Science: What geeks are reading about in Science from Eurekalert


Here is the latest in Science from Eurekalert.

Improved lifestyle led to decreased cholesterol and less cardiac death
Cholesterol levels — the most common risk factor for heart attacks — have decreased in northern Sweden over the last 20 years. Since medical drugs only account for a third of the decrease, the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease is greatly thanks to a change in lifestyle. This according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.

Formaldehyde exposure from 3 e-cigarette formats tested well below WHO quality guidelines
A new study shows that the daily exposure to formaldehyde from three different types of e-cigarettes is well below the levels considered safe by the World Health Organisation — at less than a sixth of the indoor air quality standard. For all products tested, formaldehyde levels were also well below a number of other formaldehyde safety benchmarks such as the threshold for throat and respiratory tract irritation, the European REACh Derived No Effect Level and occupational exposure guidelines.

Increased protein consumption linked to feelings of fullness: New study
Many people turn to high-protein foods when trying to lose weight because eating protein-rich meals is commonly believed to make dieters feel fuller. Surprisingly, this idea hadn’t been tested on a large scale. In a new study featured in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers conducted a systematic review of the evidence on the effect of protein intake on perceived fullness and confirmed that protein does, in fact, make us feel fuller.

ADHD medications associated with diminished bone health in kids
Children and adolescents who take medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show decreased bone density, according to a large cross-sectional study presented today at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Anterior vs. posterior: Does surgical approach impact hip replacement outcomes?
The surgical approach to total hip replacement — either from the front of the body or the side/back (anterior vs. posterior) — has no impact on outcomes six months after surgery, according to research presented today at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Without ancestral gene life on Earth might not have evolved beyond slime
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have identified a common ancestral gene that enabled the evolution of advanced life over a billion years ago.

Key brain receptor sheds light on neurological conditions, CU Anschutz researchers say
Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that a key receptor in the brain, once thought to only strengthen synapses, can also weaken them, offering new insights into the mechanisms driving depression, drug addiction and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Happiness can break your heart too
Happy events can trigger a heart condition known as takotsubo syndrome, according to research published in the European Heart Journal. Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is known as ‘broken heart syndrome.’ Now, for the first time, researchers have systematically analyzed data from the largest group of patients diagnosed with TTS worldwide, and found that some patients have developed the condition after a happy or joyful event; they have named it ‘happy heart syndrome.’

Newly identified genetic errors may prevent heart attacks
A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has identified two genes that, when altered in specific ways, either promote or undermine cardiovascular health. The findings may help guide efforts to design new preventive drugs, similar to the way statins now are prescribed to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Energy drinks trigger abnormal heart rhythm, rise in blood pressure
A new study adds to the evidence that energy drinks may be bad for your heart.

Impact of climate change on food production could cause over 500000 extra deaths in 2050
Climate change could kill more than 500000 adults in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity, according to new estimates published in The Lancet. The research is the strongest evidence yet that climate change could have damaging consequences for food production and health worldwide.

New, less toxic therapy for stage-4 breast cancer
For women suffering from stage-4 breast cancer, there is a new treatment plan that, according to a recent Northwestern Medicine clinical trial, is highly effective and has minimal toxicity. The treatment includes a drug recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Drug combination slows breast cancer spread
A combination of two drugs delays progression of advanced, aggressive breast cancer by an average of nine months — working in all subsets of the most common type of breast cancer. The combination — of a first-in-class targeted drug called palbociclib, and the hormone drug fulvestrant — slowed cancer growth in around two thirds of women with advanced forms of the most common type of breast cancer.

Hypothermia during surgery linked with increased risk for infection
A Henry Ford Hospital finds that hypothermia, a relatively common but unintentional occurrence during surgery, is associated with an increased risk for infection in patients who undergo surgery to repair a hip fracture. Researchers theorize that advancing age and lower body mass index (BMI) may be linked to the hypothermia.

Better way to treat abscesses: Add antibiotic to conventional approach
UCLA researchers appear to have found a better way to treat many skin abscesses in the emergency department. The findings are important due to the emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which since 2000 has become the most common cause of skin infections in the US. The findings have the potential to improve recovery from the difficult-to-treat infection while limiting its spread.

