Phys.org Newsletter for May 7, 2013:
- Los Alamos reveals it's been running quantum network for two and a half years
- New research sets back date of moon's dynamo 160 million years
- Herschel finds hot gas on menu for Milky Way's black hole
- Engineers' new metamaterial doubles up on invisibility (w/ Video)
- Building a digital life form: OpenWorm, Open Source
- Sequencing reveals complex history of amphibian-killing fungus
- US group buys Tesla property, plans science center (Update)
- Discovery of new hormone opens doors to new type 2 diabetes treatments
- Fossil amber shatters theories of glass as a liquid
- Genes show one big European family
- Theta brainwaves reflect ability to beat built-in bias
- New insights into Ebola infection pave the way for much-needed therapies
- Do bats know voices of friends they hang out with? (w/ video)
- Another 'trophy' for the chemistry cabinet
Identifying the physical processes that control the stratigraphic record
The stratigraphic record, the sequential layers of sediment that geologists use to reconstruct the history of a landscape, has been described as "more gaps than record." The record, laid down over time as sediment settles out from flowing water, does not grow consistently. Pauses in sediment deposition can leave gaps, and periods of heightened erosion can wipe sections out.
Measuring tidal displacement using GPS
GPS is making possible high-precision, high-resolution measurements of tidal displacement that could not be achieved with other methods. Earth's surface deforms due to both body tides-the deformation of the solid Earth due to the pull of the Sun and the Moon-and ocean tides-the redistribution of water mass loading over Earth's surface. Body tides and ocean tides both have components that vary on semidiurnal, diurnal, and longer periods.
Hydrology affects carbon storage potential of prairie potholes
Prairie potholes, the small, dynamic, unconnected ponds that dot central Canada as well as parts of the north-central United States, can store significant amounts of soil nutrients that can be transformed to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Scientists would like to better understand how these regions could contribute to climate warming, but there are challenges, given the large heterogeneity in greenhouse gas emissions over the prairie pothole landscape.
Wood burning fires a winter health hazard
Research by a Victoria University student shows that particulate matter from wood burning fires is a winter health hazard in New Zealand.
Graphite lubricates fault zones
Graphite is known to be a low-friction material, and rocks rich in graphite are often found in fault zones. Oohashi et al. conducted laboratory studies to determine how much graphite is needed to reduce the frictional strength of a fault.
New robotic instruments to provide real-time data on Gulf of Maine red tide
A new robotic sensor deployed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Gulf of Maine coastal waters may transform the way red tides or harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored and managed in New England. The instrument was launched at the end of last month, and a second such system will be deployed later this spring.
Encroaching sea already a threat in Caribbean
The old coastal road in this fishing village at the eastern edge of Grenada sits under a couple of feet of murky saltwater, which regularly surges past a hastily-erected breakwater of truck tires and bundles of driftwood intended to hold back the Atlantic Ocean.
EU lawmakers to vote on reform of 'polluter pays'
EU lawmakers will vote again on controversial plans to make polluters pay more for the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, after narrowly rejecting the proposal last month, a top MEP said .
US urban trees store carbon, provide billions in economic value
From New York City's Central Park to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, America's urban forests store an estimated 708 million tons of carbon, an environmental service with an estimated value of $50 billion, according to a recent U.S. Forest Service study.
Tropical western Pacific regional cloudiness appears to form on its own schedule
(Phys.org) —Tropical cloudiness has its own timeline. That's what researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found when they compared development of turbulent clouds to the timing of the atmospheric perturbation that rolls over the region every 60 to 90 days. Contrary to past assumptions, they found that the atmospheric phenomenon known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO for short) does not directly influence the timing of specific rainfall events. Tall turbulent clouds drive rain in the region to change from drizzle to downpour at a faster pace.
New Landsat 8 satellite appears to be working flawlessly
A new satellite hovering nearly 450 miles (725 kilometers) above the Earth appears to working flawlessly as it embarks on a 10-year mission to document the planet's surface, scientists and engineers at the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observation and Science Center said .
Europe launches new satellites into space
Europe's lightweight rocket, Vega, was launched from Kourou space base in French Guiana late for the first mission, webcast live, since its maiden flight in February last year.
Extensive Antarctic campaign finds cold bias in satellite records
Advances in satellite sensing have now made it possible to track changes in the world's most remote locations. Over the Antarctic continental interior, the vast majority of profiles of atmospheric temperature are provided by satellite remote sensing, making proper calibration of the satellite observational equipment and analysis algorithms particularly important. However, the hostile environmental conditions in regions such as the Antarctic make it difficult or even dangerous to conduct the in-the-field observations needed to calibrate and validate the satellite observations.
Elon Musks' SpaceX signs lease at NM spaceport
Another space industry heavyweight has signed onto New Mexico's Spaceport America.
