Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2018)

Science news and science current events archive 2018.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2018

Alligators on the beach? Killer whales in rivers? Get used to it
Sightings of alligators and other large predators in places where conventional wisdom says they 'shouldn't be' have increased in recent years, in large part because local populations, once hunted to near-extinction, are rebounding. A new Duke-led paper finds that far from being outliers, these sightings signify the return of highly adaptable predators to prime hunting grounds they occupied long ago -- a trend that opens new opportunities for future conservation.

Automated technique for anime colorization using deep learning
Researchers at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, IMAGICA GROUP Inc. and OLM Digital, Inc. report the world's first technique for automatic colorization focused on Japanese anime production. The new technique is expected to promote efficiency and automation in anime production.

Special UV light safely kills airborne flu virus, finds study
Overhead far-UVC light, a type of ultraviolet light that is harmless to humans, effectively killed airborne flu virus, found researchers at Columbia University. The lighting may offer a new weapon against the spread of flu virus in public spaces.

JAK inhibitors associated with aggressive lymphoma
Austrian researchers have discovered that a small number of patients taking targeted drugs known as Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors to treat myelofibrosis may develop aggressive lymphomas.

UToledo engineer creates solution to cheaper, longer lasting battery packs
The new technology called a bilevel equalizer is the first hybrid that combines the high performance of an active equalizer with the low cost of the passive equalizer.

Eight of 10 people with cancer risk genes don't know it
Genomic screening of more than 50,000 people shows that more than 80 percent of those who carry an identifiable genetic risk for breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancer don't know it despite frequent interaction with the healthcare system.

AI 'scientist' finds that toothpaste ingredient may help fight drug-resistant malaria
An ingredient commonly found in toothpaste could be employed as an anti-malarial drug against strains of malaria parasite that have grown resistant to one of the currently used drugs. This discovery, led by researchers at the University of Cambridge, was aided by Eve, an artificially intelligent 'robot scientist.'

Talking with the doctor makes it easier to deal with grief and bereavement
In a comprehensive study, researchers from Aarhus University show that grieving patients who receive what is known as talk therapy at the general practitioner shortly after a relative's death, have a lower risk of suicide and psychiatric illness than others. Data from 207,000 million Danes is included in the register-based study, which can contribute to new practices in the preventative area.

Algorithm accurately predicts how electromagnetic waves and magnetic materials interact
UCLA Samueli engineers have developed a new tool to model how magnetic materials, which are used in smartphones and other communications devices, interact with incoming radio signals that carry data. It accurately predicts these interactions down to the nanometer scales required to build state-of-the-art communications technologies.

New material cleans and splits water
Researchers at EPFL's Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering have developed a photocatalytic system based on a material in the class of metal-organic frameworks. The system can be used to degrade pollutants present in water while simultaneously producing hydrogen that can be captured and used further.

Converting CO2 into usable energy
Scientists show that single nickel atoms are an efficient, cost-effective catalyst for converting carbon dioxide into useful chemicals.

Wearable defibrillators may be an alternative to surgically implanted device for children with certain heart rhythm disorders
Study finds external wearable defibrillators are safe and effective in children with ventricular heart rhythm disorders that put them at risk for sudden cardiac death. The wearable devices may provide a reliable alternative to surgically implanted defibrillators in patients who cannot have surgically placed devices or who do not need them long term.

Dartmouth College brings smartwatch innovations to CHI2018
The latest developmental research seeks to increase the functionality of wearables while also adding to the overall user experience.

A new generation of artificial retinas based on 2D materials
Scientists report they have successfully developed and tested the world's first ultrathin artificial retina that could vastly improve on existing implantable visualization technology for the blind. The flexible 2-D material-based device could someday restore sight to the millions of people with retinal diseases. The researchers will present their results today at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Healthy lifestyle smartphone app slows artery aging
Using a healthy lifestyle smartphone application helps to slow artery ageing, according to results from the EVIDENT II trial presented today at EuroHeartCare 2018, the European Society of Cardiology's annual nursing congress.

Superconductivity above 10 K discovered in a novel quasi-one-dimensional compound K2Mo3As3
A research team led by Dr. Zhian Ren from Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered a quasi-one-dimensional superconductor K2Mo3As3, with the Tc value exceeding 10 K for the first time. This newly synthesized K2Mo3As3 crystallizes in a noncentrosymmetric hexagonal structure containing of (Mo3As3)2- linear chains, with bulk superconductivity confirmed via physical property characterizations. This discovery provides new platforms to study the underlying unconventional superconducting mechanism within the low-dimensional crystal structures.

