Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (April 2018)

Science news and science current events archive April, 2018.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from April 2018

Researchers use smart phone to make a faster infection detector
Washington State University researchers have developed a low-cost, portable laboratory on a phone that works nearly as well as clinical laboratories to detect common viral and bacterial infections. The work could lead to faster and lower-cost lab results for fast-moving viral and bacterial epidemics, especially in rural or lower-resource regions where laboratory equipment and medical personnel are sometimes not readily available.

Engineering a better device to capture -- and release -- circulating tumor cells
Yaling Liu, of Lehigh University, has created an innovative microfluidic device that uses magnetic particles and wavy-herringbone design to capture and release circulating tumor cells with an 80-95% capture efficiency rate at different tumor cell concentrations. Liu will present some of his findings today, April 18th, at a conference taking place in Istanbul, Turkey called The Future of Medicine hosted by Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) and Bahçe?ehir University.

New health benefits discovered in berry pigment
Naturally occurring pigments in berries, also known as anthocyanins, increase the function of the sirtuin 6 enzyme in cancer cells, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. The regulation of this enzyme could open up new avenues for cancer treatment.

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.

How social media helps scientists get the message across
Analyzing the famous academic aphorism 'publish or perish' through a modern digital lens, a group of emerging ecologists and conservation scientists wanted to see whether communicating their new research discoveries through social media -- primarily Twitter -- eventually leads to higher citations years down the road. Turns out, the tweets are worth the time investment.

Online message board advice on ICDs reflects inaccuracies
Medical advice about implanted cardiac defibrillators obtained over two years from a dedicated online message board was accurate only about half of the time. About a quarter of advice dispensed via the online message board was inappropriate and 6 percent controversial. These findings underscore the need for clinicians to ask patients about sources of information to ensure they receive appropriate advice.

Obesity impacts liver health in kids as young as 8 years old
A new study found that weight gain, obesity can put children as young as age 8 at risk for a serious liver disease.

Scientists find positive workplace experiences among Americans with disabilities
A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD), have authored a new article that identifies how Americans with disabilities are striving to work and overcoming barriers to employment.

The digital transformation of news media and the rise of online disinformation
A new report by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre contains an overview of the relevant economic research literature on the digital transformation of news markets and related impact on the quality of news.

Student develops gaming technology for environmental scientific research
A Ph.D. student at The University of Manchester has developed a new method and software for using computer game technology for complex scientific and engineering simulations.

A Web-based lifestyle intervention supports weight loss in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
A remote lifestyle modification intervention shown to be as effective as a face-to-face group program for weight loss and improved liver health.

A novel precision cancer model opens doors to personalized cancer treatment
Researchers from the Seve Ballesteros Foundation-CNIO Brain Tumour Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have developed an extremely powerful and versatile mouse model that will improve cancer research and accelerate preclinical testing of novel targeted therapies. Their work appears in Nature Communications.

Census data can level the playing field for small businesses
Local governments and small businesses could save thousands of dollars a year in consulting and research fees if they just used information that's already publicly available, according to research from the University of Waterloo.

Road salt pollutes drinking water wells in suburban New York state
Road salt applied during the winter lingers in the environment, where it can pollute drinking water supplies. In a recent study in the Journal of Environmental Quality, researchers identify landscape and geological characteristics linked to elevated well water salinity in a suburban township in Southeastern New York.

Hunting for dark matter in the smallest galaxies in the Universe
Astrophysicists from the University of Surrey and the University of Edinburgh have created a new method to measure the amount of dark matter at the center of tiny 'dwarf' galaxies.

Novel PET imaging agent could help guide therapy for brain diseases
Researchers have developed a new PET imaging agent that could help guide and assess treatments for people with various neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis. The agent targets receptors in nerve cells in the brain that are involved in learning and memory. The study is featured in the April issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Does physical activity influence the health of future offspring?
Physical and mental exercise is not only beneficial for your own brain, but can also affect the learning ability of future offspring -- at least in mice. Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) report these findings in the journal Cell Reports.

Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme
Scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics, providing a potential solution to one of the world's biggest environmental problems.

