Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2017)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2017.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2017

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Debbie approaching Queensland for landfall
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the storm early on March 27, 2017 as Tropical Cyclone Debbie had intensified into a powerful hurricane already affecting the coast of eastern Queensland, Australia.

Study finds tube placement may not be necessary for treating upper GI bleeds
For many of the millions of patients treated annually in hospitals for upper gastrointestinal bleeding, there is little value in placing a nasogastric tube in patients to determine the source of that bleeding or size of a lesion, report investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Florida at Jacksonville in an article published online ahead of print by the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

New drug strategy: Target ribosome to halt protein production
Researchers have discovered a drug that acts like a wrench thrown into the ribosome, stopping the protein production machinery, but only for a small number of proteins, upending current thinking that drugs targeting the ribosome would cause it to stop production of all of a cell's proteins. UC Berkeley and Pfizer chemists who teamed up to find out how it works suggest that similar drugs that selectively stall the ribosome could therapeutically target specfic proteins.

Controversial 'liberation therapy' fails to treat multiple sclerosis
Opening up narrowed veins from the brain and spinal cord is not effective in treating multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study led by the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health. The conclusions about the so-called 'liberation therapy,' which thousands of people with MS have undergone since 2009, represent the most definitive debunking of the claim that patients could achieve dramatic improvements from a one-time medical procedure.

Cigarette smoke curbs lung's self-healing
Smoke from cigarettes blocks self-healing processes in the lungs and consequently can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), and their international colleagues have reported this in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Relativistic electrons uncovered with NASA's Van Allen Probes
Earth's radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet, were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behavior is still not completely understood. Now, new observations from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission show that the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are not present as much of the time as previously thought.

Opioids before surgery means higher costs, more problems afterward, U-M study finds
Surgery patients often go home from the hospital with a prescription for painkillers to take as they recover. But a new study suggests that doctors should also focus on patients who were taking such medicines before their operations. People who received prescriptions for opioid painkillers in the months before elective abdominal operations had longer hospital stays, and a higher chance of needing follow-up care, than patients who weren't taking such medications before surgery.

Reduced dose of warfarin alternative may help prevent strokes in dialysis patients
In dialysis patients who took 2.5 mg of apixaban twice daily, blood concentrations of the drug were maintained at therapeutic levels.

Children with autism find understanding facial expressions difficult
Young people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have difficulties recognizing and distinguishing between different facial expressions, according to research from one of the largest studies to look at emotion recognition in children and adolescents with ASC. The University of Bristol findings are published March 31, 2017, in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Untreated sleep apnea in children can harm brain cells tied to cognition and mood
A study comparing children 7 to 11 years old with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea to children the same age who slept normally found significant reductions of gray matter -- brain cells crucial to most cognitive tasks -- in several regions of the brains of children with sleep apnea. The finding points to connections between this common sleep disturbance and the loss of neurons or delayed neuronal growth in the developing brain.

Potential approach to how radioactive elements could be 'fished out' of nuclear waste
Manchester scientists have revealed how arsenic molecules might be used to 'fish out' the most toxic elements from radioactive nuclear waste -- a breakthrough that could make the decommissioning industry even safer and more effective.

3+ hours daily screen time linked to diabetes risk factors for kids
Daily screen time of three or more hours is linked to several risk factors associated with the development of diabetes in children, finds research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Designer proteins fold DNA
Florian Praetorius and Professor Hendrik Dietz of the Technical University of Munich have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins. The method opens new opportunities for fundamental research in cell biology and for applications in biotechnology and medicine.

Data security in medical studies: IT researchers break anonymity of gene databases
DNA profiles can reveal a number of details about individuals. There are laws in place that regulate the trade of gene data. However, these laws do not apply to an equally relevant type of genetic data, so-called microRNAs. This means that anonymity needs to be strictly maintained in microRNA studies as well. Researchers from Saarland University are able to show that a few microRNA molecules are sufficient to draw conclusions about study participants.

Trump's policy changes put women's sexual and reproductive health at risk, argues expert
Donald Trump's sexual and reproductive health policy changes threaten women in the USA and across the world, warns an expert in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Hubble dates black hole's last big meal
The massive black hole ate its last big meal about 6 million years ago, when it consumed a large clump of infalling gas.

Electronic health records improve weekend surgery outcomes
Electronic health record systems significantly improve outcomes for patients who undergo surgeries on weekends, according to a Loyola Medicine study published in JAMA Surgery. Past research has shown that weekend surgery patients tend to experience longer hospital stays and higher mortality rates and readmissions, a phenomenon known as the 'weekend effect.'

