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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A research team based at The Rockefeller University has identified a potent new weapon against the Zika virus in the blood of people who have been infected by it. This discovery could lead to new ways of fighting the disease, including a vaccine. In blood samples taken from subjects in Mexico and Brazil, the scientists found antibodies--proteins produced by the immune system--that block the virus from initiating an infection. These antibodies appeared to have been initially generated in response to an earlier infection by a related virus that causes dengue. One such antibody, which they call Z004, was particularly effective at neutralizing Zika. "These antibodies could be very useful in the near future. One could envision, for example, administering Z004 to safely prevent Zika among pregnant women or others at risk of contracting the disease," says Davide F. Robbiani, a research associate professor in Michel Nussenzweig's lab. He and Leonia Bozzacco, a research affiliate in Charles M. Rice's lab, led the study, which appears in Cell on May 4. The team's detailed examination of the interaction between this antibody and the virus also revealed a new potential strategy for developing a vaccine. A mosquito-borne virus, Zika usually causes mild symptoms in those who contract it. However, dramatic effects can appear in the next generation. Babies born to women infected during pregnancy are at risk of devastating neurodevelopmental abnormalities. The only way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites; there are currently no vaccines or other medical measures to do so. An infection begins when the virus, traveling in a spherical particle studded with the viral envelope protein, latches onto a host cell and forces its way in. Faced with a viral threat, the human immune system generates antibodies that recognize the virus and stop it from invading cells. The team set out to find antibodies tuned to a particular target: a part of Zika's envelope protein, which the virus needs to launch an attack. Five out of six Through collaborators working in Pau da Lima, Brazil, and Santa Maria Mixtequilla, Mexico, they obtained blood samples from more than 400 people, collected shortly after Zika was circulating. Individual responses to the same pathogen can vary greatly. Yet a deeper analysis of samples from six of the volunteers with the most promising antibodies revealed a surprise: Five of them contained the same species of nearly identical antibodies. This similarity suggested these molecules were particularly good at fighting the virus. When the team examined these closely related antibodies' performance against Zika, one stood out: Z004, an antibody from a Mexican volunteer's blood. When given to mice rendered vulnerable to Zika, the antibody protected them from developing serious infections. To get a closer look at the interaction between the antibody and a fragment of the virus' envelope protein, scientists in Pamela J. Bjorkman's lab at Caltech determined the molecular structure formed as the two units interacted. Their detailed maps revealed how the antibody pinches a ridge on the virus when it binds to it. While some efforts to develop a vaccine use all or most of the virus to stimulate the immune system, the researchers believe it could be safer to employ only a tiny fragment containing this ridge. Zika isn't the only virus to sport the ridge, as it is also present in envelopes of other viruses in the same family. The dengue 1 virus, a close relative of Zika and one of four types of dengue, has a ridge that is remarkably similar to Zika's. When pitted against dengue 1, Z004 neutralized it as well. A look back at samples from the Brazilians, collected six months before Zika arrived by a team led by Albert Ko of Yale University, revealed evidence of prior dengue 1 infections in some--and a potential explanation as to why certain people's immune systems fared better against Zika. "Even before Zika, their blood samples likely had antibodies that could interact with this same spot on the envelope protein," says Margaret R. MacDonald, a research associate professor in Rice's lab. "It appears that, much like a vaccine, dengue 1 can prime the immune system to respond to Zika." Nussenzweig is the Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman Professor and Rice is the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor in Virology.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have discovered a way to make influenza visible to the naked eye, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. By engineering dye molecules to target a specific enzyme of the virus, the team was able to develop a test kit that emitted fluorescent light when illuminated with a hand-held lamp or blue laser pointer. Scientists used test samples that mimicked that of an infected patient, and spiked the samples with the enzyme, called neuraminidase, which had been purified from flu virus. The samples emit red fluorescent light as a positive indication of the influenza virus. Blue fluorescent light signals a negative result. The same process also allowed scientists to determine which of two approved antiviral drugs would be a better treatment option for the individual patient. While still a prototype, researchers believe that with optimization the diagnostic could be developed to be used in point of care clinics or the home environment for a rapid, easy to interpret test for the presence of influenza. "Viral cultures are the gold standard for diagnosis of influenza but take several days to develop. By targeting an enzyme inherent to the virus and identifying its presence in a sample, we can make a rapid determination of the influenza in a patient for an efficient and immediate diagnostic that would improve patient treatment and reduce overuse of antivirals," said Bradley Smith, Emil T. Hofman Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, director of