Friday, March 6, 2020

Science X Newsletter Friday, Mar 6

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 6, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Novel method for easier scaling of quantum devices

Topology protects light propagation in photonic crystal

Older beetle parents 'less flexible'

'Magnonic nanoantennas': optically-inspired computing with spin waves one step closer

Space lettuce: Nutritious and safe crops would be a dietary supplement to assist long-distance space missions

More accurate climate change model reveals bleaker outlook on electricity, water use

Terahertz radiation technique opens a new door for studying atomic behavior

SpaceX announces partnership to send tourists to ISS

Early research on existing drug compounds via supercomputing could combat coronavirus

'Tickling' an atom to investigate the behavior of materials

Seismic imaging technology could deliver finely detailed images of the human brain

World-first system forecasts warming of lakes globally

Nanoscale 4-D printing technique may speed development of new therapeutics

Machine sucks up tiny tissue spheroids and prints them precisely

New imaging technique enables the study of 3-D printed brain tumors

Astronomy & Space news

Space lettuce: Nutritious and safe crops would be a dietary supplement to assist long-distance space missions

Astronauts in space live on processed, pre-packaged space rations such as fruits, nuts, chocolate, shrimp cocktails, peanut butter, chicken, and beef to name a few. These have often been sterilized by heating, freeze drying, or irradiation to make them last and key a challenge for the US Space Agency NASA has been to figure out how to grow safe, fresh food onboard.

SpaceX announces partnership to send tourists to ISS

SpaceX on Thursday announced a partnership to send three tourists to the International Space Station (ISS), the first private trip in more than a decade.

Dimming Betelgeuse likely isn't cold, just dusty, new study shows

Late last year, news broke that the star Betelgeuse was fading significantly, ultimately dropping to around 40% of its usual brightness. The activity fueled popular speculation that the red supergiant would soon explode as a massive supernova.

First official names given to features on asteroid Bennu

Asteroid Bennu's most prominent boulder, a rock chunk jutting out 71 ft (21.7 m) from the asteroid's southern hemisphere, finally has a name. The boulder—which is so large that it was initially detected from Earth—is officially designated Benben Saxum after the primordial hill that first arose from the dark waters in an ancient Egyptian creation myth.

The dark dunes of Mars: Moreux crater

Known for its wide swathes of rippling, textured, gently sloping dunes, the Terra Sabaea region on Mars is home to many fascinating geological features—including the prominent Moreux crater, the star of a new image from ESA's Mars Express.

New telescopes aim to detect extraterrestrial intelligence

A team of astronomers led by UC San Diego physicist Shelley Wright is deploying a pair of telescopes that will constantly search the nighttime sky for signals from intelligent life in our galaxy.

Comparing mountains on the moon to the Earth's peaks

NASA's Artemis Program is planning to land astronauts on the moon's south pole. To prepare for this, NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) is creating the Lunar South Pole Atlas (LSPA). As part of that atlas, NASA is mapping the topography of the region, including the mountains.

Gastronauts: Developing food ready for the next space race

For the new space race, astronauts and space tourists will want to eat a little better than the corn beef sandwiches, applesauce and high-calorie cubes of protein, fat and sugar consumed by NASA scientists in the 1960s.

Boeing hit with 61 safety fixes for astronaut capsule

Boeing faces 61 safety fixes following last year's botched test flight of its Starliner crew capsule, NASA said Friday.

Lunar lasers and cosmic crops: NASA funds UArizona space exploration missions

Many things change for astronauts when they leave Earth and head into space, but at least one remains the same: They need food and water. NASA recently awarded funding to two University of Arizona teams to search for water and grow food in space.

Technology news

SETI@Home ends its public phase, hunt for aliens continues

For the general public, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is almost over. On March 2, SETI@home revealed its crowdsourced supercomputing application will go into hibernation on March 30 of this year.

