Monday, March 9, 2020

Science X Newsletter Monday, Mar 9

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 9, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

PedestriANS: A bipedal robot that adapts its walking style in response to environmental changes

Study achieves a new record fiber QKD transmission distance of over 509 km

Researchers find evidence of a cosmic impact that caused destruction of one of the world's earliest human settlements

Astronomers identify nearly 3,000 candidate stars of a nearby star-forming galaxy

Additive manufacturing of cellulose-based materials with continuous, multidirectional stiffness gradients

Astronomers pinpoint rare binary brown dwarf

Strong signals show how proteins come and go

'Strange' glimpse into neutron stars and symmetry violation

Researchers establish new viable CRISPR-Cas12b system for plant genome engineering

New type of pulsating star discovered

Stone-age 'likes': Study establishes eggshell beads exchanged over 30,000 years

Underrepresented college students benefit more from 'active learning' techniques in STEM

Our brains are powerful—but secretive—forecasters of video virality

Protecting DNA origami for anti-cancer drug delivery

Study of hunter-gatherer community shows that how humans rest may affect their risk for heart disease

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers identify nearly 3,000 candidate stars of a nearby star-forming galaxy

Using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have conducted photometric observations of a nearby star-forming galaxy known as NGC 6822. They have identified nearly 3,000 candidate stars of this galaxy, which is reported in a paper published February 27 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Astronomers pinpoint rare binary brown dwarf

Astronomers working on 'first light' results from a newly commissioned telescope in Chile made a chance discovery that led to the identification of a rare eclipsing binary brown dwarf system.

New type of pulsating star discovered

A star that pulsates on just one side has been discovered in the Milky Way about 1500 light years from Earth. It is the first of its kind to be found and scientists expect to find many more similar systems as technology to listen inside the beating hearts of stars improves.

Discovery points to origin of mysterious ultraviolet radiation

Billions of lightyears away, gigantic clouds of hydrogen gas produce a special kind of radiation, a type of ultraviolet light known as Lyman-alpha emissions. The enormous clouds emitting the light are Lyman-alpha blobs (LABs). LABs are several times larger than our Milky Way galaxy, yet were only discovered 20 years ago. An extremely powerful energy source is necessary to produce this radiation—think the energy output equivalent of billions of our sun—but scientists debate what that energy source could be.

Astronomers report most distant blazar ever observed

Although it may have a difficult designation to remember, PSO J030947.49+271757.31, the most distant blazar observed to date, reveals important details about ancient black holes and places tight constraints on theories of the evolution of the universe. Its light originated when the universe was less than 1 billion years old, almost 13 billion years ago.

Safety zone saves giant moons from fatal plunge

Numerical simulations show that the temperature gradient in the gas disk around a young gas giant planet could play a critical role in the development of a satellite system dominated by a single large moon, similar to Titan in the Saturn system. Researchers found that dust in the circumplanetary disk can create a "safety zone" that keeps the moon from falling into the planet as the system evolves.

Turbulent convection at the heart of stellar activity

In their interiors, stars are structured in a layered, onion-like fashion. In those with solar-like temperatures, the core is followed by the radiation zone. There, the heat from within is led outwards by means of radiation. As the stellar plasma becomes cooler farther outside, heat transport is dominated by plasma flows: hot plasma from within rises to the surface, cools, and sinks down again. This process is called convection. At the same time, the star's rotation, which depends on stellar latitude, introduces shear movements. Together, both processes twist and twirl magnetic field lines and create a star's complex magnetic fields in a dynamo process that is not yet fully understood.

Image: Hubble spies galactic traffic jam

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 3887, seen here as viewed by the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, lies over 60 million light-years away from us in the southern constellation of Crater (the Cup). It was discovered on Dec. 31, 1785, by astronomer William Herschel.

SpaceX's 20th station shipment arrives with candy, science

A SpaceX cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station on Monday, delivering the company's 20th batch of gear and treats.

Technology news

PedestriANS: A bipedal robot that adapts its walking style in response to environmental changes

Humans are generally able to adapt their walking style based on the environment they are moving in, for instance, speeding up if the consistency of the ground below their feet allows it, slowing down when the floor is slippery, changing direction to avoid puddles or holes in the ground, and so on. To navigate a variety of environments, robots should be able to adapt their walking behavior in a similar way, adjusting their structure in response to environmental changes.

Insecure encryption configurations compromise security of Hyundai, Toyota, and Kia vehicles

Recent research indicates it's possible to infiltrate—and steal—vehicles manufactured by Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia due to flaws in the way their chip-enabled mechanical keys were encrypted.

Unfixable security flaw found in Intel chipset

The bad news: A security research firm has found that Intel chipsets used in computers over the past five years have a major flaw that allows hackers to bypass encryption codes and quietly install malware such as keyloggers.

Ultrathin organic solar cell is efficient and durable

Scientists from the RIKEN, in collaboration with international partners, have succeeded in creating an ultrathin organic solar cell that is both highly efficient and durable. Using a simple post-annealing process, they created a flexible organic cell that degrades by less than 5 percent over 3,000 hours in atmospheric conditions and that simultaneously has an energy conversion ratio—a key indicator of solar cell performance—of 13 percent.

Water splitting advance holds promise for affordable renewable energy

A breakthrough into splitting water into its parts could help make renewable energy pay off, even when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

Robots that admit mistakes foster better conversation in humans

Three people and a robot form a team playing a game. The robot makes a mistake, costing the team a round. Like any good teammate, it acknowledges the error.

China exports plunge on coronavirus epidemic

China's exports plummeted in the first two months of this year on the back of a coronavirus epidemic that forced businesses to suspend operations, disrupting the world's supply chains.

Congress blasts Boeing missteps, FAA blunders on MAX, calls for reform

Boeing made missteps and withheld information about the 737 MAX while federal regulators failed to provide proper oversight, leading to a "fundamentally flawed" aircraft that demands tighter rules, a US congressional committee said Friday.

With painted faces, artists fight facial recognition tech

As night falls in London, Georgina Rowlands and Anna Hart start applying makeup. Instead of lipstick and eyeliner, they're covering their faces with geometric shapes.

Bill targeting online child abuse puts encryption in crosshairs

A bill aimed at curbing online child sex abuse is pitting the US government against the tech sector, in a battle about encryption and liability for illegal online content.

Report from Ethiopia expected this week in Boeing Max crash

When air safety investigators release an interim report on the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max sometime before Tuesday, they are likely to place the blame on the jet's automated flight control system as well as on the pilots and their training, but it's unclear yet which side will bear the brunt.

