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Nanoparticles create heat from light to manipulate electrical activity in neurons

Nanoparticles create heat from light to manipulate electrical activity in neurons
2021-07-21
Nanomaterials have been used in a variety of emerging applications, such as in targeted pharmaceuticals or to bolster other materials and products such as sensors and energy harvesting and storage devices. A team in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis is using nanoparticles as heaters to manipulate the electrical activity of neurons in the brain and of cardiomyocytes in the heart. The findings, published July 3, 2021, in Advanced Materials, have the potential to be translated to other types of excitable cells and serve as a valuable tool in nano-neuroengineering. Srikanth Singamaneni, a materials scientist, and Barani Raman, a biomedical engineer, and their teams collaborated to develop a noninvasive technology that inhibits the electrical ...

To save a species, check its ID

To save a species, check its ID
2021-07-21
It's hard to save what you can't identify. That's been a problem for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, which is found only in the salty, brackish waters of the San Francisco Bay area. The mouse competes for space with about eight million humans, and more than three-quarters of its habitat has been eaten by development and land conversion. That loss is expected to increase amid rising sea levels. Conserving the population has proven tricky, in part because it looks so much like another mouse in the area--the western harvest mouse--that is abundant throughout western U.S. But scientists from UC Davis have developed a tool, a "decision ...

SMART breakthrough in detection of SARS-CoV-2 variant in wastewater

SMART breakthrough in detection of SARS-CoV-2 variant in wastewater
2021-07-21
Researchers from the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) at Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT's research enterprise in Singapore, alongside collaborators from Biobot Analytics, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have successfully developed an innovative, open-source molecular detection method that is able to detect and quantify the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant of SARS-CoV-2. The breakthrough paves the way for rapid, inexpensive surveillance of other SARS-CoV-2 variants in wastewater. As the world continues to battle and contain COVID-19, the recent identification of SARS-CoV-2 variants with higher transmissibility and increased severity has made the development ...

Blocking how the malaria parasite suppresses the immune response

2021-07-21
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The parasites that cause severe malaria are well-known for the sinister ways they infect humans, but new research may lead to drugs that could block one of their most reliable weapons: interference with the immune response. In the study, scientists defined the atomic-level architecture of the connection between a protein on the surface of a parasite-infected red blood cell when it binds to a receptor on the surface of an immune cell. When that protein-receptor connection is made under normal circumstances, the infected red blood cell, hijacked by the disease-causing parasite, de-activates the immune cell - meaning the body won't fight the infection. A drug designed to fit into that space could block the interaction, allowing the immune system to get to work clearing ...

C is for Vitamin C -- a key ingredient for immune cell function

C is for Vitamin C -- a key ingredient for immune cell function
2021-07-21
LA JOLLA, CA--You can't make a banana split without bananas. And you can't generate stable regulatory T cells without Vitamin C or enzymes called TET proteins, it appears. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) help control inflammation and autoimmunity in the body. Tregs are so important, in fact, that scientists are working to generate stable induced Tregs (iTregs) in vitro for use as treatments for autoimmune diseases as well as rejection to transplanted organs. Unfortunately, it has proven difficult to find the right molecular ingredients to induce stable iTregs. Now scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology ...

Breastfeeding, even for a few days, linked to lower blood pressure in early childhood

2021-07-21
DALLAS, July 21, 2021 -- Babies who were breastfed, even for a few days, had lower blood pressure as toddlers and these differences in blood pressure may translate into improved heart and vascular health as adults, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association. Research has found that cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, can start in childhood. Studies have also confirmed breastfeeding is associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood. However, the amount and length of time breastfeeding that is needed ...

Increased physical activity after ICD implantation linked to less hospitalization, death

2021-07-21
DALLAS, July 21, 2021 -- People who made even small increases in their daily physical activity levels after receiving an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) experienced fewer incidences of hospitalization and had a decreased risk of death, according to new research published today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators, also known as ICDs, are battery-powered devices placed under the skin that can detect abnormal heart rhythms and deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat. According to American Heart Association's Heart Disease ...

This is how the visual system shows us a more persistent world

2021-07-21
An international collaboration elucidates the mechanisms that facilitate accurate identification of moving images. The findings have been published in Nature Communications Imagine meeting a friend on the street, and imagine that with every step they take, your visual system has to process their image from scratch in order to recognize them. Now imagine if the same thing were to happen for every object and creature that moves around us. We would live in a constant state of uncertainty and inconsistency. Luckily, that is not the case. Our visual system is able to retain information obtained in motion, thereby presenting us with a more consistent picture of our surroundings. These ...

