Friday, February 23, 2018

Science X Newsletter Friday, Feb 23

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 23, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Walking crystals may lead to new field of crystal robotics

Artificial eye: Researchers combine metalens with an artificial muscle

First nanoscale look at how lithium ions navigate a molecular maze to reach battery electrode

On second thought, the Moon's water may be widespread and immobile

Playing both ends: Amphibian adapted to varied evolutionary pressures

Glitches or not, Nissan starts testing semi-autonomous rides

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

Young children use physics, not previous rewards, to learn about tools

New neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning

Researchers turn light upside down

Recurrences in an isolated quantum many-body system

Researchers validate several fluctuation theorems for first time

Ambitious global virome project could mark end of pandemic era

Lab-grown 'mini tumours' could personalise cancer treatment

Fabric imbued with optical fibers helps fight skin diseases

Astronomy & Space news

On second thought, the Moon's water may be widespread and immobile

A new analysis of data from two lunar missions finds evidence that the Moon's water is widely distributed across the surface and is not confined to a particular region or type of terrain. The water appears to be present day and night, though it's not necessarily easily accessible.

Swarm trio becomes a quartet

With the aim of making the best possible use of existing satellites, ESA and Canada have made a deal that turns Swarm into a four-satellite mission to shed even more light on space weather and features such as the aurora borealis.

Goonhilly antenna goes deep space

Until now, if you're an entrepreneur planning future missions beyond Earth, you'd have to ask a big space agency to borrow their deep-space antennas. Now, thanks to the UK's county of Cornwall and ESA, you'll have a commercial option, too.

Researcher sets eyes on Saturn's largest moon

Co-led by a Western space scientist, NASA is exploring a revolutionary plan that could see a drone-like quadcopter buzz above the surface of Saturn's largest moon.

Dust dilemma settles on upcoming moon missions

The world's foremost authority on lunar dust is suggesting the powder-like substance, which is finer than talcum powder and more abrasive than sandpaper, remains a major risk-management problem hampering upcoming space expeditions.

SDO reveals how magnetic cage on the Sun stopped solar eruption

A dramatic magnetic power struggle at the Sun's surface lies at the heart of solar eruptions, new research using NASA data shows. The work highlights the role of the Sun's magnetic landscape, or topology, in the development of solar eruptions that can trigger space weather events around Earth.

Technology news

Artificial eye: Researchers combine metalens with an artificial muscle

Inspired by the human eye, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed an adaptive metalens, that is essentially a flat, electronically controlled artificial eye. The adaptive metalens simultaneously controls for three of the major contributors to blurry images: focus, astigmatism, and image shift.

Glitches or not, Nissan starts testing semi-autonomous rides

In the future Nissan envisions, driverless cars will pick up children from school and recommend restaurants to tourists in various languages.

New system patches security holes left open by web browsers' private-browsing functions

Today, most web browsers have private-browsing modes, in which they temporarily desist from recording the user's browsing history.

Google Assistant adds more languages in global push

Google said Friday its digital assistant software would be available in more than 30 languages by the end of the years as it steps up its artificial intelligence efforts against Amazon and others.

Stretchable health sensor could improve monitoring of chronic conditions

A new type of flexible, wearable sensor could help people with chronic conditions like diabetes avoid the discomfort of regular pin-prick blood tests by monitoring the chemical composition of their sweat instead.

Our future air taxi? Vahana self-flying machine takes off, hovers, lands

What was that hovering, helicopter-like, over the tarmac in Pendleton, Oregon? A flight test of sorts has transportation watchers wondering if we are looking at a significant new chapter in personal transportation, especially for short-distance travel in urban areas.

Dropbox files for public stock offering of $500 mln

Dropbox filed Friday for an initial public offering, seeking to raise an estimated $500 million for the Silicon Valley cloud storage startup.

Judge: Ads can run in Uber, Lyft vehicles in New York City

A judge gave the green light Thursday to a Minnesota company that wants to put advertising in vehicles driven for companies like Uber and Lyft in New York City.

BMW plans electric Mini production in China

German auto giant BMW said Friday it plans to build an electric version of its compact Mini in China, in a possible joint venture with local partner Great Wall.

Reducing failed deliveries, truck parking time could improve downtown Seattle congestion, new report finds

In Amazon's hometown, people turn to their computers to order everything from groceries to last-minute birthday presents to the odd toothbrush or medication forgotten from the store.

