Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2016)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2016

The case of the missing craters
The largest dwarf planet in the asteroid belt has a curious lack of big craters. Arizona State University planetary scientist David Williams is on the case.

Cognitive ability varies, but prejudice is universal
A new study shows both high and low cognitive ability have distinct prejudices against particular groups.

After the quake -- data can help predict consequences of the next event
Seismology geophysicist Steve Roecker is using a network of broadband seismometers to learn more about the complex overlap between tectonic plates that causes an 8.3 magnitude earthquake near Illapel, Chile in 2015.

University of Tennessee extension Associate Dean named ASABE fellow
Dr. Robert Burns, P.E., Associate Dean, UT Extension, has been named to the Class of Fellows with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). Burns received the organization's highest honor on July 18 at the annual international ASABE meeting in Orlando, Florida. Burns was honored for his outstanding contributions to improving environmental stewardship of animal production worldwide as an administrator, researcher, Extension engineer and for his 22 years of service to ASABE.

Iowa State researchers describe copper-induced misfolding of prion proteins
Iowa State University researchers have described with single-molecule precision how copper ions cause prion proteins to misfold and seed the misfolding and clumping of nearby prion proteins. The researchers also found the copper-induced misfolding and clumping is associated with inflammation and damage to nerve cells in brain tissue from a mouse model. The findings were published today in the journal Science Advances.

National Stem Cell Foundation funds neurodegeneration research at NYSCF Research Institute
The National Stem Cell Foundation and the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute announced that a grant from NSCF will be used to fund NYSCF research studying how astrocytes can be manipulated to halt or prevent neurodegeneration. Understanding cross-talk between cells in the central nervous system is the next frontier for the development of new therapies to treat MS (multiple sclerosis), Parkinson's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and other disorders.

Imaging the brain at multiple size scales
MIT researchers have developed a new technique for imaging brain tissue at multiple scales, allowing them to image molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons. The technique, magnified analysis of proteome, should help scientists chart the connectivity and functions of neurons in the human brain.

Deadly bacteria share weapons to outsmart antibiotics
A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Universidad Nacional de Rosario and the National Research Council from Argentina have identified a bacterial mechanism that stabilizes certain MBLs in cell membranes and enables their spread into the environment.

Organic computers are coming
A team of the Lomonosov MSU researchers in collaboration with their German colleagues from the Institute of Polymer Research in Dresden (Leibniz Institute) managed to find a molecule that, to their opinion, could give the impetus to the development of organic electronics.

Review: Telehealth poised to revolutionize health care
Telehealth is growing rapidly and has the potential to transform the delivery of health care for millions of persons. That is the conclusion of a review article appearing today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Newly described cellular defense activity could guide solutions to UTIs
The process cells use to secrete chemicals also appears to be the way to clear urinary tract infections, or UTIs, according to a study by researchers from Duke Health and Duke-National University of Singapore.

Weight loss can lower levels of some proteins associated with cancer
Overweight and obese women who lost weight through diet and exercise lowered the levels of certain proteins in their blood that play a role in angiogenesis, the process of blood vessel growth that can promote the growth and survival of cancer cells.

Media can register online now for the 28th EORTC-NCI-AACR symposium
Media can register online now for the 28th EORTC-NCI-AACR symposium on 'Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics', which takes place from Nov. 29, to Dec. 2 in Munich, Germany.

NASA looks into Tropical Cyclone Celia's winds and rainfall rates
Tropical Cyclone Celia continued to generate heavy rains as it moved through the Eastern Pacific Ocean. NASA's RapidScat analyzed surface wind speeds while the GPM core satellite measured rainfall rates occurring within the storm.

Agreeable personalities are more likely to help strangers
Prosocial behaviors, such as willingness to help others, may be linked to specific personalities. Based on new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, agreeableness is one of the better predictors of prosocial behavior.

Potential phage therapy virus massively alters RNA metabolism during infection
Using metabolomic and transcriptomic analyses, a research group led by Rob Lavigne of the University of Leuven in Belgium and Laurent Debarbieux of the Institut Pasteur in France reveals that a bacteriophage that infects the opportunistic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, metabolizes host RNA to replicate itself inside the cell. The findings are published on July 5, 2016 in PLOS Genetics.

Preparing to interview for your dream job? Better go in person
A new study examining the effects of technology-mediated interviews found in-person interviews yielded better impressions for the company and the candidate.

Computer model predicts how people perceive softness of 3-D printed objects
A plastic ducky produced by one 3-D printer may look the same as one produced by another printer, but it doesn't necessarily feel the same. To help designers produce copies with the same feel as well as looks of the original, researchers have developed a way to predict perceived softness and stiffness of an object.