Forest-mapping satellite to join Earth study mission, ESA said
A satellite that will map the world's forests has been chosen for the seventh mission in Europe's Earth Explorer project, the European Space Agency (ESA) said .
Decline in snow cover spells trouble for many plants, animals
For plants and animals forced to tough out harsh winter weather, the coverlet of snow that blankets the north country is a refuge, a stable beneath-the-snow habitat that gives essential respite from biting winds and subzero temperatures.
Scientists may have found Brazilian 'Atlantis'
Brazilian geologists announced the discovery, 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) from Rio, of what could be part of the continent that was submerged when the Atlantic Ocean was formed as Africa and South America drifted apart 100 million years ago.
Cleaner energy, warmer climate? Researchers explore the possible consequences of expanding biofuels
The growing global demand for energy, combined with a need to reduce emissions and lessen the effects of climate change, has increased focus on cleaner energy sources. But what unintended consequences could these cleaner sources have on the changing climate?
Herschel finds hot gas on menu for Milky Way's black hole
(Phys.org) —ESA's Herschel space observatory has made detailed observations of surprisingly hot molecular gas that may be orbiting or falling towards the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
New research sets back date of moon's dynamo 160 million years
(Phys.org) —A multi-disciplinary team of international researchers has found evidence to suggest the moon's dynamo persisted until at least 3.6 billion years ago. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team says this pushes back the date for the dynamo approximately 160 million years.
Chaos proves superior to order
An international team of physicists, including researchers from the Universities of York and St. Andrews, has demonstrated that chaos can beat order - at least as far as light storage is concerned.
Magnetic vortex antennas for wireless data transmission
Three-dimensional magnetic vortices were discovered by scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf together with colleagues from the Paul Scherrer Institute within the scope of an international cooperation. The results were published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. Vortex states are potential antennas for the ultrafast, wireless data transmission of .
Engineers' new metamaterial doubles up on invisibility (w/ Video)
(Phys.org) —The new material's artificial "atoms" are designed to work with a broad range of light frequencies. With adjustments, the researchers believe it could lead to perfect microscope lenses or invisibility cloaks.
Los Alamos reveals it's been running quantum network for two and a half years
(Phys.org) —In a recent paper available on arXiv, a team of researchers at New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory has revealed they've been running a quantum network for 2 1/2 years. The network is hub-and-spoke based, the team reports, and allows for perfectly secure messaging except at the hub.
A giant leap to commercialization of polymer solar cell (PSC)
Researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have demonstrated high-performance polymer solar cells (PSCs) with power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 8.92% which is the highest values reported to date for plasmonic PSCs using metal nanoparticles (NPs).
Composite organic/inorganic thermoelectric is more than sum of its parts
(Phys.org) —A team led by Berkeley Lab Materials Sciences Division's Jeffrey Urban and Rachel Segalman have discovered highly conductive polymer behavior occurring at a polymer/nanocrystal interface. The composite organic/inorganic material is a thermoelectric – a material capable of converting heat into electricity – and has a higher performance than either of its constituent materials. The results may impact not only thermoelectrics research, but also polymer/nanocrystal composites being investigated for photovoltaics, batteries, and hydrogen storage.
Furnace accelerator startup develops anti-fogging technology
Early-stage nanotech company SiO2 Nanotech has begun beta testing commercial applications of its anti-fogging technology for corporate partners. The new technology, which was developed from patented research conducted in the lab of Nicole Herbots, professor emerita in the ASU Department of Physics, can be used on a variety of different surfaces, including glass and plastics.
Imaging nanoscale polarization in ferroelectrics with coherent X-rays
Seeing the fine-scale properties of materials relevant to nanotechnology is a prominent challenge that currently can be met only under ideal conditions. Coherent X-ray imaging promises to greatly expand the range of materials and environments in which these important properties can be observed. Users from Argonne's Materials Science and Nanoscience & Technology divisions, in collaboration with the X-Ray Microscopy Group at the Center for Nanoscale Materials and researchers from the Advanced Photon Source, KAIST, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Melbourne, have reported the development of a new X-ray imaging technique, coherent X-ray Bragg projection ptychography, and its application to the study of nanoscale structures in ferroelectric thin films.
New technique can help nanoparticles deliver drug treatments
A Wayne State University researcher has successfully tested a technique that can lead to more effective use of nanoparticles as a drug delivery system.
Nano-scientists develop new kind of portable water purification system
(Phys.org) —Researchers at India's Institute of Technology Madras have developed a new kind of portable water purification system based on nanoparticle filtration. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team explains how their new device does its job—it employs nanoparticles to remove not just biological hazards, but toxic heavy metals as well.
