Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (December 2019)

Science news and science current events archive December, 2019.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from December 2019

Wind and water
Damaging rains from hurricanes can be more intense after winds begin to subside, say UC Santa Barbara scientists.

Historical look at US army suicides
Nearly 200 years of military records from 1819 to 2017 were used to examine suicide rates among active-duty personnel in the US Army in this observational study.

Living at the edges
The clustering of protected habitats in the Americas near international borders makes many iconic, wide-ranging animals physically dependent on good relations between neighboring countries and wildlife-friendly borders.

Smarter strategies
Though small and somewhat nondescript, quagga and zebra mussels pose a huge threat to local rivers, lakes and estuaries. Thanks to aggressive measures to prevent contamination, Santa Barbara County's waters have so far been clear of the invasive mollusks, but stewards of local waterways, reservoirs and water recreation areas remain vigilant to the possibility of infestation by these and other non-native organisms.

Combination therapy more effective than chemotherapy alone for many newly diagnosed leukemia patients
A Phase II study pairing azacitidine with enasidenib boosts complete remission in patients with AML with IDH2 mutations.

New expert findings seek to protect national parks from invasive animal species
'We value national parks for the natural habitats and wildlife they protect, but because of invasive species, some of our native species are struggling or unable to survive, even with the protection of our park system,' says Virginia Tech wildlife conservation expert Ashley Dayer.

A biology boost
Assistance during the first years of a biology major leads to higher retention of first-generation students.

Entrectinib effective, well-tolerated against ROS1 and NTRK lung cancers, especially with brain metastases
Pooled analysis of three phase 1 and 2 clinical trials show that the drug entrectinib is effective and well-tolerated against advanced ROS1 and NTRK fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC).

Scientists at the California Academy of Sciences describe 71 new species in 2019
From geckos to goblin spiders, flowering plants, and Mediterranean ants -- spanning five continents and three oceans -- these 71 new species described by Academy scientists grow Earth's tree of life.

Acupuncture reduces radiation-induced dry mouth for cancer patients
After receiving acupuncture treatment three days a week during the course of radiation treatment, head and neck cancer patients experienced less dry mouth, according to study results from researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Studies examine potential link between traffic-related air pollution and obesity in Mexican-Americans
Exposure to traffic pollution was associated with a higher risk of obesity in Mexican-American women, but not in men. The findings are published in Obesity.

First of its kind study seeks to answer whether effects of 'abortion pill' can be reversed
Women who initiate medical abortion but opt to stop in the middle of treatment may be at risk for serious blood loss, a UC Davis Health study finds. Researchers found this is true even for women who use an experimental treatment that claims to 'reverse' the effects of the abortion pill. The study, published today in Obstetrics and Gynecology, provides important insights into the safety of using high doses of progesterone during early pregnancy to try to stop a medical abortion.

Discovery of a new protein gives insight into a long-standing plant immunity mystery
''Our research suggests that Mai1 has a central role in immunity that likely can not be substituted by other proteins,'' according to first author Robyn Roberts. ''Not only does this work give us better insight into how plants defend themselves on the molecular level, but this work reveals a key protein that is broadly involved in immunity. It is possible that Mai1 could serve as a target for crop improvement in the future.''

Metalens grows up
Researchers have developed an all-glass, centimeter-scale metalens in the visible spectrum that can be manufactured using conventional chip fabrication methods

Computer game may help to predict reuse of opioids
A computer betting game can help predict the likelihood that someone recovering from opioid addiction will reuse the pain-relieving drugs, a new study shows.

Rats exchange information about danger in a reciprocal fashion
Rats exchange information about danger in a reciprocal fashion, and this information transfer is at least partially mediated by a brain region called the anterior cingulate cortex, according to a study published Dec. 5 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Christian Keysers of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues.

Cell phone injuries
Cell phones are mainstays of daily life. This observational study analyzed 20 years of data on people who went to emergency departments with head and neck injuries from cell phone use to estimate the number of injuries, learn what types of injuries there were, and understand how the injuries occurred, such as from distracted driving or walking.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission explains Bennu's mysterious particle events
Shortly after NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu, an unexpected discovery by the mission's science team revealed that the asteroid could be active, or consistently discharging particles into space.