US regulators will force Boeing to rewire 737 MAX jets: report

US aviation regulators plan to require Boeing to rewire all 737 MAX aircraft before allowing the troubled planes fly again, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Fukushima hotspots make headlines before Olympics, but what's the risk?

Warnings of radiation hotspots in parts of Fukushima that will host the Olympic torch relay and several sporting events have made headlines, but what is the risk for athletes and spectators?

Nine years on, state of the clean-up at Fukushima's nuclear plant

Nine years after a devastating tsunami sparked disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, clean-up and decommissioning continues at the crippled facility.

Uber, delivery services to compensate drivers who catch virus

Multiple rideshare and food delivery companies are following in the footsteps of Uber, which announced it would compensate its drivers who catch the new coronavirus.

Data-collection platform improving healthcare globally

Frontline health workers represent the lifeblood of many healthcare systems in low- and middle-income countries around the world. Often overworked and underpaid, these workers operate outside hospital settings to meet the community's poorest people where they live and work, ensuring healthcare initiatives impact the families that need them most.

Charge batteries through skin with permanent implantable device concept

Soft and flexible materials can ultrasonically charge bioelectronic implants, which could help to reduce the need for surgical treatment.

Enabling battery-powered silicon chips to work faster and longer

A team of researchers from NUS have invented a novel class of reconfiguration techniques that adaptively extends both the minimum power consumption and the maximum performance of digital circuits, well beyond common voltage scaling. Such extended adaptation allows digital silicon chips to operate at lower power during normal use, and at higher performance level when necessary.

User-customizable computing engine for artificial intelligence tasks

Scientists at Osaka University have built a new computing device from field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) that can be customized by the user for maximum efficiency in artificial intelligence applications. Compared with currently used rewireable hardware, the system increases circuit density by a factor of 12. Also, it is expected to reduce energy usage by 80%. This advance may lead to flexible artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that provide enhanced performance while consuming much less electricity.

Twitter strikes deal with investors, ending bid to oust Dorsey

Twitter unveiled a deal with key investors Monday to end an effort to oust chief executive Jack Dorsey, creating a new committee on the board of directors to keep tabs on company leadership.

Amazon offers cashierless tech to rival retailers

Amazon on Monday began offering its "just walk out" technology to other retailers in a move aimed at boosting the use of the cashierless store system.

Innovative method improves safety in lithium-sulfur batteries

Researchers from A*STAR's NanoBio Lab (NBL) have designed a semi-solid electrolyte for lithium-sulfur batteries that improves their safety without compromising their performance. This promising breakthrough paves the way for lithium-sulfur batteries to be used as efficient power solutions across diverse electronic and energy storage applications.

Researchers introduce new algorithm to reduce machine learning time

A research team led by Prof. LI Huiyun from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences introduced a simple deep reinforcement learning (DRL) algorithm with m-out-of-n bootstrap technique and aggregated multiple deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) algorithm structures.

Flipboard adding monthly subscription to watch ad-free video news clips from smartphones

Flipboard, the social media platform that's best known as a place for catching up on daily news on smartphones and tablets, is adding curated, ad-free video news clips, and hoping people will pay $2.99 monthly to watch.

DirecTV's days are numbered

Start saying goodbye to DirecTV.

Charting a path to powered exoskeletons

Exoskeletons are devices that are worn for protection or support—like a suit of armor or a helmet. Those and other passive devices have been around for millennia, but today's researchers are developing powered exoskeleton systems that, in the future, could take humans to new levels of strength and endurance.

Boeing pilot training on 737 MAX 'inadequate': Ethiopia crash report

Ethiopia's probe of last year's Ethiopian Airlines crash found that Boeing did not provide sufficient pilot training for the 737 MAX and that crucial flight software was flawed, according to an interim report published Monday.

China tech firm to sell gay dating app Grindr for $608 million

One of China's biggest mobile gaming companies is selling popular gay dating app Grindr for $608 million after pressure from US authorities concerned over the potential misuse of user data.

High-quality extended reality in easy-to-use and inexpensive devices

Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) technology open new possibilities across many fields. However, high-quality extended reality (XR) applications are computationally heavy in terms of computer graphics, which means that they do not run smoothly on inexpensive and easy-to-use XR devices such as VR/AR headsets and smartphones, because their GPU computing capacity is limited.

Minor convictions for ex-CIA coder in hacking tools case

A former CIA software engineer accused of stealing a massive trove of the agency's hacking tools and handing it over to WikiLeaks was convicted of only minor charges Monday, after a jury deadlocked on the more serious espionage counts against him.

Ryanair cuts more Italy flights amid virus fears

Ryanair announced Monday another big cut in the number of flights to and from northern Italy in response to the Italian government's lockdown of the coronavirus hit region.

Facebook, Twitter place warning labels on altered Biden video

Facebook and Twitter both added tags denoting false or manipulated content to a video reposted by US President Donald Trump of his Democrat rival Joe Biden.

Ethiopia report blames jet crash mostly on Boeing software

Ethiopian investigators are mostly blaming Boeing for last year's crash of a 737 Max jet shortly after takeoff, saying in an interim report Monday that there were design failures and inadequate training for pilots.

Medicine & Health news

Our brains are powerful—but secretive—forecasters of video virality

When Stanford University neuroscientist Brian Knutson tracked his smartphone usage, he was shocked to learn that he spent twice as much time on his phone as he had anticipated.

How waves of 'clutches' in the motor cortex help our brains initiate movement

For decades, scientists have wondered why specific cells in the brain that control movement fire when people simply plan or imagine making a movement, or observe someone else making a movement—but do not actually move themselves.

Babies born prematurely can catch up their immune systems, study finds

Researchers from King's College London & Homerton University Hospital have found babies born before 32 weeks' gestation can rapidly acquire some adult immune functions after birth, equivalent to that achieved by infants born at term.

Experts discover toolkit to repair DNA breaks linked to aging, cancer and MND

A new 'toolkit' to repair damaged DNA that can lead to ageing, cancer and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has been discovered by scientists at the Universities of Sheffield and Oxford.

Tough travel bans only 'modestly' slow coronavirus spread: study

An in-depth analysis of strict travel bans, both within and outside of China, finds that they may have done little to impede the spread of coronavirus.

