Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (February 2018)

Science news and science current events archive February, 2018.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from February 2018

Special UV light safely kills airborne flu virus, finds study
Overhead far-UVC light, a type of ultraviolet light that is harmless to humans, effectively killed airborne flu virus, found researchers at Columbia University. The lighting may offer a new weapon against the spread of flu virus in public spaces.

Video games to improve mobility after a stroke
A joint research by the Basque research center BCBL and the London Imperial College reveals that, after a cerebral infarction, injuries in areas that control attention also cause motility problems. The authors propose to complement physiotherapy with another type of cognitive training, such as video games.

Improving drone performance in headwinds
Stability of unmanned aerial vehicles in heavy winds can be improved through rotor placement and angle, according to a team from Tohoku University and Kanazawa Institute of Technology.

Meet the 'odderon': Large Hadron Collider experiment shows potential evidence of quasiparticle sought for decades
A team of high-energy experimental particle physicists, including several from the University of Kansas, has uncovered possible evidence of a subatomic quasiparticle dubbed an

New research suggests toward end of Ice Age, human beings witnessed fires larger than dinosaur killers
12,800 years ago, thanks to fragments of a comet, humans saw an astonishing 10 percent of the Earth's land surface, or about 10 million square kilometers, consumed by fires.

MicroRNA could help treat cancer and asthma
MiR-223 shows promise for treating inflammatory disease.

An unbiased approach for sifting through big data
A new method could help researchers develop unbiased indicators for assessing complex systems such as population health.

Gene expression study may help guide Arthritis care
Researchers who analyzed gene expression in synovial tissue samples from rheumatoid arthritis patients' joints identified different patterns that may be clinically meaningful. The findings, which are published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, indicate that the mechanisms of pain differ in patients with different synovial subtypes of rheumatoid arthritis, and they may help guide clinicians as they develop optimal treatment strategies for patients.

In wine, there's health: Low levels of alcohol good for the brain
While a couple of glasses of wine can help clear the mind after a busy day, new research shows that it may actually help clean the mind as well. The new study, which appears in the journal Scientific Reports, shows that low levels of alcohol consumption tamp down inflammation and helps the brain clear away toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Enzyme plays a key role in calories burned both during obesity and dieting
Ever wonder why obese bodies burn less calories or why dieting often leads to a plateau in weight loss? In both cases the body is trying to defend its weight by regulating energy expenditure. In a paper publishing in Cell on Feb. 8, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers identify the enzyme TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) as a key player in the control of energy expenditure during both obesity and fasting.

Why bees soared and slime flopped as inspirations for systems engineering
Honeybees gathering nectar inspired an algorithm that eased the burden of host servers handling unpredictable traffic by about 25 percent. Nature can inspire some great engineering, but it can also lead to some flops. Take slime mold: Standard algorithms beat it hands down to model connectivity. AAAS annual meeting presentation by systems researcher Craig Tovey.

NASA leverages proven technologies to build agency's first planetary wind lidar
NASA scientists have found a way to adapt a handful of recently developed technologies to build a new instrument that could give them what they have yet to obtain: never-before-revealed details about the winds on Mars and ultimately Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

Huntington's disease provides new cancer weapon
Patients with Huntington's disease, a fatal genetic illness that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, have up to 80 percent less cancer than the general population. Scientists have discovered why Huntington's is so toxic to cancer cells and harnessed it for a novel approach to treat cancer, a new study reports.

Gene expression patterns may help determine time of death
International team of scientists led by Roderic Guigó at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona shows that changes in gene expression in different tissues can be used to predict the time of death of individuals. Their results, which are published in Nature Communications this week, may have implications for forensic analyses.

Scientists identify weight loss ripple effect
University of Connecticut researchers have found that when one member of a couple commits to losing weight, the chances are good their partner will lose some weight too, even if they are not actively participating in a weight loss intervention.

UNLV study finds no testosterone changes in esports gamers
Players of the competitive esports video game League of Legends showed no change in testosterone during game play, UNLV researchers have found.

Talking to doctors about your bucket list could help advance care planning
For physicians, asking patients about their bucket lists, or whether they have one, can encourage discussion about making their medical care fit their life plans, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Practical hair regeneration technology
Researchers have developed a method for the mass preparation of cellular aggregates, also known as 'hair follicle germs (HFGs)', that may lead to a new treatment for hair loss.

Clemson researchers blaze new ground in wireless energy generation
Researchers at the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute have developed a wireless energy source that generates electricity from simple mechanical motion, such as the waves in the ocean, the tap of a foot or the clap of a hand.