Beautiful buildings are more sustainable

Why is it that some buildings stand for hundreds of years, while others are demolished after only being used for a short time?

AlphaZero just wants to play

Artificial intelligence is continually hyped up, but disappears from view again just as quickly. Roger Wattenhofer explains why that might soon change.

Silicon Valley is winning the race to build the first driverless cars

Henry Ford didn't invent the motor car. The late 1800s saw a flurry of innovation by hundreds of companies battling to deliver on the promise of fast, efficient and reasonably-priced mechanical transportation. Ford later came to dominate the industry thanks to the development of the moving assembly line.

Before hitting the road, self-driving cars should have to pass a driving test

What should a self-driving car do when a nearby vehicle is swerving unpredictably back and forth on the road, as if its driver were drunk? What about encountering a vehicle driving the wrong way? Before autonomous cars are on the road, everyone should know how they'll respond in unexpected situations.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after they're done shopping? Old school. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles.

Volkswagen profit roars back two years after 'dieselgate'

The world's largest carmaker Volkswagen appeared back in racing form Friday, as its 2017 results revved back to levels not seen since before its devastating "dieselgate" emission cheating scandal.

BMW recalls 12,000 diesel cars over emissions

German high-end carmaker BMW on Friday recalled thousands of diesel cars for a software update, after reports it had admitted to authorities they released more harmful emissions on the road than in the lab.

Chinese billionaire Li Shufu buys biggest single stake in Daimler

Chinese billionaire Li Shufu has bought a near 10-percent stake in Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, making him the German group's largest single shareholder, a stock market filing showed Friday.

Apple loses bid to ban protests by French tax campaign group

A French court on Friday threw out a complaint by Apple demanding a ban on protests at its stores by the tax campaign group Attac.

NIST expertise helps protect Emancipation Proclamation at African American History Museum

This month, two seminal documents in American history—the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution—went on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

In China's eSport schools students learn it pays to play

Most teachers would not be impressed to discover a student playing video games in their class. But at a school in eastern China it is mandatory, part of a drive to train eSport champions and tap into the booming industry.

Applebee's and IHOP's new recipe for success: technology, takeout and takeovers

With free birthday breakfast meals and all-you-can-eat riblets, the IHOP and Applebee's restaurant chains became a traditional stop for millions of American families seeking a feast.

Review: 'Dragon Quest Builders' a perfect fit on Nintendo Switch

It's impossible for me to keep up with every game. Dozens of titles launch every month and some are bound to fall to the wayside. That's how "Dragon Quest Builders" fell off my radar in 2016.

Humanoid robot supports emergency response teams

Researchers at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia tested a new version of the WALK-MAN humanoid robot for supporting emergency response teams in fires. The robot is able to locate the fire and walk toward it, and then activate an extinguisher. During the operation, it collects images and transmits them back to emergency teams, who can evaluate the situation and guide the robot remotely. The new WALK-MAN design has a lighter upper body and new hands in order to reduce construction cost and improve performance.

Medicine & Health news

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

Evolution describes how all living forms cope with challenges in their environment, as they struggle to persevere against formidable odds. Mutation and selective pressure—cornerstones of Darwin's theory—are the means by which organisms gain an advantageous foothold or pass into oblivion.

Young children use physics, not previous rewards, to learn about tools

Children as young as seven apply basic laws of physics to problem-solving, rather than learning from what has previously been rewarded, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge.

New neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning

Although we have known for several years that the adult brain can produce new neurons, many questions about the properties conferred by these adult-born neurons were left unanswered. What advantages could they offer that are not offered by the neurons generated shortly after birth? Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS have demonstrated that the new neurons produced in adults react preferentially to reward-related sensory stimuli and help speed up the association between sensory information and reward. Adult-born neurons therefore play an important role in both the identification of a sensory stimulus and the positive value associated with that sensory experience. The neurons generated shortly after birth are unable to perform this function. These findings are published in the journal PNAS on February 19, 2018.

Ambitious global virome project could mark end of pandemic era

Rather than wait for viruses like Ebola, SARS and Zika to become outbreaks that force the world to react, a new global initiative seeks to proactively identify, prepare for and stop viral threats before they become pandemics.

Lab-grown 'mini tumours' could personalise cancer treatment

Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient's tumour could help doctors tailor treatment, according to new research.

