Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (February 2016)

Science news and science current events archive February, 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from February 2016

Home health care, post-acute care in a facility infrequent for hospitalized kids
Hospitalized children infrequently used home health care (HHC) and facility-based post-acute care (PAC) after they were discharged, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Results of first search for visible light associated with gravitational waves
The LIGO Virgo Collaboration has announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves, emitted by a merging pair of black holes. Catastrophic mergers of binary systems can also produce brilliant and explosive fireworks of light, so a team of astronomers, including at Harvard, sought evidence of such an visible afterglow. Although none was spotted, this work represents the first detailed search for a visible counterpart of a gravitational wave event. It also will serve as a model for similar event follow-up in the future.

The lowdown on sports nutrition supplements
Competitive athletes train hard, eat right and often turn to supplements to boost their performance. But do nutrition powders, pills and drinks really help? Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society looks at the science -- or lack thereof -- behind the sports nutrition market.

Slight change to antibacterial drug may improve TB treatments
Researchers with Vanderbilt University have discovered that one small chemical change to an existing antibacterial drug results in a compound that is more effective against its target enzyme in tuberculosis.

Progress toward an HIV cure highlighted in special issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
A cure for HIV/AIDS is the ultimate goal of rapidly advancing research involving diverse and innovative approaches. A comprehensive collection of articles describing the broad scope and current status of this global effort is published in a special issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

Harnessing the power of light to fight cancer
Immunotherapy is one of the hottest emerging areas of cancer research. Using the body's own cells to fight cancer can be more effective and less invasive than flooding the entire system with toxic chemicals. Yubin Zhou, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Center for Translational Cancer Research at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences & Technology, is studying how to use light to control the immune system and induce it to fight cancer.

Bowel obstruction more likely in certain hospitalized stroke patients
Being older patients, black and having pre-existing illnesses, such as cancer, increase the likelihood of bowel obstruction in hospitalized ischemic stroke patients, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016.

Penn Nursing study answers: What's a good breakfast for kids?
A team of researcher concluded that a breakfast high in protein -- like eggs -- keeps children fuller longer than cereal or oatmeal, causing them to eat fewer calories at lunch.

Explaining autism
Recognizing a need to better understand the biology that produces Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms, scientists at Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), Singapore, have teamed up and identified a novel mechanism that potentially links abnormal brain development to the cause of ASDs. This new knowledge will help to improve the diagnosis and development of therapeutic interventions for ASDs.

Scientists discover a unique mechanism for a high-risk leukemia
Researchers uncovered the aberrant mechanism underlying a notoriously treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia subtype; findings offer lessons for understanding all cancers.

Cutting prison sentences could reduce spread of HIV, study suggests
Reducing the number of men who go to prison could help curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in a community, according to research published in Social Science & Medicine.

Wholesome wholegrain
When it is a matter of health, whole grain has the X factor -- or rather the BX factor -- in the form of a certain group of bioactive compounds called benzoxazinoids, or BX. Scientists from Aarhus University have documented the uptake of these compounds in humans and their possible beneficial effect on the immune system.

Increased risk of bacterial infection if food is exposed to light
Listeria bacterium found in food, which can infect people and cause temporary gastro-intestinal distress, is a serious health risk for pregnant women and for people with compromised immune systems. According to a dissertation from UmeƄ University in Sweden, the bacterium, which sometimes causes the lethal illness listeriosis, reacts to light by activating defense mechanisms.

Fishing for answers about mercury consumption
A study lead by researchers from Rush University Medical Center has provided the first report on the relationship of brain concentrations of mercury to brain neuropathology and diseases associated with dementia. Study results were published in the Feb. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

American Chemical Society announces ACS Energy Letters
Researchers working on clean-energy technologies can now rapidly share their findings with the global scientific community in ACS Energy Letters, a new peer-reviewed journal from the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Prashant Kamat, Ph.D., who is a Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, will serve as the inaugural editor-in-chief.

Plant extract shows promise in treating pancreatic cancer
A natural extract derived from India's neem tree could potentially be used to treat pancreatic cancer, according to a new study in the journal Scientific Reports.

Basic science disappearing from medical journals, study finds
A new study has found a steep decline in the number of scholarly papers about basic science published in leading medical journals in the last 20 years.

Mark Rosin receives 2015 AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science
Mark Rosin, a physicist who has directly reached more than 15,000 members of the public through his playful and inventive public engagement events, has been chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to receive the 2015 Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.

