Thursday, February 23, 2017

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Feb 23

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 23, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Scientists solve puzzle of turning graphite into diamond

Digital pathology platforms can now determine the metastatic potential of cells in a tissue biopsy

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel

Study of ancient skulls suggest there may have been multiple migrations into the Americas

Neural networks promise sharpest ever images

Oil and gas wastewater spills alter microbes in West Virginia waters

Professor has taken a selfie every day for the past 30 years

Researchers discover link between aging, devastating lung disease

Scientists close in on cracking 'Enigma Code' of common cold

SpaceX makes good on space station delivery a little late

Researchers determine how part of the endoplasmic reticulum gets its shape

Zika virus harms testes, says study

Statistical approach suggests toddlers' grammar skills are learned, not innate

Common roundworm found to farm the bacteria it eats

Study shows how separate visual features are integrated in the thalamus

Astronomy & Space news

Neural networks promise sharpest ever images

Telescopes, the workhorse instruments of astronomy, are limited by the size of the mirror or lens they use. Using 'neural nets', a form of artificial intelligence, a group of Swiss researchers now have a way to push past that limit, offering scientists the prospect of the sharpest ever images in optical astronomy. The new work appears in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

SpaceX makes good on space station delivery a little late

SpaceX made good on a 250-mile-high delivery at the International Space Station on Thursday, after fixing a navigation problem that held up the shipment a day.

Does Pluto have the ingredients for life?

Pluto has long been viewed as a distant, cold and mostly dead world, but the first spacecraft to pass by it last year revealed many surprises about this distant dwarf planet.

NASA's Jupiter-circling spacecraft stuck making long laps

NASA's Jupiter-circling spacecraft is stuck making long laps around the gas giant because of sticky valves.

Vast luminous nebula poses a cosmic mystery

Astronomers have found an enormous, glowing blob of gas in the distant universe, with no obvious source of power for the light it is emitting. Called an "enormous Lyman-alpha nebula" (ELAN), it is the brightest and among the largest of these rare objects, only a handful of which have been observed.

Sounding rocket launches to study auroras

A NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket soars skyward into an aurora over Alaska following a 5:13 a.m. EST, Feb. 22, 2017 launch from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. The rocket carried an Ionospheric Structuring: In Situ and Groundbased Low Altitude StudieS (ISINGLASS) instrumented payload examining the structure of an aurora. ISINGLASS includes the launch of two rockets with identical payloads that will fly into two different types of auroras – an inverted-V arc and a dynamic Alfenic curtain. The launch window for the second rocket runs through March 3.

7 Earth-size worlds found orbiting star; could hold life

For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star—and these new worlds could hold life.

Official naming of surface features on Pluto and its satellites: First step approved

In 2015, in partnership with NASA's New Horizons mission and the SETI Institute, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) endorsed the Our Pluto naming campaign, which allowed the public to participate in the exploration of Pluto by proposing names for surface features on Pluto and its satellites that were still awaiting discovery. Each of the system's six worlds was designated a set of naming themes set out by the IAU's Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN - https://www.iau.org/science/scientific_bodies/working_groups/98/ ). The public responded with overwhelming enthusiasm, suggesting and voting on thousands of names within these categories, as well as proposing names not fitting the approved set of themes.

NASA balloon recovered a year after flight over Antarctica

For 12 days in January 2016, a football-field-sized balloon with a telescope hanging beneath it floated 24 miles above the Antarctic continent, riding the spiraling polar vortex. On Jan. 31, 2016, scientists sent the pre-planned command to cut the balloon - and the telescope parachuted to the ground in the Queen Maud region of Antarctica.

Brains of the operation—NASA team develops modular avionics systems for small missions

In just two years' time, a team of NASA engineers accomplished what some thought impossible: the group created a smaller, more capable "brain" for smaller spacecraft.

Technology news

When test-driving a new car, take the technology for a spin

Car shopping isn't just about kicking the tires anymore. It's also about testing the technology.

Computer bots are more like humans than you might think, having fights lasting years

Researchers say 'benevolent bots', otherwise known as software robots, that are designed to improve articles on Wikipedia sometimes have online 'fights' over content that can continue for years.

GM bill is self-driving and self-interested

With states seizing the initiative on shaping the future of self-driving cars, General Motors is trying to persuade lawmakers across the country to approve rules that would benefit the automaker while potentially keeping its competitors off the road.

German federal police say British hacker arrested in London

A 29-year-old Briton was taken into custody in London on a European arrest warrant issued by Germany on suspicion of a carrying out a cyberattack on Deutsche Telekom, federal police said Thursday.

Solar panels get a facelift with custom designs

Residential solar power is on a sharp rise in the United States as photovoltaic systems become cheaper and more powerful for homeowners. A 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) predicts that solar could reach 1 million to 3.8 million homes by 2020, a big leap from just 30,000 homes in 2006.

How South Australia can function reliably while moving to 100% renewable power

Despite the criticism levelled at South Australia over its renewable energy ambitions, the state is nevertheless aiming to be carbon neutral by mid-century, which will mean moving to 100% renewable electricity over the next 15-20 years.

Broadband internet can help rural communities connect – if they use it

Being able to connect to the internet is crucial for many rural Americans. It allows them to buy goods and services that may not be available locally; market their own goods and services to a much larger area; connect remotely with health services that previously required several hours' worth of driving; and even telecommute.