Fabric imbued with optical fibers helps fight skin diseases

A team of researchers with Texinov Medical Textiles in France has announced that their PHOS-ISTOS system, called the Fluxmedicare, is on track to be made commercially available later this year. The system consists of a piece of fabric imbued with optical fibers and a control mechanism. The system is meant to be used for treatment of skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis and actinic keratosis.

Glaucoma study finds brain fights to preserve vision

A team of researchers, led by David Calkins, Ph.D., vice chair and director of Research at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, has made a breakthrough discovery in the field of glaucoma showing new hopes for treatments to preserve vision.

The 'loudness' of our thoughts affects how we judge external sounds

The "loudness" of our thoughts—or how we imagine saying something—influences how we judge the loudness of real, external sounds, a team of researchers from NYU Shanghai and NYU has found.

Add broken DNA repair to the list of inherited colorectal cancer risk factors

An analysis of nearly 3,800 colorectal cancer patients—the largest germline risk study for this cancer to date—reveals opportunities for improved risk screening and, possibly, treatment.

Study: Tinder loving cheaters—dating app facilitates infidelity

The popular dating app Tinder is all about helping people form new relationships. But for many college-aged people, it's also helping those in relationships cheat on their romantic partners.

Researchers use a molecular Trojan horse to deliver chemotherapeutic drug to cancer cells

A research team at the University of California, Riverside has discovered a way for chemotherapy drug paclitaxel to target migrating, or circulating, cancer cells, which are responsible for the development of tumor metastases.

Kids from low-income areas fare worse after heart surgery, finds study

Children from low-income neighborhoods had a higher mortality rate and higher hospital costs after heart surgery compared with those from higher-income neighborhoods, found a national study of more than 86,000 kids with congenital heart disease. The magnitude of the neighborhood effect, which persisted even after accounting for race, type of insurance, and hospital, was similar for children of all disease severities.

Transforming patient health care and well-being through lighting

The world of health care is changing rapidly and there is increased interest in the role that light and lighting can play in improving health outcomes for patients and providing healthy work environments for staff, according to many researchers. Recently, the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, together with the Illumination Engineering Society (IES), sponsored a workshop to explore pathways to define and promote the adoption of lighting systems specifically for health-care environments.

Risk factors for recurrence of acute diverticulitis identified

(HealthDay)—Certain patient factors increase the risk of recurrent acute diverticulitis, according to a study published in the March issue of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum.

Hepatitis A outbreak continues to simmer in North County

Four new cases show that, while it's not as bad as it was in 2017, San Diego County's hepatitis A outbreak is not yet extinguished.

Heart issues affecting younger people

Many of the heart disease risk factors are the same for everyone. Lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise, obesity, smoking and drinking alcohol excessively, are risk factors that affect many adults. But Dr. Regis Fernandes, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says such behaviors seem to be more prevalent in younger people now than in the past.

New strategy to target transcription factor STAT5 to combat leukaemia

Acute myeloid leukaemia is the most common type of acute cancer of the blood and bone marrow in adults. AML progresses quickly and only 26 percent of the patients survive longer than five years as resistance against established treatments develops. The most common molecular cause is FLT3 mutations, which result in hyper-activation of STAT5. A research consortium now reports on an early preclinical effort targeting STAT5 that integrates well with existing therapies.

Researchers report inflammation suppression process

Inflammation needs energy An important source for this energy is oxygen, which is indispensable for the cells of the immune system to work properly. Oxygen is an essential element required for cells to survive, but it also adds fuel to the fire of inflammation. Researchers from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg have discovered that the body uses this process to extinguish inflammation. Immune cells are tricked into believing that they lack oxygen, leading them to retreat from the site of the inflammation in order to save energy. These new findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Looking for the origins of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia may be related to neurodevelopmental changes, including brain's inability to generate an appropriate vascular system, according to new study resulted from a partnership between the D"Or Institute for Research and Education, the University of Chile and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). The results broaden the understanding about the causes of this severe and disabling disorder, which affects about 1 percent of the world's population.

Sleep and time with pets help people living with bipolar disorder

New research from Western Sydney University has revealed that simple self-care strategies, such as spending time with animals and getting enough sleep, are helpful for people managing bipolar disorder symptoms.

Forecasting antibiotic resistance with a 'weather map' of local data

The resistance that infectious microbes have to antibiotics makes it difficult for physicians to confidently select the right drug to treat an infection. And that resistance is dynamic: It changes from year to year and varies across a region.

