Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2019)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2019.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2019

Meet the tenrecs
Researchers reviewed the conservation priorities for the 31 species of tenrec -- a poorly understood family of small mammals superficially resembling hedgehogs, found only on the island of Madagascar.

Fragmented turtles
Scientists looked at how fragmentation is affecting critically endangered Dahl's toad headed turtle (Mesoclemmys dahli) a forest-stream specialist found only in Colombia.

Easy on the eyes
New computer program uses artificial intelligence to determine what visual neurons like to see. Algorithm generates synthetic images that morph into 'super stimulus' for neurons, removing inherent bias of using natural images to gauge preferences. The approach could shed light on learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and other neurologic conditions.

The age of water
Groundwater in Egypt's aquifers may be as much as 200,000 years old and that's important to know as officials in that country seek to increasing the use of groundwater, especially in the Eastern Desert, to mitigate growing water stress and allow for agricultural projects.

Parents unknown
Animals in hard-to-reach places, especially strange, 'unattractive,' animals, may completely escape our attention. We don't know what their role is in the environment. In fact, we don't even know they exist. New research may double the number of species of a little-known marine creature, based on DNA studies of its larvae.

A question of time
Researchers show how the immune system distinguishes between self molecules and non-self molecules such as those from pathogens.

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed. A new study from Princeton University illuminates precise behavior patterns of E. coli and corrects a longstanding error in predicting their behavior.

Size is everything
The susceptibility of ecosystems to disruption depends on a lot of factors that can't all be grasped. Ulrich Brose from University of Jena (Germany) has therefore developed a new method that provides good results with only a few information about the properties of predators. The model confirms that a large body mass index between predator and prey creates stable systems. It can also predict which predator species play a key role.

Good genes
A team of scientists from NAU, Arizona State University, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts and nine other institutions worldwide to study potential cancer suppression mechanisms in cetaceans, the mammalian group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Their findings, which picked apart the genome of the humpback whale, as well as the genomes of nine other cetaceans, in order to determine how their cancer defenses are so effective, were published today in Molecular Biology and Evolution.

The clinical and biological significance of HER2 over-expression in breast ductal carcinoma in situ: A large study from a single institution
Upcoming publication from the British Journal of Cancer, investigating HER2 expression as a predictor of recurrence and development in patients with DCIS.

Could mouth rinse to detect HPV DNA be associated with predicting risk of head/neck cancer recurrence, death?
Researchers examined if a mouth rinse to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA might be associated with helping to predict risk of recurrence of head and neck squamous cell cancer and death. This study included 396 adults with head and neck squamous cell cancer of the mouth or throat, of which 202 patients had HPV-positive cancers.

Aspirin before at-home colorectal cancer screening test didn't significantly improve ability to detect cancer precursors
Some observational studies have suggested that taking aspirin before undergoing colorectal cancer screening with a fecal immunochemical test for blood in stool might improve the ability of the test to detect cancer precursors.

Learning language
When it comes to learning a language, the left side of the brain has traditionally been considered the hub of language processing. But new research from the University of Delaware shows the right brain plays a critical early role in helping learners identify the basic sounds associated with a language. That could help find new teaching methods to better improve student success in picking up a foreign language.

New scat study provides clues to puzzling existence of Humboldt martens in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
With a new scat study, researchers are chipping away at solving a biological mystery on the central Oregon coast: the existence of an isolated population of a small but fierce forest predator that makes its home in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

FDA independence in an age of partisan politics
Unlike other federal agencies, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- the oldest federal consumer protection agency -- has been increasingly subjected to creeping politicization and a progressive loss of independence under the glare of partisan politics.

Tsunami signals to measure glacier calving in Greenland
Scientists have employed a new method utilizing tsunami signals to calculate the calving magnitude of an ocean-terminating glacier in northwestern Greenland, uncovering correlations between calving flux and environmental factors such as air temperature, ice speed, and ocean tides.

'I'm here for breast cancer. Why are you talking to me about my heart?'
Many physicians are not telling cancer patients about the cardiotoxicity risks of treatments and may not be fully aware of the dangers themselves. A new study reveals an urgent need to look after the hearts of these patients. The research is presented today at EuroHeartCare 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology.

Excessive use of skin cancer surgery curbed with awareness effort
Sometimes a little gentle peer persuasion goes a long way toward correcting a large problem. That's the message from researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and seven collaborating health care organizations which report that a 'Dear Colleague' performance evaluation letter successively convinced physicians nationwide to reduce the amount of tissue they removed in a common surgical treatment for skin cancer to meet a professionally recognized benchmark of good practice.