UD prof studies how permafrost thawing affects vegetation, carbon cycle
University of Delaware scientists are exploring how the thawing of permafrost affects vegetation and the carbon cycle in the Toolik Lake area of Alaska’s North Slope.

New research clarifies how stem cells get activated to produce new hair
Stem cells residing in hair follicles are held in an inactive state for long periods of time. A new study shows that these quiescent periods are essential for maintaining the cells’ rejuvenating activity over time, and clarifies the mechanisms that bring the cells in and out of quiescence.

A new weapon in the fight against children’s brain tumors developed at U-M
Children with brain cancer may soon get some help from mice with the same disease, thanks to a new brain tumor model in mice that should make it easier to test treatments.

A small dragonfly is found to be the world’s longest-distance flyer
A dragonfly barely an inch and a half long appears to be animal world’s most prolific long distance traveler — flying thousands of miles over oceans as it migrates from continent to continent — according to newly published research led by biologists at Rutgers University-Newark.

Invigorating Japanese energy and environmental policy five years after Fukushima
Japanese researchers call for increased interdisciplinarity and internationalization in Japanese energy and environment research to provide effective scientific advice and invigorate Japanese energy and environmental policy five years after Fukushima.

Mysterious cosmic radio bursts found to repeat
Astronomers for the first time have detected repeating short bursts of radio waves from an enigmatic source that is likely located well beyond the edge of our Milky Way galaxy. The findings indicate that these ‘fast radio bursts’ come from an extremely powerful object which occasionally produces multiple bursts in under a minute. Prior to this discovery, reported in Nature, all previously detected fast radio bursts have appeared to be one-off events.

Compound stems damage from brain bleeding
A compound that blocks iron-containing enzymes in the brain improves recovery following brain hemorrhage, a new study in rodents shows, and it works in an unexpected way.

Thirdhand smoke linked to type 2 diabetes
Thirdhand smoke results when exhaled smoke gets on surfaces — clothing, hair, etc. THS has been shown, in mice, to damage the liver and lungs, complicate wound-healing and cause hyperactivity. Add to this list type 2 diabetes. A team led by UC Riverside scientists has found, in mice, that THS exposure causes insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. If confirmed in humans, the study could impact how people view exposure to environmental tobacco-toxins.

Popular blood pressure app misses the mark
A popular smartphone app purported to accurately measure blood pressure simply by placing a cellphone on the chest with a finger over the built-in camera lens misses high blood pressure in eight out of 10 patients, potentially putting users’ health at risk, according to research from Johns Hopkins.

How to prevent 10 million deaths a year
Strategic investments to discover and develop new health tools, together with innovations in effectively delivering today’s health tools and services, could avert 10 million deaths a year within just one generation, argue leading global health experts in a new PLOS Collection.

TSRI scientists find clues to neutralizing coronaviruses such as MERS
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute, Dartmouth and the National Institutes of Health have solved the structure of a key protein in HKU1, a coronavirus identified in Hong Kong in 2005 and highly related to SARS and MERS. They believe their findings will guide future treatments for this family of viruses.

How diet influences colon cancer
A study ties high-fat diet to changes in intestinal stem cells and may help explain increased cancer risk.

Study shows whales dine with their own kind
Researchers from MIT, Northeastern University, the Institute of Marine Research in Norway, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have found that as multiple species of whales feast on herring, they tend to stick with their own kind, establishing species-specific feeding centers along the 150-mile length of Georges Bank.

A range of interventions could curb rising antibiotic resistance in India
Antibiotic resistance is a global public health threat and one of particular concern in India. However, a few urgent priorities for immediate implementation could make a difference according to Ramanan Laxminarayan from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, Washington DC, United States, and Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, from Apollo Hospitals Educational and Research Foundation, New Delhi, India, writing in an Essay published in this week’s PLOS Medicine.

High-fat diet linked to intestinal stem cell changes, increased risk for cancer
Over the past decade, studies have found that obesity and eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet are significant risk factors for many types of cancer. Now, a new study from Whitehead Institute and MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research reveals how a high-fat diet makes the cells of the intestinal lining more likely to become cancerous.

