Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2016)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2016

NASA data leads to rare discovery: Earth's moon wandered off axis billions of years ago
A new study published today in Nature reports Earth's moon wandered off its original axis roughly 3 billion years ago. Planetary scientist Matt Siegler, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and team discovered the rare event while examining NASA maps of lunar ice surrounding the moon's north and south poles. Ancient paths in the ice were a tell-tale indicator the moon shifted its axis at least six degrees, likely over the course of 1 billion years.

Timeless thoughts on the definition of time
The earliest definitions of time-interval quantities were based on observed astronomical phenomena. Today's definition of time uses a combination of atomic and astronomical time. However, their connection could be modified in the future to reconcile the divergence between the astronomic and atomic definitions. These are observations made by Judah Levine, author of a riveting paper just published in EPJ H, which provides unprecedented insights into the nature of time and its historical evolution.

Child care providers need more education, training on benefits of breastfeeding, human milk
A Penn Nursing research team investigated individual child care centers' attitudes and policies related to breastfeeding in two distinct areas in Philadelphia. Their research concluded that there is much room for improvement in educating and training child care providers and staff on the benefits of breastfeeding and human milk.

Oestrogen in birth control pills has a negative impact on fish
A new doctoral thesis from Lund University in Sweden shows that hormones found in birth control pills alter the genes in fish, which can cause changes in their behavior. The thesis also shows that nurse midwives, who are the main prescribers in Sweden, lack information about the environmental impact of hormonal birth control methods, which may affect the advice they provide.

Reducing opioid use prior to joint replacement surgery linked to better outcomes
Two research studies presented this week at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), link decreased opioid use prior to joint replacement surgery with improved patient satisfaction and outcomes, fewer complications, and a reduced need for post-surgical opioids.

The 2016 HFSP Career Development Awards
The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization has selected eight of its fellowship holders to receive the highly sought after Career Development Award. Following a rigorous selection process in a global competition, the future for these young scientists could not be brighter as they receive the award worth $300,000 spread over three years to jump start their first independent laboratory.

Researchers build molecule that could significantly reduce brain damage in stroke victims
University of Nebraska-Lincoln chemists partnered with medical researchers from the National University of Singapore to develop a molecule that can inhibit an enzyme linked with stroke onset. The enzyme can trigger production of toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide in the brain. Stroke patients often exhibit elevated hydrogen sulfide concentrates, which is believed to initiate brain damage. Tests showed that the new molecule reduced brain damage in rats by as much as 66 percent.

In cubosomes it's their interior that counts
Under certain conditions appropriately selected particles can form closed surfaces in liquids with surprisingly complex shapes, cutting through space by a regular network of channels. So far, we have looked at cubosomes -- for this is what these spectacular three-dimensional nanostructures are called - only from the outside. Advanced theoretical modelling carried out at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw has allowed us to look into their interior for the first time.

Financial, migration crises in Europe add to EU skepticism, professor finds
The fallout of the financial crisis and subsequent bailouts of Greece and other struggling nations, coupled with the recent migration crisis, have further inflamed skepticism toward European integration, according to a new study led by a University of Kansas professor.

Why do chimpanzees throw stones at trees?
Newly discovered stone tool-use behavior and accumulation sites in wild chimpanzees are reminiscent to human cairns.

STARS4ALL, a platform to stimulate the European conscience about defending dark skies
STARS4ALL, a European Union project which started at the end of 2015 -- The International Year of Light -- will bring together for the first time groups related to information technology, social science, economics, astronomy and ecology, to create self-sustaining initiatives related to light pollution.

Austin's urban forest
The US Forest Service recently published its first urban forest assessment -- providing details on the composition and health of the Austin, Texas urban forest, and documenting the contributions trees make to the environment, economy and the well-being of the community's residents.

Playing dumb and giving the cold shoulder: How stereotypes pervade the workplace
A Princeton University study shows that managers play down their competence to appear warmer to their subordinates while the subordinates hide their own warmth in an effort to appear more competent.

Being short or overweight linked to reduced life chances
Being a short man or an overweight woman is associated with lower chances in life in areas such as education, occupation, and income, concludes a study published by The BMJ today.

Donor organ recovery at standalone facility increases suitable organs for transplant
Transplant surgeons report that obtaining organs from deceased organ donors costs much less and leads to a higher number of transplantable organs recovered when brain-dead donors are moved from the hospital to an independent, freestanding facility dedicated to organ recovery.

Fifteen shades of photoreceptor in a butterfly's eye
The eyes of an Australasian butterfly contain a record fifteen classes of light-detecting photoreceptors, six more than any other insect and far more than necessary for color vision.