Corruption sometimes fosters regulatory compliance, new study shows
(Phys.org) —Inspired by a personal experience, a University of Arkansas economist examined the relationship between corruption and regulatory compliance – on both a theoretical and empirical level – and found, surprisingly, that corruption in some circumstances actually fosters regulatory compliance.
What contributes to improving a child's educational success?
A study of schools across Europe has identified educational initiatives which can improve school success.
Lessons to be learned: Perfecting the classroom of tomorrow, today
Newcastle University experts have carried out the first-ever study of interactive tables in the classroom as part of a major trial to understand the benefits of technology to teaching and learning.
Report finds few counties in compliance with gender balance legislation
Just two of Iowa's 99 counties have achieved gender balance on appointed boards and commissions, according to a new report by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University and Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women.
Live and learn: Most GenXers continue their education
More than one in every 10 members of Generation X are enrolled in classes to continue their formal educations, according to a new University of Michigan study released today. In addition, 48 percent of GenXers take continuing education courses, in-service training, and workshops required for professional licenses and certifications.
Research shows students perform well regardless of reading print or digital books
(Phys.org) —Research by an Indiana State University doctoral student found that students did equally well on a test whether reading from a digital book or a printed one.
Whether anger impacts negotiation outcomes depends on ethnicity of negotiator
(Phys.org) —It's said you should never go to bed angry, but what about to the negotiation table? Researchers at Rice University and New York University suggest that ethnic backgrounds can influence the effectiveness of expressing anger in negotiations. In a series of studies, the researchers found that angry individuals of East Asian descent are perceived as tougher negotiators than their angry European-American counterparts, and consequently elicit greater cooperation at the negotiation table.
High home ownership can seriously damage your labour market, new study shows
(Phys.org) —Government policies that boost the amount of home ownership in a country are likely to inflict severe damage on the labour market, new research from the University of Warwick suggests.
Research on speed dating examines what makes couples 'click' in four minutes
(Phys.org) —Can you "click" with someone after only four minutes? That's the question at the heart of new research by Stanford scholars Dan McFarland and Dan Jurafsky that looks at how meaningful bonds are formed.
When women sell themselves short on team projects
Working on a team is always a challenge, but a new study highlights a particular challenge to women: how much they credit themselves in a joint success. Women will devalue their contributions when working with men but not with other women, according to the new research. The study suggests yet another reason why women still tend to be under-represented at the highest echelons of many organizations.
Twitter analysis shows Boston bombings had little effect on immigration reform conversations
An analysis by researchers at the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR) at George Mason University shows that the Boston Marathon bombings had little effect on conversations on social media regarding immigration reform.
Linguist study finds core group of words has survived for 15,000 years
(Phys.org) —A team of linguistics experts from the U.S., Great Britain and New Zealand has found evidence that suggests a core group of words used in a common language thousands of years ago has survived to this day. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers claim that some core words used in modern languages are related to some spoken 15,000 years ago.
Scientists reveal new species of dog-sized dinosaur
Scientists have named a new species of bone-headed dinosaur (pachycephalosaur) from Alberta, Canada. Acrotholus audeti (Ack-RHO-tho-LUS) was identified from both recently discovered and historically collected fossils. Approximately six feet long and weighing about 40 kgs in life, the newly identified plant-eating dinosaur represents the oldest bone-headed dinosaur in North America, and possibly the world. Research describing the new species is published May 7, 2013 in the journal Nature Communications.
US group buys Tesla property, plans science center (Update)
A community group that raised $1.3 million in a six-week online fundraising effort has purchased a laboratory once used by visionary scientist Nikola Tesla.
UF launches HiPerGator, the state's most powerful supercomputer
The University of Florida today unveiled the state's most powerful supercomputer, a machine that will help researchers find life-saving drugs, make decades-long weather forecasts and improve armor for troops.
Huffington Post launches Japan edition
US news website The Huffington Post launched a Japanese edition , the company's first site in Asia, hoping to shake up the media landscape and generate discussion with readers.
Reducing ecological footprint of OPV production
Solliance - a cross-border research initiative on thin film photovoltaics by ECN, Holst Centre, imec, TNO, TU Eindhoven and FZ Jülich - has achieved a world first with a new inkjet printing process for manufacturing environmentally friendly OPV cells that deliver benchmark efficiency. Completely compatible with existing manufacturing technology, the process replaces toxic chlorinated solvents with more benign alternatives. The result builds on a combined achievement of Solliance and French OPV manufacturer DisaSolar, and was also supported by the EU FP7 project X10D.
Dotcom's lawyers say case threatens Internet freedom
Lawyers for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom accused the US government of launching a flawed prosecution against their client with "frightening" implications for all Internet users.
Special effects master Ray Harryhausen dies at 92
When Ray Harryhausen was 13, he was so overwhelmed by "King Kong" that he vowed he would create otherworldly creatures on film. He fulfilled his desire as an adult, thrilling audiences with skeletons in a sword fight, a gigantic octopus destroying the Golden Gate Bridge, and a six-armed dancing goddess.
