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What's new in the world of science this week.
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Below are some science stories you may be interested in following this week. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us at: info@sciencemedia.ca.
indicates Canadian contributors. 

PLEASE NOTE: Embargoed stories may not be released, distributed, or published before the embargo date and time. Embargo violations will result in cancellation of access to our material.

Urban rat races: how cities affect rat genetics and diversity

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Embargoed
until June 06, 2018 19:01 EDT (Brief from the Royal Society)
Scientists examined rat populations in four cities to assess population-genetic structure, diversity patterns, and dispersal dynamics. Landscape features consistently coincided with genetic breaks, genetic diversity consistently varied within cities—suggesting different population dynamics—and local dispersal dynamics revealed similar trends. Major roads genetically isolate rat populations in Vancouver and Salvador, whereas resource deserts and waterways force genetic breaks in New York and New Orleans, respectively.
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Canadian co-authors: Kaylee Byers, University of British Columbia - kbyers@zoology.ubc.ca; Chelsea Himsworth, University of British Columbia - chelsea.himsworth@gov.bc.ca
 

Size-restricted fishing shapes age-related codfish habitat 

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Embargoed until June 04, 2018 15:00 EDT (News release from PNAS) 

Researchers used population dynamics modeling to assess the effects of size-specific and age-specific harvesting of Atlantic cod on Canada’s eastern Scotian Shelf. They found that fishing to a depth of 80 metres accounted for 72 per cent of the observed age-related cod-habitat deepening, and increasing fishing depth to 120 metre accounted for all of the deepening. The effects declined during a moratorium on cod fishing in the area, suggesting that age-related and size-related habitat deepening observed in commercially harvested species may be a result of size-selective harvesting.
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Lead author: Kenneth Frank, Bedford Institute of Oceanography - Kenneth.Frank@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
 

Baby formula changes gut bacteria and increases overweight risk
JAMA Pediatrics
Published June 04, 2018 19:00 EDT  (News release from JAMA

Breastfeeding for longer may change a baby's gut bacteria to protect them from becoming overweight, according to a Canadian child-health longitudinal study. Researchers found that babies who were fed only formula were three times as likely to be overweight compared with their breastfed peers. The formula-fed babies also had more diverse gut bacteria—this could be seen even in preemies that had only been fed formula when they were in hospital after birth. The researchers says some bacteria found only in te formula-fed three-month-olds are known to contribute to the risk of becoming overweight.
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Corresponding author: Meghan Azad, University of Manitoba - meghan.azad@umanitoba.ca

In Case You Missed It

Flu virus limits effectiveness of asthma treatment
Pediatrics
Published June 04, 2018

When asthmatic kids with influenza were given standard emergency treatments for asthma attack, 37 per cent didn't respond and most needed to be hospitalized, compared to the overall 17-per-cent risk of treatment failure. To prevent getting sick, medical researchers recommend that asthmatic kids get a flu shot every year. Read more> 
Corresponding author: Caroline Quach, Université de Montréal - c.quach@umontreal.ca 


Study updates global burden of cancer
JAMA Oncology
Published June 02, 2018

When researchers analyzed cancer incidence, mortality and related disability for 195 countries and territories, they found that cancer cases had increased by 28 per cent from 2006 to 2016. Prostate cancer was the most common cancer among men, whereas breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer among women. Read more> 
Canadian co-authors: Al Artaman, University of Manitoba - aartaman@cancercare.mb.ca; Jacek Kopec, University of British Columbia - jkopec@arthritisresearch.ca; Farshad Pourmalek, University of British Columbia - farshad.pourmalek@ubc.ca
 

New genetic study on the peopling of the Americas, with ancient DNA from Ontario
Science
Published June 01, 2018

A genetic study of ancient individuals in the Americas and their contemporary descendants shows for the first time that many southern-continent Indigenous people retain at least some DNA from "northerners" who are the direct ancestors of many eastern Canadian Aboriginal communities living today. Read more> 
Canadian co-authors: Genevieve Dewar, University of Toronto - genevieve.dewar@utoronto.ca; Ronald Williamson, Archaeological Services Inc., Toronto - info@asiheritage.ca; Louis Lesage, Huron-Wendat Nation - via administration@cnhw.qc.ca; Jay Stock, Western University - jstock8@uwo.ca 
 

Climate change attracting dangerous tick to Canada
Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases
Published February 2018

