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Immune system May Need 'Continuing Education' to Protect Pregnancy

2021-07-16
Researchers at UC San Francisco are zeroing in on how the immune system may play a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies. Working in mice, the researchers have found that a recently discovered subset of cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus. If the research is confirmed in further animal studies, and the cells play a similar role in people, they could point the way toward new therapies for pregnancies that are threatened by defects in immune tolerance. The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells, known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells, were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many ...

From genes to memes: Algorithm may help scientists demystify complex networks

2021-07-16
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- From biochemical reactions that produce cancers, to the latest memes virally spreading across social media, simple actions can generate complex behaviors. For researchers trying to understand these emergent behaviors, however, the complexity can tax current computational methods. Now, a team of researchers has developed a new algorithm that can serve as a more effective way to analyze models of biological systems, which in turn allows a new path to understanding the decision-making circuits that make up these systems. The researchers add that the algorithm will help scientists study how relatively ...

Invention: The Storywrangler

Invention: The Storywrangler
2021-07-16
For thousands of years, people looked into the night sky with their naked eyes -- and told stories about the few visible stars. Then we invented telescopes. In 1840, the philosopher Thomas Carlyle claimed that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." Then we started posting on Twitter. Now scientists have invented an instrument to peer deeply into the billions and billions of posts made on Twitter since 2008 -- and have begun to uncover the vast galaxy of stories that they contain. "We call it the Storywrangler," says Thayer Alshaabi, a doctoral student at the University of Vermont who co-led the new research. "It's like a telescope to look -- in real time -- at all this data that people ...

Add fatty acid to taste

2021-07-16
A new method developed by Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and University of California, Riverside provides new insights into cancer biology by allowing researchers to show how fatty acids are absorbed by single cells. Fatty acids, along with glucose and amino acids, are a major energy source for cellular growth and proliferation, and abnormal fatty acid metabolism is often seen in cancer. Dr. Wei Wei's lab at ISB and Dr. Min Xue's lab at UC Riverside have been collaborating for years to develop a series of chemical probes and analytical approaches for quantifying cellular glucose uptake, lactate production, amino acid ...

Climate change to bring more intense storms across Europe

2021-07-16
Climate change is driving a large increase in intense, slow-moving storms, a new study by Newcastle University and the Met Office has found. Investigating how climate affects intense rainstorms across Europe, climate experts have shown there will be a significant future increase in the occurrence of slow-moving intense rainstorms. The scientists estimate that these slow-moving storms may be 14 times more frequent across land by the end of the century. It is these slow-moving storms that have the potential for very high precipitation accumulations, ...

Study finds vaccine hesitancy lower in poorer countries

Study finds vaccine hesitancy lower in poorer countries
2021-07-16
New research published in Nature Medicine reveals willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine was considerably higher in developing countries (80% of respondents) than in the United States (65%) and Russia (30%). The study provides one of the first insights into vaccine acceptance and hesitancy in a broad selection of low- and-middle income countries (LMIC), covering over 20,000 survey respondents and bringing together researchers from over 30 institutions including the International Growth Centre (IGC), Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), WZB Berlin Social Science Center, the Yale Institute for Global Health, the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE), ...

Air-powered computer memory helps soft robot control movements

2021-07-16
Engineers at UC Riverside have unveiled an air-powered computer memory that can be used to control soft robots. The innovation overcomes one of the biggest obstacles to advancing soft robotics: the fundamental mismatch between pneumatics and electronics. The work is published in the open-access journal, PLOS One. Pneumatic soft robots use pressurized air to move soft, rubbery limbs and grippers and are superior to traditional rigid robots for performing delicate tasks. They are also safer for humans to be around. Baymax, the healthcare companion robot in the 2014 animated Disney film, Big Hero 6, is a pneumatic robot for good reason. But existing systems for controlling pneumatic soft robots still use electronic valves ...

Enabling the 'imagination' of artificial intelligence

Enabling the imagination of artificial intelligence
2021-07-16
Imagine an orange cat. Now, imagine the same cat, but with coal-black fur. Now, imagine the cat strutting along the Great Wall of China. Doing this, a quick series of neuron activations in your brain will come up with variations of the picture presented, based on your previous knowledge of the world. In other words, as humans, it's easy to envision an object with different attributes. But, despite advances in deep neural networks that match or surpass human performance in certain tasks, computers still struggle with the very human skill of "imagination." Now, a USC ...

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog -- or a fake Russian Twitter account

2021-07-16
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Many legacy media outlets played an unwitting role in the growth of the four most successful fake Twitter accounts hosted by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) that were created to spread disinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, according to a study led by a University at Buffalo communication researcher. In roughly two years beginning in late 2015, these accounts went from obscurity to microcelebrity status, growing from about 100 to more than 100,000 followers. With its heavily populated follower base ready to spread the word -- like all heavily engaged Twitter audiences -- the IRA could strategically deploy messages and provide visible metrics, creating an illusion of authority and ...