Microsoft extends search guarantee in Yahoo deal (Update)
Microsoft has extended a guarantee that provides Yahoo with financial protection as part of the two companies' Internet search partnership.
University of Florida is first university to fully connect to Internet2 Innovation Platform's three components
The University of Florida is the first university to fully connect to the Internet2 Innovation Platform's three components, an achievement that will transform research at UF and provide a national model for research computing.
Syria drops off Internet, reasons unclear
Syria was cut off from the Internet , according to US tech firms monitoring Web traffic and the State Department.
Silicon Valley uses growing clout to kill a digital privacy bill
Silicon Valley has wielded its growing political clout at the state Capitol to kill a digital privacy bill that would have given consumers access to information about them being collected online.
Internet sales tax bill faces tough sell in House (Update)
Traditional retailers and cash-strapped states face a tough sell in the House as they lobby Congress to limit tax-free shopping on the Internet.
China's struggling automakers jump on SUV boom (Update)
BYD is known for electric cars but this year's flagship model is the S7, a gasoline-powered SUV. It comes with an air purifier, radar to help with backing and digital TV. An onboard hard drive can hold 1,000 films.
Taiwan's Acer swings to profit in Q1
Taiwan's leading personal computer maker Acer said it swung to profit in the first quarter of 2013 thanks to income from foreign exchange and stock sales.
Biogas from animal waste in need of maturity
Biogas-based energy could solve both the environmental concern of agricultural waste and reduce dependency of fossil fuels, particularly in Eastern Europe, albeit at a steep production cost.
Passwords: How to choose one and why we need them
I just did a count of the systems I use that require a password and gave up at 40. I know I'm not alone; for many of us, it often seems we have too many passwords to manage.
Mapping the online landscape to predict tipping points
(Phys.org) —If somebody in a remote corner of the world sets fire to an American flag, but no one else is there to see it, did it really burn?
NCAR powers up renewable energy forecasts
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), building on a pioneering wind energy forecasting system that saved millions of dollars for Xcel Energy customers in eight states, has entered into a new agreement with the utility for even more sophisticated weather forecasts.
New research key to revolutionary 'green' spacecraft propellant
In 2015, NASA, for the first time, will fly a space mission utilizing a radically different propellant—one which has reduced toxicity and is environmentally benign. This energetic ionic liquid, or EIL, is quite different from the historically employed hydrazine-based propellant, which was first used as a rocket fuel during World War II for the Messerschmitt Me 163B (the first rocket-powered fighter plane).
NREL quantifies significant value in concentrating solar power
Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have quantified the significant value that concentrating solar power (CSP) plants can add to an electric grid.
Microsoft touching up Windows 8 to address gripes (Update)
Microsoft is retooling the latest version of its Windows operating system to address complaints and confusion that have been blamed for deepening a slump in personal computer sales.
Building a digital life form: OpenWorm, Open Source
(Phys.org) —The worm Caenorhabditis elegans is one of the most widely studied creatures. Scientists consider the worm a model organism for exploring animal development including neural development. The reasons are basic; it has one of the most simple nervous systems, and is convenient for genetic analysis. Never mind that, in turn, there is already an enormous amount of biological data about the C. elegans; scientists are still seeking more answers about the worm. Now there is a novel information path, The OpenWorm Project. They are working up an artificial life form, computationally created, a digital life form as no other.
Promising strategies to reduce use of indoor tanning devices and prevent skin cancer
Preventing skin cancer by reducing use of indoor tanning devices requires a coordinated approach at the national, state, and local levels suggests a pair of papers by CDC authors in a special theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Evidence has shown that use of indoor tanning devices increases the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, and these papers discuss approaches that could help reduce use of indoor tanning devices and prevent future incidence of skin cancers.
DR Congo 'worst place to be a mother' (Update)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has displaced Niger to gain the unenviable distinction of being the worst place in the world to be a mother, according to a new report by Save the Children.
300,000 day-old babies die each year in India, report says
More than 300,000 babies die within 24 hours of being born in India each year from infections and other preventable causes, a report said , blaming a lack of political will and funding for the crisis.
No travel measures despite Saudi SARS-like virus toll
The World Health Organisation said there was no need for travel restrictions in Saudi Arabia as the death toll from a SARS-like virus there rose to 11, but urged international vigilance.
Flexibility just as important as preparation in an emergency
Be prepared. That's what we're taught in the event of a disaster. But Dr. Marita O'Brien, an assistant professor in the Psychology Department of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), is conducting research that shows preparation is only half of the equation when it comes to safety among the general public.
