Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2016)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2016

Stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer survival rates improved when care includes 4 specific quality measures
Analysis of data from the National Cancer Data Base demonstrates that the survival rates of patients with Stage IIIA NSCLC who underwent surgery increased more than three-fold for those who received four quality measures as part of their care. The study also shows a wide variability in compliance with quality measures, with only 12.8 percent of almost 8,000 eligible patients having received all four interventions. The study highlights the importance of implementing these recommended steps into actual practice.

'Virtual partner' elicits emotional responses from a human partner in real-time
'How does it 'feel' to interact behaviorally with a machine?' To answer that, scientists created a virtual partner that can elicit emotional responses from its human partner while the pair engages in behavioral coordination in real-time. The virtual partner's behavior is governed by mathematical models of human-to-human interactions in a way that enables humans to interact with the mathematical description of their social selves.

Current cancer drug discovery method flawed: Study
The primary method used to test compounds for anti-cancer activity in cells is flawed, Vanderbilt University researchers report May 2 in Nature Methods. The findings cast doubt on methods used by the entire scientific enterprise and pharmaceutical industry to discover new cancer drugs. The researchers have developed a new metric to evaluate a compound's effect on cell proliferation -- called the DIP (drug-induced proliferation) rate -- that overcomes the flawed bias in the traditional method.

Genomic study tracks African-American dispersal in the Great Migration
An assessment of genomic diversity in the United States of America clarifies the role of pre-Civil War admixture and early 20th century transit routes in shaping the migration history and genomic diversity among African-American communities. The new study, by Simon Gravel of McGill University and colleagues, will publish on May 27, 2016, in PLOS Genetics.

Researchers identify genes linked to the effects of mood and stress on longevity
The visible impacts of depression and stress that can be seen in a person's face -- and contribute to shorter lives -- can also be found in alterations in genetic activity, according to newly published research.

Star with different internal driving force than the sun
A star like the sun has an internal driving in the form of a magnetic field that can be seen on the surface as sunspots. Now astrophysicists from the Niels Bohr Institute have observed a distant star in the constellation Andromeda with a different positioning of sunspots and this indicates a magnetic field that is driven by completely different internal dynamics. The results are published in the scientific journal, Nature.

Kids who text and watch TV simultaneously likely to underperform at school
The more time teenagers spend splitting their attention between various devices such as their phones, video games or TV, the lower their test scores in math and English tend to be. More time spent multitasking between different types of media is also associated with greater impulsivity and a poorer working memory in adolescents, says Amy S. Finn of the University of Toronto in a study published in Springer's journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Bringing low-cost solar panels to the market
In just one hour, the Earth receives more than enough energy from the sun to meet the world population's electricity needs in an entire year. Tapping that vast power output efficiently and at low cost remains a challenge, but new technologies could change that. The cover story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, explores whether emerging solar technologies could soon break into the market.

New species of horned dinosaur with a spiked 'shield'
A chance fossil discovery in Montana a decade ago has led to the identification of an audacious new species of horned dinosaur, Spiclypeus shipporum, according to a study published May 18, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jordan Mallon, from the Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada, and colleagues.

New packaging advances prolongs veggie freshness
New advances in packaging at Michigan State University can help produce stay fresh longer. Eva Almenar, with MSU's School of Packaging, focused on onions, one of the highest-volume vegetables sold worldwide. Her team's results, featured in a recent issue of International Journal of Food Microbiology, show that improvements can enhance the safety and improve the quality of the ubiquitous vegetable.

Mille-feuille-filter removes viruses from water
A simple paper sheet made by scientists at Uppsala University can improve the quality of life for millions of people by removing resistant viruses from water. The sheet, made of cellulose nanofibers, is called the mille-feuille filter as it has a unique layered internal architecture resembling that of the French puff pastry mille-feuille.

New microbiome center to combine UChicago, Marine Biological Laboratory, Argonne expertise
The University of Chicago, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory announced today a new partnership called The Microbiome Center that will combine the three institutions' efforts to understand the identity and function of microbes across environments.

MSK surgeons present strategies for increasing survival in soft tissue sarcoma patients
In a presentation at the 96th AATS Annual meeting, Neel P. Chudgar, M.D., from the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center presents survival data and prognostic factors based on a large, single-institution database of STS patients who have undergone pulmonary metastasectomy.

Our brain uses statistics to calculate confidence, make decisions
Human brains are constantly processing data to make statistical assessments that translate into the feeling we call confidence, according to a study published today in Neuron. This feeling of confidence is central to decision making, and, despite ample evidence of human fallibility, the subjective feeling relies on objective calculations.

Investors reap greater profits when trading stocks of firms with more connected boards
Companies could benefit from director networks because connected directors might divulge information they heard as members on other boards. Of course, that also means things spoken of in your boardroom might be part of the human capital those directors can use on other boards. Yet an expert says it's entirely possible that the corporation that hires a highly connected director gets more benefit from that director than what it might lose in information leaking out and hitting the market a little bit early.

