Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2020)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2020.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2020

A blood test could predict who benefits from immunotherapy
A test which detects changing levels of tumour fragments in the blood may be an easy, non-invasive and quick way to predict who will benefit from immunotherapy, a treatment option for advanced cancers.

Child sleep problems associated with impaired academic and psychosocial functioning
A new study by researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has found that sleep disturbances at any age are associated with diminished well-being by the time the children are 10 or 11 years old. The findings, which were published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggest health care providers should screen children for sleep problems at every age and intervene early when a sleep problem is identified.

Hydrogel paves way for biomedical breakthrough
Dubbed the ''invisibility cloak'', engineers at the University of Sydney have developed a hydrogel that allows implants and transplants to better and more safetly interact with surrounding tissue.

COVID-19 study confirms low transmission in educational settings
New research from University of Sydney finds COVID-19 transmission rates in NSW schools and early childcare education and care settings were minimal, particularly between children and from children to adults.

Tradeoff between the eyes and nose helps flies find their niche
The size of a fly's eyes and nose reflect both its behaviour during mating and its habitat preferences, according to a new study published today in eLife.

HIIT programs show benefits for those with Down syndrome
Incorporating high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, into exercise programs for individuals with Down syndrome may help achieve critical health outcomes in a more time-efficient manner, according to new researcher.

Fabrication advance: Spray-on clear coatings for cheaper smart windows
Researchers have developed a spray-on method for making conductive clear coatings, or transparent electrodes. Fast, scalable and based on cheaper materials, the new approach could simplify the fabrication of smart windows and low-emissivity glass. It can also be optimised to produce coatings tailored to the requirements of different applications of transparent electrodes, like touchscreen displays, LED lighting and solar panels.

NASA data helps uncover our solar system's shape
Scientists have developed a new prediction of the shape of the bubble surrounding our solar system using a model developed with data from NASA missions.

Journalists' Twitter use shows them talking within smaller bubbles
Journalists in Washington, D.C., have long been accused of living in a ''Beltway bubble.'' Their interactions on Twitter, however, show them congregating in even smaller ''microbubbles,'' says a recent study. The journalists within each communicate more among themselves than with journalists outside the group. That means Beltway journalism ''may be even more insular than previously thought,'' say study authors Nikki Usher and Yee Man Margaret Ng, journalism professors at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Career-readiness through cross-disciplinary project-based learning
Faculty members at Washington State University Everett recently developed and implemented an interdisciplinary project-based learning approach to provide students with real-world professional experience.

Algorithm created by deep learning finds potential therapeutic targets throughout genome
A team of researchers have developed an algorithm through machine learning that helps predict sites of DNA methylation - a process that can change the activity of DNA without changing its overall structure - and could identify disease-causing mechanisms that would otherwise be missed by conventional screening methods.

Nepal lockdown halved health facility births and increased stillbirths and newborn deaths
COVID-19 response has resulted in major reductions in health facility births in Nepal and widened inequalities, with significantly increased institutional stillbirth and neonatal mortality, according to a new study in the Lancet Global Health. The research was led Dr Ashish KC and Nepal colleagues with Uppsala University, Sweden, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. It is the first published study with primary data on the impact of a COVID-19 lockdown on births in hospital, and measuring stillbirths and newborn deaths.

Syphilis may have spread through Europe before Columbus
Columbus brought syphilis to Europe -- or did he? A recent study conducted at the University of Zurich now indicates that Europeans could already have been infected with this sexually transmitted disease before the 15th century. In addition, researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown pathogen causing a related disease. The predecessor of syphilis and its related diseases could be over 2,500 years old.

Systemic racism has consequences for all life in cities
Social inequalities, specifically racism and classism, are impacting the biodiversity, evolutionary shifts and ecological health of plants and animals in our cities. That's the main finding of a review paper published Aug. 13 in Science led by the University of Washington, with co-authors at the University of California, Berkeley, and University of Michigan.

NASA finds wind shear affecting Tropical Storm Josephine
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided forecasters with a visible image of Tropical Storm Josephine east of the Lesser Antilles island chain. Suomi NPP revealed that Josephine was being affected by wind shear.

Pregnant mother's immunity tied to behavioral, emotional challenges for kids with autism
Children with autism born to mothers who had immune conditions during their pregnancy are more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems, a UC Davis Health study has found. Offspring sex may also interact with maternal immune conditions to influence outcomes, particularly in terms of a child's cognition.

