Friday, October 20, 2017

Science X Newsletter Friday, Oct 20

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 20, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted tail

Probing how Americans think about mental life

Delayed word processing could predict patients' potential to develop Alzheimer's disease

New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds

The birth of a new protein

Two-dimensional materials gets a new theory for control of properties

New 3-D visualization tool could enable targeted drug delivery for cystic fibrosis and other conditions

Maternal diet may program child for disease risk, but better nutrition later can change that

New gene editing approach for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency shows promise

Biologist examines the benefits and drawbacks of virtual and augmented reality in teaching environmental science

Study finds pollution is deadlier than war, disaster, hunger

Cool roofs have water saving benefits too

Carbon coating gives biochar its garden-greening power

'Selfish brain' wins out when competing with muscle power, study finds

Pneumonia vaccine under development provides 'most comprehensive coverage' to date, alleviates antimicrobial concerns

Astronomy & Space news

MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted tail

Mars has an invisible magnetic "tail" that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft.

New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds

New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life.

Dawn mission extended at Ceres

NASA has authorized a second extension of the Dawn mission at Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. During this extension, the spacecraft will descend to lower altitudes than ever before at the dwarf planet, which it has been orbiting since March 2015. The spacecraft will continue at Ceres for the remainder of its science investigation and will remain in a stable orbit indefinitely after its hydrazine fuel runs out.

Scientist sees evidence of planet formation in narrow rings of other solar systems

Narrow dense rings of comets are coming together to form planets on the outskirts of at least three distant solar systems, astronomers have found in data from a pair of NASA telescopes.

Spacewalking astronaut copes with frayed tether, bad jetpack (Update)

A spacewalking astronaut successfully replaced a blurry camera outside the International Space Station on Friday, but had to contend with a balky jetpack and a frayed safety tether.

New Hubble Gallery features objects from popular not-a-comet Messier catalog

In a nod to the global amateur astronomy community, as well as to any space enthusiast who enjoys the beauty of the cosmos, the Hubble Space Telescope mission is releasing its version of the popular Messier catalog, featuring some of Hubble's best images of these celestial objects that were once noted for looking like comets but turned out not to be. This release coincides with the Orionid meteor shower—a spectacle that occurs each year when Earth flies through a debris field left behind by Halley's Comet when it last visited the inner solar system in 1986. The shower will peak during the pre-dawn hours this Saturday, Oct. 21.

Mine craft for Mars

If there are habitable conditions on Mars, they may be underground. Scientists from around the world are now testing how to live on other planets by venturing a kilometre beneath the surface in a UK mine. ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer has joined the expedition as it looks for life in extreme environments.

Image: Simulating lunar surface operations

ESA and the Canadian Space Agency are probing how to explore the Moon with a robot rover. The teams are investigating the challenges of remotely operating a rover in a representative lunar scenario with teams in several locations during 12–20 October. 

Take a walk on Mars—in your own living room

When NASA scientists want to follow the path of the Curiosity rover on Mars, they can don a mixed-reality headset and virtually explore the Martian landscape.

Image: Jovian moon shadow

Jupiter's moon Amalthea casts a shadow on the gas giant planet in this image captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft. The elongated shape of the shadow is a result of both the location of the moon with relation to Jupiter in this image as well as the irregular shape of the moon itself.

US astronauts begin third October spacewalk to repair ISS robotic arm

Two American astronauts floated outside the International Space Station Friday for the third spacewalk this month aimed at repairing the orbiting outpost's robotic arm and replacing old video cameras.

Temperature of lunar flashes measured for the first time

When small pieces of rock hit the moon's surface at incredibly high speeds, they produce flashes of light detectable from Earth. Now, astronomers have measured their temperature for the first time, using a telescope funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The new observations are helping scientists find out more about these flashes and the near-Earth space objects that cause them.

Nearly 200 report fireball streaking across Northeast sky

Nearly 200 people across the Northeast reported seeing a bright object streak across the sky.

Technology news

Wind turbines off coast of Scotland make waves in renewable energy

What about raising the bar on the potential of offshore wind power?

Enhancing solar power with diatoms

Diatoms, a kind of algae that reproduces prodigiously, have been called "the jewels of the sea" for their ability to manipulate light. Now, researchers hope to harness that property to boost solar technology.

