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Fully booked at the bottom of the sea: There seems no room for new bacteria on sand grains

Fully booked at the bottom of the sea: There seems no room for new bacteria on sand grains
2021-07-21
A relaxing vacation on the beach frees us from many of the worries of everyday life. But the sand not only cleans the head and soul of vacationers - it also cleans the seawater. Coastal sands are so-called biocatalytic filters. Hundreds of thousands of bacteria live on each grain of sand, and they process, for example, nitrogen and carbon from the seawater that flows through the sands. In this way, the sands act like giant, purifying filters. Much of what the seawater washes into the ground does not come out again. A study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, published in the journal ISME Communications, now shows that the bacteria living on the sand are very different from the ones in seawater. And while the bacterial ...

New study shows transcendental meditation reduces emotional stress and improves academics

New study shows transcendental meditation reduces emotional stress and improves academics
2021-07-21
Students who participated in a meditation-based Quiet Time program utilizing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique for four months had significant improvements in overall emotional stress symptoms, quality of sleep, and English Language Arts (ELA) academic achievement according to a new randomized controlled trial published last month in Education. The study was conducted by researchers from the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education and Stanford University. This was the first randomized control trial to investigate the effects of TM on standardized academic tests. "Students have been experiencing increased levels ...

Crime scene tape set to revolutionize microplastics research

Crime scene tape set to revolutionize microplastics research
2021-07-21
An adhesive tape patented by Staffordshire University researchers to recover trace evidence from crimes scenes is being adopted to analyse microplastics more efficiently. Man-made polymer particles or ‘microplastics’ are proven to be present in land, air and water environments. However, despite extensive global studies, there is no standardised approach for their collection and analysis. Currently, studies regularly involve retrieving microplastic samples from water using a filtration method. Samples are commonly analysed in situ on the filter or after removal from it by ...

Smartphone gaming can be harmful for some seeking relief from boredom

2021-07-21
Smartphone gaming can be harmful to players who game to escape their negative mood and feelings of boredom, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Waterloo found that bored "escape players"--those who have difficulty engaging with the real environment and sustaining attention--may seek "flow," which is a deep and effortless state of concentration in an activity linked to loss of awareness of time and space. "We found that people who experience intense boredom frequently in everyday life reported playing smartphone games to escape or alleviate these feelings ...

Tiny organisms shed big light on ocean nutrients

Tiny organisms shed big light on ocean nutrients
2021-07-21
As the world warms, sweeping changes in marine nutrients seem like an expected consequence of increased ocean temperatures. However, the reality is more complicated. New research suggests that processes below the ocean surface may be controlling what is happening above. Plankton are some of the most numerous and important organisms in the ocean. The balance of chemical elements inside them varies and is critical to shaping many marine processes, including the food web and the global carbon cycle. Temperature has been traditionally thought to control the ratio of these elements. However, a new study suggests this balance is largely dependent on activity in the subsurface ...

Urgent need for anti-smoking campaigns to continue after pregnancy

2021-07-21
Curtin University research has found quit support for smoking mothers should continue even after their first babies are born, given that many of those women will become pregnant again, and that quitting can substantially reduce the risk of future preterm births. The longitudinal study examined the records and histories across 23 years, of 63,540 Australian women with more than one child, who smoked during their first pregnancy. Lead researcher, Professor Gavin Pereira form Curtin's School of Population Health said more than one third of women who smoked during pregnancy were able to stop smoking ...

 DNA from 93-year-old butterfly confirms the first US case of human-led insect extinction

 DNA from 93-year-old butterfly confirms the first US case of human-led insect extinction
2021-07-21
The Xerces blue butterfly was last seen flapping its iridescent periwinkle wings in San Francisco in the early 1940s. It's generally accepted to be extinct, the first American insect species destroyed by urban development, but there are lingering questions about whether it was really a species to begin with, or just a sub-population of another common butterfly. In a new study in Biology Letters, researchers analyzed the DNA of a 93-year-old Xerces blue specimen in museum collections, and they found that its DNA is unique enough to merit being considered a species. The study confirms that yes, the Xerces blue really ...

Women's heart health is strongly related to pregnancy outcomes

2021-07-21
Sophia Antipolis, 21 July 2021: A study of more than 18 million pregnancies has shown a strong and graded relationship between women's heart health and pregnancy outcomes. The research is published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1 The researchers examined the presence of four risk factors for cardiovascular disease in women prior to pregnancy: unhealthy body weight, smoking, hypertension and diabetes. The likelihood of key pregnancy complications - maternal intensive care unit (ICU) admission, preterm birth, low birthweight and foetal death - rose incrementally with the number of pre-pregnancy cardiovascular risk factors. "Individual cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, present ...