Global warming is changing our plant communities
In a comprehensive study of nearly 20,000 species, University of Miami research shows that plant communities are shifting to include more heat-loving species as a result of climate change.

Machine learning reveals role of culture in shaping meanings of words
What do we mean by the word beautiful? It depends not only on whom you ask, but in what language you ask them. According to a machine learning analysis of dozens of languages conducted at Princeton University, the meaning of words does not necessarily refer to an intrinsic, essential constant. Instead, it is significantly shaped by culture, history and geography.

Data omission in key EPA insecticide study shows need for review of industry studies
For nearly 50 years, a statistical omission tantamount to data falsification sat undiscovered in a critical study at the heart of regulating one of the most controversial and widely used pesticides in America -- chlorpyrifos.

Study debunks robocall myths, lays groundwork for stopping them
New research finds that the number of robocalls isn't going up, and that answering a robocall doesn't make you more likely to get additional robocalls. However, stories you've heard about individuals getting hundreds of back-to-back unsolicited calls? Those are true.

New 'nanopores' technique offers proof-of-concept of earlier, safer tumor detection
Liquid biopsies--identifying the presence of tumor DNA fragments or cells circulating in bodily fluids--have taken off in the last few years as a non-invasive and more accurate way to detect cancers. Unfortunately, the short-lived nature of these fragments remains a challenge for identifying mutations, particularly for early tumor detection. But a new technique incorporating nanopore technology could offer a powerful, fast and easy-to-use alternative.

University of Louisville immunologist summarizes functions of protein family for scientific community
Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) serve as a type of chaperone, coordinating the transport of fatty acids and other molecules between cells. Bing Li, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Louisville and a leading researcher in understanding the role of FABPs, has created a 'SnapShot' of the functions of these proteins published in the journal Cell.

Gaps in early surveillance of coronavirus led to record-breaking US trajectory
Research from the University of Notre Dame provides insight into how limited testing and gaps in surveillance during the initial phase of the epidemic resulted in so many cases going undetected. 

A toxic trio of parental problems strongly linked to childhood sexual abuse
A new study has found that adults who had parents who struggled with substance dependence, intimate partner violence and mental illness are more than 10 times more likely to have been victims of childhood sexual abuse than those whose parents did not have these problems, once age and race are taken into account.

First review of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infection models
The first comprehensive review of all relevant animal and cellular models of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 aims to assist with fast-tracking ongoing research into new preventions and treatments.

Quantum simulation for 3D chiral topological phase
Professor Liu at PKU, Professor Du and Professor Wang at USTC build up a quantum simulator using nitrogen-vacancy center to investigate a three-dimensional (3D) chiral topological insulator which was not realized in solid state system, and demonstrate a complete study of both the bulk and surface topological physics by quantum quenches.

Video is not always effective in science communication
What we can learn for online public relations: - Keep the information concise so that one can go thorough it within about 1 minute. - A diagram (a schematic image) may help to understand complex issue. - People should be able to go through the information in their own pace.

Atmospheric scientists study fires to resolve ice question in climate models
Black carbon from fires is an important short-term climate driver because it can affect the formation and composition of clouds. CSU scientists are figuring out how.

Tag team gut bacteria worsen symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) have discovered that a particular combination of microorganisms in the gut can worsen symptoms in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. The study published in the scientific journal Nature shows that two specific gut bacteria enhance the activity of immune cells that attack the body's own brain and spinal cord.

Army scientists take new spin on quantum research
Army researchers discovered a way to further enhance quantum systems to provide Soldiers with more reliable and secure capabilities on the battlefield.

New study takes aim at advanced types of non-addictive pain therapies
A team of scientists from ASU's School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute have recently published a study in Nature Communications that helps clarify the contributions to an ion channel's temperature - dependent activation. This in turn should aid in the development of new types of non-addictive pain therapies.

Life expectancy gap between Black and white people in Washington, DC, analyzed
Heart disease, homicide and cancer are leading contributing factors to stark differences in life expectancy between Black people and white people in Washington, DC, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

A surprising protein player in diabetes
Conducted by researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and Riken Center of Integrative Medical Sciences, a study looking at pancreatic beta cells has found a link between a commonly found protein, a subset of switched-off genes and the development of diabetes.

Can't be away from your phone? Study finds link to higher levels of obsession-compulsion
Feelings of panic when a person is away from their smartphone could be connected to general feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, a new study of young people in Portugal suggests.

