Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2017)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2017.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2017

A brave new world for coral reefs
It is not too late to save coral reefs, but we must act now.

Penn study links heart rate to gender gap in criminal offending
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania published in the journal Criminology, addresses the incomplete understanding of why males are more criminal than females by examining gender differences in biological functioning and behavior. It is the first study to demonstrate that men's lower resting heart rate partly explains the higher rate of criminal offending.

Findings suggest reducing target SBP to below recommended levels could significantly reduce risk
Reducing systolic blood pressure (SBP) to levels below currently recommended targets may significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause death, according to a study published by JAMA Cardiology.

CNIO presents an online tool to extract drug toxicity information from text
The Biological Text Mining Unit presents in a recent Nucleic Acids Research paper the LimTox online software tool developed at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO). This resource integrates state-of-the-art in text mining, machine learning and language technology methods in order to empower the underlying biomedical semantic search engine.

Must children attend obesity treatment with parents to be effective?
Childhood overweight or obesity is associated with negative health outcomes and family-based obesity treatment delivered to both children and parents is considered to be effective. But do children need to attend obesity treatment with parents for it to be effective?

Competition recognizes neuromodulation research that may facilitate expanded, tailored care
The International Neuromodulation Society has selected six best scientific abstracts for its 13th World Congress whose research findings represent insights that may facilitate expanded, increasingly tailored care. The oral abstracts will be presented in a plenary session May 29. Winners of the abstract competition will be formally acknowledged during the General Assembly of members May 30.

High levels of PFOA found in mid-Ohio River Valley residents from 1991 to 2013
New research from the University of Cincinnati reveals that residents of the mid-Ohio River Valley had higher than normal levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) based on serum samples collected over a 22-year span. The exposure source was likely from drinking water contaminated by industrial discharges upriver. This is the first study of PFOA serum concentrations in US residents in the 1990s.

Can fat 'feel' fat?
Researchers at the University of Iowa have discovered that a molecule which can sense the swelling of fat cells also controls a signaling pathway that allows fat cells to take up and store excess glucose. Mice missing this protein, known as SWELL1, gain less weight (fat) than normal mice on a high-fat diet, but also develop diabetes.

Approach tested at FAU first to look at dolphin immune system
For humans, there are hundreds of antibodies available on the market today to evaluate immune status in health and diseases. However, for the more than 42 known species of dolphins around the world, commercially available marine-specific antibodies do not exist. With the drastic increase in the number of unusual dolphin strandings and deaths along the southeastern coast of the US and elsewhere, finding specific antibodies to test, monitor and document their immune health is critical.

Study suggests metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk
A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world's largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.

Friends help female vampire bats cope with loss
When a female vampire bat loses a close relative, she may starve, because she depends on her mother and daughters to share blood by regurgitation. Vampires who have more non-kin social bonds (friends), do better when this happens.

Making biological drugs with spider silk protein
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have managed to synthesise lung surfactant, a drug used in the care of preterm babies, by mimicking the production of spider silk. Animal studies reveal it to be just as effective as the biological drugs currently in clinical use. The study is published in Nature Communications.

Depression risk following natural disaster can be predicted via pupil dilation
Pupil dilation could identify which individuals are at greatest risk for depression following disaster-related stress, and help lead to targeted interventions, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Intensive blood pressure can reduce risk of harm to heart muscle
A new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has shown that aggressive lowering of blood pressure in people with hypertension reduced the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). This condition, the enlargement and thickening of the walls of the heart's main pumping chamber, is the most common complication of high blood pressure and greatly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Study finds that sleep disorders affect men and women differently
A new study suggests that men and women are affected differently by sleep disorders. Results show that women are more likely than men to have more severe symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Women also have a higher degree of difficulty concentrating and remembering things due to sleepiness or tiredness. In contrast, male snoring was more likely than female snoring to force bed partners to sleep in different rooms.

Why fewer blood cancer patients receive hospice care
Research has shown that patients with blood cancers are less likely to enroll in hospice care than patients with solid cancers, and the findings from a national survey suggest that concerns about the adequacy of hospice may prevent blood cancer specialists from referring their patients.

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen
A paper from cfaed's Chair for Molecular Functional Materials co-authored by researchers at universities and institutes in Germany, France and Japan has been published in Nature Communications on May 17, 2017. The paper titled 'Efficient hydrogen production on MoNi4 electrocatalysts with fast water dissociation kinetics' describes a new approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen. This gas is considered to be one of the most promising energy carriers of the future.