Gene regulatory mutation linked to rare childhood cancer
A single defect in a gene that codes for a histone -- a 'spool' that wraps idle DNA -- is linked to pediatric cancers in a study published today in the journal Science. 'Unlike most cancers that require multiple hits, we found that this particular mutation can form a tumor all by itself,' says Peter W. Lewis, an assistant professor of biomolecular chemistry in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Study finds hospice use does not increase long stay nursing home decedents' care costs
Use of hospice services does not increase care costs in the last six months of life for long-stay nursing homes residents according to an analysis conducted by researchers from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute.

Middle-school kids see several alcohol ads a day
Children as young as middle-schoolers are exposed to multiple alcohol advertisements every day -- both indoors and out -- a new study finds.

Algorithm can improve guidance of crash victims to most appropriate place for care
New computer algorithm can provide important information on a motor vehicle crash to help ambulance personnel and hospital staff better direct crash victims to the most appropriate care.

New disease gene will lead to better screening for pediatric heart disease
Cardiomyopathy, or a deterioration of the ability of the heart muscle to contract, generally leads to progressive heart failure. It is frequently inherited, and, because approximately 40 percent of children born with it are likely to die within five years of diagnosis, being able to identify its genetic basis is particularly important. Now, an international team of researchers has identified a new disease gene which is implicated in the development of severe pediatric cardiomyopathies.

Matthew Hill, from University of Calgary is the 2016 CAN Young Investigator awardee
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is proud to announce that Matthew Hill, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary, will be awarded the 2016 CAN Young Investigator Award at the upcoming 10th Annual Canadian Neuroscience Meeting. With this award, the Association recognizes the pioneering work done by Dr. Hill demonstrating the important role of the endocannabinoid system in regulating how the brain responds and adapts, or fails to adapt, to stress.

A 'communication breakdown' during general anesthesia
When ketamine is used for general anesthesia, two connected parts of the cortex turn to 'isolated cognitive islands.'

Antihypertensive effect of fermented milk products under the microscope
Over the past decade, interest has been rising in fermented dairy foods that promote health and could potentially prevent diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure). Functional dairy products that lower blood pressure and heart rate may offer consumers an effective alternative to antihypertensive drugs if their effectiveness can be demonstrated. Investigators reporting in the Journal of Dairy Science review the scientific basis of reported claims and identify opportunities for developing products based on new lactic acid bacteria.

Electronic medical record automated alerts notify physicians when patients at risk of death
Hospitalized patients can deteriorate quickly, requiring prompt identification and treatment, especially since each hour of treatment delay can increase the risk of mortality. In a new study published in The American Journal of Medicine, researchers have implemented an automated process that continuously samples electronic medical record (EMR) data in real time and triggers an alert to the physician at the patient's bedside to warn of potential clinical decline.

To strengthen an opinion, simply say it is based on morality
Simply telling people that their opinions are based on morality will make them stronger and more resistant to counterarguments, a new study suggests.

IRIS releases new imagery of Mercury transit
On May 9, 2016, a NASA solar telescope called the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, observed Mercury crossing in front of the sun -- an astronomical phenomenon known as a Mercury transit.

Heart defect prediction technology could lead to earlier, more informed treatment
An experimental model uses genetics-guided biomechanics and patient-derived stem cells to predict what type of inherited heart defect a child will develop, according to authors of a new study in the journal Cell. A multi-institutional team developing the technology -- and led by the Cincinnati Children's Heart Institute -- reports May 19 it would let doctors intervene earlier to help patients manage their conditions and help inform future pharmacologic treatment options.

Media research: What readers think about computer-generated texts
An experimental study carried out by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich media researchers has found that readers rate texts generated by algorithms more credible than texts written by real journalists.

New method gives scientists a better look at how HIV infects and takes over its host cells
A research team wanted to know how HIV uses its tiny genome to manipulate our cells, gain entry, and replicate -- all while escaping the immune system. They've spent a decade developing an experimental approach that finally is yielding answers.

National Academy of Medicine selects eight health professionals selected for RWJF
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today named the 2016-2017 class of RWJF Health Policy Fellows.

How did birds get their wings? Bacteria may provide a clue, say scientists
New research has used bacteria to show that acquiring duplicate copies of genes can provide a 'template' allowing organisms to evolve novel traits from redundant copies of existing genes.

MyCopy service from Springer Nature now available in Turkey
Starting immediately, Springer Nature's MyCopy service is also available to library users in Turkey. This service allows all registered library patrons there to order a softcover copy of a Springer eBook for their personal use through Springer's online platform SpringerLink. MyCopy books can only be ordered by registered patrons of Turkish academic libraries that have purchased the corresponding eBook Collection and have agreed to this service.

Malignancy-associated gene network regulated by an RNA binding protein
The RNA binding protein IGF2BP3 is normally active in fetal tissue and undetectable in most adult tissue. But production of the protein is reactivated in many types of aggressive cancer, and it is associated with poor prognosis in both solid tumors and leukemias. New findings from UC Santa Cruz point toward a possible mechanism by which this protein drives metastasis.

