Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (February 2017)

Science news and science current events archive February, 2017.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from February 2017

Body dysmorphic disorder may be under-diagnosed in patients seeking cosmetic procedures
Plastic surgeons and other cosmetic professionals are familiar with the challenges posed by patients with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) seeking cosmetic procedures, reports a survey study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

ADA funds Kostic Lab to create model linking the microbiome to type 1 diabetes
The ADA has awarded Aleksandar Kostic Ph.D. $1.625 million for the development of a novel experimental system designed to improve our understanding about how bacteria in the gut (the gut 'microbiome') may contribute to the autoimmune attack that leads to type 1 diabetes.

Scientists isolate new antibodies to fight human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Researchers from VIB, UGent, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and several collaborators developed a new antiviral strategy to fight human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children. The approach hinges on the use of single-domain antibodies, also known as Nanobodies®, which target and neutralize a vital protein in the virus, rendering it unable to enter lung cells.

Sorting out risk genes for brain development disorders
Gene discovery research is uncovering similarities and differences underlying a variety of disorders affecting the developing brain, including autism, attention deficits, tics, intellectual impairments, developmental delays and language difficulties. Researchers found some genes are more closely associated with autism and others with intellectual impairments, but many times there is overlap, indicating some genes pose broader risks. Certain genes were detected only in males with high-functioning autism.

Penn engineers overcome a hurdle in growing a revolutionary optical metamaterial
Engineers in UPenn's School of Engineering and Applied Science produced an elusive diamond crystal structure that could revolutionize photonics. This put them on the path to achieving a material that is the 'holy grail of directed particle self-assembly.' Such materials could be used to make lenses, cameras and microscopes with better performance, or possibly even 'invisibility cloaks,' solid objects that would redirect all light rays around a central compartment, rendering objects there invisible.

USC computer scientist to explain socially intelligent robots on Feb. 17
A University of Southern California computer scientist will present her research on socially assistive robots on Friday, Feb. 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston. These robots are designed to improve the life span health of stroke patients, children with autism and people with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

Preterm delivery linked to greater risk of cardiovascular disease later in life
Investigators found women who have delivered prematurely before 37 weeks have a 40 percent increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease when compared to women who delivered their babies after 37 weeks. Women who delivered earlier, before 32 weeks, had double the risk of CVD.

Subsea mining moves closer to shore
Mining in the deep sea is technically very challenging and at present not economically feasible. However, deposits in coastal areas beneath the shallow, more accessible continental shelf could help to meet the growing demand for mineral resources. This is the conclusion of a group of researchers from GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel in a contribution in the internationally renowned magazine Nature Geoscience.

Princeton-Intel collaboration breaks new ground in studies of the brain
Princeton University and Intel researchers have collaborated to develop software that allows for 'decoding digital brain data' to reveal how neural activity gives rise to learning, memory and other cognitive functions. The software can be used in real time during an fMRI brain scan.

A new spin on electronics
Modern computer technology is based on the transport of electric charge in semiconductors. But this technology's potential will be reaching its limits in the near future, since the components deployed cannot be miniaturized further. But, there is another option: using an electron's spin, instead of its charge, to transmit information. A team of scientists from Munich and Kyoto is now demonstrating how this works.

Genetically modified insects could disrupt international food trade
Genetically modified organisms for pest control could end up as contaminants in agricultural products throughout the globe.

Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil may boost 'good' cholesterol
A Mediterranean diet, particularly when enriched with virgin olive oil, appears to improve the function of high-density lipoprotein, the so-called good cholesterol, in patients at high risk for heart disease. A Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil may help the body remove excess cholesterol from arteries, serve as an antioxidant and keep blood vessels open -- all of which are known to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Fasting-mimicking diet may reverse diabetes
In a study on mice and another study on human pancreatic cells, researchers discover that a scientifically designed fasting diet can trigger the generation of new pancreatic cells to replace dysfunctional ones and stabilize blood glucose.

Gold standard monitoring of HCC in patients with cirrhosis is cost-effective
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the leading cause of death in patients with cirrhosis. A new analysis indicates that following screening guidelines for HCC in cirrhotic patients is lifesaving and cost-effective compared with 'real life' monitoring.

Tumor suppressor promotes some acute myeloid leukemias, study reveals
Researchers in Germany have discovered that a tumor suppressor protein thought to prevent acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can actually promote a particularly deadly form of the disease. The study, 'RUNX1 cooperates with FLT3-ITD to induce leukemia,' which will be published online Feb. 17 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that targeting this protein could be an effective treatment for certain AML patients.

NASA's SnowEx challenges the sensing techniques...'until they break'
A NASA-led team will kick off an ambitious airborne campaign to determine which combination of sensors would work best at collecting global snow-water measurements from space -- critical for understanding and managing the world's freshwater resources. Scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., are providing technology to the mission.