IPBES: Nature's dangerous decline 'unprecedented,' species extinction rates 'accelerating'
Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history -- and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (April 29-May 4) in Paris.

Uncovering a 5000-year-old family tragedy
An international team, lead by researchers from the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, has shed light on a mysterious 5000-year-old mass grave in Poland. Despite being killed brutally, the victims were buried carefully. Ancient DNA has revealed the mass murder to be that of a large family. The new research results shed light on a particularly violent era in European prehistory of which little is known. The study has just been published in the American journal PNAS.

Home-schoolers see no added health risks over time
Years of home-schooling don't appear to influence the general health of children, according to a Rice University study.

Mathematically designed graphene has improved electrocatalytic activity
An international research group has improved graphene's ability to catalyze the 'hydrogen evolution reaction,' which releases hydrogen as a result of passing an electronic current through water. They designed a mathematically predicted graphene electrocatalyst, and confirmed its performance using high resolution electrochemical microscopy and computational modelling. The findings were published in the journal Advanced Science.

Artificial intelligence could prevent unneeded tests in patients with stable chest pain
Artificial intelligence (AI) could prevent unnecessary diagnostic tests in patients with stable chest pain, according to research presented today at ICNC 2019. A decision support system saved one hour of testing per patient.

These trippy images were designed by AI to super-stimulate monkey neurons
To find out which sights specific neurons in monkeys 'like' best, researchers designed an algorithm, called XDREAM, that generated images that made neurons fire more than any natural images the researchers tested. As the images evolved, they started to look like distorted versions of real-world stimuli. The work appears May 2 in the journal Cell.

Heart damage from preterm birth may be corrected with exercise in young adulthood
Heart abnormalities caused by premature birth may be corrected with exercise in young adulthood, according to research presented today at EuroCMR 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Exercise may improve memory in heart failure patients
Two-thirds of patients with heart failure have cognitive problems, according to research presented today at EuroHeartCare 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Storm water banking could help Texas manage floods and droughts
A study by The University of Texas at Austin has quantified the amount of water flowing in major Texas rivers during heavy rains and found that there is enough room in coastal aquifers to store most of it. This discovery means that capturing and storing water could be a feasible option for partially mitigating floods and droughts, which are both expected to increase in frequency and intensity as the climate changes.

Fitness may affect risk of lung, colorectal cancer and survival likelihood after diagnosis
In a recent CANCER study, adults who were the most fit had the lowest risk of developing lung and colorectal cancer. Also, among individuals who developed lung or colorectal cancer, those who had high fitness levels before their cancer diagnosis were less likely to die compared with those who had low fitness levels.

Clinicians could prescribe fitness apps to help cancer survivor's exercise
Fitness apps could be prescribed by clinicians to help patients recovering from cancer increase their physical activity levels, new research in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship reports.

Twitter image colors and content could help identify users with depression, anxiety
Penn study shows users who score high on a depression and anxiety survey often post photos that are less aesthetically appealing, less vivid in color or display little depth of field

Older fathers put health of partners, unborn children at risk, Rutgers study finds
Men who delay starting a family have a ticking 'biological clock' -- just like women -- that may affect the health of their partners and children, according to Rutgers researchers.

A light matter: Understanding the Raman dance of solids
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Keio University investigated the excitation and detection of photogenerated coherent phonons in polar semiconductor GaAs through an ultrafast dual pump-probe laser for quantum interferometry.

Children and teens who drink low-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
US children and teens who consumed low-calorie or zero-calorie sweetened beverages took in about 200 extra calories on a given day compared to those who drank water, and they took in about the same number of calories as youth who consumed sugary beverages, according to a new study.

Program involving community volunteers shows promise for reducing health care use by seniors
Incorporating community volunteers into the health care system shows promise in reducing health care usage by older adults and shifting health care from hospitals to primary care, according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Opioid doctor and pharmacy 'shoppers' may also shop at home, study finds
As states crack down on doctor and pharmacy 'shopping' by people who misuse opioids, a new study reveals how often those individuals may still be able to find opioids to misuse in their family medicine cabinets. For every 200 patients prescribed opioids, one had a family member whose opioid-misuse problem led them to seek the drugs from multiple prescribers and multiple pharmacies.

