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SCIENCE

New devices could reduce excess heat in computers

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets. These materials make it possible to achieve computing speeds much faster than existing devices. Conventional devices using current technologies have the unwelcome side effect of getting hot and being limited in speed. This is slowing down the progress of information ... Read More »

Open insulin, ‘DIY bio’ and the future of pharma

The development, manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States is a complex landscape involving intellectual property and strict federal regulations. But according to Colorado State University scientists, the status quo of the U.S. pharmaceutical market may soon be turned on its head. That’s due in part to a growing community of do-it-yourself “biohackers” who are disrupting business-as-usual ... Read More »

Testosterone replacement therapy may slow the progression of COPD

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that testosterone replacement therapy may slow disease progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The paper is currently available in Chronic Respiratory Disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is predicted by the World Health Organization to be the third-leading cause of illness and death internationally by 2030. Low testosterone ... Read More »

The next phase: Using neural networks to identify gas-phase molecules

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have begun to use neural networks to identify the structural signatures of molecular gases, potentially providing new and more accurate sensing techniques for researchers, the defense industry and drug manufacturers. This breakthrough work has been recognized as a finalist for a 2018 R&D 100 award. R&D 100 awards, called ... Read More »

One in three college freshmen worldwide reports mental health disorder

As if college were not difficult enough, more than one-third of first-year university students in eight industrialized countries around the globe report symptoms consistent with a diagnosable mental health disorder, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. “While effective care is important, the number of students who need treatment for these disorders far exceeds the resources of most ... Read More »

Why some people are at risk of gout

University of Otago researchers have helped characterise a genetic variant that enables new understanding of why some people are at risk of gout, a painful and debilitating arthritic disease. Gout is caused by persistently elevated levels of urate in the blood, which causes severe joint pain and swelling, especially in peoples’ toes, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. It can be ... Read More »

Computer avatars play a part in dementia detection

Diagnosis of dementia has been made via cognitive function tests such as Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and medical imaging systems at hospitals, a fairly large system for the purpose. As our population ages, an increasing number of people are developing dementia. Thus, easy-to-use dementia detection tests are sought after. In previous studies, diagnoses were made mainly using neuropsychological questions, so ... Read More »

Conservation dairy farming could help Pa. meet Chesapeake target

If the majority of dairy farms in Pennsylvania fully adopt conservation best-management practices, the state may be able to achieve its total maximum daily load water-quality target for the Chesapeake Bay, according to researchers. That is the conclusion of a novel assessment of the simulated effects of implementing a conservation dairy-farming system on all dairy farms in the Spring Creek ... Read More »

Sniffing out error in detection dog data

A new study in the journal Scientific Reports gets to the bottom of it: Why do dogs that are trained to locate poop sometimes find the wrong kind of poop? It happens anywhere from 4 percent to 45 percent of the time, said Karen DeMatteo, a biologist in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Her new research ... Read More »

Expedited partner therapy: With STDs at an all-time high, why aren’t more people getting a proven treatment?

Nearly 2.3 million times last year, Americans learned they had a sexually transmitted disease. But despite these record-high infection rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea, most patients only receive treatment for their own infection — when they probably could get antibiotics or a prescription for their partner at the same time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended this ... Read More »

Mixed chemicals in beauty products may harm women’s hormones

As we go about our daily lives, we are exposed to many different chemicals that could have negative effects on our hormones. These hormonal changes have been linked to several adverse health outcomes such as breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, understanding chemicals that influence hormone levels is important for public health — and particularly for women’s health — since ... Read More »

Caspase-2 enzyme inhibitor shows promise for ameliorating fatty liver disease

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered using mice and human clinical specimens, that caspase-2, a protein-cleaving enzyme, is a critical driver of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a chronic and aggressive liver condition. By identifying caspase-2’s critical role, they believe an inhibitor of this enzyme could provide an effective way to stop the pathogenic progression that ... Read More »

