Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2014)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2014.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2014

Implanting 125I seeds into rat DRG for neuropathic pain: Only neuronal microdamage occurs
Experimental results showed that the mechanical pain threshold was elevated after implanting 125I seeds without influencing motor functions of the hind limb, although cell injury was present.

A mathematical theory proposed by Alan Turing in 1952 can explain the formation of fingers
Researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, show that BMP and WNT proteins are the so-called 'Turing molecules' for creating embryonic fingers. Findings explain why polydactyly -- the development of extra fingers or toes -- is relatively common in humans, affecting up to one in 500 births, and confirms a fundamental theory first proposed by the founding father of computer science, Alan Turing, back in 1952.

Molecular snapshots of oxygen formation in photosynthesis
Researchers from Umeå University, Sweden, have explored two different ways that allow unprecedented experimental insights into the reaction sequence leading to the formation of oxygen molecules in photosynthesis. The two studies have been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Offering option of initial HIV care at home increases use of antiretroviral therapy
Among adults in the African country of Malawi offered HIV self-testing, optional home initiation of care compared with standard HIV care resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of adults initiating antiretroviral therapy, according to a study in the July 23/30 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on HIV/AIDS.

Deployment-related respiratory symptoms in returning veterans
In a new study of the causes underlying respiratory symptoms in military personnel returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, a large percentage of veterans had non-specific symptoms that did not lead to a specific clinical diagnosis. Most patients who did receive a diagnosis had evidence of asthma or nonspecific airway hyperreactivity, which may have been due in some cases to aggravation of pre-existing disease by deployment exposures.

Plasmon-enhanced Polarization-selective filter
This structure composed of multiple holes array by filling it with nonlinear medium combines the characteristics of selectable wavelength, enhanced transmission, polarization separation and output control by the intensity of incident light. This result is useful for integrated optical circuits and on-chip optical interconnects.

Mammoth and mastodon behavior was less roam, more stay at home
UC research on mammoths and mastodons could benefit modern-day elephants.

Nasal mucosal inhalation of AD vaccine attenuates Aβ1-42-induced cytotoxicity
Cholinergic inhibitors and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists can alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but fail to affect irreversible cognitive dysfunction and effectively scavenge amyloid beta peptide in the brain.

Little too late: Researchers identify disease that may have plagued 700-year-old skeleton
European researchers have recovered a genome of the bacterium Brucella melitensis from a 700-year-old skeleton found in the ruins of a Medieval Italian village.

Chimpanzee intelligence determined by genes
A chimpanzee's intelligence is largely determined by its genes, while environmental factors may be less important than scientists previously thought, according to a Georgia State University research study.

HIV clinic-based audio project emphasizes the power of patient voices
The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital VOICES project is the focus of the 'A Piece of My Mind' column in the July 22 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The project uses contemporary technology to tap an ancient and powerful clinical tool -- the patient's own story -- as a way to empower and inspire patients, teach empathy and improve health care.

Concern at lack of teenage patients in cancer trials
Age limits on clinical trials need to be more flexible to allow more teenage cancer patients the chance to access new treatments, according to a report from the National Cancer Research Institute, published in the Lancet Oncology.

Obesity linked to low endurance, increased fatigue in the workplace
US workplaces may need to consider innovative methods to prevent fatigue from developing in employees who are obese. Based on results from a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, workers who are obese may have significantly shorter endurance times when performing workplace tasks, compared with their non-obese counterparts.

Discovery of Neandertal trait in ancient skull raises new questions about human evolution
Re-examination of a circa 100,000-year-old archaic early human skull found 35 years ago in Northern China has revealed the surprising presence of an inner-ear formation long thought to occur only in Neandertals.

Bioelectronics could lead to a new class of medicine
Imagine having tiny electronics implanted somewhere in your body that can regulate nerve signals and make symptoms of various disorders go away. That's the vision of the field of bioelectronic medicine -- the emerging discipline that has made enough promising advances to draw a big investment by a pharmaceutical giant, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Marmoset sequence sheds new light on primate biology and evolution
A team of scientists from around the world led by Baylor College of Medicine and Washington University in St. Louis has completed the genome sequence of the common marmoset -- the first sequence of a New World Monkey -- providing new information about the marmoset's unique rapid reproductive system, physiology and growth, shedding new light on primate biology and evolution.

Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate
Many growth factors that influence the fate of embryonic stem cells must bind to sugars attached to specific receptors on the surface of the cell to work. Because the sugars are difficult to manipulate, biochemists created synthetic stand ins that helped to identify substructures recognized by a growth factor involved in neural development.