Trains, planes, automobiles and heart disease
Noise may disrupt the body on the cellular level in a way that increases the risk of common heart disease risk factors, according to a review topic published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that examined the underlying mechanisms that may lead to noise-induced heart disease. The review is in response to growing evidence connecting environmental noise, including from road traffic and aircrafts, to the development of heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, arterial hypertension, stroke and heart failure.

Investigators highlight potential of exercise in addressing substance abuse in teens
Exercise has numerous, well-documented health benefits. Could it also play a role in preventing and reducing substance misuse and abuse in adolescents? In a review article recently published in Birth Defects Research, researchers supply a rationale for the use of exercise, particularly assisted exercise, in the prevention and adjunctive treatment of substance-use disorders.

Opioid addiction treatment behind bars reduced post-incarceration overdose deaths in RI
A new study in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that treating people for opioid addiction in jails and prisons is a promising strategy to address high rates of overdose and opioid use disorder.

Nature, meet nurture
Is it nature or nurture that ultimately shapes an organism? A new study reveals a dramatic landscape of gene expression changes across all cell types in the mouse visual cortex after a sensory experience, many linked to neural connectivity and the brain's ability to rewire itself to learn and adapt.

Researchers develop new technology platform for cancer immunotherapy
Johns Hopkins scientists invent multifunctional antibody-ligand traps (Y-traps), a new class of cancer immunotherapeutics. They develop Y-traps comprising an antibody targeting an immune checkpoint (CTLA-4 or PD-L1) fused to a TGFβ trap. In humanized mouse models, these Y-traps reverse immune suppression and inhibit growth of tumors that do not respond to current immune checkpoint inhibitors.

How seafloor weathering drives the slow carbon cycle
A previously unknown connection between geological atmospheric carbon dioxide cycles and the fluctuating capacity of the ocean crust to store carbon dioxide has been uncovered by two geoscientists from the University of Sydney. Better understanding of the slow carbon cycle will help us predict to what extent the continents, oceans and ocean crust will take up the extra human-induced rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long run.

Low muscle strength identified as early risk factor for ALS
Low muscle strength during the later teen years has been identified as a risk factor for much later onset of the neurological disease known as ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A study at Sahlgrenska Academy published in the Journal of Neurology also links low blood counts at a young age to ALS.

Moffitt researchers identify new target to reduce risk of GVHD
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers are trying to identify new drug targets to reduce the risk of GVHD. Their new study, published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows a drug that targets the protein JAK2 may reduce the risk of GVHD.

Descriptive phrases for how often food should be eaten helps preschoolers better understand healthy eating
Preschool is a critical period for children to begin to make their own dietary decisions to develop life-long healthy eating habits. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that preschoolers who learned how to classify food as healthy or unhealthy were more likely to say they would choose healthy food as a snack.

Regular exercise halves complication rate after lung cancer surgery
Exercising regularly before surgery for lung cancer halves the complication rate afterwards, finds a synthesis of the available published evidence in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Artificial intelligence can diagnose and triage retinal diseases
In the February 22 issue of Cell, scientists describe a platform that uses big data and artificial intelligence not only to recognize two of the most common retinal diseases but also to rate their severity. It can also distinguish between bacterial and viral pneumonia in children based on chest X-ray images.

Study finds language, achievement benefits of universal early childhood education
A study of more than 60,000 children enrolled in Norway's universal early education system has found the program improves language skills and narrows achievement gaps, according to a team of researchers from the US and Norway, led by Boston College Professor of Education Eric Dearing.

Late-year change in income tax rate leads to billions in unexpected profits and losses
In a paper being published Feb. 5 in Tax Notes, professors from Indiana University and the University of Virginia report that Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this could result in unexpected drops in earnings for two thirds of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500, with a median drop of $100 million.

Hearing loss linked to poor nutrition in early childhood, study suggests
Young adults who were undernourished as preschool children were approximately twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss as their better- nourished peers, a new study suggests.

Therapy for muscular dystrophy-caused heart failure also improves muscle function in mice
Injections of cardiac progenitor cells help reverse the fatal heart disease caused by Duchenne muscular dystrophy and also lead to improved limb strength and movement ability, a new study shows. The study, published today in Stem Cell Reports, showed that when researchers injected cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) into the hearts of laboratory mice with muscular dystrophy, heart function improved along with a marked increase in exercise capacity.

