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Science News and Current Events for October 12, 2017


New drug hope for rare bone cancer patients
Patients with a rare bone cancer of the skull and spine -- chordoma -- could be helped by existing drugs, suggest scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, University College London Cancer Institute and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust.
Biology study suggests father's nutrition before sex could contribute to health of baby
Doctors long have stressed the importance of good nutrition for expectant mothers.
Autism often associated with multiple new mutations
Most autism cases are in families with no previous history of the disorder.
New type of diabetes caused by a genetic mutation
Scientists from the ULB Center for Diabetes Research and the Erasmus Hospital of the ULB, together with colleagues at the University of Exeter (UK), University of Helsinki (Finland) and Kyoto University (Japan), have identified a new type of diabetes caused by a mutation in the gene RFX6.
Researchers find mechanism involved in novel drug design with potential to treat tuberculosis
Portuguese researchers successfully used a pioneer method to chemically modify a protein's components with potential medical applications and an impact in the fight against tuberculosis.
Researchers make headway in desalination technology
Engineers at the University of Illinois have taken a step forward in developing a saltwater desalination process that is potentially cheaper than reverse osmosis and borrows from battery technology.
Uncovering the sound of 'motherese,' baby talk across languages
When using the special communication mode known as baby talk or 'motherese,' mothers change their vocal timbre in quantifiable ways, say Princeton researchers who identified the timbre shift and trained a computer to identify baby talk with only a one-second audio clip.
Sandia's Direct Numerical Simulations enhance combustion efficiency, reduces pollution
Sandia researchers use Direct Numerical Simulations to enhance efficiency, reduce pollution in diesel engines.
Study finds new feature of 'baby talk' in any language
When talking with their young infants, parents instinctively use 'baby talk,' a unique form of speech including exaggerated pitch contours and short, repetitive phrases.
Early pregnancy test for cows improves welfare and food production
Early pregnancy detection is vital in the cattle industry and improves animal welfare, whilst reducing consumer costs.
Cause of cancer form in the liver identified
In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have identified the two genes whose mutation cause a serious cancer form found in the liver.
A better understanding of space -- via helicopter
An algorithm that helps engineers design better helicopters may help astronomers more precisely envision the formation of planets and galaxies.
NASA's GPM finds Ophelia strengthening in Eastern Atlantic
Heaviest rainfall in Ophelia was found south of the center by the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite as it passed overhead and analyzed the storm with radar from space.
Luring hornets: Scientists unlock sex pheromone of notorious honey bee predator
Biologists have developed a solution for controlling the invasive Asian hornet Vespa velutina based on the insect's natural chemical mating instincts.
Laser cavities take on new shapes and functionalities
Researchers have demonstrated the first laser cavity that can confine and propagate light in any shape imaginable, even pathways with sharp bends and angles.
Chemistry provides a new supply of a promising cancer and HIV treatment
Supplies of a promising drug for cancer, HIV and possibly other diseases is dwindling, and scientists have struggled to extract more from the marine creatures who produce it.
Cleveland Clinic researchers reveal biomarker for guiding prostate cancer treatment
Back-to-back discoveries from Cleveland Clinic demonstrate for the first time how a testosterone-related genetic abnormality can help predict individual patient responses to specific prostate cancer therapies.
Warming seas could lead to 70 percent increase in hurricane-related financial loss
Hurricane-related financial loss could increase more than 70 percent by 2100 if oceans warm at the worst-case-scenario rate predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a new study.
Is it gonna blow? Measuring volcanic emissions from space
Carbon dioxide measured by a NASA satellite pinpoints sources of the gas from human and volcanic activities, which may help monitor greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.
Biomarkers may help ID patients at increased risk of neurotoxicity from CD19 CAR T-cell therapy
New potential biomarkers and a novel algorithm could help identify patients at increased risk of suffering from severe neurotoxicity after receiving CD19 CAR T-cell therapy.
Paleogenomic analysis sheds light on Easter Island mysteries
New paleogenomic research conducted by an international team led by UC Santa Cruz appears to rule out the likelihood that inhabitants of Easter Island intermixed with South Americans prior to the arrival of Europeans on the island in 1722.
Finally! A solution to office thermostat wars
A new study published in the Journal of Energy and Buildings proposes a method that simultaneously optimizes individual office workers' productivity and energy consumption costs by automating the control of indoor environmental conditions including air quality, temperature and lighting.
