Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2016)

Science news and science current events archive 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2016

Editorial expression of concern for paper by Gugliotti et al.
The report 'RNA-Mediated Metal-Metal Bond Formation in the Synthesis of Hexagonal Palladium Nanoparticles' by Lina A. Gugliotti et al. published online in the May 7, 2004, issue of Science reported using a complex mix of RNA and water to create crystals of palladium.

Rice scientists synthesize anti-cancer agent
Rice organic chemists find a simplified method to synthesize a cancer-fighting molecule, trioxacarcin, found naturally in bacteria.

A male-killing bacterium results in female-biased sex ratios in green lacewings
A maternally transmitted Spiroplasma bacterium is the likely cause of the green lacewing's female-biased sex ratio, according to a study published June 15, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Masayuki Hayashi from Chiba University, Japan, and colleagues.

Soft or firm touch? Study reveals how amputee patients tell the difference
A new study uncovers how two men with amputations, who had electrodes implanted in their residual limbs, discern between soft and firm touch.

Collecting injury data could reduce A&E attendances
A study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, has found data on injuries can be collected relatively easily at A&E departments to help understand injury patterns in communities.

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for skin cancer medication Imiquimod
Imiquimod is a medication successfully used in the treatment of skin diseases. In addition to its known mechanism of action, it also triggers other processes in the body. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have succeeded in explaining the molecular fundamentals of these additional effects. The results also shine a new light on other known molecular processes which could indicate an approach to the treatment of inflammatory illnesses.

Princeton-led team finds new method to improve predictions
Researchers at Princeton, Columbia and Harvard have created a new method to analyze big data that better predicts outcomes in health care, politics and other fields.

Diabetes raises risk of heart attack death by 50 percent
Having diabetes increases the risk of dying from the effects of a heart attack by around 50 percent, according to a widespread study by the University of Leeds.

Morehouse College Department of Mathematics honored for achievements
The Department of Mathematics at Morehouse College has been chosen to receive the 2016 American Mathematical Society (AMS) Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award. The department at Morehouse is honored 'for its significant efforts to encourage students from underrepresented groups to continue in the study of mathematics.'

Scientists dicipher the organization of the cellular mechanisms responsible for energy production
Carried out by research scientists at the CNIC, the study helps to explain how different forms of organization affect metabolism and are linked to the tendency to develop certain diseases.

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities
The bacteria that live in dental plaque and contribute to tooth decay often resist traditional antimicrobial treatment, as they can 'hide' within a sticky biofilm matrix, a glue-like polymer scaffold. A new strategy conceived by University of Pennsylvania researchers took a more sophisticated approach.

Algorithm can improve guidance of crash victims to most appropriate place for care
New computer algorithm can provide important information on a motor vehicle crash to help ambulance personnel and hospital staff better direct crash victims to the most appropriate care.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Fantala slowing
On April 21, Fantala's maximum sustained wind speeds started to decrease since making a 'U-turn' and moving southeastward to a position northeast of Madagascar and the storm maintained strength on April 22. NASA's RapidScat instrument measured winds around the system while NASA-JAXA's Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM core satellite analyzed rainfall rates with the hurricane.

How do you turn a mosquito's genes on and off?
Scientists are using machine learning to identify important sequences of DNA within the mosquito genome that regulate how the insect's cells develop and behave. The research project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, could have implications for disease control, potentially facilitating efforts to use genetic engineering to control mosquito populations, or to create mosquitoes that have reduced ability to transmit maladies, such as malaria, to humans.

Many skin cancer patients still too likely to sunburn
A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins concludes that a substantial number of people with a history of the most frequent kind of nonmelanoma skin cancers still get sunburned at the same rate as those without previous history, probably because they are not using sun-protective methods the right way or in the right amounts.

Middle-school kids see several alcohol ads a day
Children as young as middle-schoolers are exposed to multiple alcohol advertisements every day -- both indoors and out -- a new study finds.

Satellites and shipwrecks: Landsat satellite spots foundered ships in coastal waters
Using data from the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite, researchers have detected plumes extending as far as 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) downstream from shallow shipwreck sites.

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses
A new study by Lyle Hood, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), describes a new device that could revolutionize the delivery of medicine to treat cancer as well as a host of other diseases and ailments. Hood developed the device in partnership with Alessandro Grattoni, chair of the Department of Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Immunity gene fusions uncovered in plants
Dr. Ksenia Krasileva, Group Leader at The Genome Analysis Centre and Fellow at the Sainsbury Laboratory in collaboration with her TSL colleagues, Professor Jonathan Jones and Dr. Panagiotis Sarris, have surveyed immune genes across flowering plants to uncover the molecular 'traps' that plants use to detect pathogens.