New simulation technology to predict refugee destinations could improve aid efforts

A computer simulation of refugees' journeys as they flee major conflicts can correctly predict more than 75% of their destinations, and may become a vital tool for governments and NGOs to help better allocate humanitarian resources.

South Korea to push ahead with nuclear power plants

South Korea on Friday decided to push ahead with the construction of two new nuclear reactors after months of heated debate over whether the country should start weaning itself off atomic energy.

Facebook joins effort to boost newspaper subscriptions

Facebook announced Thursday initiatives to help struggling news organizations gain paid subscribers, following a similar move unveiled earlier this month by Google.

Electric autos get high marks for dependability: Consumer Reports

Testing and consumer surveys show electric vehicles are more reliable than internal combustion automobiles, the head of automotive testing for Consumer Reports said Thursday.

Acoustics of ancient Greek theaters found to be good, not great

Tales of the acoustics at the 2300 year-old Greek theater of Epidaurus tend to be told in terms of superlatives. Not actually justified, according to measurements taken by researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology. They are the first to detail the acoustics of three ancient theaters, with over 10,000 measurements, which confirms that when actors speak very loudly, they can be understood perfectly well right up to the back row. However, the tearing of a piece of paper or a whisper is only audible up to about halfway up, in contradiction to the many claims.

Why marking essays by algorithm risks rewarding the writing of 'bullshit'

Picture this: you have written an essay. You researched the topic and carefully constructed your argument. You submit your essay online and receive your grade within seconds. But how can anyone read, comprehend and judge your essay that quickly?

Google's new Go-playing AI learns fast, and even thrashed its former self

Just last year Google DeepMind's AlphaGo took the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by storm, showing that a computer program could beat the world's best human Go players.

Daimler profits hit by costs of diesel emissions recall

German automaker Daimler said Friday that its net profit fell 16 percent in the third quarter as a voluntary recall to improve diesel emissions hurt earnings at its Mercedes-Benz luxury car brand.

French-led EU push for heftier tax on internet giants stalls

France's drive to force internet giants to pay more taxes is losing steam, amid resistance from other EU countries that offer tax shelter to companies like Apple.

Designer binders protect silicon battery electrodes

In your electric car's battery, swapping an electrode with one made of silicon could let the battery store 10 times more energy. Why isn't silicon used? It falls apart. Scientists designed binders, small molecules and polymers, to modify the surface chemistry of the silicon. The binders improved resilience to cycling. A binder-based layer was formed during electrode preparation and initial cycling. The binder layer protected the surface.

Why we need to improve cloud computing's security

Do you often use Facebook? How about Snapchat, Gmail, Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive, Spotify or Minecraft? Perhaps all of them? Bottom line, if you use an online social network, e-mail program, data storage service or a music platform, you are almost certainly using cloud computing.

Team to debut wearables that warn and wow at UIST 2017

A watch that works in multiple dimensions and a smart ring that provides calendar alerts are among the top technology Dartmouth College will bring to the 30th ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST 2017).

EU puts brakes on Macron's Google tax push

Several EU nations handed French President Emmanuel Macron a setback on Friday, as leaders said Europe should not go it alone on a new tax on US tech giants.

Team quantifies fatigue using wearables

Can fatigue be predicted? Can life-threatening fatigue be differentiated from recoverable fatigue?

NTU deploys Singapore's first long-span wind turbine

Ushering in winds of change in clean energy, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has deployed the nation's first long-span wind turbine at Semakau Landfill, which is one of several to be installed in Singapore's drive towards sustainable energy solutions.

BMW offices get 'inspection' in preliminary collusion probe

BMW said Friday that European Commission staff conducted an "inspection" at company offices in Munich earlier this week in connection with news media allegations that German carmakers colluded on technology including diesel emission controls.

Microsoft, Green Bay Packers launch tech initiative in Wisconsin

Microsoft is making a move into Green Bay Packers country, expanding its efforts to bring digital connectivity and tech training to small cities and rural areas across the country.

G7 backs internet industry effort to detect, blunt extremism

The Group of Seven industrialized nations threw their support behind a new technology industry alliance aimed at detecting and blunting online propaganda, saying Friday it had a "major role" to play in combatting extremism on the internet.

Medicine & Health news

Probing how Americans think about mental life

When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Delayed word processing could predict patients' potential to develop Alzheimer's disease

A delayed neurological response to processing the written word could be an indicator that a patient with mild memory problems is at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered.

