Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (April 2020)

Science news and science current events archive April, 2020.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from April 2020

Researchers map mechanism to explain role of gene mutations in kidney disease
Researchers from the Center for Precision Disease Modeling at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have uncovered a mechanism that appears to explain how certain genetic mutations give rise to a rare genetic kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome.

Autoimmunity may be rising in the United States
Autoimmunity, a condition in which the body's immune system reacts with components of its own cells, appears to be increasing in the United States, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health and their collaborators. In a study published April 8 in Arthritis and Rheumatology, the researchers found that the prevalence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), the most common biomarker of autoimmunity, was significantly increasing in the United States overall and particularly in certain groups.

Origins of Earth's magnetic field remain a mystery
The existence of a magnetic field beyond 3.5 billion years ago is still up for debate.

NASA finds very heavy rainfall in major tropical cyclone Harold
On April 8, Tropical Cyclone Harold is a major hurricane, a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, as it exits Fiji and heads toward the island of Tonga. NASA used satellite data to calculate the rainfall generated by this powerful and destructive storm in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Time to encourage people to wear face masks as a precaution, say experts
It's time to encourage people to wear face masks as a precautionary measure on the grounds that we have little to lose and potentially something to gain, say experts in The BMJ today.

Long-living tropical trees play outsized role in carbon storage
A group of trees that grow fast, live long lives and reproduce slowly account for the bulk of the biomass -- and carbon storage -- in some tropical rainforests, a team of scientists says in a paper published this week in the journal Science. The finding that these trees, called long-lived pioneers, play a much larger role in carbon storage than previously thought may have implications in efforts to preserve forests as a strategy to fight climate change.

Researchers reveal important genetic mechanism behind inflammatory bowel disease
Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have pinpointed a genetic variation responsible for driving the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The genetic pathway associated with this variation is involved in other immune disorders, suggesting the mechanism they identified could serve as an important therapeutic target.

Mayo Clinic offer guidance on treating COVID-19 patients with signs of acute heart attack
Much remains unknown about COVID-19, but many studies already have indicated that people with cardiovascular disease are at greater risk of COVID-19. There also have been reports of ST-segment elevation (STE), a signal of obstructive coronary artery disease, in patients with COVID-19 who after invasive coronary angiography show no sign of the disease.

Torquato research links elastodynamic and electromagnetic wave phenomena
Princeton's Salvatore Torquato, the Lewis Bernard Professor of Natural Sciences and director of the Complex Materials Theory Group, published research this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) linking wave phenomena that has never previously been linked. For the first time, the research employs a unified approach that melds the behavior of elastodynamic (sound) waves with that of electromagnetic (light) waves as they propagate through heterogeneous, or composite, materials.

New protocol identifies fascinating quantum states
Topological materials attract great interest and may provide the basis for a new era in materials development. In Science Advances, physicists around Andreas Elben, Jinlong Yu, Peter Zoller and Benoit Vermersch now present a new measuring method that allows to identify and characterize so-called topological invariants on various experimental platforms.

Under pressure: New bioinspired material can 'shapeshift' to external forces
Inspired by how human bone and colorful coral reefs adjust mineral deposits in response to their surrounding environments, Johns Hopkins researchers have created a self-adapting material that can change its stiffness in response to the applied force. This advancement can someday open the doors for materials that can self-reinforce to prepare for increased force or stop further damage.

What did scientists learn from Deepwater Horizon?
In a review paper published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, WHOI scientists review what they-- and their science colleagues from around the world--have learned from studying the spill over the past decade.

Virtual reality makes empathy easier
Virtual reality activates brain networks that increase your ability to identify with other people, according to new research published in eNeuro. The technology could become a tool in the treatment of violent offenders to empathize more with others.

Reference genes are identified that are useful for genetic improvement in wheat
University of Cordoba Professor Miguel Aguilar participated in a published article on reference genes in the study of wheat meiosis, the process in which reproductive cells are generated

Specialized nerve cells increase the appetite for high-fat foods
Fat activates nociceptin neurons in the hypothalamus of mice.

DNA may not be life's instruction book -- just a jumbled list of ingredients
The common view of heredity is that all information passed down from one generation to the next is stored in an organism's DNA. But Antony Jose of the University of Maryland, disagrees. In two new papers, Jose argues DNA is just the ingredient list, not the set of instructions used to build and maintain a living organism. The instructions, he says, are stored in the molecules that regulate a cell's DNA and other functioning systems.