Our brain suppresses perception related to heartbeat, for our own good
EPFL researchers have discovered that the human brain suppresses the sensory effects of the heartbeat. They believe that this mechanism prevents internal sensations from interfering with the brain's perception of the external world. This mechanism could also have something to do with anxiety disorders.

Repair cartilage potentially can heal horribly broken bones
Muscle and Medicine reported that hundreds of NFL players have invested in using stem cells to treat injuries. The publication revealed one NFL linebacker 'paid $6,000 a pop for a 1-milliliter vial of donated placenta tissue containing stem cells to be injected into each of his beat-up knees.' Now USC research shows that stem cells could one day be stimulated to make a special type of cartilage to help repair large, hard-to-heal bone fractures.

Ramizol®: A new treatment for Clostridium difficile associated disease
A scientific paper released today in the Journal of Antibiotics presents the pre-clinical development of Ramizol®, a first generation drug belonging to a new class of styrylbenzene antibiotics with a novel mechanism of action.

How your brain learns to ride the subway -- and why AI developers care
In machine learning, a programmer might develop an AI that can calculate all possible consequences of a single action. Humans, however, don't have the same raw computational power; we have to efficiently create and execute a plan. We mentally invent different 'layers' to organize our actions and then think about the higher levels rather than individual steps, according to a Neuron study from members of Google DeepMind and the University of Oxford publishing May 18.

'Super males' emerge from male-dominated populations, study finds
Males who evolve in male-dominated populations become far better at securing females than those who grow up in monogamous populations, according to new research into the behaviour of fruit flies at the University of Sheffield.

Probiotic bacteria could provide some protection against cadmium poisoning
Oral administration of certain probiotics reduced uptake of the heavy metal, cadmium, in the intestines of mice, and in a laboratory experiment using human intestinal cells. The research, which might ultimately be applied to improving public health in areas of heavy metal contamination, is published ahead of print May 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Free colonoscopy program for uninsured detects cancer at earlier stage and is cost neutral
For uninsured patients who are at a high risk for colorectal cancer (CRC), performing free screening colonoscopies can identify cancer at an earlier stage and appears to be cost neutral from a hospital system perspective, according to study results published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons ahead of print publication.

OU center examines how genomic information impacts medical care of Native Americans
A University of Oklahoma Center on American Indian and Alaska Native Genomic Research will examine the impact of genomic information on American Indian and Alaska Native communities and health care systems. A National Institutes of Health grant for $3,611,308 will allow the OU research team to collaborate with the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, the Chickasaw Nation and Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska, to study knowledge and attitudes about genomics.

Tent camping could lead to flame retardant exposure
For campers, nothing beats sleeping in a tent in the great outdoors. But scientists are finding out the air inside tents might not be as fresh as people think. A study appearing in Environmental Science & Technology has found that flame retardants used in the manufacturing of tents are released in the air within this enclosed space, which could lead to campers breathing them in.

Hacking memory to follow through with intentions
Whether it's paying the electric bill or taking the clothes out of the dryer, there are many daily tasks that we fully intend to complete and then promptly forget about. New research suggests that linking these tasks to distinctive cues that we'll encounter at the right place and the right time may help us remember to follow through. The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

In scientific first, researchers visualize proteins being born
Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers, led by Robert Singer, Ph.D., have developed a technology that allows them to 'see' single molecules of messenger RNA as they are translated into proteins into living cells.

Validation of an IHC screening tool for ROS1 gene rearrangements
Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is an effective tool that can be used for identifying proto-oncogene 1 receptor tyrosine kinase (ROS1) gene rearrangements and screening patients for the administration of the targeted therapy crizotinib, a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Highlights of Mayo Clinic studies at 2016 American Urological Association Annual Meeting
Mayo Clinic physicians will present findings on several studies at the 2016 American Urological Association Annual Meeting, to be held May 6-10 in San Diego. They will be available to discuss their research and findings with reporters covering the conference.

Radiotherapy during surgery could save millions of travel miles and tons of CO2
One targeted dose of radiotherapy given during surgery to remove early stage breast cancer could save millions of travel miles, enough CO2 emissions for a 100 hectare forest, and free up thousands of hours of women's time, concludes research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Why are blacks at higher risk for cognitive impairment?
Social and economic disadvantages play a significant role in why blacks face a much higher risk than whites of developing cognitive impairment later in life, indicates a national study led by a Michigan State University sociologist.

NIH study adapts Health Information National Trends Survey into ASL
A Rochester Institute of Technology researcher is investigating how deaf adults, proficient in American Sign Language, use the Internet for health-related information. Poorna Kushalnagar won $438,104 grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a biennial Health Information National Trends Survey for ASL users.

Novel role for spleen B cells in inflammatory response to bacterial toxins
University of Tsukuba-led researchers have identified a new role for marginal zone B lymphocytes in enhancing inflammatory responses to bacterial lipopolysaccharides. Marginal zone B cells were shown to produce pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 in response to lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Interleukin-6 production requires TLR4 signaling in relation to the antibody receptor Fcα/μR. These findings broaden understanding of marginal zone B cell function and interleukin-6 signaling in the immune system, which could be exploited to treat sepsis.

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