Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2014)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2014.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2014

Box-shaped pressure vessel for LNG developed by KAIST research team
KAIST researchers, sponsored by POSCO, a multinational steel-making company based in Pohang, Republic of Korea, have taken a turnabout approach to construct a pressure vessel that is neither cylindrical nor spherical. Professors Pal G. Bergan and Daejun Chang and of Ocean Systems Engineering at KAIST developed a box-type, large size pressure vessel for the storage and transportation of liquids such as liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, or liquefied natural gas.

Crashing comets explain surprise gas clump around young star
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in northern Chile have today announced the discovery of an unexpected clump of carbon monoxide gas in the dusty disc around the star Beta Pictoris. This is a surprise, as such gas is expected to be rapidly destroyed by starlight. Something -- probably frequent collisions between small, icy objects such as comets -- must be causing the gasto be continuously replenished. The new results are published today in the journal Science.

Food Safety Considerations for Innovative Nutrition Solutions
On Nov. 6, 2014, nutrition and food science researchers and agricultural policymakers will gather to discuss issues of food security, economics, policy and communication related to food safety at 'Food Safety Considerations for Innovative Nutrition Solutions.' A networking reception will follow the event.

Safety first, children
Children are experts at getting into danger. So, how can parents help prevent the consequences? One answer, University of Iowa researchers say in a new study, is for parents to better understand how their children rate hazards and then use conversation to explain why certain situations can be dangerous. Results appear in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Plankton make scents for seabirds and a cooler planet
The top predators of the Southern Ocean, far-ranging seabirds, are tied both to the health of the ocean ecosystem and to global climate regulation through a mutual relationship with phytoplankton, according to newly published work from UC Davis.

Program to move families out of high-poverty neighborhoods has mixed results
A program designed to move families out of high-poverty neighborhoods resulted in reduced rates of depression and conduct disorder among girls, but increased rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and conduct disorder among boys, according to a study published in the March 5 issue of JAMA.

NJIT and WebTeam to develop tactile-friendly learning devices for children with autism
New Jersey Institute of Technology and WebTeam Corporation, a New Jersey-based IT company, have signed an agreement to collaboratively design and develop a customizable learning device that will help children with autism spectrum disorder master a range of skills-building lessons contained in the device's embedded educational software.

Contagious yawning may not be linked to empathy; still largely unexplained
While previous studies have suggested a connection between contagious yawning and empathy, new research from the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation finds that contagious yawning may decrease with age and is not strongly related to variables like empathy, tiredness and energy levels.

Genomic test to rule out obstructive CAD may reduce need for more invasive diagnostics
A new blood test that detects specific genes activated in individuals with obstructive coronary artery disease could exclude the diagnosis without the need for imaging studies or more invasive tests, reducing health care costs.

Technofossils -- an unprecedented legacy left behind by humans
A new international study by academics from the University of Leicester highlights the unique nature of fossil footprint left behind by mankind.

Cfaed starts a research project on organic electronics with the University of Brasília
On April 1, the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden of TU Dresden starts a binational three-year research project on organic electronics with the University of Brasília.

New tool helps young adults with sickle cell disease in the transition to adult care
Child and adolescent hematologists at Boston Medical Center have developed a tool to gauge how ready young adults with sickle cell disease are for a transition into adult care.

'RoboClam' replicates a clam's ability to burrow while using little energy
A 'RoboClam' replicates a clam's ability to burrow into soil while using very little energy.

Hospital food safety measures reduce risk of contaminated hospital food
A new study found more than 80 percent of raw chicken used in hospitals in food for patients and staff was contaminated with a form of antibiotic resistant bacteria called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing E. coli. While sufficient preparation eliminated the presence of bacteria, poultry meat delivered to hospital kitchens remains a potential point of entry for these dangerous bacteria into the hospital.

Research from CHORI scientists demonstrates first genome methylation in fruit fly
A group of scientists from Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute and UC Berkeley report the first mapping of genome methylation in the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster in their paper 'Genome methylation in D. melanogaster is found at specific short motifs and is independent of DNMT2 activity,' published this month in Genome Research.

Alzheimer's in a dish
Harvard stem cell scientists have successfully converted skins cells from patients with early-onset Alzheimer's into the types of neurons affected by the disease, making it possible for the first time to study this leading form of dementia in living human cells.