Understanding rare earth emulsions
Through a series of theoretical simulations, Northwestern University researchers discovered that surface polarization in mixed media increases attraction among elements.
Tweets can help predict the outcome of football matches
New research shows that Twitter activity can help predict the result of football matches when combined with betting market prices.
Brain imaging results skewed by biased study samples
A new UC San Francisco-led study shows that failure to follow this basic principle of population science -- a common complaint about research in the cognitive sciences -- can profoundly skew the results of brain imaging studies, leading to errors that may be throwing off neuroscientists' understanding of normal brain development.
An understanding of pigmentation that is more than just skin deep
In an effort to better understand genes affecting skin pigmentation, scientists have generated one of the largest and most comprehensive datasets to date -- by sequencing the genomes of 2,092 ethnically and genetically diverse Africans living in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Botswana.
Spotting the spin of the Majorana fermion under the microscope
Using a new twist on a technique for imaging atomic structures, researchers at Princeton have detected a unique quantum property of the Majorana fermion, an elusive particle with the potential for use in quantum information systems.
A new miniature solution for storing renewable energy
In a first for metal-organic frameworks, USC scientists have demonstrated their metallic conductivity.
Scientists discover novel mechanism that protects mitochondrial DNA
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have discovered a novel mechanism safeguarding mitochondrial DNA.
CU Anschutz researchers say climate change may accelerate infectious disease outbreaks
Aside from inflicting devastating natural disasters on often vulnerable communities, climate change can also spur outbreaks of infectious diseases like Zika , malaria and dengue fever, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Mantis shrimp-inspired camera enables glimpse into hidden world
By mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp, Illinois researchers have developed an ultra-sensitive camera capable of sensing both color and polarization.
Pioneering discovery of an odor-detecting receptor enhancer
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have identified a regulatory sequence that turns gene expression on, or simply an enhancer, for odor-detecting receptors, which form one of the largest gene clusters in the mouse genome.
Brain waves reflect different types of learning
For the first time, researchers have identified neural signatures of explicit and implicit learning.
Sorting the myriad medicinal molecules of coral reefs
Coral reefs harbor an incredible diversity of life. These organisms generate an enormous number of molecules.
New regions of the human genome linked to skin color variation in some African populations
In the first study of its kind, an international team of genomics researchers have identified new regions of the genome that are associated with skin color variation in some African populations.
Scientists discover more than 600 new periodic orbits of the famous three body problem
The famous three-body problem can be traced back to Isaac Newton in 1680s.
Cell contacts in embryonic development determine cellular fate
The average human consists of about 37.2 trillion cells. But not all cells are created equal: while muscle cells contain the molecular machinery to contract and relax your muscles, some neurons send meter-long axons from the spinal cord to the tip of your toes, and red blood cells bind oxygen and transport it around the body.
Carbon dioxide levels lower than thought during super greenhouse period
Research from Dartmouth College adds to the understanding of Earth's historic hyperthermal events to help explain the planet's current warming trend.
Rainfall trends in arid regions buck commonly held climate change theories
To explore the links between climatic warming and rainfall in drylands, scientists from the Universities of Cardiff and Bristol analysed more than 50 years of detailed rainfall data (measured every minute) from a semi-arid drainage basin in south east Arizona exhibiting an upward trend in temperatures during that period.
Engineers develop a programmable 'camouflaging' material inspired by octopus skin
This week, engineers at Cornell University report on their invention of stretchable surfaces with programmable 3-D texture morphing, a synthetic 'camouflaging skin' inspired by studying and modeling the real thing in octopus and cuttlefish.
Virtual humans work better than current ways to identify post-traumatic stress in soldiers
American researchers find that soldiers are more likely to open up about post-traumatic stress when interviewed by a virtual interviewer, reports a new study in Frontiers in Robotics and AI.
Fred Hutch studies advance methods to avert toxicity that can accompany immunotherapy
Two new papers from researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center provide the most comprehensive data yet reported on side effects of the emerging cancer immunotherapy strategy known as CAR T-cell therapy.
New study suggests that last common ancestor of humans and apes was smaller than thought
New research suggests that the last common ancestor of apes -- including great apes and humans -- was much smaller than previously thought, about the size of a gibbon.
Livestock grazing management compatible with nesting greater sage-grouse
A new study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management looks at whether management of livestock grazing may help protect sagebrush and birds that depend on it.