How slick water and black shale in fracking combine to produce radioactive waste
Study explains how radioactive radium transfers to wastewater in the widely-used method to extract oil and gas.

Mayo discovery means individualized ovarian, brain cancer therapies
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that a molecular communication pathway -- thought to be defective in cancer -- is a key player in determining the effectiveness of measles virus oncolytic cancer treatment in ovarian and aggressive brain cancers. This discovery enabled researchers to develop an algorithm to predict treatment effectiveness in individual patients. The findings appear in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Don't treat e-cigarettes like cigarettes
Assuming e-cigarettes are equal to cigarettes could lead to misguided research and policy initiatives, reports a new Northwestern Medicine commentary, published Friday, Sept. 28, in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. The commentary distills articles and published studies that compare e-cigarettes to cigarettes and supports the importance of investigating e-cigarettes as a unique nicotine delivery system. It was published less than a month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared youth vaping an epidemic.

A smartphone application can help in screening for atrial fibrillation
A smartphone application (app) can help in screening for atrial fibrillation, according to late breaking results from the DIGITAL-AF study presented today at ESC Congress.

OSU researchers question conservation community's acceptance of trophy hunting
Researchers at Oregon State University are challenging the premise that trophy hunting is an acceptable and effective tool for wildlife conservation and community development.

BU study: Diagnosing Ebola before symptoms arrive
Boston University researchers studied data from 12 monkeys exposed to Ebola virus, and discovered a common pattern of immune response among the ones that got sick. This response occurred four days before the onset of fever -- the first observable symptom of infection. The work, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggests a possible biomarker for early diagnosis of the disease.

Sound waves could provide 'liquid biopsies'
Using sound waves, researchers have developed a gentle, contact-free method for separating circulating tumor cells from blood samples that is fast and efficient enough for clinical use. The ability to quickly and efficiently harvest and grow these cells from a blood sample would enable 'liquid biopsies' capable of providing individualized diagnosis, prognosis and suggestions for treatment strategies.

Researchers identify chemical compound that inhibits Ebola virus replication
An organic chemical compound shows effective antiviral activity against Ebola virus and several other viruses, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

MD Anderson study evaluates need for biopsies during follow-up care in women with early breast cancer
In an analysis of more than 120,000 women diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center determined the rate of additional breast biopsies needed for these patients during their follow-up care. The findings, reported in JAMA Surgery, are the first comprehensive nationwide population-based study regarding the need for breast biopsies performed during follow up after treatment for invasive breast cancer.

New test extends window for accurate detection of zika
Diagnosis of Zika infection is complex. Molecular tests for exposure are only reliable in the first two to three weeks after infection. Antibody tests are confounded by cross-reactivity of antibodies to Zika with similar viruses like dengue and yellow fever. A new blood test called ZIKV-NS2B-concat ELISA is faster, less expensive, and extends the window of accurate detection to months after onset of infection, giving clinicians a powerful tool to screen for Zika throughout pregnancy.

NIST chip lights up optical neural network demo
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made a silicon chip that distributes optical signals precisely across a miniature brain-like grid, showcasing a potential new design for neural networks.

Cooling by laser beam
A laser pulse that for a few picoseconds transforms a material into a high-temperature superconductor. Different experiments have unveiled this interesting phenomenon, with potential applicative implications. Research carried out by SISSA scientists a year ago had already provided several basic principles of the phenomenon. A new study published on

Comprehensive pediatric CAR T guidelines developed by MD Anderson and PALISI
Almost one year after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury and Sepsis Investigators Network (PALISI) today published treatment guidelines for managing the treatment in the online issue of Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

Penn-developed approach could limit toxicity of CAR T therapy in acute myeloid leukemia
A new approach pioneered at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center may provide a new path towards treating acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with CAR T cells.

Novel microplate 3D bioprinting platform for muscle & tendon tissue engineering
New research describes the development of a novel screening platform with automated production of 3D muscle- and tendon-like tissues using 3D bioprinting.

New technology enables man to hold his granddaughter again
In the first known study of how amputees use advanced sensory-enabled prostheses outside the lab, subjects used a mechanical hand more regularly and for longer periods of time compared to traditional prostheses--and also reported a greater sense of psychosocial well-being. The study also asserts that sensory feedback fundamentally changed how the study participants used their mechanical attachment, ''transforming it from a sporadically used tool into a readily and frequently used 'hand.'''

Predicting the effect of climate change on crop yields
Scientists now have a new tool to predict the future effects of climate change on crop yields. Researchers from University of Illinois are attempting to bridge two types of computational crop models to become more reliable predictors of crop production in the U.S. Corn Belt.