Assessing the impact of indoor air pollution on Europeans
The health impact of indoor air pollution is a real environmental health issue, which is believed to have a bearing on respiratory conditions such as asthma. This has prompted a European study to take action. While outdoor pollution is often cited as the cause of many asthma related issues, indoor threats are also being addressed in the light of World Asthma Day.
New test methods can reduce the amount of animal testing
Making more use of in-vitro testing, the upcoming 21st-century scientific fields known as 'omics' sciences and developing smart test strategies can clearly reduce the amount of essential animal testing. This is the view of Professor Bennard van Ravenzwaay in his inaugural speech on accepting the endowed chair in Reproduction and Developmental Toxicology at Wageningen University on 2 May. His chair will be funded by BASF and is part of the sub-department of Toxicology.
Nursing research explores challenges for pregnant same-sex couples
Research indicates pregnant same-sex couples are facing systemic challenges with maternal healthcare because of policies, procedures and practices that assume parents are heterosexual couples.
Basophils required for the induction of Th2 immunity to haptens and peptide antigens
Researchers from Kyoto University have reported that basophils play a central role in Th2 induction.
Researchers finds Irish Lupus patients likely to benefit from new treatment
Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have discovered that a new treatment for the inflammatory condition, Systemic Lupus Erythmstosus (SLE) could potentially benefit Irish patients who suffer from the condition.
Biomechanical performances of old-fashioned leather and modern football helmets
Researchers at the Center for Injury Biomechanics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia compared the relative safety afforded by two 1930-vintage leather football helmets and 10 modern football helmets during impacts to players' heads. These researchers found that all 10 modern helmets provided significantly more protection than leather helmets used in the first half of the twentieth century, and demonstrated that differences also exist between modern helmets. Details on their methods and findings are found in "Biomechanical performance of leather and modern football helmets. Technical note," by Steven Rowson, Ph.D., Ray W. Daniel, M.S., and Stefan M. Duma, Ph.D., published today online, ahead of print, in the Journal of Neurosurgery.
ASTRO and AUA issue joint guideline for radiation therapy after prostatectomy
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the American Urological Association (AUA) are pleased to announce the publication of the joint guideline on radiation therapy after prostatectomy for patients with and without evidence of prostate cancer recurrence. The 81-page document represents an intensive collaboration among experts in the radiation oncology and urology fields, led by Richard K. Valicenti, MD, MA, professor and chair of the department of radiation oncology at the University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sacramento, on behalf of ASTRO, and Ian M. Thompson, MD, director of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Glenda and Gary Woods Distinguished Chair in genitourinary oncology, on behalf of the AUA.
Minimally invasive VATS-LCSD helps children with refractory ventricular arrhythmias
Inherited ventricular arrhythmias are an important cause of morbidity and sudden cardiac death in children who have structurally normal hearts. Despite conventional medical therapy, some of these children remain symptomatic with recurrent life-threatening arrhythmias, syncope, or frequent discharges from implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Video-assisted thoracoscopic left cardiac sympathetic denervation (VATS-LCSD) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help many of these children with refractory cardiac arrhythmias. The results of a single-center experience with VATS-LCSD will be presented during the Congenital Heart Disease Session of the 93rd AATS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis by Dr. Sophie C. Hofferberth, MBBS.
Spinal 'spacer' procedure has fewer complications, but higher risk of repeat surgery
Interspinous spacer implantation—a less-invasive alternative surgical option for spinal stenosis—has a lower complication rate than spinal fusion, reports a study in the May 1 issue of Spine.
Hastings Center calls on health care professionals and organizations to meet standards for good care near the end of lif
People with chronic or life-threatening illnesses often experience problems with their care, including confusion and conflict over how to make good decisions, poor communication with care providers, inadequate pain and symptom relief, and treatments with little or no benefit. Poor care decreases patients' quality of life, increases family stress, and adds cost but not value to health care, often with heartbreaking financial consequences for families. A new set of consensus guidelines produced by The Hastings Center can help health care professionals improve care near the end of life. The guidelines clarify what is ethically and legally permissible in the United States regarding the use life-sustaining technologies, provide in-depth guidance on talking with patients and surrogates, and offer recommendations about how to improve the delivery of care.
Antimicrobial resistance in Vietnam
Heiman Wertheim and Arjun Chandna from Oxford University and colleagues describe the launch and impact of VINARES, an initiative to strengthen antimicrobial stewardship in Viet Nam, which may be instructive for other countries struggling to address the threat of antimicrobial resistance.
Robot-assisted kidney cancer surgery offers many benefits, but at a cost
Robot-assisted surgery to remove kidney cancers has seen a rapid increase in use, and has both replaced and proven safer than laparoscopic procedures for the same purpose, according to a study by the Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
First corneal transplant with pre-loaded donor tissue performed at Mass. Eye and Ear
The first successful cornea transplant with donor endothelial tissue preloaded by an eye bank has been performed at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, Mass. Roberto Pineda II, M.D., Director of the Refractive Surgery Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, and an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, recently performed the groundbreaking transplant.
