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Trial drug can significantly block early stages of COVID-19 in engineered human tissues

Science Daily - Hace 6 horas 43 mins
An international team has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts.

A new way to fine-tune exotic materials: Thin, stretch and clamp

Science Daily - Hace 6 horas 43 mins
Turning a brittle oxide into a flexible membrane and stretching it on a tiny apparatus flipped it from a conducting to an insulating state and changed its magnetic properties. The technique can be used to study and design a broad range of materials for use in things like sensors and detectors.

COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise in first peer-reviewed research

Science Daily - Hace 6 horas 43 mins
A potential COVID-19 vaccine, delivered by microscopic needles, produces antibodies specific to the virus when tested in mice. This is the first peer-reviewed paper describing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The next step is a human clinical trial.

Amazon Blocks Sale of N95 Masks To the Public, Begins Offering Supplies To Hospitals

Slashdot - Science - Hace 7 horas 59 mins
Amazon is no longer offering N95 masks to the general public, as it prioritizes the delivery of essential supplies to hospitals, government agencies and other groups amid the coronavirus outbreak. From a report: Earlier this week, the company rolled out a new section of its website dedicated to COVID-19 related supplies. There, any U.S.-accredited hospital or state or federal agency can fill out a form to access necessary items like N95 masks, surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves and large-volume sanitizers. The site states it is not accepting requests from the general public, noting: "We are not accepting requests from individuals or non-qualified organizations at this time." Amazon also noted it will not make a profit from the orders.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Coronavirus: China wildlife trade ban could become law within months

New Scientist - Hace 8 horas 12 mins
China’s ban on eating and trading wildlife due to the coronavirus crisis could become law within the next three months, according to conservationists

Hunt for George Clooney's face explains how stress affects decisions

New Scientist - Hace 9 horas 28 mins
Being stressed changes the way we make decisions. An experiment that sees people hunt for George Clooney's face while experiencing electric shocks could help explain why

Diet and exercise will keep your brain young – depending on your genes

New Scientist - Hace 9 horas 28 mins
Following a healthy diet or exercising could impact how your brain ages, but the effects on cognitive skills later in life depend on specific gene variants that not everyone has

Whooping cranes form larger flocks as wetlands are lost -- and it may put them at risk

Science Daily - Hace 10 horas 10 mins
Over the past few decades, the endangered whooping crane (Grus Americana) has experienced considerable recovery. However, researchers found that habitat loss has led whooping cranes to gather in unusually large groups during migration. While larger groups are a positive sign of species recovery, the authors say that a disease outbreak or extreme weather event could inadvertently impact this still fragile population.

Our oceans are suffering, but we can rebuild marine life

Science Daily - Hace 11 horas 19 mins
It's not too late to rescue global marine life, according to a study outlining the steps needed for marine ecosystems to recover from damage by 2050. The study found many components of marine ecosystems could be rebuilt if we try harder to address the causes of their decline.

Orangutans and other great apes under threat from covid-19 pandemic

New Scientist - Hace 11 horas 21 mins
Many great ape species are already in a precarious situation because of their dwindling numbers. Now they may also be at risk from the coronavirus pandemic

AI Program Could Check Blood For Signs of Lung Cancer

Slashdot - Science - Hace 12 horas 28 mins
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence program that can screen people for lung cancer by analyzing their blood for DNA mutations that drive the disease. The program works by examining free-floating DNA that circulates in the blood. The majority of this genetic detritus enters the bloodstream when harmless cells in the body break down and spill their molecular innards, but tumors also shed DNA as they form and grow larger. Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe how their AI program crunched data on the DNA found in the blood of lung cancer patients to learn which common cancer mutations most effectively predicted the disease. The researchers then used the trained program to distinguish lung cancer patients from healthy people in a separate group of volunteers who gave blood samples for the study. The system cannot confidently diagnose cancer, but instead flags up likely cases for further medical investigation. In tests, the program had a 2% false positive rate -- meaning that it mistakenly flagged two in every 100 healthy people as having the disease -- while rating 55% of stage 2 cancers and nearly 70% of stage 3 cancers as patients likely to have the disease.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Discovery of life in solid rock deep beneath sea may inspire new search for life on Mars

Science Daily - Hace 13 horas 23 mins
Newly discovered single-celled creatures living deep beneath the seafloor have provided clues about how to find life on Mars. These bacteria were discovered living in tiny cracks inside volcanic rocks after researchers perfected a new method cutting rocks into ultrathin slices to study under a microscope. Researchers estimate that the rock cracks are home to a community of bacteria as dense as that of the human gut, about 10 billion bacterial cells per cubic centimeter.

