Riviste scientifiche

A mountain range on Saturn’s moon Iapetus may be a former ring

New Scientist - Ve, 02/03/2018 - 17:47
Falling space debris should make craters on rocky surfaces. But on Saturn’s moon Iapetus, it might have created a belt of mountains around the equator

We’ve evolved to sleep less and that may be causing Alzheimer’s

New Scientist - Ve, 02/03/2018 - 17:41
Humans sleep less than any other primate and spend less time in deep, non-REM sleep – which may cause a high risk of Alzheimer’s

Fish called ‘sarcastic fringehead’ has a wider mouth than body

New Scientist - Ve, 02/03/2018 - 17:40
Sarcastic fringeheads have a truly spectacular threat display: they open their mouths until they’re gaping wide, displaying two rows of teeth and fluorescent cheeks

Automated dance teacher tells you when your moves are wrong

New Scientist - Ve, 02/03/2018 - 14:50
Strictly and Dancing with the Stars judges could be replaced by a robot judge called HappyFeet. It can watch people dance and rate their moves

A weird underground plant has been rediscovered after 151 years

New Scientist - Ve, 02/03/2018 - 11:50
A species of subterranean plant was only seen once, in 1866, and was assumed to be extinct – until researchers stumbled across living specimens in Borneo

DeepMind AI is learning to understand the ‘thoughts’ of others

New Scientist - Ve, 02/03/2018 - 11:00
The firm’s new artificial intelligence has developed a theory of mind, passing an important psychological assessment that most children only develop around age 4

There may be five kinds of diabetes, not just types 1 and 2

New Scientist - Ve, 02/03/2018 - 00:30
Researchers propose splitting diabetes into five subtypes instead of the current type 1 and type 2 diagnoses. It may help, but we need to know much more

Surveillance of antimicrobial consumption in animal production sectors of low- and middle-income countries: Optimizing use and addressing antimicrobial resistance

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 23:00

by Daniel Schar, Angkana Sommanustweechai, Ramanan Laxminarayan, Viroj Tangcharoensathien

In a policy forum, Daniel Schar and colleagues discuss the need for surveillance of antimicrobial consumption in animals in low- and middle-income countries and propose the establishment of antimicrobial consumption monitoring systems.

Delays in completion and results reporting of clinical trials under the Paediatric Regulation in the European Union: A cohort study

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 23:00

by Thomas J. Hwang, Paolo A. Tomasi, Florence T. Bourgeois


Few medicines have been approved for children, leading to rates of off-label prescribing reported to be as high as 90%. In 2007, the European Union adopted the Paediatric Regulation, which mandates that pharmaceutical companies conduct paediatric studies for all new medicines, unless granted a waiver. We aimed to evaluate the availability of paediatric trial results from studies required under the Paediatric Regulation for new medicines authorised in the EU.

Methods and findings

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) public database of paediatric investigation plans was searched for new medicines centrally authorised in the EU between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2014 with at least 1 required paediatric study. For our study cohort of paediatric clinical trials required for these medicines, we used internal EMA databases and publicly available trial registries to determine changes to the planned completion date or study design, rates of trial completion, time to trial completion, and results reporting (peer-reviewed publication or posting on trial registry). Cox proportional hazards regression models were constructed to examine factors associated with study completion. A total of 326 paediatric clinical trials were required for 122 novel medicines authorised by the EMA between 2010 and 2014. In all, 76% (247/326) of paediatric studies were not planned to be completed until after the initial marketing authorisation. The planned completion dates for 50% (162/326) were further postponed by a median of 2.2 years. Overall, 38% (124/326) of paediatric studies were completed as of 30 November 2017. The rate of trial completion for paediatric studies planned to be completed after initial marketing authorisation was 23% (56/247), versus 86% (68/79) for trials planned to be completed before authorisation (adjusted hazard ratio 0.11; 95% CI 0.06–0.19). Among completed studies, the results were reported in a public registry or in the peer-reviewed literature for 85% (105/124) at a median of 1.1 years after study completion, and 60% (74/124) were published in a peer-reviewed journal. Limitations of this study include the potential lack of generalisability to medicines not authorised by the EMA and the possibility for more of these trials to be completed or published in the future.


The completion of many paediatric studies required under the Paediatric Regulation has been delayed. Paediatric studies planned to be completed after marketing authorisation were associated with a lower likelihood of eventual completion, highlighting the need to examine the implementation of current policies in ensuring timely availability of important paediatric information.

