New study shows how ‘our’ RNA stably binds to artificial nucleic acids — ScienceDaily

As medical research progresses, traditional treatment protocols are being rapidly exhausted. New approaches to treat diseases that do not respond to conventional drugs are the need of the hour. In search for these approaches, science has turned to a wide range of potential answers, including artificial nucleic acids. Artificial or xeno nucleic acids are similar to naturally occurring nucleic acids (think DNA and RNA) — but are produced entirely in the laboratory.

Xeno nucleic acids are essential for the development of nucleic acid-based drugs. To be effective, they need to be able to stably bind to natural RNA (a cellular single-stranded version of the DNA, which is essential for all body processes). However, it is unclear how, if at all, RNA hybridizes with these xeno nucleic acids. A new study by researchers from Japan sheds light on this mechanism, opening doors to the development of potentially revolutionary nucleic acid-based drugs.

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In Monterey Bay, California, scientists grab the chance to study white sharks up close

Growing over six meters (20 feet) long and armed with hundreds of serrated, razor-sharp teeth, white sharks are the world’s largest predatory fish.



a fish swimming under water


© Stanford University


In late summer and fall, up to 250 white sharks congregate in Monterey Bay, off the central Californian coast, to feast on marine mammals — including elephant seals and sea lions — that gather here to breed.

From a shark’s perspective, “think of Monterey Bay as having one of the best fast food restaurants on the planet,” says shark expert and Stanford professor, Barbara Block.

Video: In Monterey Bay, scientists are tagging and tracking white sharks (CNN)

In Monterey Bay, scientists are tagging and tracking white sharks

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Block also travels to Monterey Bay because the annual marine mammal “buffet” offers her an ideal opportunity to study the sharks up close. She and her team lure the “curious” sharks alongside

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PINs and text messages can be inferred from smart speaker recordings, study shows

Malicious attackers can extract PIN codes and text messages from audio recorded by smart speakers from up to 1.6 feet away. That’s according to a new study authored by researchers at the University of Cambridge, which showed that it’s possible to capture virtual keyboard taps with microphones located on nearby devices, like Alexa- and Google Assistant-powered speakers.

Amazon Echo, Google Home, and other smart speakers pack microphones that are always on in the sense that they process audio they hear in order to detect wake-up phrases like “OK Google” and “Alexa.” These wake-phrase detectors occasionally send audio data to remote servers. Studies have found that up to a minute of audio can be uploaded to servers without any keywords present, either by accident or absent privacy controls. Reporting has revealed that accidental activations have exposed contract workers to private conversations, and researchers say these activations could reveal sensitive information like

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New Study from Qualtrics and PwC Reveals How CIOs are Future-Proofing the Workforce Technology Experience

SALT LAKE CITY and SEATTLE, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — New research released today from Qualtrics, the leader in employee experience and creator of the experience management (XM) category, and PwC, reveals how IT executives and senior technology leaders are playing a critical role in helping their workforce navigate the global pandemic and driving employee engagement, enablement, and productivity.

Findings from the Qualtrics and PwC study of more than 200 U.S. IT executives provide a framework for how leaders have shifted their technology investments during COVID-19 as a result of employee feedback and insights, and how those priorities indicate a broader trend in enabling the workforce of the future. (Study results can be found here)

Key takeaways:

  • IT executives have accelerated digital transformations within their organization and are taking appropriate actions to meet the needs of employees. 95% of IT ‘Leaders’ said they increased the frequency of employee
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Rutgers-led study sheds light on subsurface melting of thick ice billions of years ago — ScienceDaily

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox — a lingering key question in Mars science.

“Even if greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor are pumped into the early Martian atmosphere in computer simulations, climate models still struggle to support a long-term warm and wet Mars,” said lead author Lujendra Ojha, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “I and my co-authors propose that the faint young sun paradox may be reconciled, at least partly, if Mars had high geothermal heat in its past.”

