Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2015)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2015.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2015

When are consumers more likely to rely on feelings to make decisions?
Why do some consumers make choices based on their feelings instead of rational assessments? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers who consider themselves independent are more inclined to rely on feelings when making decisions.

Fitness level associated with lower risk of some cancers, death in men
Men with a high fitness level in midlife appear to be at lower risk for lung and colorectal cancer, but not prostate cancer, and that higher fitness level also may put them at lower risk of death if they are diagnosed with cancer when they're older, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Buyer's remorse -- model shows people demand all that bad news
Bad news in the media got you down? News consumers have only themselves to blame, says new research showing that it's actually buying habits that drive negative press.

Engineers develop new methods to speed up simulations in computational grand challenge
Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a new family of methods to significantly increase the speed of time-resolved numerical simulations in computational grand challenge problems. Such problems often arise from the high-resolution approximation of the partial differential equations governing complex flows of fluids or plasmas. The breakthrough could be applied to simulations that include millions or billions of variables, including turbulence simulations.

KAIST introduces a new UI for K-Glass 2 that works with eye blinking
K-Glass 2 detects users' eye movements to point the cursor to recognize computer icons or objects in the Internet, and uses winks for commands. The researchers call this interface the 'i-Mouse,' which removes the need to use hands or voice to control a mouse or touchpad. Like its predecessor, K-Glass 2 also employs augmented reality, displaying in real time the relevant, complementary information in the form of text, 3-D graphics, images, and audio over the target objects selected by users.

Turning packing peanuts into energy-storing battery components (video)
One person's trash literally could become another's high-tech treasure, according to researchers who have developed a way to turn discarded packing peanuts into components for rechargeable batteries that could outperform the ones we use currently. They will report on the process for the first time today at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Severe changes in world's leaf growth patterns over past several decades revealed
Extensive worldwide changes in the timing of leaf activity over the past few decades -- which may have significant ecological and atmospheric consequences -- have been revealed by a University of Otago, New Zealand research team analyzing satellite data from 1980 - 2012.

Scientists use X-ray vision to probe early stages of DNA 'photocopying'
Scientists have created a 3-D model of a complex protein machine, ORC, which helps prepare DNA to be duplicated. Like an image of a criminal suspect, the intricate model of ORC has helped build a 'profile' of the activities of this crucial protein. But the new information has uncovered another mystery: ORC's structure reveals that it is not always 'on' as was previously thought, and no one knows how it turns on and off.

MDC cancer researchers identify new function in an old acquaintance
Cells have two different programs to safeguard them from developing cancer. One of them is senescence. It puts cancer cells into a permanent sleep. Now researchers of the Max Delbrück Center have discovered that an enzyme known to be active in breast cancer blocks this protection program and boosts tumor growth. They succeeded in blocking this enzyme in mice with breast cancer, thus reactivating senescence and stopping tumor growth.

Nova Southeastern University researcher part of team researching DNA of tigers
A 10-year study looked at DNA similarities of tigers -- living and extinct -- in order to better understand these animals as well as provide a new, more powerful tool for wildlife protection and, hopefully, reducing illegal wildlife commerce.

Carnegie Mellon's automated braille writing tutor wins Touch of Genius prize
An innovative device developed by Carnegie Mellon University's TechBridgeWorld research group to help visually impaired students learn how to write Braille using a slate and stylus is the winner of the 2014 Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation.

Researchers solve science behind scalp cooling and the reasons for hair loss in cancer treatment
HAIR loss is one of the most distressing side-effects of cancer treatment and can even deter some patients from undergoing life-saving chemotherapy. But researchers at the University of Huddersfield are establishing the scientific basis for a rapidly-advancing scalp cooling technology that can ensure hair retention in a vast number of cases.

U of M researchers call for US government to expand role in helping rebuild Somalia
As Somalia continues to rebuild after a prolonged civil war that began in the early 1990s, researchers at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs recommend the US government shift its work from peacekeeping to rebuilding in ways that will help grow Somalia's economy.

Switch off the lights for bats
The study, carried out by scientists from the University of Exeter and Bat Conservation Ireland, found that bat activity was generally lower in street-lit areas than in dark locations with similar habitat. The findings have important implications for conservation, overturning the previous assumption that common bats benefited from street-lights because they could feed on the insects that congregated around them.

Mid-IR frequency combs enable high resolution spectroscopy for sensitive gas sensing
Publishing in Nature Communications, scientists from Ghent University and imec have joined forces with the Max Planck Institute in Garching to realize a frequency comb light source in the mid-IR wavelength band. These frequency comb light sources with an extended spectrum can be used for real-time, extremely high resolution spectroscopy, e.g. to measure the presence and concentration of gas molecules in analytes.