Study: Women's hormonal cycles do not affect preferences for men's behavior

In the past, there has been much excitement over research that purported to show a link between changes in women's cycle and their degree of sexual attraction. However, new research at the University of Göttingen using the largest sample size to date questions previous results. The new research shows that shifts in women's cycles did not affect their preferences for men's behavior. The researchers found, however, that when fertile, women found all men slightly more attractive and, irrespective of their hormone cycle, flirtier men were evaluated as being more attractive for sexual relationships but less attractive for long-term relationships. The results were published in Psychological Science

The brain has two systems for thinking about the thoughts of others

In order to understand what another person thinks and how he or she will behave, people must adopt someone else's perspective. This ability is referred to as "theory of mind." Until recently, researchers were at odds concerning the age at which children are able to do such perspective-taking. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS), University College London, and the Social Neuroscience Lab Berlin shed new light on this question in a study now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Powerful sequencing technology sheds light on D.C.'s HIV epidemic

Despite significant progress against HIV/AIDS, the nation's capital is still battling an HIV epidemic with rates that are five times higher than the national average. A recent study by Milken Institute School of Public Health researchers at George Washington University uses powerful next-generation sequencing technology to learn more about how the virus is spreading and developing drug resistance in the District of Columbia.

Researchers identify mechanisms of MYH9-related blood disease

Ouch, you've cut your finger! As you fumble to grab a tissue, the paramedics in your blood are already rushing to the scene. These blood cells, called platelets, morph in shape from round to spiny, sticking to each other and to the injured blood vessel walls, to begin patching the gash. The platelets join together with other proteins to form a mesh-like plug—a clot—to stop the bleeding.

A close look at how the coronavirus binds to cells in the lungs

A team of researchers from the Westlake Institute for Advanced Study in Hangzhou, Westlake University and Tsinghua University has produced a high-resolution image of SARS-CoV-2 during the initial phase of infection of a human cell. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes how they captured the image and what it showed.

Method to predict critical circulatory failure

Patients in a hospital's intensive care unit are kept under close observation: Clinicians continuously monitor their vital signs such as their pulse, blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation. This provides doctors and nurses with a wealth of data about the condition of their patients' health. Nevertheless, using this information to predict how their condition will develop or to detect life-threatening changes far in advance is anything but easy.

Bacteria potentially involved in the development of type 2 diabetes

Bacteria may be involved in the development of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published today in Nature Metabolism by researchers from Université Laval, the Québec Heart and Lung Institute (IUCPQ), and McMaster University.

Glucose acts as a double edged sword on longevity factor SIRT1

Feeding and fasting cycles exert control over metabolism and energy utilization. Aberrations are known to cause metabolic diseases, liver dysfunctions and accelerated aging. Expression and activity of the anti-aging factor SIRT1 has long been known to be beneficial in mitigating diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular dysfunctions, neurodegeneration, cancer and aging. Global efforts are underway to both uncover molecular mechanisms that affect feed-fast cycles and also to regulate the activity of the longevity factor SIRT1.

Team finds cancer drug resistance genes and possibly how to limit their effects

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have discovered a gene associated with about half of glucocorticoid resistance in children with the most common pediatric cancer. Researchers have also identified a drug that may counter resistance. The research appears today in the journal Nature Cancer.

Microscopic STAR particles offer new potential treatment for skin diseases

Skin diseases affect half of the world's population, but many treatments are not effective, require frequent injections, or cause significant side effects. But what if there was a treatment that eliminated injections, reduced side effects, and increased drug effectiveness? A skin therapy with these properties may be on the horizon from Mark Prausnitz's Drug Delivery Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Researchers identify factors essential for chronic hepatitis B infection

Researchers at Princeton University have identified a set of human proteins that the hepatitis B virus (HBV) uses to establish itself permanently inside liver cells. The study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, could suggest new directions for therapies to treat chronic HBV infection, a condition that increases the risk of developing liver cancer and is responsible for almost 900,000 deaths worldwide each year.

Scientists create tool to detect genes associated with psychiatric, brain diseases

Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and colleagues created a new computational tool called H-MAGMA to study the genetic underpinnings of nine brain disorders, including the identification of new genes associated with each disorder.

Scientists identify new target for Parkinson's therapies

A master control region of a protein linked to Parkinson's disease has been identified for the first time.

New model to further understand causes of Alzheimer's disease

Scientists from Cardiff University have brought together all known risk factors for Alzheimer's disease for the first time to produce a new model of the disease which it is hoped will help speed up the discovery of new treatments.

Brain-doping produced by your own body

Erythropoietin, or Epo for short, is a notorious doping agent. It promotes the formation of red blood cells, leading thereby to enhanced physical performance—at least, that is what we have believed until now. However, as a growth factor, it also protects and regenerates nerve cells in the brain. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen have now revealed how Epo achieves this effect. They have discovered that cognitive challenges trigger a slight oxygen deficit (termed 'functional hypoxia' by the researchers) in the brain's nerve cells. This increases production of Epo and its receptors in the active nerve cells, stimulating neighbouring precursor cells to form new nerve cells and causing the nerve cells to connect to one another more effectively.

Rejuvenating the immune system supports brain repair after injury

Researchers have identified a major shift in how to treat brain injuries, after rejuvenating immune cells to support the repair process.

'Primitive' stem cells shown to regenerate blood vessels in the eye

Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists say they have successfully turned back the biological hands of time, coaxing adult human cells in the laboratory to revert to a primitive state, and unlocking their potential to replace and repair damage to blood vessels in the retina caused by diabetes. The findings from this experimental study, they say, advance regenerative medicine techniques aimed at reversing the course of diabetic retinopathy and other blinding eye diseases.

New study on COVID-19 estimates 5.1 days for incubation period

An analysis of publicly available data on infections from the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19 yielded an estimate of 5.1 days for the median disease incubation period, according to a new study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This median time from exposure to onset of symptoms suggests that the 14-day quarantine period used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for individuals with likely exposure to the coronavirus is reasonable.

Mathematical model could lead to better treatment for diabetes

One promising new strategy to treat diabetes is to give patients insulin that circulates in their bloodstream, staying dormant until activated by rising blood sugar levels. However, no glucose-responsive insulins (GRIs) have been approved for human use, and the only candidate that entered the clinical trial stage was discontinued after it failed to show effectiveness in humans.

US cruise ship in limbo as anti-virus controls spread

Officials in California were deciding Saturday where to dock a cruise ship with 21 coronavirus cases aboard and four U.S. universities canceled in-person classes as Western countries imitate China by imposing travel controls and shutting down public events to contain the outbreak.

Florida reports two coronavirus deaths, the first in eastern US

Florida health authorities confirmed Friday two deaths from the new coronavirus, the first US fatalities outside the west coast states of Washington and California.

'It's pandemonium': virus panic-buying hits Los Angeles

Sprinting shoppers, rationed mineral water and not a roll of toilet paper to be seen: panic-buying sparked by the new coronavirus soared in Los Angeles this week.

