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Science News and Current Events for May 01, 2017


SNMMI publishes appropriate use criteria for V/Q imaging in pulmonary embolism
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has published appropriate use criteria for ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) imaging in pulmonary embolism.
Combination therapy could provide new treatment option for ovarian cancer
UCLA study identifies a potential test that may help select patients for whom combination therapy could be most effective.
Scientists find a likely genetic driver of smoking-related heart disease
Cigarette smoking accounts for about one fifth of cases of coronary heart disease (CHD), one of the leading causes of death worldwide, but precisely how smoking leads to CHD has long been unclear.
New imaging method may predict immunotherapy response early
A noninvasive PET imaging method that measures granzyme B, a protein released by immune cells to kill cancer cells, was able to distinguish mouse and human tumors that responded to immune checkpoint inhibitors from those that did not respond early in the course of treatment.
Smoke-free policies help decrease smoking rates for LGBT population
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking among lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals is higher than among heterosexual adults -- nearly 24 percent of the LGBT population smoke compared to nearly 17 percent of the straight population.
Supercomputers assist in search for new, better cancer drugs
Finding new drugs that can more effectively kill cancer cells or disrupt the growth of tumors is one way to improve survival rates for ailing patients.
Treatment of pregnant patients with bone and joint injuries complicated, requires team of physicians
Nearly one in 1,000 pregnant women in the United States suffer bone and joint injuries due to car crashes, domestic violence, drug or alcohol use, or osteoporosis.
How ex-convicts should approach a job interview
For the best chance of getting hired, former inmates should apologize for their criminal past to potential employers, indicates new research that comes amid the nationwide 'ban-the-box' movement.
Device allows users to manipulate 3-D virtual objects more quickly
Researchers have developed a user-friendly, inexpensive controller for manipulating virtual objects in a computer program in three dimensions.
Stenciling with atoms in 2-dimensional materials possible
The possibilities for the new field of two-dimensional, one-atomic-layer-thick materials, including but not limited to graphene, appear almost limitless.
When single-family homes killed L.A.'s urban forest
Analyzing aerial imagery, scientists from the USC Dornsife College find a loss of green cover up to 55 percent in single-family home lots of the Los Angeles region from 2000-09.
Mice with missing lipid-modifying enzyme heal better after heart attack
Using a mouse heart attack model, Ganesh Halade, Ph.D., and his University of Alabama at Birmingham colleagues have shown that knocking out one particular lipid-modifying enzyme, along with a short-term dietary excess of a certain lipid, can improve post-heart attack healing and clear inflammation.
MIT wireless device can see through walls to detect walking speed
A growing body of research suggests that your walking speed could be a strong predictor of health issues like cognitive decline, falls, and even certain cardiac or pulmonary diseases.
Brain tissue structure could explain link between fitness and memory
Studies have suggested a link between fitness and memory, but researchers have struggled to find the mechanism that links them.
Men need more frequent lung cancer screening than women
Personalized screening strategies, such as a gender approach, could be a way to optimize results and allocate resources appropriately.
A glow stick that detects cancer?
A new mechanism developed by Tel Aviv University researchers produces a water-resistant chemiluminescent probe that is 3,000-times-brighter than those currently in use.
New model for predicting presidential election results based on television viewership
A comparative study on predicting presidential election outcomes using models built on watch data for thousands of television shows has found that simple 'single-show models' can have high predictive accuracy.
Use of telemedicine for mental health in rural areas on the rise but uneven
Newly published research by Harvard Medical School and the RAND Corporation reveals a dramatic growth in the use of telemedicine for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders in rural areas, but strikingly uneven distribution of services across states.
Widespread vitamin D deficiency likely due to sunscreen use, increase of chronic diseases
Results from a clinical review published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association find nearly 1 billion people worldwide may have deficient or insufficient levels of vitamin D due to chronic disease and inadequate sun exposure related to sunscreen use.
Study confirms link between alcohol consumption, breast cancer risk in black women
In findings published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers confirmed the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk in a study in black women.
Study finds gender bias in open-source programming
A study comparing acceptance rates of contributions from men and women in an open-source software community finds that, overall, women's contributions tend to be accepted more often than men's -- but when a woman's gender is identifiable, they are rejected more often.
Gene editing strategy eliminates HIV-1 infection in live animals, Temple researchers show
A permanent cure for HIV infection remains elusive due to the virus's ability to hide away in latent reservoirs.
New model could speed up colon cancer research
Using the CRISPR gene editing system, MIT researchers have shown they can generate colon tumors in mice that very closely resemble human colon tumors, an advance that should allow scientists to learn more about how the disease progresses and also help them test potential new drugs.
Study: Better memory makes people tire of experiences more quickly
People with stronger memories tire more quickly of experiences, according to a new study led by a University of Kansas researcher that could have implications on marketing and consumer behavior.