Enhanced 3-D imaging poised to advance treatments for brain diseases

Researchers have developed a combination of commercially available hardware and open-source software, named PySight, which improves rapid 2D and 3D imaging of the brain and other tissues. By seamlessly enabling integration of the fastest 3D imaging solution available today, the advance in microscopy could help scientists to better understand brain dynamics and discover new treatments for health problems such as ... Read More »

Obesity alters airway muscle function, increases asthma risk

New research suggests that obesity changes how airway muscles function, increasing the risk of developing asthma. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology — Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. The prevalence of asthma and obesity — as both separate and coexisting conditions — has grown considerably in the U.S. in recent years. Obesity is ... Read More »

Viruses under the microscope

Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infects almost all of the human population, but only very few will show any symptoms during their lifetime: HHV-6 is one of the most widespread viruses among the population. Between 95 and 100 percent of healthy adults have antibodies to the virus which means that they have been infected at some point in the past. The ... Read More »

Programmable materials: Hydrogels capable of complex movement created

Living organisms expand and contract soft tissues to achieve complex, 3-D movements and functions, but replicating those movements with human-made materials has proven challenging. A University of Texas at Arlington researcher recently published groundbreaking research in Nature Communications that shows promise in finding a solution. Kyungsuk Yum, an assistant professor in UTA’s Materials Science and Engineering Department, and his doctoral ... Read More »

Trees reveal the evolution of environmental pollution

In an article published in the journal Environmental Pollution, Brazilian researchers showed that tree species Tipuana tipu have been successfully employed as a marker of atmospheric pollution by heavy metal and other chemical compounds in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest metropolis. This Bolivia-native species commonly known as tipuana tree is ubiquitous in the city. Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s ... Read More »

Suspending young students risks future success in school

Some kindergartners and first-graders suspended from school can find it challenging to reverse the negative trajectory in their academic life, says a University of Michigan researcher. These young suspended students — especially boys — are likely to be suspended again later in elementary school, according to Zibei Chen, a research fellow at the U-M School of Social Work, and colleagues ... Read More »

Helping computers fill in the gaps between video frames

Given only a few frames of a video, humans can usually surmise what is happening and will happen on screen. If we see an early frame of stacked cans, a middle frame with a finger at the stack’s base, and a late frame showing the cans toppled over, we can guess that the finger knocked down the cans. Computers, however, ... Read More »

The art of storytelling: Researchers explore why we relate to characters

For thousands of years, humans have relied on storytelling to engage, to share emotions and to relate personal experiences. Now, psychologists at McMaster University are exploring the mechanisms deep within the brain to better understand just what happens when we communicate. New research published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, suggests that no matter how a narrative is expressed — ... Read More »

BUFFALO charges towards the earliest galaxies

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has started a new mission to shed light on the evolution of the earliest galaxies in the Universe. The BUFFALO survey will observe six massive galaxy clusters and their surroundings. The first observations show the galaxy cluster Abell 370 and a host of magnified, gravitationally lensed galaxies around it. Learning about the formation and evolution ... Read More »

Keep them guessing, keep them gaming

Marketers everywhere are looking for what will entice consumers to make a purchase — not just once but repeatedly — and new research points to a rather surprising result. While conventional wisdom says that people don’t like uncertain gains or rewards, a study from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds that uncertainty can play an important role ... Read More »

VLBA measures asteroid’s characteristics

In an unusual observation, astronomers used the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to study the effects on radio waves coming from a distant radio galaxy when an asteroid in our Solar System passed in front of the galaxy. The observation allowed them to measure the size of the asteroid, gain new information about its shape, and greatly ... Read More »

New method promises fewer side effects from cancer drugs

Protein research is one of the hottest areas in medical research because proteins make it possible to develop far more effective pharmaceuticals for the treatment of diabetes, cancer and other illnesses. However, while proteins have great potential, they also present great challenges for scientists. Proteins have incredibly complex chemical structures that make them difficult to modify. As a result, researchers ... Read More »

