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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | May 12, 2015


The £6.5 million Track to the Future rail project underway
The University's Institute of Railway Research will constructing new test facilities to focus on developing switches and crossings that 'last longer and require much less maintenance.'
Aclidinium bromide/formoterol in COPD: Added benefit for certain patient groups
Patients with COPD grade III with no more than one flare-up per year and grade II patients benefit from the new drug combination.
All NASA eyes on Tropical Storm Dolphin
Three NASA satellite instruments took aim at Tropical Storm Dolphin.
CU Anschutz researchers create microscope allowing deep brain exploration
A team of neuroscientists and bioengineers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have created a miniature, fiber-optic microscope designed to peer deeply inside a living brain.
MRI shows potential to improve breast cancer risk prediction
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides important information about a woman's future risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study.
Many fixed-dose drug combinations in India lack central regulatory approval
Fixed-dose drug combinations which have not received central regulatory approval are sold in substantial numbers in India -- despite concerns over the safety and efficacy of these combinations -- according to new research led by Queen Mary University of London and published in PLOS Medicine.
U-M researchers take step toward bringing precision medicine to all cancer patients
Researchers have developed and tested a new tool that searches for the most common genetic anomalies seen in cancer.
A metal composite that will (literally) float your boat
Researchers have demonstrated a new metal matrix composite that is so light that it can float on water.
Feds approve wider testing of spinach defenses against citrus greening disease
In a landmark step in the fight against citrus greening disease, the US Environmental Protection Agency has approved Southern Gardens Citrus' application for an Experimental Use Permit under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
New national database of coastal flooding launched
Scientists have compiled a new database of coastal flooding in the UK over the last 100 years, which they hope will provide crucial information to help prevent future flooding events.
A sobering thought: 1 billion smokers and 240 million people with alcohol use disorder, worldwide
A new study published today in the journal Addiction has compiled the best, most up-to-date evidence on addictive disorders globally.
Quantum 'gruyères' for spintronics of the future
They are 'strange' materials, insulators on the inside and conductors on the surface.
Probing the secrets of the universe inside a metal box
An international team of scientists has designed and tested a magnetic shield that is the first to achieve an extremely low magnetic field over a large volume.
Ants' movements hide mathematical patterns
When ants go exploring in search of food they end up choosing collective routes that fit statistical distributions of probability.
Breakthrough in tinnitus research could lead to testable model
Investigators from the University at Buffalo and other institutions have made a major breakthrough that provides new insights into how tinnitus, and the often co-occurring hyperacusis, might develop and be sustained.
Focus on the regional impact of climate change
The recently published Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin makes an important contribution to understanding variations in the climate.
siRNA-toting nanoparticles inhibit breast cancer metastasis
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University combined finely crafted nanoparticles with one of nature's potent disrupters to prevent the spread of triple-negative breast cancer in mouse models.
Drug perks up old muscles and aging brains
We age, in part, because the adult stem cells in our tissues are surrounded by chemicals that prevent them from replacing damaged cells.
Malaria testing yet to reach its potential
In a study published this month in Malaria Journal, researchers from Uppsala University and other institutions present a new model for systematically evaluating new malaria treatment programs in routine conditions across multiple countries.
Can diet and exercise prevent muscle loss in old age?
Scientists at the University of Southampton have shown that although some studies find diet can enhance the effects of exercise to prevent muscle loss in later life, current evidence about what works is inconsistent.
Public health advisories linked with reduction of codeine dispensing to postpartum women
Public health advisories from the US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada were associated with significant reductions in the rate of dispensing of codeine to postpartum women, according to a study in the May 12 issue of JAMA.
Climate change attitudes are reflected on social networks
People who believe in climate change have more Facebook friends than those who do not consider climate change a problem.
Controlling swarms of robots with a finger
Using a smart tablet and a red beam of light, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have created a system that allows people to control a fleet of robots with the swipe of a finger.
Cause of regression in individuals with Down syndrome identified
Down syndrome, the most common chromosomal disorder in America, can be complicated by significant deterioration in movement, speech and functioning in some adolescents and young adults.
Dartmouth team devises use of food dye, near infrared light to aid in breast resection
Investigators at t Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and Norris Cotton Cancer Center devised a novel approach to perform near infrared (NIR) optical measurements of resected breast tissue after the margins have had their traditional marking by the surgeon to preserve information about their orientation for potential follow-up surgeries.