Climate innovation initiative to scale up efforts throughout 2014, receives €63M EU boost
The European Union's main climate innovation initiative Climate-KIC has stepped up its efforts in 2014 to leverage the combined strength of Europe's top businesses, scientists and policy makers to manage the impact of global warming and stop further climate change.

Emotional children's testimonies are judged as more credible
A new study from the University of Gothenburg shows that aspiring lawyers assess child complainants as more credible and truthful if they communicate their statement in an emotional manner. Thus, there is a risk that children that behave in a neutral manner may be perceived as less credible in court.

Calculating cooperation
Women of different social or professional 'ranks' cooperate less well with each other than men do, according to a new Harvard study. With those they see as equals, the study found no difference between the sexes. Cooperation among women was as frequent as cooperation among men.

Young athletes with knee pain may turn to meniscus transplant
Patients undergoing meniscal allograft transplantation surgery require an additional operation approximately 32 percent of the time, but overall see a 95 percent success rate after an average five-year follow-up, according to new research released today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day.

Microfluidic device with artificial arteries measures drugs' influence on blood clotting
A new microfluidic method for evaluating drugs commonly used for preventing heart attacks has found that while aspirin can prevent dangerous blood clots in some at-risk patients, it may not be effective in all patients with narrowed arteries. The study, which involved 14 human subjects, used a device that simulated blood flowing through narrowed coronary arteries to assess effects of anti-clotting drugs.

New technique targets C code to spot, contain malware attacks
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new tool to detect and contain malware that attempts root exploits in Android devices. The tool improves on previous techniques by targeting code written in the C programming language -- which is often used to create root exploit malware, whereas the bulk of Android applications are written in Java.

Are you smarter than a 5-year-old? Preschoolers can do algebra
Most preschoolers and kindergarteners, or children between four and six, can do basic algebra naturally using their Approximate Number System.

Major League Baseball players win more games following Tommy John surgery
In the new study, 'Rate of Return to Pitching and Performance after Tommy John Surgery in Major League Baseball Pitchers,' presented today at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, researchers found a high rate of pitchers returning to Major League Baseball play following Tommy John surgery, with a significant improvement in pitching performance.

Cause for exaggerated insulin response in subset of bariatric surgery patients identified
University of Cincinnati researchers have discovered that altered islet cell function and reduced insulin clearance contribute to excessive post-meal insulin response in patients experiencing low blood sugar symptoms -- hypoglycemia -- following gastric bypass surgery.

Study of antibody evolution charts course toward HIV vaccine
In an advance for HIV vaccine research, a scientific team has discovered how the immune system makes a powerful antibody that blocks HIV infection of cells by targeting a site on the virus called V1V2.

Brain degeneration in Huntington's disease caused by amino acid deficiency
Working with genetically engineered mice, Johns Hopkins neuroscientists report they have identified what they believe is the cause of the vast disintegration of a part of the brain called the corpus striatum in rodents and people with Huntington's disease: loss of the ability to make the amino acid cysteine. They also found that disease progression slowed in mice that were fed a diet rich in cysteine, which is found in foods such as wheat germ and whey protein.

Behind the scenes of the IPCC report, with Stanford scientists
Stanford's Chris Field has spent five years leading a large team of international scientists as they prepared a major United Nations report on the state and fate of the world's climate. The hours were long, the company was good and the science is crucial.

Researchers at LSTM unlock the secret of multiple insecticide resistance in mosquitoes
Researchers at LSTM have discovered how unprecedented multiple and extreme-level resistance is generated in mosquitoes found in the rice fields of Tiassale in southern Cote d'Ivoire.

Long-Term Response of a Forest Watershed Ecosystem
A new book edited by US Forest Service emeritus scientist Wayne Swank and Virginia Tech professor Jack Webster and published by Oxford University Press brings together findings from more than 30 years of collaborative research by the Forest Service and the National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research program on the Coweeta Experimental Forest near Otto, North Carolina.

Big government -- or good neighbors -- can improve people's health
Americans who live in states with liberal government tend to be healthier. However, states with high levels of social trust also are found to improve citizen health.

Breast cancer patients in need of more psychological support
For women who are suffering from breast cancer, concern for their children is the greatest source of worry. A researcher at The University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has shown this, and believes that women who are at the earliest stage of the treatment should be offered support by a psychologist or a social worker.