Modest increases in kids' physical activity could avert billions in medical costs
Increasing the percentage of elementary school children in the United States who participate in 25 minutes of physical activity three times a week from 32 percent to 50 percent would avoid $21.9 billion in medical costs and lost wages over the course of their lifetimes, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.
SimRadar: A polarimetric radar time-series simulator for tornadic debris studies
A University of Oklahoma research team with the Advanced Radar Research Center has developed the first numerical polarimetric radar simulator to study and characterize scattering mechanisms of debris particles in tornadoes.
NIH research improves health for people with asthma
May is Asthma Awareness Month, and the National Institutes of Health is finding solutions to improve the health of the nearly 25 million people in the United States who currently have asthma.
The immune system may explain skepticism towards immigrants
There is a strong correlation between our fear of infection and our skepticism towards immigrants.
The gene that starts it all
EPFL scientists have discovered the protein that kick-starts gene expression in developing embryos.
Study offers new insight into powerful inflammatory regulator
A new study in mice reveals how a protein called Brd4 boosts the inflammatory response -- for better and for worse, depending on the ailment.
Paying online community members to write product reviews backfires badly
Online user reviews have become an essential tool for consumers who increasingly rely on them to evaluate products and services before purchase.
Propagation research on rare trees expands species recovery potential
When seeds from a rare tree are difficult or impossible to obtain, what's a conservationist to due?
Finding real rewards in a virtual world
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute have demonstrated that remembering where a goal is requires the same parts of the brain in virtual reality as it does in the real world.
Oxygen improves blood flow, restores more function in spinal cord injuries: U of A study
UAlberta neuroscientists find that blocking a specific enzyme and putting more oxygen through the spinal cord produces better blood flow, ultimately improving motor function such as walking.
Shunned by microbes, organic carbon can resist breakdown in underground environments
A new study reveals that organic matter whose breakdown would yield only minimal energy for hungry microorganisms preferentially builds up in floodplains, illuminating a new mechanism of carbon sequestration.
Gauging 5-year outcomes after concussive blast traumatic brain injury
Most wartime traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are mild but the long-term clinical effects of these injuries have not been well described.
Plant cell walls' stretch-but-don't-break growth more complex than once thought
Plant cell wall growth is typically described as a simple process, but researchers using a microscope that can resolve images on the nanoscale level have observed something more complex.
Cities provide paths from poverty to sustainability
Understanding how cities develop at the neighborhood level is key to promoting equitable, sustainable urbanization.
City of Hope researchers find regular use of aspirin can lower risk of breast cancer for women
A City of Hope-led study found that the use of low-dose aspirin (81 mg) reduces the risk of breast cancer in women who are part of the California's Teacher's Study.
Tea tree genome contains clues about how one leaf produces so many flavors
The most popular varieties of tea -- including black tea, green tea, Oolong tea, white tea, and chai -- all come from the leaves of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis, otherwise known as the tea tree.
As scientists take to Twitter, study shows power of 'visual abstract' graphics
When it comes to sharing new research findings with the world, Twitter has emerged as a key tool for scientists -- and for the journals where they publish their findings.
Preschoolers' story comprehension similar for print and digital books
The content of a children's book -- not its form as a print book or a digital book -- predicts how well children understand a story, finds a new study by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Zapping bacteria with sanitizers made of paper
Imagine wearing clothes with layers of paper that protect you from dangerous bacteria.
Silent seizures recorded in the hippocampus of two patients with Alzheimer's disease
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have identified silent, seizure-like activity in the hippocampus -- a brain structure significantly affected in Alzheimer's disease -- in two patients with Alzheimer's disease and no known history of seizures.
Smoking-related heart disease tied to effects of a single gene
Smoking counteracts the effect of a gene that normally protects against heart disease, according to a group of researchers.
Team discovers a new invasive clam in the US
They found it in the Illinois River near the city of Marseilles, Ill., about 80 miles west of Lake Michigan -- a strange entry point for an invasive Asian clam.
Alcohol is associated with higher risk of breast cancer in African-American women
Alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in a large study of African-American women, indicating that they, like white women, may benefit from limiting alcohol.
Servers perceive well-dressed diners as better tippers, study finds
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that restaurant servers often use stereotypes to determine which customers will leave better tips.
Paternal age at conception may influence social development in offspring
The age of the father at the time his children are born may influence their social development, suggests a study published in the May 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).
Developing climate-resilient wheat varieties
Climate-resilient wheat varieties with increased nutritional values possible.
How life (barely) survived the greatest extinction?
A new research highlights an assemblage including microbial mats, trace fossils, bivalves, and echinoids that represent a refuge in a moderately deep-water setting.
California handgun sales spiked after 2 mass shootings, study finds
In the six weeks after the Newtown and San Bernardino mass shootings, handguns sales jumped in California, yet there is little research on why -- or on the implications for public health, according to a Stanford researcher.