KPMG and Imperial team up to transform UK into global leader in big data analytics
KPMG and Imperial College London today announce the launch of a major new partnership to create the 'KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics'. KPMG will invest over £20m, with the aim of putting the UK at the forefront of data science.

Cardiac patients underserved globally due to lack of rehab programs: York University researcher
The article, Global availability of cardiac rehabilitation, published online at Nature Reviews Cardiology, indicates that while 68 per cent of high-income countries have cardiac rehabilitation, only 23 per cent of low-income and middle-income countries do, despite the fact that 80 per cent of deaths from heart disease occur in these countries.

The Lancet: World's most advanced dengue vaccine candidate shows promise in phase 3 trial
The first dengue vaccine candidate to reach phase 3 clinical testing has shown moderate protection, 56 percent, against the disease in Asian children, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Internet Society to measure, display quality of Internet connections around the world with Netradar
The Internet Society and Aalto University are launching a new collaboration to measure the diversity of Internet access around the world. Smartphone users around the globe can download the app and contribute their measurements to a global picture of Internet diversity and evolution.

A healthy lifestyle adds years to life
Live longer thanks to fruit, an active lifestyle, limited alcohol and no cigarettes. This is the conclusion of a study by public health physicians at the University of Zurich who documented for the first time the impact of behavioral factors on life expectancy in numbers. The results are to be taken over into prevention and health counseling in primary care.

Researchers led by Stanford engineer figure out how to make more efficient fuel cells
Solar panels need sun. Wind turbines need wind. Society needs ways to store and dispense alternative energy. Fuel cells could do this. But their chemical reactions are not fully understood. Researchers studied a high-efficiency solid-oxide fuel cell. They took atomic-scale 'snapshots' of the conversion process using a synchrotron. Learning why the cell worked well (its atomic defects explain its electrical efficiency) will lead to even better fuel cells -- and make alternative energy systems more practical.

First ab initio method for characterizing hot carriers
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed the first ab initio method for characterizing the properties of 'hot carriers' in semiconductors. This should help clear a major road block to the development of new, more efficient solar cells.

Travel campaign fuels $1B rise in hospitality industry
The Obama administration's controversial travel-promotion program has generated a roughly $1 billion increase in the value of the hospitality industry and stands to benefit the US economy in the long run.

Bone marrow transplantation shows potential for treating adults with sickle cell disease
Use of a lower intensity bone marrow transplantation method showed promising results among 30 patients (16-65 years of age) with severe sickle cell disease, according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

Prehistoric 'bookkeeping' continued long after invention of writing
An ancient token-based recording system from before the dawn of history was rendered obsolete by the birth of writing, according to popular wisdom. But now, latest excavations show that, in fact, these clay tokens were integral to administrative functions right across the Assyrian empire -- millennia after this system was believed to have vanished.

BU researchers relate arrests with HIV risk environment
Practices used in policing injection drug users in Russia might contribute to HIV transmission and overdose mortality, according to a study conducted by Boston University researchers.

No rest for the bleary
In the first study of its kind, a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University explains why interrupted sleep can be as physically detrimental as no sleep at all. In the study, the researchers establish a causal link between interrupted sleep patterns and compromised cognitive abilities, shortened attention spans, and negative moods. The researchers discovered that interrupted sleep is equivalent to no more than four consecutive hours of sleep.

Intercollegiate contact athletes with shoulder instability return to in-season sports
College athletes experiencing in-season shoulder instability regularly return to play within one week of injury, but developed recurrent instability in 63 percent of cases, according to research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting. This latest information may help guide team physicians in providing the most optimal treatment plans for injured players.

The Lancet: New oral drug regimens cure hardest-to-treat hepatitis C
Two new pill-only antiviral drug regimens could provide shorter, more effective treatment options with fewer side effects for the majority of patients infected with hepatitis C, even those most difficult to treat, according to the results of two studies published in The Lancet.

Study predicts ranavirus as potential new culprit in amphibian extinctions
Amphibian declines and extinctions around the world have been linked to an emerging fungal disease called chytridiomycosis, but new research from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis shows that another pathogen, ranavirus, may also contribute.

Electrical stimulation of fastigial nucleus and cellular apoptosis in injured region
Previous studies have indicated that electrical stimulation of the cerebellar fastigial nucleus in rats may reduce brain infarct size, increase the expression of Ku70 in cerebral ischemia/reperfusion region, and decrease the number of apoptotic neurons.