How well did an instant blood pressure app work?
A blood pressure (BP) smartphone app delivered inaccurate results in a small study, which suggests more than three-quarters of individuals with hypertensive BP levels may be falsely reassured that their BP is in the nonhypertensive range, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Study explores how high-fat diet influences colon cancer
A study published in Nature reveals how a high-fat diet makes the cells of the intestinal lining more likely to become cancerous. The new study of mice suggests that a high-fat diet drives a population boom of intestinal stem cells and also generates a pool of other cells that behave like stem cells — that is, they can reproduce themselves indefinitely and differentiate into other cell types. These stem cells and ‘stem-like’ cells are more likely to give rise to intestinal tumors.

Researchers map how marine mammals interact with their prey
A team led by Northeastern University Professor Purnima Ratilal has mapped a mass feeding frenzy involving more than eight highly protected species of whales and dolphins in the US Gulf of Maine region. It is the first time researchers have observed predator and prey interactions in the wild over such a vast expanse, including specific species’ feeding behaviors. Understanding how the two relate could have important implications for conserving marine ecosystems.

Next-generation immunotherapy offers new hope for beating brain cancer
High-grade glioma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Despite improvements in surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, this type of brain tumor is still notoriously hard to treat: less than 10 percent of patients survive beyond five years. Researchers from KU Leuven, Belgium, have now shown that next-generation cell-based immunotherapy may offer new hope in the fight against brain cancer.

New study pinpoints stress factor of mega-earthquake off Japan
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researchers published new findings on the role geological rock formations offshore of Japan played in producing the massive 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake — one of only two magnitude nine mega-earthquakes to occur in the last 50 years. The study, published in the journal Nature, offers new information about the hazard potential of large earthquakes at subduction zones, where tectonic plates converge.

Seven miles deep, ocean still a noisy place
For what may be the first time, NOAA and partner scientists eavesdropped on the deepest part of the world’s ocean and instead of finding a sea of silence, discovered a cacophony of sounds both natural and caused by humans.

Processed meat may increase the risk of breast cancer for Latinas, USC study finds
Latinas who eat processed meats such as bacon and sausage may have an increased risk for breast cancer, according to a new study that did not find the same association among white women. Researchers also looked at consumption of red meats, poultry, all fish and just tuna. White women who ate an average of 14 grams of tuna daily (roughly the size of a thimble) were 25 percent more likely to have breast cancer than those who did not.

Study finds health disparity in treatment of thyroid goiters
Older patients, minorities, and male patients are more likely to develop substernal thyroid goiters that are difficult to remove surgically, putting them at risk for treatment complications and death, say researchers in the Jan. 6 online in the American Journal of Surgery.

Extreme tornado outbreaks have become more common, says study
Most death and destruction inflicted by tornadoes in North America occurs during outbreaks — large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions. Now, a new study shows that the average number of tornadoes in these outbreaks has risen since 1954, and that the chance of extreme outbreaks — tornado factories like the one in 2011 — has also increased.

Bad vibrations: UCI researchers find security breach in 3-D printing process
With findings that could have been taken from the pages of a spy novel, researchers at the University of California, Irvine have demonstrated that they can purloin intellectual property by recording and processing sounds emitted by a 3-D printer.

Mariana Trench: 7 miles deep, the ocean is still a noisy place
For what may be the first time, scientists have eavesdropped on the deepest part of the world’s oceans — the Mariana Trench. Instead of finding a sea of silence, they discovered a cacophony of sounds both natural and caused by humans.

Research shows stem cell infusion could be effective for most common type of heart failure
Cardiac stem cells could be an effective treatment for a common but difficult-to-treat type of heart failure, a new study from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute shows. The study has led to clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration for an Investigational New Drug application to test the cells in patients.

Latest cell transplantation research presented at the 22nd Annual ASNTR Meeting
A special issue of Cell Transplantation is devoted to research presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair, a society for scientists who study neurological disease and possible therapies. Topics include using MSCs to treat Alzheimer’s disease; using inhibitory neurons to block neuropathic pain signaling; gene therapy for Huntington’s disease; comparison of human and rodent grafts for Huntington’s disease and; using growth factors to treat stroke.