China reports 28 virus deaths, rise in new cases outside epicentre

China on Saturday reported 28 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, bringing the nationwide toll to 3,070.

As virus outbreaks multiply, UN declines to declare pandemic

As cases of the coronavirus surge in Italy, Iran, South Korea, the U.S. and elsewhere, many scientists say it's plain that the world is in the grips of a pandemic—a serious global outbreak.

Modern women with heart disease need flexible lifestyle programs

Women with heart disease today need flexible options for lifestyle programmes that fit their busy schedules. That's the finding of a study published today, International Women's Day, in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

South Korea reports lowest new virus infections in days

Hundreds of churches across South Korea closed their doors Sunday and held online services as the country reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in more than a week.

Quarter of Italians on lockdown as virus sweeps globe

A quarter of the Italian population was locked down Sunday as the government takes drastic steps to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus that is sweeping the globe, with Latin America recording its first fatality.

Virus-hit US cruise ship to dock as New York declares health emergency

A US cruise ship hit by coronavirus was given permission late Saturday to dock, while New York announced a state of emergency as confirmed cases across the country surged past 400.

Travel chaos erupts as Italy quarantines north to halt virus

Italy announced a sweeping quarantine early Sunday for its northern regions, igniting travel chaos as it restricted the movements of a quarter of its people in a bid to halt the new coronavirus' relentless march across Europe.

Study uncovers bias and stereotyping when recruiting patients for clinical trials

New research reveals bias and stereotyping among clinical and research professionals who recruit patients to enroll in cancer clinical trials. The findings are published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Homeless Health Research Network releases evidence-based clinical guideline

A collaborative approach is required to build healthcare pathways that will end homelessness in Canada, says the Homeless Health Research Network, a pan-Canadian team of experts including researchers from McGill University. Clinicians can play a role by tailoring their interventions using a comprehensive new clinical guideline on homelessness published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

US virus cases pass 500 as California readies for cruise ship arrival

The number of US coronavirus cases soared past 500 Sunday, including two further deaths, as California braced for the arrival of infected cruise ship passengers and saw a major tennis event canceled.

South Korea sees lowest new virus infections for 2 weeks

South Korea, which has one of the world's largest coronavirus totals outside China, on Monday reported its smallest daily rise in cases for two weeks.

China reports 22 new deaths, lowest new cases on record

China reported 22 new deaths on Monday from the new coronavirus epidemic, and the lowest number of fresh cases since it started reporting the data in January.

Better lifestyle habits are useful additions to optimize management of atrial fibrillation

Weight loss, regular physical activity and other lifestyle changes are effective yet underused strategies that should be added to optimize management of atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), according to "Lifestyle and Risk Factor Modification for Reduction of Atrial Fibrillation," a new Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association published today in the Association's flagship journal Circulation.

Crisis communication researcher: 5 key principles officials should use for COVID-19

Infectious disease outbreaks have killed more people than hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes. The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history, with death estimates ranging as high as 50 million worldwide. Almost 700,000 deaths occurred in the U.S.; in some cases, entire families died.

Millions of U.S. workers at risk of COVID-19 infections on the job

A University of Washington researcher calculates that 14.4 million workers face exposure to infection once a week and 26.7 million at least once a month in the workplace, pointing to an important population needing protection as the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, continues to break out across the U.S.

How to dramatically reduce inappropriate ulcer-prevention prescriptions

The inappropriate prescribing of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is well-documented, as are the harms they can cause to patients who don't need them, ranging from chronic kidney disease and pneumonia to hip fractures.

Producing human tissue in space

On 6 March at 11:50 p.m. EST, the International Space Station resupply mission Space X CRS-20 took off from Cape Canaveral (U.S.). On board were 250 test tubes from the University of Zurich containing adult human stem cells. These stem cells will develop into bone, cartilage and other organs during the month-long stay in space. Professor Oliver Ullrich and Dr. Cora Thiel, the two research leaders at the UZH Space Hub, are testing their innovative concept of human tissue production in weightlessness for the benefit of transplantation medicine and precision medicine and as an alternative to animal experiments.

Study: sBTLA proteins potential marker of overall survival of liver cancer patients

Researchers at the Department of Hepatology of Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine introduced sorafenib to patients with advanced stages of the liver cancer hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and measured the amount of 16 circulating soluble immune checkpoint proteins. Their data suggest that a high amount of sBTLA proteins may be a marker of overall survival in patients with HCC.

Coronavirus: 10 reasons you shouldn't panic

Regardless of whether we classify the new coronavirus as a pandemic, it is a serious issue. In less than two months, it has spread over several continents. Pandemic means sustained and continuous transmission of the disease, simultaneously in more than three different geographical regions. Pandemic does not refer to the lethality of a virus but to its transmissibility and geographical extension.

Why the way we measure iron deficiency in children needs to change

A deficiency of iron for normal body function is the most common nutritional disorder in the world. Iron deficiency is the main cause of anemia and is associated with poor brain development and long-term impairment of behavioral and cognitive performance in children.

How will the coronavirus spread? Epidemiologist deciphers 'messy data'

When it comes to the tipping point for the spread of COVID-19, University of Toronto epidemiologist David Fisman said: "We may have passed it."

Want to detox? Exercise, eat healthy foods, and sleep well

Want to lose weight? Have more energy? Live pain-free? Sleep better?

Sleep should be added as measure of heart health, study says

Adding sleep to seven established metrics could create a stronger tool for predicting heart disease risk among middle-aged and older adults, new research shows.

Changing the way we view women's heart attack symptoms

Heart attacks are misdiagnosed more often in young women than in men, and one key way to change that, researchers say, is to think differently about how symptom can manifest.

Effects of the proposed SNAP eligibility changes

Proposed changes to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may result in as many as one in ten U.S. families losing SNAP benefits, and potential impacts are unknown. A new study led by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute examines the potential effects of the proposed SNAP eligibility changes on health and health care affordability. The study, "Socioeconomic and Health Characteristics of Families at Risk for Losing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits", appears in JAMA Internal Medicine on March 9.

New high-cost HIV prevention drug: 'Better' isn't worth it

A newly approved drug for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is unlikely to confer any discernible health benefit over generic alternatives and may undermine efforts to expand access to HIV prevention for the nation's most vulnerable populations, according to a new study appearing today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Standard methods rid hospital rooms of coronavirus, slashing transmission rates

Wash your hands. Don't touch your face. Don't grab that door handle. Put the toilet seat lid down before you flush.

Knowledge of cancer risk, health promotion varies widely

Cancer risk awareness varies by socioeconomic status, according to the results of the International Public Opinion Survey on Cancer.