Study shows that electronic air cleaning technology can generate unintended pollutants

Study shows that electronic air cleaning technology can generate unintended pollutants
2021-07-16
As the Covid-19 pandemic raged, news reports show that sales of electronic air cleaners have surged due to concerns about airborne disease transmission. But a research team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that the benefits to indoor air quality of one type of purifying system can be offset by the generation of other pollutants that are harmful to health. Led by Associate Professor Nga Lee "Sally" Ng in Georgia Tech's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the team evaluated the effect of a hydroxyl radical generator in an office setting. Hydroxyl radicals react with odors and pollutants, decomposing ...

University of Maryland engineers 3D printed a soft robotic hand that can play Nintendo

2021-07-16
A team of researchers from the University of Maryland has 3D printed a soft robotic hand that is agile enough to play Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. - and win! The feat, highlighted on the front cover of the latest issue of Science Advances, demonstrates a promising innovation in the field of soft robotics, which centers on creating new types of flexible, inflatable robots that are powered using water or air rather than electricity. The inherent safety and adaptability of soft robots has sparked interest in their use for applications like prosthetics and biomedical devices. Unfortunately, controlling the fluids that make these soft ...

How a butterfly tree becomes a web

How a butterfly tree becomes a web
2021-07-16
Evolution is often portrayed as a tree, with new species branching off from existing lineages, never again to meet. The truth however is often much messier. In the case of adaptive radiation, in which species diversify rapidly to fill different ecological niches, it can be difficult to resolve relationships, and the phylogeny (i.e. evolutionary tree) may look more like a bush than a tree. This is because lineages may continue to interbreed as new species are established, and/or they may diverge and then re-hybridize, resulting in genetically mixed populations (known as admixture). Even after species diverge, the introduction of genes from one species to another (known as introgression) can occur. All of ...

Common COVID-19 antibiotic no more effective than placebo

2021-07-16
A UC San Francisco study has found that the antibiotic azithromycin was no more effective than a placebo in preventing symptoms of COVID-19 among non-hospitalized patients, and may increase their chance of hospitalization, despite widespread prescription of the antibiotic for the disease. "These findings do not support the routine use of azithromycin for outpatient SARS-CoV-2 infection," said lead author Catherine E. Oldenburg, ScD, MPH, an assistant professor with the UCSF Proctor Foundation. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. Azithromycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, is widely prescribed as a treatment for COVID-19 in the United States and the rest of the world. "The hypothesis is that it has anti-inflammatory properties that ...

Artificial sweeteners enable delivery of carbon monoxide to treat organ injury

2021-07-16
ATLANTA--An oral prodrug developed by a team of scientists led by Binghe Wang, Regents' Professor of Chemistry at Georgia State University, delivers carbon monoxide to protect against acute kidney injury, according to a new paper published in Chemical Science. Although carbon monoxide (CO) gas is toxic in large doses, scientists have discovered it can have beneficial effects by reducing inflammation and protecting cells against injury. Previous studies have demonstrated the protective effects of CO against injury in the kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and liver, among other organs. For the past five years, Wang and his collaborators have worked to design a safe way to deliver CO to human patients via prodrugs -- inactive compounds that ...

From birth control to mammograms, many women missed out on preventive care for all of 2020

2021-07-16
The COVID-19 pandemic knocked many women off schedule for important health appointments, a new study finds, and many didn't get back on schedule even after clinics reopened. The effect may have been greatest in areas where such care is already likely falling behind experts' recommendations. The study, by health care researchers in the University of Michigan END ...

Study examines the role of deep-sea microbial predators at hydrothermal vents

Study examines the role of deep-sea microbial predators at hydrothermal vents
2021-07-16
The hydrothermal vent fluids from the Gorda Ridge spreading center in the northeast Pacific Ocean create a biological hub of activity in the deep sea. There, in the dark ocean, a unique food web thrives not on photosynthesis but rather on chemical energy from the venting fluids. Among the creatures having a field day feasting at the Gorda Ridge vents is a diverse assortment of microbial eukaryotes, or protists, that graze on chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea. This protistan grazing, which is a key mechanism for carbon transport and recycling in microbial food webs, exerts a higher predation pressure at hydrothermal vent sites than in the surrounding deep-sea environment, a new paper finds. "Our ...

