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E-cigarettes with a cigarette-like level of nicotine are effective in reducing smoking

2021-04-13
RICHMOND, Va. (April 12, 2021) -- E-cigarettes that deliver a cigarette-like amount of nicotine are associated with reduced smoking and reduced exposure to the major tobacco-related pulmonary carcinogen, NNAL, even with concurrent smoking, according to a new study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The study, which will be published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, provides new and important information for smokers who may be trying to use e-cigarettes as a means to cut down on their smoking habit and lower their exposure to harmful toxicants. "[We found] e-cigarettes with nicotine delivery like a combustible cigarette were effective in helping reduce ...

Deep Learning model developed at UHN to maximize lifespan after liver transplant 

2021-04-13
Toronto (April 12, 2021) - Researchers from University Health Network have developed and validated an innovative deep learning model to predict a patient's long-term outcome after receiving a liver transplant. First of its kind in the field of Transplantation, this model is the result from a collaboration between the Ajmera Transplant Centre and Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. The study, published in Lancet Digital Health, shows it can significantly improve long-term survival and quality of life for liver transplant recipients. "Historically, we have seen good advances in one-year post-transplant outcomes, but survival in the longer term hasn't significantly improved in the past decades," explains Dr. Mamatha Bhat, a hepatologist with the Ajmera Transplant Centre ...

Convenience over reputation: Study looks at how older adults pick a doctor

Convenience over reputation: Study looks at how older adults pick a doctor
2021-04-13
Convenience and access win out over reputation when people over 50 look for a doctor for themselves, a new study finds. But online ratings and reviews of physicians play an important role, and should receive attention from providers and policymakers, the researchers say. About 20% of older adults called such ratings very important to them, but 43% said they had checked such reviews in the past for physicians they were considering for themselves. Still, factors like insurance acceptance, appointment availability, location and hours won out over reputational information, although about 40% said a recommendation from another physician was very important to them. Recommendations from family and friends ...

Ocean bacteria release carbon into the atmosphere

Ocean bacteria release carbon into the atmosphere
2021-04-12
A team led by University of Minnesota researchers has discovered that deep-sea bacteria dissolve carbon-containing rocks, releasing excess carbon into the ocean and atmosphere. The findings will allow scientists to better estimate the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, a main driver of global warming. The study is published in END ...

Spotting cows from space

2021-04-12
Cows don't seem to have a whole lot going on most of the time. They're raised to spend their days grazing in the field, raised for the purpose of providing milk or meat, or producing more cows. So when students in UC Santa Barbara ecologist Doug McCauley's lab found themselves staring intently at satellite image upon image of bovine herds at Point Reyes National Seashore, it was funny, in a "Far Side" kind of way. "There were about 10 undergrads involved in the project, spotting cows from space -- not your typical student research and always amusing to see in the ...

Scientists watch 2D puddles of electrons emerge in a 3D superconducting material

Scientists watch 2D puddles of electrons emerge in a 3D superconducting material
2021-04-12
Creating a two-dimensional material, just a few atoms thick, is often an arduous process requiring sophisticated equipment. So scientists were surprised to see 2D puddles emerge inside a three-dimensional superconductor - a material that allows electrons to travel with 100% efficiency and zero resistance - with no prompting. Within those puddles, superconducting electrons acted as if they were confined inside an incredibly thin, sheet-like plane, a situation that requires them to somehow cross over to another dimension, where different rules of quantum physics apply. "This is a tantalizing example of emergent behavior, which is often difficult or impossible to replicate by trying to engineer it from scratch," said Hari Manoharan, a professor at Stanford University and investigator ...

Research suggests SEC's increasing focus on terrorism may limit financial oversight

Research suggests SECs increasing focus on terrorism may limit financial oversight
2021-04-12
When Iranian authorities started seizing Barbie dolls from Tehran toy shops in 2012, Mattel Inc. execs faced concerns not only about the dolls' attire -- miniskirts and swimsuits considered immodest in an Islamic country -- but also questions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about Mattel's ties to Iran. U.S. businesses are restricted from business in Iran, which U.S. authorities have designated a state sponsor of terrorism (SST). The number of SEC inquiries about potential terrorist ties has grown substantially in recent years, and according to new research from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, the increase could reduce the quality of the agency's financial reporting oversight. "Comments on terrorism are getting to a critical level of importance ...

Plastic planet: Tracking pervasive microplastics across the globe

Plastic planet: Tracking pervasive microplastics across the globe
2021-04-12
Really big systems, like ocean currents and weather, work on really big scales. And so too does your plastic waste, according to new research from Janice Brahney from the Department of Watershed Sciences. The plastic straw you discarded in 1980 hasn't disappeared; it has fragmented into pieces too small to see, and is cycling through the atmosphere, infiltrating soil, ocean waters and air. Microplastics are so pervasive that they now affect how plants grow, waft through the air we breathe, and permeate distant ecosystems. They can be found in places as varied as the human bloodstream to ...