Maternal diet may program child for disease risk, but better nutrition later can change that

Research has shown that a mother's diet during pregnancy, particularly one that is high-fat, may program her baby for future risk of certain diseases such as diabetes. A new study from nutrition researchers at the University of Illinois shows that switching the offspring to a new diet—a low-fat diet, in this case—can reverse that programming.

New gene editing approach for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency shows promise

A new study by scientists at UMass Medical School shows that using a technique called "nuclease-free" gene editing to correct cells with the mutation that causes a rare liver disease leads to repopulation of the diseased liver with healthy cells. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is an inherited disease that causes liver and lung damage; the Mueller lab's approach to the disease, led by postdoc Florie Borel, PhD, and published in the journal Molecular Therapy, combines the use of RNA interference with gene augmentation, using an RNAi-resistant version of the alpha-1 antitrypsin gene. This dual treatment has the potential to prevent both liver and lung damage from forming in very young patients.

'Selfish brain' wins out when competing with muscle power, study finds

Human brains are expensive - metabolically speaking. It takes lot of energy to run our sophisticated grey matter, and that comes at an evolutionary cost.

Pneumonia vaccine under development provides 'most comprehensive coverage' to date, alleviates antimicrobial concerns

In 2004, pneumonia killed more than 2 million children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. By 2015, the number was less than 1 million.

Researchers report startling glaucoma protein discovery

A discovery in a protein associated with glaucoma was so unheard of that for over two years, researchers ran it through a gauntlet of lab tests and published a new research paper on it. The tests validated what they initially saw.

Evidence found of oral bacteria contributing to bowel disorders

(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests certain types of oral bacteria may cause or exacerbate bowel disorders. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes testing the impact of introducing bacteria found in the mouths of humans to mice models. Xuetao Cao with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences offers a Perspective piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue and suggests that the work might one day lead to the development of new kinds of treatments for common bowel disorders.

The skinny on lipid immunology

Phospholipids - fat molecules that form the membranes found around cells - make up almost half of the dry weight of cells, but when it comes to autoimmune diseases, their role has largely been overlooked. Recent research has pointed to a role for them in numerous diseases, including psoriasis, contact hypersensitivities and allergies. In a new study published in Science Immunology, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Monash University in Australia reveal new insights into the basis for T cell receptor (TCR) autoreactivity to self-phospholipids, with implications for autoimmune diseases.

Curve-eye-ture: How to grow artificial corneas

Scientists at Newcastle University, UK, and the University of California have developed a new method to grow curved human corneas improving the quality and transparency - solely by controlling the behaviour of cells in a dish.

Risk for developing HPV-related throat cancer low

The prevalence of throat (oropharyngeal) cancers caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) has increased in recent decades, and some groups are much more likely than others to have the oral HPV infections that can cause these cancers. However, a new study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers shows that the risk of developing HPV-related throat cancer remains generally low.

More permissive concealed-carry laws linked to higher homicide rates

Easier access to concealed firearms is associated with significantly higher rates of handgun-related homicide, according to a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher.

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates only a fraction of those. Americans should be concerned about how these apps collect, save and share their personal health data, she said.

Newly discovered viral marker could help predict flu severity in infected patients

Flu viruses contain defective genetic material that may activate the immune system in infected patients, and new research published in PLOS Pathogens suggests that lower levels of these molecules could increase flu severity.

E-cigarettes may trigger unique and potentially damaging immune responses

E-cigarettes appear to trigger unique immune responses as well as the same ones that cigarettes trigger that can lead to lung disease, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Infidelity can be forgiven—but at a cost

Infidelity is very common. At least 20 per cent of couples - and perhaps many more, depending on where you set the limit - are unfaithful to their spouse.

Researchers pinpoint causes for spike in breast cancer genetic testing

A sharp rise in the number of women seeking BRCA genetic testing to evaluate their risk of developing breast cancer was driven by multiple factors, including celebrity endorsement, according to researchers at the University of Georgia.

Youth sports concussion laws help reduce recurrent concussions among high school athletes

Laws aimed at addressing concussions in youth sports help reduce the rates of recurrent concussions, according to a new study published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

Study identifies breast cancer patients who would benefit from metastasis-specific treatment

Physicians currently have no tools to help them detect breast cancer patients who will suffer metastasis, a process that occurs in 15 to 20 percent of cases. In particular, they are unable to identify those patients that may benefit from metastasis-specific treatments such as zoledronic acid.