the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility and co-author of the study. Smith and his team created a new method to detect neuraminidase, which is located on the surface of the virus. Researchers began by designing a dye molecule to emit red fluorescent light when it interacts with the neuraminidase. Following validation of enzyme recognition, researchers then tested the dye with two antiviral drugs used to treat influenza -- Zanamivir, also known as Relenza, and Oseltamivir, known widely as Tamiflu. The antivirals are neuraminidase inhibitors. Samples containing dye and neuraminidase were combined with each of the antivirals and illuminated. Red fluorescence indicated the enzyme was still active, meaning the antiviral failed to inhibit the virus in that patient. Blue light indicated the enzyme had been blocked, presenting an effective treatment option. The study, which received funding from the National Science Foundation and Notre Dame's research initiative, Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics, focused specifically on fluorescence detection of the virus and efficacy of the two inhibitors. Smith's team hopes to build upon these results in the future.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The function and distribution of adipose tissue in the body change during the course of life. Beige fat cells, a special type of adipocytes, have the capability to use energy reserves - fatty deposits - by generating heat in a process known as thermogenesis. With increasing age, beige adipocytes take on the morphology of white adipocytes. Thermogenic activity ceases and with it the cells' ability to burn fat. As a result, the risk of obesity increases. A team working with Freiburg researchers Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle and Dr. Delphine Duteil has now proven that the epigenetic enzyme lysine specific demethylase 1 (Lsd1) plays a key role in this transformation. They are presenting their results in the science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The number of beige adipocytes decreases when Lsd1 levels fall in aging adipose tissue. The group nevertheless was able to maintain Lsd1 production specifically in fat cells, and thereby reducing age-related transformation of beige to white adipose tissue. In an experiment with mice, the amount of beige adipocytes in older animals was maintained at nearly the level corresponding to that of younger mice. Conversely, the research team also showed that loss of Lsd1 in younger animals led to premature transformation of the fat cells. To observe this, the researchers marked the beige adipocytes with a fluorescent protein and reproduced their transformation to white adipose tissue. Beige fat cells can be generated using cold treatment, for example. These then use fatty acids to produce warmth. Body weight gain is limited as a result. The researchers demonstrated that Lsd1 is not only essential for the development of beige adipocytes, but also for the maintenance of beige fat cells. Therefore, an elevated Lsd1 level is indispensable for the efficient burning of calories. The analyses showed furthermore that Lsd1 maintains beige adipocytes by means of the target gene Pparα. This gene is interesting from a therapeutic standpoint, because selective and effective drugs can activate or suppress it with relative ease. In their experiments, the team proved that pharmacological activation of Pparα is sufficient to hinder the premature loss of beige fat cells in mice with low levels of Lsd1. The animals were therefore protected from metabolic disorders that are caused by Lsd1 loss. Roland Schüle and Delphine Duteil carry out their research at the Department of Urology and Clinical Research Center at the Freiburg University Medical Center. Schüle is a member of the cluster of excellence the BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies of the University of Freiburg. Caption: Lsd1 placed on white adipocytes (red) prevents the aging of beige adipose tissue (yellow). Photo: Delphine Duteil Contact: Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle Department of Urology and Clinical Research Center Freiburg University Medical Center BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies Tel.: 0761/270-63100 E-Mail: roland.schuele@uniklinik-freiburg.de


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope has peered across six billion light years of space to resolve extremely faint features of the galaxy cluster Abell 370 that have not been seen before. Imaged here in stunning detail, Abell 370 is part of the Frontier Fields programme which uses massive galaxy clusters to study the mysteries of dark matter and the very early Universe. Six billion light-years away in the constellation Cetus (the Sea Monster), Abell 370 is made up of hundreds of galaxies [1]. Already in the mid-1980s higher-resolution images of the cluster showed that the giant luminous arc in the lower left of the image was not a curious structure within the cluster, but rather an astrophysical phenomenon: the gravitationally lensed image of a galaxy twice as far away as the cluster itself. Hubble helped show that this arc is composed of two distorted images of an ordinary spiral galaxy that just happens to lie behind the cluster. Abell 370's enormous gravitational influence warps the shape of spacetime around it, causing the light of background galaxies to spread out along multiple paths and appear both distorted and magnified. The effect can be seen as a series of streaks and arcs curving around the centre of the image. Massive galaxy clusters can therefore act like natural telescopes, giving astronomers a close-up view of the very distant galaxies behind the cluster -- a glimpse of the Universe in its infancy, only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. This image of Abell 370 was captured as part of the Frontier Fields programme, which used a whopping 630 hours of Hubble observing time, over 560 orbits of the Earth. Six clusters of galaxies were imaged in exquisite detail, including Abell 