Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (December 2017)

Science news and science current events archive December, 2017.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from December 2017

Video game system technology helping physical therapists, athletic trainers
Motion-based lab technology can help physical therapists, clinicians and athletic trainers analyze how we move -- it also is very expensive. Some motion labs can cost upward of $100,000. Now, a team of University of Missouri researchers is finding that the depth camera often associated with video game systems can provide a variety of health care providers with objective information to improve patient care.

Individuals in the US diagnosed with cancer are 2.7 times more likely to declare bankruptcy than individuals without cancer, study finds
As advancements in cancer therapies have been making headlines in recent years, cancer drug prices have significantly increased. The remaining question is, what are the economic impacts of the differentiations in cost of FDA approved drugs and the purchasing power of individuals around the world? This study, published in Oncotarget, titled

Stretching language to its limit
A disregard for human traditions, the brutality of predation, sacrifice, and sexual desire are ingrained in languages across cultures. This paper concerns a key linguistic feature reflecting this predicament: utterances that encapsulate their opposite and effectuate a U-turn in meaning.

UNIST researchers develop silicon chip-based quantum photonic devices
An international team of researchers, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has presented a core technology for quantum photonic devices used in quantum information processing. Their work has been published in the November issue of the prestigious journal, Nano Letters.

Regulating toxic chemicals for public and environmental health: A PLOS Biology collection
Over the past several decades thousands of new chemicals have been approved for commerce, even as evidence of their ability to cause serious harm has emerged. A new collection 'Challenges in Environmental Health: Closing the Gap between Evidence and Regulations' publishing Dec. 18-21 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology examines the divide between evidence and policy.

Why musical training benefits us in processing speech
A brain imaging study by Dr. DU Yi from the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and her collaborator Dr. Zatorre Robert from the Montréal Neurological Institute and McGill University has revealed that musical training might improve speech perception in noisy environments via enhanced neural foundation in bottom-up auditory encoding, top-down speech motoric prediction, and cross-modal auditory-motor integration.

Study warns that snake fungal disease could be a global threat
New research suggests that a potentially fatal snake fungus found in several species in the United States and three in Europe could be global in scale. The study shows that the snake fungal disease caused by Ophidiomyces ophidiodiicola can infect snakes of many species regardless of their ancestry, physical characteristics, or habitats. The study's authors warn that future surveys for the disease should assume that all snake species harbor this pathogen.

Telescopes team up to study giant galaxy
Astronomers have used two Australian radio telescopes and several optical telescopes to study complex mechanisms that are fuelling jets of material blasting away from a black hole 55 million times more massive than the Sun.

McMaster researchers find genes may 'snowball' obesity
The researchers looked at 37 genes that are well established as modulating the body mass in 75,230 adults with European ancestry and found the nine with the snowball effect.

Research leads to call for lung health screening at top football clubs
New research from the University of Kent has discovered that nearly three in 10 elite footballers at top clubs in England have undetected lung and airway problems that could impair their on-field performance. The findings of this study will be presented at a British Thoracic Society meeting on Dec. 8 by lead researcher Anna Jackson, who will also call for all top football clubs to implement a lung health screening program.

How well will the flu vaccine work this winter?
Scientists from UTMB and Biomed Protection predicted which H3N2 variants would become 'vaccine resistant', and this prediction has been confirmed during the 2017 Australian flu season. The results published suggest that the current flu vaccine will work better during the 2018 US flu season than the 2017 Australian flu season.

Music streaming sites benefit indie singers at the expense of top 100 artists
While free or low cost music streaming sources like Spotify decrease the use of paid music platforms, such as iTunes, a new study in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, shows they significantly increase exposure for and access to lesser known or indie artists that fall outside the top 100 or even top 500 listings.

Popular blood pressure medicine linked with increased risk of skin cancer
Recently published research from the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Cancer Society shows a connection between one of the most common medications for hypertension and skin cancer.

Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth, says UC research
Study shows a marked reduction in risky sex and substance abuse in troubled 18- to 24-year-olds after several months of participating in mindful yoga and positive coping strategies.

Revising the story of the dispersal of modern humans across Eurasia
Most people are now familiar with the traditional 'Out of Africa' model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research, are revising this story. Recent discoveries show that humans left Africa multiple times prior to 60,000 years ago, and that they interbred with other hominins in many locations across Eurasia.