CWI, Google announce first collision for Industry Security Standard SHA-1

Today, researchers at the Dutch research institute CWI and Google jointly announce that they have broken the SHA-1 internet security standard in practice. This industry standard is used for digital signatures and file integrity verification, which secure credit card transactions, electronic documents, GIT open-source software repositories and software distribution. CWI cryptanalyst Marc Stevens says: "Many applications still use SHA-1, although it was officially deprecated by NIST in 2011 after exposed weaknesses since 2005. Our result proves that the deprecation by a large part of the industry has been too slow and that migration to safer standards should happen as soon as possible".

Liquid hydrogen may be way forward for sustainable air travel

Transport makes up around 20 percent of our energy use around the world—and that figure is set to grow, according to the International Energy Agency. With sustainable solutions in mind, a new study published by eminent physicist Jo Hermans in MRS Energy and Sustainability—A Review Journal (MRS E&S) looks at the energy efficiency of current modes of transport—from bicycles to buses, from air transport to cruise ships— and concludes that liquid hydrogen seems to be a realistic option for what is probably the most problematic of transportation modes in terms of sustainability, future air travel.

Researchers teach drones to land themselves on moving targets

The buzzword in drone research is autonomous—having the unmanned aerial vehicle do most or all of its own flying.

Chu's Limit—a limit no more

Chu's Limit, a fundamental principle of electromagnetics, dictates that the bandwidth an antenna can function in has a maximum level proportional to the physical size of the antenna—the smaller the antenna, the smaller the bandwidth, the slower and less capable the communications link. Chu's Limit has been a foundational law of antenna and telecommunications research since its introduction in the late 1940s, but a scientist at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) has recently, for the first time, exceeded Chu's Limit in a measured experiment.

Bored by physical therapy? Focus on citizen science instead

Researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have devised a method by which patients requiring repetitive rehabilitative exercises, such as those prescribed by physical therapists, can voluntarily contribute to scientific projects in which massive data collection and analysis is needed.

Agricultural robot may be 'game changer' for crop growers, breeders

A semiautonomous robot may soon be roaming agricultural fields gathering and transmitting real-time data about the growth and development of crops, information that crop breeders—and eventually farmers—can use to identify the genetic traits in plants likely to produce the greatest yields.

Medicine & Health news

Digital pathology platforms can now determine the metastatic potential of cells in a tissue biopsy

(Medical Xpress)—One major challenge in pathology is to determine if a group of cells are cancerous. By 'cancerous' one generally means that they have the potential to grow and spread, or that they have already spread from somewhere else and are therefore metastatic. Cancer cells tend to spread to other organs via the bloodstream. When they do this, they inevitably also make their way to the lymphatic system. By checking the so-called 'sentinel' lymph nodes—those nodes adjacent to a primary tumor—doctors can get a good idea of whether or not a cancer has gone rogue.

Researchers discover link between aging, devastating lung disease

A Mayo Clinic study has shown evidence linking the biology of aging with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that impairs lung function and causes shortness of breath, fatigue, declining quality of life, and, ultimately, death. Researchers believe that these findings, which appear today in Nature Communications, are the next step toward a possible therapy for individuals suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Scientists close in on cracking 'Enigma Code' of common cold

Scientists at the Universities of York, Leeds, and Helsinki say they are a step closer to cracking, what researchers have dubbed, the 'Enigma Code' of the common cold virus.

Researchers determine how part of the endoplasmic reticulum gets its shape

From the double membrane enclosing the cell nucleus to the deep infolds of the mitochondria, each organelle in our cells has a distinctive silhouette that makes it ideally suited to do its job. How these shapes arise, however, is largely a mystery.

Zika virus harms testes, says study

The Zika virus reduces the size of testes in infected mice up to 21 days after infection, according to a new Yale study. The persistence of the virus in the male reproductive organ can lead to sexual transmission and may impair male fertility, the researchers said.

Statistical approach suggests toddlers' grammar skills are learned, not innate

Children's ability to understand basic grammar early in language development has long puzzled scientists, creating a debate over whether that skill is innate or learned with time and practice.

Study shows how separate visual features are integrated in the thalamus

Botond Roska and his team at the FMI have investigated how visual features, extracted in the eye, are combined in the thalamus, the second stage of visual processing in the brain. They have shown that the function of the thalamus is not merely to relay information. Rather, synaptic connections between different types of retinal cells and individual thalamic cells permit the integration of different visual features—in some cases from both eyes.

Group develops deep, non-invasive imaging of mouse brain

Nearly four years ago, then-President Obama launched the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, to "accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain."

A possible way to detect the likelihood of infants developing type 1 diabetes later in life

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from several institutions in Germany and one in the U.K. has discovered what might be a way to tell if a newborn child is likely to develop type 1 diabetes as they grow into teens. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team describes a unique study they carried out involving at-risk children they had been studying since birth, and what they found with their T cells.

Sorting out risk genes for brain development disorders

Gene discovery research is uncovering new information about similarities and differences underlying various neurodevelopmental disorders.