Researchers develop radar simulator to characterize scattering of debris in tornadoes
Researchers have developed the first numerical polarimetric radar simulator to study and characterize the scattering of debris particles in tornadoes.
Opioid abuse drops when doctors check patients' drug history
There's a simple way to reduce the opioid epidemic gripping the country, according to new Cornell University research: Make doctors check their patients' previous prescriptions.
Heart disease risks experienced in childhood impact cognition later in life
Cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking have long been associated with cognitive deficiencies in adults.
To sell more healthy food, keep it simple
A leading expert in changing eating behavior provides an organizing framework that proposes dozens of small, low-cost in-store changes that retailers can use to boost sales of healthy foods.
New roadmap provides blueprint to tackle burden of asthma
A new roadmap has been published identifying key priority areas that need to be addressed to tackle the burden of asthma.
Scientists surprised to discover lymphatic 'scavenger' brain cells
The brain has its own inbuilt processes for mopping up damaging cellular waste -- and these processes may provide protection from stroke and dementia.
Humanitarian cardiac surgery outreach helps build a better health care system in Rwanda
This year's AATS Centennial, the annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, features a presentation from a team of doctors and other medical professionals who have been travelling to Rwanda for the past 10 years as part of a surgical outreach program aimed at treating patients affected by rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and building a foundation for sustainable cardiothoracic care throughout the country.
One in three American adults may have had a warning stroke
About one in three American adults experienced a symptom consistent with a warning or 'mini' stroke, but almost none -- 3 percent -- took the recommended action, according to a new survey from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA).
Photoluminescent display absorbs, converts light into energy
A study recently published in the SPIE Journal of Photonics for Energy demonstrates how to convert a luminescent solar concentrator into an energy-harvesting laser phosphor display by projecting intensity modulated light.
Stroke prevention may also reduce dementia
Ontario's stroke prevention strategy appears to have had an unexpected, beneficial side effect: a reduction also in the incidence of dementia among older seniors.
Golden years are longer and healthier for those with good heart health in middle age
People who have better cardiovascular health in middle age live longer and spend fewer of their later years with chronic illnesses of all types.
'Silent seizures' discovered in patients with Alzheimer's disease
Deep in the brains of two patients with Alzheimer's disease, the main memory structure, the hippocampus, displays episodic seizure-like electrical activity.
Novel gene editing approach to cancer treatment shows promise in mice
New CRISPR-based gene therapy effectively targets cancer-causing 'fusion genes' and improves survival in mouse models of agressive cancers
The science behind making the perfect pitch
Applied mathematicians at the Harvard SEAS used mathematical models to figure out the best strategies to throw something at a target.
Study finds Medicaid expansion in Kentucky provided most benefit to those in poorer areas
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky proved most beneficial for Kentuckians living in areas with high concentrations of poverty, particularly children.
Personalized psychiatry matches therapy to specific patients with depression
Selecting the antidepressant that will be most effective for a specific patient suffering from depression can be a 'try and try again' process.
New technique may prevent graft rejection in high-risk corneal transplant patients
Treating donor corneas with a cocktail of molecules prior to transplanting to a host may improve survival of grafts and, thus, outcomes in high-risk corneal transplant patients, according to a new study led by researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
Advances: Bioinformatics applied to development & evaluation of boron-containing compounds
The interest for developing boron-containing compounds as drugs is increasing after some successful cases.
Women should continue cervical cancer screening as they approach age 65
While current guidelines indicate that cervical cancer screening can be stopped for average risk patients after age 65, many women lack the appropriate amount of screening history to accurately assess their risk.
Connecting the dots between insulin resistance, unhealthy blood vessels and cancer
This research highlights biological mechanisms driven by insulin resistance that impair blood vessel health and may be shared by both cancer and cardiovascular disease.
National study shows interventions like telephone calls can reduce suicides
In perhaps the largest national suicide intervention trial ever conducted, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Brown University found that phone calls to suicidal patients following discharge from Emergency Departments led to a 30 percent reduction in future suicide attempts.
First US success of nonhuman primate gene editing
In a study led by Michigan State University, scientists have shown that gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9 technology can be quite effective in rhesus monkey embryos -- the first time this has been demonstrated in the US.
Common antibiotics linked to increased risk of miscarriage
Many classes of common antibiotics, such as macrolides, quinolones, tetracyclines, sulfonamides and metronidazole, were associated with an increased risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy, according to a new study published in CMAJ.
Adjusting meds may reduce fall risk in older adults
Simply adjusting the dose of an older adult's psychiatric medication could reduce their risk of falling, a new University of Michigan study suggests.