New international banking rules would not prevent another financial crisis
The Basel III regulatory framework, as planned, will not reduce systemic risk in the financial sector, according to new research. Instead, regulations should aim to increase the resilience of financial networks.

Temple-led team: Sex-based differences in utilization & outcomes for CDT in DVT patients
One treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a procedure called catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT). CDT has become more commonly used in the US since research showed it reduced the incidence of post-thrombotic syndrome. A team led by Temple University Hospital's Riyaz Bashir, MD, sought to identify and describe sex-based differences in utilization and safety outcomes of CDT for treatment of DVT in the U.S. The team found sex-based differences in both utilization and safety outcomes.

The genes and neural circuits behind autism's impaired sociability
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have gained new insight into the genetic and neuronal circuit mechanisms that may contribute to impaired sociability in some forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Parts of the Earth's original crust remain in place today
Analysis of rock samples harvested from the Canadian Shield suggests the samples contain components of Earth's crust that existed more than 4.2 billion year ago.

New collaboration looks for trans-Atlantic common ground in geriatrics
Top research journals launch international editorial series tackling the latest in geriatrics clinical practice & public policy. Up first: commonalities 'across the pond' for older adults with multimorbidity.

Vital directions for health and health care
A new publication from the National Academy of Medicine identifies eight policy directions as vital to the nation's health and fiscal future, including action priorities and essential infrastructure needs that represent major opportunities to improve health outcomes and increase efficiency and value in the health system, according to the article published online by JAMA.

With health insurance at risk, community health centers face cut-backs
Repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, combined with a failure to renew critical funding streams, would result in catastrophic funding losses for community health centers-forcing these safety net providers to cut back on services, lay off staff or shut down clinical sites, according to a report published today. The report represents the first analysis of the potential effects on medically underserved communities of the types of health insurance losses contained in legislation now pending in Congress.

Penn trauma surgeons show 'profound' racial disparity in Philadelphia gun violence
In a Viewpoint published this week in JAMA Surgery, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, argue for more research on firearm injury, including the establishment of a national database on incidents of gun violence. The authors point to recent research showing that in Philadelphia, gun murders and injuries are much more strongly associated with race than neighborhood income levels.

To screen or not to screen for lung cancer?
Lung cancer screening using a low-dose CT scan can be a lifesaving test for high-risk patients. While it offers clear benefits, incidental findings and radiation exposure mean there are some potential risks associated with yearly screening. A new study in CHEST determined that a structured prescreening counseling and shared decision-making visit with health care professionals leads to a better understanding of the benefits and risks, as well as the eligibility criteria.

Researchers imitate molecular crowding in cells
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Study: Most athletic patients return to sports, highly satisfied with ACL reconstruction
A study at Hospital for Special Surgery finds that most athletic patients who have reconstructive surgery for a torn ACL are highly satisfied with the procedure and able to return to sports.

Team highlights work on tuning block polymers for nanostructured systems
High-performance materials are enabling major advances in a wide range of applications from energy generation and digital information storage to disease screening and medical devices. Block polymers, which are two or more polymer chains with different properties linked together, show great promise for many of these applications, and a research group at the University of Delaware has made significant strides in their development over the past several years.

Mount Sinai researchers publish results of first-of-its-kind iPhone asthma study
Built using Apple's ResearchKit, the Asthma Mobile Health Study demonstrates utility, security, and validity of smartphone-based research to engage broader patient population.

Hunting for giant planet analogs in our own backyard
There may be a large number of undetected bright, substellar objects similar to giant exoplanets in our own solar neighborhood, according to new work from a team led by Carnegie's Jonathan Gagné and including researchers from the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at Université de Montréal.

Dunedin children's exposure to lead linked to lower IQ
Lead exposure in 11-year-old children in Dunedin, New Zealand in the 1970s and '80s has affected their IQ and occupational standing as adults, according to the latest research from the long-running Dunedin Study.

High folic acid level in pregnancy may decrease high blood pressure in children
A new article published in the American Journal of Hypertension finds that babies born to mothers with cardiometabolic risk factors were less likely to develop high blood pressure if their mothers had higher levels of folate during pregnancy.

Why guillemot chicks leap from the nest before they can fly
Before they have the wing span to actually permit them to fly, young guillemots (also known as murres) leap hundreds of metres off towering cliffs and flutter down towards the sea, guided by their fathers. Scientists have long wondered why these tiny chicks make this remarkable leap, hoping to avoid the rocks below them, in what seems an unlikely survival strategy for a species

Study shows surgery reverses pseudoparalysis in patients with rotator cuff tears
Research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Specialty Day in San Diego shows arthroscopic superior capsule reconstruction (SCR), a surgical approach to treat irreparable rotator cuff tears, may eliminate pseudoparalysis and significantly improve shoulder function.