AAOS recommends a multi-faceted approach to diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome
New guidelines approved by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Board of Directors recommend the collective use of a thorough patient history and specific physical examination maneuvers, in addition to observation and specific diagnostic tests to more definitively diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, a common source of hand numbness and pain affecting approximately 3 million Americans — primarily women — each year.

Explosive start not needed for fast radio bursts
Astronomers in a recent Nature paper indicated the discovery of the 17th fast radio burst, reporting a radio ‘afterglow’ of a new FRB, which is like a mushroom cloud following a huge explosion, says Shami Chatterjee, a Cornell senior researcher. ‘In our paper, we’re showing that our FRB can’t have an explosive origin. So, either there’s an odd coincidence, or maybe there are different types of FRBs. Either way, it seems we’ve broken this enigmatic phenomenon wide open.’

IU physicist leads discovery of new particle: ‘4-flavored’ tetraquark
Research led by Indiana University physicist Daria Zieminska has resulted in the first detection of a new form of elementary particle: the ‘four-flavored’ tetraquark.

Why pharmaceutical firms may prefer to invest in drugs over vaccines
When it comes to addressing disease, many industry observers and public health advocates believe that pharmaceutical companies prefer to invest in drugs rather than vaccines, as preventives are perceived to be inherently less profitable. A Harvard-Dartmouth study on preventives versus treatments recently summarized in ‘VOX EU,’ offers a new economic rationale for this trend — the population risk for diseases resembles a Zipf distribution, where the demand curve for a drug is likely to support stronger revenue extraction from a drug than for a vaccine.

Researchers discover that human hair and nails can tell toxic secrets
Chemicals used as flame retardants that are potentially harmful to humans are found in hair, toenails and fingernails, according to new research from Indiana University.

Getting from here to there
Intelligent transportation systems enable people to make smart travel choices, whether it’s selecting an alternate route to avoid a minor traffic backup or figuring out the safest evacuation path during a hurricane. But massive amounts of data are challenging the ability of these systems to provide accurate, real-time information to users. A research team that includes the University of Delaware’s Lena Mashayekhy has come up with a way to reduce that data.

Nurse staffing levels key to keeping rehospitalizations down for hip/knee surgery patients
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research shows that patients, who undergo elective hip and knee surgery in hospitals with inadequate nurse staffing and poor nurse work environments, are more likely to require re-hospitalization. The results are set for publication in a future issue of the International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

Story tips from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, March 2016
March 2016 story tips includes: ‘Simulation results could lead to lower production costs for biofuels’; ‘New app provides fuel economy information and more to buyers on the go’; ‘ORNL supercomputer, SNS offer insight into disease’; and ‘Advanced heat pump provides hot savings.’

Not-so-simple green
Two researchers from UCSB’s Bren School examine the dark side of ‘green’ products.

PET scans reveal key details of Alzheimer’s protein growth in aging brains
Neuroscientists show for the first time that PET scans can track the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, they also shed light on tau and beta amyloid, two key proteins associated with the neurodegenerative disorder.

High LDL-C levels in women prior to childbirth linked with high levels in adult offspring
In a study published online by JAMA Cardiology, among more than 500 adult/offspring pairs, elevated maternal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels prior to pregnancy were associated with elevated adult offspring LDL-C levels, beyond the influence attributable to measured lifestyle and inherited genetic factors.

Study examines prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in developing country
Thomas Pilgrim, M.D., of Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a study to determine the prevalence and incidence of clinically silent and manifest rheumatic heart disease in Eastern Nepal. The study was published online by JAMA Cardiology.

Study of patients with melanoma finds most have few moles
Most patients with melanoma had few moles and no atypical moles, and in patients younger than 60, thick melanomas were more commonly found in those with fewer moles but more atypical moles, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Genetics and brain regions linked to sex differences in anxiety-related behavior in chimpanzees
Genetics and specific brain regions are linked to sex differences in chimpanzees’ scratching behavior, a common indicator of anxiety in humans and others primates, according to a research study led by Georgia State University that shows chimpanzees can be models of human mental illness.