Wetlands continue to reduce nitrates
Wetlands created 20 years ago between tile-drained agricultural fields and the Embarras River were recently revisited for a new two-year University of Illinois research project.
Wearing red can make you appear angry and dominant
Men who wear red clothes send out a signal that they are angry and aggressive, in much the same way as if their face had reddened, new research suggests.
A gap year does not weaken study success
A gap year between high school and the start of university studies does not weaken young people's enthusiasm to study or their overall performance once the studies have commenced.
Dedicated scientists and volunteers working to better understand now rare abalone species
David Witting, a NOAA Fisheries biologist, has been working to restore abalone populations for over a decade.
Nothing fishy about new way to produce sunscreen pill and lotion
Scientists from Oregon State University have discovered that fish can produce their own sunscreen.
Gender difference in vital cell count of HIV patients
Male HIV patients in rural South Africa reach the low immunity levels required to become eligible for antiretroviral treatment in less than half the time it takes for immunity levels to drop to similar levels in women, according to new research from the University of Southampton.
Political talk on Facebook mirrors political talk offline
Researchers found political discussions conducted on social networking sites like Facebook mirror traditional offline discussions and don't provide a window into previously untapped participants in the political process.
Six times more expensive to travel by car than by bicycle: Study
It is six times more expensive for society -- and for you individually -- if you travel by car instead of cycling.
Men benefit from vaccinating girls against HPV but remain at risk of some cancers
Men benefit indirectly from vaccinating girls against human papillomavirus, but remain at risk of cancers associated with the virus, finds a study from The Netherlands published in The BMJ this week.
Artificial photosynthesis: New, stable photocathode with great potential
A HZB team has developed a new composite photocathode for generating hydrogen using sunlight.
Using microbial communities to assess environmental contamination
A study sponsored by ENIGMA, a DOE 'Scientific Focus Area Program' based at the Berkeley Lab has found that statistical analysis of DNA from natural microbial communities can be used to accurately identify environmental contaminants and serve as quantitative geochemical biosensors.
College readiness declines when school's focus is improving test scores, study finds
Standardized testing, school accountability measures negatively affect college readiness and learning at a Texas high school when teachers focus on improving mandated test scores.
Smoking and angioplasty: Not a good combination
Quitting smoking when you have angioplasty is associated with better quality of life and less chest pain.
Call for more research on how aquatic life affects the structure and function of freshwater systems
Scientists at Stroud Water Research Center, studying how the biological composition of a stream affects its form and function, will present a special session, calling for more research on this topic, during the Society of Freshwater Sciences 2015 annual meeting.
Unique program to use social media to develop computer model for Ebola spread
Identifying and tracking individuals affected by the Ebola virus in densely populated areas presents a unique and urgent set of challenges in public health surveillance.
NetSage tool will help us understand big data networks
Every day, scientists around the world rely on robust data networks to share petabytes of data with their colleagues.
Exogenous microRNAs in maternal food pass through placenta, regulate fetal gene expression
In a new study published in the Protein & Cell, Chen-Yu Zhang's group at Nanjing University reports that small non-coding RNAs in maternal food can transfer through placenta to regulate fetal gene expression.
Study shows role of disease-fighting cells in HIV-related neurological damage
A new study details how and when disease-fighting macrophages and monocytes enter different areas of the brain during HIV infection, where these cells appear in conjunction with the onset of neurological damage.
Research finds differences in the brains and behavior of girls and boys with autism
New research conducted by the UC Davis MIND Institute on a large cohort of preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder has found differences in the underlying biology of their brains, and in their behavior, that may help explain how the condition affects a little-studied and poorly understood population of children: girls.
Prenatal exercise lowers risks of C-sections, higher birth weights
Pregnant women who exercise can significantly lower the risk of undergoing cesarean sections and giving birth to large babies, a University of Alberta study has found.
Bacterial communities can act as precise biosensors of environmental damage
A multidisciplinary group of US-based researchers has shown that the mixture of species found within natural bacterial communities in the environment can accurately predict the presence of contaminants such as uranium, nitrate, and oil.
The weakest magnetic field in the solar system
Magnetic fields easily penetrate matter. Creating a space practically devoid of magnetic fields thus presents a great challenge.