Statewide initiative associated with improved cardiac arrest outcomes
Statewide efforts to equip family members and the general public with the know-how and skills to use cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the home or in public coincide with improved survival and reduced brain injury in people with sudden cardiac arrest. The data, collected over a five-year period, is scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session.

Woodpecker drumming signals wimp or warrior
Wake Forest University researchers tested how woodpecker pairs perceived drumming to see how it influenced territorial interaction and coordination of defensive behavior.

Risks less likely to be reported by public-health researchers paid by industry or military
Scientists looking for environmental and occupational health risks are less likely to find them if they have a financial tie to firms that make, use, or dispose of industrial and commercial products, a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher has found.

Research identifies first step in design of new anti-cancer drugs
New research has identified a first step in the design of a new generation of anti-cancer drugs that include an agent to inhibit resistance to their effectiveness.

Galapagos lakes reveal tropical Pacific climate since Biblical times
Sediments track 2,000 years of El Niño and tropical rain band history, showing the strength can vary over centuries.

Combination injection improves glucose control for patients with type 2 diabetes
A multinational clinical trial led by UT Southwestern Medical Center and others found that injection of a new long-acting insulin combined with another drug improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes and, additionally, is associated with weight loss.

Enhancing sleep after brain injury reduces brain damage and cognitive decline in rats
Enhancing sleep after a head injury may help prevent some damage to brain cells, according to a study in rats published March 23 in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers at University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland found that enhancing the slow-wave cycle of sleep after head trauma minimized damage to axons -- the thin extensions that nerve cells use to send signals to other cells -- and helped preserve normal brain function.

Technology to analyze customer behavior in stores
Proximus, a start-up in the Vivero de Empresas del Parque Científico de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, has developed technology for creating a map of how we shop in the supermarket thanks to a chip that is built into shopping carts and baskets.

American Association of Anatomists awards Young Investigators for life-changing Research
AAA Young Investigator awards recognize investigators in the early stages of their careers who have made important contributions to biomedical science through their research in cell/molecular biology, comparative neuroanatomy, developmental biology, or the morphological sciences.

New technique could more accurately measure cannabinoid dosage in marijuana munchies
As more states decriminalize recreational use of marijuana and expand its medical applications, concern is growing about inaccurate dosage information listed on edible products. So, scientists have developed a technique that can more precisely measure cannabis compounds in gummy bears, chocolates and other foods made with marijuana. They say this new method could help ensure product safety. The researchers present their research today at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Blending therapies improves treatment of severe anxiety: York U researcher
During a randomized clinical trial, 85 participants underwent treatment for severe generalized anxiety disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy alone was given to 43 participants and the rest received a combination of CBT and MI from therapists trained in both.

NYU study examines where and why New York City retailers sell organic foods
A store's decision to sell organic food depends on its neighborhood demographics, and the range of organic foods offered for sale is linked to the size of the store, finds research by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Water-skiing beetles get a bumpy ride
When a waterlily beetle (Galerucella nymphaeae) vanishes from the surface of a pond, it hasn't just disappeared; it's gone water-skiing at high speed -- 0.5m/s, equivalent to a human traveling at around 500km/h. Flying along the surface on four legs, the beetles also generate ripples as they bounce along the top of the water.

Climate change less politicized among minority groups
Race and ethnicity as a function of climate-change attitudes is the subject of a recent study by Jonathon Schuldt, assistant professor of communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and collaborator Adam Pearson, assistant professor of psychology at Pomona (Calif.) College.

Hannover Messe: Saarbrücken engineers develop networked self-analyzing electric motors
A team of engineers from Saarland University are developing intelligent motor systems that function without the need for additional sensors. By essentially transforming the motor itself into a sensor, the team led by Professor Matthias Nienhaus are creating smart motors that can tell whether they are still running smoothly, can communicate and interact with other motors and can be efficiently controlled.

Physicists get a perfect material for air filters
A research team from the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences have synthesized the material that is perfect for protection of respiratory organs, analytical research and other practical purposes. An almost weightless fabric made of nylon nanofibers with a diameter less than 15 nm beats any other similar materials in terms of filtering and optical properties.

Study highlights risk of lapse in surgical skills among nation's pediatric surgeons
Some pediatric surgeons perform so few rare and complex procedures once they finish their surgical training that they may have a hard time maintaining operative skills in the long run, according to a new study led by researchers at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

To keep or not to keep a hookworm
Researchers in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside have identified an immune protein in mice that is quickly triggered in the body following infection and serves to protect the body's tissues. Called 'RELMalpha,' this protein (homologue in humans is 'resistin') is responsible more for protecting the body than attacking the parasite -- important evidence that mammals have regulatory systems in place not to kill pathogens, but instead to dampen the immune response.