By observing humans, robots learn to perform complex tasks, such as setting a table

Training interactive robots may one day be an easy job for everyone, even those without programming expertise. Roboticists are developing automated robots that can learn new tasks solely by observing humans. At home, you might someday show a domestic robot how to do routine chores. In the workplace, you could train robots like new employees, showing them how to perform many duties.

Ransomware attack on sheep farmers shows there's no room for woolly thinking in cyber security

While many Australians were preoccupied with panic-buying toilet paper, sales of another commodity encountered a very different sort of crisis.

New software agents will infer what users are thinking

Personal assistants today can figure out what you are saying, but what if they could infer what you were thinking based on your actions? A team of academic and industrial researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University is working to build artificially intelligent agents with this social skill.

Would you ditch your car if public transport were free? Here's what researchers have found

Luxembourg recently became the first country in the world to make all public transport free. As of March 1 2020, all buses, trains and trams throughout the country can be boarded without paying a fare—the largest area to institute free public transport for both residents and tourists so far.

'Internet of things' could be an unseen threat to elections

The app failure that led to a chaotic 2020 Iowa caucus was a reminder of how vulnerable the democratic process is to technological problems—even without any malicious outside intervention. Far more sophisticated foreign hacking continues to try to disrupt democracy, as a rare joint federal agency warning advised prior to Super Tuesday. Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election has already revealed how this could happen: social media disinformation, email hacking and probing of voter registration systems.

Autonomous vehicles can be fooled to 'see' nonexistent obstacles

Nothing is more important to an autonomous vehicle than sensing what's happening around it. Like human drivers, autonomous vehicles need the ability to make instantaneous decisions.

Top 13 tips to work at home amid coronavirus concerns

Many companies, most notably Twitter, are recommending working at home for their staff in the wake of the coronavirus. King County, home to Seattle in Washington state, where at least 10 people have died, has made the same recommendation.

Could quantum computing help beat the next coronavirus?

Quantum computing isn't yet far enough along that it could have helped curb the spread of this coronavirus outbreak. But this emerging field of computing will almost certainly help scientists and researchers confront future crises.

Lufthansa to halve flight capacity over virus

German airline giant Lufthansa said Friday it would slash capacity by half in the coming weeks, as the group battles "drastic declines in bookings and numerous flight cancellations" prompted by the novel coronavirus.

Improving the vision of self-driving vehicles

There may be a better way for autonomous vehicles to learn how to drive themselves: by watching humans. With the help of an improved sight-correcting system, self-driving cars could learn just by observing human operators complete the same task.

Facebook shuts London, Singapore offices after coronavirus case

Facebook said Friday it was shutting its London office and part of its Singapore base for "deep cleaning" after an employee in the Asian city state was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Medicine & Health news

Seismic imaging technology could deliver finely detailed images of the human brain

The Imperial College London and UCL researchers say their proof-of-concept study, published today in npj Digital Medicine, paves the way for the development of high-fidelity clinical imaging of the human brain that could be superior to existing technology.

New imaging technique enables the study of 3-D printed brain tumors

Glioblastomas are complex, fast-growing malignant brain tumors that are made up of various types of cells. Even with aggressive treatment—which often includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy—glioblastomas are difficult to treat, leading to an average survival of 11-15 months.

Specialized helper cells contribute to immunological memory

Helper T cells play an important role in the immune response against pathogens. The role of a particular subset of these immune cells was previously unclear. It's now been shown that T follicular helper cells live much longer than previously thought and contribute to long-term immunity. Researchers at the University of Basel's Department of Biomedicine reported these findings in Science Immunology.

Chimeras offer a new way to study childhood cancers in mice

In a new paper published March 5 in the journal Cell Stem Cell, researchers in Whitehead Institute Member Rudolph Jaenisch's lab introduce a new way to model human neuroblastoma tumors in mice using chimeras—in this case, mice that have been modified to have human cells in parts of their nervous systems. "This may serve as a unique model that you can use to study the dynamic of immune cells within human tumors," says Malkiel Cohen, a postdoc in Jaenisch's lab and the first author of the paper.