Researchers ready to test coronavirus vaccine in animals

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet are on track to produce a vaccine against the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Several vaccine candidates are currently available in the freezers at the Department of Laboratory Medicine and the first animal studies are slated to begin at the end of March, according to Professor and Head of Department Matti Sällberg who is leading the effort together with virus researcher and Professor Ali Mirazimi and researcher Gustaf Ahlén.

Prevention and prognosis of cervical cancer

Jiayao Lei's thesis addresses research questions on prevention and prognosis of cervical cancer within the framework of the interplay of human papillomavirus (HPV), vaccination, and cervical screening, and also provides insights for evidence-based decision-making.

How big will the coronavirus epidemic be? An epidemiologist updates his concerns

The Harvard historian Jill Lepore recounted recently in The New Yorker magazine that when democracies sink into crisis, the question "where are we going?" leaps to everyone's mind, as if we were waiting for a weather forecast to tell us how healthy our democracy was going to be tomorrow. Quoting Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce, Lepore writes that "political problems are not external forces beyond our control; they are forces within our control. We need solely to make up our own minds and to act."

What's the difference between pandemic, epidemic and outbreak?

The coronavirus is on everyone's minds. As an epidemiologist, I find it interesting to hear people using technical terms—like quarantine or super spreader or reproductive number—that my colleagues and I use in our work every day.

Community factors influence how long you'll live, study shows

While lifestyle choices and genetics go a long way toward predicting longevity, a new study shows that certain community characteristics also play important roles. American communities with more fast food restaurants, a larger share of extraction industry-based jobs, or higher population density have shorter life expectancies, according to researchers from Penn State, West Virginia, and Michigan State Universities. Their findings can help communities identify and implement changes that may promote longer lifespans among their residents.

Should you listen to music when you work?

Do you like to listen to music when you work?

Are we teaching kids to write all wrong?

"As you can see, individual differences in writing can be seen as early as kindergarten," says Cynthia Puranik, associate professor in the College of Education & Human Development. On her computer, she pulls up writing samples from two kindergarteners who were asked to print words that they know. One child manages "hot," while the second, incredibly, executes "somber, "sarcasum" [sic] and "redundant."

Telling friends and teachers about a child's autism has mixed results, say parents

Educating friends and classmates about a child's autism may not necessarily improve inclusion and reduce bullying, according to a University of Alberta researcher, who advises the decision to make a disclosure of this nature is often fluid and subject to change over time based on context.

Lack of information impedes access to food pantries and programs in Utah

Utah residents who have difficulty keeping their families fed could be missing a key ingredient: information. A University of Utah Health study finds that poor communications in at least 22 Utah communities could be hampering efforts to connect those in need with food stamps, food banks, soup kitchens, and other food resources. Researchers say the finding could help refine future community food distribution efforts.

Study finds athletes who play indoor sports at risk of vitamin D deficiency

College athletes participating in indoor sports, especially African-Americans, might be vitamin D deficient and put themselves at risk of injury or poor performance according to a study recently published in the journal Nutrients.

Prostate cancer 'fingerprint' detected in blood sample

Scientists at UCL have invented a new test to identify the earliest genetic changes of prostate cancer in blood: a process which could allow doctors to see if cancers have spread, monitor tumour behaviour and enable better treatment selection.

Learning empathy as a care giver takes more than experience

Poverty takes a toll on health in many ways. It often causes malnutrition and hunger, creates barriers to access basic resources, and can also impact well-being in more subtle ways linked to social discrimination and exclusion. Nurses, one of the most important healthcare providers, serve both as advocates for patients and as their most constant caregivers. They are trained to provide compassionate care to all. New research from Thomas Jefferson University shows that existing training may not adequately challenge nursing students' pre-existing assumptions about poverty, and that more needs to be done to help nurses reflect on their role in combating the societal stigma of poverty.

An app a day: China embraces tele-medicine to keep the doctor away

As the coronavirus crisis rages, a Chinese woman working in Paris takes to a computer to consult a doctor thousands of kilometres away in Shanghai about a worrisome cough and headache.

Gratitude interventions don't help with depression, anxiety: study

Go ahead and be grateful for the good things in your life. Just don't think that a gratitude intervention will help you feel less depressed or anxious.

Coronavirus: New York launches its own hand sanitizer

New York—under a state of emergency following a coronavirus outbreak—on Monday launched its own brand of hand sanitizer, made by jail inmates.

US urges elderly to stock up on groceries, prepare to stay home

US health authorities Monday urged Americans most at risk of developing a serious illness from the new coronavirus—the elderly and those with underlying conditions—to stock up on food and medicine and prepare to remain at home.

Over 70% of people infected with coronavirus in China recovered: WHO

The World Health Organization said Monday that more than 70 percent of those infected with the new coronavirus in China have recovered, adding that the country was "bringing its epidemic under control".

Drug-delivery technology leads to sustained HIV antibody production

A new approach to direct the body to make a specific antibody against HIV led to sustained production of that antibody for more than a year among participants in a National Institutes of Health clinical trial. This drug-delivery technology uses a harmless virus to deliver an antibody gene into human cells, enabling the body to generate the antibody over an extended time. With further development, such a strategy could be applied to prevent and treat a wide variety of infectious diseases, according to the study investigators.

Spending on experiences versus possessions advances more immediate happiness

Certain purchases are better than others at sparking people's in-the-moment happiness, according to new research from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.

Firearm violence solutions from a public health perspective

While firearm violence is a major public health challenge in the United States, it has often been considered a law enforcement issue with only law enforcement solutions. An article by two University of Pennsylvania researchers advises that treating firearm violence as a disease and taking a public health approach to prevention and treatment can help reduce its harms.

First study identifies risk factors associated with death in adults hospitalised with new coronavirus disease in Wuhan

Being of an older age, showing signs of sepsis, and having blood clotting issues when admitted to hospital are key risk factors associated with higher risk of death from the new coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a new observational study of 191 patients with confirmed COVID-19 from two hospitals in Wuhan, China, published in The Lancet.

Study links obesity with pancreatitis

A study by researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona published in the the Journal of Clinical Investigation has found that obesity is not only implicated in chronic diseases such as diabetes, but also in sudden-onset diseases such as pancreatitis.

Experts: Rapid testing helps explain few German virus deaths

Germany has confirmed more than 1,100 cases of the new coronavirus but—so far—just two deaths, far fewer than other European countries with a similar number of reported infections.

Simple method to prevent HIV in South Africa and Uganda works

In parts of Africa, where the rate of HIV is high, researchers found that using mobile vans to dispense antiretroviral treatment and other care greatly increased viral suppression.