Gut epithelium muscles up against infection

2021-04-12
To maximise absorption of nutrients from the diet, the intestinal mucous membrane has a large surface area. However, this also makes it vulnerable to attack from aggressive gut microbes. A new study by Uppsala University researchers now shows that the surface layer of the mucosa, known as the epithelium, can rapidly contract when it recognises a bacterial attack. The results are published in the journal PNAS. Every year, hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from bacterial gut infections of one kind or another, which are often hard to treat. Antibiotics can kill the normal flora of the intestine, ...

Scientists discover three liquid phases in aerosol particles

2021-04-12
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered three liquid phases in aerosol particles, changing our understanding of air pollutants in the Earth's atmosphere. While aerosol particles were known to contain up to two liquid phases, the discovery of an additional liquid phase may be important to providing more accurate atmospheric models and climate predictions. The study was published today in PNAS. "We've shown that certain types of aerosol particles in the atmosphere, including ones that are likely abundant in cities, can often have three distinct liquid phases." says ...

New mechanism identified behind blindness in older adults

New mechanism identified behind blindness in older adults
2021-04-12
Using laboratory-grown roundworms as well as human and mouse eye tissue, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) researchers have identified a new potential mechanism for age-related macular degeneration--the leading cause of blindness among older adults. The UMSOM researchers say that the findings suggest a new and distinct cause that is different from the previous model of a problematic immune system, showing that the structural organization of the eye's light-detecting cells may be affected by the disease. The discovery offers the potential to identify new molecular targets to treat the disease. Their discovery was published on April 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). According to the National Eye Institute, ...

Common approach to diversity in higher education reflects preferences of white Americans

Common approach to diversity in higher education reflects preferences of white Americans
2021-04-12
PRINCETON, N.J.--Increasing diversity remains a key priority at universities, especially in the wake of mass demonstrations in support of racial equality in 2020 following the death of George Floyd. Many universities are guided by the motivation that diversity enhances student learning, a rationale supported by the U.S. Supreme Court. This approach, however, is a view preferred by white and not Black Americans, and it also aligns with better relative outcomes for white Americans, according to a paper published by Princeton University researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Across eight studies including 1,200 participants, the researchers looked at two different approaches to diversity: an "instrumental rationale," which asserts that including ...

Study reveals cancer immunotherapy patients at most risk of life-threatening side effects

2021-04-12
BOSTON - Many patients with cancer receive immune checkpoint inhibitors that strengthen their immune response against tumor cells. While the medications can be life-saving, they can also cause potentially life-threatening side effects in internal organs. This double-edged sword makes it challenging for clinicians to decide who should be considered candidates for treatment. A new analysis led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) indicates which patients are at elevated risk of side effects severe enough to require hospitalization. The findings are published in the END ...

Study reveals crucial details on skin-related side effects of cancer immune therapies

2021-04-12
BOSTON - Immune checkpoint inhibitors, which boost the immune system's response against tumor cells, have transformed treatment for many advanced cancers, but short-term clinical trials and small observational studies have linked the medications with various side effects, most commonly involving the skin. A more comprehensive, population-level analysis now provides a thorough look at the extent of these side effects and provides insights on which patients may be more likely to experience them. The research was led by investigators at Massachusetts General ...

Researchers identify surface protein as a new osteosarcoma therapeutic target for antibody-drug conjugates

Researchers identify surface protein as a new osteosarcoma therapeutic target for antibody-drug conjugates
2021-04-12
Abstract #LB008 HOUSTON -- A preclinical study led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shows an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting surface protein MT1-MMP can act as a guided missile in eradicating osteosarcoma tumor cells without damaging normal tissues. This technology, using precision therapy targeting of cell-surface proteins through a Bicycle toxin conjugate (BTC), shows encouraging results for the treatment of osteosarcoma. Findings from the study were presented today by Yifei Wang, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow of Pediatrics Research, at the virtual ...

Differences in B cell responses to coronaviruses and other pathogens in children and adults

2021-04-12
Blood taken from a small group of children before the COVID-19 pandemic contains memory B cells that bind SARS-CoV-2 and weakly cross-react with other coronaviruses, a new study finds, while adult blood and tissue showed few such cells. "Further study of the role of cross-reactive memory B cell populations... will be important for ongoing improvement of vaccines to SARS-CoV-2, its viral variants, and other pathogens," the authors say. As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, children have often exhibited faster viral clearance and lower viral antigen loads than adults; whether B cell repertoires against SARS-CoV-2 (and other pathogens) differ between children and ...

Bottom-up is the way forward for nitrogen reduction at institutions

Bottom-up is the way forward for nitrogen reduction at institutions
2021-04-12
WOODS HOLE, Mass. -- Nitrogen is an element basic for life -- plants need it, animals need it, it's in our DNA -- but when there's too much nitrogen in the environment, things can go haywire. On Cape Cod, excess nitrogen in estuaries and salt marshes can lead to algal blooms, fish kills, and degradation of the environment. In a study published in Environmental Research Letters, scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Ecosystems Center examine ways to reduce the nitrogen footprint of smaller institutions, like the MBL, by focusing on a bottom-up approach. "This bottom-up approach is all about balancing the needs of various stakeholders to come up with the best, ...