Fake caterpillar study reveals global pattern in predation
A new Oxford University collaboration revealing the world's prime insect predation hotspots, achieved its landmark findings using an unusual aid: plasticine 'dummy caterpillars.' The new study published in Science has revealed a global pattern of predation on insect herbivores. The trends observed were surprising, revealing that predatory behaviour in the tropics is not driven by birds or mammals but by ants and other small arthropods.

Cancer-cardiac connection illuminates promising new drug for heart failure
A team of researchers at the Gladstone Institutes uncovered a new strategy to treat heart failure, a leading contributor to mortality and healthcare costs in the United States. Despite widespread use of currently-approved drugs, approximately 40 percent of patients with heart failure die within five years of their initial diagnosis.

Trial demonstrates benefits of learning sessions for managing rheumatoid arthritis
A new study found that group-based quality improvement sessions help rheumatologists care for rheumatoid arthritis patients with the recommended 'treat to target' (TTT) approach to care. This approach involves setting a target for treatment, measuring progress towards achieving the target regularly, altering treatments until reaching and maintaining target, and sharing the decisions with patients.

How plankton and bacteria shape ocean spray
As the oceans ebb and flow, the resulting waves and splashes form tiny bubbles.The bubbles burst and release a vapor -- called sea spray aerosol -- into the air. This aerosol scatters sunlight and is involved in forming clouds and ultimately climate. But no two bubbles are the same, researchers report in the journal Chem. They analyzed sea spray and found that the atmospheric-changing properties of the bubbles are influenced by phytoplankton and bacteria in the water.

Combining heroin and commonly prescribed non-opioid pain killers leads to a significant rise in overdose deaths
A multi-disciplinary study has shown that the recent substantial increase in prescriptions for two drugs, pregabalin and gabapentin, used widely for a range of neurological disorders is closely correlated with a rise in the number of overdose deaths in England and Wales. These drugs have become drugs of abuse, according to new University of Bristol findings published in Addiction, which highlight that they are especially dangerous when used with heroin or other opioids.

Common sweetener in low-cal foods also a marker for weight gain
A new study has identified the sugar alcohol erythritol as a biomarker for increasing fat mass. In contrast to previous assumptions and research, erythritol can be metabolized by, and even produced in, the human body.

Laser, sound waves provide live views of organs in action
Biomedical engineers are now able to take a live, holistic look at the inner workings of a small animal with enough resolution to see active organs, flowing blood, circulating melanoma cells and firing neural networks. The technique uses the best of both light and ultrasound, breaking long-standing resolution and speed barriers in small-animal whole-body imaging, providing full cross-sectional view of a small animal's internal functions in real-time.

Grape seed extract could extend life of resin fillings
A natural compound found in grape seed extract could be used to strengthen dentin -- the tissue beneath a tooth's enamel -- and increase the life of resin fillings, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry.

UTHealth researchers identify genes in children linked to stress, bipolar disorder
Genetic alterations that can be modulated by stress have been identified in children at high risk for bipolar disorder, according to a recently published study by researchers at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Results appeared in Translational Psychiatry, a Nature Publishing Group journal.

Vitamin A deficiency is detrimental to blood stem cells
Lack of vitamin A in the body has a detrimental effect on the hematopoietic system in the bone marrow. The deficiency causes a loss of important blood stem cells, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Heidelberg Institute of Stem Cell Research and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM) now report in the latest issue of the journal CELL. These findings will open up new prospects in cancer therapy.

Policies to curb short-lived climate pollutants could yield major health benefits
A commitment to reducing global emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane and black carbon could slow global warming while boosting public health and agricultural yields, aligning the Paris Climate Agreement with global sustainable development goals, a new analysis by an international panel of scientists shows.

Three of 48 fetuses exposed to Zika in utero had abnormal fetal MRIs
Fattened up on bites of potatoes, yucca and chicken starting at 4 months, some of the babies wearing sporty clothes and frilly dresses are rolly-polly chubby. As striking as their sizable girth are their heads, beautifully round and fully formed with none of the deep skin folds that corroborate the Zika virus' devastating ability to halt normal brain expansion as infants develop in utero.

Comprehensive atlas of immune cells in renal cancer
Researchers from the University of Zurich have individually analyzed millions of immune cells in tumor samples from patients with renal cell carcinoma. They are now presenting an immunological atlas of the tumor environment for the first time, leading to possible further developments of immunotherapies.

Scientists solve major cancer protein conundrum
Despite intense research, there's been much confusion regarding the exact role of a protein in a critical cancer-linked pathway. On one hand, the protein is described as a cell proliferation inhibitor, on the other, a cell proliferation activator, a duality that has caused a great deal of scientific head scratching. Now scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have solved the conundrum, uncovering the regulatory machinery underlying the function of a protein, called angiomotin.