A helping paw for a sinking rat
Rats have more heart than you might think. When one is drowning, another will put out a helping paw to rescue its mate.
Seasonal immunity: Activity of thousands of genes differs from winter to summer
Our immune systems vary with the seasons, according to a study led by the University of Cambridge that could help explain why certain conditions such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis are aggravated in winter whilst people tend to be healthier in the summer.
Bacteria the newest tool in detecting environmental damage
A team of researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a method of using bacteria to help test for the presence of a wide array of pollutants.
New device provides chikungunya test results in an hour
Health workers now have a quick way to detect the presence of the chikungunya (CHIKV) virus within an hour, rather than waiting for results of laboratory tests that take days, or even weeks.
Using decisional bias as an implicit measure of moral judgment
A recently published article in Archives of Scientific Psychology explores moral development in terms of children's eyewitness identification.
Tweaking the beak: Retracing the bird's beak to its dinosaur origins, in the laboratory
Scientists have successfully replicated the molecular processes that led from dinosaur snouts to the first bird beaks.
Mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services for policy and decision making
The new collaborative EU Horizon 2020 funded project 'ESMERALDA -- Enhancing ecosystem services mapping for policy and decision making' looks into the needs of policy and decision-makers to provide flexible methodologies and tools for sustainable management of ecosystems and the services they provide.
OUP announces the publication of 'our story' as it has never been told before
'Origins,' by Jim Baggott, tells the story of creation from the big bang to human civilization as it has never been told before.
Shifting winds: An early warning for reduced energy
According to a new study in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Chinook winds can precede large shifts in wind power output from wind farms -- a challenge for companies seeking to provide a constant stream of green energy to consumers.
E-skin and pocket-sized diagnostic machines give patients the power back
Wearable e-skin that can measure heart rate and blood pressure, and paper diagnostic machines the size of a credit card that can give instant readings on blood and saliva samples are two new bio-sensing technologies presented at Elsevier's 4th International Conference on Bio-Sensing Technology in Lisbon, Portugal on May 12, 2015.
Fracking may affect air quality and human health
People living or working near active natural gas wells may be exposed to certain pollutants at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure.
Tests with Sandia's Davis gun aid B61-12 life extension effort
Sandia National Laboratories successfully completed a three-test series with its cannon-like Davis gun.
How the presence of conservation researchers affects wildlife
In a study that compared three sites within the Dja Conservation Complex in Cameroon, Africa, investigators found that the presence of a conservation research project acts as a deterrent to chimpanzee and gorilla poachers, and community awareness and involvement in research lead to an increased value of apes and intact forests to local people, thus limiting hunting practices.
From heart attacks to cancer: What role do long, non-coding RNAs play?
About 70 percent of our genes provide the blueprint for biomolecules whose function is only now being discovered -- non-coding RNAs.
UNSW researchers discover how the brain balances hearing between our ears
UNSW researchers have answered the longstanding question of how the brain balances hearing between our ears, which is essential for localizing sound, hearing in noisy conditions and for protection from noise damage.
Study finds repetitive brain injuries may accelerate aging, dementia risk
Repetitive head injuries that occur during contact sports and military service may accelerate the aging process by increasing the build-up of beta-amyloid in the brain, leading to worse disease and an increased likelihood of developing dementia.
Huntington's disease monkeys display progressive clinical changes and neurodegeneration
A preclinical, large animal model of Huntington's disease for assessing new therapeutics, which could ultimately provide better treatment options, possibly including altering the course of the disease.
Nerve cells in the fast lane
Researchers from Bonn and Bochum have identified in what way a specific form of dopamine producing cells is generated and which networks it forms in the course of brain development.
Louisiana Tech University contributing to FAA Center of Excellence, UAS research
Louisiana Tech University will play an important role in the future of commercial unmanned aircraft research and development as part of a national team of leading universities that comprise the Federal Aviation Administration's Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
Researchers theoretically demonstrate detection of spin of atoms at room temperature
For the first time, a researcher at the University of Waterloo has theoretically demonstrated that it is possible to detect a single nuclear spin at room temperature, which could pave the way for new approaches to medical diagnostics.
Many fixed-dose drug combinations in India lack central regulatory approval
Fixed-dose drug combinations that have not received central regulatory approval are sold in substantial numbers in India, despite concerns over the safety and efficacy of these combinations, according to new research published this week in PLOS Medicine.