Mortality, ethnicity, and country of birth on a national scale, 2001–2013: A retrospective cohort (Scottish Health and Ethnicity Linkage Study)

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 23:00

by Raj S. Bhopal, Laurence Gruer, Genevieve Cezard, Anne Douglas, Markus F. C. Steiner, Andrew Millard, Duncan Buchanan, S. Vittal Katikireddi, Aziz Sheikh


Migrant and ethnic minority groups are often assumed to have poor health relative to the majority population. Few countries have the capacity to study a key indicator, mortality, by ethnicity and country of birth. We hypothesized at least 10% differences in mortality by ethnic group in Scotland that would not be wholly attenuated by adjustment for socio-economic factors or country of birth.

Methods and findings

We linked the Scottish 2001 Census to mortality data (2001–2013) in 4.62 million people (91% of estimated population), calculating age-adjusted mortality rate ratios (RRs; multiplied by 100 as percentages) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for 13 ethnic groups, with the White Scottish group as reference (ethnic group classification follows the Scottish 2001 Census). The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, education status, and household tenure were socio-economic status (SES) confounding variables and born in the UK or Republic of Ireland (UK/RoI) an interacting and confounding variable. Smoking and diabetes data were from a primary care sub-sample (about 53,000 people). Males and females in most minority groups had lower age-adjusted mortality RRs than the White Scottish group. The 95% CIs provided good evidence that the RR was more than 10% lower in the following ethnic groups: Other White British (72.3 [95% CI 64.2, 81.3] in males and 75.2 [68.0, 83.2] in females); Other White (80.8 [72.8, 89.8] in males and 76.2 [68.6, 84.7] in females); Indian (62.6 [51.6, 76.0] in males and 60.7 [50.4, 73.1] in females); Pakistani (66.1 [57.4, 76.2] in males and 73.8 [63.7, 85.5] in females); Bangladeshi males (50.7 [32.5, 79.1]); Caribbean females (57.5 [38.5, 85.9]); and Chinese (52.2 [43.7, 62.5] in males and 65.8 [55.3, 78.2] in females). The differences were diminished but not eliminated after adjusting for UK/RoI birth and SES variables. A mortality advantage was evident in all 12 minority groups for those born abroad, but in only 6/12 male groups and 5/12 female groups of those born in the UK/RoI. In the primary care sub-sample, after adjustment for age, UK/RoI born, SES, smoking, and diabetes, the RR was not lower in Indian males (114.7 [95% CI 78.3, 167.9]) and Pakistani females (103.9 [73.9, 145.9]) than in White Scottish males and females, respectively. The main limitations were the inability to include deaths abroad and the small number of deaths in some ethnic minority groups, especially for people born in the UK/RoI.


There was relatively low mortality for many ethnic minority groups compared to the White Scottish majority. The mortality advantage was less clear in UK/RoI-born minority group offspring than in immigrants. These differences need explaining, and health-related behaviours seem important. Similar analyses are required internationally to fulfil agreed goals for monitoring, understanding, and improving health in ethnically diverse societies and to apply to health policy, especially on health inequalities and inequities.

The epidemiology of adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV: A cross-region global cohort analysis

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 23:00

by The Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Global Cohort Collaboration , Amy L. Slogrove, Michael Schomaker, Mary-Ann Davies, Paige Williams, Suna Balkan, Jihane Ben-Farhat, Nancy Calles, Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit, Charlotte Duff, Tanoh François Eboua, Adeodata Kekitiinwa-Rukyalekere, Nicola Maxwell, Jorge Pinto, George Seage III, Chloe A. Teasdale, Sebastian Wanless, Josiane Warszawski, Kara Wools-Kaloustian, Marcel Yotebieng, Venessa Timmerman, Intira J. Collins, Ruth Goodall, Colette Smith, Kunjal Patel, Mary Paul, Diana Gibb, Rachel Vreeman, Elaine J. Abrams, Rohan Hazra, Russell Van Dyke, Linda-Gail Bekker, Lynne Mofenson, Marissa Vicari, Shaffiq Essajee, Martina Penazzato, Gabriel Anabwani, Edith Q. Mohapi, Peter N. Kazembe, Makhosazana Hlatshwayo, Mwita Lumumba, Tessa Goetghebuer, Claire Thorne, Luisa Galli, Annemarie van Rossum, Carlo Giaquinto, Magdalena Marczynska, Laura Marques, Filipa Prata, Luminita Ene, Liubov Okhonskaia, Pablo Rojo, Claudia Fortuny, Lars Naver, Christoph Rudin, Sophie Le Coeur, Alla Volokha, Vanessa Rouzier, Regina Succi, Annette Sohn, Azar Kariminia, Andrew Edmonds, Patricia Lelo, Samuel Ayaya, Patricia Ongwen, Laura F. Jefferys, Sam Phiri, Mwangelwa Mubiana-Mbewe, Shobna Sawry, Lorna Renner, Mariam Sylla, Mark J. Abzug, Myron Levin, James Oleske, Miriam Chernoff, Shirley Traite, Murli Purswani, Ellen G. Chadwick, Ali Judd, Valériane Leroy


