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Dramatic changes to radiotherapy treatments due to COVID-19

2021-01-23
Dramatic changes were seen in the delivery of radiotherapy treatments for cancer during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in England. Much shorter radiotherapy courses were delivered, treatments were delayed where it was safe to do so and some increases were seen in order to compensate for reduced surgical capacity. Experts believe the changes reflect an impressive adaption of services by the NHS, and that the overall impact on cancer outcomes is likely to be modest. The new research, led by the University of Leeds, with Public Health England and the Royal College of Radiologists, reveals that there was a decrease in radiotherapy treatment courses of 19.9% in April, 6.2% in May, and 11.6% in June 2020, compared with the same months the previous year. These decreases equated ...

UTMB team proves potential for reducing pre-term birth by treating fetus as patient

2021-01-22
GALVESTON, Texas - The results of a study by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch may pave the way for a new medicine delivery system that could reduce the incidence of pre-term labor and premature birth by allowing physicians to treat the 'fetus as the patient'. The study has been published in Science Advances. It has long been suspected that pre-term labor is triggered by inflammation caused by a sick fetus. A new study by scientists at UTMB has proved the hypothesis by studying several important assumptions about the relationship between the health of a mother and her unborn child. According to Dr. Ramkumar Menon, ...

New technique builds super-hard metals from nanoparticles

New technique builds super-hard metals from nanoparticles
2021-01-22
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- Metallurgists have all kinds of ways to make a chunk of metal harder. They can bend it, twist it, run it between two rollers or pound it with a hammer. These methods work by breaking up the metal's grain structure -- the microscopic crystalline domains that form a bulk piece of metal. Smaller grains make for harder metals. Now, a group of Brown University researchers has found a way to customize metallic grain structures from the bottom up. In a paper published in the journal Chem, the researchers show a method for smashing individual metal nanoclusters together to form solid macro-scale hunks of solid metal. Mechanical testing of the metals manufactured ...

Regulating the ribosomal RNA production line

Regulating the ribosomal RNA production line
2021-01-22
The enzyme that makes RNA from a DNA template is altered to slow the production of ribosomal RNA (rRNA), the most abundant type of RNA within cells, when resources are scarce and the bacteria Escherichia coli needs to slow its growth. Researchers used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to capture the structures of the RNA polymerase while in complex with DNA and showed how its activity is changed in response to poor-growth conditions. A paper describing the research led by Penn State scientists appears January 22, 2020 in the journal Nature Communications. "RNA polymerase is an enzyme that produces a variety of RNAs using information encoded in DNA," said Katsuhiko Murakami, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and the leader of the research ...

ECMO/CRRT in the treatment of critically ill SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients

2021-01-22
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; DOI https://doi.org/10.15212/CVIA.2019.1267, Hai Zou and Shengqing Li from the Institute of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China consider ECMO/CRRT combined support in the treatment of critically ill SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients. The authors of this article explored the experience with, and complications of, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) combined with continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) for treatment of critically ill patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pneumonia. The survival rate of patients with cardiopulmonary failure treated with ECMO/CRRT in whom conventional ...

Risk factors for intraoperative pressure injury in aortic surgery

2021-01-22
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; DOI https://doi.org/10.15212/CVIA.2019.1263, Yao Dong, Jun-E Liu and Ling Song from the Capital Medical University, Beijing, China consider risk factors for intraoperative pressure injury in aortic surgery. Intraoperative pressure injuries are some of the most significant health problems in clinical practice. Patients undergoing aortic surgery are at high risk of developing an intraoperative pressure injury, with an incidence much higher than that associated with other types of cardiac surgery. In this article the authors identify risk factors associated with an increased risk of intraoperative pressure injury in patients undergoing aortic ...

Predictive value of blood pressure, heart rate, and blood pressure/heart rate ratio in a Chinese subpopulation with vasovagal syncope

2021-01-22
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; DOI https://doi.org/10.15212/CVIA.2019.1266, Zhuzhi Wen, Jingying Hou, Zun Mai, Huifen Huang, Yangxin Chen, Dengfeng Geng and Jingfeng Wang from Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China and Guandong Province Key Laboratory of Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, Guangzhou, China consider predictive value of blood pressure, heart rate, and blood pressure/heart rate ratio in a Chinese subpopulation with vasovagal syncope. Blood pressure, heart rate and ratios of blood pressure to heart rate in the titled position during the simplistic tilt test had predictive value with regard ...

A method for calculating optimal parameters of liquid chrystal displays developed at RUDN University

A method for calculating optimal parameters of liquid chrystal displays developed at RUDN University
2021-01-22
A professor from RUDN University together with his colleagues from Saratov Chernyshevsky State University and D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia developed a method for calculating the parameters of diffraction optical elements used in LCDs. In particular, the new technology can be used to expand the angle of view while preserving high resolution and color rendition. The results of the study were published in the Journal of The Society for Information Display. Each pixel on a display corresponds to a group of three light sources: red, green, and blue. When the brightness of all three diodes is the same, white light is produced; and by changing the share of each respective ...