Patients who achieve short-term weight loss before bariatric surgery have better outcomes
Patients who lose some excess weight prior to weight loss surgery achieve greater weight loss after surgery, and also experience shorter hospital stays and shorter procedures, according to Journal of American College of Surgeons study findings.

New tool helps physicians estimate survival for patients with cancers that have spread to bone
A simple three-factor tool can help doctors estimate survival time in patients with long bone metastases (LBMs) -- advanced cancer that has spread to the bones of the limbs, reports a study in the February 7, 2018, issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. The journal is published in partnership with Wolters Kluwer. Reliable survival estimates in these cases can help prevent overtreatment and undertreatment.

Socioecological network finds space for cattle, fish, and people in the big mountain west
The social and ecological systems of mountains and their river basins are best approached holistically when dealing with complex problems in natural resources management, say ecologists working with the Mountain Social Ecological Observatory Network (MntSEON). An open access special issue of ESA's journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on

New drug improves motor function of children with genetic disorder
Children with later-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) were more likely to show gains in motor function when treated with a new medication compared to children receiving a sham procedure, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study demonstrates the impact the drug, nusinersen, can have on older patients with this progressive neuromuscular disorder.

Family impact of congenital Zika syndrome likely to last a lifetime
The impact of congenital Zika syndrome on families will be substantial and will last a lifetime, given its severity and uncertainty about long-term outcomes for infants.

Researchers discover efficient and sustainable way to filter salt and metal ions from water
With two billion people worldwide lacking access to clean and safe drinking water, joint research by Monash University, CSIRO and the University of Texas at Austin published today in Sciences Advances may offer a breakthrough new solution.

Epilepsy study links mossy brain cells to seizures and memory loss
A small group of cells in the brain can have a big effect on seizures and memory in a mouse model of epilepsy. According to a new study in Science, loss of mossy cells may contribute to convulsive seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) as well as memory problems often experienced by people with the disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Research team uncovers hidden details in Picasso Blue Period painting
A partnership of the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Art has used multiple modes of light to uncover details hidden beneath the visible surface of Pablo Picasso's painting 'La Miséreuse accroupie', a major work from the artist's Blue Period. The researchers found images connected to other works by Picasso as well as a landscape -- likely by another Barcelona painter -- underneath Picasso's painting.

New link between gut bacteria and obesity
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have discovered a new link between gut bacteria and obesity. They found that certain amino acids in our blood can be connected to both obesity and the composition of the gut microbiome.

Back-and-forth exchanges boost children's brain response to language
MIT cognitive scientists have now found that conversation between an adult and a child appears to change the child's brain, and that this back-and-forth conversation is actually more critical to language development than the '30-million-word gap.'

Hunting is changing forests, but not as expected
In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous theoretical modeling studies predicted dire consequences to defaunation, this research suggests otherwise. Instead the data shows the effects on the ecosystem are less straightforward and less immediately devastating.

MSU-based scientists discovered a molecular timer based on stalling ribosomes
A molecular biologist from Lomonosov Moscow State University together with foreign colleagues discovered a special mechanism of protein synthesis regulation that they called a 'molecular timer'. It controls the number of protein molecules produced by a cell and prevents the generation of extra molecules. When activated with drugs, such a timer may help efficiently combat cancerous tumors.

New research on why GPs quit patient care
The research aimed to identify factors influencing GPs' decisions about whether or not to remain in direct patient care, and what might help to retain them in the role. Three reasons emerged: a sense that general practice based primary care was under-valued within the healthcare system; concerns regarding professional risk encountered in delivering care in an increasingly complex health environment; and finally, considerations about leaving or remaining in direct patient care and the options and choices that GPs felt were available to them.

Transforming patient health care and well-being through lighting
The world of health care is changing rapidly and there is increased interest in the role that light and lighting can play in improving health outcomes for patients and providing healthy work environments for staff, according to many researchers. Recently, the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, together with the Illumination Engineering Society (IES), sponsored a workshop to explore pathways to define and promote the adoption of lighting systems specifically for health-care environments.

Routine imaging scans may predict fracture risk in older adults
Routine body CT scans may help clinicians estimate an individual's risk of future osteoporotic fracture, according to new study results published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Obesity, other risks play large role in sudden cardiac arrest among the young
Obesity and other common cardiovascular risk factors may play a greater role in sudden cardiac arrest among younger people than previously recognized, underscoring the importance of earlier screening, a Cedars-Sinai study has found.

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