Improving drone performance in headwinds
Stability of unmanned aerial vehicles in heavy winds can be improved through rotor placement and angle, according to a team from Tohoku University and Kanazawa Institute of Technology.

Access to water and diverse terrain encourage elderly in physical activity
A recently published study, conducted at the Gerontology Research Center of the University of Jyväskylä, found associations between features of natural environment in the home neighborhood and physical activity of older people.

Watching neurons in action
OIST scientists have devised a way of observing the working of single neurons in unsurpassed detail in a live animal.

NUS researchers use AI to successfully treat metastatic cancer patient
A translational research team led by the National University of Singapore (NUS) has harnessed CURATE.AI, a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) platform, to successfully treat a patient with advanced cancer, completely halting disease progression. This new development represents a big step forward in personalised medicine.

Study uncovers key to preventing back pain in runners
Low back pain is a common complaint among both elite and recreational runners, but the true cause of it remains a mystery. So researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center used motion capture technology to observe how a runner's muscles work while they're in motion.

Stealth virus for cancer therapy
Scientists from the University of Zurich have redesigned an adenovirus for use in cancer therapy. To achieve this they developed a new protein shield that hides the virus and protects it from being eliminated. Adapters on the surface of the virus enable the reconstructed virus to specifically infect tumor cells.

Poor dental health increases risks of frailty in older men
Over a three-year period, researchers from the United Kingdom examined the relationship between poor oral health and older adults' risks for becoming frail. They published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Scientists uncover why sauna bathing is good for your health
Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland have shown that sauna bathing is associated with a variety of health benefits. Using an experimental setting this time, the research group now investigated the physiological mechanisms through which the heat exposure of sauna may influence a person's health. Their latest study with 100 test subjects shows that taking a sauna bath of 30 minutes reduces blood pressure and increases vascular compliance, while also increasing heart rate similarly to medium-intensity exercise.

A look into the fourth dimension
In our daily experience space has three dimensions. Recently, however, a physical phenomenon that only occurs in four spatial dimensions could be observed in two experiments. The theoretical groundwork for those experiments was laid by an ETH researcher.

Children with chronic illness often show signs of mental health problems
Researchers from the University of Waterloo surveyed children between the ages of six and 16, and all within a month of their diagnosis with asthma, food allergy, epilepsy, diabetes or juvenile arthritis.

Eating foods with low nutritional quality ratings linked to cancer risk in large European cohort
The consumption of foods with higher scores on the British Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system (FSAm-NPS), reflecting a lower nutritional quality, is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine.

Molecular switch detects metals in the environment
A team led by researchers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, has designed a family of molecules capable of binding to metal ions present in its environment and providing an easily detectable light signal during binding. This new type of sensor forms a 3D structure whose molecules consist of a ring and two luminescent arms that emit a particular type of light in a process called circular polarized luminescence, and detect ions, such as sodium.

A laser that smells like a hound
University of Adelaide researchers have created a laser that can 'smell' different gases within a sample. Applications for the new device lie not just in environmental monitoring and detecting industrial contamination, but may eventually be used to diagnose disease by 'smelling' the breath.

New 3D imaging analysis technique could lead to improved arthritis treatment
An algorithm to monitor the joints of patients with arthritis, which could change the way that the severity of the condition is assessed, has been developed by a team of engineers, physicians and radiologists led by the University of Cambridge.

Big data studies scrutinize links between fatty liver disease and how cells make energy
Three recent studies investigate changes in mitochondria, the cell's energy producers, as fatty liver disease (NAFLD) progresses to steatohepatosis (NASH). The first two studies illuminate how mitochondrial energy production stutters and fails; the third describes how changes to the liver during disease progression affect the organ's use of nutrients to produce energy.

Building stronger health systems could help prevent the next epidemic in Madagascar
The peak epidemic season for plague in Madagascar is fast approaching and the severity of these outbreaks could be significantly reduced with improvements to their public health system, argues Matthew Bonds from Harvard Medical School and the nongovernmental health care organization, PIVOT, in a new Viewpoint publishing Jan. 4, 2018, in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Potential biomarkers in animals could signal Ebola virus infection before symptoms appear
Scientists have identified potential biomarkers in nonhuman primates exposed to Ebola virus (EBOV) that appeared up to four days before the onset of fever, according to research published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The work, a collaboration between the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and Boston University (BU), could pave the way for developing diagnostic tools to identify EBOV infection in humans even before symptoms appear.

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