Evolution, sex and TRACERx: how cancer's 'spare tyre' helps it survive  

Almost all animals have sex. That's to say, DNA from sperm and eggs is exchanged to create offspring with a mixture of both parents' genes.

Immune cells play surprising role in heart, mouse study suggests

New research in mice suggests that certain immune cells may help guide fetal development of the heart and play a role in how the adult heart beats, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

High levels of immunoglobulin E antibodies in microbiomes of people with peanut allergies

A team of researchers from Stanford University, the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has found that people with peanut allergies have an abundance of allergy-causing immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) in their guts. In their paper published in the journal Science Immunology, the group describes sequencing antibody genes from B-lineage plasma cells collected from multiple body locations in people with peanut allergies and what they found. Duane Wesemann and Cathryn Nagler with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago, respectively, have published a Perspective piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.

Brain regions found in rats that drive stress response

A team of researchers at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan has found what they describe as the central master driver of psychosocial stress responses in rats. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their experiments with rats and what they learned from them.

Biomarker in saliva predicts childhood obesity risk

A molecular marker in saliva is associated with the emergence of childhood obesity in a group of preschool-aged Hispanic children.

The complex biology behind your love (or hatred) of coffee

Why do some people feel like they need three cups of coffee just to get through the day when others are happy with only one? Why do some people abstain entirely? New research suggests that our intake of coffee—the most popular beverage in America, above bottled water, sodas, tea, and beer—is affected by a positive feedback loop between genetics and the environment.

Could cancer immunotherapy success depend on gut bacteria?

Could the response to cancer immunotherapy depend on bacteria that originate in the gut and travel to the tumor?

Confusing standards lead to extra sugar in kids' breakfast cereals

Parents may let their children consume more sugar from their breakfast cereal than intended due to insufficient industry nutritional guidelines. A new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior finds little improvement in the nutritional value of breakfast products marketed to children despite 12 years of self-imposed industry regulations intended to improve child health.

'This is not a drill': WHO urges world to take virus more seriously

World health officials have warned that countries are not taking the coronavirus crisis seriously enough, as outbreaks surged across Europe and in the United States where medical workers sounded warnings over a "disturbing" lack of hospital preparedness.

US tests stranded cruise ship passengers for coronavirus

Passengers on a cruise ship stranded off the coast of San Francisco were confined to their cabins Thursday as tests were conducted to determine if any of the nearly 3,500 guests and crew had contracted the new coronavirus.

Study finds music therapy helps stroke patients

New research has found that music therapy sessions have a positive effect on the neurorehabilitation of acute stroke patients, as well as their mood.

Gut bacteria can penetrate tumors and aid cancer therapy, study suggests

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and University of Chicago have discovered that bacteria that usually live in the gut can accumulate in tumors and improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy in mice. The study, which will be published March 6 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), suggests that treating cancer patients with Bifidobacteria might boost their response to CD47 immunotherapy, a wide-ranging anti-cancer treatment that is currently being evaluated in several clinical trials.

EU health ministers seek way to slow virus spread

European health ministers launched crisis talks Friday on how to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the EU scrambles to gather protective medical supplies.

China may soon lift quarantine on virus-hit Hubei province: official

China may soon lift the quarantine imposed on the province at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak which has been under lockdown for more than a month, a senior government official hinted Friday.

Stanford Medicine COVID-19 test now in use

The Stanford Health Care Clinical Virology Laboratory has launched a diagnostic test developed for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Preventing the spread of coronavirus starts with basic hygiene

Turns out Mom was right.

Men and women live longer in countries with higher gender parity

In advance of International Women's Day (Sunday, March 8), new research from the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (WORLD) shows that in countries where gender parity is high, both men and women live longer than in countries where equality is low.

