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The top science news articles and science news articles and current events, scientific discoveries, studies and research from the past week.
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Vegetation can help prevent soil erosion due to wind
Dust from soil erosion due to wind can affect human health, traffic, and, on a larger scale, climate.

A new neural circuit controls fear in the brain
Some people have no fear, like that 17-year-old kid who drives like a maniac. But for the nearly 40 million adults who suffer from anxiety disorders, an overabundance of fear rules their lives.



Snack attack: Bears munch on ants and help plants grow
Tiny ants may seem like an odd food source for black bears, but the protein-packed bugs are a major part of some bears' diets and a crucial part of the food web that not only affects other bugs, but plants too.

Case Western Reserve scientists identify proteins likely to trigger psoriasis
Case Western Reserve scientists have taken a huge leap toward identifying root causes of psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition affecting 125 million people around the world.

Study maps travel of H7 influenza genes
Influenza has a long history of being one of the most deadly diseases to afflict humanity, but what exactly makes it so dangerous?

New high-speed 3-D microscope -- SCAPE -- gives deeper view of living things
Opening new doors for biomedical and neuroscience research, Elizabeth Hillman, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering and of radiology at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), has developed a new microscope that can image living things in 3D at very high speeds.

Morphine following common childhood surgery may be life threatening
Treating post-operative pain with morphine can cause life-threatening respiratory problems in some children who have had their tonsils and/or adenoids removed, new research has found.

Cell's recycling team helps sound alarm on pathogens
Just as households have garbage disposals and recycling bins for getting rid of everyday waste, the cell has its own system for cleaning up unnecessary or defunct components. This process, known as autophagy, is also an efficient method of eliminating unwanted visitors like viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Does black-and-white advertising help consumers make better decisions?
According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, black-and-white advertising gets consumers to focus on basic product features while color advertising can influence consumers to pay more for products with unnecessary extras.

Research pinpoints new technique for producing cheaper solar energy
Pioneering new research could pave the way for solar energy to be converted into household electricity more cheaply than ever before.

Dramatic decline in risk for heart attacks among HIV-positive Kaiser Permanente members
Previously reported increased risk of heart attacks among HIV-positive individuals has been largely reversed in recent years for Kaiser Permanente's California patients, according to a study published in the current online issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Twitter can predict rates of coronary heart disease, according to Penn research
Twitter has broken news stories, launched and ended careers, started social movements and toppled governments, all by being an easy, direct and immediate way for people to share what's on their minds.

Fossils survive volcanic eruption to tell us about the origin of the Canary Islands
The most recent eruption on the Canary Islands - at El Hierro in 2011 - produced spectacularly enigmatic white "floating rocks" that originated from the layers of oceanic sedimentary rock underneath the island.

Transmission of Ebola appears tied to increasing population density in forested regions
Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center have found an apparent link between human population density and vegetation cover in Africa and the spread of the Ebola virus from animal hosts to humans.

NFCR-supported research finds new way to combat resistant cancers
A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital has developed a new platform that can rapidly identify effective drug combinations for lung cancer patients whose tumors have stopped responding to targeted therapy.

Study projects unprecedented loss of corals in Great Barrier Reef due to warming
The coverage of living corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef.

New machine-perfusion organ preservation system keeps livers healthier for transplant
A new preservation system that pumps cooled, oxygen-rich fluid into donor livers not only keeps the organs in excellent condition for as long as nine hours before transplantation, but also leads to dramatically better liver function and increases survival of recipients.

Hidden cell types revealed
A new method for analysing RNA sequence data allows researchers to identify new subtypes of cells, creating order out of seeming chaos.

Why should adolescents with psychological symptoms be asked about hallucinations?
Visual distortions and hallucinations related to an elevated risk of psychosis are linked to self-destructive thought processes among adolescents with psychological symptoms, tells the recent study conducted at the Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.

Doubt cast on global firestorm generated by dino-killing asteroid
Pioneering new research has debunked the theory that the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs also caused vast global firestorms that ravaged planet Earth.

Friends know how long you'll live, study finds
Young lovers walking down the aisle may dream of long and healthy lives together, but close friends in the wedding party may have a better sense of whether those wishes will come true, suggests new research on personality and longevity from Washington University in St. Louis.

Calculating the future of solar-fuel refineries
A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has developed a new tool to help plot the future of solar fuels.

NSF-funded Antarctic drilling team is first to bore through hundreds of meters of ice to where ice sheet, ocean and land converge
Using a specially designed hot-water drill to cleanly bore through a half mile of ice, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded team of researchers has become the first ever to reach and sample the "grounding zone," where Antarctic ice, land and sea all converge.

Key factor discovered in the formation of metastases in melanoma
Patients who visit the doctor because of malignant skin cancer often go too late - the aggressive cancer has already formed numerous metastases in their bodies.

Soils could keep contaminants in wastewater from reaching groundwater, streams
With endocrine-disrupting compounds affecting fish populations in rivers as close as Pennsylvania's Susquehanna and as far away as Israel's Jordan, a new research study shows that soils can filter out and break down at least some of these emerging contaminants.

Black hole on a diet creates a 'changing look' quasar
Yale University astronomers have identified the first "changing look" quasar, a gleaming object in deep space that appears to have its own dimmer switch.

