Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (December 2018)

Science news and science current events archive December, 2018.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from December 2018

Scientists enter unexplored territory in superconductivity search
Scientists mapping out the quantum characteristics of superconductors -- materials that conduct electricity with no energy loss -- have entered a new regime. Using newly connected tools named OASIS at Brookhaven Lab, they've uncovered previously inaccessible details of the 'phase diagram' of one of the most commonly studied 'high-temperature' superconductors.

Ingestible capsule can be controlled wirelessly
MIT researchers have designed an ingestible capsule that can be controlled using Bluetooth wireless technology. Their capsule, which can be customized to deliver drugs, sense environmental conditions, or a combination of those functions, can reside in the stomach for at least a month, transmitting information and responding to instructions from a user's smartphone.

Delaying adjuvant chemo associated with worse outcomes for patients with triple-negative breast cancer
Patients with triple-negative breast cancer who delayed starting adjuvant chemotherapy for more than 30 days after surgery were at significantly higher risk for disease recurrence and death compared with those who started the treatment in the first 30 days after surgery, according to a retrospective study presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

New device could help answer fundamental questions about quantum physics
Researchers have developed a new device that can measure and control a nanoparticle trapped in a laser beam with unprecedented sensitivity.

Genetic changes associated with physical activity reported
Machine learning used to improve understanding of sleep, physical (in)activity and their health consequences

Structure of electrolyte controls battery performance
The research team at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology has reported that adding water into electrolyte improves the function of vanadium oxide, which is one of positive electrode material in calcium-ion batteries. The results of the present study indicate that this phenomenon is caused by changes in the electrolyte structure.

A 3D imaging technique unlocks properties of perovskite crystals
A team of materials scientists from Penn State, Cornell and Argonne National Laboratory have, for the first time, visualized the 3D atomic and electron density structure of the most complex perovskite crystal structure system decoded to date.

Study reveals how Chinese travellers use technology abroad
Traditional cultural values and government policy influence how Chinese backpackers use technology while travelling, according to new research by the University of East Anglia (UEA). The study looked at how independent Chinese tourists use the internet during their trips abroad and found strong social influences on their digital behaviour. These result from their embedded culture, social circles, and the trust placed in word-of-mouth review platforms.

New properties of sulfur atom discovered
2019 will be, as proclaimed by the UN, the 'International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements', in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of its creation. Researchers from the Faculty of Science of the University of Malaga (UMA) have recently revealed new properties of one of its key elements: sulfur.

Probiotics could help millions of patients suffering from bipolar disorder
About 3 million people in the US are diagnosed every year with bipolar disorder, a psychiatric condition characterized by dramatic shifts in mood from depression to mania. Currently, the standard treatment includes a combination of psychotherapy and prescription medications such as mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.

A young star caught forming like a planet
Astronomers have captured one of the most detailed views of a young star taken to date, and revealed an unexpected companion in orbit around it.

How does diet during pregnancy impact allergies in offspring?
A small percentage of women said they consumed fewer allergens during pregnancy to stave off food allergies in their newborns, according to preliminary research Karen Robbins, M.D., presented during the American College of Asthma Allergy and Immunology 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting.

Exercise performed during adjuvant breast cancer treatment may improve cardio function
Women who underwent a supervised program of cardiovascular exercise during adjuvant breast cancer treatment experienced better cardiovascular function than those who were not part of the exercise program, according to results of the EBBA-II trial presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

New tool delivers swifter picture of cognitive deficit
A new tool, developed by researchers from the University of Adelaide, will assist clinicians to assess people suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD).

Foxes in the city: Citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
A team of researchers led by wildlife ecologist Theresa Walter analyzed over 1,100 fox sightings made by the public as part of the citizen science project StadtWildTiere (www.stadtwildtiere.at). The joint team of researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) now showed that foxes prefer specific city areas and environments. The study also revealed that reports of fox sightings correlated with the educational level of the population.

NIH scientists find that breast cancer protection from pregnancy starts decades later
In general, women who have had children have a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who have never given birth. However, new research has found that moms don't experience this breast cancer protection until many years later and may face elevated risk for more than 20 years after their last pregnancy.

Sugar-sweetened beverage pattern linked to higher kidney disease risk
In a study of African-American men and women with normal kidney function, a pattern of higher collective consumption of soda, sweetened fruit drinks, and water was associated with a higher risk of developing kidney disease.

Revealed by a multidisciplinary effort: History of maize domestication not what we thought
The domestication of maize, a process which began in what is now central Mexico nearly 9,000 years ago, was far more complex and nuanced than once previously thought, a new study finds. The results of an analysis of the ancient grain's genetic heritage reveals southwestern Amazonia as a secondary improvement center for early maize.