Scripps Florida scientist awarded $2.3 million to study dengue fever and related viruses
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have been awarded $2.3 million to study a category of viruses that cause dengue fever, West Nile, yellow fever and other diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks.

Model predicts blood glucose levels 30 minutes later
A mathematical model created by Penn State researchers can predict with more than 90 percent accuracy the blood glucose levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes up to 30 minutes in advance of imminent changes in their levels -- plenty of time to take preventative action.

Advance toward developing an oral pain reliever derived from debilitating snail venom
Scientists reported today on at least five new experimental substances -- based on a tiny protein found in cone snail venom -- that could someday lead to the development of safe and effective oral medications for the treatment of chronic nerve pain. They say the substances could potentially be stronger than morphine, with fewer side effects and lower risk of abuse. They presented the research at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Smoking bans cut premature births and childhood asthma attacks
Banning smoking in public places has helped to cut both premature births and hospital attendance for childhood asthma attacks by 10 percent, new research from the University of Edinburgh shows.

Using PET scanning to evaluate therapies of Menkes disease
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies have used PET imaging to visualize the distribution in the body of copper, which is deregulated in Menkes disease, a genetic disorder, using a mouse model. This study lays the groundwork for PET imaging studies on human Menkes disease patients to identify new therapy options.

Social feedback loop aids language development
Verbal interactions between parents and children create a social feedback loop important for language development, according to research forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. That loop appears to be experienced less frequently and is diminished in strength in interactions with autistic children.

EU could afford to lead international climate action
This week, the heads of the EU member states will meet in Brussels to discuss the adoption of a 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030. Despite the fragmented state of global climate policy, such front runner action could reduce future global warming by more than 1 degree if it induced others to join by 2030. This is shown by a study now published by an international team of scientists.

Reducing anxiety with a smartphone app
Playing a science-based mobile gaming app for 25 minutes can reduce anxiety in stressed individuals, according to research published in Clinical Psychological Science. The study suggests that 'gamifying' a scientifically supported intervention could offer measurable mental health and behavioral benefits for people with relatively high levels of anxiety.

Parental care of the young from 450 million years ago
Scientists discover new fossil species revealing parental care of the young from 450 million years ago, and name it after Lucina, goddess of childbirth.

Mediterranean diet may lower risk of diabetes
Adoption of a Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower risk of diabetes, especially among people at high risk for cardiovascular disease, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Patches of cortical layers disrupted during early brain development in autism
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Allen Institute for Brain Science have published a study that gives clear and direct new evidence that autism begins during pregnancy.

Institut Pasteur and Myriad RBM publish results from landmark study of immune response
Institut Pasteur and Myriad RBM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Myriad Genetics, Inc., today announced they have published an initial data analysis from the landmark Milieu Interieur Project in the journal Immunity, which provided new insights into the healthy human immune response. The Milieu Interieur project will characterize the immune phenotypes of 1,000 healthy subjects. The results could lead to the development of novel diagnostics and companion diagnostics.

Poison Centers benefit patients, reduce medical costs, study finds
Illinois hospitals could save $34.6 million if all poisoning patients admitted received assistance.

Stool samples provide marker for bowel disease
A novel method for distinguishing different types of bowel disease using the stool samples of patients has been created by a group of researchers in the United Kingdom.

Metformin does not improve heart function in patients without diabetes
Although some research has suggested that metformin, a medication often used in the treatment of diabetes, may have favorable effects on ventricular (heart) function, among patients without diabetes who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; a procedure such as stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries) for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI; a certain pattern on an electrocardiogram following a heart attack), treatment with metformin did not result in improved ventricular function.

Male Eurasian jays know that their female partners' desires can differ from their own
Researchers investigated the extent to which males could disengage from their own current desires to feed the female what she wants.

Blood glucose measure appears to provide little benefit in predicting risk of CVD
In a study that included nearly 300,000 adults without a known history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease (CVD), adding information about glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a measure of longer-term blood sugar control, to conventional CVD risk factors like smoking and cholesterol was associated with little improvement in the prediction of CVD risk, according to a study in the March 26 issue of JAMA.

Exercising during pregnancy reduces excessive weight gain and associated illnesses
Excessive weight gain during pregnancy increases the risk of suffering illnesses such as hypertension and gestational diabetes, or of having a premature birth or a birth by cesarean; furthermore, it also has negative effects on the newly born and increases the risk of infants being overweight by 30 percent.

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