Review suggests vitamin D supplementation not associated with lower blood pressure
A review of clinical trial data suggests vitamin D supplementation was ineffective at lowering blood pressure and should not be used as an antihypertensive, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

More than one-third of Division I college athletes may have low vitamin D levels
A new study presented today at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that more than one-third of elite, Division I college athletes may have low levels of vitamin D, which is critical in helping the body to absorb calcium needed to maintain bone mass, and to minimize musculoskeletal pain and injury risk.

UT Dallas criminologist challenges effectiveness of solitary confinement
A new study by a UT Dallas criminologist finds that solitary confinement does not deter inmates from committing further violence in prison.

Nanorobotic agents open the blood-brain barrier, offering hope for new brain treatments
Magnetic nanoparticles can open the blood-brain barrier and deliver molecules directly to the brain, say researchers from the University of Montreal, Polytechnique Montréal, and CHU Sainte-Justine. This barrier runs inside almost all vessels in the brain and protects it from elements circulating in the blood that may be toxic to the brain. The research is important as currently 98 percent of therapeutic molecules are also unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Plymouth University to investigate medical revalidation in Australia
The Medical Board of Australia, with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, has commissioned the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education, Research and Assessment at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry to investigate the evidence and options for the introduction of medical revalidation to Australia.

Common herpes medication reduces HIV-1 levels, independent of herpes infection
Case Western Reserve researchers are part of an international team that has discovered that a common herpes drug reduces HIV-1 levels -- even when patients do not have herpes. Published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases, the finding rebuts earlier scientific assumptions that Valacyclovir (brand name, Valtrex) required the presence of the other infection to benefit patients with HIV-1.

Exposure to endocrine disruptors during pregnancy affects the brain two generations later
Prenatal exposure to low doses of the environmental contaminants polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, change the developing brain in an area involved in metabolism, and some effects are apparent even two generations later, a new study finds. Performed in rats, the research will be presented Friday at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego.

Trust increases with age; benefits well-being
Hollywood has given moviegoers many classic portrayals of grumpy old men. But new research suggests that getting older doesn't necessarily make people cynical and suspicious. Instead, trust tends to increase as people age, a development that can be beneficial for well-being, according to two new large-scale studies by researchers at Northwestern University and the University at Buffalo.

Towards 'printed' organic solar cells and LEDs
Flexible optoelectronic devices that can be produced roll-to-roll -- much like newspapers are printed -- are a highly promising path to cheaper devices such as solar cells and LED lighting panels. Scientists from 'TREASORES' project present prototype flexible solar cell modules as well as novel silver-based transparent electrodes that outperform currently used materials.

Being 'laid off' leads to a decade of distrust
Being forced into unemployment can scar trust for at least nine years after being being 'laid off.'

Bundled payments: Study finds causes of hospital readmissions following joint replacements
A new study from researchers at NYU Langone's Hospital for Joint Diseases identifies common causes of hospital readmissions following total hip and knee arthoplasty procedures among patients involved in a Bundled Payment Care Initiative. By finding these common causes, researchers believe quality can be increased and hospital costs decreased.

The International Meeting for Autism Research
The 14th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research will host more than 1,800 researchers, delegates, autism specialists and students from 40 countries in the world's largest gathering of researchers and clinicians as they exchange and disseminate the latest scientific findings and stimulate progress in autism research into the nature, causes and treatments for ASD.

These 15 animal species have the lowest chance for survival: Researchers urge to act
Climbing rats, seabirds and tropical gophers are among the 15 animal species that are at the absolute greatest risk of becoming extinct very soon. Expertise and money is needed to save them and other highly threatened species.

Mysterious microbes hold big possibilities for Sloan Research Fellow Alyson Santoro
Marine microbiologist Alyson Santoro of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science was recently awarded a prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship to study mysterious single-celled mircroorganisms called archaea. Once thought to live only in extreme environments, they are now known to be among the most abundant organisms on the planet yet still little is known about them.

Glow in the dark tampons identify sewage pollution in rivers
Tampons may not be an obvious scientific tool, but engineers from the University of Sheffield in the UK have been using them to identify where waste water from baths, washing machines, sinks and showers is polluting our rivers and streams.

Catch-release-repeat: Study reveals novel technique for handling molecules
In research appearing in the current issue of the journal Nature Chemistry, Ximin He, Ph.D., and her colleagues describe a method capable of mimicking Nature's ability to sort, capture, transport and release molecules. The technique sets the stage for continuous and efficient manipulation of a broad range of molecules of relevance to human and environmental health.

Amazon deforestation 'threshold' causes species loss to accelerate
One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that one-third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging. Researchers call for conservation policy to switch from targeting individual landowners to entire regions.

UTEP research at NASA to explore space safety
The University of Texas El Paso has signed a five-year, $5 million contract with NASA Johnson Space Center contractor Jacobs Technology. The new partnership establishes collaborative opportunities for University faculty and students to participate in research for the legendary space agency.