Road salts and other human sources are threatening world's freshwater supplies

Road salts and other human sources are threatening worlds freshwater supplies
2021-04-12
When winter storms threaten to make travel dangerous, people often turn to salt, spreading it liberally over highways, streets and sidewalks to melt snow and ice. Road salt is an important tool for safety, because many thousands of people die or are injured every year due to weather related accidents. But a new study led by Sujay Kaushal of the University of Maryland warns that introducing salt into the environment--whether it's for de-icing roads, fertilizing farmland or other purposes--releases toxic chemical cocktails that create a serious and growing global threat to our freshwater supply and human health. Previous studies by Kaushal and his team showed that added salts in the environment can interact with soils and infrastructure to release a cocktail of metals, ...

Researchers engineer probiotic yeast to produce beta-carotene

2021-04-12
Researchers have genetically engineered a probiotic yeast to produce beta-carotene in the guts of laboratory mice. The advance demonstrates the utility of work the researchers have done to detail how a suite of genetic engineering tools can be used to modify the yeast. "There are clear advantages to being able to engineer probiotics so that they produce the desired molecules right where they are needed," says Nathan Crook, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University. "You're not just delivering drugs or nutrients; you are effectively manufacturing the drugs or nutrients on site." The study focused ...

Spanking may affect the brain development of a child

2021-04-12
Spanking may affect a child's brain development in similar ways to more severe forms of violence, according to a new study led by Harvard researchers. The research, published recently in the journal Child Development, builds on existing studies that show heightened activity in certain regions of the brains of children who experience abuse in response to threat cues. The group found that children who had been spanked had a greater neural response in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), including in regions that are part of the salience network. These areas of the brain respond to cues in the environment that tend ...

UConn researchers find bubbles speed up energy transfer

2021-04-12
Energy flows through a system of atoms or molecules by a series of processes such as transfers, emissions, or decay. You can visualize some of these details like passing a ball (the energy) to someone else (another particle), except the pass happens quicker than the blink of an eye, so fast that the details about the exchange are not well understood. Imagine the same exchange happening in a busy room, with others bumping into you and generally complicating and slowing the pass. Then, imagine how much faster the exchange would be if everyone stepped back and created a safe bubble for the pass to happen unhindered. An international collaboration of scientists, including UConn Professor of Physics Nora Berrah and post-doctoral researcher ...

Antidepressant use in pregnancy tied to affective disorders in offspring; no causal link

Antidepressant use in pregnancy tied to affective disorders in offspring; no causal link
2021-04-12
New York, NY - Major depressive disorder is highly prevalent, with one in five people experiencing an episode at some point in their life, and is almost twice as common in women than in men. Antidepressants are usually given as a first-line treatment, including during pregnancy, either to prevent the recurrence of depression, or as acute treatment in newly depressed patients. Antidepressant use during pregnancy is widespread and since antidepressants cross the placenta and the blood-brain barrier, concern exists about potential long-term effects of intrauterine antidepressant exposure in the unborn child. Using the Danish National Registers to follow more than 42,000 singleton babies born ...

Binge-eating is not caused by stress-induced impulsivity

Binge-eating is not caused by stress-induced impulsivity
2021-04-12
Stress alters brain activity in self-inhibition areas yet doesn't trigger binge-eating, according to new research published in JNeurosci. People who binge-eat, a hallmark symptom of several eating disorders, can feel out of control and unable to stop, and often binge after stressful events. This led scientists to theorize stress impairs the brain regions responsible for inhibitory control -- the ability to stop what you are about to do or currently doing -- and triggers binge-eating. Westwater et al. tested this theory by using fMRI to measure the brain activity of women with anorexia, bulimia, or without ...

Stress does not lead to loss of self-control in eating disorders

2021-04-12
A unique residential study has concluded that, contrary to perceived wisdom, people with eating disorders do not lose self-control - leading to binge-eating - in response to stress. The findings of the Cambridge-led research are published today in the Journal of Neuroscience. People who experience bulimia nervosa and a subset of those affected by anorexia nervosa share certain key symptoms, namely recurrent binge-eating and compensatory behaviours, such as vomiting. The two disorders are largely differentiated by body mass index (BMI): adults affected by anorexia nervosa tend to have BMI of less than 18.5 kg/m2. More than 1.6 million people in ...

USC Stem Cell study reveals neural stem cells age rapidly

USC Stem Cell study reveals neural stem cells age rapidly
2021-04-12
In a new study published in Cell Stem Cell, a team led by USC Stem Cell scientist Michael Bonaguidi, PhD, demonstrates that neural stem cells - the stem cells of the nervous system - age rapidly. "There is chronological aging, and there is biological aging, and they are not the same thing," said Bonaguidi, an Assistant Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Gerontology and Biomedical Engineering at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. "We're interested in the biological aging of neural stem cells, which are particularly vulnerable to the ravages of time. This has implications for the normal cognitive decline that ...
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