Complementary and alternative medicine to remedy health problems

An extensive study has charted the use of complementary and alternative medicine in Europe. It found that complementary and alternative medicine is being used in connection with various health problems, particularly in situations where conventional medical treatment is considered inadequate.

Impact of parents on the well-being of young people greater than expected

According to a recent study, parental support for the autonomy of young people promotes the well-being of the latter in all major educational transitions: from primary to lower secondary school, from basic education to upper secondary school, and from upper secondary school to university. Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro points out that autonomy support provided by mothers and fathers prevented depression during all three transitions and increased the self-esteem of youths in the final two transitions. The study was performed with funding from the Academy of Finland.

Researchers study cellular processes dependent on calcium ions

Calcium-ATPases convey calcium ions (Ca2+) from the cytoplasm to the extracellular space via active transport (using ATP as an energy source), and thus fundamentally contribute to the control of a wide variety of Ca2+-dependent processes in virtually any type of cell in humans and animals. Scientists in the group of Dr. Uwe Schulte and Prof. Dr. Bernd Fakler at the University of Freiburg have successfully unraveled the molecular appearance of this well-known ion pump: Ca2+-pumps of the plasma membrane (PMCAs) are identified as protein complexes that are assembled from two ATP-hydrolyzing transporter proteins and two as-yet unknown subunits, neuroplastin and basigin. These two novel protein subunits are essential for stability and trafficking of the PMCA complexes to the plasma membrane and control the PMCA-mediated Ca2+-transport. The researchers have published their work in Neuron.

Are there health benefits to taking a nap?

Most people consider taking naps to be a much needed treat, but could there be real health benefits to catching up on some sleep? Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. Philip Alapat discusses whether there are health benefits to taking a nap.

Conditions tied to clinician dissatisfaction are modifiable

(HealthDay)—Modifiable conditions, like chaos, incohesiveness, and lack of communication, contribute to unsatisfying workplaces for clinicians, according to a study published in the October issue of Health Affairs.

Breast cancer risk higher in western parts of time zones; is electric light to blame?

The 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to three researchers "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm."

How seeing problems in the brain makes stigma disappear

As a psychiatrist, I find that one of the hardest parts of my job is telling parents and their children that they are not to blame for their illness.

A family that watches movies together can learn together

Movies send many messages. Children may see Elsa save Anna with sisterly love in "Frozen," only to watch Voldemort bully Harry in the "Harry Potter" series.

Employee-friendly, paid-sick-leave laws may decrease foodborne illness outbreaks

Paid-sick-leave laws may contribute to a decline in foodborne illness outbreaks, and laws with stronger employee protections may provide greater public health benefits, according to a study led by a Penn State researcher.

Pollution impact on global burden of disease undercounted

Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated nine million premature deaths in 2015, a global report has found.

Study finds aging alone could strain individual, system

As more adults face old age alone, society needs to rethink its approach to health and elder care before this demographic shift puts further strain on an already taxed system, according to one Western researcher.

CAR-T immunotherapy may help blood cancer patients who don't respond to standard treatments

Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is one of the first centers nationwide to offer a new immunotherapy that targets certain blood cancers. Newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for types of advanced non-Hodgkin lymphoma in adults, the CAR-T cell therapy harnesses a patient's own immune system to fight cancer.

Kinesiology researcher designs new app to help people master fundamental movement skills

Playing a sport. Learning to dance. Pursuing some kind of passion that's physical, whether it's lacrosse, power lifting or running. When people are physically literate, they're also confident, competent and motivated to be physically active on a regular basis.

Researchers call for better polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis

Young women's inconsistent perceptions around their diagnosis of the hormonal condition polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) could be causing them unwarranted concern about their fertility, new research has found.

Treating depression—an expert discusses risks, benefits of ketamine

Up to a third of patients with depression don't respond to traditional forms of treatment. For those patients, the dark fog that hovers over their lives feels like it will never lift. But a new treatment called ketamine has recently made waves all over the internet. Hailed as a "miracle drug" and the first major antidepressant breakthrough in three decades, ketamine has improved the lives of many patients whose depression had dominated their lives for years. And yet, many of these articles also convey a note of skepticism. That's because ketamine is also a street drug, a popular hallucinogenic known as "special K."