No more needles for diagnostic tests?

No more needles for diagnostic tests?
2021-01-22
Blood draws are no fun. They hurt. Veins can burst, or even roll -- like they're trying to avoid the needle, too. Oftentimes, doctors use blood samples to check for biomarkers of disease: antibodies that signal a viral or bacterial infection, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19; or cytokines indicative of inflammation seen in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and sepsis. These biomarkers aren't just in blood, though. They can also be found in the dense liquid medium that surrounds our cells, but in a low abundance that makes it difficult to be detected. Until now. Engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a microneedle patch that can be applied to the skin, capture a biomarker of interest ...

A professor from RUDN University developed new liquid crystals

A professor from RUDN University developed new liquid crystals
2021-01-22
A professor from RUDN University together with his Indian colleagues synthesized and studied new dibenzophenazine-based liquid crystals that could potentially be used in optoelectronics and solar panels. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Molecular Liquids. Liquid crystals are an intermediate phase between a liquid and a solid body. They are ordered like regular chrystals but at the same time have a flow like liquids. It is this duality that allows them to be used in organic LEDs and LCDs. Unlike other liquid crystals, discotic ones (DLC) are capable of self-assembly into ordered structures. This makes them a promising material for industrial electronics, namely, for the production of displays. ...

Wet and wild: There's lots of water in the world's most explosive volcano

Wet and wild: Theres lots of water in the worlds most explosive volcano
2021-01-22
There isn't much in Kamchatka, a remote peninsula in northeastern Russia just across the Bering Sea from Alaska, besides an impressive population of brown bears and the most explosive volcano in the world. Kamchatka's Shiveluch volcano has had more than 40 violent eruptions over the last 10,000 years. The last gigantic blast occurred in 1964, creating a new crater and covering an area of nearly 100 square kilometers with pyroclastic flows. But Shiveluch is actually currently erupting, as it has been for over 20 years. So why would anyone risk venturing too close? Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, including Michael Krawczynski, assistant professor of earth ...

Exercising muscle combats chronic inflammation on its own

2021-01-22
DURHAM, N.C. - Biomedical engineers at Duke University have demonstrated that human muscle has an innate ability to ward off the damaging effects of chronic inflammation when exercised. The discovery was made possible through the use of lab-grown, engineered human muscle, demonstrating the potential power of the first-of-its-kind platform in such research endeavors. The results appear online on January 22 in the journal Science Advances. "Lots of processes are taking place throughout the human body during exercise, and it is difficult to tease apart which systems and cells are doing what inside an active person," said Nenad Bursac, professor of biomedical engineering at Duke. "Our engineered muscle ...

From fins to limbs

2021-01-22
When tetrapods (four-limbed vertebrates) began to move from water to land roughly 390 million years ago it set in motion the rise of lizards, birds, mammals, and all land animals that exist today, including humans and some aquatic vertebrates such as whales and dolphins. The earliest tetrapods originated from their fish ancestors in the Devonian period and are more than twice as old as the oldest dinosaur fossils. They resembled a cross between a giant salamander and a crocodile and were about 1-2 meters long, had gills, webbed feet and tail fins, and ...

UK public supports usage of tracking technology and immunity passports in global pandemic

2021-01-22
New research suggests the majority of people in the UK are willing to use privacy-encroaching tracking technology and support the introduction of 'immunity passports' to protect themselves and others in the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, found more than two thirds of respondents overall would accept some form of smartphone tracking app to help manage social distancing and the relaxation of a full public lockdown. However, its findings are not reflected in the number of people who have downloaded the NHS Test and Trace app, prompting calls for this issue to be addressed. Lead author Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol, said: "Attitudes were surprisingly permissive and this ...

Climate and carbon cycle trends of the past 50 million years reconciled

Climate and carbon cycle trends of the past 50 million years reconciled
2021-01-22
Predictions of future climate change require a clear and nuanced understanding of Earth's past climate. In a study published today in Science Advances, University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa oceanographers fully reconciled climate and carbon cycle trends of the past 50 million years--solving a controversy debated in the scientific literature for decades. Throughout Earth's history, global climate and the global carbon cycle have undergone significant changes, some of which challenge the current understanding of carbon cycle dynamics. Less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cools Earth and decreases weathering of rocks and minerals on land over long time scales. Less weathering should lead to a shallower calcite compensation depth (CCD), which is the depth in the ocean where ...

Crystal structures in super slow motion

Crystal structures in super slow motion
2021-01-22
Laser beams can be used to change the properties of materials in an extremely precise way. This principle is already widely used in technologies such as rewritable DVDs. However, the underlying processes generally take place at such unimaginably fast speeds and at such a small scale that they have so far eluded direct observation. Researchers at the University of Göttingen and the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen have now managed to film, for the first time, the laser transformation of a crystal structure with nanometre resolution and in slow motion in an electron microscope. The results have been published in the journal Science. The ...