Study finds lower concentration of PrEP drug in pregnant young women

Among African adolescent girls and young women who took HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) daily, levels of the PrEP drug tenofovir were more than 30% lower in those who were pregnant than in those who had recently given birth. All 40 study participants took PrEP under direct observation, confirming their near-perfect adherence. PrEP drug levels were lower to a similar degree in the pregnant African adolescent girls and young women compared to American men and non-pregnant, non-lactating women who took PrEP daily under direct observation in an earlier study. These findings from the NIH-funded IMPAACT 2009 study were reported today at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI).

Gene therapy reverses heart failure in mouse model of Barth syndrome

Barth syndrome is a rare metabolic disease in boys caused by mutation of a gene called tafazzin or TAZ. It can cause life-threatening heart failure and also weakens the skeletal muscles, undercuts the immune response, and impairs overall growth. There is no cure or specific treatment, but new research at Boston Children's Hospital suggests that gene therapy could prevent or reverse cardiac dysfunction.

Viewership soars for misleading tobacco videos on YouTube

Misleading portrayals of the safety of tobacco use are widespread on YouTube, where the viewership of popular pro-tobacco videos has soared over the past half-dozen years, according to research by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania.

Focusing continuity of care on sicker patients can save millions of dollars annually

Research shows higher continuity of care, meaning a care team cooperatively involved in ongoing healthcare, is better for health outcomes, but can there be too much of a good thing? New research in the INFORMS journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management finds the answer is "yes."

First coronavirus death recorded in Canada

Canada has recorded its first death from the new coronavirus, health officials in the westernmost province of British Columbia announced on Monday.

US warns 7 companies over fraudulent coronavirus claims

U.S. regulators warned seven companies to stop selling soaps, sprays and other concoctions with false claims that they can treat the new coronavirus or keep people from catching it.

Virus and elderly: Avoid crowds, cruises, long plane trips

The U.S. government's coronavirus recommendations tell older adults to avoid crowds, cruises and long plane rides—advice that one public health official acknowledged won't be welcomed by many.

Is a 'universal' flu vaccine on the horizon?

(HealthDay)—Work is proceeding apace on a "universal" flu vaccine capable of protecting humans from all forms of influenza, researchers report.

What's the best blood thinner if you have a-fib?

(HealthDay)—People with the heart condition atrial fibrillation often use blood thinners to help prevent a stroke. Now a new study suggests one of those medications might stand out as safer and more effective.

Second HIV patient reportedly 'cured'

(HealthDay)—It was 12 years ago that a German patient was seemingly cured of HIV. Now doctors in the United Kingdom believe they've finally duplicated that success, this time in a 40-year-old Englishman.

'Real' U.S. coronavirus cases may have topped 9,000, scientists say

(HealthDay)—More than 9,000 people in the United States may have been infected with the new coronavirus as of March 1— a figure much higher than reported, researchers say.

Traffic noise might increase diabetes, blood pressure risks

Navigating through congested road traffic is enough to make even the most laid-back people lose their cool. As it turns out, just the sound of road noise may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes.

Guidelines detail management of liver failure in ICU patients

(HealthDay)—In an executive summary of a new guideline from the Society of Critical Care Medicine, published in the March issue of Critical Care Medicine, a set of evidence-based recommendations are presented for the management of liver failure in critically ill patients.

Stress-related disorders linked to neurodegenerative disease

(HealthDay)—Stress-related disorders are associated with an increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study published online March 9 in JAMA Neurology.

Rotavirus vaccination, type 1 diabetes not linked in children

(HealthDay)—Rotavirus vaccination seems not to be associated with type 1 diabetes in children, according to a study published online March 9 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Gabapentin seems efficacious for alcohol use disorder

(HealthDay)—Gabapentin appears to be efficacious for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD), especially among those with high alcohol withdrawal, according to a study published online March 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

It's tough for clinical trial participants to learn results

(HealthDay)—Most clinical trial participants are not told the results of their study—even though most people want to know, and researchers want to tell them.

Two apartment buildings in South Korea quarantined over virus

Two South Korean apartment buildings heavily occupied by members of a sect linked to most of the country's coronavirus cases have been quarantined after dozens of residents tested positive for the disease, an official said Saturday.

China virus fight sparks outcry over female frontline staff

China's fight against the coronavirus epidemic has triggered anger over the neglect of frontline female workers who have struggled to access menstrual products, battled with ill-fitting equipment and had their heads shaved.

Two test positive for coronavirus at US conference attended by Pence

Two people have tested positive for the new coronavirus after taking part in a pro-Israel lobby group's conference in Washington which Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and dozens of lawmakers also attended.

US tourist is Costa Rica's first coronavirus case

A US woman on a tourist trip to Costa Rica has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in Central America, the country's health minister said Friday.

US Navy sailor gets coronavirus in Italy

A US Navy sailor stationed in Italy has contacted the novel coronavirus, marking the first positive case for a US service member in Europe, the US military command said Saturday.

Iran coronavirus death toll jumps to 145, govt lashes out at US

Iran's official death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 21 Saturday, with a lawmaker among the latest fatalities, while the government accused Washington of hampering Tehran's response to the virus.

South Africa reports second coronavirus case

South Africa on Saturday confirmed a second case of the novel coronavirus, a 39-year-old woman who had travelled to Italy as part of a group with the first confirmed case.

Homeless at 'double risk' of getting, spreading coronavirus

They often don't have places to wash their hands, struggle with health problems and crowd together in grimy camps.

South Africa's coronavirus toll hits three

The wife of South Africa's first novel coronavirus patient tested positive on Sunday becoming the third confirmed case in the country, the health authority said.

Residencies must train residents to treat substance use disorder among pregnant women

Early-career family physicians who both provide maternity care and prescribe buprenorphine—a medication used to treat opioid use disorder—primarily completed their training in a small number of residency programs.

Commentary on an approach to Indigenous homelessness

Indigenous historian and York University professor Jesse Thistle and Dr. Janet Smylie, a Métis family physician and research chair at Unity Health Toronto and the University of Toronto, who are leading the development of a separate guideline specifically to address Indigenous homelessness, co-authored a related commentary in CMAJ.

India denies entry to cruise ships on virus fears

India has banned all foreign cruise ships from its ports because of the coronavirus, with one European vessel turned away from Mangalore in the south at the weekend, officials said Monday.

China signals progress in virus battle as Disney partially reopens

China closed most of its makeshift hospitals for coronavirus patients, some schools reopened and Disney resort staff went back to work Monday as normality slowly returns to the country after weeks battling the epidemic.