Reducing risk in AI and machine learning-based medical technology
A key strength and potential benefit from most AI/ML technology is derived from its ability to evolve as the model learns in response to new data.

Prenatal and early life exposure to multiple air pollutants increases odds of toddler allergies
A new article in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows a significant association between multiple prenatal and early life exposures to indoor pollutants and the degree of allergic sensitivity in 2-year-olds.

Microwave treatment is an inexpensive way to clean heavy metals from treated sewage
A team of Florida State University researchers studying new methods to remove toxic heavy metals from biosolids -- the solid waste left over after sewage treatment -- found the key is a brief spin through a microwave.

Weight for it: Time-restricted eating benefits those at risk for diabetes, heart disease
Researchers from University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reported a form of intermittent fasting, called time-restricted eating, improved the health of study participants who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

Social media contributes to increased perception of food technology as risky business
Nowhere is this more evident than consumers' mistrust of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), despite assurances from the scientific community and food experts. Several studies covering this widespread risk perception of food technologies will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. at the 2019 Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

What does DNA's repair shop look like? New research identifies the tools
A team of scientists has identified how damaged DNA molecules are repaired inside the human genome, a discovery that offers new insights into how the body works to ensure its health and how it responds to diseases that stem from impaired DNA.

Carpentry Compiler helps woodworkers design objects that they can actually make
UW researchers have created Carpentry Compiler, a digital tool that allows users to design woodworking projects. Once a project is designed, the tool creates optimized fabrication instructions based on the materials and equipment a user has available.

SMART and NTU researchers design polymer that can kill drug-resistant bacteria
Researchers from Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed an antimicrobial polymer that can kill bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics - a discovery that can pave the way for developing antibiotics to which bacteria are significantly less resistant. The new beta-peptide polymer can combat superbugs like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and it also works against biofilm and persistent bacteria for which current antibiotics have proved ineffective.

Permanent hair dye and straighteners may increase breast cancer risk
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health found that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don't use these products. The study published online Dec. 4 in the International Journal of Cancer and suggests that breast cancer risk increased with more frequent use of these chemical hair products.

Emerging role of adenosine in brain disorders and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
The role of adenosine in neurodegeneration and neuroregeneration has led to growing attention on adenosine receptors as potential drug targets in a range of brain disorders, including neuroregenerative therapy and treatment for amyotrophyic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

NRL, NASA combine to produce sun imagery with unprecedented clarity
Early returns from the US Naval Research Laboratory's camera on NASA's latest mission to study the Sun's corona revealed on Dec. 4 a star more complex than ever imagined.

Animals that evolved in low-disturbance areas more 'sensitive' to modern disruption
Animal species that have evolved, and survived, in low-disturbance environments -- with little interruption from glaciation, fires, hurricanes, or anthropogenic clearing -- are more sensitive to modern forest fragmentation, report Matthew Betts and colleagues.

A self-cleaning surface that repels even the deadliest superbugs
A team of researchers at McMaster University has developed a self-cleaning surface that can repel all forms of bacteria, preventing the transfer of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and other dangerous bacteria in settings ranging from hospitals to kitchens.

Modulation of proliferation factors in lung adenocarcinoma with an analysis of the transcriptional consequences of genomic EGFR activation
Molecular subtypes based on copy number, DNA methylation, and mRNA expression had variable proliferation levels, the highest correlating with decreased survival.

Facial deformity in royal dynasty was linked to inbreeding, scientists confirm
The 'Habsburg jaw,' a facial condition of the Habsburg dynasty of Spanish and Austrian kings and their wives, can be attributed to inbreeding, according to new results published in the Annals of Human Biology.

Mapping the energy transport mechanism of chalcogenide perovskite for solar energy use
Researchers from Lehigh University have, for the first time, revealed first-hand knowledge about the fundamental energy carrier properties of chalcogenide perovskite CaZrSe3, important for potential solar energy use. They have published their findings in NPJ Computational Materials.