Anti-epileptic drug linked to birth defects when taken with other drugs
In an analysis of pregnancies in Australia from 1999 to 2014 in which women were taking anti-epileptic drugs, fetal malformation rates fell over time in pregnancies where only one drug was taken, but rates increased in pregnancies where multiple drugs were taken.

Study finds hospice use does not increase long stay nursing home decedents' care costs
Use of hospice services does not increase care costs in the last six months of life for long-stay nursing homes residents according to an analysis conducted by researchers from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute.

Stanford-led study underscores huge gap between rich, poor in global surgery
The number of surgeries performed worldwide has grown steadily, particularly in the developing world, yet there remains an enormous gap in surgical care between rich and poor nations, according to a new study led by a Stanford University School of Medicine researcher.

Cannabis use in psychotic patients linked to 50 percent higher hospital admission risk
Cannabis use among people experiencing a first episode of psychotic illness is linked to a 50 per cent heightened risk of hospital admission -- including compulsory detention (sectioning) -- as well as longer inpatient stay, reveals the largest study of its kind, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Report examines wages, employment and STEM education for Appalachia Partnership Initiative
The RAND report, intended to set a baseline that will help measure the ongoing success of the effort, includes these key findings: The utilities industry is the STEM-related industry providing the highest median wages in the region. The occupations of engineering and architecture have the highest median wages of STEM-related occupations across all industries. The number of regional jobs in STEM-related industries and occupations is increasing, while those in other industries and occupations are decreasing.

Cherokee Nation and Stephenson Cancer Center collaborative addresses impact of tobacco use
Cancer disparities continue to impact Oklahoma disproportionately as a direct result of continued tobacco use. With two, four-year grants totaling $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health, a University of Oklahoma-led collaborative with the Cherokee Nation is addressing tobacco-related cancer disparities through a program of research, training and education for American Indian students and investigators.

New study: A majority of older adults in jail have distressing health symptoms
According to the study, of the older inmates, 49 percent said they experience poor or fair health, 20 percent have chronic lung disease, and 54 percent have trouble performing daily activities such as bathing, eating, using the toilet, and walking around the house. The researchers said that these rates are similar to those reported by lower income older adults who are not incarcerated.

UTMB study offers new insight into how Alzheimer's disease begins
A new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston offers important insight into how Alzheimer's disease begins within the brain. The researchers found a relationship between inflammation, a toxic protein and the onset of the disease. The study also identified a way that doctors can detect early signs of Alzheimer's by looking at the back of patients' eyes.

Press registration for EULAR 2016 is open
The next EULAR Annual European Congress of Rheumatology will take place between the 8 and 11 June 2016 in London. The annual EULAR congresses which began in 2000 are today a major event in the calendar of world rheumatology.

NY State Department of Health AIDS Institute funds HIV/AIDS prevention in high-risk youth
NewYork-Presbyterian's Comprehensive Health Program and Project STAY, an initiative of the Harlem Heath Promotion Center (HHPC) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health has received two grants totaling more than $3.75 million from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute for their continued efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS in at-risk youth. The funds will be disbursed over five years, starting July 1, for comprehensive health programs targeting at-risk populations in New York City.

Quasi noise-free digital holography
Noise originating from the coherent nature of laser light is the scourge of digital holography, always causing holographic images to be of lower quality than conventional photographs. Now, Pasquale Memmolo of ISASI-CNR and co-workers have practically eliminated this noise by using a two-stage algorithm. The output obtained exhibited both qualitative and quantitative improvement over recently developed de-noising techniques. In particular, the algorithm reduced noise in background regions by 98 percent and in signal regions by 92 percent.

Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel
A new way of recycling millions of tons of plastic garbage into liquid fuel has been devised by researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry in China.

Study gives tips for avoiding mistakes in pediatric chest radiography
While radiography remains the gold standard in pediatric imaging, it is rife with opportunities for error because cooperation and positioning are often challenging for such patients.

The evolution of amyloid toxicity in Alzheimer's
Outsized human suffering is linked to 'amyloid beta,' an otherwise tiny, innocuous-looking protein molecule, as it is suspected to be a key player in neurodegenerative mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease. The molecules appear to become toxic within our bodies when they make contact with each other and form small bundles. Oddly, they may become less toxic again as the bundles grow and form ordered fibrillary plaque deposits. This begs the question: what's different about these bundles?

Understanding how chemical changes in the brain affect Alzheimer's disease
A new study from Western University is helping to explain why the long-term use of common anticholinergic drugs used to treat conditions like allergies and overactive bladder lead to an increased risk of developing dementia later in life. The study used mouse models to show that long-term suppression of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine -- a target for anticholinergic drugs -- results in dementia-like changes in the brain.