Siblings of children with autism or ADHD are at elevated risk for both disorders
Later-born siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk for both disorders, a new study led by Meghan Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the UC Davis MIND Institute, has concluded. The findings appear today in JAMA Pediatrics.

A lung-inspired design turns water into fuel
Scientists at Stanford University have designed an electrocatalytic mechanism that works like a mammalian lung to convert water into fuel. Their research, published Dec. 20 in the journal Joule, could help existing clean energy technologies run more efficiently.

Cannabis-based compound may reduce seizures in children with epilepsy
Interest has been growing in the use of cannabinoids--the active chemicals in cannabis or marijuana-- for the treatment of epilepsy in children. A recent Epilepsia analysis of relevant published studies indicates that this strategy looks promising.

RNAIII (RIP) & Deriv. as potential tools for the treatment of S. aureus biofilm infections
S. aureus under the biofilm mode of growth is often related to several nosocomial infections, more frequently associated with indwelling medical devices (catheters, prostheses, portacaths or heart valves).The present paper will provide an overview on the activity and potential applications of RIP as biofilm inhibiting compound, useful in the management of S. aureus biofilm infections.

Reusable respirators are an effective and viable option for protecting health care personnel
Half-facepiece reusable elastomeric respirators are an effective and viable option for protecting health care workers from exposure to airborne transmissible contaminants or infectious agents -- for example, influenza virus -- during day-to-day work or with a sudden or rapid influx of patients, such as during a public health emergency, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Prostate cancer: New computer model enables researchers to predict course of disease
How does a normal cell turn into a deadly cancer? Seeking an answer to this Question researchers from Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin examined the tumor genomes of nearly 300 prostate cancer patients. Their findings describe the ways in which changes in the prostate cells' genetic information pave the way for cancer development. Using a newly developed computer model, it is now possible to predict the course of the disease in individual patients. The results of this study were now published in Cancer Cell.

An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes -- while significantly reducing your electric bill and carbon footprint? Engineers at Rutgers and Oregon State University have found a cost-effective way to make thin, durable heating patches by using intense pulses of light to fuse tiny silver wires with polyester. Their heating performance is nearly 70 percent higher than similar patches created by other researchers, according to a study in Scientific Reports.

Inability to perform basic activities delays mental health patients' discharge
Mental health patients who have difficulty performing daily living tasks are four times more likely to experience discharge delays than someone who can perform those tasks independently.

Can stem cells help a diseased heart heal itself? Researcher achieves important milestone
A team of Rutgers scientists have taken an important step toward the goal of making diseased hearts heal themselves -- a new model that would reduce the need for bypass surgery, heart transplants or artificial pumping devices.

Research shows biases against immigrants with non-anglicized names
Using variations of the 'trolley-dilemma' where people choose who to save or not save others in a hypothetical situation, social psychologists show that for certain groups, under certain conditions in a hypothetical scenario, having an anglicized name means you're more likely to be saved than if you kept your original Asian or Arab name.

Lifestyle intervention helped breast cancer survivors lose weight
Survivors of early-stage breast cancer who participated in a lifestyle intervention on healthy habits lost weight and experienced higher rates of disease-free survival if they completed the program, according to results presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status
A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

Endothelial regenerative capacity and aging: Influence of diet, exercise and obesity
This review will discuss the effects of advancing age on endothelial health and vascular regenerative capacity, as well as the influence of diet, exercise, and obesity on these cells, the mechanistic links and the subsequent impact on cardiovascular health.

Stress in new mothers causes lasting health risks, depending on race, ethnicity, poverty
African-American women undergo more physical 'wear-and-tear' during the first year after giving birth than Latina and white women, a consequence that may have long-lasting health effects, according to a study of a diverse group of more than 2,400 low-income women. The study today (Friday, Dec. 14) in the week's American Journal of Perinatology involved women of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds who were interviewed and evaluated at five different clinical sites in the United States.

Medical scientists describe optimal immune therapeutic strategies for liver cancer
KAIST medical scientists have presented a novel pathways involving T immune cell exhaustion, providing evidence and rationale for designing optimal strategies for immune checkpoint blockades in cancer patients. They succeeded in distinguishing the hepatocellular carcinoma group from the exhausted tumor infiltrating immune cell composition of liver cancer patients.

Key to lifelong heart health is childhood intervention
Evolving evidence shows that heart healthy habits in adults are rooted in the environments we live in in early childhood, representing a window of opportunity in young children to focus on health promotion and potentially prevent disease in adulthood, according to a review paper published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

What social stress in monkeys can tell us about human health
A new University of Washington-led study examines one key stress-inducing circumstance -- the effects of social hierarchy -- and how cells respond to the hormones that are released in response to that stress.