Study shows that bedtime regularity predicts CPAP compliance
A new study suggests that regularity of bedtime prior to initiation of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is an important factor that may influence treatment compliance in adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Anti-depressant link to Clostridium difficile infection
Certain types of anti-depressants have been linked to an increase in the risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine. Awareness of this link should improve identification and early treatment of CDI.
Nutritional quality at fast-food restaurants still needs improvement, study reports
More than 25 percent of American adults chow down on fast food two or more times each week. Known for menu items containing high amounts of fat, sugar, and salt, fast-food restaurants have contributed to America's poor diets and increased risk of diet-related chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes. A new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research program and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine presents results from a 14-year study indicating that fast food restaurant menus have only modestly increased nutritious offerings, and much improvement is still needed.
Sleep problems may increase risk for prostate cancer
Men who reported sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, had up to a twofold increased risk for prostate cancer, according to data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Exercise-related changes in estrogen metabolism may lower breast cancer risk
Changes in estrogen breakdown, or metabolism, may be one of the mechanisms by which aerobic exercise lowers a woman's breast cancer risk, according to data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
China reports four more deaths, 129 bird flu cases
The death toll from the H7N9 bird flu outbreak in China has risen to 31, according to official figures, with four more people dying of the virus in China's eastern provinces.
Decades-old question: Is antibacterial soap safe?
It's a chemical that's been in U.S. households for more than 40 years, from the body wash in your bathroom shower to the knives on your kitchen counter to the bedding in your baby's basinet.
tPA: Clot buster and brain protector
(Medical Xpress)—Ever since its introduction in the 1990s, the "clot-busting" drug tPA has been considered a "double-edged sword" for people experiencing a stroke. It can help restore blood flow to the brain, but it also can increase the likelihood of deadly hemorrhage. In fact, many people experiencing a stroke do not receive tPA because the window for giving the drug is limited to the first few hours after a stroke's onset.
Study examines risk factors in recurrent child abuse, neglect
(Medical Xpress)—The shorter the intervals between previous child maltreatment incidents, the greater the likelihood that the child will experience abuse or neglect in the future, suggests a new study by a social work professor at the University of Illinois.
Skills learning program in middle schools dramatically reduces fighting
(Medical Xpress)—Middle school children who completed a social-emotional skills learning program at school were 42 percent less likely to engage in physical fighting a year later, according to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Recently published research targets malaria mosquito control woes
(Medical Xpress)—Malaria is responsible for about 700,000 deaths annually in sub-Saharan Africa alone, and a team of Texas A&M University researchers is doing their best to help stem this perpetual tide of human suffering.
Exercise could reduce bone tumor growth
(Medical Xpress)—Weight-bearing exercise, often prescribed to combat bone loss, might have anti-cancer effects. Cornell biomedical researchers report that mechanical stimulation of cancerous bone, in making bone stronger, seems to make tumors weaker.
Geneticists find causes for severe childhood epilepsies
(Medical Xpress)—Using a state-of-the-art DNA sequencing technique, UA researchers have discovered genetic mutations underlying seizure disorders in previously undiagnosed children.
Period pain not made worse by copper IUD
Using a copper intrauterine device (IUD), or coil, does not exacerbate period pain, reveals a study where researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, followed 2,100 women for 30 years.
New drug targets skin cancer
A new class of drug targeting skin cancer's genetic material has been successfully tested in humans for the first time, opening the way to new treatments for a range of conditions from skin cancers to eye diseases.
Baxter drug fails to slow Alzheimer's in big study (Update)
Baxter International Inc. says that a blood product it was testing failed to slow mental decline or to preserve physical function in a major study of 390 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
Synthetic pot use can mimic symptoms of prenatal disorder
(HealthDay)—Women who use synthetic marijuana during pregnancy can develop symptoms similar to those associated with eclampsia and preeclampsia, according to a new study.
Type 1 diabetes and heart disease linked by inflammatory protein
Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes appears to increase the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death among people with high blood sugar, partly by stimulating the production of calprotectin, a protein that sparks an inflammatory process that fuels the buildup of artery-clogging plaque. The findings, made in mice and confirmed with human data, suggest new therapeutic targets for reducing heart disease in people with type 1 diabetes. Led by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers in collaboration with investigators at New York University and the University of Pittsburgh, the study was published today in the online edition of Cell Metabolism.
Less than half of deaths after angioplasty result of procedure, study shows
Only 42 percent of the deaths occurring within 30 days of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) were attributable to complications from the procedure, according to a Cleveland Clinic study published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The research suggests alternative outcome reporting mechanisms for 30-day mortality for PCI should be considered before mandatory reporting regulations are put into place.