Sugar's 'tipping point' link to Alzheimer's disease revealed

For the first time a "tipping point" molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer's disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Fasting-mimicking diet may reverse diabetes

A diet designed to imitate the effects of fasting appears to reverse diabetes by reprogramming cells, a new USC-led study shows.

Playing favorites: Brain cells prefer one parent's gene over the other's

Most kids say they love their mom and dad equally, but there are times when even the best prefers one parent over the other. The same can be said for how the body's cells treat our DNA instructions. It has long been thought that each copy - one inherited from mom and one from dad - is treated the same. A new study from scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine shows that it is not uncommon for cells in the brain to preferentially activate one copy over the other. The finding breaks basic tenants of classic genetics and suggests new ways in which genetic mutations might cause brain disorders.

New gene sequencing software could aid in early detection, treatment of cancer

A research team from the United States and Canada has developed and successfully tested new computational software that determines whether a human DNA sample includes an epigenetic add-on linked to cancer and other adverse health conditions.

New approach to reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes trialled in Liverpool

An international clinical trial conducted by the University of Liverpool has shown that the drug liraglutide 3.0 mg may reduce diabetes risk by 80% in individuals with obesity and prediabetes according to a study published today in The Lancet.

Severe gum disease may be early sign of undiagnosed diabetes

Severe gum disease, known as periodontitis, may be an early sign of type 2 diabetes, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

Fruit and veg-rich diet linked to much lower risk of chronic lung disease (COPD)

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is linked to a significantly lower risk of developing chronic lung disease (COPD) in former and current smokers, finds research published online in the journal Thorax.

Up to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day may prevent 7.8 million premature deaths

A fruit and vegetable intake above five-a-day shows major benefit in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death.

Long-term stress linked to higher levels of obesity

People who suffer long-term stress may also be more prone to obesity, according to research by scientists at UCL which involved examining hair samples for levels of cortisol, a hormone which regulates the body's response to stress.

Study finds resistant infections rising, with longer hospital stays for US children

Infections caused by a type of bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics are occurring more frequently in U.S. children and are associated with longer hospital stays and a trend towards greater risk of death, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Previously acquired mostly while children were already in the hospital, the new findings also suggest the infections—caused by bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family that are resistant to multiple drugs—may be spreading more often in the community.

Tired teens 4.5 times more likely to commit crimes as adults

Teenagers who self-report feeling drowsy mid-afternoon also tend to exhibit more anti-social behavior such as lying, cheating, stealing and fighting. Now, research from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York, in the United Kingdom, shows that those same teens are 4.5 times more likely to commit violent crimes a decade and a half later.

The role of weight in postmenopausal women's longevity

In a large multiethnic study, being underweight was linked with an increased risk of early death among postmenopausal women. Also, a higher waist circumference—but not being overweight or slightly obese—was associated with premature mortality, indicating that abdominal fat is more deadly than carrying excess weight.

Meditation benefits patients with ALS

An eight-week mindfulness-based meditation program led to improved quality of life and psychological well-being in clinical trial of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Study reveals proven ways to improve doctor-patient communication

A hospital-wide communication training program, outlining best practices for doctors to follow in interactions with patients, improved patients' perception of doctor communication by 9 percent, according to new research. Out today in the American Journal of Medical Quality (SAGE Publishing journal), the study details the largest known experiment of its kind and describes training that can easily be implemented at other hospitals and institutions.

New role of cholesterol in regulating brain proteins discovered

A study led by researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the Faculty of Medicine in Charité Hospital, Berlin demonstrates that the cholesterol present in cell membranes can interfere with the function of an important brain membrane protein through a previously unknown mode of interaction. Specifically, cholesterol is capable of regulating the activity of the adenosine receptor, by invading it and accessing the active site. This finding suggests that new ways of interacting with these proteins could be devised that in the future, leading to treatments for diseases like Alzheimer's. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Young baseball pitchers advised not to ignore shoulder pain

While good pitchers are in high demand even in youth sports, pitching too early and too often can have a lasting impact on the body. In fact, doctors at Baylor College of Medicine caution that throwing year-round at an early age could cause pitchers to be the ones striking out in the long run.

Researchers find standard pacemakers and defibrillators safe for MRI using a new protocol

The MagnaSafe Registry, a new multicenter study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has demonstrated that appropriately screened and monitored patients with standard or non-MRI-conditional pacemakers and defibrillators can undergo MRI at a field strength of 1.5 tesla without harm. These devices are not presently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for MRI scanning.

Method using tarp to cool person with heat stroke is effective

A team of University of Arkansas researchers has found that, if a tub of ice water is not available for cooling someone who is suffering from exertional heat stroke, making a "taco" out of a tarp to immerse the person in cold water will also work.

Study shows link between patient complaints and increased risk of postoperative complications

For the first time, researchers have shown a concrete link between patient complaints and surgical complications. It has been widely understood that complaints are tied to malpractice suits. But with this research, institutions can study trends in complaints and step in to offer support for physicians with a high volume of complaints, helping them to change behaviors and, in turn, reducing complications and lawsuits.

Could exercise help you learn new language?