Talking to kids about coronavirus

Kids are going to have questions and fears about the COVID-19 virus.

One-two punch for cancer

Many cancer cells evade critical DNA surveillance and maintenance by increasing the export—by the Exportin-1 (XPO1) nucleo-cytoplasmic transport protein—of nearly all major tumor suppressor proteins from the nucleus. Thus, overexpression of XPO1 is often an indicator of poor prognosis in numerous malignancies.

Coronavirus and handwashing: research shows proper hand drying is also vital

With the number of people infected with coronavirus increasing around the world on a daily basis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised everyone to regularly and thoroughly clean their hands. This can be either with an alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and water. The hope is that good hand hygiene will limit the spread of the virus.

Exercising cuts risk of invasive cancers for older women

Get up and get moving. That's the recommendation for older women to lower their risk of cancer, from San Diego State University researchers.

Researchers study whether high-potassium diets protect blood vessel function in salt-resistant adults

Dietary guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day in their diet—about a teaspoon's worth. The reality is that most people in the United States are eating far more sodium than that—an average of 3,400 milligrams a day—and putting themselves at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Partners pay a high toll when it comes to gambling

New research examining the full impact of gambling-related harm on loved ones has just been released by The Australian National University (ANU).

Clues to lung injury in preterm babies

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)—a form of chronic lung disease—is a leading complication of preterm birth affecting infants born before 32 weeks gestation. Exposure to high levels of oxygen (hyperoxia) plays a role in BPD pathogenesis, but the precise molecular mechanisms remain uncertain.

Coronavirus: Healthcare workers must protect themselves even if employers won't

As the coronavirus spreads throughout the country, an increasing number of American healthcare workers helping to treat patients are contracting the infection.

AI reveals differences in appearance of cancer tissue between racial populations

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reveal apparent cellular distinctions between black and white cancer patients, while also exploring potential racial bias in the rapidly developing field of AI.

Coronavirus and the Black Death: We haven't learned from our past

Although some media outlets have begun referring to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as a "modern plague", the threat of COVID-19 remains negligible compared with historic outbreaks of plague. The latest World Health Organization report puts the coronavirus death toll at just over 3,000 globally, whereas the Black Death was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 30-50% of Europe's population in the mid-14th century. The most disturbing similarity between the two lies not in the diseases themselves but in their social consequences. Then, as now, outbreaks were blamed on certain ethnic groups.

Hundreds of U.S. coronavirus cases may have slipped through screenings

As many thousands of students prepare to decamp for warmer climes over spring break, a Harvard epidemiologist warned that traveler screening may catch just one in three symptomatic cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, meaning there already could be hundreds of U.S. cases that slipped through earlier screenings.

Stop using food to reward and punish your kids

At one time or another, just about every parent uses food to reward their kids for good behavior and achievements—or to console them when they're sad or disappointed.

EU ministers urge members to share anti-virus gear

Smaller EU member states raised the alarm Friday after Germany, France and the Czech Republic blocked the export of some medical supplies that could help slow the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus: How to curb panic-buying and maintain the public's trust

The UK has found itself in a panic buying frenzy in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. A very flustered health secretary Matt Hancock urged restraint and attempted to calm fears of shortages on BBC television's Question Time after being asked about a lack of paracetamol, dry pasta and toilet paper.

CDC: Fall-related traumatic brain injury deaths increasing in U.S.

From 2008 to 2017, there was an increase in the national age-adjusted rate of unintentional fall-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) deaths among U.S. adults, according to research published in the March 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Less than 1 in 4 perinatally exposed infants tested for hep C

Less than one-quarter of infants exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV) receive testing, according to a study published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Gulf War illness still poses high symptom burden

Gulf War illness (GWI) poses a high disease burden on veterans almost three decades after the conflict, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in Military Medicine.

FDA: Asthma drug Singulair to get 'black box' warning

Asthma and allergy drug montelukast—sold as a generic and under the brand name Singulair—will get a "boxed warning" over potential ties to neuropsychiatric effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.