Cancer cells’ evasive action revealed
Researchers identify a mechanism by which lung cancer cells evade the body’s immune system.

Toward diagnosing diseases such as cancer in their earliest stages
Detecting diseases such as cancer in their earliest stages can make a huge difference in patient treatment, but it is often difficult to do. Now scientists report in the journal ACS Central Science a new, simple method that could make early disease diagnosis much easier. In addition, their approach only requires a minute sample of patient blood and is 1,000 times more sensitive in detecting biomarkers for thyroid cancer than the current government-approved test.

What gives parmesan cheese its unique taste?
When it comes to pasta and pizza dishes, nothing beats a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top. But the flavor quality of the popular cheese can be inconsistent. Now scientists are using ‘molecular food engineering’ to help ensure its good taste. In a report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they identify key components that contribute to the cheese’s signature flavor.

Chronic kidney disease in cats — Expert guidance on a quality of life issue
Chronic kidney disease is a common, complex and progressive disease that is estimated to affect more than a third of cats over 10 years of age. Affected cats often present with a variety of clinical signs and complications including inappetence, nausea, vomiting, anaemia, hypertension and urinary tract infections — as such, the disease can severely compromise quality of life if inadequately managed.

ORNL researchers stack the odds for novel optoelectronic 2-D materials
Stacking layers of nanometer-thin semiconducting materials at different angles is a new approach to designing the next generation of energy-efficient transistors and solar cells. Recently a team led by researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory used the vibrations between two layers to decipher their stacking patterns. Their study provides a platform for engineering two-dimensional materials with optical and electronic properties that strongly depend on stacking configurations.

Hair forensics could yield false positives for cocaine use
Hair analysis has become standard practice for determining whether someone has abused illicit drugs. But some experts have questioned whether current methods to wash away external contaminants from samples might affect test results. Now one team confirms that for cocaine detection, a pretreatment step can cause the drug on the outside of a hair shaft to wash into it and potentially lead to falsely identifying someone as a drug user. Their study appears in ACS’ journal Analytical Chemistry.

What happens to pharmaceuticals in the digestive system of a bird?
Scientists at the University of York have conducted new research into measuring how commonly-prescribed pharmaceuticals behave in the guts of starlings.

Syrian academics face danger, limited options
The Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, continues to result in death, destruction and displacement. The country’s higher education system has suffered dramatically, too. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, explores some of the struggles that academics in Syria face today.

Study: Homeschooled kids sleep more than others
In the first study of its kind published in the journal Behavioral Sleep Medicine, researchers have determined that teens who are homeschooled benefit from healthier sleep habits than those who go to most private and public schools. The findings provide additional evidence of teens’ altered biological clocks and support an argument for starting traditional high school later in the morning.

Discovery of a gene associated with a set of poorly understood rare diseases
IRB Barcelona identifies GEMC1 as a master gene for the generation of multiciliated cells — cells with fine filaments that move fluids and substances — which are found exclusively in the brain, respiratory tract, and reproductive system.Defects in multiciliated cells lead to ciliopathies — rare and complex diseases that are poorly understood and for which not all causative genes have been identified.

Metamaterial separation proposed for chemical, biomolecular uses
The unique properties of metamaterials have been used to cloak objects from light, and to hide them from vibration, pressure waves and heat. Now, a Georgia Institute of Technology researcher wants to add another use for metamaterials: creating a new directional separation technique that cloaks one compound while concentrating the other.

Some bacterial CRISPRs can snip RNA, too
Did you know the CRISPR/Cas9 system was derived from bacteria, which use it to fight off foreign invaders such as viruses? It allows many bacteria to snip and store segments of DNA from an invading virus, which they can then use to ‘remember’ and destroy DNA from similar invaders if they are encountered again. Recent work demonstrates that some bacteria also use the CRISPR/Cas system to snip and recognize segments of RNA, not just DNA.

