Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 2019)

Science news and science current events archive June, 2019.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 2019

Not silent at all
The so-called 'silent' or 'synonymous' genetic alterations do not result in altered proteins. But they can nevertheless influence numerous functions of the cell and thus also disease processes. Scientists from the German Cancer Consortium, German Cancer Research Center, and the University of Freiburg have now created a comprehensive database of all synonymous mutations ever found in cancer. This is a 'reference book' that provides cancer researchers with all available information on each of these supposedly 'silent' mutations at a glance.

Marine oil snow
Marine snow is the phenomena of flakes of falling organic material and biological debris cascading down a water column like snowflakes. But an oil spill like Deepwater Horizon will add oil and dispersants to the mix, making marine oil snow that is can be toxic to organisms in deep-sea ecosystems.

From rain to flood
Extreme weather events, such as thunderstorms or heavy rainfall and the resulting floods, influence Earth and environmental systems in the long term. To holistically study the impacts of hydrological extremes -- from precipitation to water entering the ground to discharge to flow into the ocean -- a measurement campaign at M├╝glitztal/Saxony is about to start under the MOSES Helmholtz Initiative. The measurement campaign is coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Slime travelers
New UC Riverside-led research settles a longstanding debate about whether the most ancient animal communities were deliberately mobile. It turns out they were, because they were hungry.

Star tours
Astronomers have a new tool in their search for extraterrestrial life -- a sophisticated bot that helps identify stars hosting planets similar to Jupiter and Saturn.

Methods and models
It's a well-known fact that the ocean is one of the biggest absorbers of the carbon dioxide emitted by way of human activity. What's less well known is how the ocean's processes for absorbing that carbon change over time, and how they might affect its ability to buffer climate change.

Wheat myth debunked
Common opinion has it that modern wheat is so reliant on fertiliser and crop protection agrochemicals that the plants now lack the hardiness needed to remain productive under harsher environmental conditions. But comprehensive new research shows that modern wheat varieties out-perform older varieties even when grown under unfavourable conditions that include low agrochemical inputs and drought stress.

On your bike?
A James Cook University researcher says a lack of suitable roads is a big reason why cycling participation rates in Australia and Queensland are so low.

Are American Zika strains more virulent than Pacific and Asian strains?
Over recent years, Zika virus (ZIKV) has spread eastward from Africa and Asia, leading to an epidemic in the Americas. Now, researchers comparing American, Pacific and Southeast Asian subtypes of the virus in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have concluded that the American-subtype strain has the highest ability to grow both in vitro and in vivo.

Fear of 'killer shrimps' could pose major threat to European rivers
The fear of invasive 'killer shrimps' can intimidate native organisms to such a degree that they are incapable of performing their vital role in river systems, a new study suggests.

CNIO researchers describe new functions of protein that plays key role in some tumors and rare diseases
Cohesin is a protein complex that plays a key role in cell division; its role in 3D genome structure was described in recent years. Researchers at CNIO have found new functions in the peculiar 3D genome structure of mouse embryonic stem cells. Research on cohesin will help understand how its malfunction contributes to tumorigenesis in some types of cancer, as well as to rare diseases such as Cornelia de Lange syndrome

Physics at the edge
In 2005, condensed matter physicists Charles Kane and Eugene Mele considered the fate of graphene at low temperatures. Their work led to the discovery of a new state of matter dubbed a 'topological insulator,' which would usher in a new era of materials science.

One in 10 people have 'near-death' experiences, according to new study
The new findings were presented at the 5th European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress. Experiences most frequently reported by participants in their study included: abnormal time perception (87 per cent), exceptional speed of thought (65 per cent), exceptionally vivid senses (63 per cent) and feeling separated from, or out of their body (53 per cent).

Poor oral health linked to a 75% increase in liver cancer risk, new study finds
Poor oral health is associated with a 75% increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, new research published in UEG Journal has found.

Study links poor sleep with poor nutrition
Many Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep, and many do not consume the recommended amounts of important vitamins and minerals. A new study suggests the two factors may be connected. Compared with people who got more than seven hours of sleep per night, scientists found that people who got fewer than seven hours of sleep per night on average consumed lower amounts of vitamins A, D, and B1, as well as magnesium, niacin, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.

'Citizen scientists' help track foxes, coyotes in urban areas
As foxes and coyotes adapt to urban landscapes, the potential for encounters with humans necessarily goes up. A team of scientists is taking advantage of this fact to enlist the eyeballs and fingertips of humans -- getting them to report online what they see in their own neighborhoods and parks.