Delaying the COP26 climate talks could have a silver lining

New Scientist - Hace 13 horas 43 mins
Crucial climate talks due to be held this November have been postponed, but a short delay could give countries time to get better organised - and see Donald Trump replaced with someone who supports a climate deal

Venus may have an underground magma ocean spanning the whole planet

New Scientist - Hace 19 horas 27 mins
When Earth and Venus formed, they both had global magma oceans deep underground. Earth’s has turned solid by now, but Venus’s may still remain hidden

New X-Ray Technique Images Soft-Tissue Tumors Clearer Than MRI

Slashdot - Science - Mié, 01/04/2020 - 20:10
Researchers at Tohoku University have developed a new method of adapting X-ray to image soft tissue, "so that its higher resolution can reveal tumors or other problems earlier than other techniques," reports New Atlas. From the report: Elastography is a field of medical imaging that focuses on the stiffness or softness of tissues. Shear waves are sent through the body, and then an imaging technology like ultrasound or MRI is used to watch how they spread. The waves move through stiff tissue faster than they do through soft tissue, and since tumors, lesions and hardened arteries are all stiffer than surrounding tissue, the technique can highlight these signs of disease. X-rays usually work on a different mechanism, but recent research has suggested that they could be applied to elastography too. And if they were, the resulting images would be much higher resolution, able to spot things on the scale of microns instead of millimeters. And now, X-ray elastography has moved from principle to practice. The Tohoku team has taken the first images using the technique, and shown that it is able to identify the stiffness of different materials. The researchers imaged a polyacrylamide gel, with some samples containing harder particles of zirconium dioxide. Vibrations were then sent through these samples while X-ray images were taken. And sure enough, the X-ray elastography method was able to spot these tiny intruders. After showing that the concept does work, the researchers say that the next steps are to create 3D images, and eventually develop x-ray elastography equipment for medical diagnoses. The research was published in the journal Applied Physics Express.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Diets do help you lose weight - but the benefits usually don't last

New Scientist - Mié, 01/04/2020 - 17:30
Atkins, Paleo or Zone – whichever diet you follow, you’ll probably only lose a bit of weight, and improvements to your cholesterol may disappear within a year

Hospitals Tell Doctors They'll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear

Slashdot - Science - Mié, 01/04/2020 - 16:50
schwit1 shares a report from Bloomberg, commenting: "And the claim that this is about protecting 'patient privacy' is b***shit." From the report: Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he'd given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization." Doctors are a famously independent profession, where individual medical judgment on what's best for the patient is prized over administrative dictates. That's reared its head during the Covid-19 outbreak, with many physicians, nurses and other health-care workers taking to social media to express deep concerns about the lack of protective gear or much-needed patient-care equipment like respirators. Some posts have gone viral and are being shared hundreds of thousands of times, often tagged with #GetMePPE. Privacy laws prohibit disclosing specific patient information, but they don't bar discussing general working conditions. The report notes that not all hospitals are blocking staff from talking to the press. "New York's Mount Sinai has been scheduling media interviews for nurses, physicians and trainees to help the public understand the severity of the crisis," reports Bloomberg. "The University of California San Francisco Medical Center has gotten hundreds of such calls and encouraged workers to talk to reporters."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Doctors Turn To Twitter and TikTok To Share Coronavirus News

Slashdot - Science - Mié, 01/04/2020 - 14:10
In a sign of the times, doctors are effectively waging a two-pronged fight against coronavirus: one part takes place in overcrowded hospitals and the other takes place on noisy social media platforms as they work to combat what the World Health Organization has declared an infodemic with accurate, authoritative voices. From a report: All of that means doctors, some of whom were once reluctant to embrace social media, are wading deeper into platforms that are rife with fake news, unproven medical advice and mass panic. "Social media is the disease and the cure. It is responsible for the dissemination of misinformation as much as it needs to be a tool for repairing that," said Rick Pescatore, an emergency room physician and public health expert in the Philadelphia area, who is active on Twitter and Facebook and has treated Covid-19 patients. "It's incumbent upon physicians, who want to get real information out there, to meet these patients where they are -- and that's social media." Perhaps nowhere is this shift more striking than on TikTok, a short-form video platform beloved by teens that is best known for lip syncing, dance routines and comedy skits. In one TikTok video viewed more than 416,000 times, a registered nurse named Miki Rai does a choreographed dance involving a lot of hand motions as facts about Covid-19 flash on the screen, such as how long the virus stays on different surfaces. In another TikTok video, set to soothing elevator music, Dr. Rose Marie Leslie demonstrates proper handwashing: Wet hands. Lather up. Start washing for 20 seconds. Scrub under your nails and between fingers. Rinse. Leslie, a resident physician specializing in family medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, created a TikTok account about a year ago, with the aim of reaching a younger demographic with health education information. Soon after coronavirus cases started emerging, she began creating TikToks about the issue. Now, she works to debunk myths about the virus for her more than 500,000 followers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Understanding how the protein tau moves between neurons yields insight into possible treatments for neurodegenerative diseases

Science Daily - Mié, 01/04/2020 - 13:53
In the fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the tau protein is a major culprit. Found abundantly in our brain cells, tau is normally a team player -- it maintains structure and stability within neurons, and it helps with transport of nutrients from one part of the cell to another.

New CT scoring criteria for timely diagnosis, treatment of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Science Daily - Mié, 01/04/2020 - 13:08
Updated CT scoring criteria that considers lobe involvement, as well as changes in CT findings (i.e., ground-glass opacity, crazy-paving pattern, and consolidation), could quantitatively and accurately evaluate the progression of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia, according to a new article.

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