Special Wire Header

Re-Wired: great stories you might have missed

Recent highlights in research news include: Evidence of flooding in Mars' not-to-distant past; Australia could save billions on healthcare with a fat tax; Chatter between gut microbes and the immune system; B Vitamins reduce schizophrenia symptoms; When galaxies collide it's a big deal; and Size matters when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels in check.

See more picks from our staff here

Europeans Brought New Strains of Ulcer-Causing Bacterium to Pre-Columbian Americas

Genome study shows mixing of European and African H. pylori strains in modern American populations.

(Embargo expired on 23-Feb-2017 at 09:00 ET)

Tiny Cavefish May Help Humans Evolve to Require Very Little Sleep

We all do it; we all need it – humans and animals alike. Neuroscientists have been studying Mexican cavefish to provide insight into the evolutionary mechanisms regulating sleep loss and the relationship between sensory processing and sleep.

Diabetic Kidney Disease Is Decoded, Offering New Avenues for Diagnosis and Treatment

Mount Sinai researchers say their study represents hope for a complication considered incurable and deadly

Companies Located Near an IRS Office More Likely to Face an Audit and Avoid More Taxes

Researchers examined tax records of public companies from fiscal years 1996 to 2012 and found a positive association between a company's geographic proximity to an IRS territory manager’s office and IRS audit likelihood as well as tax avoidance.

Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Gradual Yet ‘Silent’ Kidney Damage

Taking popular heartburn medication for prolonged periods may lead to serious kidney damage, even in people who show no signs of kidney problems, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System. The drugs are sold under brand names such as Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium and Protonix.

Oil and Gas Wastewater Spills, Including Fracking Wastewater, Alter Microbes in West Virginia Waters

Wastewater from oil and gas operations – including fracking for shale gas – at a West Virginia site altered microbes downstream, according to a Rutgers-led study. The study, published recently in Science of the Total Environment, showed that wastewater releases, including briny water that contained petroleum and other pollutants, altered the diversity, numbers and functions of microbes. The shifts in the microbial community indicated changes in their respiration and nutrient cycling, along with signs of stress.

Organ-on-a-Chip Mimics Heart’s Biomechanical Properties

Scientists at Vanderbilt University have created a three-dimensional organ-on-a-chip that can mimic the heart’s amazing biomechanical properties in order to study cardiac disease, determine the effects that different drugs have on the heart and screen for new drugs to treat heart ailments.

Pilot Study Finds Youth More Likely Than Adults to Report Seeing Alcohol Marketing on the Internet

Underage youth are nearly twice as likely to recall seeing alcohol marketing on the internet than adults, with almost one in three saying they saw alcohol-related content in the previous month, according to a new pilot survey led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

(Embargo expired on 20-Feb-2017 at 12:00 ET)

Warming Ponds Could Accelerate Climate Change

Rising temperatures could accelerate climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide stored in ponds and increasing the methane they release, new research shows.

Why Are There Different 'Flavors' of Iron Around the Solar System?

New work shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

Mindfulness Shows Promise as We Age, but Study Results Are Mixed

As mindfulness practices rise in popularity and evidence of their worth continues to accumulate, those who work with aging populations are looking to use the techniques to boost cognitive, emotional and physiological health. But studies so far have shown mixed results in the elderly.

Differences in the Rhetorical Styles of Candidates in the 2016 US Presidential Election

A new paper published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities reveals and quantifies dramatic differences in the speaking styles of candidates in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Origin of Spooky Meteor Noises Reappraised by Sandia Researchers

Sound travels more slowly than light. Then why do sounds of meteors entering earth's atmosphere precede or accompany the sight of them? Sandia researchers believe they have an answer.

GBSI Report Shows Encouraging Progress Towards Addressing Reproducibility to Significantly Improve Quality of Preclinical Biological Research by Year 2020

One year after the Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI) issued its Reproducibility2020 challenge and action plan for the biomedical research community, the organization reports encouraging progress toward the goal to significantly improve the quality of preclinical biological research by year 2020. “Reproducibility2020 Report: Progress and Priorities,” posted today on bioRxiv, identifies action and impact that has been achieved by the life science research community and outlines priorities going forward. The report is the first comprehensive review of the steps being taken to improve reproducibility since the issue became more widely known in 2012.