Lead fishing tackle may be threatening loon populations
A new study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management reveals the devastating effects of lead fishing tackle on loon populations.
Combination of El Niño and 2016 Ecuador earthquake likely worsened Zika outbreak
Combination of El Niño and 2016 Ecuador earthquake likely worsened Zika outbreak
Johns Hopkins scientists develop experimental 'nano-chemo' particle to treat bladder cancer
Working with mice and rats, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a way to successfully deliver nano-sized, platinum-based chemotherapy drugs to treat a form of bladder cancer called nonmuscle-invasive that is found in the lining of the organ and has not invaded deeper into bladder tissue.
Uncovering origins of developmental brain disorders could eventually help treat seizures
New research discoveries in the development of brain disorders could pave the way to new therapies for treating seizures, and even some children with autism, says a leading oncologist and researcher at the University of Alberta.
How switches work in bacteria
Many bacteria have molecular control elements, via which they can switch on and off genes.
Immune reaction to sandfly saliva varies between individuals living in endemic areas
The Phlebotomus papatasi sandfly is responsible for spreading Leishmania throughout the tropics and subtropics.
Converting carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide using water, electricity
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis have determined how electrocatalysts can convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide using water and electricity.
Calcium in the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis: EMAS Clinical Guide
Osteoporosis is common and affects 1 in 3 women. Calcium is vital for strong healthy bones and worldwide scientific societies have issued guidance about the daily requirements from childhood to old age.
In a first for wearable optics, researchers develop stretchy fiber to capture body motion
Research in Optica offers the first demonstration of optical fibers sturdy enough to sense a wide range of human motion.
Fighting racism: Teaching kids to identify individual black people can reduce racial bias
Many times, those who hold racially biased views of other people see them as all the same.
3-D packaging of DNA regulates cell identity
A new study suggests that the ability of a stem cell to differentiate into cardiac muscle (and by extension other cell types) depends on what portions of the genome are available for activation, which is controlled by the location of DNA in a cell's nucleus.
Johns Hopkins scientists help show links between genes, body tissues
A research team is assessing how a person's genetic profile affects his body.
Ischemic stroke patients not receiving life-saving treatment, study finds
Ischemic stroke patients who do not receive intravelous (IV) alteplase, a clot-dissolving medication, are significantly less likely to survive, according to researchers at Georgia State University.
Halting liver cancer with a sugar look-a-like
Researchers at the RIKEN Global Research Cluster in Japan have discovered a way to prevent the spread of cancer in the liver.
Cholesterol byproduct hijacks immune cells, lets breast cancer spread
High cholesterol levels have been associated with breast cancer spreading to other sites in the body, but doctors and researchers don't know the cause for the link.
Reengineered immune system cells show early promise against HIV
Improving on a previous attempt, scientists have developed a new strategy that could potentially be used to reengineer a patient's own immune system cells to fight HIV.
VLBA measurement promises complete picture of Milky Way
Distance measured out to the far side of our Milky Way means that radio astronomers now can work on producing an accurate map of the full extent of our galaxy's structure for the first time.
Mechanism for precise targeting of the immune response uncovered
The immune system checks the health of cells of the body by examining a kind of molecular passport.
Tropical tree roots represent an underappreciated carbon pool
Estimates of the carbon stored by tropical forests rarely take tree roots into consideration.
Penn-led study identifies genes responsible for diversity of human skin colors
A study of diverse African groups led by University of Pennsylvania geneticists has identified new genetic variants associated with skin pigmentation.
USC team finds a potentially better way to treat liver cancer
A USC research team has identified how cancer stem cells survive.
Lost in translation: When humor kills the message
Getting a laugh may not help get the road safety message across, with a new QUT study showing humorous driver sleepiness advertisements via social media and other means can get lost in translation.
A liquid biopsy for retinoblastoma
A recent study by a team of investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Keck Medicine of USC, provides proof of concept for a safe and effective way to derive genetic information from a retinoblastoma tumor.
Sleep on your side, not your back in late pregnancy
A pregnant mother sleeping on her back during late pregnancy may cause problems for the fetus, according to new research published in the Journal of Physiology.
NASA gains valuable insights into the global carbon cycle
Five new studies highlight results from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission, an endeavor to map out the world's carbon cycle from space.
Scientists pinpoint surprising origin of melanoma
Led by Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven), a team of researchers has tracked down the cellular origin of cutaneous melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Like it or not: Broccoli may be good for the gut
For the broccoli haters of the world, researchers may have more bad news: the vegetable may also help promote a healthy gut.