Ditch plan to disregard all athletic world records before 2005, urge experts
The proposal by the European Athletics Council to disregard all athletic world records set before 2005 should be abandoned, insist experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Consuming sugary drinks during pregnancy may increase asthma risk in mid-childhood
Children between the ages of 7 and 9 may be at greater risk for developing asthma if they consumed high amounts of fructose in early childhood or their mothers drank a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages while pregnant, according to new research published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Running away from addiction: How exercise aids smoking cessation
New research in mice sheds light on the mechanism underlining exercise's protective effect against nicotine dependence and withdrawal.

Study confirms beauty is in the eye of the beer holder
University of Nebraska-Lincoln psychology researchers used eye-tracking technology to determine how alcohol influences when college-age will men drop their eyes from a woman's face to other parts of her anatomy.

FDA-approved high blood pressure drug extends life span in roundworms
An FDA-approved drug to treat high blood pressure seems to extend life span in worms via a cell signaling pathway that may mimic caloric restriction.

Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find
People who consume 18 grams of protein from whole eggs or from egg whites after engaging in resistance exercise differ dramatically in how their muscles build protein, a process called protein synthesis, during the post-workout period, researchers report in a new study. Specifically, the post-workout muscle-building response in those eating whole eggs is 40 percent greater than in those consuming an equivalent amount of protein from egg whites, the team found.

A new law to tackle contract cheating and Essay Mills?
Swansea University academics have designed a new law to specifically target the inappropriate activities of companies who offer to write student assignments for a fee; also known as 'Essay Mills'.

NUS scientist develops 'toolboxes' for quantum cybersecurity
A quantum information scientist from the National University of Singapore has developed efficient 'toolboxes' comprising theoretical tools and protocols for quantifying the security of high-speed quantum communication.

Augmented-reality technology could help treat 'lazy eye'
When signals between the brain and one eye go awry, input from the other eye can become predominant, a condition called amblyopia or 'lazy eye.' New research suggests that people may be able to use wearable augmented-reality technology to reduce this visual discrepancy as they go about everyday activities. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Scientists discover path to improving game-changing battery electrode
Researchers from Stanford University, two Department of Energy national labs and the battery manufacturer Samsung created a comprehensive picture of how the same chemical processes that give cathodes their high capacity are also linked to changes in atomic structure that sap performance.

US provides most development assistance for health, but lags behind others in per person spending
A new study finds that while the United States consistently has provided more funding for development assistance for health (DAH) than any other country, some high-income European nations have far surpassed the US's assistance in per capita and other expenditure measurements.

All politics -- and cannabis marketing -- are local
California's legal cannabis market, opening for business on Jan. 1, is expected to quickly grow to be the largest in the nation and worth more than $5 billion a year. County voting on Proposition 64 that led the state here -- to legalizing sales for recreational use -- can offer insight into how medical marijuana dispensaries will now market themselves.

Unique pattern of brain inflammation may explain neurocognitive impairment in HIV patients on antiretroviral drugs
Almost half of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)-treated HIV patients experience some degree of neurocognitive impairment (neuroHIV). To search for underlying pathology, scientists analyzed the brains of monkeys infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) then treated with cART. As reported in a new study in The American Journal of Pathology, the majority of the SIV-infected macaque brains showed signs of unusual lymphocyte-dominant inflammation, suggesting that persistent neuroinflammation may underlie cognitive problems in cART-treated HIV patients.

Fake social media accounts can be hazardous to your health
Fake social media accounts already have a reputation of swaying political discourse, but a Keck School of Medicine of USC researcher says these automated accounts are even more dangerous -- they can be bad for your health. USC researchers focused on how these bots promoted the notion that using electronic cigarettes helps people stop smoking, a conclusion not definitively supported by research.

High success rate reported for diabetic Charcot foot surgery
Nearly four out of five diabetic patients with severe cases of a disabling condition called Charcot foot were able to walk normally again following surgery, a Loyola Medicine study has found.

Strong relationship between self-efficacy and exercise among women veterans discovered
For female Veterans with fibromyalgia (FM) symptoms, the impact of believing in their ability to begin and sustain a long-term exercise program appears to positively influence their results. The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, suggest a role for self-efficacy (believing in one's ability to succeed) in exercise adoption and maintenance among female Veterans, even among those with a high degree of FM symptoms.

Ophthalmologists increasingly dissatisfied with electronic health records
Ophthalmologists' use of electronic health records (EHR) systems for storing and accessing patients' medical histories more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, while their perceptions of financial and clinical productivity following EHR implementation declined, a study published today in JAMA Ophthalmology shows.