We are bursting with self-esteem in our 50s and 60s

Did you believe that young people feel like they are on top of the world? No, it's the seniors who rule the roost.

Bacterial pathogens outwit host immune defences via stealth mechanisms

Despite their relatively small genome in comparison to other bacteria, mycoplasmas can cause persistent and often difficult-to-treat infections in humans and animals. An extensive study by researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna has now shown how mycoplasmas escape the immune response despite their minimal "genetic arsenal". Mycoplasmas vary their surface as needed by switching from one gene variant to an alternative when the first is recognized by the immune system: Mycoplasmas "mask" themselves. They use their small genome in such a clever strategic way that they can even compensate for the loss of an enzyme that is important for this process. This could be shown for the first time in vivo in a living host organism, thus representing a breakthrough in the research of this special group of bacterial pathogens. The study was published in PLOS Pathogens.

Dying a good death—what we need from drugs that are meant to end life

Generally speaking, health care is aimed at relieving pain and suffering. This is also the motivation behind euthanasia – the ending of one's own life, usually in the case of terminal illness characterised by excruciating pain.

Should physicians assist terminally ill patients with death by fasting?

When terminally ill patients wish to hasten death by fasting, should physicians assist them to do so? LMU ethicist Ralf Jox argues that voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is often equivalent to assisted suicide, and that the practice should be regulated.

Study shows teens' bonds with parents impact future parenting

New research by Deakin University and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) has put a spotlight on how adolescent girls' relationships with their parents can later affect their bonding experience with their own children.

Obesity may be a factor for fractures

Does body fat protect you against osteoporosis or make you more vulnerable to fractures? A new study by the University of South Australia hopes to shed light on this question.

Audit uncovers concerns about the use of electroconvulsive therapy in England

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) continues to be used in England without comprehensive national auditing. In a new Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice study, experts recommend that national audits of ECT be reinstated, and they call for an investigation into why ECT is still excessively administered to older people and women.

How obesity promotes breast cancer

Obesity leads to the release of cytokines into the bloodstream which impact the metabolism of breast cancer cells, making them more aggressive as a result. Scientists from Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technische Universität München (TUM), and Heidelberg University Hospital report on this in Cell Metabolism. The team has already been able to halt this mechanism with an antibody treatment.

'Antelope perfume' keeps flies away from cows

In Africa, tsetse flies transfer sleeping sickness to cattle. This leads to huge losses in milk, meat and manpower. The damage in Africa is estimated to be about $4.6 billion U.S. each year. Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister from the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn and his colleagues from Kenya and the UK have developed an innovative way of preventing the disease. The scientists took advantage of the fact that tsetse flies avoid waterbucks, a widespread antelope species in Africa. The scientists imitated the smell of these antelopes. Eighty percent of cattle equipped with collars containing the defense agent were spared from the infection. This research results are presented in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Physical inactivity and restless sleep exacerbate genetic risk of obesity

Low levels of physical activity and inefficient sleep patterns intensify the effects of genetic risk factors for obesity, according to results of a large-scale study presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. These results confirm and strengthen previous findings based on self-reported activity.

Researchers use novel imaging to predict spinal degeneration

Research by a Barrow Neurological Institute neurosurgery team on novel imaging technique assessment of patients with lumbar spine degeneration was published in the Aug. 28 issue of PLOS ONE.

Can aspirin stop liver cancer in hepatitis B patients?

(HealthDay)—Daily aspirin may reduce the risk of liver cancer for people with hepatitis B infection, a new study suggests.

Exercising with asthma or allergies

(HealthDay)—Allergies and asthma can make exercise more challenging. But if your condition is well managed and you take a few precautions, you should be able to work out without worry.

Can adults develop ADHD? New research says probably not

Adults likely do not develop ADHD, according to new research by FIU clinical psychologist Margaret Sibley.

Drug OD rate now higher in rural U.S. than cities: CDC

(HealthDay)—Drug overdose death rates in rural areas of the United States are now higher than in cities, a trend that worries federal health officials.

Cryotherapy may prevent chemo-induced neuropathy

(HealthDay)—Cryotherapy may be useful for preventing symptoms of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), according to a study published online Oct. 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Melanoma staging undergoes evidence-based revision

(HealthDay)—The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) melanoma staging system has been revised, according to a report published online Oct. 13 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

In Norway, risk of SCC after organ transplant has fallen

(HealthDay)—For organ recipients in Norway, the risk of skin cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), has decreased since the mid-1980s, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in JAMA Dermatology.