Understanding how exercise affects language learning could help patients with brain conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

From Alzheimer's to autism, nuclear neurology could launch revolution in diagnosing and treating brain diseases

When applied to the brain, nuclear medicine techniques reveal critical information about the progression of the most devastating diseases, from Alzheimer's to traumatic brain injury.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens half as likely to play sports as straight youth

While participation in sports has been declining among high school students in British Columbia overall, even fewer gay, lesbian and bisexual (LGB) teens are involved in sports than 15 years ago, says a new University of British Columbia study. The study is the first of its kind to track sports involvement among LGB youth in Canada and was conducted in collaboration with the youth research nonprofit McCreary Centre Society.

Tumour protein could hold key to pancreatic cancer survival

A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is often a death sentence because current chemotherapies have little impact on the disease.

World-first way to fast-track drugs for killer disease

Flinders University researchers are pioneering a new and simple test to pick up signals of Motor Neuron Disease in patients.

Research tackling sudden death heart condition

Over 50,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber carry a faulty gene putting them at high risk of developing heart disease or sudden death, according to new estimates by the British Heart Foundation.

Failure in recycling cellular membrane may be a trigger of Parkinson's

A genetic mutation found in patients with early-onset Parkinson's disease has been used to create a mouse model of the disease. The advance adds to growing evidence that—at least in a subset of patients—the neurodegenerative disorder may arise from the neuron's inability to efficiently recycle membranes of the packets that store and transport neurotransmitters.

Data on depression suggest possibility of personalized treatments

Depression is a complex disorder, characterized by clusters of symptoms that respond to treatment with varying degrees of success and are likely to reoccur after initial remission. However, a group of Yale researchers, combing through data on 9,000 depressed patients, found evidence that it may be possible to develop personalized treatments and maintain a successful clinical response, they report in two separate studies published this month.

Common virus tied to diabetes, heart disease in women under 50

A type of herpes virus that infects about half of the U.S. population has been associated with risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease in normal-weight women aged 20 to 49, according to a new UC San Francisco-led study.

Study reveals using synthetic peptides could be a better solution for grass allergy sufferers

A new approach to treating grass allergies offers potential as a shorter and more effective alternative to traditional allergy shots, according to a recent study led by Queen's researcher Dr. Anne Ellis (Medicine, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences).

Compounds that show potent anti-cancer activity in breast and colon tumour cell lines

The Universitat Jaume I (UJI), the Spanish Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (CSIC) and the University of Pavia (UP) have patented new compounds with potent anticancer activity in breast and colon tumour cell lines that have low toxicity in healthy cells, which can dramatically decrease side effects during chemotherapy treatment. In addition, new compounds may also inhibit the expression of oncogenes (genes predisposing to cancer) by blocking the generation of telomerase and other proteins related to tumour activity.

Studies show that the cerebellum is crucial to understanding vulnerability to drug addiction

An international research team led by the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) has shown that the cerebellum, contrary to previous thought, fulfills functions that go beyond the motor sphere and can be co-responsible for the brain alterations associated with addictive consumption of drugs. The findings, which are shown in two recent reviews published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews and Journal of Neuroscience represent a step toward the design of new therapies.

'Broken heart syndrome' is real medical diagnosis

The sudden loss of a job, divorce, or the death of a loved one or even a family pet are things that cause us to experience overwhelming emotions. The term "broken-hearted" is often used to describe these reactions, but it's rarely thought of as life-threatening

Emotional expressions of love and loathing clearly differ in motions

How would we express emotions if we were limited to using only our bodily movements instead of facial expressions? What types of movements express pride or how do we signal sadness? How rapid is emotional contagion, and how quickly can emotions alter? In the Social eMotions project lead by Aalto University, which is just about to finish, emotional communication was studied using the means of contemporary dance and the science of movements.

Researchers report connection between intimate partner violence and barriers to cancer recovery

Researchers in the UK College of Public Health, UK College of Medicine and Center for Research on Violence Against Women collaborated on a recent study indicating victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) experience poorer quality of life during a cancer diagnosis.

The body does not absorb genetic material from our food

A study from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, finds no evidence that genetic material from food is absorbed in the human body where it would e.g. be able to change the body's ability to regulate the cholesterol metabolism or influence the immune system.

Research suggests a new model of chronic disease

Genes play a key role in determining whether someone experiences multiple chronic diseases, according to new research by King's.

Deprivation in early childhood can affect mental health in adulthood

Despite living in strong and supportive families for over 20 years, many children exposed to severe early deprivation in Romanian institutions aged 0-3 experience a range of mental health problems in early adulthood, according to new King's College London research.

Is back pain killing us?

The 600,000 older Australians who suffer from back pain have a 13 per cent increased risk of dying from any cause, University of Sydney research has found.

Can a written step-count prescription from your physician actually make you healthier?

A study from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) shows that physician-delivered step count prescriptions, combined with the use of a pedometer, can lead to a 20 per cent increase in daily steps, as well as measurable health benefits, such as lower blood sugar and lower insulin resistance, for patients with hypertension and/or type 2 diabetes.

Many stroke patients do not receive life-saving therapy

Although tPA treatment for stroke is increasing over time, minorities, women and residents of 11 southeastern states that make up the "Stroke Belt" are left behind when it comes to receiving tPA, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

Diabetic kidney disease is decoded, offering new avenues for diagnosis and treatment

Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease, a serious, often fatal complication that is difficult to diagnose in early, potentially treatable stages. Now, a research team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has revealed biological pathways involved in diabetic kidney disease, providing hope that both early diagnostic tests and targeted treatment can be designed.