Duration of sleep increases and sleeping difficulties decrease after retirement
When people retire from work life, they sleep approximately 20 minutes longer than before retirement. The quality of sleep also improves, as retired people experience less early morning awakenings or non-restorative sleep, unlike in their last working years.

Novel compound restores immune response in patients with melanoma
A novel compound may restore immune response in patients with melanoma, according to a study presented at the ESMO Immuno Oncology Congress 2017.

Finding long strands of RNA in skin development and disease
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have discovered how unusually long pieces of RNA work in skin cells. The RNA pieces, called 'long non-coding RNAs' or 'lncRNAs,' help skin cells modulate connective tissue proteins, like collagen, and could represent novel therapeutic targets to promote skin repair.

Innovative system images photosynthesis to provide picture of plant health
Researchers have developed a new imaging system that is designed to monitor the health of crops in the field or greenhouse. The new technology could one day save farmers significant money and time by enabling intelligent agricultural equipment that automatically provides plants with water or nutrients at the first signs of distress.

Device may save seabirds from the dangers of fishing gear
A new Animal Conservation article summarizing 4 years of study found that a device called the Hookpod can help prevent birds from being inadvertently caught by fishermen.

Berry gives boost to cervical cancer therapy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. One of the most common treatments for cervical cancer is radiation. While radiation therapy destroys cancer cells, it also destroys nearby healthy cells. University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers studied in vitro human cancer cells to show that combining blueberry extract with radiation can increase the treatment's effectiveness.

Medication errors for admitted patients drop when pharmacy staff take drug histories in ER
When pharmacy professionals -- rather than doctors or nurses -- take medication histories of patients in emergency departments, mistakes in drug orders can be reduced by more than 80 percent, according to a study led by Cedars-Sinai.

Clinical trial shows therapeutic HIV vaccination doesn't lead to viral suppression
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found no benefit for a therapeutic HIV vaccine, but could offer researchers much needed insights for future cure efforts.

Airline food study 2017 - 2018
Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and DietDetective.com have released the 2017-18 Airline Food Study, rating foods for twelve (12) airlines.

Acupuncture significantly reduces joint pain for breast cancer patients
In the largest, most rigorous study of its kind, acupuncture was found to significantly reduce the debilitating joint pain experienced by tens of thousands of women each year while being treated for early stage breast cancer, according to SWOG research results to be announced at a Dec. 7 press conference at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

People with Huntington's want more openness around assisted dying
Research has shown that better communication around assisted dying is needed between clinician and patients diagnosed with Huntington's disease. This is the first study in the UK (where assisted dying is illegal) into the attitudes of people with the condition, which usually leads to dementia and inability to coordinate movement. Because it is inherited, people with a diagnosis will often have witnessed the suffering of a parent.

Quick evaluation can predict whether drugs, talk therapy work better for anxiety patients
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that a brief test that can be performed in the office can help determine whether an antidepressant or a form of talk therapy, called cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, would be better at relieving symptoms of anxiety in individual patients.

UChicago scientists craft world's tiniest interlinking chains
For decades, scientists have been trying to make a true molecular chain: a repeated set of tiny rings interlocked together. In a study in Science published online Nov. 30, University of Chicago researchers announced the first confirmed method to craft such a molecular chain.

Kidney disease diagnosis may benefit from DNA sequencing
In a new study, DNA sequencing was used to uncover the genetic cause of kidney disease, influencing diagnosis and treatment.

Zika remains a research and public health challenge, say NIAID scientists
The Zika virus has become established in more than 80 countries, infected millions of people, and left many babies with birth defects. Although scientists have made progress in their understanding of the virus, it would be premature to think that the Zika pandemic is now under control and will not reemerge, perhaps more aggressively, say leaders from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in a Journal of Infectious Diseases special supplement.

When a common cold may trigger early supportive care
A new study led by Children's National Health System shows that in infants who were born severely premature, human rhinovirus infections appear to trigger airway hyper-reactivity, which leads to wheezing, hyperinflation and more severe respiratory disease.

More than 1,000 ancient sealings discovered
Classical scholars from the Cluster of Excellence discover a large number of sealings in southeast Turkey. More than 1,000 sealings give new insights into the Greco-Roman pantheon. The finds were in a late antique building complex point to a hitherto unknown church.

Hydraulic fracturing negatively impacts infant health
Health risks increase for infants born to mothers living within 2 miles of a hydraulic fracturing site, according to a study published Dec. 13 in Science Advances.

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