Historical genomes reveal recent changes in genetic health of eastern gorillas
The critically endangered Grauer's gorilla has recently lost genetic diversity and has experienced an increase in harmful mutations. These conclusions were reached by an international team of researchers who sequenced eleven genomes from eastern gorilla specimens collected up to 100 years ago, and compared these with genomes from present-day individuals. The results are now published in Current Biology.

Online game trains players how to sort waste correctly
A simple online game can teach people to more accurately sort waste--with lasting results, a new UBC study has found. Study participants who played the game developed by UBC researchers received immediate feedback on their sorting choices. The second time they played--when feedback was no longer provided--players still improved their average accuracy from 69 per cent to 84 per cent. Even when a week passed between games, players still improved their accuracy.

Glutamate receptor affects the development of brain cells after birth
It had been previously assumed that this protein is only relevant in adults. But this is not the case.

Large-scale study identifies shared genetic architecture for polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosis
An international consortium of researchers identify genetic underpinnings associated with PCOS to understand and better diagnose it.

Mayo-led study: Drug reduces hot flashes, improves breast cancer survivor quality of life
Research led by oncologists Roberto Leon-Ferre, M.D. and Charles Loprinzi, M.D. of Mayo Clinic has found that the drug oxybutynin helps to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes in women who are unable to take hormone replacement therapy, including breast cancer survivors. These findings were presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

News releases about health, Earth science and social sciences make up EurekAlert!'s 2018 trending news list
Health news occupied six of the 10 most-viewed news releases on EurekAlert! in 2018. The most popular news release, 'Study: Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors,'' submitted by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health received 337,013 views.

New drug seeks receptors in sarcoma cells, attacks tumors in animal trials
A new compound that targets a receptor within sarcoma cancer cells shrank tumors and hampered their ability to spread in mice and pigs, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois reports. The researchers conducted a multi-year, cross-disciplinary study that went from screening potential drug candidates to identifying and synthesizing one compound, to packaging it into nanoparticles for delivery in cells, to testing it in cell cultures and finally in mice and pigs with sarcoma tumors.

Birth of a hybrid
Scientists from NUST MISIS and the Merzhanov Institute of Structural Macrokinetics & Materials Science have developed a new method for producing bulk MAX-phases -- layered materials which simultaneously possess the properties of metals and ceramics. By combining the methods of self-propagating high-temperature synthesis and high-temperature shear deformation, it was possible to obtain sufficiently large samples of mixed titanium and aluminum carbide, which in the future can be used as high-temperature heating elements.

The role of lipid nanoparticles and its surface modification in reaching the brain
Nanomedicine is a field of science that employs materials in the nanometer scale.Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are the most common disorders worldwide, becoming a serious economic burden and public health problem.In this review, we have highlighted the potential of lipid nanoparticles in reaching the brain, a challenging task in modern medicine.

Breaking down AGEs: Insight into how lifestyle drives ER-positive breast cancer
Consumption of processed foods high in sugar and fat increase levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Medical University of South Carolina researchers report that AGE levels are higher in patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive than ER-negative breast cancer. Addition of AGEs caused breast cancer cells, whose growth had previously been controlled by tamoxifen, to begin to grow again. This suggests that patients with high AGEs may be less likely to respond to tamoxifen treatment.

CAR-T cell update: Therapy improves outcomes for patients with B-cell lymphoma
An international phase-2 trial of a CAR-T cell therapy--to be published on-line Dec. 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine (and presented at the ASH annual meeting in San Diego)--found that 52 percent of patients responded favorably to the therapy; 40 percent had a complete response and 12 percent had a partial response. One year later, 65 percent percent of those patients were relapse-free, including 79 percent of complete responders. The median progression-free survival 'has not been reached.'

Drawing is better than writing for memory retention
Researchers from the University of Waterloo found that even if people weren't good at it, drawing, as a method to help retain new information, was better than re-writing notes, visualization exercises or passively looking at images.

Monitoring the environment with artificial intelligence
Microorganisms perform key functions in ecosystems and their diversity reflects the health of their environment. Researchers from UNIGE use genomic tools to sequence the DNA of microorganisms in samples, and then exploit this considerable amount of data with artificial intelligence. They build predictive models capable of establishing a diagnosis of the health of ecosystems and identify species that perform important functions. This new approach will significantly increase the observation capacity of large ecosystems.

Electronics of the future: A new energy-efficient mechanism using the Rashba effect
Scientists at Tokyo Tech proposed new quasi-1D materials for potential spintronic applications, an upcoming technology that exploits the spin of electrons. They performed simulations to demonstrate the spin properties of these materials and explained the mechanisms behind their behavior.

Vitamin C may reduce harm to infants' lungs caused by smoking during pregnancy
Vitamin C may reduce the harm done to lungs in infants born to mothers who smoke during their pregnancy, according to a randomized, controlled trial published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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