Removing barriers to early intervention for autistic children: A new model shows promise

In the February 2017 issue of Pediatrics, investigators representing the South Carolina Act Early Team report a five-fold increase in the number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) eligible for early intensive behavioral therapy (also known as applied behavior analysis therapy or ABA) after statewide implementation of a two-tiered screening process to identify who children who were "presumptively eligible" for intervention.

Top professional performance through psychopathy

The term "psychopath" is not flattering: such people are considered cold, manipulative, do not feel any remorse and seek thrills without any fear - and all that at other's expense. A study by psychologists at the University of Bonn is now shattering this image. They claim that a certain form of psychopathy can lead to top professional performance, without harming others or the company. The study has initially been published online. The print edition will be published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences in mid-April.

Why is pancreatic cancer so hard to treat? Stroma provides new clues

Researchers have moved an important step closer to understanding why pancreatic cancer is so hard to treat. With a median survival of only 6 months and a 5-year survival rate of about 8%, patients tend to be diagnosed when the disease has already spread to other parts of the body - this is one part of the problem. Another is that when treated with existing chemotherapy drugs, patients tend to benefit only slightly or not at all.

Fructose is generated in the human brain

Fructose, a form of sugar linked to obesity and diabetes, is converted in the human brain from glucose, according to a new Yale study. The finding raises questions about fructose's effects on the brain and eating behavior.

Changes in brain connectivity can help diagnose and predict outcomes of mild TBI

A new study shows that patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), even without evidence of brain lesions, may exhibit changes in brain connectivity detectable at the time of the injury that can aid in diagnosis and predicting the effects on cognitive and behavioral performance at 6 months. Brain connectivity maps showed differences between patients with mTBI and healthy controls, including different patterns depending on the presence of brain lesions, as reported in an article in Journal of Neurotrauma.

How blood can be rejuvenated

Our blood stem cells generate around a thousand billion new blood cells every day. But the blood stem cells' capacity to produce blood changes as we age. This leads to older people being more susceptible to anaemia, lowered immunity and a greater risk of developing certain kinds of blood cancer. Now for the first time, a research team at Lund University in Sweden has succeeded in rejuvenating blood stem cells with established reduced function in aging mice. The study is published in Nature Communications.

Eight a day is clearly best for the heart

You've heard it a thousand times, that little catchphrase with the magic number encouraging you to eat "five a day" of fruits and vegetables for better health. But it turns out that the real magic number is eight, according to a new comprehensive study just published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Researchers identify patterns of protein synthesis associated with increased longevity

Aging is a complex process that involves multiple metabolic and regulatory pathways. Previous studies have identified hundreds of genes whose deletion can significantly increase lifespan in model organisms. Yet, how these different aging genes and pathways are interconnected remains poorly understood.

Patients registered in a heart failure registry lived longer

Heart failure patients registered in the Swedish Heart Failure Registry receive better medication and have a 35 percent lower risk of death than unregistered patients, according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The findings are presented in the European Journal of Heart Failure.

Study reveals PGK1 enzyme as therapeutic target for deadliest brain cancer

Discovery of a dual role played by the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1) may indicate a new therapeutic target for glioblastoma, an often fatal form of brain cancer, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Many patients receive prescription opioids during treatment for opioid addiction

More than two in five people receiving buprenorphine, a drug commonly used to treat opioid addiction, are also given prescriptions for other opioid painkillers - and two-thirds are prescribed opioids after their treatment is complete, a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study suggests.

Researchers develop model for studying rare polio-like illness

Scientists, led by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, have developed the first animal model for studying paralysis caused by virus linked to a polio-like illness that paralyzed 120 children in 2014.

Novel mutation may be linked to prostate cancer in African American men

Researchers have identified a novel mutation that may be associated with prostate cancer in African American men, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Trapped Amazonian mosquitos reveal their last meals: humans, birds, and small mammals

The mosquito Anopheles darlingi is the main vector of malaria in Central and South America, but little has been investigated about its behavior. Now, researchers, reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, have used traps and DNA analysis to determine the most common blood-meal sources of the insects.

Mouse model could shed new light on immune system response to Zika virus

A new mouse model with a working immune system could be used in laboratory research to improve understanding of Zika virus infection and aid development of new treatments, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.

People with epilepsy: Tell us about rare risk of death

People with epilepsy want their health care providers to tell them about a rare risk of death associated with the disorder, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.

Direct-to-consumer genomics: Harmful or empowering?

Thanks to recent scientific advances and plunging costs in genetic sequencing, consumers now can order simple, inexpensive, mail-in genetic tests to learn more about health risks, inherited traits and ancestry. But, is it a good idea to bypass your doctor's office when it comes to interpreting health risks?

Study finds sons of cocaine-using fathers have profound memory impairments

Fathers who use cocaine at the time of conceiving a child may be putting their sons at risk of learning disabilities and memory loss. The findings of the animal study were published online in Molecular Psychiatry by a team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers say the findings reveal that drug abuse by fathers—separate from the well-established effects of cocaine use in mothers— may negatively impact cognitive development in their male offspring.