370 which was the very last one to be finished. An earlier image of this object -- using less observation time and therefore not recording such faint detail -- was published in 2009. During the cluster observations, Hubble also looked at six "parallel fields", regions near the galaxy clusters which were imaged with the same exposure times as the clusters themselves. Each cluster and parallel field were imaged in infrared light by the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), and in visible light by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The Frontier Fields programme produced the deepest observations ever made of galaxy clusters and the magnified galaxies behind them. These observations are helping astronomers understand how stars and galaxies emerged out of the dark ages of the Universe, when space was dark, opaque, and filled with hydrogen. Studying massive galaxy clusters like Abell 370 also helps with measuring the distribution of normal matter and dark matter within such clusters (heic1506 - http://www. ). By studying its lensing properties, astronomers have determined that Abell 370 contains two large, separate clumps of dark matter, contributing to the evidence that this massive galaxy cluster is actually the result of two smaller clusters merging together. Now that the observations for the Frontier Fields programme are complete, astronomers can use the full dataset to explore the clusters, their gravitational lensing effects and the magnified galaxies from the early Universe in full detail. [1] Galaxy clusters are the most massive structures in the Universe that are held together by gravity, generally thought to have formed when smaller groups of galaxies smashed into each other in ever-bigger cosmic collisions. Such clusters can contain up to 1000 galaxies, along with hot intergalactic gas that often shines brightly at X-ray wavelengths, all bound together primarily by the gravity of dark matter. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

IMAGE:  The RAISE payload, partially enclosed in a clean tent, is shown after completion of testing before going to the launch pad. view more On May 5, 2017, scientists will launch a sounding rocket 200 miles up into the atmosphere, where in just five minutes, it will take 1,500 images of the sun. The NASA-funded RAISE mission is designed to scrutinize split-second changes occurring near the sun's active regions -- areas of intense, complex magnetic activity that can give rise to solar flares, which eject energy and solar material out into space. Several missions continuously study the sun -- such as NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO -- but certain areas of the sun demand especially high-cadence observations in order to understand the rapid changes occurring there. That's where RAISE -- short for Rapid Acquisition Imaging Spectrograph Experiment -- comes in. "Dynamic processes happen on all timescales," said Don Hassler, principal investigator for the RAISE mission at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "With RAISE, we'll read out an image every two-tenths of a second, so we can study very fast processes and changes on the sun. That's around five to 10 times faster than comparable instruments on other sounding rocket or satellite missions." RAISE images are used to create a data product called a spectrogram, which separates light from the sun into all its different wavelength components. By looking at the intensity of light at each wavelength, scientists can assess how solar material and energy moves around the sun, and how that movement evolves into massive solar eruptions. "RAISE is pushing the limits of high-cadence observations, and doing so is challenging," Hassler said. "But that's exactly what the NASA sounding rocket program is for." The flight of a sounding rocket is short-lived, and has a parabolic trajectory -- the shape of a frown. Most sounding rocket flights last for 15 to 20 minutes, and just five to six of those minutes are spent making observations from above the atmosphere, observations that can only be done in space. In RAISE's case, the extreme ultraviolet light the instruments observe can't penetrate Earth's atmosphere. After the flight, the payload parachutes to the ground, where it can be recovered for use again. This will be the RAISE mission's third flight, and the scientists have continuously updated its technology. For the upcoming flight, they have refurbished the detectors and updated the flight software, and the payload carries a new diffraction grating, which reflects light and separates it into its separate wavelengths. The launch window for RAISE opens at 2:25 p.m. EDT at the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The precise timing of the launch depends on weather conditions, and coordinated timing with other space observatories such as NASA's SDO and IRIS, as well as the joint Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency/NASA's Hinode. RAISE is supported by NASA's Sounding Rocket Program at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA's Heliophysics Division manages the Sounding Rocket Program.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Renal cell carcinoma is one of the most frequent and deadly urogenital cancers. Even if the tumors are treated, they ultimately end in metastasis in about half of the patients. 