Study finds increase in fall-related traumatic brain injuries among elderly men and women
"Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of hospitalization, disability, and death-worldwide, and among older adults, falling is the most common cause of TBI," writes Niina Korhonen, B.M., of the Injury and Osteoporosis Research Center, Tampere, Finland, and colleagues in a Research Letter. The authors previously reported that the number and incidence of adults 80 years of age or older admitted to the hospital due to fall-induced TBI in Finland increased from 1970 through 1999. This analysis is a follow-up of this population through 2011.
Certain bladder-cancer patients may be at high risk of disease recurrence despite bladder removal
Patients with advanced bladder cancers that are surgically removed might need additional therapy to prevent recurrence in certain situations, a new UT Southwestern Medical Center study suggests.
Genetic variations associated with susceptibility to bacteria linked to stomach disorders
Two genome-wide association studies and a subsequent meta-analysis have found that certain genetic variations are associated with susceptibility to Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that is a major cause of gastritis and stomach ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer, findings that may help explain some of the observed variation in individual risk for H pylori infection, according to a study in the May 8 issue of JAMA.
Using anticholinergics for as few as 60 days causes memory problems in older adults
Research from the Regenstrief Institute, the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and Wishard-Eskenazi Health on medications commonly taken by older adults has found that drugs with strong anticholinergic effects cause cognitive impairment when taken continuously for as few as 60 days. A similar impact can be seen with 90 days of continuous use when taking multiple drugs with weak anticholinergic effect.
Study demonstrates that once-a-day pill offers relief from ragweed allergy symptoms
An international team of researchers, led by physician-scientists at Johns Hopkins, reports that a once-daily tablet containing a high dose of a key ragweed pollen protein effectively blocks the runny noses, sneezes, nasal congestion and itchy eyes experienced by ragweed allergy sufferers.
All hospitals should require drug, alcohol tests for physicians
To improve patient safety, hospitals should randomly test physicians for drug and alcohol use in much the same way other major industries in the United States do to protect their customers. The recommendation comes from two Johns Hopkins physicians and patient safety experts in a commentary published online April 29 in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Older adults' memory lapses linked to problems processing everyday events
Some memory problems common to older adults may stem from an inability to segment daily life into discrete experiences, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Nerve stimulation for severe depression changes brain function
For nearly a decade, doctors have used an implanted electronic stimulator to treat severe depression in people who don't respond to standard antidepressant therapy.
Initiation of breast cancer treatment varies by race; patient-doctor communication is key
Black women with breast cancer were found to be three times more likely than their white counterparts to delay treatment for more than 90 days—a time delay associated with increased deaths from the disease, according to a new study led by researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Genetic variant may explain weight loss post-RYGB surgery
(HealthDay)—A genetic variant associated with weight loss after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery has been identified, according to a study published in the May 2 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Diabetes, hypertension prevalent with spinal stenosis
(HealthDay)—Nonelderly, older adults with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) have a higher prevalence of diabetes and hypertension than those without stenosis, according to a study published in the April 20 issue of Spine.
Buying testosterone supplements online can be risky
(HealthDay)—If you're a man suffering from low energy or libido, the drug industry is eager to help. So-called "Low T"—low testosterone—has become a common catch phrase in TV commercials, and sales of testosterone supplements are on the rise in the United States.
Discovery holds potential in destroying drug-resistant bacteria
Through the serendipity of science, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered a potential treatment for deadly, drug-resistant bacterial infections that uses the same approach that HIV uses to infect cells. The National Institutes of Health-supported discovery will be described in the June issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. It is especially promising in the development of a potential treatment for lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.
MicroRNA cooperation mutes breast cancer oncogenes
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Cell Death & Disease shows that turning up a few microRNAs a little may offer as much anti-breast-cancer activity as turning up one microRNA a lot – and without the unwanted side effects.
Cholesterol drugs might boost kidney cancer survival
Study evaluates effect of increasing detection intervals in implantable cardioverter-defibrillators
Programming an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) with a long-detection interval compared with a standard-detection interval resulted in a reduction in anti-tachycardia pacing episodes, ICD shocks delivered, and inappropriate shocks, according to a study in the May 8 issue of JAMA.
Turning Alzheimer's fuzzy signals into high definition
Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered how the predominant class of Alzheimer's pharmaceuticals might sharpen the brain's performance.
Older people in Africa have limited functional ability
The number of adults living into older age in sub-Saharan Africa is rapidly growing yet many older men and women will have an illness or disability that limits their ability to function, according to a study by researchers from the US and Malawi published in this week's PLOS Medicine.