Sugar-power — scientists harness the reducing potential of renewable sugars
Dr. Camp, who is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Sciences at the University’s School of Applied Sciences, has been exploring sugar-powered catalysis for the last six years. He heads a group of scientists at Huddersfield and the University of Nottingham — where he was previously based — who are carrying out the research. Their findings are being relayed in presentations and articles, with the latest appearing in the new edition of RSC Advances, published by RSC

Molecular architectures see the light
Organic photovoltaics bear great potential for large-scale, cost-effective solar power generation. One challenge to be surmounted is the poor ordering of the thin layers on top of the electrodes. Utilizing self-assembly on atomically flat, transparent substrates, a team of scientists at the Technical University of Munich has engineered ordered monolayers of molecular networks with photovoltaic responses. The findings open up intriguing possibilities for the bottom-up fabrication of optoelectronic devices with molecular precision.

New report finds ‘surprising gaps’ in knowledge of ovarian cancers
Ovarian cancer should not be categorized as a single disease, but rather as a constellation of different cancers involving the ovary, yet questions remain on how and where various ovarian cancers arise, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Carbon nanotubes improve metal’s longevity under radiation
Carbon nanotubes may improve longevity in nuclear reactors.

Experts make progress towards optimizing diabetes care on a global scale
Diabetes is a significant global health problem, afflicting 382 million people worldwide with increasing prevalence rates and adverse effects on health, wellbeing, and society in general. In this special issue of the Annals of Global Health, ‘Global Dimensions of Diabetes Care,’ experts from around the world synthesize a core set of recommendations using information from 14 countries as a basis in order to work towards optimizing diabetes care globally — a critically important initiative to help stem the diabetes epidemic.

Study links mobile device addiction to depression and anxiety
Is cellphone use detrimental to mental health? A new study from the University of Illinois finds that addiction to, and not simply use of, mobile technology is linked to anxiety and depression in college-age students.

Unique outpatient clinic prioritizes physician training and expeditious patient care
The constant tension between time-limited outpatient visits and the need to spend time training future health care providers can result in rushed patient encounters and suboptimal learning for the trainee. However, the Ambulatory Diagnostic and Treatment Center Outpatient Clinic piloted at the VA Boston Healthcare System may be a possible solution.

Superman can start worrying — we’ve got the formula for (almost) kryptonite!
Theoretical chemists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences have found how to synthesize the first binary compound of krypton and oxygen: a krypton oxide. It turns out that this exotic substance can be produced under extremely high pressure, and its production is quite within the capabilities of today’s laboratories.

Recoupling crops and livestock offers energy savings to Northeast dairy farmers
For Pennsylvania dairy farmers, producing feed grain on-farm requires significantly less energy than importing it from the Midwest, according to Penn State researchers whose findings may help dairy farmers save energy and money in the face of rising feed costs.

Platelet-rich plasma injections may lead to improvements in tissue healing
University of Alberta pilot study marks first time researchers have described structural change in the healing process as well as improvement in patients’ pain and function.

Nearly half of American children living near poverty line
Nearly half of children in the US live dangerously close to the poverty line, according to new research from the National Center for Children in Poverty. Using latest data from the American Community Survey, NCCP researchers found that while the total number of children in the US has remained about the same since 2008, more children today are likely to live in families barely able to afford their most basic needs.

Brief educational program can help curb dating violence among teens
Researchers learned that even as few as five lessons from a community-based dating violence prevention program can effect changes in student attitudes and behaviors. A study by researchers at Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center confirmed that teens who attend relationship classes have lower tolerance for aggression and dating violence. Healthier dating attitudes can be acquired after even brief involvement in an anti-violence curriculum.

Common blood test could predict risk of 2nd stroke
A new discovery about ischemic stroke may allow to doctors to predict patients’ risk of having a second stroke using a commonly performed blood test and their genetic profile.

Shedding light on the day-night cycle
New research sheds light on how the rhythms of daily life are encoded in the brain. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that different groups of neurons, those charged with keeping time, become active at different times of day despite being on the same molecular clock.

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Safe for water?
As fresh water resources become scarce, one option for water-conscious farmers is to water crops with treated wastewater. This effluent is becoming a more popular option for applications that don’t require drinking-quality water. However, there are still questions about how the effluent interacts with and affects the rest of the ecosystem. Researchers set out to follow the environmental paths of four different compounds found in effluent when it is used to spray irrigate wheat crops.