Mayo Clinic Center for Tuberculosis launches new TB journal
The Mayo Clinic Center for Tuberculosis, a regional training and consultation center at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minn, is today launching a new medical journal, the Journal of Clinical Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases. The online journal is published by Elsevier.

Are doctors using unnecessary tests to diagnose chronic kidney disease?
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) affects 13 percent of adults in the US and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and costs. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have found that many of the tests frequently conducted to screen for CKD have little clinical benefit on diagnosis and therapeutic management.

NYU study identifies teens at-risk for synthetic marijuana use
A new NYU study is one of the first national studies to examine risk factors for use of synthetic marijuana among a large, nationally representative sample of teens.

American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session PM tip sheet for March 14, 2015
Medical reports have linked energy drink consumption to adverse cardiac events such as changes in heart rhythm, heart attacks and even deaths in otherwise healthy people. To investigate how energy drinks affect the heart, researchers alternately gave a can of commercially available energy drink or a placebo drink to 25 healthy young adults -- age 19-40 years -- and assessed changes in heart rate and blood pressure.

Genetic mutation helps explain why, in rare cases, flu can kill
A small number of children who catch the influenza virus fall so ill they end up in the hospital even while their family and friends recover easily. New research from Rockefeller helps explain why: a rare genetic mutation that prevents the production of a critical protein, interferon, that is needed to fight off the virus.

Trying to lose weight? How to avoid setting yourself up for failure
If you're on a diet, just skipping dessert can seem like a huge accomplishment, leading you to think you're well on your way to losing weight. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers tend to overestimate progress and underestimate setbacks when pursuing goals such as dieting or saving money.

Healthy grain fiber helps barley resist pests
Research at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus has shed light on the action of the serious agricultural pest, cereal cyst nematode, which will help progress improved resistant varieties.

Superconductivity breakthroughs
The latest superconductor breakthrough, which will be published March 20 in Science, answers a key question on the microscopic electronic structure of cuprate superconductors, the most celebrated material family in our quest for true room-temperature superconductivity.

Mind reading thanks to metaphors
Observe whether two people use metaphors in conversation with each other if you want to guess how close they are as friends. Or sharpen your ability to tune into other people's emotional or mental states by observing the metaphors they use. Why is this? Because metaphors can in fact help one to 'mind read,' report Andrea Bowes and Albert Katz of the University of Ontario in Canada in Springer's journal Memory & Cognition.

First blood test for osteoarthritis could soon be available
The first blood test for osteoarthritis could soon be developed, thanks to research by the University of Warwick. The research findings could potentially lead to patients being tested for osteoarthritis and diagnosed several years before the onset of physical symptoms. Conducted by the University's Medical School, the research identified a biomarker linked to both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

Safer drug combination found for patients with high-risk atrial fibrillation
A recent study led by a University of Missouri School of Medicine cardiologist found that use of a newer blood thinner significantly decreased the risk of strokes for patients with atrial fibrillation who require an anticoagulant and the heart rhythm medication amiodarone.

Finding strengths -- and weaknesses -- in hepatitis C's armor
Using a specially selected library of different hepatitis C viruses, a team of researchers led by Johns Hopkins scientists has identified tiny differences in the pathogens' outer shell proteins that underpin their resistance to antibodies. The findings, reported in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest a reason why some patients' immune systems can't fend off hepatitis C infections, and they reveal distinct challenges for those trying to craft a successful vaccine to prevent them.

Clinical trial sponsors fail to report results to participants, public
Despite legal and ethical mandates for disclosure, results from most clinical trials of medical products are not reported promptly on a registry specifically created to make results of human studies publicly available, according to Duke Medicine researchers.

UI researchers launch rockets in search of unseen parts of universe
A team comprised of University of Iowa researchers and students is sending its own technology on a series of NASA rockets to find parts of space we can't currently see.

New findings on 'key players' in brain inflammation
Inflammatory processes occur in the brain in conjunction with stroke and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Researchers from Lund University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, in close cooperation with a group led by professor José L. Venero at the University of Seville, have presented new findings about some of the 'key players' in inflammation. In the long term, these findings could lead to new treatments.

Poor behavior linked to time spent playing video games, not the games played
Children who play video games for more than three hours a day are more likely to be hyperactive, get involved in fights and not be interested in school, says a new study. It examined the effects of different types of games and time spent playing on children's social and academic behavior.

Food for the future -- Assessments of impacts of climate change on agriculture
A new two-part volume features the work of over 200 scientists using the latest data, models, and technologies to forecast how regional agriculture will be impacted by climate change. These assessments include both future crop yields and economic conditions, such as income and poverty rates, which can help agricultural decision-makers plan for the future.

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