Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (January 2016)

Science news and science current events archive January, 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from January 2016

Calculating whiskers send precise information to the brain
In research recently published in Nature Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute scientists found that for rats, which use their whiskers to feel out their surroundings at night, clumps of nerve endings called mechanoreceptors located at the base of each whisker act as tiny calculators.

Funding received to develop device to help save the lives of new mothers worldwide
Professor of International Maternal Health Andrew Weeks from the Institute of Translational medicine has been awarded £850,000 to further develop an award-winning device that could save the lives of women all over the world.

DNA 'building blocks' pave the way for improved drug delivery
DNA has been used as a 'molecular building block' to construct synthetic bio-inspired pores which will improve the way drugs are delivered and help advance the field of synthetic biology, according to scientists from UCL and Nanion Technologies.

Sensing the future of molecule detection and bioproduction
A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School (HMS) led by George Church, Ph.D., has developed a new method for engineering a broad range of biosensors to detect and signal virtually any desired molecule using living eukaryotic cells. Church, who is a Wyss Core Faculty member and the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at HMS, and his team reported their findings in the journal eLife.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Ula's eye closing
NASA satellite imagery showed that Tropical Cyclone Ula's eye appeared to be 'closing' as clouds began filling it. Meanwhile New Caledonia remained on alert as the powerful storm continued moving away.

High levels of urate in blood associated with lower risk of Parkinson's disease
Men who have high levels of urate, also known as uric acid, in their blood may be less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the Jan. 13, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Louisiana Tech University engineering professor receives state professionalism award
Dr. Beth Hegab, lecturer for industrial engineering and program coordinator for engineering and technology management at Louisiana Tech University, has received the 2016 Engineering Faculty Professionalism Award from the Louisiana Engineering Foundation.

Couples' quality of life linked even when one partner dies
When one spouse passes away, his or her characteristics continue to be linked with the surviving spouse's well-being, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings also indicate that this link between the deceased spouse and surviving spouse is as strong as that between partners who are both living.

RAND survey shows that voters see little difference between candidates on ideology
Although much has been written about the differences between 'establishment' and 'outsider' candidates in the US presidential election, voters don't see each party's candidates as very ideologically different, according to the new RAND Presidential Election Panel Survey.

Study finds toxic pollutants in fish across the world's oceans
A new global analysis of seafood found that fish populations throughout the world's oceans are contaminated with industrial and agricultural pollutants, collectively known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The study from researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego also uncovered some good news?concentrations of these pollutants have been consistently dropping over the last 30 years.

Forest corridors prove critical to biodiversity and pollination success in the tropics
As tropical forests become increasingly broken up by roads, farm fields, pastures and other developments, corridors of trees provide vital pathways for pollinators and contribute to a rich diversity of plant species, scientists have confirmed.

Remembering past events might take place quicker than we thought, research shows
Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience has shown that retrieving memories of events from our past may take place quicker than we previously thought -- and it is possible to interfere with that process.

Comparison of smoking cessation therapies finds similar quit rates
Among adults motivated to quit smoking, 12 weeks of treatment with a nicotine patch, the drug varenicline, or combination nicotine replacement therapy produced no significant differences in confirmed rates of smoking abstinence at 26 or 52 weeks, raising questions about the current relative effectiveness of intense smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, according to a study in the Jan. 26 issue of JAMA.

CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center advances combination immunotherapy clinical trial
Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) in Goodyear, Arizona, has announced the launch of Phase II of the NivoPlus clinical trial, which combines the immunotherapeutic agent nivolumab with chemotherapy drugs irinotecan and capecitabine. The use of nivolumab is considered investigational in this study. The NivoPlus clinical trial aims to enlist as many as 49 patients.

Sugar-based carbon hollow spheres that mimic moth eyes
Researchers from Research Institute for Nuclear Problems of Belarusian State University in Belarus and Institut Jean Lamour-Université de Lorraine in France have developed a novel, low-cost, ultra-lightweight material that could be used as an effective anti-reflective surface for microwave radiation based on the eyes of moths.

How to detect and preserve human stem cells in the lab
Human stem cells that are capable of becoming any other kind of cell in the body have previously only been acquired and cultivated with difficulty. Scientists at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association have now presented details of a method to detect such pluripotent cells in a cell culture and preserve them in the laboratory.