Our sun

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Large multi-site study accurately predicts damage to grey matter by disease — ScienceDaily

An international study has found a link between the brain’s network connections and grey matter atrophy caused by certain types of epilepsy, a major step forward in our understanding of the disease.

In neuroscience, it is becoming increasingly clear that the brain’s connectome is as important as its anatomy when studying human disease. The connectome is a map of neural connections that describes how brain regions interact and work together to perform certain tasks. While connectome research in epilepsy has moved forward in recent years, there is still a lot we do not know about its role in the disorder.

The study, led by researchers from The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital), analyzed data from 1,021 individuals with epilepsy and 1,564 healthy controls over 19 sites around the world from the ENIGMA database, a collection of neuroimaging data available to researchers under Open Science principles. They used this data to map

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Study forecasts advantages and disadvantages for Black patients of removing race from kidney function calculators — ScienceDaily

Race is not biology. As a social construct, race is an unreliable predictor of physiologic variation and a notoriously unreliable marker for biologic differences across populations.

To reflect this growing realization, hospital systems and professional medical organizations have started reconsidering the use of race in clinical calculators that estimate how well a person’s kidneys work. Indeed, some hospital systems have already removed race from these commonly used clinical tools.

But what this move might mean for patients remains unclear.

Now a new study from Harvard Medical School forecasts the effects of this change if implemented nationwide. The results, published Dec. 2 in JAMA, suggest that removing race from kidney function tests might have both advantages and disadvantages for Black people with kidney disease.

The analysis represents the most comprehensive study to date to assess the impact of eliminating race from kidney function formulas. It is intended to help clinicians,

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China collects moon samples to study on Earth

“Chang’e has collected moon samples,” the agency said in a statement.

The probe, launched November 24 from the island of Hainan, is the latest venture by the space program that sent China’s first astronaut into orbit in 2003. Beijing also has a spacecraft headed to Mars and aims to land a human on the moon.

This week’s landing is “a historic step in China’s cooperation with the international community in the peaceful use of outer space,” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

“China will continue to promote international cooperation and the exploration and use of outer space in the spirit of working for the benefit of all mankind,” Hua said.

Plans call for the lander to spend two days drilling into the lunar surface and collecting 4.4 pounds of rocks and debris. The top stage of the probe will be launched back into lunar orbit to transfer the samples to

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Bleach-alternative COVID-19 surface disinfectants may pollute indoor air, study finds — ScienceDaily

Cleaning surfaces with hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants has the potential to pollute the air and pose a health risk, according to research led by University of Saskatchewan (USask).

The research team found that mopping a floor with a commercially available hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant raised the level of airborne hydrogen peroxide to more than 600 parts per billion — about 60 per cent of the maximum level permitted for exposure over eight hours, and 600 times the level naturally occurring in the air. The results were just published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

“When you’re washing surfaces, you are also changing the air you are breathing,” said USask chemistry researcher Tara Kahan, senior author of the study and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Analytical Chemistry. “Poor indoor air quality is associated with respiratory issues such as asthma.”

Too much exposure to hydrogen peroxide could lead to respiratory, skin, and

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Study of 44 infants finds that half never slept 8 hours consecutively — ScienceDaily

New parents often expect their baby to start sleeping through the night around the time they reach six months of age. But according to a new study led by McGill Professor Marie-Helene Pennestri, parents should view sleep consolidation as a process, instead of a milestone to be achieved at a specific age. Tracking 44 infants over a period of two weeks, she found that sleeping patterns vary greatly — not only for different babies, but also night to night for the same baby.

In the study published in Sleep Medicine, researchers asked mothers to keep a sleep diary about their six-month-old infant for two weeks. On average, mothers reported that their infant slept 6 hours consecutively for about 5 nights out of a two-week period, and 8 consecutive hours for about 3 nights out of the same period. Half of the infants, however, never slept 8 hours consecutively.

“Although

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