New heart attack testing protocol expedites treatment in ER
A new protocol using highly sensitive blood tests to determine whether someone is having a heart attack.

Everything is not fine: Kids can tell when parents suppress their stress
New research finds that parents suppressing feelings of stress around their kids can actually transmit those feelings to the children. The study found that children had a physical response when parents tried to hide their emotions.

Warming climate undoes decades of knowledge of marine protected areas
A new study highlights that tropical coral reef marine reserves can offer little defence in the face of climate change impacts. And the changes that are being observed will force scientists, conservationists and reserve managers to rethink the role these protected areas can bring.

Water molecules dance in three
An international team of scientists has been able to shed new light on the properties of water at the molecular level. In particular, they were able to describe accurately the interactions between three water molecules, which contribute significantly to the energy landscape of water. The research could pave the way to better understand and predict water behavior at different conditions, even under extreme ones.

Two steps closer to flexible, powerful, fast bioelectronic devices
Led by Biomedical Engineering Professor Dion Khodagholy, researchers have designed biocompatible ion-driven soft transistors that can perform real-time neurologically relevant computation and a mixed-conducting particulate composite that allows creation of electronic components out of a single material. These have promise for bioelectronic devices that are fast, sensitive, biocompatible, soft, and flexible, with long-term stability in physiological environments such as the human body. In particular, they could facilitate diagnosis and monitoring of neurological disease.

FSU researchers discover new structure for promising class of materials
Florida State researchers have published a new study in the journal Science Advances that explains how they created a hollow nanostructure for metal halide perovskites that would allow the material to emit a highly efficient blue light.

They remember: Communities of microbes found to have working memory
Biologists studying communities of bacteria have discovered that these so-called simple organisms feature a robust capacity for memory. Using light, researchers were able to encode complex memory patterns and visualize cells with memory. The discovery reveals surprising parallels between low-level single-celled organisms and sophisticated neurons that process memory in the human brain. The finding also provides a starting path for scientists to one day design basic computing systems with living organisms such as bacteria.

Honey bees could help monitor fertility loss in insects due to climate change
New research from the University of British Columbia and North Carolina State University could help scientists track how climate change is impacting the birds and the bees... of honey bees.

Soil in wounds can help stem deadly bleeding
New UBC research shows for the first time that soil silicates--the most abundant material on the Earth's crust--play a key role in blood clotting.

Researchers tackle a new opportunity to develop high-energy batteries
In recent years, lithium-ion batteries have become better at supplying energy to Soldiers in the field, but the current generation of batteries never reaches its highest energy potential. Army researchers are extremely focused on solving this challenge and providing the power Soldiers demand.

A milder hair dye based on synthetic melanin
With the coronavirus pandemic temporarily shuttering hair salons, many clients are appreciating, and missing, the ability of hair dye to cover up grays or touch up roots. However, frequent coloring, whether done at a salon or at home, can damage hair and might pose health risks from potentially cancer-causing dye components. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have developed a process to dye hair with synthetic melanin under milder conditions than traditional hair dyes.

Certain diabetes drugs may protect against serious kidney problems
Use of sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors to treat type 2 diabetes may help to lower the risk of serious kidney problems, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Ending the daily work commute may not cut energy usage as much as one might hope
A mass move to working-from-home accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic might not be as beneficial to the planet as many hope, according to a new study by the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).

Uncertain climate future could disrupt energy systems
An international team of scientists has published a new study proposing an optimization methodology for designing climate-resilient energy systems and to help ensure that communities will be able to meet future energy needs given weather and climate variability. Their findings were recently published in Nature Energy.

Climate disasters increase risks of armed conflicts: New evidence
The risk for violent clashes increases after weather extremes such as droughts or floods hit people in vulnerable countries, an international team of scientists finds. Vulnerable countries are characterized by a large population, political exclusion of particular ethnic groups, and low development. The study combines global statistical analysis, observation data and regional case study assessments to yield new evidence for policy-makers.

New supramolecular copolymers driven by self-sorting of molecules
Researchers in Japan have succeeded in creating a new type of helicoidal supramolecular polymer. The process and mechanism of the generation of its structure were observed using atomic force microscopy (AFM); the helicoidal structure grew spontaneously after two different monomers were mixed. The findings of the study, which was published in Nature Communications on April 1st, 2020 may lead to the design of original soft materials.