University of Cincinnati research unveils possible new combo therapy for head and neck cancer

University of Cincinnati research unveils possible new combo therapy for head and neck cancer
2021-01-22
Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, and while effective treatments exist, sadly, the cancer often returns. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have tested a new combination therapy in animal models to see if they could find a way to make an already effective treatment even better. Since they're using a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug to do it, this could help humans sooner than later. These findings are published in the journal END ...

NSAIDs might exacerbate or suppress COVID-19 depending on timing, mouse study suggests

2021-01-22
Washington, DC - January 22, 2021 - New research shows that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduced both antibody and inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice. The study appears this week in the Journal of Virology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. The research is important because "NSAIDs are arguably the most commonly used anti-inflammatory medications," said principal investigator Craig B. Wilen, Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Immunology, Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to taking NSAIDs for chronic conditions such as arthritis, people take them "for shorter periods of time during infections, and [during] ...

Tiny particles that seed clouds can form from trace gases over open sea

Tiny particles that seed clouds can form from trace gases over open sea
2021-01-22
UPTON, NY - New results from an atmospheric study over the Eastern North Atlantic reveal that tiny aerosol particles that seed the formation of clouds can form out of next to nothingness over the open ocean. This "new particle formation" occurs when sunlight reacts with molecules of trace gases in the marine boundary layer, the atmosphere within about the first kilometer above Earth's surface. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, will improve how aerosols and clouds are represented in models that describe Earth's climate so scientists can understand how the particles--and the processes that control them--might ...

Experts call for more pragmatic approach to higher education teaching

Experts call for more pragmatic approach to higher education teaching
2021-01-22
Millions of students around the world could benefit if their educators adopted a more flexible and practical approach, say Swansea University experts. After analysing the techniques current being used in higher education, the researchers are calling for a pragmatic and evidence-based approach instead. Professor Phil Newton, director of learning and teaching at of Swansea University Medical School, said: "Higher education is how we train those who carry out important professional roles in our society. There are now more than 200 million students in HE worldwide and this number is likely to double again over the next decade. "Given the size, impact, importance and cost of ...

A quarter of known bee species haven't appeared in public records since the 1990s

A quarter of known bee species havent appeared in public records since the 1990s
2021-01-22
Researchers at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) in Argentina have found that, since the 1990s, up to 25% of reported bee species are no longer being reported in global records, despite a large increase in the number of records available. While this does not mean that these species are all extinct, it might indicate that these species have become rare enough that no one is observing them in nature. The findings appear January 22 in the journal One Earth. "With citizen science and the ability to share data, records are going up exponentially, but the number of species reported in these records is going down," says first ...

AI trained to read electric vehicle charging station reviews to find infrastructure gaps

AI trained to read electric vehicle charging station reviews to find infrastructure gaps
2021-01-22
Although electric vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions attract many drivers, the lack of confidence in charging services deters others. Building a reliable network of charging stations is difficult in part because it's challenging to aggregate data from independent station operators. But now, researchers reporting January 22 in the journal Patterns have developed an AI that can analyze user reviews of these stations, allowing it to accurately identify places where there are insufficient or out-of-service stations. "We're spending billions ...

Genetic sequence for parasitic flowering plant Sapria

Genetic sequence for parasitic flowering plant Sapria
2021-01-22
On January 22 in Current Biology, a team of Harvard-led researchers presented the most complete genome yet assembled of one of the major Rafflesiaceae lineages, Sapria himalayana. The species is found in Southeast Asia and its mottled red and white flower is about the size of a dinner plate. (It's more famous cousin, Rafflesia arnoldii, produces blossoms nearly three feet in diameter, the largest in the world.) The genetic analysis revealed an astonishing degree of gene loss and surprising amounts of gene theft from its ancient and modern hosts. These findings bring unique perspectives into the number and kind of genes it takes to be an endoparasite (an organism that is completely dependent on its host for all nutrients), along ...

SARS-CoV-2 infection in children, their parents in southwest Germany

2021-01-22
What The Study Did: In this observational study, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection during a period of lockdown in southwest Germany was particularly low in children ages 1 to 10 years old. Overall, this large SARS-CoV-2 prevalence study in children is instructive for how ad hoc mass testing provides the basis for rational political decision-making in a pandemic setting. Authors: Burkhard Tönshoff, M.D., of the University Children's Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, and Klaus-Michael Debatin, M.D., of Ulm University Medical Center in Ulm, Germany, are the corresponding authors. To ...

The seven rocky planets of TRAPPIST-1 seem to have very similar compositions

The seven rocky planets of TRAPPIST-1 seem to have very similar compositions
2021-01-22
A new international study led by astrophysicist Eric Agol from the University of Washington has measured the densities of the seven planets of the exoplanetary system TRAPPIST-1 with extreme precision, the values obtained indicating very similar compositions for all the planets. This fact makes the system even more remarkable and helps to better understand the nature of these fascinating worlds. This study has just been published in the Planetary Science Journal. The TRAPPIST-1 system is home to the largest number of planets similar in size to our Earth ever found outside our solar system. Discovered in 2016 by a research team led by Michaël Gillon, astrophysicist at the University of Liège, the system offers an insight into the immense ...
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