Under climate change predictions, a disease-causing tick’s North American range could increase by 50 per cent by 2070, with much of that growth in Canada. Read more>
Corresponding author: Jonathan Newman, University of Guelph - jnewma01@uoguelph.ca
 

Scientists call to restrict neonicotinoid pesticides
Science
Published June 01, 2018

More than 230 scientists called on governments everywhere to permanently ban all outdoor uses of the three most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides, which research shows harm beneficial insects and are contributing to the current massive loss of global biodiversity.
Canadian co-signatories: Gail Fraser, York University - gsfraser@yorku.ca; Christy Morrissey, University of Saskatchewan - christy.morrissey@usask.ca; Jeremy Kerr, University of Ottawa - jkerr@uOttawa.ca; and others
 

One in five deaths in young adults in the U.S. is opioid-related
JAMA Network Open
Published June 2018

Researchers found that the percentage of deaths attributable to opioids in the U.S. increased by 292 per cent from 2001 to 2016, with one in every 65 deaths related to opioid use by 2016. Read more> 
Lead author: Tara Gomes, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto - gomest@smh.ca
 

Dieting associated with risky behaviors in teenage girls
Canadian Journal of Public Health
Published March 19, 2018

Teenage girls who diet are more likely to engage in other health-compromising behaviours, including smoking, binge drinking, and skipping breakfast, within three years. Read more> 
Corresponding author: Sharon Kirkpatrick, University of Waterloo - sharon.kirkpatrick@uwaterloo.ca
 

2,100-year-old Egyptian ‘hawk’ mummy revealed to be a stillborn baby
Presented at the Extraordinary World Congress on Mummy Studies in the Canary Islands, May 21–25, 2018
Backgrounder published May 31, 2018

A tiny Egyptian mummy long believed to be that of a hawk is actually a rare example of a near-to-term, severely malformed fetus. Read more>
Canadian author: Andrew Nelson, Western University - anelson@uwo.ca
 

AI researchers design 'privacy filter' for your photos that disables facial recognition
(Study to be published and presented at the 2018 IEEE International Workshop on Multimedia Signal Processing this summer)
As concerns over privacy and data security on social networks grow, engineering researchers have created an algorithm to dynamically disrupt facial recognition systems. Read more>
Corresponding author: Parham Aarabi, University of Toronto -parham@ecf.utoronto.ca
 

Survey indicates polar bears in decline around southern Hudson Bay
Arctic Science
Published March 15, 2018

Recent aerial surveys indicate polar bear populations in the southern Hudson Bay region fell by 17 per cent from 2012 to 2016, with few cubs born in 2015 surviving.
Canadian co-authors: Martyn Obbard, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Peterborough, ON - Martyn.Obbard@ontario.ca; Marcus Dyck, Government of Nunavut, Igloolik - mdyck@gov.nu.ca
 

Sugar loss during baking means calorie counts could be off
Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences 
Published March 20, 2018

Sugar content in baked goods changes during baking due to two browning—the Maillard reaction and caramelization. Researchers also found that the amount of sugar lost during baking depends on sugar type, baking temperature, and recipe attributes such as amino-acid content. Read more> 
Corresponding author: David D Kitts, University of British Columbia - ddkitts@mail.ubc.ca
 

Bigger human brain prioritizes thinking hub—at a cost
Science
Published May 31, 2018

Some human brains are nearly twice the size of others. According to this study, growth within thinking areas of the brain’s cortex accounts for the increased brain volume, but is offset by relatively slower growth in emotional, sensory, and motor areas. Read more>
Video>
Canadian co-authors: Raihaan Patel, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, and McGill University - contact@cobralab.ca; Jason Lerch, Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto - jason.lerch@sickkids.ca
 

Male guppies grow larger brains in response to predator exposure
Functional Ecology
Published June 04, 2018 

Male guppies exposed to predators in the wild or in captivity have heavier brains than those living in relatively predator-free conditions. 
Corresponding author: Simon Reader, McGill University - simon.reader@mcgill.ca

News Tips

Alpine Club of Canada releases its 2018 State of the Mountains report 
Download the May 2018 report>
 
National Zero Waste Council releases its updated National Food Waste Reduction Strategy for preventing food waste in Canada 
Read the May 29 news release>
Download the strategy>

Of Interest

Webinar by SciLine: Understand Sea Level Rise: 
Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 13:00–14:00 EDT
Information> 
Registration> 

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