Planetary shields will buckle under stellar winds from their dying stars

Planetary shields will buckle under stellar winds from their dying stars
2021-07-21
Any life identified on planets orbiting white dwarf stars almost certainly evolved after the star's death, says a new study led by the University of Warwick that reveals the consequences of the intense and furious stellar winds that will batter a planet as its star is dying. The research is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and lead author Dr Dimitri Veras will present it today (21 July) at the online National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2021). The research provides new insight for astronomers searching for signs of life around these dead stars by examining the impact that their ...

SuperBIT: A low-cost balloon-borne telescope to rival Hubble

SuperBIT: A low-cost balloon-borne telescope to rival Hubble
2021-07-21
Durham, Toronto and Princeton Universities have teamed up with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to build a new kind of astronomical telescope. SuperBIT flies above 99.5% of the Earth's atmosphere, carried by a helium balloon the size of a football stadium. The telescope will make its operational debut next April and when deployed should obtain high-resolution images rivalling those of the Hubble Space Telescope. Mohamed Shaaban, a PhD student at the University of Toronto, will describe SuperBIT in his talk today (Wednesday 21 July) at the online RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2021). Light from a distant galaxy can travel for billions of years to reach our telescopes. In the final ...

Thinking about getting pregnant? First check your risks for heart disease

2021-07-21
CHICAGO --- A woman's heart health before she becomes pregnant is strongly related to her likelihood of experiencing a complication during her pregnancy or labor, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. The study examined the presence of four cardiovascular risk factors in women before they became pregnant: smoking, unhealthy body weight, hypertension and diabetes. With the presence of each additional risk factor, the likelihood that the woman would experience an adverse pregnancy outcome got increasingly higher. Those adverse outcomes include maternal intensive care unit (ICU) admission, preterm birth, low birthweight and fetal ...

New 3D images of shark intestines show they function like Nikola Tesla's valve

New 3D images of shark intestines show they function like Nikola Teslas valve
2021-07-21
Contrary to what popular media portrays, we actually don't know much about what sharks eat. Even less is known about how they digest their food, and the role they play in the larger ocean ecosystem. For more than a century, researchers have relied on flat sketches of sharks' digestive systems to discern how they function -- and how what they eat and excrete impacts other species in the ocean. Now, researchers have produced a series of high-resolution, 3D scans of intestines from nearly three dozen shark species that will advance the understanding of how sharks eat and digest their food. "It's high time ...

More exercise and fewer hours watching TV cuts sleep apnoea risk

2021-07-21
Being more physically active and spending fewer hours per day sitting watching TV is linked to a substantially lower risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal [1]. It is the first study to simultaneously evaluate physical activity and sedentary behaviour in relation to OSA risk. OSA is a condition where breathing stops and starts many times during sleep. It reduces oxygen levels in the blood and common symptoms include snoring, disrupted sleep and feeling excessively tired. ...

The Lancet: 1.5 million children worldwide have lost parent, grandparent, caregiver due to COVID-19

2021-07-21
Study offers first global estimates of the number of children who experienced the death of a parent, grandparent, or primary caregiver from COVID-19. Researchers estimated figures based on COVID-19 mortality data from March 2020 through April 2021, and national fertility statistics for 21 countries, and extrapolated findings to produce global estimates. Findings suggest 1 million children have lost a parent, 1.1 million have lost a parent or custodial grandparent, and more than 1.5 million have lost a parent, custodial grandparent, or other secondary familial caregiver from COVID-19. Authors call for urgent investments in services to support children who have lost their parents and caregivers. An estimated ...

New research could help clear backlog of surgery since it shows use of airway device in

2021-07-21
New research published in Anaesthesia (a journal of the Association of Anaesthetists) by researchers from the University of Bristol can help to improve the efficiency of surgery and help tackle the growing backlog of surgery caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, the number of patients waiting for routine surgery in the UK has almost doubled with more than 5.3 million people awaiting surgery including more than 300,000 waiting more than a year. A contributory factor is that COVID-19 precautions have led to many operating theatres working at 75-50% of normal working efficiency. Staff working in operating theatres have been required to take special precautions at the start and end of operations to allow viral particles ...

More than 1.5M children lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic

2021-07-21
More than 1.5 million children around the world are estimated to have lost at least one parent, custodial grandparent, or grandparent who lived with them due to death related to COVID-19 during the first 14 months of the pandemic, according to a study published today in The Lancet. The study highlights orphanhood as an urgent and overlooked consequence of the pandemic and emphasizes that providing evidence-based psychosocial and economic support to children who have lost a caregiver must be a key part of responding to the pandemic. The analysis used mortality and fertility data to model rates of COVID-19-associated orphanhood (death of one or both parents) and deaths of custodial and co-residing grandparents (ages 60-84) from March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021, across 21 countries. This study ...

A substance from Saussurea controversa will help bone tissue regeneration

2021-07-21
Metabolic bone diseases, including osteoporosis, when bones lose their mass and become so fragile that they could be damaged while sneezing or under little stress, are called the silent epidemic of the 21st century. A person does not even know about his illness before the first symptom - it can be a fracture of the spine or the neck of the hip. According to statistics, every third woman and every fifth man after 50 have osteoporosis. Thus, it is promising to search for and obtain substances and materials for implants that have osteoinductive properties and are capable of initiating the processes of transformation of stem cells into bone. Certain trace elements, such as calcium and magnesium, influence the processes of bone regeneration ...

