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Scampering across the salt pans of Tunisia on their spindly legs, desert ants (Cataglyphis fortis) have a single-minded mission: locate food and get it back to the nest. Normally, individual raiders bear a tasty morsel in their mandibles and navigate home along the most direct return route, regardless of how tortuous the outbound journey was. However, their determination is often tested to the extreme when the robust animals stumble upon a particularly large piece of food - such as a dead spider or locust. Undaunted, the scavenger simply drags the feast backwards: 'They are really awesome', chuckles Matthias Wittlinger from the University of Ulm, Germany. However, how do the insects navigate while reversing? 'All the cues are from the other direction', says Wittlinger.


Patients suffering from liver cirrhosis often die of life-threatening bacterial infections. In these patients the immune cells are unable to eliminate the bacterial infections. Scientist at the University of Bonn and TU Munich have now discovered that type I IFN released by immune cells due to increased migration of gut bacteria into the cirrhotic liver incapacitate the immune system. Based on their findings, such life-threatening infections can be contained by strengthening the immune response alone -- without antibiotics. The results have now appeared in the journal Gut.


Philadelphia, PA, July 19, 2016 - A new report in Biological Psychiatry reports that brain alterations in infants at risk for autism may be widespread and affect multiple systems, in contrast to the widely held assumption of impairment specifically in social brain networks.

Autism is diagnosed based on impairments in social and communication behaviors. These symptoms tend to emerge in the second year of life, but identifying abnormalities in early infancy could help researchers understand how autism develops and potentially allow clinicians to predict the disorder before it emerges.


The number of new cases of men suffering from metastatic prostate cancer has risen significantly in a decade's time, and is 72 percent greater in the year 2013 compared to 2004. This increase is especially worrying among men aged between 55 and 69 years old - the age group thought to benefit most from prostate cancer screening and early definitive treatment. These are some of the findings of a study published in Springer Nature's journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. According to authors Adam Weiner and Edward Schaeffer of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the US, the research highlights a continued need to refine prostate cancer screening and treatment in the United States.


Today, a negative correlation is observed in the amount of rainfall in north-western Africa and north-western Europe. If a humid winter climate prevails in north-western Europe, the climate in north-western Africa is dry. Due to melting ice sheets, this correlation was reversed in the early Holocene period; this resulted in both regions being humid respectively dry at the same time. Radical climate change occurred. The researchers have published their report in the current edition of Nature Geoscience.

Climate determined by opposing atmospheric pressures


No one knows for sure how they got there. But the discovery that bacteria that normally live in the gut can be detected in the lungs of critically ill people and animals could mean a lot for intensive care patients. 

Today, scientists are reporting that they found gut bacteria in the deepest reaches of failing lungs -- an environment where they normally aren't found and can't survive. The more severe the patients' critical illness, the more their usual lung bacteria were outnumbered by the misplaced gut bugs.