Anti-aging gene identified as a promising therapeutic target for older melanoma patients

Scientists at The Wistar Institute have shown that an anti-diabetic drug can inhibit the growth of melanoma in older patients by activating an anti-aging gene that in turn inhibits a protein involved in metastatic progression and resistance to targeted therapies for the disease. The study was published online in Clinical Cancer Research.

Gene mutations cause leukemia, but which ones?

Kevin Watanabe-Smith, Ph.D., likens cell mutations to typos in text messages.

Drugs similar to aspirin, ibuprofen could help treat sepsis, study suggests

A potentially life-saving treatment for sepsis has been under our noses for decades in the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) most people have in their medicine cabinets, a new University of Colorado Boulder study suggests.

Back after a century, for-profit medical schools could make impact

More than 100 years ago, the influential "Flexner Report" on medical education decried the then-prevalent model of for-profit medical education, leading to its complete disappearance from the United States for decades. But just recently, for-profit medical education has returned, note three Brown University scholars in a new JAMA article that considers what the revival might mean.

More day cares near by, more germs? Maybe not, according to whooping cough study

Among parents, you often hear these four words: "Kids are germ factories."

New research explains why a common bacterium can produce severe illness

As much as we try to avoid it, we are constantly sharing germs with those around us. But even when two people have the same infection, the resulting illnesses can be dramatically different—mild for one person, severe or even life-threatening for the other.

More evidence ties gum health to stroke risk

(HealthDay)—Adults with gum disease may be twice as likely as people with healthy gums to suffer a stroke, new research suggests.

Stratification tool IDs who will benefit from adding ezetimibe

(HealthDay)—For patients stabilized after acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a nine-point risk stratification tool can identify patients who will derive benefit from the addition of ezetimibe to statin therapy, according to a study published in the Feb. 28 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Targeting of tracked tumor foci ups gleason score upgrading

(HealthDay)—Targeting of tracked tumor foci allows for improved detection of Gleason score 4 + 3 or greater cancers among men under active surveillance for prostate cancer, according to a study published in the March issue of The Journal of Urology.

Glucagon receptor antagonist ups blood pressure in T2DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes, once-daily treatment with the glucagon receptor antagonist LY2409021 is associated with increases in ambulatory blood pressure (BP), according to a study published online Feb. 13 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Study: Two-thirds of clinicians lack knowledge of diabetes-related foot complication

Diabetes can have several complications, including one common side effect: foot damage. Although some types are common, others are rarer.

New assay may lead to a cure for debilitating inflammatory joint disease

Current treatments for rheumatoid arthritis relieve the inflammation that leads to joint destruction, but the immunologic defect that triggers the inflammation persists to cause relapses, according to research conducted at NYU Langone Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh.

Nicotinamide riboside (vitamin B3) prevents nerve pain caused by cancer drugs

A new study in rats suggests that nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3, may be useful for treating or preventing nerve pain (neuropathy) caused by chemotherapy drugs. The findings by researchers at the University of Iowa were published recently in the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain (PAIN) and lay the groundwork for testing whether this nutritional supplement can reduce nerve pain in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Study links psychiatric disorders to stroke risk

(HealthDay)—Getting care at a hospital for a psychiatric disorder may be linked to a higher risk of stroke in the following weeks and months, new research suggests.

Could Parkinson's disease raise stroke risk?

(HealthDay)—A large new analysis suggests there may some type of link between Parkinson's disease and the risk for stroke.

Many patients do not obtain medications when first prescribed

A new analysis indicates that not obtaining a medication the first time it is prescribed—called initial medication non-adherence—is common among patients within the Catalan health system in Spain.

PI3K/mTOR inhibitors may be effective against some uterine sarcomas

The protein P-S6S240 may serve as an indicator of poor prognosis for patients with a hard-to-treat type of uterine sarcoma called leiomyosarcoma, and preclinical data suggest that patients whose tumors have this protein may respond to PI3K/mTOR inhibitors.

Rates of bowel disease in Denmark continue to rise

New research indicates that the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease—including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD)—in Denmark is on the rise and is among the highest in the world.

Osteoporosis screening and treatment fall short for women with hip fractures

It's important to identify and treat osteoporosis following hip fracture, but a large study found low rates of assessment and treatment in postmenopausal women who had suffered a hip fracture.

Experts seek to jump-start vaccine development

Although many infectious diseases lack vaccines, current vaccine research is limited, primarily due to an understandable but unfortunate lack of commercial interest. A new article identifies and discusses the gaps in human capital necessary for robust vaccine development.

Nursing home residents need more activities to help them thrive

In a survey of staff from 172 Swedish nursing homes, most residents had been outside the nursing home during the previous week, but only one-fifth had been on an outing or excursion.

Modified Atkins diet helps children with rare form of epilepsy

Doose syndrome or myoclonic-astatic epilepsy is a rare syndrome accounting for one to two percent of childhood epilepsies. A ketogenic diet, which is low in carbohydrates and high in fat, is an effective treatment, but it is very restrictive and difficult to follow.

Foot pain often occurs in clusters

A new study indicates that particular areas of foot pain are more likely to occur together, and these clusters have specific characteristics.

Dutch 'abortion ship' due in Guatemala

A Dutch "abortion ship" was Thursday due to arrive in a Guatemalan port to provide free help to women to end unwanted pregnancies, aiming to circumvent the country's strict laws.