90 percent of these patients die within five years. Thanks to new kinds of immunotherapies, the outlook of this patient group has improved, but the treatment only works for a minority of patients. To find out more about the body`s own defense against cancer cells - and how it can be strengthened - researchers headed by Bernd Bodenmiller at the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences of the University of Zurich have individually analyzed a total of 3.5 million immune cells in the tumor samples of 73 patients with renal cell carcinoma and in five healthy controls. "The previous picture of immune defense was correct, but coarse," says first author of the study, Stéphane Chevrier. "With our methods to analyze individual immune cells, we have been able to create an immunological atlas of the tumor environment for the first time with high resolution and in a large patient cohort. As a result, many more facets have now come to light." Whether a tumor can develop and persist at a certain point in the body mainly depends on the response of the immune system in the direct vicinity of the tumor. As the scientists report in the journal Cell, they have identified new relationships between the various immune cells thanks to the immune atlas. In particular, the researchers have defined so-called immune cell signatures connected to the prognosis of the patients. The type and number of protein structures on the surface of immune cells play an essential role in regard to how the disease proceeds and how a patient responds to immunotherapies. "Such information can help us better understand how these treatments can be adapted individually within the scope of personalized medicine," Bernd Bodenmiller concludes. In addition, Bodenmiller's team has shown that certain surface molecules with a therapeutic use (so-called checkpoints, such as PD-1 or CTLA-4) cannot be found on the immune cells of all patients. Substances that block these surface proteins prevent the immune cells from being inactivated during the defense against cancer. These results could explain why the new types of checkpoint inhibitors work only for a minority of patients. With complex bioinformatic analyses, the group also discovered an additional target molecule called CD38, which can be found on the surface of inactivated or exhausted T-cells. Whether more renal cell carcinoma patients could be helped by targeting this additional CD38 signalling pathway will become clear in the near future. Bodenmiller's research partners in Australia have already started to plan corresponding clinical testing.


A new study by researchers at UCLA has revealed two key findings for people with irritable bowel syndrome about the relationship between the microorganisms that live in the gut and the brain. For people with IBS research shows for the first time that there is an association between the gut microbiota and the brain regions involved in the processing of sensory information from their bodies. The results suggest that signals generated by the brain can influence the composition of microbes residing in the intestine and that the chemicals in the gut can shape the human brain's structure. Additionally, the researchers gained insight into the connections among childhood trauma, brain development and the composition of the gut microbiome. Previous studies performed in mice have demonstrated effects of gut microbiota on brain function and behavior, as well as the influence of the brain on the composition of microbes in the gut. However, to date, only one study performed in human subjects has confirmed the translatability of such findings to the human brain. Studies have also reported evidence for alterations in the composition of gut microbiota in people with irritable bowel syndrome, but there has been little consistency among studies regarding the specific microbial alterations and the relationship of such alterations with the cardinal symptoms of IBS, recurring abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. In relation to a person's history with childhood trauma, it has been shown to be associated with structural and functional brain changes; trauma in young children has also been shown to alter gut microbial composition. But how they are related has been unknown. The UCLA researchers collected behavioral and clinical measures, stool samples and structural brain images from 29 adults diagnosed with IBS, and 23 healthy control subjects. They used DNA sequencing and various mathematical approaches to quantify composition, abundance and diversity of the gut microbiota. They also estimated the microbial gene content and gene products of the stool samples. Then the researchers cross-referenced these gut microbial measures with structural features of the brain. Based on the composition of the microbes in the gut, the samples from those diagnosed with IBS clustered into two subgroups. One group was indistinguishable from the healthy control subjects, while the other differed. Those in the group with an altered gut microbiota had more history of early life trauma and longer duration of IBS symptoms. The two groups also displayed differences in brain structure. Analysis of a person's gut microbiota may become a routine screening test for people with IBS in clinical practice, and in the future, therapies such as certain diets and probiotics may become personalized based on an individual's gut microbial profile. At the same time, subgroups of people with IBS distinguished by brain and microbial signatures may show different responsiveness to brain-directed therapies such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive behavioral therapy and targeted drugs. A history of early life trauma has been shown to be associated with structural and functional brain changes and to alter gut microbial composition. It is possible that the signals the gut and its microbes get from the brain of an individual with a history of childhood trauma may lead to lifelong changes in the gut microbiome. These alterations in the gut microbiota may feed back into sensory brain regions, altering the sensitivity to gut stimuli, a hallmark of people with IBS. The authors of the study are Jennifer Labus, Dr. Jonathan Jacobs, Arpana Gupta, Jonathan Acosta, Elaine Hsiao, Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, and Dr. Emeran Mayer, all of UCLA; Emily Hollister, Numan Oezguen, Ruth Ann Luna, Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, Dr. James Versalovic and Tor Savidge of Baylor College of Medicine; and Kyleigh Kirbach of Washington University. The study was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Microbiome. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded this research.


MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- Kansas State University research is reaching kitchens and grocery stores across the country, thanks to a national campaign that promotes food safety and safe poultry handling. The Partnership for Food Safety Education is using research from Kansas State University's Center for Sensory Analysis and Consumer Behavior for its nationwide campaign, Don't Wing It: Practice Safe Poultry Handling. The campaign is being featured by Wal-Mart, Publix and other supermarkets across the country. University researchers conducted years of food safety studies and developed safety tips that are the basis of the campaign. These food safety tips and information will appear in grocery store signs, circular ads, poultry bags, cooler shelf tags, propane tanks and other locations throughout stores. "Research on food safety conducted in the Center for Sensory Analysis and Consumer Behavior is key to our overall goal of ensuring that consumers get the best products and information to help them live healthy, happy, productive lives," said Edgar Chambers IV, co-director of the center and university distinguished professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health. "The fact that a national group like the Partnership for Food Safety Education chose to use the research that we conducted as the basis of their new national campaign shows the importance of what we do." Researchers involved at Kansas State University include Dolores Chambers, co-director of the Center for Sensory Analysis and Consumer Behavior and professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health; Kadri Koppel, assistant professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health; Curtis Maughan, 2015 doctoral graduate in human nutrition; and Amy Donelan, 2016 master's graduate in human nutrition. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded the research, which also included collaborating institutions Tennessee State University and RTI International. "This is sensory science in action," Chambers said. "We conducted surveys, watched consumers in grocery stores as they shopped and watched as they stored food in homes. We also observed their cooking and cooking behavior and conducted many other food safety-focused studies." Chambers noted that simple steps could help consumers keep poultry and meat safer. Some of the safety tips based on Kansas State University research include: The university team will continue adding important research to the campaign in the next year, Chambers said. The center has a second location at the university's Olathe campus, where researchers are conducting studies on grilling and food safety. The Partnership for Food Safety Education is a nonprofit organization that delivers science-based messaging to consumers to reduce risk of foodborne illness.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Drug users born in the 1980s and 1990s are turning to injection drug more quickly than previous generations, a USC-led study suggests The prescription opioid epidemic is shrinking the time it used to take drug users to progress to drug injection, a new Keck School of Medicine of USC-led study suggests. The study may predict the next national public health threat related to prescription painkiller abuse, said Ricky Bluthenthal, lead author of the study and a professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine. "The prescription opioid epidemic is creating a heroin epidemic, which will create an injection drug use epidemic," Bluthenthal said. "We've seen the first two. Now we're waiting to see the last emerge on the national level. I predict we'll see an uptick in injection-related diseases over the next couple of years." The study, published in April in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is based on 776 drug users in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Participants born in the 1980s or 1990s, on average, took six years to escalate from first illicit drug use to first drug injection. The average for participants born in the 1970s was nine years. "The more rapid transition to injection is an impact of the prescription opioid-to-heroin use phenomenon," Bluthenthal said. "Heroin is most efficiently used via injection as compared to other formerly popular drugs such as crack cocaine or even cocaine." Injection-related diseases can include HIV, which affects more than 1.2 million Americans, and hepatitis C, which affected an estimated 3.9 million Americans in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who inject drugs also are at elevated risk for sexually transmitted infections, abscesses and soft-tissue infections, mental health disorders, drug overdose and dying young, the study stated. Researchers found that the first drug injected changed in tandem with national drug use trends. In general, however, heroin and prescription opiate pills were the most common first drug injected. Drug users born in the 1980s and 1990s moved quicker from initial illicit drug use to syringe use than those born in the '70s. In California, 2,014 deaths were attributed to opioid-related poisoning or overdose, according to the state's Department of Public Health. Nationwide, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids -- more than 165,000 deaths -- has nearly quadrupled since 1999, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On an average day in America, some 3,900 people begin nonmedical use of prescription opioids, creating more than $55 billion in health and social costs each year. Prescription opioids are the current drug of choice and has been for nearly two decades, Bluthenthal said. Heroin was popular in the 1970s, crack cocaine in the 1980s and marijuana in the 1990s. For the past 20 years, people who inject drugs were considered an aging population. Long-acting opioid-based medications became available in the 1990s, Bluthenthal said. Once use of prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin skyrocketed, however, the downward trend changed, he noted. In the study, researchers divided the 776 individuals into birth cohorts: those born before the 1960s, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s or later. All participants had injected in the last month. About 33 percent