New method for the diagnosis of autism found
Auditory hypersensitivity is the major complication in autism. The researchers at Mie University in Japan demonstrated, using autism model rats, that morphological abnormality of auditory pathway are involved in this impairment. More importantly, this nerve pathway is responsible for the exploration of so-called sound localization. Therefore, impairment of this nerve suggests that new approach such as 'Does your child seem to know where the sound comes from?' would be useful for the diagnosis of autism.

Study IDs link between sugar signaling and regulation of oil production in plants
Scientists from Brookhaven Lab have identified a previously unknown link between a protein that maintains plant sugar balance and one that turns on oil production. The biochemical detective work points to new strategies for tapping into the energy plants capture from the sun to produce oil-based biofuels and other biomaterials.

New era in precision medicine for pancreatic cancer
The development of new treatments for pancreatic cancer is set to be transformed by a network of clinical trials, aiming to find the right trial for the right patient, after a £10 million investment from Cancer Research UK today.

MIPT physicists predict the existence of unusual optical composites
Artificial regular structures, photonic crystals and metamaterials can exhibit rather unusual optical properties, which dramatically differ from the properties of natural crystals. Metamaterials can have a negative refractive index and be strongly optically anisotropic. The new article by Alexey Shcherbakov and Andrey Ushkov bridges the gap between natural crystals and the mentioned artificial photonic materials, and describes optical composites which on the one hand cannot be described within the scope of classical crystallography, and on the other hand are not traditional photonic crystals or metamaterials.

Scientists discover how obesity stops 'guardian immune cells' from doing their job
Special immune cells -- ILCs -- cannot function properly once obesity is established. Without their help, we are at risk from inflammation and diabetes. Scientists now have new therapeutic targets to prevent and control obesity-related inflammation and metabolic disease.

Intestinal bacteria alter gut and brain function: McMaster study
The goal of the study was to explore whether fecal microbiota from human IBS patients with diarrhea has the ability to influence gut and brain function in recipient mice. Using fecal transplants, researchers transferred microbiota from IBS patients with or without anxiety into germ-free mice. The mice went on to develop changes both in intestinal function and behavior reminiscent of the donor IBS patients, compared to mice that were transplanted with microbiota from healthy individuals.

A new way of assessing winter driving conditions and associated risks
A new study, published today in the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, presents a risk-based approach for classifying the road surface conditions of a highway network under winter weather events. This approach includes an explicit account of the driving risk that a motorist may experience on a highway.

Why do shorter men go bald more often?
Short men may have an increased risk of becoming bald prematurely. An international genetic study under the leadership of the University of Bonn at least points in this direction. During the study, the scientists investigated the genetic material of more than 20,000 men. Their data show that premature hair loss is linked to a range of various physical characteristics and illnesses. The work has now been published in Nature Communications.

Doctoral student's research looks at cause of neurodegenerative disease
A Kansas State University student hopes her research on a currently untreatable and progressive neurodegenerative disease will one day lead to treatment options.

Canada continues to punch above its weight in the field of regenerative medicine
A new workshop report, Building on Canada's Strengths in Regenerative Medicine, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), confirms that Canadian researchers continue to be recognized as scientific leaders in the field of regenerative medicine and stem cell science.

How to fit in when you stand out: Don't try so hard
When in Rome you do as the Romans do, right? Not necessarily. When it comes to fitting in with foreign cultures, 'just be yourself' might be the more appropriate mantra, says new research.

Clinical interviews effective in predicting postpartum depression
For non-depressed, pregnant women with histories of major depressive disorder, preventive treatment with antidepressants may not necessarily protect against postpartum depression, according to new UCLA research. In addition, asking questions about daily activities -- especially work -- appears to be an effective screening tool for helping doctors identify women at risk of depression after they have their babies.

NIDA dissertation grant awarded to examine mechanisms linking HIV syndemic factors
Raymond Moody -- a fourth-year doctoral student in Health Psychology and Clinical Science training program at the CUNY Graduate Center and a graduate student researcher at Hunter College's Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training has been awarded a two year grant totaling $155,972 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to support his dissertation research.

Brain-aging gene discovered
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered a common genetic variant that greatly affects normal brain aging in older adults. The discovery may point toward new targets for preventing or treating age-associated brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

Increase in extreme sea levels could endanger European coastal communities
Massive coastal flooding in northern Europe that now occurs once every century could happen every year if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to a new study.

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