Link between intimate partner violence and depression
Not only are women who have experienced violence from their partner (intimate partner violence) at higher risk of becoming depressed, but women who are depressed may also be at increased risk of experiencing intimate partner violence, according to a study by international researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.
Scientists find potential therapeutic target for Cushing's disease
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a protein that drives the formation of pituitary tumors in Cushing's disease, a development that may give clinicians a therapeutic target to treat this potentially life-threatening disorder.
Study links diet with daytime sleepiness and alertness in healthy adults
A new study suggests that your level of sleepiness or alertness during the day may be related to the type of food that you eat.
Judge in NYC rips opposition to Plan B order
A federal judge, asked by the U.S. government to freeze his plan giving teenage girls broader access to morning-after birth control, instead seized the chance to accuse health officials of taking steps that would end up hurting poor people by making it harder for them to get the contraceptive.
Experimental drug beneficial in NIH trial to treat a rare sarcoma
(Medical Xpress)—Patients with advanced alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS), a rare cancer, achieved some control of their disease using an experimental anti-cancer drug called cediranib. The results from this largest clinical trial on ASPS to date were published online ahead of print on April 29, 2013, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The phase II trial was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Amplification of a Stat5 gene produces excess oncogenic protein that drives prostate cancer spread
An international group of investigators, led by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University's Kimmel Cancer Center, have solved the mystery of why a substantial percentage of castrate-resistant metastatic prostate cancer cells contain abnormally high levels of the pro-growth protein Stat5. They discovered that the gene that makes the protein is amplified—duplicated many times over—in these cancer cells, which allows them to produce excess amounts of the oncogenic protein.
Bionic eye maker has vision of the future
Robert Greenberg got tired of hearing from senior engineers that it wasn't possible to build his product idea: a bionic eye that gives sight to the blind. "A lot of the folks straight out of school didn't know any better, so I hired them instead," quipped Greenberg, chief executive of Second Sight Medical Products Inc., a Sylmar, Calif., biotech company. "They didn't know how hard it was going to be, that it was impossible. And so they tried."
Scientists find clues to some inherited heart diseases
(Medical Xpress)—Cornell researchers have uncovered the basic cell biology that helps explain heart defects found in diseases known as laminopathies, a group of some 15 genetic disorders that include forms of muscular dystrophy and between 5 percent and 10 percent of all cases of inherited heart disease.
Debunking the IQ myth
(Medical Xpress)—You may be more than a single number, according to a team of Western-led researchers. Considered a standard gauge of intelligence, an intelligence quotient (IQ) score doesn't actually provide an accurate measure of one's intellect, according to a landmark study – the largest of its kind – led by Adrian Owen of the Brain and Mind Institute at Western.
New perspective needed for role of major Alzheimer's gene
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists' picture of how a gene strongly linked to Alzheimer's disease harms the brain may have to be revised, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found.
Women's, men's brains respond differently to hungry infant's cries
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have uncovered firm evidence for what many mothers have long suspected: women's brains appear to be hard-wired to respond to the cries of a hungry infant.
Discovery of new hormone opens doors to new type 2 diabetes treatments
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers have discovered that a particular type of protein (hormone) found in fat cells helps regulate how glucose (blood sugar) is controlled and metabolized (used for energy) in the liver. Using experimental models and state-of-the-art technology, the scientists found that switching off this protein leads to better control of glucose production from the liver, revealing a potential new target that may be used to treat type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
Rats take high-speed multisensory snapshots
When animals are on the hunt for food they likely use many senses, and scientists have wondered how the different senses work together. New research from the laboratory of CSHL neuroscientist and Assistant Professor Adam Kepecs shows that when rats actively use the senses of smell (sniffing) and touch (through their whiskers) those two processes are locked in synchronicity. The team's paper, published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, shows that sniffing and "whisking" movements are synchronized even when they are running at different frequencies.
Theta brainwaves reflect ability to beat built-in bias
Vertebrates are predisposed to act to gain rewards, and to lay low to avoid punishment. Try to teach chickens to back away from food in order to obtain it, and you'll fail, as researchers did in 1986. But (some) humans are better thinkers than chickens. In the May 8 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers show that the level of theta brainwave activity in the prefrontal cortex predicts whether people will be able to overcome these ingrained biases when doing so is required to achieve a goal.
Restless legs syndrome, insomnia and brain chemistry: A tangled mystery solved?
Johns Hopkins researchers believe they may have discovered an explanation for the sleepless nights associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS), a symptom that persists even when the disruptive, overwhelming nocturnal urge to move the legs is treated successfully with medication.
Researchers describe how breast cancer cells acquire drug resistance
A seven-year quest to understand how breast cancer cells resist treatment with the targeted therapy lapatinib has revealed a previously unknown molecular network that regulates cell death. The discovery provides new avenues to overcome drug resistance, according to researchers at Duke Cancer Institute.