COVID-19 vaccination: Examining negative dominance on social media

2021-07-16
Vaccine negativity and reluctance didn't just emerge during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent study published in the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal, authors from Loyola University Maryland and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explored the appearance of negative dominance - a concept in which negative messages outweigh positive, solution-oriented messages in audiences' perceptions - in the context of COVID-19 vaccine-related information and activity online. Prior research has looked at media coverage to identify vaccine concerns among the public and its impact on vaccine-related beliefs and behaviors, the spread of misinformation and fake news on the Internet, and the role ...

SUV39H2: A direct genetic link to autism spectrum disorders

SUV39H2: A direct genetic link to autism spectrum disorders
2021-07-16
New research from the RIKEN Center for Brain Science (CBS) in Japan shows that a deficit in histone methylation could lead to the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A human variant of the SUV39H2 gene led researchers to examine its absence in mice. Published in Molecular Psychiatry, the study found that when absent, adult mice exhibited cognitive inflexibility similar to what occurs in autism, and embryonic mice showed misregulated expression of genes related to brain development. These findings represent the first direct link between the SUV39H2 gene and ASD. Genes are turned ...

Primary care payment model, telemedicine use for Medicare Advantage during pandemic

2021-07-16
What The Study Did: The association between primary care payment models and the use of telemedicine for Medicare Advantage enrollees during the COVID-19 pandemic was examined in this study. Authors: Brian W. Powers, M.D., M.B.A., of Humana Inc. in Louisville, Kentucky, is the corresponding author. To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link https://media.jamanetwork.com/ (doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.1597) Editor's Note: The article includes conflicts of interest disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author ...

Outcomes of patients treated by female vs male physicians

2021-07-16
What The Study Did: Researchers investigated whether death, other hospital outcomes and processes of care differed between patients cared for by female and male physicians at hospitals in Canada. Authors: Fahad Razak, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, is the corresponding author. To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link https://media.jamanetwork.com/  (doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.1615) Editor's Note: The article includes conflicts of interest disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, conflict of interest and financial disclosures, and funding and support. #  #  # Media advisory: The full study is linked to this news ...

Exploring gap between excess mortality, COVID-19 deaths in 67 countries

2021-07-16
What The Study Did: National health care systems have different capacities to correctly identify people who died of COVID-19. Researchers in this study analyzed the gap between excess mortality and  COVID-19 confirmed mortality in 67 countries to determine the extent to which official data on COVID-19 deaths might be considered reliable. Authors: Davide Golinelli, M.D.,  Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna in Italy, is the corresponding author. To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link https://media.jamanetwork.com/ (doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.17359) Editor's ...

No sign of COVID-19 vaccine in breast milk

2021-07-16
Messenger RNA vaccines against COVID-19 were not detected in human milk, according to a small study by UC San Francisco, providing early evidence that the vaccine mRNA is not transferred to the infant. The study, which analyzed the breast milk of seven women after they received the mRNA vaccines and found no trace of the vaccine, offers the first direct data of vaccine safety during breastfeeding and could allay concerns among those who have declined vaccination or discontinued breastfeeding due to concern that vaccination might alter human milk. The paper appears in JAMA Pediatrics. Research has demonstrated that vaccines with mRNA inhibit transmission ...

New UK study reveals extent of brain complications in children hospitalized with COVID-19

2021-07-16
Although the risk of a child being admitted to hospital due to COVID-19 is small, a new UK study has found that around 1 in 20 of children hospitalised with COVID-19 develop brain or nerve complications linked to the viral infection. The research, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health and led by the University of Liverpool, identifies a wide spectrum of neurological complications in children and suggests they may be more common than in adults admitted with COVID-19. While neurological problems have been reported in children with the newly described post-COVID condition paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally ...

New theory suggests blood immune and clotting components could contribute to psychosis

2021-07-16
A scientific review has found evidence that a disruption in blood clotting and the first line immune system could be contributing factors in the development of psychosis. The article, a joint collaborative effort by researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Cardiff University and the UCD Conway Institute, is published in Molecular Psychiatry. Recent studies have identified blood proteins involved in the innate immune system and blood clotting networks as key players implicated in psychosis. The researchers analysed these studies and developed a new theory that proposes the imbalance of both of these systems leads to inflammation, which in turn contributes to the development of psychosis. The work proposes that alterations ...

When mad AIOLOS drags IKAROS down: A novel pathogenic mechanism

When mad AIOLOS drags IKAROS down: A novel pathogenic mechanism
2021-07-16
Tokyo, Japan - Primary immunodeficiencies, such as severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), occur when the immune system does not work properly, leading to increased susceptibility to various infections, autoimmunity, and cancers. Most of these are inherited and have an underlying genetic causes. A team at TMDU has identified a novel disorder resulting from a mutation in a protein called AIOLOS, which functions through a previously unknown pathogenic mechanism called heterodimeric interference. The gene family known as IKAROS zinc finger proteins (IKZFs) is associated with the development of lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell involved ...
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