Philly mayor says $5.7M soda tax haul doubles projections

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says the city's soda tax raised $5.7 million in January, more than double what city officials had projected.

ESC on eHealth revolution: A new vision for cardiovascular medicine

How are smartphones and computer programs transforming healthcare, especially when it comes to preventing, diagnosing and treating heart disease? That's the focus of a collection of articles published today in the European Heart Journal (EHJ).

Receiving a clot-buster drug before reaching the hospital may reduce stroke disability

Stroke patients receiving clot-busting medications before arriving at the hospital have a lower risk for disability afterward, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

AAV gene delivery vectors and cancer—The debate continues

Overwhelming evidence from the biomedical literature shows that adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2), a viral vector often used to deliver therapeutic genes, is not associated with cancer and, in fact, may protect against cancer. Despite some previous reports insisting that AAV2 is an oncogenic virus, the preponderance of data indicates that recombinant AAV2 used in gene therapy does not integrate into the host genome increasing the risk of cancer and has anti-tumorigenic properties, as described in an article published in Human Gene Therapy.

AOSpine North America provides a glimpse into the future of spine care

Advances in patient selection, surgical techniques, and postoperative care over the last two decades have allowed practitioners to manage increasingly complex cases with shorter procedure times and reduced hospital lengths of stay. Building on these successes, AOSpine North America brought together experts to provide a glimpse into the next generation of spine care leading to a supplement in Neurosurgery on the "Future Advances in Spine Surgery."

HIV+ kidney failure patients face hurdles in receiving necessary transplants

A new study finds that HIV-infected individuals with kidney failure are less likely to receive a kidney transplant—especially from living donors—than their uninfected counterparts. The study appears in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). Investigators are hopeful that efforts such as the recently passed HIV Organ Policy Equity, or HOPE, Act will provide expanded access to organs for HIV+ patients and reduce the US's current organ shortage.

Coke says it supports WHO's sugar guidelines

Coke says it supports the World Health Organization's guidelines for limiting added sugar, as the company works on repairing its image in public health circles and reshaping its business.

Biology news

Common roundworm found to farm the bacteria it eats

A common roundworm widely studied for its developmental biology and neuroscience, also might be one of the most surprising examples of the eat-local movement. Princeton University researchers have found that the organisms have a sure-fire method of ensuring a steady supply of a bacteria they eat—they grow their own.

Mathematics supports a new way to classify viruses based on structure

Professor Robert Sinclair at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Professor Dennis Bamford and Dr. Janne Ravantti from the University of Helsinki have found new evidence to support a classification system for viruses based on viral structure.

Tiny cavefish may help humans evolve to require very little sleep

We all do it; we all need it—humans and animals alike. Sleep is an essential behavior shared by nearly all animals and disruption of this process is associated with an array of physiological and behavioral deficits. Although there are so many factors contributing to sleep loss, very little is known about the neural basis for interactions between sleep and sensory processing.

Research shows secondary seed dispersal by predator animals is important for recolonization of plants

In the middle of Alberta's boreal forest, a bird eats a wild chokecherry. During his scavenging, the bird is caught and eaten by a fox. The cherry seed, now inside the belly of the bird within the belly of fox, is transported far away from the tree it came from. Eventually, the seed is deposited on the ground. After being broken down in the belly of not one but two animals, the seed is ready to germinate and become a cherry tree itself. The circle of life at work.

New link found between sex and viruses

Sexual reproduction and viral infections actually have a lot in common. According to new research, both processes rely on a single protein that enables the seamless fusion of two cells, such as a sperm cell and egg cell, or the fusion of a virus with a cell membrane. The protein is widespread among viruses, single-celled protozoans, and many plants and arthropods, suggesting that the protein evolved very early in the history of life on Earth.

Neanderthal DNA contributes to human gene expression

The last Neanderthal died 40,000 years ago, but much of their genome lives on, in bits and pieces, through modern humans. The impact of Neanderthals' genetic contribution has been uncertain: Do these snippets affect our genome's function, or are they just silent passengers along for the ride? In Cell on February 23, researchers report evidence that Neanderthal DNA sequences still influence how genes are turned on or off in modern humans. Neanderthal genes' effects on gene expression likely contribute to traits such as height and susceptibility to schizophrenia or lupus, the researchers found.

Gene-edited pigs show signs of resistance to major viral disease

Scientists have produced pigs that may be protected from an infection that costs the swine industry billions each year.

Ball-rolling bees reveal complex learning

Bumblebees can be trained to score goals using a mini-ball, revealing unprecedented learning abilities, according to scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Arctic 'doomsday' seed vault receives 50,000 new deposits

Nearly 10 years after a "doomsday" seed vault opened on an Arctic island, some 50,000 new samples from seed collections around the world have been deposited in the world's largest repository built to safeguard against wars or natural disasters wiping out global food crops.

New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp

Waterhemp has been locked in an arms race with farmers for decades. Nearly every time farmers attack the weed with a new herbicide, waterhemp becomes resistant to it, reducing or eliminating the efficacy of the chemical. Some waterhemp populations have evolved resistance to multiple herbicides, making them incredibly difficult to kill.