Sending bat signals: Unique 'supper's ready' alert beckons hungry bats
The sound of a bag of potato chips being torn open cuts through a darkened movie theater. The noise, in an otherwise silent space, pinpoints for all moviegoers exactly where the chips are being devoured. According to a new Tel Aviv University study, bats operate in a similar fashion.

Microcredit doesn't live up to promise of transforming lives of the poor, 6 studies show
Microcredit--providing small loans to underserved entrepreneurs--has been both celebrated and vilified as a development tool. Six new studies from four continents bring rigorous evidence to this debate, finding that while microcredit has some benefits, it is not a viable poverty alleviation tool.

Study shows how Ebola becomes lethal as it spreads
Scientists investigated why Ebola virus is so deadly when it spreads from animals to humans and then from human-to-human contact.

Is cheating on the field worse than cheating on a spouse? Some fans think so
Why did fans and sponsors such as Nike drop Lance Armstrong but stay loyal to Tiger Woods? Probably because Armstrong's doping scandal took place on the field, unlike Wood's off-the-field extramarital affairs, according to new studies.

Job seekers with 'learning' attitude have more success
Many New Year's resolutions often involve finding a different career path. A new joint study by University of Missouri and Lehigh University researchers found that job seekers with attitudes focused on "learning" from the job-seeking process will have more success finding their dream jobs.

USC neuroscientists lead global ENIGMA consortium to crack brain's genetic code
In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) led a global consortium of 190 institutions to identify eight common genetic mutations that appear to age the brain an average of three years.

Portable stimulator being tested on Parkinson's patients
Parkinson's disease is a slowly degenerative neurological disease that is expressed as impaired motor control, tremors, stiffness and, in later stages, problems with balance.

UNL drillers help make new Antarctic discoveries
Using a hot-water drill and an underwater robotic vehicle designed, built and operated by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering team, scientists have made new discoveries about Antarctica's geology and biology.

Tiny plant fossils offer window into Earth's landscape millions of years ago
Minuscule, fossilized pieces of plants tell a detailed story of what Earth looked like 50 million years ago.

Head and neck cancers in young adults are more likely to be a result of inherited factors
An article published online today in the International Journal of Epidemiology pools data from 25 case-control studies and conducts separate analyses to show that head and neck cancers (HNC) in young adults are more likely to be as a result of inherited factors, rather than lifestyle factors such as smoking or drinking alcohol.

New UCLA research suggests walnuts may improve memory
Eating walnuts may improve performance on cognitive function tests, including those for memory, concentration and information processing speed according to new research from the David Geffen School of Medicine at The University of California, Los Angeles, led by Dr. Lenore Arab.

Long-term use of ventricular assist devices induces heart muscle regeneration, study finds
Prolonged use of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) by patients with heart failure may induce regeneration of heart muscle by preventing oxidative damage to a cell-regulator mechanism, UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators have found.

Study's findings do not support chlorhexidine bathing in ICUs
Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers have found that bathing critically ill patients with disposable chlorhexidine cloths did not decrease the incidence of health care-associated infections when compared to less expensive nonantimicrobial cloths, according to a study appearing online in JAMA this week.

Only about half of teenage girls receive HPV vaccine at the CDC's recommended age
It's a virus that is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer but a new study by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers indicates that only about half of the girls receive the vaccine at the recommended age to best protect themselves.

UA-led HiRISE camera spots long-lost space probe on Mars
The UK-led Beagle 2 Mars Lander, thought lost on Mars since 2003, has been found partially deployed on the surface of the planet, ending the mystery of what happened to the mission more than a decade ago.

Researchers introduce macrosystems approach to study stream ecology
Kansas State University scientists and collaborators have developed a new method for studying a variety of streams -- including tropical, prairie or forested streams -- across continents.

Prostate cancer drug slows memory loss in women with Alzheimer's disease
Women with Alzheimer's disease showed stable cognition for a year when a drug that is more commonly used to treat advanced prostate cancer was added to their drug regimen, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

You are what you eat -- How gut bacteria affect brain health
The hundred trillion bacteria living in an adult human--mostly in the intestines, making up the gut microbiome--have a significant impact on behavior and brain health.

Not so obvious: Consumers don't just assume bundled products are a better value
Product bundling is a common marketing strategy. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, retailers need to draw attention to the value of a package deal since consumers prefer products that are packaged individually.

Is glass a true solid?
Does glass ever stop flowing? Researchers at the University of Bristol and Kyoto University have combined computer simulation and information theory, originally invented for telephone communication and cryptography, to answer this puzzling question.

Inside the big wormhole
If we combine the map of the dark matter in the Milky Way with the most recent Big Bang model to explain the universe and we hypothesise the existence of space-time tunnels, what we get is that our galaxy could really contain one of these tunnels, and that the tunnel could even be the size of the galaxy itself.

Warming climate likely will change the composition of northern forests, U of M study shows
Visitors to northern forests in coming decades probably will see a very different set of trees as the climate warms, a new University of Minnesota study shows.

One nanoparticle, 6 types of medical imaging
It's technology so advanced that the machine capable of using it doesn't yet exist. Using two biocompatible parts, University at Buffalo researchers and their colleagues have designed a nanoparticle that can be detected by six medical imaging techniques.

How do emerging market firms compete in developed markets? The case of India
How do some companies from less-developed nations go from "zero to hero" in such a short amount of time relative to large Western firms? A new study in the Journal of Marketing suggests that learning from the experience of others (indirect learning) plays a crucial role.

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