Skipping sleep to watch sports is the real March Madness

No matter whether your favorite team wins or loses, March Madness will likely put a slam dunk on your sleep habits.

Get ready for clocks to 'spring ahead'

If losing an hour of sleep with the switch to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday leaves you feeling tired, you're not alone.

Brain cancer research could help dogs—and the humans who love them

Few heartbreaks are as devastating as when a beloved family dog falls ill with cancer.

Women's wellness: How jobs affect women's heart health

Smoking, diet and exercise are well-known for their role in affecting one's risk for heart disease. While stress also is known to play a role, recent research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions found that for women, certain occupations are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems.

Daylight saving time can affect your health

When daylight saving time kicks in, you spring forward and gain an hour of daylight. But you also lose an hour of sleep.

Love in the time of the coronavirus: Do you turn down a hand, a kiss or a hug?

We are exposed to numerous viruses from our day-to-day interactions with other people all the time. However, our risk of being infected by a simple greeting usually isn't in the forefront of our minds.

Viruses: ancient, tiny, amazing

They're as old as life itself but scientists can't say for sure if they're alive. They're written into our DNA, shaping the human saga through mutation and resilience.

Depressed, rural moms face greater health challenges—and so do their kids

Research at Washington State University has linked chronic depression with increased health problems for moms and children in poor rural communities, revealing the need for better treatment based on teamwork and trust.

Thinking in acids and bases: pH in the brain

Although a number of techniques are able to track changes in pH in the brain, precise measurements have not previously been possible. Now, however, researchers in Japan have developed a novel method for examining brain pH that may lead to new information about the role of pH in brain signaling.

New 'real world' data reveal potential opportunities for blood pressure improvement

Large-scale analysis of electronic health record data from across the country reveals potential opportunities for improvement in how high blood pressure is managed, according to research presented today at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2020. The EPI Scientific Sessions, March 3-6 in Phoenix, is a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population-based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Music intervention and mindfulness reduces the effect of mental fatigue

Mental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity which results in slower reaction times and attention deficits. It affects the ability to focus and impacts the capacity to make optimal decisions during a given task. Mental fatigue is often responsible for accidents in traffic or the workplace and can lead to poor study efficiency. We know that mindfulness has been shown to have a positive effect on stress-coping and cognitive performance. There is also accumulating evidence suggesting that listening to binaural beats may increase sustained attention. Binaural beats are an auditory illusion which have been framed as a class of cognitive and neural entrainment (Kirk et al., 2019). Even though there are different tones of different frequencies (165Hz in the left and 179 Hz in the right) presented in each ear the participant will hear one tone, which is the amalgamated difference between the two tones (beta range of 14 Hz).

Increase seen in melatonin secretion after cataract surgery

(HealthDay)—Cataract surgery seems to increase melatonin secretion in adults aged 60 years or older, according to a study published online March 5 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Period of 2015 to 2018 saw increase in cannabis use in seniors

(HealthDay)—From 2015 to 2018, there was an increase in the prevalence of cannabis use among older adults, according to a research letter published online Feb. 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Liver fibrosis tied to specific heart failure, regardless of HIV or hepatitis C status

While there is an association between liver fibrosis and heart failure, the mechanisms for this association are currently unclear but may be of particular importance for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and/or hepatitis C, both of which are chronic infections that affect the liver and heart.

Aggressive features in some small thyroid tumors increase the risk for metastasis

Although papillary thyroid carcinoma is the most common form of thyroid malignancy, it is considered to be an indolent disease that progresses slowly and has an excellent prognosis. Patients, therefore, may be monitored on a regular basis rather than undergo a surgical procedure at the outset. But results from a new large-scale study show that in nearly 20 percent of patients, papillary thyroid tumors less than 1 cm in size had pathological signs of more aggressive disease that increased the risk that these patients might develop distant metastasis (spread of the disease to other areas of the body away from the primary site of cancer). The study demonstrates the need for developing sophisticated tests that will find patients with these pathological signs early on and for them to be counseled on all treatment options, including immediate surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland. The research study appears in an "article in press" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website in advance of print.