were white, 30 percent were African-American and 25 percent were Latino. The adult participants completed a survey that asked if they had ever used a list of drugs, including crack cocaine, methamphetamine, speed, heroin, tranquilizers, nonmedical use of prescription opioids and buprenorphine. They reported when they first used that drug, the first time they injected and what drug they injected. More than half had injected heroin, powder cocaine and methamphetamine. More than 30 percent reported they had injected crack cocaine and opioid painkillers. Longer time until first injection was associated with drug treatment prior to first injection. This fact suggests that drug interventions may help keep drug users away from the needle. "We need to get ahead of a possible drug injection epidemic," Bluthenthal said. "What works for Latinos in East Los Angeles might not work for people in West Virginia. We need to come up with prevention activities responsive to specific cultures, generations and locales to combat the move to drug injection." USC researchers from multiple disciplines, including the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, are trying to solve the intractable problem of unnecessary drug prescriptions. Previous USC-led research found that a "nudge" reduces doctors' unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. Researchers ranked and shared a list of physicians most likely to give an unnecessary prescription and used pop-up boxes that required physicians to justify their pharmacy order. Interventions such as these potentially can prevent unnecessary opioid prescriptions and the negative effects that result from painkiller addiction. Bluthenthal is collecting more data from younger people using opioids to better understand the drug behaviors associated with younger generations. The research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute via nearly $1.7 million in awards. Founded in 1885, the Keck School of Medicine of USC is among the nation's leaders in innovative patient care, scientific discovery, education, and community service. It is part of Keck Medicine of USC, the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area. This includes the Keck Medical Center of USC, composed of the Keck Hospital of USC and the USC Norris Cancer Hospital. The two world-class, USC-owned hospitals are staffed by more than 500 physicians who are faculty at the Keck School. The school today has approximately 1,650 full-time faculty members and voluntary faculty of more than 2,400 physicians. These faculty direct the education of approximately 700 medical students and 1,000 students pursuing graduate and post-graduate degrees. The school trains more than 900 resident physicians in more than 50 specialty or subspecialty programs and is the largest educator of physicians practicing in Southern California. Together, the school's faculty and residents serve more than 1.5 million patients each year at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, as well as USC-affiliated hospitals Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. Keck School faculty also conduct research and teach at several research centers and institutes, including the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine at USC, the USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute, the USC Roski Eye Institute and the USC Institute of Urology. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked Keck School of Medicine among the Top 40 medical schools in the country. For more information, go to keck.usc.edu.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

IMAGE: Galaxy cluster Abell 370 contains several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. Photographed in a combination of visible and near-infrared light, the brightest and largest galaxies... view more  Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI) Much like the eclectic group of space rebels in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has some amazing superpowers, specifically when it comes to observing innumerable galaxies flung across time and space. A stunning example is galaxy cluster called Abell 370 that contains an astounding assortment of several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. That's a lot of galaxies to be guarding, and just in this one cluster! Photographed in a combination of visible and near-infrared light, the immense cluster is a rich mix of a variety of galaxy shapes. The brightest and largest galaxies in the cluster are the yellow-white, massive, elliptical galaxies containing many hundreds of billions of stars each. Spiral galaxies -- like our Milky Way -- have younger populations of stars and are bluish. Entangled among the galaxies are mysterious-looking arcs of blue light. These are actually distorted images of remote galaxies behind the cluster. These far-flung galaxies are too faint for Hubble to see directly. Instead, the cluster acts as a huge lens in space that magnifies and stretches images of background galaxies like a funhouse mirror. The massive gravitational field of the foreground cluster produces this phenomenon. The collective gravity of all the stars and other matter trapped inside the cluster warps space and affects light traveling through the cluster, toward Earth. Nearly a hundred distant galaxies have multiple images caused by the lensing effect. The most stunning example is "the Dragon," an extended feature that is probably several duplicated images of a single background spiral galaxy stretched along an arc. Astronomers chose Abell 370 as a target for Hubble because its gravitational lensing effects can be used for probing remote galaxies that inhabited the early universe. Abell 370 is located approximately 4 billion light-years away in the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster. It is the last of six galaxy clusters imaged in the recently concluded Frontier Fields project. This ambitious, community-developed collaboration among NASA's Great Observatories and other telescopes harnessed the power of massive galaxy clusters and probed the earliest stages of galaxy development. The program reveals galaxies that are 10 to 100 times fainter than any previously observed.

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