LemurFaceID: Using facial recognition software to identify lemurs
A team of lemur biologists and computer scientists has modified human facial recognition methods to develop a semi-automated system that can identify individual lemurs. The new technology, dubbed LemurFaceID, is reported this week in the open-access journal BMC Zoology.

FASEB Science Research Conference: Mitochondrial Biogenesis
The central role of mitochondria in normal cell physiology is evident from human diseases, including metabolic disorders and aging, which are associated with changes in mitochondrial function.

People with epilepsy: Tell us about rare risk of death
People with epilepsy want their health care providers to tell them about a rare risk of death associated with the disorder, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.

Newfound primate teeth take a big bite out of the evolutionary tree of life
Fossil hunters have found part of an ancient primate jawbone related to lemurs -- the primitive primate group distantly connected to monkeys, apes and humans, a USC researcher said. Scientists named the new species Ramadapis sahnii and said that it existed 11 to 14 million years ago. It is a member of the ancient Sivaladapidae primate family, consumed leaves and was about the size of a house cat.

UH research finds evidence of 2 billion years of volcanic activity on Mars
Analysis of a Martian meteorite found in Africa in 2012 has uncovered evidence of at least 2 billion years of volcanic activity on Mars. This confirms that some of the longest-lived volcanoes in the solar system may be found on the Red Planet.

'Mirror game' test could secure early detection of schizophrenia, study shows
A pioneering new study, led by experts from the University of Exeter in collaboration with partners from the Alterego FP7 EU project, has developed a new, 'mirror game' test using computer avatars to accurately detect specific variations in how patients move and interact socially -- well-documented characteristics of the mental disorder.

Widely accepted vision for agriculture may be inaccurate, misleading
'Food production must double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population.' This truism has been repeated so often in recent years that it has become widely accepted among academics, policymakers and farmers, but now researchers are challenging this assertion and suggesting a new vision for the future of agriculture.

Radiocarbon dating and DNA show ancient Puebloan leadership in the maternal line
Discovering who was a leader, or even if leaders existed, from the ruins of archaeological sites is difficult, but now a team of archaeologists and biological anthropologists, using a powerful combination of radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA, have shown that a matrilineal dynasty likely ruled Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico for more than 300 years.

Septic shock surveillance should be based on clinical data, not billing codes
Tracking sepsis rates and outcomes is challenging because it is a heterogeneous syndrome without a definitive 'gold standard' test. In the February issue of CHEST, investigators compared the effectiveness of claims-based surveillance using ICD-9 codes with clinical-based data and specific diagnostic parameters. Their findings suggest that surveillance based on clinical criteria is a more reliable way to track cases of septic shock.

Parkinson's disease may have link to stroke
Parkinson's disease may be linked to stroke, much like Alzheimer's disease and stroke are linked.

Researchers study care for undocumented immigrants with kidney failure
By failing to provide scheduled dialysis treatments to undocumented immigrants with kidney failure, states pay higher costs for care and the patients face greater pain and psychological distress, according to a new study appearing in the latest issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Antibiotics used to treat cystic fibrosis increases risk of permanent hearing loss
A powerful class of antibiotics provides life-saving relief for people with cystic fibrosis; however, a new study for the first time reveals the levels at which high cumulative dosages over time significantly increases the risk of permanent hearing loss in these patients. The study suggests physicians who treat patients with cystic fibrosis may be able to consider alternative strategies for treating the symptoms of respiratory infections associated with CF.

In enemy garb
Biologists expand on more than 150 years of textbook wisdom with a new explanation for wasp mimicry.

Eclipse 2017: NASA supports a unique opportunity for science in the shadow
The first total solar eclipse in the continental United States in nearly 40 years takes place on Aug. 21, 2017. Beyond providing a brilliant sight in the daytime sky, total solar eclipses provide a rare chance for scientists to collect data only available during eclipses. NASA is funding 11 scientific studies that will take advantage of this opportunity.

Number of children emerging as cardiovascular risk factor for both parents
Number of children is emerging as a novel factor that influences the risk for some cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and in some societies in both parents, according to Professor Vera Regitz-Zagrosek, chairperson of the European Society of Cardiology 'management of CVD During Pregnancy' guidelines task force.

Exceptional reproductive biology in extremely restricted critically endangered Nimba toad
The critically endangered Nimba toad is long known for its exceptional reproductive biology. The females of this unique species give live birth to fully developed juveniles, having for nine months continuously provided nutrition to the fetuses in the womb. However, more than 40 years of research had not been comprehensively, accessibly and completely summarized. The gap has recently been filled by a paper, published in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

Could community-based 'Change Clubs' improve heart health in black women?
A new study suggests that civic engagement, in the form of community-based 'Change Clubs,' engages black/African-American women to address nutrition and exercise concerns in their community and motivates them to change their individual behaviors, which may improve heart health.