Individual response to COVID-19 'as important' as government action

How individuals respond to government advice on preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be at least as important, if not more important, than government action, according to a new commentary from researchers at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London in the UK, and Utrecht University and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands.

Resurrecting ancient protein partners reveals origin of protein regulation

By bringing the ancient history of two proteins back to life, researchers have caught a glimpse into the origin of a billion-year-old molecular partnership.

How to prepare your home and family, if new virus spreads

As the new coronavirus keeps turning up in more places, health experts say it's wise to prepare for wider spread. But people shouldn't panic or hoard large amounts of supplies, they stress.

Researchers discover new genetic variants that cause heart disease in infants

Florida State University researchers working in an international collaboration have identified new genetic variants that cause heart disease in infants, and their research has led to novel insights into the role of a protein that affects how the heart pumps blood. It is a discovery that could lead to new treatments for people suffering from heart disease.

Moderate-to-high posttraumatic stress common after exposure to trauma, violence

Over 30 percent of injury survivors who are treated in hospital emergency departments will have moderate-to-severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in the first year following the initial incident, new research led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

Using technology during mealtimes may decrease food intake, study finds

Being distracted by technology during mealtimes may decrease the amount of food a person eats, nutrition scientists suggest in a new study.

Ecuador isolates navy ship after virus contacts discovered

An Ecuadoran navy ship with 50 people on board was quarantined after it was discovered that one of the crew had had contact with the first person in the country known to be infected with the new coronavirus, authorities said Thursday.

Bhutan confirms first coronavirus case

The isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has reported its first case of the coronavirus after a US tourist tested positive, the prime minister said Friday.

Bethlehem under lockdown after virus cases confirmed

The city of Bethlehem was under lockdown on Friday after the first Palestinian cases of the deadly coronavirus were discovered there and authorities announced a state of emergency.

'Near-isolation'—coronavirus throws S. Korea Olympic plans into chaos

Travel restrictions around the world on arrivals from virus-hit South Korea are plunging its Olympic preparations into turmoil, with some athletes considering self-imposed exile and some at risk of missing the Games altogether.

Coronavirus triggers work-from-home trend in Seattle

Tech firms in Seattle, a new focal point for the coronavirus epidemic, were telling employees this week to take advantage of technology to work remotely in an effort to contain the outbreak.

Washington, DC, gets its first coronavirus pop-up shop

The nation's capital has pop up shops for food and drink, even marijuana. And now, coronavirus prevention supplies.

As virus cases near 100,000, fear of 'devastation' for poor

The number of people infected with the new virus charged toward 100,000 Friday, with the global scare upending routines, threatening livelihoods and prompting quarantines in its spread.

Vatican reports first coronavirus case

The Vatican on Friday reported its first coronavirus case and closed some offices to protect hundreds of the micro-state's priests and residents from the virus raging in surrounding Italy.

Iran reports 17 new coronavirus deaths, 124 in total

Iran on Friday announced 17 more deaths from the novel coronavirus, raising the total number of people killed to 124, as the overall number of cases soared.

Netherlands confirms first coronavirus death

The Netherlands has recorded its first death in the novel coronavirus outbreak, health officials said on Friday.

Serbia announces first coronavirus case: ministry

The first case of coronavirus in Serbia has been diagnosed in a man who had been in Hungary, the country's health minster announced on Friday.

Aerial images reveal virus emptying famed sites

Empty public squares, a ghostly train station and deserted holy sites—a series of striking satellite images have revealed the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on some of the world's busiest spaces.