Scientists regenerate bone tissue using only proteins secreted by stem cells
Scientists have discovered a way to regrow bone tissue using the protein signals produced by stem cells.
Fractures, fossils and fumaroles: GSA Rocky Mountain section meeting
Geoscientists from the across the Rocky Mountain region and beyond will convene in Casper, Wyoming, on 21-23 May to discuss hot-topic science, expand on current findings, and explore the region's unique geologic features.
Bragging: Researchers find self-promotion often backfires
Bragging to coworkers about a recent promotion, or posting a photo of your brand new car on Facebook, may seem like harmless ways to share good news.
Psychotic hallucinations, delusions rarely precede violence
Mass shootings at the hands of unhinged loners - such as those in Aurora, Colo.; Santa Barbara, Calif., and Newtown, Conn.
New insights into the male bias of autism
Male toddlers with autism have significant structural differences in their brains compared to females with the condition, according to research published in the open-access journal Molecular Autism.
Study shows how E. coli thrive in patients with inflammatory bowel disease
The survival and proliferation of usually harmless Escherichia coli in the gut of inflammatory bowel disease patients may now be better understood, as researchers have defined a fundamental mechanism through which the bacteria can thrive during flare-ups.
A trigger that likely unleashes autoimmune disease
Australian researchers believe they have discovered a group of cells that trigger autoimmune disease, as well as the molecular 'trigger guard' that normally holds them in check.
Campaign to reduce the harms of too much medicine comes to the UK
A US initiative to get doctors to stop using interventions with no benefit is being launched in the UK this week.
Deciphering the neural code that links food to aging
Diet exerts a major impact on health and aging. The nervous system plays an important role in this process but, thus far, how food signals are interpreted by the nervous system has been a mystery.
Rethinking the rebound: Unexpected effects of rejection
It's portrayed in movies again and again -- a character gets rejected by someone attractive and then falls willingly into the arms of someone perhaps less attractive.
Male hormones help lemur females rule
Lemur girls behave more like the guys, thanks to a little testosterone, finds a new study.
Unraveling the mystery of a-synuclein in neurodegenerative disease and reversing its course
A team of neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center has shown how a protein, known to accumulate in Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, activates the brain's immune response.
The mighty seed
Restoring diverse vegetation along the Atlantic seaboard after devastating hurricanes or replanting forests after destructive wildfires rests mightily upon one tiny but important ingredient: the seed.
Brazilian beef industry moves to reduce its destruction of rain forests
Expansion of cattle pastures has led to the destruction of huge swaths of rain forest in Brazil, home to the world's largest herd of commercial beef cattle.
Delta Cephei's hidden companion
To measure distances in the Universe, astronomers use Cepheids, a family of variable stars whose luminosity varies with time.
Challenges of developing obstetric medicines discussed in scientific opinion paper
The development of new drugs for use in obstetrics is long overdue.
UTSA geoscientists prepare for October trip to the Arctic
In October, UTSA College of Sciences faculty members Stephen Ackley and Blake Weissling wlll travel to the Arctic as a part of a project funded by the Office of Naval Research to study the diminishing ice cover.
New study shows Antarctic ice shelf is thinning from above and below
A decade-long scientific debate about what's causing the thinning of one of Antarctica's largest ice shelves is settled this week with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.
Ana becomes first 2015 Atlantic tropical storm and weakens ashore
On May 9, 2015, at 1626 UTC (12:26 PM EDT) the GPM satellite flew over when ANA was making the change from subtropical storm to tropical storm.
Seven in 10 take early pension payout
As governments and corporations around the world face pension shortfalls, a groundbreaking study in Croatia by a team of US researchers explores the likelihood and circumstances under which people will accept partial payouts.
Kissing cousins, arranged marriages and genetic diversity
In the first study of its kind, a research team led by Massey University professor Murray Cox et al., in a publication in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, has examined the effects of arranged marriages on genetic diversity.
Inconsistent Medicaid expansion would widen disparities in screenings for women's cancers
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researchers recently conducted a study that found low-income and uninsured women in states that are not expanding their Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid coverage are less likely to receive breast and cervical cancer screenings compared to states that are implementing expansions.