Virginia Tech's COVID-19 testing demonstrates power, versatility of academic labs

Virginia Techs COVID-19 testing demonstrates power, versatility of academic labs
2021-07-21
In the early days of the pandemic, scientists at Virginia Tech created a COVID-19 testing laboratory and novel test for the virus from scratch. They not only developed a test in-house that avoided the reagent supply shortages that hampered testing efforts nationwide, but also used 3D-engineered supplies and stable storage media, enabling samples to be transported to rural sites in Virginia without the need for constant refrigeration. This novel protocol for transforming a research laboratory into a testing operation capable of processing more than 130,000 ...

Microbially produced fibers: Stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar

Microbially produced fibers: Stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar
2021-07-21
Spider silk is said to be one of the strongest, toughest materials on the Earth. Now engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have designed amyloid silk hybrid proteins and produced them in engineered bacteria. The resulting fibers are stronger and tougher than some natural spider silks. Their research was published in the journal ACS Nano. To be precise, the artificial silk -- dubbed "polymeric amyloid" fiber -- was not technically produced by researchers, but by bacteria that were genetically engineered in the lab of Fuzhong Zhang, a professor ...

Small-scale worker resistance impacts food delivery economy in China

2021-07-21
ITHACA, N.Y. - Small-scale. Short-lived. All digital. Out of public view. That's how a new form of collective worker resistance is unfolding in China's app-based food delivery economy, new Cornell University research finds. Though highly fragmented and not always successful, "mini-strikes" by small groups of food couriers - conducted via WeChat - reflect a new form of leverage, suggest Chuxuan "Victoria" Liu and Eli Friedman, associate professor in the ILR School. Food couriers are able to maintain complete physical invisibility, and each individual worker can 'strike' from anywhere, they write. The scholars interviewed couriers, in-person and online, who delivered food for Ele.me, an Alibaba-owned company that controlled ...

Research shows employer-based weight management program with access to anti-obesity medications results in greater weight loss

2021-07-20
Tuesday, July 20, 2021, CLEVELAND: A Cleveland Clinic study demonstrates that adults with obesity lost significantly more weight when they had access to medications for chronic weight management in conjunction with their employer-based weight management program, compared to adults who did not have access to the medications. The study was published in JAMA Network Open. Obesity is a complex disease that is caused by multiple factors, including genetic, environmental, and biological. A lifestyle intervention with a focus on nutrition and exercise is often not enough to treat obesity, which is a chronic disease that requires long-term therapy. The U.S. Food and Drug ...

Study: Wireless radiation exposure for children is set too high

2021-07-20
WASHINGTON - A peer-reviewed study by the Environmental Working Group recommends stringent health-based exposure standards for both children and adults for radiofrequency radiation emitted from wireless devices. EWG's children's guideline is the first of its kind and fills a gap left by federal regulators. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, relies on the methodology developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to assess human health risks arising from toxic chemical exposures. EWG scientists have applied the same methods to radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices, ...

Strong immune response underlies acute kidney injury related to COVID-19

2021-07-20
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic researchers have found that acute kidney injury associated with COVID-19 resembles sepsis-caused kidney injury, and the immune response triggered by the infection plays a pivotal role. The findings, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, also suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction -- a loss of function in cellular energy production -- is commonly found in kidney injury related to COVID-19. More than one-third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients report acute kidney injury, and sudden kidney failure is a risk factor for in-hospital mortality, according to studies published last ...

Muddied waters: Sinking organics alter seafloor records

2021-07-20
The remains of microscopic plankton blooms in near-shore ocean environments slowly sink to the seafloor, setting off processes that forever alter an important record of Earth's history, according to research from geoscientists, including David Fike at Washington University in St. Louis. Fike is co-author of a new study published July 20 in Nature Communications. "Our previous work identified the role that changing sedimentation rates had on local versus global controls on geochemical signatures that we use to reconstruct environmental change," said Fike, professor of earth and planetary sciences and director of environmental studies in Arts & Sciences. "In this study, we investigated organic carbon loading, or how much ...

Patients billed up to $219 million in total for preventive services that should be free

2021-07-20
Experts say these unexpected healthcare costs may discourage people from seeking recommended preventive care. Despite a sharp reduction in out-of-pocket (OOP) costs for preventive care since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, patients are still receiving unexpected bills for preventive services that should be free, according to a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher. Published in the journal Preventive Medicine, study found that total out-of-pocket costs billed for preventive services to Americans with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) in 2018 ranged from $75.6 million to $219 million, with 1 in 4 patients who used preventive care incurring these charges. "The ACA enabled great strides in making preventive care free to ...
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