Adding hope to health messages may motivate better behaviors

While fear about health concerns may grip people, adding a little hope to a message might make people more willing to take preventative actions, according to researchers.

Report outlines recommendations to improve student mental health and well-being

Two years ago, when Johns Hopkins medical student Davis Rogers read reports detailing the prevalence of depression among medical students and residents, he resolved to find a way to help promote mental health among his peers. When he was invited to join the Task Force on Student Mental Health and Well-Being—a cross-divisional group of Hopkins students, faculty, administrators, and staff—he saw it as fulfilling part of a personal mission.

Mitochondrial mutations and disease

Mitochondria are cellular organelles with their own DNA. Their role in power generation makes them susceptible to oxidative damage, including the formation of DNA-damaging chemical complexes called adducts.

Healthy drink can pack a punch in preschooler's lunch

Parents who pack lunches for their young children can dramatically improve the nutrition quality of the meals by including a healthy beverage – either plain milk or 100 percent fruit juice, according to a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin.

Out of prison and back to smoking?

A lack of support means many prisoners relapse back to smoking on release, despite many wanting to stay smokefree, a new study has found.

Air pollutants linked to abnormal fetal growth

Chinese mothers who were exposed to a high level of certain air pollutants during pregnancy had a higher risk of abnormal fetal growth, according to a new Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) study.

Breast reconstruction after radiotherapy less risky without implants

New research from the University of Auckland has found women who use their own tissue in breast reconstruction have fewer post-op complications then women who receive implants.

New Zealand-led heart failure findings debunk world medical view

Thousands of New Zealanders can look forward to improvements in treatment and care of heart failure following new research findings that look set to alter the clinical approach and health care planning for heart failure globally.

E-cigarettes could be helpful for smoking cessation in hospitals

Research published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal indicates electronic cigarettes, used as an alternative form of nicotine replacement, are well tolerated by alcoholics admitted to hospital for detoxification and could be helpful for curbing smoking during hospital stays.

Proteasome inhibitor curbs severe myocarditis

The outcome of viral myocarditis is closely associated with the immune response of the affected individual. An inhibitor of the immunoproteasome, a protein degradation complex in immunocompetent cells, reduces the extent of the inflammation and thus also the damage to the heart during myocarditis. Scientists of the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have recently discovered this new treatment approach, as published in the scientific journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Using nature's designs will speed up critical development of new antibiotics

"I did not invent penicillin. Nature did that. I only discovered it by accident.—Alexander Fleming

Antioxidants: the good health helpers

(HealthDay)—Antioxidants—it's a hot nutrition buzzword, but do you know what they really are?

No, you're probably not 'addicted' to your smartphone — but you might use it too much

The term "addiction" is often bandied about when we think someone spends too much time on something we deem detrimental to their health and well-being. From checking our phones repetitively, to playing with specific apps and texting, the modern culprit is excessive smartphone use.

Less expensive, post-acute care options for seniors underutilized

Long-term acute care (LTAC) facilities are designed to meet the needs of older adults with severe, complex illnesses who are recovering from hospitalization, but less expensive options sometimes overlooked may also be available, population health researchers at UT Southwestern found.

Children with facial difference have a lot to teach us about body image

The recently released film Wonder is based on the true story of Auggie, a boy born with a severe facial deformity. The film picks up at the point where Auggie, having been home-schooled by his mother, attends a regular school for the first time and must negotiate the varied reactions – not just of his new peers, but of their parents and the other adults.

An under-the-radar immune cell shows potential in fight against cancer

One of the rarest of immune cells, unknown to scientists a decade ago, might prove to be a potent weapon in stopping cancer from spreading in the body, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Being raised in greener neighborhoods may have beneficial effects on brain development

Primary schoolchildren who have been raised in homes surrounded by more greenspace tend to present with larger volumes of white and grey matter in certain areas of the brain. Those anatomic differences are in turn associated with beneficial effects on cognitive function. This is the main conclusion of a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives and led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a center supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation, in collaboration with the Hospital del Mar (Spain) and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (UCLA FSPH).