Older people are worse at learning to self-help, but just as good learning to help others

2021-07-21
Older adults may be slower to learn actions and behaviours that benefit themselves, but new research shows they are just as capable as younger people of learning behaviours that benefit others. Researchers at the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford found that youngsters, in contrast, tend to learn much faster when they are making choices that benefit themselves. The study, published in Nature Communications, focused on reinforcement learning - a fundamental type of learning in which we make decisions based on the positive outcomes from earlier choices. It allows us to adapt our choices to our environment by learning the associations between choices and their outcomes. Dr Patricia Lockwood is senior author on ...

Hundreds of chemicals, many in consumer products, could increase breast cancer risk

2021-07-21
Every day, people are exposed to a variety of synthetic chemicals through the products they use or the food they eat. For many of these chemicals, the health effects are unknown. Now END ...

Heart-related test results may indicate risk of death in patients with COVID-19

2021-07-21
New research published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies cardiovascular test results that might help to identify patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who face an especially high risk of dying. Out of 1,401 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 admitted to seven Italian centers, 226 (16.1%) underwent transthoracic echocardiography within 48 hours of admission. In-hospital death occurred in 68 patients (30.1%). Low left ventricular ejection fraction, low tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, and acute respiratory distress syndrome were independently associated with in-hospital mortality. "Clinical ...

Scientists identify protein markers related to the most common form of leukemia

2021-07-21
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in the Western world. New research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology reveals that certain protein markers may indicate which patients have stable forms of CLL and which have more aggressive types. Identifying these proteins may not only help determine patients' prognoses but also point to potential therapeutic targets for investigators who are searching for new CLL treatments. "The results offer a meaningful biological approach into the protein composition of CLL cells at an early stage of the disease, when the clinical characteristics of patients are similar and the course of the disease is difficult to predict. ...

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected our dreams?

2021-07-21
The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted our sleep and dream activity. In a recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, people had a higher number of awakenings, a harder time falling asleep, higher dream recall, and more lucid dreams during lockdown than after lockdown. People also reported more dreams related to "being in crowded places" during post-lockdown than lockdown. For the study, 90 adults in Italy recorded their dream experiences and completed a sleep-dream diary each morning. "Our results... confirmed that both sleep and ...

The frequency of misattributed paternity in Sweden

2021-07-21
The frequency of misattributed paternity, where the assumed father is not the biological father, is low and decreasing in Sweden, according to an analysis of 1.95 million family units with children born mainly between 1950 and 1990. In the Journal of Internal Medicine analysis, the overall rate of misattributed paternity was 1.7%, with rates closer to 1% in more recent decades. The authors note that beyond its general scientific and societal relevance, the frequency of misattributed paternity has implications for studies on hereditary conditions. The study's findings indicate that misattributed paternity is unlikely to have large effects on such studies. "Using simple but elegant methods, together with large-scale ...

Study links cognitive decline with both bone loss and fracture risk

2021-07-21
New research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research has found that cognitive decline is linked with accelerated bone loss and an increased fracture risk in women. In the study of 1,741 women and 620 men aged ?65 years without dementia who were followed from 1997 through 2013, both genders experienced similar declines in cognitive function and bone mass. After adjustments, cognitive decline was associated with bone loss in women but not men. Also, significant and clinical important cognitive decline in women was associated with a 1.7-fold higher risk of bone fractures ...

Most people find allergy information on food labels unclear

2021-07-21
When researchers evaluated consumers' understanding of allergy information on food labels, less than half of individuals found the information to be clear. The study, which is published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, involved two separate experiments with a total of 96 consumers with food allergies and 105 without. Investigators first randomly presented 18 different food products with labels suggesting peanut was, may be, or was not an ingredient, and then they presented three different formats of information: 'Produced in a Factory' and 'May contain' or 'Traces of'. Precautionary allergen labels (PALs) were especially problematic, ...

Which students are at most risk of mental health problems during COVID-19 lockdowns?

Which students are at most risk of mental health problems during COVID-19 lockdowns?
2021-07-21
A new study published in JCPP Advances has compared the wellbeing of UK students who remained at home for schooling during the first lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic with those who accessed school in person. In the study, which included 11,765 students in grades 8-13 (aged 12-21 years), females, students who had experienced food poverty, and those who had previously accessed mental health support were at greatest risk of depression, anxiety, and a deterioration in wellbeing. Students who accessed in-person schooling had poorer mental health, but this was accounted for by their different characteristics and background circumstances. "Identifying ...

How readily does COVID-19 spread on school buses?