New hydrogels for T-cell growth to be used in cancer immunotherapy
A team with the participation of researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has designed new hydrogels that allow the culture of T-cells or T-lymphocytes, cells of the immune system that are used in cancer immunotherapy since they have the capacity to destroy tumor cells. These hydrogels can mimic lymph nodes, where T-cells reproduce and, therefore, provide high rates of cell proliferation.

Discovery of an ancient dog species may teach us about human vocalization
In a study published in PNAS, researchers used conservation biology and genomics to discover that the New Guinea singing dog, thought to be extinct for 50 years, still thrives. This finding opens new doors for protecting a remarkable creature that can teach biologists about human vocal learning.

Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the lab
As COVID-19 continues to spread, bottlenecks in supplies and laboratory personnel have led to long waiting times for results in some areas. In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab.

People with less body response to stress task had more PTSD signs after COVID-19 began
People who did not have a large heart rate response to a stress task surprised researchers later -- after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic -- when they showed more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder related to the crisis than others who also did the stress task and COVID-19 stress ratings.

New EU rules could make total diet replacement products unviable from 2022, study warns
From October 2022, the European Union (EU) will impose new nutritional requirements for total diet replacement (TDR) products which could make them unviable to produce and sell, according to new research being presented at The European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020), held online this year from 1-4 September.

Women skip medications more in the US than other countries
For patients, especially those living with chronic conditions, nonadherence to prescription medicines due to cost is a common problem. By not filling prescriptions, skipping doses, delaying refills, or splitting pills, patients risk compromising the therapeutic benefit of their treatments. To understand the extent of this problem, researchers studied survey data from 11 high-income countries. They found that the largest disparities for non-adherence occurred among younger women in the U.S.

Cell diversity in the embryo
Epigenetic factors control the development of an organism.

Real-time imaging can help prevent deadly dust explosions
Researchers at Purdue University have developed an image- and video-based application using OpenCV algorithms that detect explosible suspended dust concentration. The app uses a camera or a video recording device to image and determine suspended dust, as well as accurately distinguish it from normal background noise.

Practice patterns, responsiveness to common ocular complaints among ophthalmology centers during COVID-19
Practice patterns for common ocular complaints during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study among comprehensive U.S. ophthalmology practices.

IKBFU researchers study the Curonian Spit plants adaptation mechanism
IKBFU Institute of Living Systems biology scientists study protective mechanisms of the Curonian Spit wild plants. The scientists are particularly interested in a beach pea plant (Lathyrus maritimus Bigel).

Delay in breast cancer operations appears non-life-threatening for early-stage disease
A new breast cancer study brings reassuring findings for women with early-stage breast cancer who were forced to delay their cancer operations because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A longer time from diagnosis to surgical treatment does not lower overall survival of women with early-stage breast cancer who underwent delayed operations before the pandemic, according to the study results.

COVID-19 does not directly damage taste bud cells
A new study from the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia is the first to suggest that COVID-19 does not directly damage taste bud cells.

Jealous feelings can act as a tool to strengthen friendships
Jealousy can be important for maintaining friendships, which are crucial to physical and emotional health. A study conducted by scientists at Arizona State University, Oklahoma State University, and Hamilton College found feelings of jealousy were sensitive to the value of the friendship and motivated behaviors aimed at keeping friends.

Simpler and faster microscopy system enabling broader biomedical applications
Optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (OR-PAM) has demonstrated great values in biomedical research. However, most OR-PAM systems suffer from limited imaging speed due to their inherent design limitation. A novel, two-dimensional multifocal OR-PAM system using a single-element ultrasonic transducer has been proposed. This system, termed as MFOR-PAMER, enables 400 times shorter scanning time than a conventional OR-PAM system at the same resolution and laser repetition rate. This system is envisaged with promising potential for many biomedical applications.

Dignity and respect go a long way in county jail, new research shows
A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh study indicates a little respect and decency can go a long way in improving some aspects of America's criminal justice system. Matt Richie, an assistant criminal justice professor, recently published 'Managing the Rabble with Dignity and Respect,' in the Journal of Crime and Justice, a publication of the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association. His findings reveal a great deal of the work involves interpersonal communication skills rather than physical force.

Sex, flies and videotape
Researchers discover key behaviour that triggers the transition from courtship to mating in fruit flies.

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