More care needed in warnings about fertility in eating disorder treatment

Women in treatment for eating disorders need more nuanced information about reproductive health, and more thought needs to be given to how and why fertility information is delivered, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Older people living in deprived areas face increased risk of developing dementia

People who live in disadvantaged areas have a greater risk of developing cognitive impairment (an early risk factor for dementia) according to research involving teams from Trinity College Dublin, Ulster University, Maynooth University, and clinicians from health services, North and South.

How can oil technology help heart patients?

Restricted blood flow in the coronary arteries can result in a heart attack. A narrowing in the arteries providing oxygen to the heart can therefore be deadly. Today, doctors examine patients using a catheter to determine whether an obstructive coronary artery disease is present or not. New technology can make it possible to evaluate the severity of blood vessel narrowings without inserting a catheter.

More than 200 million medication errors occur in NHS per year, say researchers

A study has revealed an estimated 237 million medication errors occur in the NHS in England every year, and avoidable adverse drug reactions (ADRs) cause hundreds of deaths.

Ice chips only? Study questions restrictions on oral intake for women in labor

At most US maternity units, women in labor are put on nil per os (NPO) status—they're not allowed to eat or drink anything, except ice chips. But new nursing research questions that policy, showing no increase in risks for women who are allowed to eat and drink during labor. The study appears in the March issue of the American Journal of Nursing.

Complex inhalers prevent patients from taking medicine

Respiratory disease patients with arthritis could struggle to manage their conditions because their inhalers are too fiddly for them to use, University of Bath research has found.

Impact of misunderstanding genetic tests for heart conditions

University of Sydney researchers are raising concerns over the need for informed decision making for genetic testing after a study published today finds patients at risk of inherited heart disease do not always understand test results or the impact results will have on their life.

Nasty flu season showing signs of winding down in US

Could this nasty flu season finally be winding down?

New device for low-cost single-cell analysis identifies fibroblast subtypes in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Single-cell analysis holds enormous potential to study how individual cells influence disease and respond to treatment, but the lack of cost-effective and user-friendly instrumentation remains challenging. As described in a study published today in Nature Communications, researchers at the New York Genome Center (NYGC) and New York University (NYU) have taken steps to facilitate broad access to single-cell sequencing by developing a 3D-printed, portable and low-cost microfluidic controller. To demonstrate the utility of the instrument in clinical environments, the researchers deployed the device to study synovial tissue from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).

Study: Police use of force is rare, as are significant injuries to suspects

Police officers rarely use force in apprehending suspects, and when they do they seldom cause significant injuries to those arrested, according to a multi-site study published in the March issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

Dementia increases the risk of 30-day readmission to the hospital after discharge

About 25 percent of older adults admitted to hospitals have dementia and are at increased risk for serious problems like in-hospital falls and delirium (the medical term for an abrupt, rapid change in mental function). As a result, older adults with dementia are more likely to do poorly during hospital stays compared to older adults without dementia.

Study explores emerging role of NAD+ in innate and adaptive immune responses

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have discovered a new cellular and molecular pathway that regulates CD4+ T cell response—a finding that may lead to new ways to treat diseases that result from alterations in these cells. Their discovery, published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, shows that administering nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a natural molecule found in all living cells, shuts off the capacity of dendritic cells and macrophages to dictate CD4+ T fate. Researchers found that NAD+ administration regulated CD4+ T cells via mast cells (MCs), cells that have been mainly described in the context of allergy, exclusively.

Evaluation of I-TOPP examines outcomes of transdisciplinary doctoral training program

Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has doubled in 2- to 5-year-olds and tripled in children aged 6 to 11 years. To address this public health concern, in 2011, the USDA funded the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program (I-TOPP), a joint doctoral/Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree program, at the University of Illinois with the goal of training future leaders to address the problem of childhood obesity.

CDC seeking $400 million to replace lab for deadliest germs

Thirteen years after building a state-of-the-art lab for the world's most dangerous germs, the nation's top public health agency is asking for more than $400 million to build a new one.

FDA warns heart patients about antibiotic clarithromycin

(HealthDay)—The antibiotic clarithromycin (brand name: Biaxin) may increase the long-term risk of heart problems and death in patients with heart disease, according to U.S. health officials.

Growth rates of small renal masses highly variable early on

(HealthDay)—Among patients who opt for active surveillance of small renal masses, growth rates are highly variable early on and do not reliably predict adverse outcomes, according to a study published in the March issue of The Journal of Urology.