World speed record for polymer simulations shattered by over a hundred-fold

From a humble plastic bag to ultra-light airplane wings — polymers are everywhere. These molecules are long chains of atoms that are chemically joined to play many roles that we all love (organic photovoltaics) and hate (indestructible plastic pollution). Polymers are useful in liquid form as well: the difference between tomato puree and ketchup is merely 0.5% of xanthan gum, ... Read More »

Disrupting genetic processes reverses aging in human cells

Research has shed new light on genetic processes that may one day lead to the development of therapies that can slow, or even reverse, how our cells age. A study led by the University of Exeter Medical School has found that certain genes and pathways that regulate splicing factors — a group of proteins in our body that tell our ... Read More »

Largest study of ‘post-treatment controllers’ reveals clues about HIV remission

Most HIV patients need to take daily anti-retroviral therapy — if they suspend treatment, HIV will rebound within 3-4 weeks. But clinical trials have revealed that a small fraction of patients can stop taking medications yet keep the virus suppressed for 24 weeks or longer, maintaining viral control without the assistance of medication. Much remains unknown about this unique group ... Read More »

Anti-inflammatory diet linked to reduced risk of early death

Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet was associated with lower risks of dying from any cause, dying from cardiovascular causes, and dying from cancer in a recent Journal of Internal Medicine study. In the study of 68,273 Swedish men and women aged 45 to 83 years who were followed for 16 years, participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet had ... Read More »

Poorest Americans most likely to have used prescription opioids

Among older Americans, the poorest are the most likely to have used prescription opioids, according to a University at Buffalo study providing new insights into unexplored contours of the opioid crisis. The study also raises important questions about access to pain management options for the disadvantaged in the current climate of the opioid epidemic. “The poor had about double the ... Read More »

Leptospirosis strains identified in Uruguay cattle

Leptospirosis infections, caused by Leptospira bacteria, occur in people and animals around the world, but different strains of the bacteria may vary in their ability to cause disease and to jump between species. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have for the first time described the characteristics of the Leptospira variants that infect cattle in Uruguay. Leptospirosis is ... Read More »

Calorie counts on restaurant menus have customers ordering less

Bye-bye artichoke dip. Heavyweight appetizers and fatty entrees may not get much love when restaurants list calories on their menus. In a new study, Cornell University researchers conducted a randomized experiment and found that diners at full service restaurants whose menus listed calories ordered meals with 3 percent fewer calories — about 45 calories less — than those who had ... Read More »

Carrier status matters in foot-and-mouth disease

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is believed to be one of the most contagious pathogens of animals in its acute form; however, there is still controversy over whether it is transmissible from asymptomatic, long-term carriers. Despite the lack of evidence for transmission by direct contact with FMDV carrier cattle, there is demonstrable contagion associated with these animals, according to a new ... Read More »

Fluorescence-activating beta-barrel protein made from scratch for first time

For the first time, scientists have created, entirely from scratch, a protein capable of binding to a small target molecule. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine report the advance in the Sept. 12 issue of the journal Nature. Previously, such small-molecule binding proteins have been made by altering proteins already existing in nature. That approach significantly limited ... Read More »

Enhancing data analysis for large hadron collider

New York University physicists have created new techniques that deploy machine learning as a means to significantly improve data analysis for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. “The methods we developed greatly enhance our discovery potential for new physics at the LHC,” says Kyle Cranmer, a professor of physics and the senior author of the ... Read More »

New plant species discovered in museum is probably extinct

A single non-photosynthetic plant specimen preserved in a Japanese natural history museum has been identified as a new species. However, it is highly possible that this species is already extinct. These findings were published on September 13 in Phytotaxa. This plant was discovered in Kobe, Japan, in 1992, and preserved with its identity unknown. No new specimens were found in ... Read More »

Geologists reveal ancient connection between England and France

The British mainland was formed from the collision of not two, but three ancient continental land masses, according to new research. Scientists have for centuries believed that England, Wales and Scotland were created by the merger of Avalonia and Laurentia more than 400 million years ago. However, geologists based at the University of Plymouth now believe that a third land ... Read More »

