offers general precepts that provide a foundation for its recommendations and good practice statements.

Fourth person from quarantined ship dies as Japan plans new measures

A fourth person died Tuesday in Japan after becoming ill aboard a cruise ship stricken by the new coronavirus, a government official said, as authorities unveiled new measures that aimed to fight the outbreak.

Plastic shields protect China's ride-hailing drivers against virus

At a Beijing "disinfection station", a driver for a ride-hailing company is installing a plastic shield between the front and rear seats of his car to reassure passengers during the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Italy PM blames an outbreak of coronavirus on hospital

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has blamed the management of a hospital in northern Italy for one outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Can 360 video experiences benefit affect?

A new study has shown that experiencing personalized experiences in a virtual reality setting can improve affect among university students. The study, which also showed that the use of personalized 360 video experiences is feasible for use in hospitalized patients to improve affect, is published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Coronavirus generates rash of swindlers in Italy

From jacking-up the prices of disinfectant gel to scammers posing as Red Cross volunteers, Italy's battle to contain its coronavirus outbreak has been a gift to grifters of various stripes.

Drugmaker Mallinckrodt reaches $1.6B opioid settlement

The generic drugmaker Mallinckrodt has a tentative $1.6 billion deal to settle lawsuits over its role in the U.S. opioid crisis, it announced Tuesday.

'A world of hurt': 39 states to investigate Juul's marketing

A coalition of 39 states will look into the marketing and sales of vaping products by Juul Labs, including whether the company targeted youths and made misleading claims about nicotine content in its devices, officials announced Tuesday.

Biology news

Line of defense: Scientists report surprising evolutionary shift in snakes

In the animal kingdom, survival essentially boils down to eat or be eaten. How organisms accomplish the former and avoid the latter reveals a clever array of defense mechanisms. Maybe you can outrun your prey. Perhaps you sport an undetectable disguise. Or maybe you develop a death-defying resistance to your prey's heart-stopping defensive chemicals that you can store in your own body to protect you from predators.

Lava flows tell 600-year story of biodiversity loss on tropical island

A natural experiment created by an active volcano gives new insight into the long-term negative impacts of human colonisation of tropical forest islands. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal, Journal of Ecology.

Arctic 'doomsday vault' stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds

A "doomsday vault" nestled deep in the Arctic received 60,000 new seed samples on Tuesday, including Prince Charles' cowslips and Cherokee sacred corn, increasing stocks of the world's agricultural bounty in case of global catastrophe.

Diabetes in mice cured rapidly using human stem cell strategy

Researchers have converted human stem cells into insulin-producing cells and demonstrated in mice infused with such cells that blood sugar levels can be controlled and diabetes functionally cured for nine months.

Scientists document striking changes in Pacific Arctic ecosystems

Pacific Arctic ecosystems are undergoing dramatic changes because of warmer ocean water, a multidisciplinary team of scientists reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

New mapping technique shows how RNA interacts with chromatin in the genome

A group led by scientists from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) in Japan have developed a new method, RADICL-seq, which allows scientists to better understand how RNA interacts with the genome through chromatin—the structure in which the genome is organized.

Henneguya salminicola: Microscopic parasite has no mitochondrial DNA

An international team of researchers has found a multicellular animal with no mitochondrial DNA, making it the only known animal to exist without the need to breathe oxygen. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of Henneguya salminicola, a microscopic, parasitic member of the group Myxozoa and its unique physiology.

Gene loss more important in animal kingdom evolution than previously thought

Scientists have shown that some key points of animal evolution—like the ones leading to humans or insects—were associated with a large loss of genes in the genome. The study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, compared over 100 genomes to investigate what happened at the gene level during the evolution of animals after their origin.

The genetic secret of night vision

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the vertebrate eye is its retina. Surprisingly, the sensitive portions of the photoreceptor cells are found on the hind side of the retina, meaning that light needs to travel through living neural tissue before it can be detected. While the origin of the high optical quality of the retina remain largely uninvestigated, it has long been proposed that a peculiar DNA organization would serve to improve vision in nocturnal mammals. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden now showed that the optical quality of the mouse retina increases in the first month after birth that imparts improved visual sensitivity under low light conditions. This improvement is caused by a compact organization of the genetic material in the cell nucleus of rod photoreceptor cells that responsible for dim light vision.

Researchers shed light on 'arms race' between bacteria and viruses

University of Otago researchers have contributed to an international study which helps improve the understanding of bacteria and viruses.

Discovery of bacterial ancestor yields new insight on calcium channels

The discovery of a calcium channel that is likely a 'missing link' in the evolution of mammalian calcium channels has been reported today in the open-access journal eLife.

Insulin signaling suppressed by decoys

In a discovery that may further the understanding of diabetes and human longevity, scientists at Scripps Research have found a new biological mechanism of insulin signaling. Their study, involving the roundworm C. elegans, reveals that a "decoy" receptor is at work in binding to insulin molecules and keeping them from sending signals for increased insulin production.

Stabilizing freeze-dried cellular machinery unlocks cell-free biotechnology

Researchers at California Polytechnic State University have developed a low-cost approach that improves cell-free biotechnology's utility for bio-manufacturing and portability for field applications.

Scientists call on government to increase ambition to save our ocean

In the last decade there has been rapid expansion in the area of ocean designated as a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Deforestation in the tropics causes declines in freshwater fish species

NUS ecologists have found that Nematabramis everetti, a common freshwater fish species that is resilient to climate change-associated drought conditions, is nevertheless unable to escape the effects of deforestation, with significantly reduced numbers in streams that run through the logged areas on the island of Borneo.