Second-gen drug-eluting stents similarly effective for LMCAD

(HealthDay)—There are few significant differences in target-vessel failure with different types of second-generation drug-eluting stents (DES) for obstructive left main coronary artery disease (LMCAD), according to a study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Dermoscopic criteria identified for diagnosing melanoma in situ

(HealthDay)—The most frequent dermoscopic criteria for melanoma in situ (MIS) are regression, atypical network, and irregular dots and/or globules, according to a study published online Feb. 21 in JAMA Dermatology.

Private insurance coverage of infused chemo varies by setting

(HealthDay)—From 2004 to 2014, there was an increase in the provision of infused chemotherapy in hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), which is associated with increased spending, according to a research letter published online Feb. 22 in JAMA Oncology.

Why some are still skeptical of tanning bed risks

(HealthDay)—The health risks are high for young people who use tanning beds, but not all parents seem to see it that way.

Menopausal hormone therapy tied to less pronounced kyphosis

(HealthDay)—Menopausal hormone therapy (HT) use is associated with less pronounced kyphosis compared with never-use, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in Menopause.

Short-term use of IV devices is common—and risky—study shows

Many hospital patients get medicine or nutrition delivered straight into their bloodstream through a tiny device called a PICC. In just a decade, it's become the go-to device for intravenous care.

Emergency CT for head trauma may be overused, study shows

Emergency patients are too often given head CT to check for skull fractures and brain hemorrhage, leading to unnecessary heath care costs and patient exposure to radiation, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2018 Annual Meeting, set for April 22-27 in Washington, DC.

Why is mining-related lung disease on the rise?

The passage of critical mine health and safety legislation in the late 1960s, along with advances in technology and safety practices, helped to decrease the prevalence of lung diseases for miners. But starting in the mid-1990s, there was a significant documented increase in lung diseases among coal workers, especially among younger workers.

Almost all adolescents in an economically disadvantaged urban population exposed to tobacco smoke

Ninety-four percent of adolescents ages 13 to 19 in an economically disadvantaged, largely minority population in San Francisco had measurable levels of a biomarker specific for exposure to tobacco smoke (NNAL).

NIST's peptide library for Chinese hamster ovary cells could accelerate medical advances

Although few people realize it, modern medicine relies heavily on the ovarian cells of Chinese hamsters, not as a direct cure, but rather as a way to engineer custom protein-based therapeutics. These therapeutics can treat a wide range of ailments, including leukemia, hemophilia, hormone imbalance, psoriasis and cancer. A team working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has just released a new reference collection that could provide greater insight into these important cells, and enable better production of therapeutic proteins for medical purposes.

Research group discovers a new immune system regulator

Academy Professor Riitta Lahesmaa's research group at Turku and Åbo Akademi University, Finland, has discovered a new regulator of the immune system, a key factor that controls development of regulatory T cells. The discovery provides the basis for new strategies for the treatment of both cancer and immune-mediated diseases.

Interneuron migration impairement could lead to macrocephaly

A team from the University of Liège (Belgium) has discovered crosstalk between the migrating inhibitory interneurons and the stem cells that generate the excitatory neurons. The researchers discovered that this cellular dialogue controls the growth of the cerebral cortex and that its impairment leads a cortical malformation previously associated with autism in mice. Their results are published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell.

Why millennials should care about Medicare right now

Medicare provides basic health care to one out of six Americans, most of them 65 and older. Even people decades away from retirement, though, should be concerned about Congress meddling with the program.

It's still not too late for a flu shot

(HealthDay)—Even though it's the end of February, it's still not too late to get a flu shot, doctors say.

Screening for fracture risk in postmenopausal women is cost-effective

A recent Journal of Bone and Mineral Research analysis indicates that screening for fracture risk in older postmenopausal women is a good use of healthcare resources—in other words, it's cost-effective.

US hospitals testing experimental therapies to prevent two common bacterial infections

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is supporting U.S. clinical sites participating in two ongoing international Phase 2 clinical trials evaluating investigational antibody-based therapies aimed at preventing potentially antibiotic-resistant infections. By aligning the NIAID Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG) with a large international consortium leading the effort, the U.S. investigators hope to enroll 30 adult patients from 15 intensive care units in the trials. NIAID is supporting the domestic sites with a grant to Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, which is part of the ARLG—a clinical research consortium working to reduce the impact of antimicrobial resistance. The larger international trials are supported by MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and the Brussels-based Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking and the Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance in Europe (COMBACTE) consortium.