2021-07-21
Although in-school transmission of COVID-19 among K-12 students is low when safeguards are in place, the risk of acquiring COVID-19 during school bus transportation is unclear. A study published in the Journal of School Health reports on the bus transport experience of an independent school in Virginia. For the study, the school monitored 1,154 students with asymptomatic PCR testing every 2 weeks initially and later every week from August 28, 2020-March 19, 2021, during highest community transmission. Fifteen buses served 462 students while operating at near capacity of 2 students in every seat, using a physical distancing minimum of 2.5 feet, universal masking, and simple ventilation techniques. ...

Study uncovers factors linked to radical attitudes and intentions

2021-07-21
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in Campbell Systematic Reviews identified and examined more than 100 risk and protective factors for radical attitudes, intentions, and behaviors (including terrorism) in democratic countries. The factors can be grouped into five domains: socio-demographic and background factors, psychological and personality trait factors, attitudinal and subjective belief related factors, experiential factors, and traditional criminogenic factors While there is great variation, the most significant factors ...

Innovative program entertains and teaches children about fish migration

Innovative program entertains and teaches children about fish migration
2021-07-21
It's important to communicate about hard-to-see and complex environmental topics and issues with young people. In an article published in People and Nature, an international team reflects on the group's creation of the Shout Trout Workout, a lyric poem, comic, and music video for children aged 8-14 years old designed to entertain, engage, and enrich learning about migratory fishes and aquatic environments. The authors hope that sharing their experiences and reflections will be useful and inspiring for those who aim to create learning enrichment and engagement materials about ecological ...

How do wind turbines impact Golden Eagles?

How do wind turbines impact Golden Eagles?
2021-07-21
Results from a study published in Ibis show that how close Golden Eagles will fly to wind turbines depends on habitat suitability inside and outside of a wind farm. Also, the largest impact of wind farms was a loss of Golden Eagle habitat, which could be mitigated by including the study's findings in wind farm planning. The study included data from 59 GPS-tagged Golden Eagles before and after turbine operation at 80 wind farms across Scotland. "Previous research on Golden Eagles, notably in the United States, has tended towards collision with turbine blades as the main consequence of their interaction with wind farms. Our study shows that across numerous wind farms in Scotland, this was not the case, but that deleterious habitat loss through avoidance of turbines was ...

Cognitive decline may help predict future fracture risk in women

2021-07-21
Researchers led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have discovered a link between cognitive decline and a faster rate of bone loss, and found that cognitive decline over five years increased future fracture risk in women. The association between cognitive decline and bone loss was weaker in men. The study of individuals aged 65 and older was carried out over 16 years and has revealed a potential new approach to help identify older people who may be at risk of fracture. "Bone loss and cognitive decline are major public health issues, but both are 'silent diseases' that can go undetected and untreated for long periods, often ...

Three in ten Americans increased supplement use since onset of pandemic

2021-07-21
WASHINGTON (July 21, 2021) - Twenty-nine percent of Americans are taking more supplements today than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the percentage of U.S. supplement-takers to 76%, according to a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Samueli Foundation. Nearly two-thirds of those who increased supplement use (65%) cited a desire to enhance their overall immunity (57%) or protection from COVID-19 (36%) as reasons for the increase. Other common reasons for increasing supplement use were to take their health into their own hands (42%), improve their sleep (41%), and improve their mental health (34%). "The COVID-19 pandemic is a catalyst for increased supplement use," said Wayne Jonas, MD, executive director ...

Oncotarget: Subtypes of thymic epithelial tumors independent of WHO type

Oncotarget: Subtypes of thymic epithelial tumors independent of WHO type
2021-07-21
Oncotarget published "Genomic clustering analysis identifies molecular subtypes of thymic epithelial tumors independent of World Health Organization histologic type" which reported that genomic information from 102 evaluable TETs from The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset and from the IU-TAB-1 cell line underwent clustering analysis to identify molecular subtypes of TETs. Six novel molecular subtypes of TETs from the TCGA were identified, and there was no association with WHO histologic subtype. The IU-TAB-1 cell line clustered into the TH4 molecular subtype and in vitro testing of candidate therapeutics was performed. Sensitivity to nelfinavir ...

Firms connected to the Mafia have lower profitability and more likely to go bust

Firms connected to the Mafia have lower profitability and more likely to go bust
2021-07-21
New research from Bocconi University in Milan highlights that, contrary to received wisdom, connections to organized crime harm a company's financial performance and increase by 25.5% its likelihood to go bust. Using a novel dataset from AISI, the Italian Internal Intelligence and Security agency, Bocconi professors Antonio Marra, Donato Masciandaro, and Nicola Pecchiari in a paper co-authored with Pietro Bianchi (Florida International University) published online in The Accounting Review, identify 1,840 criminally connected firms headquartered in Italy's Lombardy region. Lombardy, the Northern Italian region around Milan, is not ...
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