Markets plunge, Italy locked down as virus spreads

Financial markets around the world crashed Monday and a swathe of northern Italy was sealed off as authorities struggled to contain the spread and impact of the deadly coronavirus.

France bans gatherings of 1,000 over virus, two more MPs infected

France has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, the health minister said, while the number of French lawmakers infected with the virus rose to four.

Saudi Arabia, Israel tighten restrictions to counter virus

Saudi Arabia closed off air and sea travel to 14 countries affected by the new virus Monday, while Israel ordered two weeks of home quarantine for anyone arriving from overseas. Mideast stock markets tumbled over fears about the widening outbreak's effect on the global economy.

Visitors vanish from Asia's most visited sites

As dawn breaks the unmistakable tapered towers of Angkor Wat emerge from the gloom - but for once there are no tourists jostling on its steps to capture Cambodia's most famous sunrise.

'Fever clinics' are opening in Australia for people who think they're infected with coronavirus

The Western Australian health minister has announced "fever clinics" are to open this week for people who think they have coronavirus symptoms.

UK supermarkets impose limits to stop virus stockpiling

British supermarkets have started imposing limits on the purchase of certain goods after shelves were emptied because of coronavirus fears.

Sensory information underpins abstract knowledge

What we learn through our senses drives how knowledge is sorted in our brains, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

How to keep your child relaxed during a hospital stay

During the winter months, pediatric admissions to the hospital increase due to flu and respiratory infections. In hospitals, a team of Child Life specialists help parents and kids cope with being in the hospital. Here are some tips from them to reduce your child's fear during a scary and stressful time.

Alcohol marketing and underage drinking

A new study by a research team including scientists from the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation provides a systematic review of research that examines relationships between exposure to alcohol marketing and alcohol use behaviors among adolescents and young adults.

Virus-hit cruise ship prepares to dock in California

Thousands of people stranded on a cruise ship off California due to a coronavirus outbreak were to start disembarking Monday in what officials said would be an "unprecedented and difficult" landing.

Amid virus crisis, officials announce health care tech rules

With coronavirus topping Americans' concerns, senior Trump administration officials tried to switch subjects Monday by announcing final rules aimed at delivering on the unfulfilled promise of electronic health records.

Two weeks after sports-related concussion, most patients have not recovered

Less than half of patients with sports-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) achieve clinical recovery within two weeks after injury, reports a study in Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

Adding smoking cessation to lung cancer screening can reduce mortality by 14%

Including smoking cessation with existing lung cancer screening efforts would reduce lung cancer mortality by 14 percent and increase life-years gained by 81 percent compared with screening alone, according to a study from Rafael Meza from the University of Michigan and colleagues and published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Providing contraceptive care in the pediatric emergency department

A new study found that two-thirds of female adolescents ages 16-21 seen in a pediatric Emergency Department (ED) were interested in discussing contraception, despite having a high rate of recent visits to a primary care provider. More than 22% indicated that they would be likely to start or change contraception during the ED visit. Is the ED a "Golden Opportunity" for contraceptive education and initiation, ask the authors of this study in Journal of Women's Health.

The health care system is failing transgender cancer survivors

A new Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) study is the first-ever population-based study of cancer prevalence in transgender people, estimating 62,530 of the nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the U.S. are transgender.

Paid maternity leave has mental and physical health benefits for mothers and children

Paid maternity leave has major mental and physical health benefits for mothers and children - including reduced rates of postpartum depression and infant mortality, according to a report in the March/April issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Nationwide study shows disparities in outpatient care for common orthopaedic problems

Racial/ethnic minorities, people with lower incomes, and other groups are less likely to receive office-based care for common musculoskeletal conditions, reports a nationwide study in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR), a publication of The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons.

Iran announces 43 new coronavirus deaths, raising toll to 237

Iran on Monday announced 43 new deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall toll to 237 dead, one of the world's highest.

Missouri coronavirus quarantine violation closes schools

Two Catholic schools in suburban St. Louis have temporarily closed after the father of the first person in Missouri to become ill with the coronavirus attended a dance and Amtrak is notifying those aboard a train the ill woman took home last week from Chicago about her diagnosis.

Germany reports first two coronavirus deaths

Two people have died of the novel coronavirus in the western German city of Essen and virus hotspot Heinsberg, officials told AFP on Monday, the country's first casualties of the outbreak.

Cyprus reports first 2 coronavirus cases, all EU states now hit

Cyprus on Monday reported its first two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, meaning that all 27 European Union member states have now reported infections.

UK opens probe into website advertising virus 'cure'

British officials said Monday they had opened a probe into an illegal website claiming to sell a cure for the novel coronavirus, which came to light during an AFP fact-checking investigation.

First coronavirus case in Greek island housing migrants

A 40-year-old woman has been diagnosed with coronavirus in Lesbos, doctors said Monday, in the first reported case on the Greek island.

Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria limit public gatherings over virus fears

Romania and Slovenia on Monday banned big public gatherings, while Bulgaria ordered theatre and cinema shows cancelled in increasingly stringent measures to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Israel PM announces two-week quarantine for all arrivals

Israel will impose a two-week quarantine on all travellers entering the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, toughening already significant travel restrictions.

DR Congo hopes to declare end to Ebola outbreak in April

DR Congo health officials said Monday they were "keeping fingers crossed" to declare a deadly 19-month Ebola epidemic over next month, while monitoring former patients for signs of the virus.

Madrid to close all schools for 2 weeks after virus spike

Spain's health minister reported a sharp spike in coronavirus cases in and around Madrid and said all schools in the capital region, from kindergartens and universities, would close for two weeks starting Wednesday.

Italy imposes nationwide restrictions to contain new virus

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says travel restrictions and other strict public health measures will be imposed nationwide starting Tuesday to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

Biology news

Researchers establish new viable CRISPR-Cas12b system for plant genome engineering

In a new publication in Nature Plants, assistant professor of Plant Science at the University of Maryland Yiping Qi has established a new CRISPR genome engineering system as viable in plants for the first time: CRISPR-Cas12b. CRISPR is often thought of as molecular scissors used for precision breeding to cut DNA so that a certain trait can be removed, replaced, or edited. Most people who know CRISPR are likely thinking of CRISPR-Cas9, the system that started it all. But Qi and his lab are constantly exploring new CRISPR tools that are more effective, efficient, and sophisticated for a variety of applications in crops that can help curb diseases, pests, and the effects of a changing climate. With CRISPR-Cas12b, Qi is presenting a system in plants that is versatile, customizable, and ultimately provides effective gene editing, activation, and repression all in one system.