Developing a digital twin
In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. Researchers from The University of Texas and MIT, in collaboration with Akselos, and Aurora Flight Sciences, are developing 'digital twins' that combine computational models and machine learning to predict vehicle health and enable autonomous decision-making at the edge.

Scientists discover key neural circuit regulating alcohol consumption
Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, UNC-Chapel Hill research pinpoints a specific neural circuit that when altered caused animal models to drink less alcohol.

NASA-NOAA satellite finds development of tropical cyclone 06A
Imagery from NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite showed that a tropical depression in the Arabian Sea has consolidated and organized despite facing wind shear. Tropical Depression 06A is now Tropical Cyclone 06A.

A galactic dance
Galaxies lead a graceful existence on cosmic timescales. Over millions of years, they can engage in elaborate dances that produce some of Nature's most exquisite and striking grand designs. Few are as captivating as the galactic duo known as NGC 5394/5, sometimes nicknamed the Heron Galaxy.

Recruitment of miR-8080 by luteolin inhibits AR-V7 in castration-resistant prostate cancer
Patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) have a poor clinical response to drugs for CRPC, including enzalutamide. Recently, an mRNA splice variant of the androgen receptor (AR), called AR-V7, that lacks a functional ligand-binding domain has been highlighted as a major resistance mechanism in CRPC. This important study describes a novel mechanism for down-regulation of AR-V7 by miR-8080, which suppresses the tumor growth and enhances the therapeutic efficacy of enzalutamide in CRPC.

A solution for cleaning up PFAS, one of the world's most intractable pollutants
Colorado State University engineers have developed a treatment train for a PFAS compound called HFPO-Dimer Acid, also known by its trade name, GenX.

Researchers: Put a brake on bioenergy by 2050 to avoid negative climate impacts
A peer-reviewed assessment cautions that ramping up bioenergy projects requiring large stretches of land could send renewable energy sector down an unsustainable path.

Study finds association between poor diet, age-related macular degeneration
Participants who ate a diet high in red and processed meat, fried food, refined grains and high-fat dairy were three times more likely to develop late-stage age-related macular degeneration.

Ratcheting up NBA rookie salaries may incentivize athletes to finish college
In a paper for the 'International Journal of Sport Finance' Barbara Arel and Michael J. Tomas III, faculty in the business school at the University of Vermont, reimagined the NBA's rookie salary scale to redistribute pay in a way that compensates players for each year of college completed.

NASA tracking Tropical Storm 06A through Arabian Sea
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the Arabian Sea and captured a visible image of Tropical Storm 06A, now renamed Tropical Storm Pawan.

Salmonella the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks in the European Union
Nearly one in three foodborne outbreaks in the EU in 2018 were caused by Salmonella. This is one of the main findings of the annual report on trends and sources of zoonoses published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). West Nile virus and STEC infections were reported at unusually high levels.

Dramatic transition in Streptomyces life cycle explained in new discovery
Streptomyces bacteria are our primary source of antibiotics, which are produced in the transition from vegetative growth to sporulation in a complex developmental life cycle.

St. Michael's Hospital study examines the relationship between sugars and heart health
There's an assumption that sugars are all bad, but a study led by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital suggests that the impact of sugars on heart health depends on the dose and type of sugar consumed. Led by Dr. John Sievenpiper, the team conducted a review of previous studies investigating the association between reported intakes of sugars and heart disease. The team found that that sugars behave differently depending on the type, dose and food.

C. diff carriers are common source of infections in health facilities, study shows
Nearly one in 10 patients admitted to a New York hospital with no symptoms of diarrhea were found to be carriers of Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), suggesting infections originate outside the hospital setting more often than thought, according to a study published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Gulf Coast corals face catastrophe
Gulf of Mexico coral reefs may only be saved by a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions beyond those called for in the Paris Agreement, according to Rice University-led research.

Report discusses potential role of coffee in reducing risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
A new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) highlights the potential role of coffee consumption in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

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