Researchers develop fast, accurate test to identify toxins in cereal crops

Fusarium head blight (FHB), a fungal disease affecting kernel development, causes millions of dollars in annual losses in Canadian cereal crops such as barley, wheat and oats.

Want to help save wildlife after the fires? You can do it in your own backyard

People living in cities far from the unprecedented bushfires this summer may feel they can do little more to help beyond donating to organizations that support affected wildlife. But this is not necessarily the case: ten of the 113 top-priority threatened animal species most affected by the fires have populations in and around Australian cities and towns. Conserving these populations is now even more critical for the survival of these species.

For lemurs, water holes are a matter of taste

It's 1 p.m. and you're only halfway through a six-hour hike, climbing in steep terrain under a 100° cloudless sky. Your water bottle is nearly empty, and you've heard the worst of this hike is yet to come.

Large-scale graphical variations and climatic controls on tree crown architecture

Crown architecture, which is composited by an ensemble of attributes related to branch characteristics and branching pattern of a tree, is a critical component for a tree to interact with the ambient environment and to compete with neighbors.

Mystery monkey: Rare red colobus caught on camera in South Sudan

Oustalet's or Semliki? That is the question. It may not be on everyone's lips, but it's uppermost in the minds of conservationists after a rare red colobus monkey triggered a camera trap several hundred miles outside its known range.

Better rat control in cities starts by changing human behavior

For centuries, rats have thrived in cities because of human behavior. In response, humans have blamed the rats and developed techniques for poisoning them.

The best time to harvest yams? Science says when the lower leaves turn yellow

Nigeria accounts for 60% of the world's yam output and 74% of the total production in West Africa. Grown as a staple food, the tuber of the yam plant is its economically important part. The yam tuber, as in other tuber crops, is essentially a starchy or carbohydrate food and its principal nutritional function is the supply of calories.

How changes in weather patterns could lead to more insect invasions

Outbreaks of insect pests and insect invasions are on the rise on the African continent.

How South Africa's mangrove forests store carbon and why it matters

Scientists around the world are looking for ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This gas is a natural component of the atmosphere, released by processes of respiration and decomposition of organic matter.

Exceptional catapulting jump mechanism in a tiny beetle could be applied in robotic limbs

The fascinating and highly efficient jumping mechanism in flea beetles is described in a new research article in the open-access journal Zookeys. Despite having been known since 1929, the explosive jump—which is also the reason behind the colloquial name of this group of leaf beetles—has so far not been fully understood.

World's first in vitro cheetah cubs born at Columbus Zoo

The first cheetah cubs ever conceived through in vitro fertilization have been born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, marking a breakthrough for zoo breeding programs.

When it comes to conservation, ditch the 'canary in the coal mine'

With habitat loss threatening the extinction of an ever-growing number of species around the world, many wildlife advocates and conservation professionals rely on the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine'—monitoring and protecting a single representative species—to maintain healthy wildlife biodiversity.

Genetic resistance to lethal virus found in key farmed fish species

Resistance to a deadly disease that is affecting the second most farmed fish in the world has been found to be mainly due to differences in genes between families of the same fish.

Powerful mantis shrimp pull punches in air for self-preservation

Mantis shrimp (Squilla mantis) don't take kindly to captivity. "They have a general baseline of being angry," chuckles Kate Feller, currently at the University of Minnesota, USA, recalling how the contrary stomatopods are particularly keen to lash out when exposed to air. "I had developed a means of holding mantis shrimp with their striking appendages out of water while their gills [arranged beneath the tail] remained submerged for an electrophysiology study I was conducting," recalls Feller. However, when Greg Sutton from the University of Lincoln, UK, wandered past her University of Cambridge (UK) lab bench, he noticed the exposed crustaceans and commented that it would be interesting to measure their hammer blows in air. "No one had done that," explains Feller. Knowing that the animals launch their ballistic appendages at the speed of a bullet in dense water, it seemed likely that they could even exceed those eye-watering speeds in thinner air. However, when Feller set up Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido's high speed camera to catch the angry animals in the act, she was astonished when she realised that the crustaceans' blows were nowhere near as powerful out of the water as they were in it. They publish their discovery in Journal of Experimental Biology.

Adaptation: Competition and predation may not be the driving force scientists thought

Species adapt to their local climates, but how often they adapt to their local communities remains a mystery. To find answers, researchers at McGill University and the University of British Columbia examined over 125 studies testing local adaptation in over 100 species of plants and animals in an article published in The American Naturalist.

Shrinking sea ice is creating an ecological trap for polar bears

San Diego Zoo Global researchers studying the effects of climate change on polar bears are using innovative technologies to understand why polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea are showing divergent movement patterns in the summer. In recent decades, about a quarter of this population of bears have chosen to come on land instead of staying on the shrinking summer sea ice platform. Historically, the polar bears in this region remained on the ice year-round. The decision of each individual bear to stay on the ice or to move to land appears to be linked to the energetic cost or benefit of either option, and the potential of having to swim to reach land.

The do's and don'ts of monitoring many wildlife species at once

A new analysis of 92 studies from 27 countries conducted by ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that many recent multi-species studies of wildlife communities often incorrectly use the analytical tools and methods available.

How science is supersizing your veggies

It turns out that plants and animals sense nutrients in the same way.


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