Globally, the population of adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV (APHs) continues to expand. In this study, we pooled data from observational pediatric HIV cohorts and cohort networks, allowing comparisons of adolescents with perinatally acquired HIV in “real-life” settings across multiple regions. We describe the geographic and temporal characteristics and mortality outcomes of APHs across multiple regions, including South America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

Methods and findings

Through the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER), individual retrospective longitudinal data from 12 cohort networks were pooled. All children infected with HIV who entered care before age 10 years, were not known to have horizontally acquired HIV, and were followed up beyond age 10 years were included in this analysis conducted from May 2016 to January 2017. Our primary analysis describes patient and treatment characteristics of APHs at key time points, including first HIV-associated clinic visit, antiretroviral therapy (ART) start, age 10 years, and last visit, and compares these characteristics by geographic region, country income group (CIG), and birth period. Our secondary analysis describes mortality, transfer out, and lost to follow-up (LTFU) as outcomes at age 15 years, using competing risk analysis. Among the 38,187 APHs included, 51% were female, 79% were from sub-Saharan Africa and 65% lived in low-income countries. APHs from 51 countries were included (Europe: 14 countries and 3,054 APHs; North America: 1 country and 1,032 APHs; South America and the Caribbean: 4 countries and 903 APHs; South and Southeast Asia: 7 countries and 2,902 APHs; sub-Saharan Africa, 25 countries and 30,296 APHs). Observation started as early as 1982 in Europe and 1996 in sub-Saharan Africa, and continued until at least 2014 in all regions. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) duration of adolescent follow-up was 3.1 (1.5–5.2) years for the total cohort and 6.4 (3.6–8.0) years in Europe, 3.7 (2.0–5.4) years in North America, 2.5 (1.2–4.4) years in South and Southeast Asia, 5.0 (2.7–7.5) years in South America and the Caribbean, and 2.1 (0.9–3.8) years in sub-Saharan Africa. Median (IQR) age at first visit differed substantially by region, ranging from 0.7 (0.3–2.1) years in North America to 7.1 (5.3–8.6) years in sub-Saharan Africa. The median age at ART start varied from 0.9 (0.4–2.6) years in North America to 7.9 (6.0–9.3) years in sub-Saharan Africa. The cumulative incidence estimates (95% confidence interval [CI]) at age 15 years for mortality, transfers out, and LTFU for all APHs were 2.6% (2.4%–2.8%), 15.6% (15.1%–16.0%), and 11.3% (10.9%–11.8%), respectively. Mortality was lowest in Europe (0.8% [0.5%–1.1%]) and highest in South America and the Caribbean (4.4% [3.1%–6.1%]). However, LTFU was lowest in South America and the Caribbean (4.8% [3.4%–6.7%]) and highest in sub-Saharan Africa (13.2% [12.6%–13.7%]). Study limitations include the high LTFU rate in sub-Saharan Africa, which could have affected the comparison of mortality across regions; inclusion of data only for APHs receiving ART from some countries; and unavailability of data from high-burden countries such as Nigeria.


To our knowledge, our study represents the largest multiregional epidemiological analysis of APHs. Despite probable under-ascertained mortality, mortality in APHs remains substantially higher in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and South America and the Caribbean than in Europe. Collaborations such as CIPHER enable us to monitor current global temporal trends in outcomes over time to inform appropriate policy responses.