Serial analysis of CTCs may provide biomarker predictive of NSCLC response to crizotinib
Among patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) fueled by ALK gene alterations who were being treated with crizotinib (Xalkori), a decrease in the number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) harboring increased copies of the ALK gene over the first two months of treatment was associated with increased progression-free survival.
Get ready: Your future surgery may use an automated, robotic drill
A computer-driven automated drill, similar to those used to machine auto parts, could play a pivotal role in future surgical procedures.
Galápagos study identifies keystone predator in a complex food web
Years of experiments and careful observation along the shores of the Galápagos Islands have untangled a complex food web of sea lions, fish, urchins and algae, revealing who eats (or doesn't eat) whom and what impact they have on each other.
Rock samples indicate water is key ingredient for crust formation
By examining the cooling rate of rocks that formed more than 10 miles beneath the Earth's surface, scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences have found that water probably penetrates deep into the crust and upper mantle at mid-ocean spreading zones, the places where new crust is made.
Under pressure: Understanding how portal hypertension occurs following liver injury
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina report that liver injury results in the loss of nitric oxide production, which causes an increase in pressure within the liver vasculature.
It's all in the math: New tool provides roadmap for cell development
Columbia University researchers have created a new tool, based on the principles of topology, to generate a roadmap of the many possible ways in which a stem cell may develop into specialized cells.
'Valleytronics' advancement could help extend Moore's Law
A University at Buffalo-led team has discovered a new way to control energy levels between electronic valleys in 2-D semiconductors.
Ill-gotten gains are worth less in the brain
The brain responds less to money gained from immoral actions than money earned decently, reveals a new UCL-led study.
Large spikes in handgun acquisitions seen in aftermath of mass shootings
Large increases in handgun acquisitions occurred in California immediately following the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 and San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015.
Earthquakes can make thrust faults open violently and snap shut
Engineers and scientists experimentally observe surface twisting in thrust faults that can momentarily rip open the earth's surface.
Is alternate-day fasting more effective for weight loss?
Alternate day fasting regimens have increased in popularity because some patients find it difficult to adhere to a conventional weight-loss diet.
Penn scientists illuminate genetics underlying the mysterious powers of spider silks
Spider silks, ounce for ounce, can be stronger than steel, and much more tough and flexible.
New model enables analysis of tissue-engineered cartilage in lab by large animal testing
Researchers have developed a new model to analyze tissue-engineered cartilage that allows for the use of a single method to assess functional tissue mechanics in cartilage constructs at all stages of development from the laboratory through large animal testing.
Novel antibacterial wound cover could prevent thousands of infections each year
A new type of wound dressing could improve thousands of people's lives, by preventing them from developing infections.
Care management program reduced health care costs in Partners Pioneer ACO
Pesearchers at Partners HealthCare published a study showing that Partners Pioneer ACO not only reduces spending growth, but does this by reducing avoidable hospitalizations for patients with elevated but modifiable risks.
Global aid for health leaves older adults out in the cold
Development assistance for health targets younger more than older age groups, with 90 percent of the assistance going to people below the age of 60.
Pancreatic cancer patients may live longer by traveling to academic hospital for operation
New study findings link traveling to an academic medical center for surgical removal of pancreatic or thyroid cancer with higher quality surgical care for both cancers.
Just 10 minutes of meditation helps anxious people have better focus
Just 10 minutes of daily mindful mediation can help prevent your mind from wandering and is particularly effective if you tend to have repetitive, anxious thoughts, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.
Study: Medicaid patients wait longer to see doctors
According to a new study by MIT researchers, Medicaid patients wait longer to see doctors than people with private health insurance.
Mayo Clinic researchers develop new tumor-shrinking nanoparticle to fight cancer, prevent recurrence
A Mayo Clinic research team has developed a new type of cancer-fighting nanoparticle aimed at shrinking breast cancer tumors, while also preventing recurrence of the disease.
New coral bleaching database to help predict fate of global reefs
A UBC-led research team has developed a new global coral bleaching database that could help scientists predict future bleaching events.
First luminescent molecular system with a lower critical solution temperature
Osaka University researchers developed a luminescent small-molecule system that changes from a solution to a suspension when heated.
Thinking strategically about study resources boosts students' final grades
College students who participated in a self-administered intervention prompting them to reflect about their use of classroom resources had final grades that were higher than their peers, according to new findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
New porous solids may lead to better drugs
Researchers have succeeded in a decades-long quest to make a new type of molecular sieve that may open new ways to produce chiral molecules.
Physicists breeding Schroedinger cat states
Physicists have learned how they could breed Schrödinger cats in optics.
Risk of heart transplant rejection reduced by desensitising patient antibodies
The risk of heart transplant rejection can be reduced by desensitising patient antibodies, according to research presented today at Heart Failure 2017 and the 4th World Congress on Acute Heart Failure.1 The breakthrough comes on the 50th anniversary of heart transplantation.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."