Study showing how primate brain develops can help understand human developmental disorders
Scientists have elucidated the genetic programs that guide the formation and development of specific regions within the brain of rhesus monkeys. This study is important because it can help better understand how the human brain develops and identify neurodevelopmental processes involved in disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. The results appear today in Nature.

Combining Ipilimumab with local treatments improved survival for patients with melanoma
Among patients with melanoma, those who received both ipilimumab (Yervoy) and local peripheral treatments such as radiotherapy or electrochemotherapy had significantly prolonged overall survival compared with those who received only ipilimumab, according to a retrospective clinical study.

Children make poor dietary choices following unhealthy foods ads
The study examined 29 trials assessing the effects of unhealthy food and beverage marketing and analyzing caloric intake and dietary preference among more than 6,000 children. Researchers found that the marketing increased dietary intake and influenced dietary preference in children during or shortly after exposure to advertisements.

Telestroke program closes gaps in treatment, increases access to timely stroke remedy
The use of a life-saving clot-dissolving treatment for patients with acute ischemic stroke increased by 73 percent following the implementation of a Kaiser Permanente telestroke program, according to a study published today in The Permanente Journal.

NY State Department of Health AIDS Institute funds HIV/AIDS prevention in high-risk youth
NewYork-Presbyterian's Comprehensive Health Program and Project STAY, an initiative of the Harlem Heath Promotion Center (HHPC) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health has received two grants totaling more than $3.75 million from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute for their continued efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS in at-risk youth. The funds will be disbursed over five years, starting July 1, for comprehensive health programs targeting at-risk populations in New York City.

Many skin cancer patients still too likely to sunburn
A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins concludes that a substantial number of people with a history of the most frequent kind of nonmelanoma skin cancers still get sunburned at the same rate as those without previous history, probably because they are not using sun-protective methods the right way or in the right amounts.

How do you turn a mosquito's genes on and off?
Scientists are using machine learning to identify important sequences of DNA within the mosquito genome that regulate how the insect's cells develop and behave. The research project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, could have implications for disease control, potentially facilitating efforts to use genetic engineering to control mosquito populations, or to create mosquitoes that have reduced ability to transmit maladies, such as malaria, to humans.

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities
The bacteria that live in dental plaque and contribute to tooth decay often resist traditional antimicrobial treatment, as they can 'hide' within a sticky biofilm matrix, a glue-like polymer scaffold. A new strategy conceived by University of Pennsylvania researchers took a more sophisticated approach.

Cleaner air may be driving water quality in Chesapeake Bay
A new study suggests that improvements in air quality over the Potomac watershed, including the Washington, D.C., metro area, may be responsible for recent progress on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have linked improving water quality in streams and rivers of the Upper Potomac River Basin to reductions in nitrogen pollution onto the land and streams due to enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

Adults born with heart disease have increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Children born with heart disease have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after age 30. The risk appears even higher for those born with a cyanotic congenital heart disease (CHD) condition -- one in which patients had a bluish coloration of the skin due to low oxygen content in tissues near the surface of the skin.

Weight loss from bariatric surgery appears to reverse premature aging
Weight loss from bariatric surgery appears to reverse the premature aging associated with obesity, according to research presented today at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology 2016.1 Patients had longer telomeres and less inflammation two years later.

Enjoying meals prepared at home: AQ short-cut to avoiding diabetes?
People who often consume meals prepared at home are less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes than those who consume such meals less frequently, according to new epidemiological research reported by Qi Sun, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Heath, Boston, USA and colleagues as part of PLOS Medicine's special issue on Preventing Diabetes.

Toxins in e-cig vapor increase with heat and device use
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, have grown in popularity as an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. But health experts and consumer advocates have raised concerns over their safety. Now scientists report in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology new measurements of potentially toxic compounds in e-cigarette vapor and factors that affect these levels.

First free comprehensive data facility for patient-centered care
The first free and openly available comprehensive data resource for international measures relating to patient experience and person-centered care has been launched, providing a 'one-stop' website for commissioners, health managers, researchers and others.

A mixed response
Deliberately flooding riverbeds left parched by dams has great potential to restore wetlands but may also have a significant unintended consequence: the release of greenhouse gases.

A battery inspired by vitamins
Harvard researchers have identified a whole new class of high-performing organic molecules, inspired by vitamin B2, that can safely store electricity from intermittent energy sources like solar and wind power in large flow batteries.

How plants sense electric fields
An international group of researchers has pinpointed the sensor plants use to sense electric fields. A beneficial side effect: Their work could contribute to the understanding of how the Ebola virus enters human cells.