Study finds high melt rates on Antarctica's most stable ice shelf
A new Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego-led study measured a melt rate that is 25 times higher than expected on one part of the Ross Ice Shelf. The study suggests that high, localized melt rates such as this one on Antarctica's largest and most stable ice shelf are normal and keep Antarctica's ice sheets in balance.

Antibodies may provide 'silver bullet' for Ebola viruses
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB) reported today in the journal Cell that they have isolated human monoclonal antibodies from Ebola survivors which can neutralize multiple species of the virus.

New report provides conservation, management strategies for yellow-cedar in Alaska
The US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station today released a new report that outlines a climate adaptation strategy for yellow-cedar in Alaska. The report, A Climate Adaptation Strategy for Conservation and Management of Yellow-Cedar in Alaska, is the first to provide a comprehensive science-based approach for managing the species in the face of climate change in the state of Alaska, where some populations of the tree have been declining over the past century.

Biggest database for cancer drug discovery goes 3-D
The world's largest database for cancer drug discovery has been revolutionized by adding 3-D structures of faulty proteins and maps of cancer's communication networks, according to Cancer Research UK-funded research published in Nucleic Acid Research today (Monday).

Sugar in western diets increases risk for breast cancer tumors and metastasis
The high amounts of dietary sugar in the typical western diet may increase the risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs, according to a study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Miriam Hospital, R.I. Community Food Bank study dispels belief healthy diets are costly
Research conducted by The Miriam Hospital and The Rhode Island Community Food Bank demonstrated that -- contrary to popular belief -- healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables are affordable.

Dramatic decline in complaints by imprisoned transgender patients after staff LGBT training
A new study of the quality of healthcare provided to transgender patients in the New York City correctional system revealed significant areas for improvement and reported a greater than 50 percent decrease in patient complaints after the healthcare staff at 12 jail clinics received Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) training.

Study provides insights on sources of environmental contamination following Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
Four years after Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster that led to major releases of radioactivity to environment, questions still remain regarding the original sources of radioactive contamination.

Cherokee Nation and Stephenson Cancer Center collaborative addresses impact of tobacco use
Cancer disparities continue to impact Oklahoma disproportionately as a direct result of continued tobacco use. With two, four-year grants totaling $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health, a University of Oklahoma-led collaborative with the Cherokee Nation is addressing tobacco-related cancer disparities through a program of research, training and education for American Indian students and investigators.

Editorial expression of concern for paper by Gugliotti et al.
The report 'RNA-Mediated Metal-Metal Bond Formation in the Synthesis of Hexagonal Palladium Nanoparticles' by Lina A. Gugliotti et al. published online in the May 7, 2004, issue of Science reported using a complex mix of RNA and water to create crystals of palladium.

NASA: Understanding the magnetic sun
Scientists have turned to a combination of real time observations and computer simulations to best analyze how material courses through the corona.

Genetic study provides first-ever insight into biological origin of schizophrenia
A landmark study, based on genetic analysis of nearly 65,000 people, has revealed that a person's risk of schizophrenia is increased if they inherit specific variants in a gene related to

Long-term study shows impact of humans on land
Humans have been working the land to sustain our lives for millennia. This has created socio-ecological systems and landscapes that are a product of both human actions and natural forces. Now researchers from Arizona State University are reporting on a 10-year project that studies the long-term effects humans have had on the land. Their research has led to some surprising reasons why communities survive or fail.

VTT's robot innovation automates short production runs
The quick-control system developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd slashes substantially the programming time for industrial robots, enabling the use of automation also in short production runs of single-item products.

This plant sucks! (But how?)
The bladderwort has a trap faster than the blink of an eye. It uses powerful suction to snatch its prey. A recently published review is helping reveal exactly how a plant can suck so much.

NASA investigates Tropical Storm Pali's temperatures, winds
The Central Pacific Ocean's out-of-season tropical depression has strengthened into a tropical storm and has been renamed Pali. NASA's RapidScat instrument and Terra satellite gathered wind and temperature data on the unusual storm far to the southwest of Hawaii.

Press registration open for Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting in New York, April 2-5
Join us in the Big Apple to explore the underlying nature of how we think! Press registration is now open for the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual conference, April 2-5, 2016, in New York City, at the New York Hilton Midtown. Get great story ideas and connect with more than 1,500 neuroscientists. See the latest cognitive neuroscience research in aging, memory, language, attention, and learning.

Family preferences on quality end-of-life care
Among family members of older patients who died of advanced-stage cancer, earlier hospice enrollment, avoidance of intensive care unit admissions within 30 days of death, and death occurring outside the hospital were associated with perceptions of better end-of-life care, according to a study in the Jan. 19 issue of JAMA.