A uniter and a divider
A USC-led study of moral values reveals issues related to purity can determine how close -- or how far -- we want to be with someone in social and political circles.

Heart attack patients with cardiogenic shock fair well 60 days post-discharge
Heart attack patients who experience cardiogenic shock have a higher risk of death or rehospitalization than non-shock patients in the first 60 days post-discharge, but by the end of the first year, the gap between the two groups narrows, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Nanoparticle reduces targeted cancer drug's toxicity
In one of the first efforts to date to apply nanotechnology to targeted cancer therapeutics, researchers have created a nanoparticle formulation of a cancer drug that is both effective and nontoxic -- qualities harder to achieve with the free drug.

Millennials say one thing but do another when choosing chocolate, study finds
Despite strong preferences for ethical chocolate in focus groups, only 14 percent of millennials in individual choice studies selected candy with ethical or social factors labeling, according to a Kansas State University study. In addition, a majority of millennials also prefer chocolate with clean labeling.

Phantom cell phone signals -- who hears them and why?
If you think you hear your cell phone ringing or feel it vibrating to signal an incoming call or message, but there actually is none, you may have 'ringxiety' and be psychologically primed to detect such signals. Insecurity in interpersonal relationships, manifested as attachment anxiety, increases the likelihood of having phantom cell phone experiences, according to a new study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Elsevier announces the launch of Surfaces and Interfaces
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, announces the launch of a new quarterly journal: Surfaces and Interfaces. Adding to Elsevier's expanding Physics portfolio, Surfaces and Interfaces will publish research papers in all fields of surface science. The journal focuses on research papers which may not always find the right home on first submission to its sister journals, Applied Surface Science, Surface and Coatings Technology and Thin Solid Films.

NASA catches Tropical Cyclone Uriah nearing peak
NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Uriah early on Feb 17 when the storm was nearing peak intensity and showed a powerful storm with an eye wide open. Earlier, NASA's GPM core satellite found heavy rainfall occurring south of the intensifying storm's center.

Radical CO2 removal projects could be a risky business
Radical ways of removing CO2 from the atmosphere could prove to be a risky business -- according to an environmental scientist at the University of East Anglia. Techniques put forward include growing crops to be burned in power stations, large-scale tree plantations, adding biochar to soil and using chemicals to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. But most, if not all, of these methods pose environmental risks.

Treatments that reduce knee buckling may help prevent falls in older adults
Symptoms of knee instability in older adults may indicate an increased risk of falling and of experiencing the various physical and psychological effects that can result from falling, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Oldest footprints in Catalonia
Researchers from the UAB, the Miquel Crusafont Catalan Institute of Palaeontology (ICP), and the Jaume Almera Institute of Earth Sciences (CSIC), working in the Manyanet Valley (Lleida), have identified various tracks made by tetrapods between 280 and 290 million years ago, which makes them the most ancient fossil footprints in Catalonia. They correspond to different groups of primitive reptiles and amphibians, among which are synapsids, the group that would later give rise to the mammals.

Gastric bypass surgery at ages older than 35 years associated with improved survival
Lance E. Davidson, Ph.D., of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, and colleagues examined whether gastric bypass surgery is equally effective in reducing mortality in groups undergoing surgery at different ages. The study was published online by JAMA Surgery.

Temperature changes wreak ecological havoc in deforested areas, CU-Boulder study finds
The newly-exposed edges of deforested areas are highly susceptible to drastic temperature changes, leading to hotter, drier and more variable conditions for the forest that remains, according to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Save the date: The International Liver Congress 2016
The International Liver Congress is the flagship, multi-disciplinary scientific event of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, which is attended by in excess of 10,000 delegates from around the world every year. Our aim is to showcase the latest advances in hepatology and unveil a wide variety of new, innovative data to improve the management of liver disease.

'Molecular movie' opens door to new cancer treatments
An international team of scientists led by the University of Liverpool has produced a 'structural movie' revealing the step-by-step creation of an important naturally occurring chemical in the body that plays a role in some cancers.

Person-centered app helps women with breast cancer
The face-to-face meetings between the patient and the care provider might be successfully complemented with person-centered e-support. A preliminary evaluation of breast cancer patients shows that a newly developed app can assist women undergoing treatment for breast cancer in handling symptoms and side effects and provide support.