Away from coronavirus, DR Congo battles deadly measles outbreak

As the world grapples with the spread of novel coronavirus, in remote western DR Congo, officials are fighting a deadly outbreak of measles.

Bulgaria closes schools amid nationwide flu epidemic

Bulgaria declared a nationwide influenza epidemic, closing schools and banning planned surgeries from Friday as the country—so far spared any novel coronavirus infections—grapples with a rise in flu cases.

Spain virus toll hits 5 as infections jump

A fifth person died from coronavirus in Spain on Friday as officials shuttered elderly care centres across Madrid after a spike in cases that has seen 374 people infected, the health authority said.

Egypt detects 12 new coronavirus cases on Nile cruise boat

Egypt detected 12 new cases Friday of the novel coronavirus among workers aboard a Nile cruise boat heading from Aswan to Luxor, a health ministry statement said.

Slovakia confirms first coronavirus case, bans Italy flights

Slovakia reported its first case of the novel coronavirus on Friday, after a man whose son visited Venice in COVID-19 hotspot Italy, tested positive.

India's beleaguered health system braces for virus surge

India is bracing for a potential explosion of coronavirus cases as authorities rush to trace, test and quarantine contacts of 31 people confirmed to have the disease.

Trump signs $8.3B bill to combat coronavirus outbreak in US

President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than a dozen people in the U.S. and infected more than 200.

Togo confirms first coronavirus case

Togo on Friday confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus after a 42-year-old woman tested positive following her return from a trip to Benin, Germany, France and Turkey.

Exploring the deep tissues using photoacoustic imaging

Photoacoustic imaging has gained global attention for capturing images without causing pain or using ionizing radiation. Recently, many researchers have heavily studied observing deep tissues to apply photoacoustic imaging to clinical diagnosis and practices.

Using artificial intelligence to assess ulcerative colitis

Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have developed an artificial intelligence system that effectively evaluates endoscopic mucosal findings from patients with ulcerative colitis without the need for biopsy collection.

Suburban rabbi among New York's confirmed cases of COVID-19

The rabbi of a suburban New York congregation that is grappling with the coronavirus outbreak has tested positive for the illness.

Coronavirus cases top 100,000 worldwide as markets collapse

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide surged past 100,000 on Friday, as stock markets collapsed and the World Health Organization told all countries to make containment "their highest priority".

Peru president confirms first coronavirus case

President Martin Vizcarra said Friday Peru has detected its first case of the new coronavirus in a 25-year-old man who had traveled to Europe.

Cameroon confirms first two coronavirus cases

Cameroon said Friday it has confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus, a French national who arrived in the capital Yaounde in February and a Cameroonian who came in contact with him.

Italy reports 49 more coronavirus deaths, toll at 197

Italy on Friday reported 49 more deaths from the new coronavirus, the highest single-day toll to date, bringing the total number of fatalities over the past two weeks to 197.

Skills training opens 'DOORS' to digital mental health for patients with serious mental illness

Digital technologies, especially smartphone apps, have great promise for increasing access to care for patients with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia. A new training program, called DOORS, can help patients get the full benefit of innovative digital mental health tools, reports a study in the March issue of Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

SARS influencing response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in Singapore

An open-access American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) Collections article detailing how a tertiary hospital in Singapore responded to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) offers a thorough summary of ground operational considerations for radiology departments presently reacting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

At least 7 virus cases linked to cruise ship off California

Confined to their cabins, passengers aboard a mammoth cruise ship off the California coast awaited coronavirus test results Friday amid evidence the vessel was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of cases during its previous voyage.

Canada probing apparent local coronavirus transmission

A woman in her 50s living in the Vancouver area has been identified by health authorities as the first apparent case of local transmission of the novel coronavirus in Canada.

Russia shuts borders to Iran residents over virus fears

Russia announced plans to restrict access to people arriving from Iran on Friday, as it moves to ensure the population's safety and thwart the spread of the new coronavirus infection.