By the dozen: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope mirrors
One dozen flight mirrors are now installed on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, out of the 18 mirror segments that make up the primary mirror. The assembly of the primary mirror is an important milestone for the Webb telescope, but is just one component of this huge and complex observatory.

Potential heart disorder cause, treatment identified
A novel therapy tested by University of Guelph scientists for treating a fatal heart disorder in dogs might ultimately help in diagnosing and treating heart disease in humans.

Tufts researchers to study how West Point grooms cadets to be leaders
Researchers at Tufts University are collaborating with the United States Military Academy on a first-of-its-kind, five-year longitudinal study of how West Point develops character and leadership in its cadets, a project that could help predict which practices produce successful officers and influence character and leadership education in schools, businesses, and other organizations.

Racial disparities in kidney transplantation rates eased by new allocation system
Year-old changes to the system that distributes deceased donor kidneys nationwide have significantly boosted transplantation rates for black and Hispanic patients on waiting lists, reducing racial disparities inherent in the previous allocation formula used for decades, according to results of research led by a Johns Hopkins transplant surgeon.

Optimized Arctic observations for improving weather forecast in the northern sea route
The Northern Sea Route could be an attractive shipping route during Arctic ice-free periods; however, the decline in sea-ice extent could also cause severe weather phenomena, which could disturb ship navigation in turn. The sparse observational network over the Arctic Ocean makes weather and sea-ice forecasts less accurate and increases uncertainties. However, we show that the quality of weather and sea-ice forecasts can be improved by optimizing the Arctic-observing network.

Research: Many Latino kids struggle to reach a healthy weight by kindergarten
More Latino kids are obese by ages 2-5 than white kids, due to maternal obesity, less exclusive breastfeeding, and workplace and childcare issues that affect nutrition and physical activity levels, according to a new package of research from Salud America!, a national network for Latino childhood obesity prevention funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and based at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The most remarkable project on optical measurement technologies in Finland has started
Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Tekes is funding so far the biggest joint project on optical measurement in Finland.

Good boss? Bad boss? Study says workers leave both
Workers leave good bosses and bad bosses in equal measure, a finding that companies can use to their strategic advantage, says new research from Ravi S. Gajendran, a professor of business administration at Illinois.

First study of arthropods in US homes finds huge biodiversity
The first study to evaluate the biodiversity of arthropods in US homes finds that humans share their houses with any of more than 500 different kinds of arthropods -- at least on a short-term basis. Arthropods are invertebrate animals with exoskeletons, segmented bodies and jointed limbs, such as insects, spiders, mites and centipedes.

Asian carp could cause some Lake Erie fish to decline, others to increase
If they successfully invade Lake Erie, Asian carp could eventually account for about a third of the total weight of fish in the lake and could cause declines in most fish species -- including prized sport and commercial fish such as walleye, according to a new computer modeling study.

Oxford University Press to publish Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology
Beginning January 2016, Oxford University Press (OUP) is the proud publisher of the prestigious Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology (JNEN).

New research from MSK highlights fertility concerns of young adult and adolescent cancer survivors
Nearly half of young adult survivors of adolescent cancers -- more young men than women -- report uncertainty about their fertility, according to the results of a new study. While females were more likely to describe feeling distressed and overwhelmed and tended to worry more about pregnancy-related health risks and cancer recurrence, both sexes had concerns about genetic risk factors and how infertility might impact their future lives, as described in the study published in Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology.

New 'moonshot' effort to understand the brain brings AI closer to reality
Harvard's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Center for Brain Science, and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology have been awarded over $28 million to develop advanced machine learning algorithms by pushing the frontiers of neuroscience.

Honorary doctorate for Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna
On Feb. 10, 2016, the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) will confer a joint honorary doctorate on Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna. On the occasion of its Patron Saint's Day, the university wishes to honor them for their ground-breaking work in the field of genome editing.

More research needed on evaluation of dense breasts
A systematic review of the scientific literature on dense breasts by researchers at UC Davis and other institutions has found that determinations of breast density can be unreliable and that as many as 19 percent of women are re-categorized as dense rather than non-dense or vice versa from one mammogram to the next.

Two-in-one packaging may increase drug efficacy and reduce side effects
Researchers have developed a speedy, controllable way to get two or more ingredients into the same tiny capsule and only have them mix when triggered by a signal like vibrations or heat. 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