Treatment relieves depression in 90% of participants in small study
A new form of magnetic brain stimulation rapidly relieved symptoms of severe depression in 90% of participants in a small study conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Litter problem at England's protected coasts
Beaches in or near England's Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have the same levels of litter as those in unprotected areas, new research shows.

Study demonstrates the need for immediate ICU care for severe COVID-19 pneumonia
Researchers have identified the most common clinical characteristics of 109 patients with COVID-19 related pneumonia who died in Wuhan, China in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Researchers assess bird flu virus subtypes in China
The avian influenza virus subtype H16N3 is currently detectable in many countries. To examine the potential threat to humans of H16N3, researchers recently performed an extensive avian influenza surveillance in major wild bird gatherings across China from 2017-2019. The findings are published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.

Newly emerged enterovirus-A71 C4 isolates may be more virulent than B5 in northern Vietnam
Researchers from Kanazawa University have found a new sublineage of enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) C4 subgenotype with two possible recombinant strains during the 2015-16 outbreak of hand-foot-and-mouth disease in Hanoi, northern Vietnam. Further, they confirmed that the EV-A71-C4 subgenotype may be more virulent than the B5 clinically and experimentally with transgenic mouse model. This has helped elucidate the outbreak and may identify candidate viral strains for developing polyvalent vaccines.

Astronomers measure wind speed on a brown dwarf
Using VLA and Spitzer observations, astronomers are able to determine wind speeds on a brown dwarf for the first time. They believe the technique also could be used for exoplanets.

Seeing the light: Astronomers find new way novae light up the sky
An international team of researchers, in a paper published today in Nature Astronomy, highlights a new way novae light up the sky: this is shocks from explosions that create the novae that cause most of the their brightness.

Estuaries are warming at twice the rate of oceans and atmosphere
A 12-year study of 166 estuaries in south-east Australia shows that the waters of lakes, creeks, rivers and lagoons increased 2.16 degrees in temperature and increased acidity. Researchers say this could impact economic activity and biodiversity worldwide.

Breathing heavy wildfire smoke may increase risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
Heavy wildfire smoke may raise the risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. To reduce exposure to wildfire smoke, researchers advise people to stay indoors with doors and windows closed, to use high-efficiency air filters in air conditioning systems, avoid exertion, and consider seeking shelter elsewhere if the home does not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside.

Cochrane Rapid Review Update: Protective clothes and equipment for healthcare workers to prevent them catching coronavirus and other highly infectious diseases
The Cochrane Review, 'Personal protective equipment for preventing highly infectious diseases due to exposure to contaminated body fluids in healthcare staff,' has been updated as a rapid review in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two novel viruses identified in Brazilian patients with suspected dengue
Species never before found in humans described in PLOS ONE belong to the genera Ambidensovirus and Chapparvovirus. Researchers do not yet know if they can cause disease.

Study detects presence of disease-causing E. coli in recreational waters, including in bathing waters rated excellent under EU criteria
New research due to be presented at this year's European Congress on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) has revealed the presence of disease-causing E. coli in recreational waters, including from beaches rated excellent under EU criteria.

North pole soon to be ice free in summer
The Arctic Ocean in summer will very likely be ice free before 2050, at least temporally. The efficacy of climate-protection measures will determine how often and for how long. These are the results of a new research study involving 21 research institutes from around the world, coordinated by Dirk Notz from the University of Hamburg, Germany.

Why relying on new technology won't save the planet
Why relying on new technology won't save the planet Overreliance on promises of new technology to solve climate change is enabling delay, say researchers from Lancaster University. Their research in Nature Climate Change calls for an end to a longstanding cycle of technological promises and reframed climate change targets. They argue instead for cultural, social and political transformation to enable widespread deployment of both behavioural and technological responses to climate change.

New study could lead to therapeutic interventions to treat cocaine addiction
A new study explains how cocaine modifies functions in the brain revealing a potential target for therapies aimed at treating cocaine addiction. The study was published this week in Cell Reports.

Views on guns and death penalty are linked to harsh treatment of immigrants
An online study that pulled equally from people who identify as Democrats or Republicans has found subtle new clues that underlie the dehumanization of immigrants. The findings by two University of Oregon researchers were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Shrinking instead of growing: how shrews survive the winter
Even at sub-zero temperatures, common shrews do not need to increase their metabolism.

Mechanisms responsible for tissue growth
Publication in Cell: Researchers at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) uncover the mechanisms mediating postnatal tissue development. They found that a unique developmental stem cell population mediates tissue expansion by a constant self-duplication throughout postnatal development.

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