Mining pollution alters fish genetics in southwest England
Pollution from historic mining activities in south west England has led to a reduction in genetic diversity of brown trout according to new research from the University of Exeter.
Baby talk: Babies prefer listening to their own kind
A McGill University/UQAM research team has discovered that six-month-old infants appear to be much more interested in listening to other babies than they are in listening to adults.
Molecular switch that promotes heart cell maturation discovered
The difficulty in getting stem cells to mature into more adult-like heart cells has hindered the search for regenerative treatments for hearts damaged by disease.
Survival from rare bone cancer remains low
Among the deadliest cancers is a rare malignancy called mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, which begins in cartilage around bones and typically strikes young adults.
Finding should enhance treatments that stop immune system attack
Scientists at the University of Manchester have made an important discovery about an immune cell which is already being used in immunotherapy to treat diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
Medical journals should not avoid political issues that have a bearing on health
Criticism of Israeli government policy 'is not ipso facto antisemitic, and to label it as such is a tactic to stifle debate,' argue leading doctors in an editorial in The BMJ this week.
Joslin research discovery provides insight into development of autoimmunity
Joslin researchers have uncovered the action of a gene that regulates the education of T cells, providing insight into how and why the immune system begins mistaking the body's own tissues for targets.
NASA funds SwRI instrument to date moon and Mars rocks
NASA has approved $2.6 million to advance development of Southwest Research Institute's (SwRI) Chemistry, Organics, and Dating Experiment instrument.
Bacteria shown to suppress their antibiotic-resistant cousins
Researchers studying a dangerous type of bacteria have discovered that the bacteria have the ability to block both their own growth and the growth of their antibiotic-resistant mutants.
Debate: Is the long term use of psychiatric drugs harmful?
The benefits of psychiatric drugs have been exaggerated and the harms underplayed due to poor trial designs, argues one expert in The BMJ.
French researchers develop new device to collect bed bugs
Researchers in France have developed a new tool for collecting bed bugs for research purposes.
Astrophysicists prepare weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system
Using sensitive observations from the Kepler space telescope, astronomers have uncovered evidence of daily weather cycles on six extra-solar planets seen to exhibit different phases.
World's largest dietary intervention study of cocoa flavanols
Led by JoAnn Manson, M.D., Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dr.
No lotions needed: Many animal species produce their own sunscreen
Researchers have discovered why many animal species can spend their whole lives outdoors with no apparent concern about high levels of solar exposure: they make their own sunscreen.
How do neurons and blood vessels 'talk' to each other?
Neurons and blood vessels often traverse the body side by side, a fact observed as early as the 16th century.
Peter Lodahl receives prestigious ERC Advanced Grant
Peter Lodahl, professor and head of the Quantum Photonics research group at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, has received a large and prestigious grant from the European Research Council, the ERC Advanced Grant.
New research will help forecast bad ozone days over the western US
New research published in Nature Communications led by NOAA and our Princeton University partners reveals a strong connection between high ozone days in the western US during late spring and La Niña, an ocean-atmosphere phenomena that affects global weather patterns.
Ex-Super Typhoon Noul's final warning issued by Joint Typhoon Warning Center
Noul is expected to be near Tokyo Tuesday night with strong winds and heavy rain.
Plant breeder boosts soybean diversity, develops soybean rust-resistant plant
It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety ('Dwight' Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and other pathogens of soy.
Ocean head count: Scientists develop new methods to track ocean biodiversity
How can you track changes in complex marine ecosystems over time?
Family genetics study reveals new clues to autism risk
A study of almost 2,400 children with autism, their parents and unaffected siblings has provided new insights into the genetics of the condition.
Alcohol treatment programs prove effective in cutting reoffending, study shows
Offenders enrolled in alcohol treatment programs as part of their sentence are significantly less likely to be charged or reconvicted in the 12 months following their program, a study led by Plymouth University has shown.
Baboons prefer to spend time with others of the same age, status and even personality
Latest research shows that, within large troops, baboons spend more time grooming those with similar dominance rank and boldness to themselves.
Significant progress made towards individualized cancer immunotherapy
Mainz-based researchers have made significant advances with regard to the development of individualized immunotherapy strategies for treating cancer.
Scientists unravel the mystery of the tubulin code
Driving down the highway, you encounter ever-changing signs -- speed limits, exits, food and gas options.

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