Gene regulatory mutation linked to rare childhood cancer
A single defect in a gene that codes for a histone -- a 'spool' that wraps idle DNA -- is linked to pediatric cancers in a study published today in the journal Science. 'Unlike most cancers that require multiple hits, we found that this particular mutation can form a tumor all by itself,' says Peter W. Lewis, an assistant professor of biomolecular chemistry in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lead in soil another known factor in Flint
A new study, involving a Michigan State University researcher, has found that higher rates of Flint children showed elevated lead levels in their blood during drier months of the year, even before the switch to a new water supply. The findings suggest that lead contaminated soil is most likely the culprit especially in the older, more industrial areas of the city.

Investors reap greater profits when trading stocks of firms with more connected boards
Companies could benefit from director networks because connected directors might divulge information they heard as members on other boards. Of course, that also means things spoken of in your boardroom might be part of the human capital those directors can use on other boards. Yet an expert says it's entirely possible that the corporation that hires a highly connected director gets more benefit from that director than what it might lose in information leaking out and hitting the market a little bit early.

Falls in months before surgery are common in adults of all ages
Falling up to six months before an elective surgery was common and caused injuries among adults of all ages, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Surprisingly, the frequency of falls among middle-aged patients was higher than those who were elderly. The study suggests that falling may be an important indicator of baseline health.

Genetic causes of small head size share common mechanism
Microcephaly is a rare disorder that stunts brain development in utero, resulting in babies with abnormally small heads. The Zika virus is one environmental cause of this devastating condition, but genetic defects can cause microcephaly, too. A new Duke University study examining three genetic causes of microcephaly in mice suggests one common mechanism through which the disorder could arise. The results could enhance understanding of microcephaly and other neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

Palliative care helpful for cancer patients receiving bone marrow transplants
Integrating palliative care into the treatment of patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation - commonly known as bone marrow transplantation -- for cancers like leukemia and lymphoma can improve their quality of life, relieve symptoms associated with the procedure, and reduce depression and anxiety.

Big data project aims to make breathing easier by mapping air quality
Heavy city traffic contributes significantly to air pollution and health problems such as asthma, but University of Texas at Dallas researchers think another kind of traffic -- data traffic -- might help citizens better cope with pollution.

Pneumococcal vaccine watches bacteria, strikes only when needed
Conventional vaccines indiscriminately destroy bacteria and other disease-causing agents. The approach works, but there is growing concern that it creates opportunity other pathogens to harm the body -- similar to antibiotic resistance resulting in new and more potent pathogens. A new, protein-based pneumococcal vaccine takes a different approach. It allows pneumonia-causing bacteria to colonize in the body and -- like a nightclub bouncer -- swings into action only if the bacteria becomes harmful.

Person-centered app helps women with breast cancer
The face-to-face meetings between the patient and the care provider might be successfully complemented with person-centered e-support. A preliminary evaluation of breast cancer patients shows that a newly developed app can assist women undergoing treatment for breast cancer in handling symptoms and side effects and provide support.

LED technology used in Indonesia to monitor safety at construction sites
A safety monitoring method called On-Site Visualization has been implemented in metro system construction sites in Jakarta, Indonesia as part of a Japan International Cooperation Agency project.

Persian Gulf public amenable to energy subsidy reforms
Traditional subsidized energy prices may be unnecessary for large numbers of residents of the Persian Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia, according to a new article from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Uber service faster in low income Seattle neighborhoods, initial study finds
Your wait time for an Uber ride in Seattle is shorter if you are in a lower income neighborhood. Alternatively, wait times are longer for an Uber in wealthier neighborhoods, according to a new University of Washington study that measures one dimension of whether TNCs are providing equitable access.

Study provides insights on sources of environmental contamination following Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
Four years after Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster that led to major releases of radioactivity to environment, questions still remain regarding the original sources of radioactive contamination.

Lehigh scientists fabricate a new class of crystalline solid
Scientists at Lehigh University, in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have demonstrated the fabrication of what they call a new class of crystalline solid by using a laser heating technique that induces atoms to organize into a rotating lattice without affecting the macroscopic shape of the solid. The group reported its findings today (Nov. 3) in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal, in an article titled 'Rotating lattice single crystal architecture on the surface of glass.'

Telestroke program closes gaps in treatment, increases access to timely stroke remedy
The use of a life-saving clot-dissolving treatment for patients with acute ischemic stroke increased by 73 percent following the implementation of a Kaiser Permanente telestroke program, according to a study published today in The Permanente Journal.

IOF Young Investigator Awards presented at Singapore meeting
At the IOF Regionals 6th Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting in Singapaore, five researchers from Australia, Hong Kong, India and Japan were awarded the prestigious IOF Young Investigator Research Awards. The award winning studies, submitted by investigators aged 40 years or younger, were selected from 168 abstracts submitted to the meeting. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to