Technology could help reduce exploitation of traditional weavers in Malaysia
An interdisciplinary team of researchers studied the supply chain of the songket fabric market in the Malaysian state of Terengganu. They believe the use of new, social technology could help weavers connect more directly with customers, reducing the need to deal exclusively with merchants.

Being wise is good for your health -- review looks at emerging science of wisdom
Can science measure what it means to be wise? A growing body of evidence suggests that wisdom is a complex concept that contributes to mental health and happiness, according to a review in the May/June issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Stephenson Cancer Center physician is senior author on major study
A gynecologic oncologist at the Stephenson Cancer Center at OU Medicine was a national leader of a newly published research study that reveals good news for women with ovarian cancer -- longer survival times plus a treatment option that causes fewer difficult side effects.

Odds of success
The more a student engages with various activities on campus, the higher their odds of success post-graduation. According to a study by researchers from the Higher School of Economics, not only academic but also research and social engagement, such as participation in student organisations and events, can be linked to the development of critical thinking skills which are essential for general well-being as well as career advancement.

Many patients with pancreatic cancer miss out on treatment that may extend survival
Despite potential for prolonging survival with treatment, one-third of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer do not see a medical oncologist, and even more do not receive cancer-directed treatment, found new research published in CMAJ.

Solvent additive-free ternary polymer solar cells with 16.27% efficiency
Recently, ternary PSCs with 16.27% efficiency were reported by Fujun Zhang's group, which has been published on the Science Bulletin in the form of Short Communication.

Philadelphia's sweetened drink sales drop 38% after beverage tax
One year after Philadelphia passed its beverage tax, sales of sugary and artificially sweetened beverages dropped by 38% in chain food retailers, according to Penn Medicine researchers who conducted one of the largest studies examining the impacts of a beverage tax. The results, published this week in JAMA, translate to almost one billion fewer ounces of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages -- about 83 million cans of soda -- purchased in the Philadelphia area.

Physician burnout costs the US health care system approximately $4.6 billion a year
Physician burnout is a substantial economic burden, costing the US health care system approximately $4.6 billion a year. Investing in strategies to reduce burnout may have economic benefits. Findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Artificial intelligence detects a new class of mutations behind autism
Using artificial intelligence, a Princeton University-led team has decoded the functional impact of regulatory DNA mutations in people with autism. The researchers believe this powerful method is generally applicable to discovering such genetic contributions to any disease.

A genomic tour-de-force reveals the last 5,000 years of horse history
Each year on the first Saturday in May, Thoroughbred horses reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour as they compete to win the Kentucky Derby. But the domestic horse wasn't always bred for speed. In fact, an international team now has evidence to suggest that the modern horse is genetically quite different from the horses of even just a few hundred years ago. Their work appears May 2, 2019 in the journal Cell.

Brain imaging lie detector can be beaten with simple techniques, research shows
This is a peer-reviewed observational study conducted in humans. Researchers have shown that a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) 'lie detector' test, which measures brain activity, can be 'deceived' by people using mental countermeasures. The study suggests that more should be done to detect mental countermeasures before using fMRI tests for forensic applications.

Hotspot in the genome may drive psychosis in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
A newly identified epigenetic hotspot for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may give scientists a fresh path forward for devising more effective treatments and biomarker-based screening strategies. More than 100 million people worldwide have either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, which are characterized by periods of hallucinations, delusions and irregular thought processes. They are both associated with overproduction of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a key regulator of reward-seeking behavior, emotional responses, learning and movement, among other functions.

A step for a promising new battery to store clean energy
Researchers have built a more efficient, more reliable potassium-oxygen battery, a step toward a potential solution for energy storage on the nation's power grid and longer-lasting batteries in cell phones and laptops.

Bottom-up approach can synthesize microscopic diamonds for bioimaging, quantum computing
In a paper published May 3 in Science Advances, researchers at the University of Washington, the US Naval Research Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced that they can use extremely high pressure and temperature to introduce specific types of chemical elements into the crystal lattice of nanodiamonds -- giving the microscopic diamonds properties that could be useful for cell and tissue imaging, as well as quantum communication and quantum computing.

A new method to select the right treatment for advanced prostate cancer
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified blood-based biomarkers that may determine which patients will benefit from continued hormonal therapy for advanced prostate cancer. The results are published in the journal JAMA Oncology. The researchers envision that this discovery may eventually result in a test that contributes to a more personalised treatment of the disease.

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