Start-up aims to catapult stuff to space without using rockets

New Scientist - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 18:40
A company called SpinLaunch says it wants to use a centrifuge to slingshot cargo into space, avoiding the need for heavy, pricey rocket fuel

Mind-reading AI uses brain scans to guess what you’re looking at

New Scientist - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 18:33
An artificial intelligence can write a caption for a picture a person is looking at without seeing the original image, but looking at a brain scan instead

AI cheats at old Atari games by finding unknown bugs in the code

New Scientist - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 18:30
An AI found a bug in the Atari game Q*bert and exploited it to quickly score a million points. It used self-destruction as a winning strategy too

Very creative people have a special kind of brain activity

New Scientist - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 16:14
A type of brainwave is associated with creativity, and a study of improvising musicians has found that the stronger your alpha waves, the better you play

Shock collars are a bad way to train dogs so let’s ban them

New Scientist - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 15:33
There are growing calls for wider prohibition of dog collars that jolt pets with electricity to train them. About time, says Danny Chambers

Don’t panic – homes in the UK won’t run out of gas for heating

New Scientist - Gi, 01/03/2018 - 15:08
Demand is expected to exceed supply on Thursday and possibly Friday too, but that just means some factories will have to use less gas

Diet during pregnancy and infancy and risk of allergic or autoimmune disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS Medicine - Me, 28/02/2018 - 23:00

by Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, Despo Ierodiakonou, Katharine Jarrold, Sergio Cunha, Jennifer Chivinge, Zoe Robinson, Natalie Geoghegan, Alisha Ruparelia, Pooja Devani, Marialena Trivella, Jo Leonardi-Bee, Robert J. Boyle


There is uncertainty about the influence of diet during pregnancy and infancy on a child’s immune development. We assessed whether variations in maternal or infant diet can influence risk of allergic or autoimmune disease.

Methods and findings

Two authors selected studies, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) was used to assess certainty of findings. We searched Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), Web of Science, Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and Literatura Latino Americana em Ciências da Saúde (LILACS) between January 1946 and July 2013 for observational studies and until December 2017 for intervention studies that evaluated the relationship between diet during pregnancy, lactation, or the first year of life and future risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. We identified 260 original studies (964,143 participants) of milk feeding, including 1 intervention trial of breastfeeding promotion, and 173 original studies (542,672 participants) of other maternal or infant dietary exposures, including 80 trials of maternal (n = 26), infant (n = 32), or combined (n = 22) interventions. Risk of bias was high in 125 (48%) milk feeding studies and 44 (25%) studies of other dietary exposures. Evidence from 19 intervention trials suggests that oral supplementation with nonpathogenic micro-organisms (probiotics) during late pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of eczema (Risk Ratio [RR] 0.78; 95% CI 0.68–0.90; I2 = 61%; Absolute Risk Reduction 44 cases per 1,000; 95% CI 20–64), and 6 trials suggest that fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of allergic sensitisation to egg (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.53–0.90; I2 = 15%; Absolute Risk Reduction 31 cases per 1,000; 95% CI 10–47). GRADE certainty of these findings was moderate. We found weaker support for the hypotheses that breastfeeding promotion reduces risk of eczema during infancy (1 intervention trial), that longer exclusive breastfeeding is associated with reduced type 1 diabetes mellitus (28 observational studies), and that probiotics reduce risk of allergic sensitisation to cow’s milk (9 intervention trials), where GRADE certainty of findings was low. We did not find that other dietary exposures—including prebiotic supplements, maternal allergenic food avoidance, and vitamin, mineral, fruit, and vegetable intake—influence risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. For many dietary exposures, data were inconclusive or inconsistent, such that we were unable to exclude the possibility of important beneficial or harmful effects. In this comprehensive systematic review, we were not able to include more recent observational studies or verify data via direct contact with authors, and we did not evaluate measures of food diversity during infancy.


Our findings support a relationship between maternal diet and risk of immune-mediated diseases in the child. Maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation may reduce risk of eczema and allergic sensitisation to food, respectively.

NASA’s huge planet-hunting space telescope likely delayed again

New Scientist - Me, 28/02/2018 - 22:58
The James Webb Space Telescope, currently slated for launch in 2019, is facing technical difficulties and budget overruns that might push back its launch date

Bacteria on our bodies may be protecting us from skin cancer

New Scientist - Me, 28/02/2018 - 20:00
We are covered in bacteria, but some of it is good for us. One strain makes a molecule that protects against skin cancer and shrinks tumours in mice
Condividi contenuti