Patients perceived as more attractive after rhinoplasty

(HealthDay)—Patients after rhinoplasty are perceived as more attractive, more successful, and healthier overall, according to a study published online Oct. 19 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

High percentage of HIV-diagnosed women not in care

(HealthDay)—A high percentage of women receiving a new HIV diagnosis have already received this diagnosis in the past but are not undergoing HIV medical care, according to a study published online Oct. 19 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Oncogenic oral HPV DNA detected in 3.5 percent of adults

(HealthDay)—Men have a higher prevalence of oncogenic oral human papillomavirus (HPV) than women, and prevalence increases with the number of lifetime oral sexual partners and tobacco use, according to a study published online Oct. 19 in the Annals of Oncology.

CDC updates Zika guidance for infant care

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its interim guidance for U.S. health care providers caring for infants with possible congenital Zika virus infection, according to a report published online Oct. 19 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

New IOF Compendium documents osteoporosis, its management and global burden

Today, on the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has issued the first edition of a comprehensive and scientifically referenced report on osteoporosis.

Australian state takes step toward legalizing euthanasia

An Australian state took a step toward allowing voluntary euthanasia on Friday, 20 years after the country repealed the world's first mercy killing law.

Survey: US uninsured up 3.5M this year; expected to rise

The number of U.S. adults without health insurance is up nearly 3.5 million this year, as rising premiums and political turmoil over "Obamacare" undermine coverage gains that drove the nation's uninsured rate to a historic low.

Improving care transitions for patients

Disruptions in care and poor communication can affect the one in four Medicare patients who move from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) after a hospitalization for an acute illness. But there are several untapped strategies to improve those care transitions, say Yale researchers in a newly published study.

2 dead, 9 sick in suspected mushroom poisoning in Denmark

Danish police say two children have died and nine other family members have been hospitalized with signs of poisoning, reportedly after eating toxic mushrooms.

Madagascar plague deaths hit 94, 1,100 suspected cases: WHO

The death toll from a plague outbreak in Madagascar has risen to 94, with the number of suspected cases jumping to more than 1,100, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Peruvian congress approves legalization of medicinal pot

Peru's congress late Thursday overwhelmingly approved a measure supported by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski that legalizes marijuana for medicinal use.

CAR-T immunotherapy now approved for certain adult lymphoma patients

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a breakthrough cancer therapy known as CAR-T for use in adults with advanced lymphoma. The therapy uses a patient's own white blood cells, which are modified in a lab and re-trained to recognize specific markers on the surface of the cell and then target and kill only those cancerous cells.

FDA-approved clinical trial tests stem cells to heal wounds

Sanford Health is launching its second adipose-derived stem cell clinical trial - this one to focus on non-healing leg wounds.

RANKL expressed by osteocytes has an important role in orthodontic tooth movement

During orthodontic tooth movement, osteoclastic bone resorption is essential for alveolar bone remodeling. It is well known that the differentiation of osteoclasts is regulated by RANKL. However, the source of RANKL in the periodontal tissue during orthodontic tooth movement was not identified.

Fewer stillbirths at East African hospital following introduction of childbirth guidelines

In collaboration with the health staff at Zanzibar's main hospital, Danish researchers have developed and introduced a short guide on childbirth care. The booklet seems to have had a significant effect, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen. After the guidelines were introduced, the number of stillbirths at the hospital fell by 33 per cent. The study reveals an opportunity to customise clinical guidelines more effectively to low-income countries, according to the researchers.

Personal omics data informative for precision health and preventive care

Multi-omics profiling, the measurement and analysis of a person's genome along with other biomolecular traits, is an important step toward personal health management that provides valuable, actionable information, according to findings presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Biology news

New 3-D visualization tool could enable targeted drug delivery for cystic fibrosis and other conditions

University of California San Diego researchers have developed the first 3D spatial visualization tool for mapping "'omics" data onto whole organs. The tool helps researchers and clinicians understand the effects of chemicals, such as microbial metabolites and medications, on a diseased organ in the context of microbes that also inhabit the region. The work could advance targeted drug delivery for cystic fibrosis and other conditions where medications are unable to penetrate.