UCLA study finds inflated charges, significant variation in Medicare payment patterns
UCLA researchers found inflated charges and significant variation in patterns of payments for surgical care by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Targeted online ads can actually change how you view yourself
Online advertisements targeted specifically at you because of your behavior can actually change how you feel about yourself, a new study suggests.

Drug halves risk of intestinal paralysis after abdominal surgery
Recovery from abdominal surgery is often slowed by a temporary paralysis of the intestines known as ileus, but in a recent phase II clinical trial, prucalopride — a drug that stimulates motility — cut the risk of ileus lasting for more than 5 days in half.

Trinity immunologists find new ways to beat the ‘bad guys’
One of the key components in a vaccine is an adjuvant, which serves to enhance our body’s immune response to vaccination. Adjuvants have been around for almost a century however it is only recently that scientists are beginning to fully understand how they work.

State laws boost flu vaccination rates in health care workers
State laws mandating influenza immunization for people who work in health care increase their vaccination rates, according to new research led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Journal of Dairy Science offers collection on tail docking
As a service to all those who work with dairy cattle, the Journal of Dairy Science, the official journal of the American Dairy Science Association, has compiled a set of articles on the science of tail docking.

New basal bird from China reveals the morphological diversity in early birds
A new species, Chongmingia zhengi, reported in the journal of Scientific Reports on Jan. 25, 2016, sheds light on the early evolution of birds. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that it is basal to the dominant Mesozoic avian clades Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha, and represents a new basal avialan lineage. This new discovery adds to our knowledge regarding the phylogenetic differentiation and morphological diversity in early avian evolution.

Turning smokestack emissions into carbon nanotube-containing batteries
Carbon dioxide is a main component of smokestack emissions and the most important greenhouse gas implicated in climate change. This week in ACS Central Science, researchers show that they can turn this pollutant into something useful — a material in high demand for high-tech batteries that are needed to store ‘green’ energy such as solar power, while limiting the environmental impact of current power plants.

Converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into batteries
Scientists from Vanderbilt and George Washington universities have worked out a way to make electric vehicles not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative by demonstrating how the graphite electrodes used in the lithium-ion batteries can be replaced with carbon recovered from the atmosphere.

Groundwater from coastal aquifers is a better source for desalination than seawater
Saline groundwater results from seawater intrusion into coastal aquifers, shifting the fresh-saline water interface upward and landward, and replaces fresh groundwater with saline groundwater. The RO process in coastal aquifers will be helpful in restraining seawater intrusion. Other saline groundwater benefits include consistent annual water temperatures, and lower levels of dissolved oxygen, silt density and phytoplankton. The RO desalination process of seawater requires significant energy and large plant area by valuable shorefront property, both of which increase the product water cost.

Researchers enhance CRISPR gene editing technology
Scientists have developed a process that improves the efficiency of CRISPR, an up-and-coming technology used to edit DNA.

Mechanism discovered for mosaic pattern of cells in the nasal cavity
Every cell in our bodies has its proper place, but how do they get there? A Japanese research group discovered the mechanism for a mosaic pattern formation of two different cell types. Their discovery has potentially broad applications as a common principle for determining pattern formation in different types of cell. The findings were published in ‘The Journal of Cell Biology’ on Feb. 29, 2016.

Chemical snapshot unveils path to greener biofuel
Chemists at the University of Copenhagen have taken a leap ahead in understanding enzymes used to crack open cellulose easing subsequent fermentation into alcohol. The study can be important for, among other things, the development and production of sustainable biofuels.

How parents, romantic partners influence student spending
Romantic partners may be even more important than Mom and Dad in influencing college students’ financial behaviors, according to a new paper based on the findings of an ongoing study based at the University of Arizona.

Dementia: ‘Illness’ label can lower mood
Research led by the University of Exeter looked at people who had recently been diagnosed with dementia, and encountered symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating or carrying out daily tasks.

Activating brown fat tissue
In recent decades, obesity has become a global problem. The disease goes hand in hand with a dramatic increase in the proportion of body fat. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research and the Cologne Cluster of Excellence in Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-associated Diseases (CECAD) at the University of Cologne have now succeeded in inhibiting a protein in mice that hampers activation of the useful ‘brown fat.’

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