Nanotechnology treatment shows promise against multiple sclerosis
A nanotechnology treatment derived from bone marrow stem cells has reversed multiple sclerosis symptoms in mice and could eventually be used to help humans, according to a new study led by University of California, Irvine researchers.

Inflammatory mechanisms may underlie increased risk of prostate cancer among WTC responders
Inflammatory and immune-regulatory mechanisms were found to be altered in animal models and in archived prostate cancer tumor samples of responders exposed to dust from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Artificial intelligence controls robotic arm to pack boxes and cut costs
Rutgers computer scientists used artificial intelligence to control a robotic arm that provides a more efficient way to pack boxes, saving businesses time and money.

What it takes for green businesses to advertise online
The internet has facilitated the growth of online advertising over the past decade, and online advertising has moved from being a peripheral to a central advertising medium because of its unique targeting capabilities. Yet, green industry firms struggle to integrate online advertising into their existing advertising strategy.

The Lancet: One in five people living in an area affected by conflict has a mental health condition
One in five people (22%) living in an area affected by conflict has depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and about 9% of conflict-affected populations have a moderate to severe mental health condition, according to an analysis of 129 studies published in The Lancet. The figures are substantially higher than the global estimate for these mental health conditions in the general population, which stands at one in 14 people (as shown in the Lancet infographic).

Teens who can describe negative emotions can stave off depression
Teenagers who can describe their negative emotions in precise and nuanced ways are better protected against depression than their peers who can't. That's the conclusion of a new study about negative emotion differentiation, or NED--the ability to make fine-grained distinctions between negative emotions and apply precise labels.

Food for thought: Studies reveal diet's role in children's brain health
Eating well, drinking enough water and taking certain supplements have all been shown to positively affect brain function in adults. Less is known about how these factors affect children. At Nutrition 2019, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, researchers announce new findings on the ways nutrition influences how children think, learn and behave.

Sleep history predicts late-life Alzheimer's pathology
Sleep patterns can predict the accumulation of Alzheimer's pathology proteins later in life, according to a new study of older men and women published in JNeurosci. These findings could lead to new sleep-based early diagnosis and prevention measures in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Encouraging critically necessary blood donation among minorities
Better community education and communication are critical for increasing levels of blood donation among minorities, according to a study by researchers at Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University.

Major study finds no conclusive links to health effects from waste incinerators
Researchers have found no link between exposure to emissions from municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) and infant deaths or reduced fetal growth.

Science snapshots: A toxin antidote in frogs, atomic motion in 4D, and better biofuels
In new research from Berkeley Lab and our collaborators, scientists discovered how a protein produced by bullfrogs inhibits the deadly neurotoxin involved in red tide events, glimpsed how atoms move in four dimensions, and identified a bacterial gene that could be engineered into biofuel-producing microbes to greatly boost process efficiency.

Ribociclib plus hormone therapy extends survival for patients with premenopausal advanced hormone receptor-positive breast cancer
Adding the targeted therapy ribociclib to hormone therapy significantly improved overall survival (OS) in premenopausal patients with advanced hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer, according to results of the MONALEESA-7 Phase III clinical trial led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Industry uses non-profit organisation to campaign against public health policies
A new study shows how a non-profit research organisation has been deployed by its backers from major food and beverage corporations to push industry-favorable positions to policy makers and international bodies under the guise of neutral scientific endeavor.

NASA finds tropical cyclone Vayu off India's Gujarat coast
NASA's Terra satellite showed Tropical Cyclone Vayu still lingering near the northwestern coast of India, and its cloud-filled eye remained offshore.

Toxic substances found in the glass and decoration of alcoholic beverage bottles
New research by the University of Plymouth shows that bottles of beer, wine and spirits contain potentially harmful levels of toxic elements, such as lead and cadmium, in their enamelled decorations.

Female cannabis users underrepresented in health research, study reveals
Research at the University of York has shown that women are underrepresented in research into links between cannabis and psychosis, which could limit understanding of the impact of the drug.

Millions of cardiovascular deaths attributed to not eating enough fruits and vegetables
Preliminary findings from a new study reveal that inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption may account for millions of deaths from heart disease and strokes each year. The study estimated that roughly 1 in 7 cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough fruit and 1 in 12 cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough vegetables.