Reducing racial bias in children
An international team of researchers suggests that one way to reduce implicit racial bias in young children is by teaching them to distinguish among faces of a different race and identify them as individuals.
One if by editing, two if by roadblock: Human protein fights HIV as monomer and dimer
Research recently published in Nature Communications examines on the capabilities of a human protein that inhibits HIV-1, APOBEC3G (A3G).
Making healthier decisions, step by step
For 10 days, scientists at San Diego State University posted signs at the bottom of a set of airport stairs and escalators encouraging them to take the stairs.
Watching plant photosynthesis...from space
University of Sydney and NASA have developed a revolutionary technique to image plant photosynthesis using satellite-based remote-sensing, with potential applications in climate change monitoring.
Interdisciplinary approaches to wildlife trade management
The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.
Material mimics 3-D camouflage abilities of an octopus
Scientists have created a 2-D material that can morph into a 3-D structure and camouflage with its environment, similar to the camouflage abilities of an octopus and other cephalopods.
Study reveals new threat to the ozone layer
'Ozone depletion is a well-known phenomenon and, thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol, is widely perceived as a problem solved,' says University of East Anglia's David Oram.
An evolving sticky situation
While many animals try to avoid sticky situations, lizards evolved to seek them out.
Penn researchers drill down into gene behind frontotemporal lobar degeneration
a new study published online this week in the American Journal of Human Genetics from Penn researchers helps answer that question by uncovering the mechanisms of the genetic mutations, or variants, associated with the gene.
Whole genome sequencing identifies new genetic signature for autism
An analysis of the complete genomes of 2,064 people reveals that multiple genetic variations could contribute to autism.
Workers at smaller companies less likely to be screened for cancer
A new study by American Cancer Society investigators finds workers at organizations with fewer than 25 employees are less likely to have been screened for three cancers, as were people working in certain occupations.
Research reveals possible new treatment pathway for severe allergic asthma
Research demonstrates that blocking the action of two pro-inflammatory molecules significantly reduces symptoms of allergic asthma in mice, which could lead to development of a new treatment for people with a severe form of the condition.
A star that devoured its own planets
A devourer of worlds lurks around 350 light-years away. According to a recent study comparing the chemical composition of a pair of sunlike stars, one of the stars has consumed the rocky equivalent of 15 Earths.
'Seeing' the other side of our galaxy
Astronomers have successfully traced a spiral arm on the far side of our Galaxy, an accomplishment that provides new insights into the structure of the Milky Way.
Strange undertakings: Ant queens bury dead to prevent disease
Ant queens may bury other queens -- a task normally performed by workers -- to avoid infection when co-founding a new colony, according to a study published in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.
Oregon team identifies universality and specificity in protein motions
Although proteins have very different function functions, or specialties, in living cells, they share the general characteristics -- the same universality -- in their motions, say University of Oregon scientists.
Study shows how rough microparticles can cause big problems
Research finds the surface texture of microparticles in a liquid suspension can cause internal friction that significantly alters the suspension's viscosity -- effectively making the liquid thicker or thinner.
Study finds cold therapy may be effective at controlling cancer treatment side effects
A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that cryotherapy, specifically having chemotherapy patients wear frozen gloves and socks for 90-minute periods, is useful for preventing symptoms of neuropathy.
Even modest oil exposure can harm coastal and marine birds
Many birds and other wildlife die following an oil spill, but there are also other potential long-terms effects of oil exposure on animals.
Immune response to ovarian cancer may predict survival, Mayo-led study finds
A group of international cancer researchers led by investigators from Mayo Clinic and University of New South Wales Sydney has found that the level of a type of white blood cell, called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, present in the tumors of patients with high-grade ovarian cancer may predict a patient's survival.
Using Facebook data as a real-time census
A University of Washington study is believed to be the first to demonstrate how present-day migration statistics can be obtained by compiling the same data that advertisers use to target their audience on Facebook, and by combining that source with information from the Census Bureau.
Geologic evidence is the forerunner of ominous prospects for a warming earth
While strong seasonal hurricanes have devastated many of the Caribbean and Bahamian islands this year, geologic studies on several of these islands illustrate that more extreme conditions existed in the past.
Satellites map photosynthesis at high resolution
Life on Earth is impossible without photosynthesis. It provides food and oxygen to all higher life forms and plays an important role in the climate system, since this process regulates the uptake of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and its fixation in biomass.