Biologist examines the benefits and drawbacks of virtual and augmented reality in teaching environmental science

Virtual reality has nothing on nature. Just ask the UC Santa Barbara students who one recent day trekked to a forest before dawn to listen to a chorus of early birds.

New mapping tool tracks elk migration to reduce brucellosis risk

Wildlife managers and ranchers in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem soon will have a new mapping tool for reducing the risk of brucellosis outbreaks in cattle. That's thanks to research led by scientists at the University of Wyoming (UW) and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Logged tropical rainforests still support biodiversity even when the heat is on

Tropical rainforests continue to buffer wildlife from extreme temperatures even after logging, a new study has revealed.

Climate shifts shorten marine food chain off California

Environmental disturbances such as El Niño shake up the marine food web off Southern California, new research shows, countering conventional thinking that the hierarchy of who-eats-who in the ocean remains largely constant over time.

Searchers in Mexico find, but release, vaquita porpoise calf

Researchers trying to catch and enclose the last survivors of the vaquita porpoise species captured a calf but released it because it was too young to survive without its mother.

Waterside lighting drastically disrupts wildlife in the surrounding ecosystem

Streetlights near waterways attract flying insects from the water and change the predator community living in the grass beneath the lights. The findings, published today in Frontiers in Environmental Science, show that night-time artificial lighting could disrupt the surrounding ecosystem and biodiversity.

Researcher studies pollinator plots for warm season grass lawns

The nation's pollinators are in need of food and housing. Michelle Wisdom is stepping up.

The search for the Southern rubber boa

High in the San Jacinto Mountains about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, a secret slithers. Uncovering it takes watchful eyes, long nights and perseverance. But for UCLA's Jesse Grismer, the opportunity to track down a rare Southern rubber boa has been worth the wait.

Your body's cells use and resist force, and they move. It's mechanobiology

Mechanical forces rule biological processes, from the contractions of the pump-like heart, to muscles that resemble strings and pullies, and cells that carry out microscopic tugs-of-war.

Researchers explore walleye for aquaculture

More than a thousand walleye are in the six sets of circular water tanks at the UW-Stevens Point Aquaponics Innovation Center in Montello, Wis. And they swim around in near-total darkness, their environment protected by several sets of pitch-black curtains.

Current understanding of animal welfare currently excludes fish, even though fish feel pain

A leading expert in fish behaviour argues that our fundamental understanding and assessment of animal welfare must be changed to consider fish, or risk continued catastrophic impact on their welfare, in an article published today in Animal Sentience.

New function in gene-regulatory protein discovered

Researchers at Umeå and Stockholm universities in Sweden and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the U.S. have published a new study in the journal Molecular Cell. They show how the protein CBP affects the expression of genes through its interaction with the basal machinery that reads the instructions in our DNA.

The chemical that tells plants when it's time to sleep

Each of us goes through a daily cycle. We wake up, spend the day eating, working and playing, and then we sleep. Messing with this cycle by not sleeping, doing shift work, travelling to a different time zone or living where there is 24 hours of light or dark can really interfere with our wellbeing and our long-term health.

Caged blue mussels as environmental detectives

Two researchers in a boat loaded with thousands of blue mussels, collected from a mussel farm in Lillesand. The boat heads out the Kristiansand fjord, and the researchers deploy the blue mussels in the sea. Why are they doing this?

Researcher studies vampiric silver lamprey

It's out there. Lurking, ready to feast on the blood of its victims, like the mythological vampire.

A universal food and alarm cue found in mammalian blood

Predators use the smell to home in on wounded animals, whereas mammalian prey species avoid the same odour. This suggests that there may be an old, preserved, evolutionarily food and alarm molecule within the blood odour mixture that is the signal of blood. Researchers from Radboud University report in Scientific Reports of 20 October that they may have found this molecule called E2D, and it seems to affect humans as well.

Sequencing of stevia plant genome revealed for first time

For the first time, scientists have completed the sequencing of the stevia plant genome. Lead scientists from PureCircle Stevia Institute and KeyGene have unveiled this major breakthrough in research showing the annotated, high-quality genome sequences of three stevia cultivars.

New minimally invasive procedure saves dog's life—and her kidney

Lucy, a Lab-Akita cross, was a perfectly healthy, happy nine-year-old dog until the day she started peeing blood.


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