Treating women subsistence farmers for intestinal worms improved fitness and could boost food production
A new study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) found that treating women subsistence farmers with just a single dose of a cheap deworming medication significantly improved their physical stamina for the grueling agriculture work needed for their family's survival. The results of treatment could be twofold: improved health for farming women and increased food production by women who have the stamina to farm more efficiently.

Cocoa bean roasting can preserve both chocolate health benefits, taste
Manipulating the temperature and the length of time under which cocoa beans are roasted can simultaneously preserve and even boost the potency of some bioactive and antioxidant compounds while protecting desired sensory aspects of chocolate, according to Penn State researchers.

NGM282 -- an engineered analogue of FGF19 -- shows promise in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis
A Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study reports significant improvements in markers of disease activity and fibrosis with subcutaneous NGM282 in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Phase 2 studies of two novel treatments for primary biliary cholangitis report encouraging results
Ongoing Phase 2 studies of tropifexor and seladelpar report promising preliminary efficacy, safety and tolerability results, paving the way for longer-term studies in patients with primary biliary cholangitis

Resistance training enhances recycling capacity in muscles
A new study at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland reports that autophagosome content is increased by resistance training in previously untrained young men, but this response may be blunted by aging.

An oil-eating bacterium that can help clean up pollution and spills
Oil spills occur on a regular basis, leading to messy decontamination challenges. But however widespread and serious the damage may be, the solution could be microscopic -- Alcanivorax borkumensis -- a bacterium that feeds on hydrocarbons. A research team at INRS show the effectiveness of enzymes produced by the bacterium in degrading petroleum products in soil and water. Their results offer hope for a simple, effective, and eco-friendly method of decontaminating water and soil at oil sites.

New study uncovers major differences in billing complexity among US health insurers
One frequently proclaimed advantage of single-payer health care is its potential to reduce administrative costs, but new research from the Vancouver School of Economics calls that assumption into question.

Most widely prescribed diabetes drug improves nicotine withdrawal symptoms in animal model
Metformin, the most widely used medication for diabetes, has also been shown to help treat dementia and some cancers. New research shows smoking cessation may be added to that list. The research team found that after giving mice metformin the animals displayed reduced symptoms when going through nicotine withdrawal.

Alectinib provides longer symptom improvement than crizotinib in ALK-positive lung cancer
The findings of the ALEX trial presented at the ELCC (European Lung Cancer Congress) 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland, support the use of alectinib as the new standard of care in the frontline treatment of ALK-positive lung cancer. Alectinib was found to provide longer symptom improvement than crizotinib in ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer.

Exercise to prevent falls recommended for older adults at increased risk for falls
For adults 65 years or older who are at increased risk of falling, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends exercise, such as supervised individual and group classes and physical therapy, to prevent falls, and that clinicians selectively check older adults' risks for falls and then offer tailored interventions that address those specific risks. The USPSTF recommends against vitamin D supplementation.

Business in Key Biodiversity Areas: Minimizing the risk to nature
A roadmap for businesses operating in some of the most biologically significant places on the planet has been issued this week by the Key Biodiversity Area Partnership involving 12 of the world's leading conservation organizations -- including IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

To starve pancreatic tumors, researchers seek to block 'self-eating,' other fuel sources
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers and their collaborators are reporting preclinical findings for a potential two-treatment strategy to block multiple mechanisms of cancer cell metabolism in pancreatic cancer at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Chicago. The findings will be presented from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday.

Slower calorie burn in pregnancy may mean more retained baby weight in obese black moms
Differences in the way women with obesity burn calories during pregnancy may be a contributor to long-term postpartum weight retention in black moms. The findings, which suggest a need for more individualized pregnancy weight gain recommendations for obese women, will be presented today at the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2018 in San Diego.

Ohio University study shows high number of concussion-related symptoms in performing arts
A recent study released by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows a stunning number of participants not only experienced concussion-related symptoms and head impacts but also continued performing either without reporting the incident or without receiving the recommended care. These participants were not taking part in any sporting contest at the time, however. They are theater personnel.

The hidden health cost of that extra drink
Regularly drinking more than the recommended UK guidelines for alcohol could take years off your life, according to new research published today in the Lancet. Part-funded by the British Heart Foundation, the study shows that drinking more alcohol is associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and death.