Young men are getting more out of 'bromances' than romances
Young men's 'bromances,' close friendships with other men, are more emotionally satisfying than their romantic relationships with women, finds a study out today in Men and Masculinities (a SAGE Publishing journal).
The ghosts of HeLa: How cell line misidentification contaminates the scientific literature
For decades, immortal cells such as the famous HeLa cells have been contaminating other cell cultures in the lab.
Don't dispense of cannabis dispensaries, caution UBC researchers
UBC researchers are cautioning policy makers not to alter a cannabis distribution system that -- while not legal yet -- works well.
Enzyme behind immune cell response revealed
Monash University researchers have revealed the role played by an enzyme that is pivotal to the process of clearing infection in the body.
New protein study broadens knowledge of molecular basis for disease
Scientists at the University of Notre Dame are one step closer to unraveling the mystery of how intrinsically disordered proteins work, according to new research published in Science.
The sea cucumber genome points to genes for tissue regeneration
A new high-definition genome sequence of the sea cucumber provides molecular insights into its ability to regenerate, according to a new study publishing Oct.
Genes critical for hearing identified
Fifty-two previously unidentified genes that are critical for hearing have been found by testing over 3,000 mouse genes.
Devourer of planets? Princeton researchers dub star 'Kronos'
'Kronos' is enhanced in metals and other rock-forming elements but not in volatiles, prompting a team of Princeton researchers to conclude that it absorbed as much as 15 Earth masses worth of rocky planets.
Newfoundland populated multiple times by distinct groups, DNA evidence shows
Researchers who've examined genetic evidence from mitochondrial DNA provide evidence that two groups of indigenous people in Canada, known as the Maritime Archaic and Beothuk, brought different matrilines to the island, adding further support to the notion that those groups had distinct population histories.
Early stages of antibacterial damage of metallic nanoparticles by TEM and STEM-HAADF
Early stages of antibacterial damage caused by metallic nanoparticles (NPs) were studied by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and combined Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy with High Angle Annular Dark Field (STEM-HAADF), aiming to contribute to the elucidation of the primary antibacterial mechanism of metallic NPs.
No trace of early contact between Rapanui and South Americans in ancient DNA
Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) has long been a source of intrigue and mystery.
Global Change Center researchers to forecast water quality with NSF support
The team -- which includes ecologists, social scientists, geologists and engineers -- was awarded a $1 million National Science Foundation Smart and Connected Communities grant to develop a system that can create a real-time water forecast -- similar to a weather forecast -- for Falling Creek Reservoir in Roanoke, Va.
Enzymes at work: Breaking down stubborn cellulose
TU Graz researchers observe enzymes breaking down cellulose to aid the production of biofuels.
New way to prevent genetically engineered and unaltered organisms from producing offspring
A major obstacle to applying genetic engineering to benefit humans and the environment is the risk that organisms whose genes have been altered might produce offspring with their natural counterparts, releasing the novel genes into the wild.
Brain stimulation can improve athletic performance
Brain stimulation can improve athletic performance Research by the University of Kent into the effects of brain stimulation on athletes' performance has demonstrated that it is an effective way to improve endurance.
Microwave-assisted iodine-catalyzed rapid synthesis of 6H-indolo[2,3-b]quinolines
Indoloquinoline alkaloids are of great importance due to their unique structure and various biological activities.
New technique scours the genome for genes that combat disease
Using a modified version of the CRISPR genome editing system, MIT researchers have developed a new way to screen for genes that protect against specific diseases.
NIST urges caution in use of courtroom evidence presentation method
Two experts are calling into question a shorthand method of presenting forensic evidence in courtrooms, arguing that it risks allowing personal preference to creep into expert testimony and potentially distorts evidence for a jury.
Researchers confirm transcranial stimulation effects and determine a key mechanism
HRL Laboratories, LLC, researchers have determined how non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) could increase associative learning.
Lehigh to present research out of newly-launched Bioengineering Dept. at BMES
Lehigh University's newly established Department of Bioengineering is presenting in 18 poster and panel sessions at the annual meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) in Phoenix, Arizona from October 12-14, 2017.
The 28th Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology, Beijing, China
The 28th Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology (GW-ICC), the Asia Pacific Heart Congress (APHC) 2017, and the International Congress of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation 2017 is being held from October 12th to 15th at the China National Convention Center (CNCC), Beijing, China.

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