Satellite spots remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Celia
Tropical Cyclone Celia weakened to a remnant low pressure area. NOAA's GOES-West satellite provided an infrared look at the clouds associated with the low.

How can medical centers transform their patient safety culture?
Though health care is not without risks or error, hospital employees can support a culture of patient safety by identifying, reporting, and learning from medical mistakes that have or could have harmed patients. In a new study, a training program focusing on team communication, leadership, and decision-making practices, known as Crew Resource Management, was found to improve perceptions of the safety culture by 8 percent over the course of two years.

Four young pediatric cancer research fellows earn $1 million in new awards
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has named four outstanding young scientists as recipients of the prestigious Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Research Fellowship Award, committing nearly $1 million to help address a critical shortage of funding for pediatric cancer research.

'Smart' nanoparticle called PEARLs a promising gem to target, treat tumours
Dr. Gang Zheng and a team of biomedical researchers have discovered a 'smart' organic, biodegradable nanoparticle that uses heat and light in a controlled manner to potentially target and ablate tumors with greater precision.

Accelerating research into dark energy
A quick method for making accurate, virtual universes to help understand the effects of dark matter and dark energy has been developed by UCL and CEFCA scientists. Making up 95 percent of our universe, these substances have profound effects on the birth and lives of galaxies and stars and yet almost nothing is known about their physical nature.

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells
Researchers from the University of Houston have reported the first explanation for how a class of materials changes during production to more efficiently absorb light, a critical step toward the large-scale manufacture of better and less-expensive solar panels.

NASA gets an eyeful of Hurricane Blas
Satellites eyeing powerful Hurricane Blas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean revealed a large eye as the powerful storm continued to move over open waters. On July 4 at 20:50 UTC (4:50 p.m. EDT) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument aboard NASA-NOAA-DOD's Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible light image of Hurricane Blas that showed a developing, and cloud-filled eye.

Financial cycles of acquisition and 'buybacks' threaten public access to breakthrough drugs
An analysis of a new drug's journey to market, published today in the BMJ, shines a light on financial practices that see some major pharmaceutical companies relying on a cycle of acquisitions, profits from high prices, and shareholder-driven maneuvers that threatens access to medicines for current and future patients.

Inauguration of Akaike Memorial Lecture Award
The Institute of Statistical Mathematics and the Japan Statistical Society have inaugurated the Akaike Memorial Lecture Award as a memorial to the legacy of Dr. Hirotugu Akaike, which will be a valuable stimulus to the minds of younger researchers and contribute to the development of the statistical sciences. The first lecturer, Professor C.F. Jeff Wu of Georgia Institute of Technology, will present at the 2016 Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting at Kanazawa University on Monday, Sept. 5.

NSF leads federal effort to boost advanced wireless research
Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it will invest more than $400 million over the next seven years to support fundamental wireless research and to develop platforms for advanced wireless research in support of the White House's Advanced Wireless Research Initiative. These investments will support the research community in experimenting with and testing novel technologies, applications and services capable of making wireless communication faster, smarter, more responsive and more robust.

Computer scientists find way to make all that glitters more realistic in computer graphics
Iron Man's suit. Captain America's shield. The Batmobile. These all could look a lot more realistic thanks to a new algorithm developed by a team of US computer graphics experts. The researchers, led by Professor Ravi Ramamoorthi at the University of California San Diego, have created a method to improve how computer graphics software reproduces the way light interacts with extremely small details, called glints, on the surface of a wide range of materials.

Physicists couple distant nuclear spins using a single electron
For the first time, researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have coupled the nuclear spins of distant atoms using just a single electron. Three research groups took part in this complex experiment, the results of which have now been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Molecular switch for controlling color and fluorescence
Researchers in Japan have developed a molecular switching technique to control the visible color and fluorescent properties of a compound by using hydrogen and oxygen gas. This innovative work is environmentally friendly since it uses the energy from the two gases to switch the color and fluorescence of a compound and produces only water as a byproduct.

Dividing T cells: A potential target for improving cancer immunotherapy
When an immune T cell divides into two daughter cells, the activity of an enzyme called mTORC1, which controls protein production, splits unevenly between the progeny, producing two cells with different properties. Such 'asymmetric division,' uncovered by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers using lab-grown cells and specially bred mice, could offer new ways to enhance cancer immunotherapy and may have other implications for studying how stem cells differentiate.

Certain characteristics predispose women to different hot flash and night sweat patterns
Most women will get hot flashes or night sweats at some point in life. However, when these symptoms occur and how long they last can vary dramatically among women. New findings show that women fit into four distinct groups when it comes to getting hot flashes and night sweats, with potential ramifications for therapy and prevention of future health conditions, according to the research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

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