Study of hunter-gatherer community shows that how humans rest may affect their risk for heart disease

Standing desks are so passé. It's time for squatting desks.

Gene regulatory factors enable bacteria to kill rivals and establish symbiosis in a squid

Two factors that control the expression of a key gene required by luminescent bacteria to kill competing bacterial cells have been identified. The finding, by researchers at Penn State, sheds light on the molecular mechanisms that enable different strains of bacteria to compete and establish symbiosis in the Hawaiian bobtail squid. Consequently, the study, which appears online in the Journal of Bacteriology, adds to our understanding of how the make-up of a host's microbiome is determined, and may be applicable to more complex microbiomes in humans.

Machine learning could improve the diagnosis of mastitis infections in cows

The new study, published today in Scientific Reports, has found that machine learning has the potential to enhance and improve a veterinarian's ability to accurately diagnose herd mastitis origin and reduce mastitis levels on dairy farms.

Size-selective fishing results in trade-offs between fishery yield, reproductive productivity

How people fish matters perhaps as much as the quantity harvested, say University of Maine researchers Kara Pellowe and Heather Leslie.

New study reveals hidden impact of marine heatwaves

A new study by an international team of researchers including The University of Western Australia reveals the worst marine heatwave ever recorded off Western Australia was responsible for a massive loss of genetic diversity in underwater forests.

Squandering inherited rank may have life-and-death consequences for hyenas

Like all spotted hyena newborns, she spills onto the Kenyan grassland with open eyes and a full set of teeth. But as the daughter of a high-ranking mother in a matriarchal society, she also inherits an advantage over many of the local cubs: an enviable social status.

Copy/paste and delete: Or, how to thrive without gene regulation

Turning genes on and off as needed allows an organism to adapt to changes in the environment—provided the organism has a specific regulatory design in place. Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have shown that under rare or rapidly changing conditions, the fitness of a population of bacteria can increase simply by producing a higher number of copies of one and the same gene. The results are highly relevant in combating resistance to antibiotics.

Ship noise hampers crab camouflage

Colour-changing crabs struggle to camouflage themselves when exposed to noise from ships, new research shows.

Sea turtles have a deadly attraction to stinky plastic

Sea turtles around the world are threatened by marine plastic debris, mostly through ingestion and entanglement. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on March 9 have new evidence to explain why all that plastic is so dangerous for the turtles: they mistake the scent of stinky plastic for food.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better

A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with,concluding that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics. The study, which was conducted by the researchers Letícia Galera-Laporta and Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo and is published today in the journal Science Advances, and may affect the treatment of bacterial infections, even suggesting new strategies to combat these pathogens.

How new data can make ecological forecasts as good as weather forecasts

When El Nino approaches, driven by warm Pacific Ocean waters, we've come to expect both drenching seasonal rains in the southern U.S. and drought in the Amazon. Those opposite extremes have huge effects on society and are increasingly predictable thanks to decades of weather data.

Advanced optical imaging technique may lead to structure-guided drug design

A Clemson University College of Science researcher, together with a team of researchers primarily at Heinrich Heine University in Germany, developed and demonstrated new optical imaging methods to monitor a single molecule in action.

Male size advantage drives evolution of sex change in reef fish

Some species of fish, notably parrotfish and wrasses living on coral reefs, change their biological sex as they age, beginning life as females and later becoming functionally male. New work from the University of California, Davis, shows that this sequential hermaphroditism evolves when bigger males gain an advantage in reproductive success—for example by defending a permanent mating territory.

Research on soldier ants reveals that evolution can go in reverse

Turtle ant soldiers look like real-life creatures straight out of a Japanese anime film. These tree-dwelling insects scuttle to and fro sporting shiny, adorably oversized heads, which they use to block the entrances of their nests—essentially acting as living doors.

Who's greener? Mine fight pits electric cars against flower

The rare Tiehm's buckwheat stands less than a foot tall (30 centimeters) in Nevada's rocky high desert, its thin, leafless stems adorned with tiny yellow flowers in spring.

Photosynthesis varies greatly across rice cultivars—natural diversity could boost yields

Rice is a direct source of calories for more people than any other crop and serves as the main staple for 560 million chronically hungry people in Asia. With over 120,000 varieties of cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) across the globe, there is a wealth of natural diversity to be mined by plant scientists to increase yields. A team from the University of Illinois and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) examined how 14 diverse varieties photosynthesize—the process by which all crops convert sunlight energy into sugars that ultimately become our food. Looking at a little-studied attribute of photosynthesis, they found small differences in photosynthetic efficiency under constant conditions, but a 117 percent difference in fluctuating light, suggesting a new trait for breeder selection.

Effects of Palau fishing restrictions studied

Restrictions associated with the newly enacted Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) are likely to negatively affect the supply of offshore fish, including tuna, in the short term, but may open up opportunities for native Palauans in the long term, according to a team led by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers.

Researchers reveal novel ethylene signaling mechanism in rice roots

Phytohormone ethylene plays essential roles in plant growth and development and response to stresses. In dicot Arabidopsis, the ethylene signaling pathway has been well-characterized. Ethylene signal is perceived and transduced through an ethylene receptor-CTR1-EIN2-EIN3/EIL1 pathway. In semiaquatic monocot rice, while ethylene plays essential roles in its adaptive responses to the hypoxia conditions and regulates multiple agronomic traits, its signaling mechanism is largely unclear.

Microbes play important role in soil's nitrogen cycle

Under our feet, in the soil, is a wealth of microbial activity. Just like humans have different metabolisms and food choices, so do those microbes. In fact, microbes play an important role in making nutrients available to plants.

Cute monkeys perceived as safer, but in reality dominant animals get closer to humans

People say they are more willing to approach cute-looking monkeys in the wild, but in reality end up getting closer to dominant monkeys they believe could pose more risk, according to new research.

Climate change at Mount Rainier to increase 'mismatch' between visitors, wildflowers

Spring is coming, and with it comes the promise of warmer weather, longer days and renewed life.

Bulb size matters: Uncovering the evolution of the plant kingdom's doomsday preppers

Botanist Cody Coyotee Howard compares bulbs to living bunkers. With an underground stockpile of resources, bulbs can hunker down during disasters and spring up faster than other plants when conditions turn balmy.

What's up with all the crane flies in Tucson?

They've descended in droves on the Tucson area, swarming the weeds in backyards, hovering around lighted windows at night and wafting inside as soon as a door opens. Some people think they're giant mosquitoes, some believe they eat mosquitoes, and others mistake them for spiders—but the these awkward-looking insects, with their spindly legs and fairy-like flutter, aren't any of those.

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