Biology news

Older beetle parents 'less flexible'

Older parents are less flexible when it comes to raising their offspring, according to a new study of beetles.

Early research on existing drug compounds via supercomputing could combat coronavirus

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used Summit, the world's most powerful and smartest supercomputer, to identify 77 small-molecule drug compounds that might warrant further study in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

Machine sucks up tiny tissue spheroids and prints them precisely

A new method of bioprinting uses aspiration of tiny biologics such as spheroids, cells and tissue strands, to precisely place them in 3-D patterns either on scaffolding or without to create artificial tissues with natural properties, according to Penn State researchers.

Scientists develop new method to distinguish newly made gene transcripts from old ones

Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) have developed a new method to assess how production and degradation of gene transcripts are regulated. In this study, published in Science on the 6th of March, they found that cells use distinct strategies to control the number of transcript copies, which is required for the cell to function properly.

Study finds signal cascade that keeps plant stem cells active

Pools of stem cells in the apical meristems of plants are key to continued growth and development. Understanding how these stem cells are maintained and balanced against differentiated cells could lead to methods for increasing crop yield and biomass.

Geneticists pump the brakes on DNA, revealing key developmental process

Researchers at Princeton University have revealed the inner workings of a gene repression mechanism in fruit fly embryos, adding insight to the study of human diseases.

Chlamydia-related bacteria discovered deep below the Arctic Ocean

Chlamydia are infamous for causing sexually transmitted infections in humans and animals or even amoeba. An international team of researchers have now discovered diverse populations of abundant Chlamydia living in deep Arctic ocean sediments. They live under oxygen-devoid conditions, high pressure and without an apparent host organism. Their study, published in Current Biology today, provides new insights into how Chlamydia became human and animal pathogens.

Fruit fly study suggests neither nature nor nurture is responsible for individuality

A team of researchers from France, Germany and Belgium has found evidence that neither nature nor nurture leads to personality differences—it is the result of nonheritable noise during brain development. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study of behavior in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) and what they learned.

Global plan to protect endangered species 'overlooks genetic diversity'

A global group of scientists are calling for an urgent rethink on a draft action plan to safeguard biodiversity.

Study reveals breast cancer cells shift their metabolic strategy to metastasize

New discovery in breast cancer could lead to better strategies for preventing the spread of cancer cells to other organs in the body, effectively reducing mortality in breast cancer patients.

Graveyards can be a reservoir for antibiotic resistant bacteria

We may not like to think about it, but after we die many of us will end up in cemeteries. Burial grounds play an important role in society, functioning as spaces where people can mourn their loved ones.

After the bushfires, our river creatures are suffering, too

The hellish summer of bushfires in southeast Australia triggered global concern for our iconic mammals. Donations flooded in from at home and around the world to help protect furry species.

Understanding water-use patterns of tree species in transition from dry to rainy seasons

The Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP) is typical of water-limited ecosystems throughout the world. Robinia pseudoacacia (R. pseudoacacia) has become a predominant species cultivated in the CLP following the implementation of the Grain for Green Program. However, the water-use pattern of R. pseudoacacia in CLP remains unclear.

Scientists release crop production outlook under shadow of locusts

The CropWatch research team from the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) of the the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) released the latest issue of CropWatch Bulletin on February 29. It provides comprehensive description on world-wide crop conditions between October 2019 and January 2020, as well as insights on the crop production outlook for 2020.

The impact of energy development on bird populations

The greater sage-grouse is an iconic bird that lives in the western United States, and its populations are in decline. A new study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management reveals that energy development has negative impacts on sage-grouse reproduction.

Deadly white-nose syndrome confirmed in Texas bat for first time

A case of the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in a Texas bat for the first time, biologists announced Thursday.

West coast dungeness crab stable or increasing even with intensive harvest, research shows

The West Coast Dungeness crab fishery doesn't just support the most valuable annual harvest of seafood on the West Coast. It's a fishery that just keeps on giving.

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