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools
A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools -- but the students' backgrounds likely are not the cause of the differences.

Ferromagnetism at 230 K found in a new diluted magnetic semiconductor by Chinese physicists
Diluted magnetic semiconductors (DMS) have received much attention due to their potential application in spintronics. One of the challenges to possible application for DMS is approaching Tc near room temperature. Now scientists at the Institute of Physics in Beijing report in the Chinese Science Bulletin a new diluted ferromagnetic semiconductor.

Study reveals strong links between Antarctic climate, food web
A long-term study of the links between climate and marine life along the rapidly warming West Antarctic Peninsula reveals how changes in physical factors such as wind speed and sea-ice cover send ripples up the food chain, with impacts on everything from single-celled algae to penguins.

Study examines survival following repair of failed bioprosthetic aortic valves
In an analysis of about 460 patients with failed bioprosthetic aortic valves who underwent transcatheter valve-in-valve implantation, overall survival at one year was 83 percent, with survival associated with surgical valve size and mechanism of failure, according to a study in the July 9 issue of JAMA.

On the link between periodontitis and atherosclerosis
Chronic oral infection with the periodontal disease pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, not only causes local inflammation of the gums leading to tooth loss but also is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis. A study published on July 10 in PLOS Pathogens now reveals how the pathogen evades the immune system to induce inflammation beyond the oral cavity.

A national study of colleges identifies gaps in efforts to enforce alcohol laws
A new study has examined campus police/security responses to serious, underage, and less-serious alcohol incidents on and off campus at 343 colleges across the United States. Results show that campus security or law enforcement officials were not likely to issue citations for alcohol-law violations. Students were usually referred for discipline or sanctions to other university officials rather than formal courts, and were generally not referred to a campus health center for alcohol screening or intervention.

Study: Young women with sexy social media photos seen as less competent
Girls and young women who post sexy or revealing photos on social media sites are viewed by their female peers as less attractive and less competent to perform tasks, a new study from Oregon State University indicates.

Study finds diagnosing physicians influence therapy decisions for prostate cancer patients
New research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is shedding light on the important role a diagnosing urologist plays in whether older men with low-risk prostate cancer receive treatment for their disease, and if so, the type of treatment they receive as a result.

Denali duck-billed dino tracks
A trio of paleontologists has discovered a remarkable new tracksite in Alaska's Denali National Park filled with duck-billed dinosaur footprints -- technically referred to as hadrosaurs -- that demonstrates they not only lived in multi-generational herds but thrived in the ancient high-latitude, polar ecosystem. The paper provides new insight into the herd structure and paleobiology of northern polar dinosaurs in an arctic greenhouse world.

Discovery provides insights on how plants respond to elevated CO2 levels
Biologists at UC San Diego have solved a long-standing mystery concerning the way plants reduce the numbers of their breathing pores in response to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Link between ritual circumcision procedure and herpes infection in infants examined
A rare procedure occasionally performed during Jewish circumcisions that involves direct oral suction is a likely source of herpes simplex virus type 1 transmissions documented in infants between 1988 and 2012, a literature review conducted by Penn Medicine researchers and published online in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society found.

New medication shows promise in treating common skin disease
An investigational medication shows promise in treating eczema or atopic dermatitis, the most common skin disorder, according to a study published July 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings could eventually bring significant relief for many who suffer intense itching and other troubling features of atopic dermatitis, according to the study's lead author Lisa A. Beck, M.D., professor of Dermatology and Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

BGI presents a high-quality gene catalog of human gut microbiome
BGI presents a high-quality gene catalog of human gut microbiome, a key to understanding human health and diseases.

Research brings us nearer to understanding how neuro cells turn cancerous
Scientists from the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York with the help of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have completed research which for the first time brings us nearer to understanding how some cells in the brain and nervous system become cancerous.

In high-stakes soccer, goalkeepers exhibit 'gambler's fallacy'
When goalkeepers are pitted against multiple kickers in tense penalty shootouts, their attempts to dive for the ball show a predictable pattern that kickers would do well to exploit. After kickers repeatedly kick in one direction, goalkeepers become increasingly likely to dive in the opposite direction, according to an analysis of all 361 kicks from the 37 penalty shootouts that occurred in World Cup and Union of European Football Associations Euro Cup matches over a 36-year period.

Borneo deforested 30 percent over past 40 years
Forest cover in Borneo may have declined by up to 30 percent over the past 40 years.

Fecal transplants let packrats eat poison
Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes from creosote-eaters, University of Utah biologists found.

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