Scientists reveal drumming helps schoolchildren diagnosed with autism

Drumming for 60 minutes a week can benefit children diagnosed with autism and supports learning at school, according to a new scientific study. The project, led by the University of Chichester and University Centre Hartpury, showed students’ ability to follow their teachers’ instructions improved significantly and enhanced their social interactions between peers and members of school staff. Research involved pupils ... Read More »

Probiotic use may reduce antibiotic prescriptions

Use of probiotics is linked to reduced need for antibiotic treatment in infants and children, according to a review of studies that probed the benefits of probiotics, say researchers in the U.S., England and the Netherlands. Their study, supported in part by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics and published in the European Journal of Public Health, found ... Read More »

Most fire in Florida goes undetected

A new study from Florida State University researchers indicates that common satellite imaging technologies have vastly underestimated the number of fires in Florida. Their report, published in collaboration with researchers from the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, challenges well-established beliefs about the nature and frequency of fire in the Sunshine State. While there were more fires than expected, ... Read More »

Dietary fiber reduces brain inflammation during aging

As mammals age, immune cells in the brain known as microglia become chronically inflamed. In this state, they produce chemicals known to impair cognitive and motor function. That’s one explanation for why memory fades and other brain functions decline during old age. But, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, there may be a remedy to delay ... Read More »

How skin begins: New research could improve skin grafts, and more

University of Colorado Boulder researchers have discovered a key mechanism by which skin begins to develop in embryos, shedding light on the genetic roots of birth defects like cleft palate and paving the way for development of more functional skin grafts for burn victims. “This study maps how skin development starts, from the earliest stages,” said Rui Yi, senior author ... Read More »

We have more than enough calories, but what about other nutrients?

The United Nation’s second Sustainable Development Goal targets the end of malnutrition in all forms by 2030. But new research shows that to meet this target, we need a different approach to assessing the nutrient sufficiency of the global food system. Published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, this is the first study to quantitatively map the flow of energy, ... Read More »

Gut microbes’ role in mammals’ evolution starts to become clearer

An international collaboration led by Oregon State University scientists has made a key advance toward understanding which of the trillions of gut microbes may play important roles in how humans and other mammals evolve. Researchers came up with a novel way of classifying the microbes — a taxonomy that groups them based on their ancestry and common distribution across mammals. ... Read More »

High-resolution genomic map gives scientists unprecedented view of brain development

Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have created a massive database of the changes in gene activity of individual cells in the cerebellum during embryonic development and immediately after birth. The analysis of thousands of brain cells isolated from mice offers researchers a high-resolution map that enables scientists to view the detailed genomic changes cells undergo as the cerebellum ... Read More »

Cancer drug and antidepressants provide clues for treating brain-eating amoeba infections

The amoeba Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in warm swimming pools, lakes and rivers. On rare occasions, the amoeba can infect a healthy person and cause severe primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a “brain-eating” disease that is almost always fatal. Other than trial-and-error with general antifungal medications, there are no treatments for the infection. Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical ... Read More »

Scientists map interactions between head and neck cancer and HPV virus

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is widely known to cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer. However, you might not know that HPV also causes 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancer, a subset of head and neck cancers that affect the mouth, tongue, and tonsils. Although vaccines that protect against HPV infection are now available, they are not yet widespread, especially in men, ... Read More »

New genetics tool helps answer evolutionary questions

The age of big data is here. Thanks to innovations in genetic sequencing technology, scientists can now generate massive datasets describing the genomes of Earth’s diverse set of species. This ever-growing genomic encyclopedia has the capacity to reveal the forces shaping complex patterns of genetic variation between individuals, populations and species — if scientists can only unlock its secrets. Developing ... Read More »

How the immune system protects against Zika-induced neurological symptoms

A type of immune cell that produces a protein called CD4 plays an important role in protecting mice infected with the Zika virus against severe neurological disease, according to a study published September 6 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Amelia Kahler Pinto of Saint Louis University, and colleagues. Based on the findings, vaccines that induce strong responses from ... Read More »