(Embargo expired on 19-Feb-2017 at 05:00 ET)

Alien Particles From Outer Space Are Wreaking Low-Grade Havoc on Personal Electronic Devices

Alien subatomic particles raining down from outer space are wreaking low-grade havoc on your smartphones, computers and other personal electronic devices.

(Embargo expired on 17-Feb-2017 at 03:00 ET)

Yeast Found in Babies’ Guts Increases Risk of Asthma

University of British Columbia microbiologists have found a yeast in the gut of new babies in Ecuador that appears to be a strong predictor that they will develop asthma in childhood. The new research furthers our understanding of the role microscopic organisms play in our overall health.

Congo River Fish Evolution Shaped by Intense Rapids

Genomic study in lower Congo reveals microscale diversification.

Climate-Driven Permafrost Thaw

In bitter cold regions like northwestern Canada, permafrost has preserved relict ground-ice and vast glacial sedimentary stores in a quasi-stable state. These landscapes therefore retain a high potential for climate-driven transformation.

Second Cause of Hidden Hearing Loss Identified

Some people can pass a hearing test but have trouble understanding speech in a noisy environment. New research identifies a new mechanism for this condition just years after its discovery.

Penn Team Tracks Rare T Cells in Blood to Better Understand Annual Flu Vaccine

A team has found a way to identify the small population of circulating helper T cells present in the blood after an annual flu vaccine to monitor their contribution to antibody strength. A technique that identifies these helper immune cells could inform future vaccine design, especially for vulnerable populations.

Scientists Monitor Crosstalk Between Intestinal Microbes and Immune System

Harvard Medical School researchers have successfully “listened in” on the crosstalk between gut microbes and the immune system.

A Method Based on Artificial Intelligence Allows to Diagnose Alzheimer's or Parkinson's

Researchers from the UGR and UMA have designed a technique that aims to model high-level data abstractions to make computers learn to differentiate the brain of a healthy person from that of an ill person by extracting the affected regions.

B Vitamins Reduce Schizophrenia Symptoms

A review of worldwide studies has found that add-on treatment with high-dose b-vitamins - including B6, B8 and B12 - can significantly reduce symptoms of schizophrenia more than standard treatments alone.

Researchers Pinpoint Watery Past on Mars

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a patch of land in an ancient valley on Mars that appears to have been flooded by water in the not-too-distant past. In doing so, they have pinpointed a prime target to begin searching for past life forms on the Red Planet.

Size Matters When It Comes to Keeping Blood Sugar Levels in Check

Keeping blood sugar levels within a safe range is key to managing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In a new finding that could lead to fewer complications for diabetes patients, Yale School of Medicine researchers have found that changes in the size of mitochondria in a small subset of brain cells play a crucial role in safely maintaining blood sugar levels.

'The Blob' of Abnormal Conditions Boosted Western U.S. Ozone Levels

Abnormal conditions in the northeast Pacific Ocean, nicknamed “the blob,” put ozone levels in June 2015 higher than normal over a large swath of the Western U.S.

Intergalactic Unions More Devastating Than We Thought

Scientists estimated the number of stars disrupted by solitary supermassive black holes in galactic centers formed due to mergers of galaxies containing supermassive black holes.

Sugar, Salt, and Fat Taxes Could Save Billions in Health Care Costs

Australia could save AUD $3.4 billion (USD $2.3 billion) in healthcare costs over the remaining lifetimes of all Australians alive in 2010 by instituting a combination of taxes on unhealthy foods and subsidies on fruits and vegetables, according to a new study.

(Embargo expired on 14-Feb-2017 at 09:00 ET)

A Kiss of Death -- Mammals Were the First Animals to Produce Venom

CT scans of fossils of the pre-mammalian reptile, Euchambersia, shows anatomical features, designed for venom production

Researchers Identify 'Achilles' Heel' of PTEN That Helps Drive Prostate Cancer Progression

Loss of the protein Importin 11 predicts relapse and metastasis in patients following prostate removal

School Vouchers Bring More Money to Catholic Schools — but at a Cost, Study Finds

The University of Notre Dame study found that voucher expansion caused significant declines in church donations and church spending on non-educational religious activities.