Big data project aims to make breathing easier by mapping air quality
Heavy city traffic contributes significantly to air pollution and health problems such as asthma, but University of Texas at Dallas researchers think another kind of traffic -- data traffic -- might help citizens better cope with pollution.

Lead in soil another known factor in Flint
A new study, involving a Michigan State University researcher, has found that higher rates of Flint children showed elevated lead levels in their blood during drier months of the year, even before the switch to a new water supply. The findings suggest that lead contaminated soil is most likely the culprit especially in the older, more industrial areas of the city.

The evolution of amyloid toxicity in Alzheimer's
Outsized human suffering is linked to 'amyloid beta,' an otherwise tiny, innocuous-looking protein molecule, as it is suspected to be a key player in neurodegenerative mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease. The molecules appear to become toxic within our bodies when they make contact with each other and form small bundles. Oddly, they may become less toxic again as the bundles grow and form ordered fibrillary plaque deposits. This begs the question: what's different about these bundles?

Report examines wages, employment and STEM education for Appalachia Partnership Initiative
The RAND report, intended to set a baseline that will help measure the ongoing success of the effort, includes these key findings: The utilities industry is the STEM-related industry providing the highest median wages in the region. The occupations of engineering and architecture have the highest median wages of STEM-related occupations across all industries. The number of regional jobs in STEM-related industries and occupations is increasing, while those in other industries and occupations are decreasing.

Cannabis use in psychotic patients linked to 50 percent higher hospital admission risk
Cannabis use among people experiencing a first episode of psychotic illness is linked to a 50 per cent heightened risk of hospital admission -- including compulsory detention (sectioning) -- as well as longer inpatient stay, reveals the largest study of its kind, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Satellites and shipwrecks: Landsat satellite spots foundered ships in coastal waters
Using data from the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite, researchers have detected plumes extending as far as 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) downstream from shallow shipwreck sites.

Rice scientists synthesize anti-cancer agent
Rice organic chemists find a simplified method to synthesize a cancer-fighting molecule, trioxacarcin, found naturally in bacteria.

New study on storm surges projections in Europe
Coastal flooding is often caused by extreme events, such as storm surges, which in some areas may be amplified by climate change. A new study develops projections for Europe for 2010-2040 and 2070-2100. According to the findings, the North and Baltic Sea coasts show the largest increases in storm surges, especially towards the east. In contrast, southern European coasts can expect minimal change.

Atomic vibrations in nanomaterials
Researchers at ETH have shown for the first time what happens to atomic vibrations when materials are nanosized and how this knowledge can be used to systematically engineer nanomaterials for different applications.

Intimate partner violence simulation training at MU is first in nation
Intimate partner violence (IPV), has become a prevalent health care issue. Instances of assault, battery, rape, stalking and emotional abuse in relationships can be difficult for nurses to handle as they often lack the appropriate training to feel confident enough to screen patients for IPV. A new training program developed in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, provides a powerful tool to better equip nurses in assisting victims of IPV.

Springer Nature to extend content sharing to whole Springer Nature-owned journal portfolio
Springer Nature announces today that it will extend its year-long content sharing trial to enable its research articles to be freely shared with all researchers and the wider public via its authors, subscribers and global media partners.

Potential Zika virus risk estimated for 50 US cities
Key factors that can combine to produce a Zika virus outbreak are expected to be present in a number of US cities during peak summer months, new research shows.

Two MD Anderson faculty members honored with highest distinctions from ASCO
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will recognize two physician-scientists from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center with two of its highest distinctions at its annual meeting in Chicago.

Small birds' vision: Not so sharp but superfast
One may expect a creature that darts around its habitat to be capable of perceiving rapid changes as well. Yet birds are famed more for their good visual acuity. Joint research by Uppsala University, Stockholm University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences now shows that, in small passerines (perching birds) in the wild, vision is considerably faster than in any other vertebrates -- and more than twice as fast as ours.

New use for X-rays: A radar gun for unruly atoms
Using coherent X-rays, a new technique has been discovered for sensing motion and velocity of small groups of atoms. This advance gives an unprecedented, nanoscale view of disordered objects as they are being created -- like the thin films used to make solar cells and LCD screens.

$3.8M grant awarded to surgeon to test transplant drug
Seldom can one say $3.8 million is just the tip of the iceberg, but a newly awarded grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc. is just that. MUSC transplant surgeon Kenneth Chavin, M.D., Ph.D., says the true value of the multi-center drug trial is closer to $26 million, including $22 million in free drugs provided by the pharmaceutical company. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to