Stanford-led study underscores huge gap between rich, poor in global surgery
The number of surgeries performed worldwide has grown steadily, particularly in the developing world, yet there remains an enormous gap in surgical care between rich and poor nations, according to a new study led by a Stanford University School of Medicine researcher.

Immunity gene fusions uncovered in plants
Dr. Ksenia Krasileva, Group Leader at The Genome Analysis Centre and Fellow at the Sainsbury Laboratory in collaboration with her TSL colleagues, Professor Jonathan Jones and Dr. Panagiotis Sarris, have surveyed immune genes across flowering plants to uncover the molecular 'traps' that plants use to detect pathogens.

Two Johns Hopkins researchers win Presidential Early Career Awards
Namandje Bumpus, Ph.D., and Jordan Green, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are among 105 winners of Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, which were announced by the White House on Feb. 18. The awards recognize young researchers who are employed or funded by federal agencies 'whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America's pre-eminence in science and engineering,' according to a White House statement.

When food alters gene function
In a new study on mice reported in Diabetes, scientists of the German Center for Diabetes Research led by Andreas Pfeiffer of the German Institute of Human Nutrition showed that the maternal diet influences fat and glucose metabolism of offspring through epigenetic alterations.

Blood test could transform tuberculosis diagnosis, treatment in developing countries
A simple blood test that can accurately diagnose active tuberculosis could make it easier and cheaper to control a disease that kills 1.5 million people every year.

Seafood consumption may play a role in reducing risk for Alzheimer's
New research published Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older adults with a major risk gene for Alzheimer's disease known as APOE?4 who ate at least one seafood serving per week showed fewer signs of Alzheimer's-related brain changes. In contrast, this association was not found in the brains of volunteers who ate fish weekly but did not carry the risk gene.

UT Dallas study: WikiLeaks list did not lead to attacks
The WikiLeaks organization was criticized for providing a target list for terrorists when it published a secret memo in 2010 with 200 international sites that the US Department of State considered critical to national security. Was there any truth to that claim?

Readmission rates at children's hospitals influenced by patients' characteristics
A team of researchers from children's hospitals across the country, including a University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty member, found that hospitals serving children may face financial penalties for patient readmissions due to factors beyond the control of the hospital.

CRISPR/Cas9 therapeutic for tyrosinemai type I delivered to mice
A more efficient delivery of a CRISPR/Cas9 therapeutic to adult mice with the metabolic disease Tyrosinemia type I developed by researchers at UMass Medical School may also prove to be safer for use in humans. A study published in Nature Biotechnology shows that the treatment, delivered by viral vector and lipid nanoparticle, led to correction of the mutated gene that causes the rare liver disorder in 6 percent of liver cells -- enough to effectively cure the disease in mice.

Technique helps predict likelihood of migraines in concussion patients
Researchers are using a mathematical tool to help determine which concussion patients will go on to suffer migraine headaches, according to a new study.

Prostate cancer survivors' risk of heart disease studied
Vanderbilt's Cardio-oncology program is focusing on modulating the risk factors for cardiovascular disease in men, especially those receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to treat their prostate cancer.

Museum samples of extinct butterfly populations show how populations rise and fall
Fragmentation of habitat affects the evolution of butterfly movement and makes them better adapted to a changing environment. However, if too much habitat is lost the evolutionary change is not sufficient to rescue the species from extinction.

Diet soda and fries, please
New research aims to untangle the apparent disconnect between stated health concerns and actual food purchases.

DNA 'Trojan horse' smuggles drugs into resistant cancer cells
Drug-resistant leukemia cells absorb a drug and die, when the drug is hidden inside a capsule made of folded up DNA.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 2016
Batteries for grid, stationary uses get a boost with new technology; ORNL hosting neuromorphic computing workshop; ORNL part of team developing cleaner biomass cookstove; ORNL has key role in Critical Materials Institute work; Study of nanocrystal growth key to developing new materials; and US coastal populations face potential risks with climate change.

NOAA, partners: Testing detects algal toxins in Alaska marine mammals
Toxins from harmful algae are present in Alaskan marine food webs in high enough concentrations to be detected in marine mammals such as whales, walruses, sea lions, seals, porpoises and sea otters, according to new research from NOAA and its federal, state, local and academic partners.

U-M researchers leading effort to explain recent howler monkey deaths in Nicaragua
Two University of Michigan-based scientists are leading an effort to explain the recent deaths of at least 75 howler monkeys living in the tropical forests of southwestern Nicaragua. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to