Noted child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz, MD, speaks out on the Parkland shooting

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and President of the Child Mind Institute has spoken out on the Parkland shooting and the urgent need to make mental health a priority for research and action. "The national response to the tragic Parkland shooting is unfolding in a different way than those that came before. The news is focusing less on the troubled hopes, dreams, and fantasies of a killer. This takes momentum away from the cycle of violence and focuses energy where it should be: with victims, with survivors, with problem solvers. The focus is on teens around the country calling for action, and it is remarkable.

Biology news

Playing both ends: Amphibian adapted to varied evolutionary pressures

Caecilians are serpent-like creatures, but they're not snakes or giant worms. The limbless amphibians, related to frogs and salamanders, favor tropical climates of Africa, Asia and the Americas. Most live in burrows of their own making; some are aquatic.

Researchers film bacteria using melee combat to steal antibiotic resistance genes

Researchers at the University of California San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation have identified the mechanism by which a clinically relevant bacterium may gain antibiotic resistance, and have come up with a model for predicting the conditions under which it spreads. The findings, which establish a framework for understanding, quantifying and hopefully combating the emergence of superbugs, were published in a recent paper in eLife.

Study sheds light on biodiversity of Anole lizard family trees

Lizards have special superpowers. While birds can regrow feathers and mammals can regrow skin, lizards can regenerate entire structures such as their tails. Despite these differences, all have evolved from the same ancestor as lizards.

Chicago winters don't bug these insects, thanks to that natural antifreeze

A bonus of the sometimes brutal Midwest winters is the absence of creepy crawlies that take a bite out us during the summer months.

New mutant coral symbiont alga able to switch off symbiosis

Researchers in Japan have identified the first spontaneous mutant coral symbiont alga that doesn't maintain a symbiotic relationship with its host.

Disease-bearing mosquitoes gain from shrinkage of green spaces

Urbanization and the resulting shrinkage of green spaces in cities are a boon for mosquitoes that transmit pathogens, including Aedes aegypti (dengue) and Culex quinquefasciatus (lymphatic filariasis). More adapted to urban areas, they benefit from the decline in populations of other mosquito species.

The Australian government's plan for biocontrol of the common carp presents several risks

Belgian, English and Australian scientists are calling on the Australian authorities to review their decision to introduce the carp herpes virus as a way to combat the common carp invading the country's rivers. In a letter published in the journal Science, they not only believe that this measure will be ineffective, but that it also represents a risk to ecosystems.

Do firehawks intentionally spread fire to aid in food collection?

"This is not a new discovery," said Mark Bonta, assistant teaching professor of earth sciences at Penn State Altoona, when asked about the firehawks.

Assassin bug's venom system packs a deadly double

Venom researchers from The University of Queensland have uncovered a unique and complex venom system within the tiny assassin bug.

Influenza D antibodies confirmed in horses on Midwestern farms

Horses can become infected with influenza D.

Fearmongering is scary, not genetic technologies themselves

Australia's gene technology regulations have not been revised since 2001 - despite many game-changing advances in genetic technologies over the past 17 years.

Neuroscientists identify the smallest units that make up the vocalisation of marmoset monkeys

From short 'tsiks' and 'ekks' to drawn-out 'phees' – all the sounds produced by marmoset monkeys are made up of individual syllables of fixed length: that is the result of a study by a team of researchers headed by Dr. Steffen Hage of the Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuro-science (CIN) at the University of Tübingen. The smallest units of vocalisation and their rhythmic production in the brain of our relatives could also have been a prerequisite of human speech. The study was just published in Current Biology.

New approach to improve nitrogen use, enhance yield, and promote flowering in rice

Nitrogen fertilizers (applied as nitrate, NO3-, or ammonium, NH4+) improve the amount of grain produced per acre, but nitrogen runoff and volatilization pollute the water and the air. Production of nitrogen fertilizers also uses fossil fuels. The major grain crops (such as rice and wheat) use only about 40% of the applied fertilizer—the rest is lost to the air, water, and soil microbes. Application of nitrogen fertilizers delays flowering, leaving crops vulnerable to late-season cold weather, which can impair grain filling. Traits that increase the amount of grain produced by plants and allow the grain crop to mature early will improve yields and also important for both double/triple cropping systems and for increasing the geographical range of rice into higher latitude regions. Although these traits will prove valuable for grain crops, crop breeders have had little success in this area.


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