Ancient DNA analysis adds chapter to the story of neanderthal migrations
After managing to obtain DNA from two 120,000-year-old European Neandertals, researchers report that these specimens are more genetically similar to Neandertals that lived in Europe 80,000 year later than they are to a Neandertal of similar age found in Siberia. The findings, which reveal a stable, 80,000-year ancestry for European Neandertals, also suggest that this group may have migrated east and replaced some Siberian Neandertal populations.

Education trumps age-structure in terms of providing a demographic dividend
The relationship between population changes and economic growth has been a controversial topic among demographers for many years. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America today, challenges the dominant view that fertility decline and changes in age structure are key drivers of economic growth.

Managing the ups and downs of coffee production
Research could bring new coffee varieties to market faster and improve yields.

Video gamers design brand new proteins
By encoding their specialized knowledge into the computer game Foldit, university researchers enabled citizen scientists to successfully design synthetic proteins for the first time. The players came up with a diversity of new molecules. Foldit was created in 2008 to gamify protein research. However, players could interact only with existing proteins. Now they can design new ones, and thereby assist with developing new vaccines, cancer therapies and other applications.

The brain consumes half of a child's energy -- and that could matter for weight gain
In a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 'A hypothesis linking the energy demand of the brain to obesity risk,' co-authors Christopher Kuzawa of Northwestern University and Clancy Blair of New York University School of Medicine, propose that variation in the energy needs of brain development across kids -- in terms of the timing, intensity and duration of energy use -- could influence patterns of energy expenditure and weight gain.

Balancing data protection and research needs in the age of the GDPR
Scientific journals and funding bodies often require researchers to deposit individual genetic data from studies in research repositories in order to increase data sharing with the aim of enabling the reproducibility of new findings, as well as facilitating new discoveries. However, the introduction of new regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can complicate this.

NRG oncology trial of metformin for non-small cell lung cancer
Initial results of NRG-LU001 indicate that, although the diabetes agent metformin was well-tolerated by patients, the agent has not clearly improved progression-free survival (PFS) or overall survival (OS) for trial participants with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Large national study tracks veterans' health, highlights areas of unmet needs
For the first time, a large national population of United States veterans (3,000+) used the same standardized tool, PROMIS-29, that the general population uses for tracking health, and self-reported outcomes that matched physician diagnoses documented in medical records. 'These are our nation's veterans. They served our country, and they deserve access to things made available to everyone,' the lead study author said.

Organic farming enhances honeybee colony performance
A team of researchers from the CNRS, INRA, and the University of La Rochelle is now the first to have demonstrated that organic farming benefits honeybee colonies, especially when food is scarce in late spring. The scientists analyzed six years of data collected through a unique system for monitoring domesticated bees that is unparalleled in Europe. Their findings are published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

New time-banking system utilizes blockchain tech to measure one's value to society
Citizens from the island of Aneityum in the Republic of Vanuatu are working with faculty from Binghamton University, State University of New York to test their true value as humans.

Vanilla makes milk beverages seem sweeter
Adding vanilla to sweetened milk makes consumers think the beverage is sweeter, allowing the amount of added sugar to be reduced, according to Penn State researchers, who will use the concept to develop a reduced-sugar chocolate milk for the National School Lunch Program.

Researchers see around corners to detect object shapes
Computer vision researchers have demonstrated they can use special light sources and sensors to see around corners or through gauzy filters, enabling them to reconstruct the shapes of unseen objects. The researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toronto and University College London said this technique enables them to reconstruct images in great detail, including the relief of George Washington's profile on a US quarter.

Smartphone relaxation app helps some manage migraine
Migraine sufferers who used a smartphone-based relaxation technique at least twice a week experienced on average four fewer headache days per month, a new study shows.

Study offers comprehensive roadmap for regulating political activity by nonprofits
Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer's comprehensive approach yields surprising and controversial solutions, beginning with the creation of a simple and broad definition of political activity that charities will be prohibited from engaging in.

NHS-funded private sector hip operations worsening health inequality
Increasing use of the private sector for hip surgery in England driving down NHS provision. Female and older patients and those living in most deprived areas less likely to receive treatment relative to need.

Social media use contributing to poor mental health in Indonesia, research finds
Social media use is contributing to poor mental health in Indonesia, research presented in a paper by Sujarwoto Sujarwoto, Gindo Tampubolon and Adi Cilik Pierewan has found.

Researchers call for personalized approach to aging brain health
University of Arizona psychologist Lee Ryan and her collaborators have proposed a precision aging model designed to help researchers better understand and treat age-related cognitive decline on an individual level.

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