Oxford student creates first synthetic retina for the visually impaired
A synthetic, soft tissue retina developed by an Oxford University student could offer fresh hope to visually impaired people. Until now, all artificial retinal research has used only rigid, hard materials. The new research, by Vanessa Restrepo-Schild, a 24 year old D.phil student and researcher at the Oxford University, Department of Chemistry, is the first to successfully use biological, synthetic tissues, developed in a laboratory environment.

When it comes to learning and memory, the brain is a co-operative continuum
Drs. Tim Bussey and Lisa Saksida have introduced a new theory about memory. Based on their studies, they have found segregation of specific memory functions in different brain regions may not be the best model. Instead, the brain appears to be a co-operative in which simultaneous and harmonized function are needed to effectively learn and store memories. This research may provide new insight into memory disorders and other brain ailments such as Alzheimer's disease.

A tough talk: How to improve cost transparency in cancer care
Being transparent about the cost of cancer treatments with patients has been increasingly recommended to help minimize financial harm and improve care, but what's preventing or derailing those conversations is less understood. New findings from Penn Medicine that identified several barriers and key facilitators may help providers foster more successful discussions with their patients.

Groundwater 'pit stops' enabled survival and migration of our ancient ancestors
An international team led by a researcher at Cardiff University believe that the movement of our ancestors across East Africa was shaped by the locations of groundwater springs.

New discovery: Cormorants can hear under water
For the first time, researchers have shown that a marine birds can hear under water. This offers new possibilities for the protection of marine birds in trafficked waters.

New species of frog from the Neotropics carries its heart on its skin
In the Neotropics, there is a whole group of so-called glassfrogs that amaze with their transparent skin covering their bellies and showing their organs underneath. A recently discovered new species from Amazonian Ecuador, however, goes a step further to fully expose its heart thanks to the transparent skin stretching all over its chest as well as tummy. The new amphibian is described in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

Designer viruses stimulate the immune system to fight cancer
Swiss scientists from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the University of Basel have created artificial viruses that can be used to target cancer. These designer viruses alert the immune system and cause it to send killer cells to help fight the tumor. The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, provide a basis for innovative cancer treatments.

Genetic test for anal cancer could identify those at high risk
A new test, based on a patient's epigenetics, could be an accurate and inexpensive way to find and treat those at highest risk of anal cancer -- a disease with growing incidence in women, men who have sex with men (MSM) and people with HIV.

DNA vaccine protects against toxic proteins linked to Alzheimer's
A new DNA vaccine when delivered to the skin prompts an immune response that produces antibodies to protect against toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease -- without triggering severe brain swelling that earlier antibody treatments caused in some patients.

Humanizing, harmonizing effects of music aren't a myth
UA professor Jake Harwood and his collaborators have found that listening to music from other cultures furthers one's pro-diversity beliefs. The findings have important implications for music education, K-12 education and efforts to improve cross-cultural intergroup dialogue and communication.

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
Laser-induced graphene made from an inexpensive polymer is an effective anti-fouling material and, when charged, an excellent antibacterial surface.

Moderate drinking may not ward off heart disease
Many people believe that having a glass of wine with dinner -- or moderately drinking any kind of alcohol -- will protect them from heart disease. But a hard look at the evidence finds little support for that. That's the conclusion of a new research review in the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Women drive quest for insights into painful infertility condition
Women with endometriosis -- a common and painful disease linked to infertility -- have called for more studies to understand its causes and find a possible cure. Their calls are the outcome of a major consultation process -- led by the University of Edinburgh -- that has pinpointed ten priorities for future research into the disease.

Water efficiency in rural areas is getting worse, even as it improves in urban centers
A nationwide analysis of water use over the past 30 years finds that there is a disconnect between rural and urban areas, with most urban areas becoming more water efficient and most rural areas becoming less and less efficient over time.

Great expectations force risky business acquisitions
A good reputation can be bad for business, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

Clot removal therapy effective outside six-hour window for some stroke patients
The mantra 'time is brain' still holds for stroke treatment, but for some patients, clot-removal therapy may be effective outside the six-hour window.

Solving one of nature's great puzzles: What drives the accelerating expansion of the universe?
UBC physicists may have solved one of nature's great puzzles: what causes the accelerating expansion of our universe?

More than 1/3 of parents would allow child to be in residential or hotel pool unsupervised
As kids get ready to splash around in pools this summer, some parents may underestimate drowning risks, suggests a new national poll.

Learning styles -- A once hot debate redshifts
A new study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, reveals while most higher education faculty believe Learning Styles is an important approach for teaching, they don't actually use the pedagogical tool because it is fundamentally flawed.

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