With stringent oversight, heritable human genome editing could be allowed
Clinical trials for genome editing of the human germline -- adding, removing, or replacing DNA base pairs in gametes or early embryos -- could be permitted in the future, but only for serious conditions under stringent oversight, says a new report from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

As radiation therapy declined so did second cancers in childhood cancer survivors
Childhood cancer survivors are living longer. Now research shows they are also less likely to develop second cancers while still young. The decline followed a sharp drop in the use of radiation therapy for treatment of childhood cancers.

Metamaterial: Mail armor inspires physicists
The Middle Ages certainly were far from being science-friendly: Whoever looked for new findings off the beaten track faced the threat of being burned at the stake. Hence, the contribution of this era to technical progress is deemed to be rather small. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), however, were inspired by medieval mail armor when producing a new metamaterial with novel properties. They succeeded in reversing the Hall coefficient of a material.

Honey bee genetics sheds light on bee origins
Where do honey bees come from? A new study from researchers at UC Davis and UC Berkeley clears some of the fog around honey bee origins. The work could be useful in breeding bees resistant to disease or pesticides.

Where are the whales off the West Coast?
A free webinar for the shipping industry, fishing community and others interested in a new system that reveals where ships are most likely to encounter high densities of blue whales off the West Coast. The project funded by NASA and NOAA produces monthly maps of anticipated blue whale densities based on ocean conditions, which are regularly posted on NOAA Fisheries' West Coast Region website. The information is designed to help vessel crews and fishermen reduce the risk of ship strikes and entanglements.

Springer Healthcare launches Medicine Matters, a new medical education website
Springer Healthcare launches Medicine Matters, a new medical education website. The content-rich portal will provide physicians and healthcare professionals with a reliable, free source of medical education, designed to promote best clinical practice and improved health outcomes. The website currently focuses on the latest advances in diabetes medicine at diabetes.medicinematters.com. The global rollout plan includes local language-supported content within new websites for oncology, cardiology, rheumatology, and CNS.

Calcified plaque raises heart disease risk for young adults
A major report led by Vanderbilt investigators found that the mere presence of even a small amount of calcified coronary plaque, more commonly referred to as coronary artery calcium (CAC), in people under age 50 -- even small amounts -- was strongly associated with increased risk of developing clinical coronary heart disease over the ensuing decade.

An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
A tiny snail may offer an alternative to opioids for pain relief. Scientists at the University of Utah have found a compound that blocks pain by targeting a pathway not associated with opioids. Research in rodents indicates that the benefits continue long after the compound have cleared the body.

JBJS, Inc., NEJM Group, and Area9 collaborate on adaptive learning in orthopaedics
Using research-proven, state-of-the-art adaptive learning technology developed by Area9 and employed by NEJM Knowledge+, JBJS Clinical Classroom will provide orthopaedic surgeons with a personalized learning experience at any stage in their career.

Miniature organisms in the sand play big role in our ocean
In the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Jeroen Ingels, a researcher at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory, explains that small organisms called meiofauna that live in the sediment provide essential services to human life such as food production and nutrient cycling.

Unearthing immune responses to common drugs
Australian researchers are a step closer to understanding immune sensitivities to well-known, and commonly prescribed, medications.

Bristol and BT collaborate on massive MIMO trials for 5G wireless
The quest for highly efficient 5G wireless connectivity has been given a boost thanks to a collaboration between a team of 5G engineers from the Universities of Bristol and Lund, National Instruments (NI), and BT, one of the world's leading providers of communications services.

Baltic hunter-gatherers began farming without influence of migration, ancient DNA suggests
Ancient DNA analyses show that -- unlike elsewhere in Europe -- farmers from the Near East did not overtake hunter-gatherer populations in the Baltic. This research suggests the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family originated in the Steppe grasslands of the East.

Stanford scientists develop 'lab on a chip' that costs 1 cent to make
Microfluidics, electronics and inkjet technology underlie a newly developed all-in-one biochip from Stanford that can analyze cells for research and clinical applications.

Endurance training may have a protective effect on the heart
Findings published in Experimental Physiology suggest that exercise could be just as important for your heart heath as cholesterol and a healthy diet.

Coming soon: Oil spill-mapping swarms of flying drones
Partly inspired by the dynamics of a flock of birds, engineers devised a computational method for drones to quickly record whether they are over water, oil or the edge of the spill. This simple information is shared with the other drones in the swarm, as opposed to sharing actual images or video, which would require too much bandwidth.

ORC as Loader of the Rings
An international collaboration of life scientists, including experts at Van Andel Research Institute, has described in exquisite detail the critical first steps of DNA replication, which allows cells to divide and most advanced life, including human, to propagate.

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