Diving deep into the dolphin genome could benefit human health

In movies and TV shows, dolphins are often portrayed as heroes who save humans through remarkable feats of strength and tenacity. Now dolphins could save the day for humans in real life, too – with the help of emerging technology that can measure thousands of proteins and an improved database full of genetic data.

Dating the undatables

Asian Horned frogs account for approximately half of the ancient family of frogs called Megophryidae. This group was previously estimated to have originated 100-126 million years ago (mya). Frogs of this family hopped alongside the famed Velociraptors and other dinosaurs during the Cretaceous period (145-66 mya). Despite the fact that these animals have been around for a long time, little is known about their evolutionary history. Furthermore, unlike their dinosaur contemporaries, these frogs did not leave behind any known fossils. Methods using information from DNA sequences exist for estimating the age of origin for such groups of animals but these methods rely heavily on fossils of related animal groups, which could prove unreliable for these species.

PERK protein opens line of communication between inside and outside of the cell

PERK is known to detect protein folding errors in the cell. Researchers at the Laboratory of Cell Death Research & Therapy at KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) have now revealed a hidden perk: the protein also coordinates the communication between the inside and the outside of the cell. These findings open up new avenues for further research into treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.

Europeans brought new strains of ulcer-causing bacterium to pre-Columbian Americas

A genomic study of a harmful stomach bacterium finds that foreign strains intermingled with and replaced local strains after the arrival of Europeans and African slaves across the Americas. The study by Kaisa Thorell at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, Koji Yahara at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan and colleagues is published February 23rd, 2017 in PLOS Genetics.

Researchers uncover a role for HSP90 in gene-environment interactions in humans

Proteins do most of the work inside the human body, supporting the structure, function, regulation, and repair of organs, tissues and cells. Proteins are synthesized as extended chains of amino acids that must fold into intricate three-dimensional shapes to perform their work. However, protein folding is a very delicate process: crowded conditions within a cell or environmental changes around the cell can drive proteins to misfold and clump together or aggregate—causing disease.

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

Although stingless bees do not have a sting to fend off enemies, they are nonetheless able to defend their hives against attacks. Only four years ago it was discovered that a Brazilian bee species, the Jatai bee, has a soldier caste. The slightly larger fighters guard the entrance to the nest and grip intruders with their powerful mandibles in the event of an attack. Working in collaboration with Brazilian researchers at the University of Sao Paulo and Embrapa in Belém, biologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) managed to identify four further species which produce a special soldier caste to defend their nests. "This is therefore not a solitary case, as it seems there is an astounding variety of social organization among other stingless honey bees," said Dr. Christoph Grüter of Mainz University. The scientists had examined a total of 28 different species from entirely different habitats in Brazil.

Nematode resistance in soybeans beneficial even at low rates of infestation

Each spring, tiny roundworms hatch and wriggle over to the nearest soybean root to feed. Before farmers are even aware of the belowground infestation, the soybean cyst nematode silently begins to wreak havoc on soybean yield.

Almost four decades later, mini eyeless catfish gets a name

After almost four decades, an elusive, eyeless catfish measuring less than an inch now has a name and a detailed description, thanks to two scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University: Micromyzon orinoco.

NIST patents first DNA method to authenticate mouse cell lines

"A case of mistaken identity" may drive the plot of the latest spy film or crime novel, but it's only a tale of trouble for geneticists, oncologists, drug manufacturers and others working with mouse cell lines, one of the most commonly used laboratory model systems for genetic research. Cell lines that have been contaminated or misidentified due to poor laboratory technique and human error lead to inaccurate research studies, retracted publications and wasted resources. In fact, many scientific funding organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, now require scientists to verify their cell lines for identity and quality before research grants are awarded.

Researchers ponder the shape of birds' eggs

The shape of birds' eggs varies considerably, for reasons that are unclear.

Using dogs to find cats

Investigators are using specially-trained detection dogs to determine the numbers and distribution of cheetah in a region of Western Zambia. The research represents the first demonstration of this strategy for wide-ranging species that are often threatened.

Baby orangutan rescued after being kept as a pet

Baby primate Vena shyly turned her head away from a bottle as two vets tried to feed her, the latest Bornean orangutan rescued in Indonesia after being kept as a pet.

Survey reveals drastic decline of waterbirds in Irrawaddy River

Over the last 14 years, waterbirds in Myanmar's Irrawddy River declined by 60% to 90% depending on the species.

Flat-footed competitors have fighting advantage

A heel-down posture—a feature that separates great apes, including humans, from other primates—confers advantages in fighting, according to a new study published today in the journal Biology Open.

Researchers create website to inform lima bean growers of downy mildew risk

One of the most important factors for lima bean growers in Delaware and throughout the world is the ability to accurately measure and forecast disease occurrence in their fields during the growing season.

New paper published in Phytobiomes may lead to novel methods of Rhizoctonia solani control

Rhizoctonia species—and R. solani specifically—are a complex group of soil fungi with broad host range and world-wide distribution.

Spain to cull 17,000 ducks as bird flu hits

More than 17,000 ducks will be culled in Spain after a highly contagious bird flu strain that has affected poultry throughout Europe was detected at a farm, authorities said Thursday.

Bouncing baby bongo shows its stripes at Los Angeles Zoo

A rare baby bongo has made its debut at the Los Angeles Zoo.


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