Skin cancers linked with reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease
Previous studies have demonstrated a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in individuals with various cancers, including non-melanoma skin cancers (including squamous cell cancers and basal cell cancers).

Medical marijuana gets wary welcome from older adults, poll shows
Few older adults use medical marijuana, a new national poll finds, but the majority support its use if a doctor recommends it, and might talk to their own doctor about it if they developed a serious health condition. And two-thirds say the government should do more to study the drug's health effects.

One step closer to understanding explosive sensitivity with molecule design
Explosives have an inherent problem -- they should be perfectly safe for handling and storage but detonate reliably on demand.

Links between eating red meat and distal colon cancer in women
A new study suggests that a diet free from red meat significantly reduces the risk of a type of colon cancer in women living in the United Kingdom. When comparing the effects of certain diets to cancer development in specific subsites of the colon, scientists found that those regularly eating red meat compared to a red meat-free diet had higher rates of distal colon cancer -- cancer found on the descending section of the colon, where faeces is stored.

Solution to 50-year-old mystery could lead to gene therapy for common blood disorders
In a landmark study that could lead to new therapies for sickle cell anemia and other blood disorders, UNSW Sydney-led researchers have used CRISPR gene editing to introduce beneficial natural mutations into blood cells to boost their production of fetal hemoglobin. The research solves a 50-year-old mystery about how these mutations -- which are naturally carried by a small percentage of people -- operate and alter the expression of human genes.

Digital addiction increases loneliness, anxiety and depression
A new study by two San Francisco State University professors of health education finds that smartphone use can be similar to other types of substance use.

Researchers report four new insights into diet and health
What we eat plays a significant role in our health. The Experimental Biology 2018 meeting (EB 2018) will showcase new research into how diet could be used to fight cancer and how specific eating patterns can encourage weight loss.

New study finds people covered by universal health coverage will fall far below SDGs
An estimated 5.4 billion people globally are expected to be covered under some form of universal health care (UHC) by 2030, up from 4.3 billion in 2015, but far below the related target in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, according to a new scientific study.

When heart disease runs in the family, exercise may be best defense
As fitness increases, heart risk decreases regardless of genetic risk.

Keeping an eye on the health of structures
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) used synthetic-aperture radar data from four different satellites, combined with statistical methods, to determine the structural deformation patterns of the largest bridge in Iran.

In the surcharge blame game, companies tend to finish last
Companies may bear the brunt of the blame for imposing surcharges on consumers, even when an outside agency foisted those charges on the company, according to an international team of researchers.

Mediterranean-style diet improves gut microbial diversity and reduces hospitalization
ILC 2018: Diets rich in vegetables, fermented milk products, tea, coffee and chocolate may improve outcomes in patients with liver cirrhosis.

Healthy soil lifts animal weight
Individual pastures on livestock farms yield surprisingly dissimilar benefits to a farm's overall agricultural income, and those differences are most likely attributable to the varying levels of 'soil health' provided by its grazing livestock. A research team has now opened up the possibility of using field-scale metrics as indicators of animal performance and agricultural productivity.

Evidence mounts for Alzheimer's, suicide risks among youth in polluted cities
A University of Montana researcher and her collaborators have published a new study that reveals increased risks for Alzheimer's and suicide among children and young adults living in polluted megacities.

Obesity linked with higher chance of developing rapid, irregular heart rate
People with obesity are more likely to develop a rapid and irregular heart rate, called atrial fibrillation, which can lead to stroke, heart failure and other complications, according to Penn State researchers. They found that people with obesity had a 40 percent higher chance of developing atrial fibrillation than people without obesity.

In animal studies, stimulating a brain pathway reduces depressive behavior
Neurobiology researchers have identified a pathway in brain circuitry that, when stimulated, leads to 'antidepressive' behavior in animals. If such brain stimulation proves to have similar effects in people, it may eventually lead to a novel treatment for depression.

Elevated blood pressure before pregnancy may increase chance of pregnancy loss
Elevated blood pressure before conception may increase the chances for pregnancy loss, according to an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The authors conclude that lifestyle changes to keep blood pressure under control could potentially reduce the risk of loss. The study appears in Hypertension.

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