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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | December 21, 2015


Mount Sinai's Dr. Reddy demonstrates cost-effectiveness of Watchman device
Long-term analysis shows cost-effectiveness of WATCHMAN left atrial appendage closure device over warfarin and NOACs in reducing stroke risk in non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients.
'Pill mill' crackdown linked to fewer painkiller overdose deaths in Florida
A crackdown on Florida's 'pill mills' -- clinics dispensing large quantities of prescription painkillers often for cash-only and without proper medical examinations -- appears to have dramatically reduced the number of overdose deaths in the state from these drugs and may have also led to a drop in heroin overdose deaths, new research suggests.
New flow battery offers lower-cost energy storage
Renewable energy can be stored for less with PNNL's new organic aqueous flow battery, which uses inexpensive and readily available materials.
Methane emissions in Arctic cold season higher than expected
The amount of methane gas escaping from the ground during the long cold period in the Arctic each year and entering Earth's atmosphere is likely much higher than estimated by current climate change models.
A multitool for cells
Cells have an infallible sense of smell that tells them which direction to grow in to move closer to the source of a scent.
Milestone: First electrons accelerated in European XFEL
A crucial component of the European X-ray laser European XFEL has taken up operation: The so-called injector, the 45-meter long first part of the superconducting particle accelerator, has accelerated its first electrons to nearly the speed of light.
Epigenetic discovery suggests DNA modifications more diverse than previously thought
The world of epigenetics -- where molecular 'switches' attached to DNA turn genes on and off -- has just got bigger with the discovery by a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge of a new type of epigenetic modification.
Radial access used less than femoral approach for emergency angioplasty
Although using the radial artery as the access point for angioplasty has been linked to reduced bleeding compared to use of the femoral artery, only a small number of high-risk heart attack patients who undergo rescue angioplasty -- emergency procedures following failed therapy with clot-busting drugs -- are treated by radial access, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions.
2-year-olds adept at using touch-screen technology
Two-year-olds are adept at using touch-screens, and can swipe, unlock, and actively search for features on smartphones and tablets, finds a small study published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
New technique to examine how the brain categorizes images
Despite the obvious difference between a chihuahua and a doberman, the human brain effortlessly categorizes them both as dogs, a feat that is thus far beyond the abilities of artificial intelligence.
Botanical big data helping to predict how plant species will react to environmental change
Scientists are using a 'botanical big data' approach to predict how different plant species will respond to human-induced disturbances and environmental change in different ecosystems spanning the world's continents.
Surface physics: How water learns to dance
From pole dancing to square dance: Water molecules on perovskite surfaces show interesting patterns of motion.
Physics sheds light on stem cell-derived organoid growth and brain development
New mathematical models shed light on the complex interactions of stem cell function and molecular diffusion in neural tissue, which may help explain many phenomena from stem cell differentiation to the formation of the cortex of the brain.
Brain differences in premature babies who later develop autism
Extremely premature babies run a much higher risk of developing autism in later childhood, and even during the neonate period differences are seen in the brains of those who do.
Study finds that more than one-third of patients with metastatic cancer continue to work
A new analysis indicates that many patients continue working after being diagnosed with metastatic cancer, but a heavy burden of symptoms may prevent them from doing so.
Researcher wins Alzheimer's disease drug discovery award
Research that leads to improved therapies for Alzheimer's disease patients is one goal of Boston University School of Medicine professor of pharmacology and neurology Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D.
How graphic photos on cigarette packs help smokers consider quitting
A new study is the first to provide real-world evidence of the effectiveness of smoking warning labels that include graphic photos of the damage caused by regular tobacco use.
Road rumble strips are a wake-up call to pull over: QUT study
Drowsy drivers are being urged to stop and take a break the first time they hit a road rumble strip these school holidays, with new QUT research revealing the audio-tactile vibrations should be a wake-up call to pull over.
Pitt team finds circadian rhythm of genes in brain changes with aging
Examination of thousands of genes from nearly 150 human brains shows the circadian rhythm of brain gene activity changes with aging, according to a first-of-its-kind study from the University of Pittsburgh.
UTHealth awarded nearly $5.7 million for cancer research and prevention
The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas has awarded nearly $5.7 million in grants to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health.
Bones of obese children may be in trouble, UGA study finds
Studies have shown that obese children tend to have more muscle, but recent University of Georgia research on the muscle and bone relationship shows that excess body fat may compromise other functions in their bodies, such as bone growth.
A horse of a different color: Genetics of camouflage and the Dun pattern
Most horses today are treasured for their ability to run, work, or be ridden, but have lost their wild-type camouflage: pale hair with zebra-like dark stripes known as the Dun pattern.
A new twist in genetic switches
An important genetic switch operates through a mechanism revealed by molecular computer models at Rice University.
Team IDs brain circuit involved in party drug's antidepressant effect
A fast-acting medication without side effects is needed for depression, and a research finding from the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio may be one step toward such a novel medication.
Periodontal disease associated with increased breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women
Postmenopausal women with periodontal disease were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not have the chronic inflammatory disease.
Twisted magnetic fields give new insights on star formation
Highly detailed images from the Very Large Array show that magnetic field lines are twisted into new alignments as they are dragged inward toward forming stars.
Looking for the next superfood? When in Europe, search no further than black raspberries
A group of Polish researchers measured the content of phenolics and anthocyanins in black raspberries, red raspberries and blackberries, assessing their antioxidant potential and health benefits.
How LED lighting treatments affect greenhouse tomato quality
Purdue researchers collected physicochemical and sensory data in studies investigating the effect of supplemental light quantity and quality on greenhouse-grown tomatoes.
Mammal diversity exploded immediately after dinosaur extinction
The diversity of mammals on Earth exploded straight after the dinosaur extinction event, according to UCL researchers.
Immune suppressor cells identified for advanced prostate cancer
Immune suppressor cells called MDSCs (myeloid-derived suppressor cells) may be important in developing treatments for advanced prostate cancer, according to a study at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Timing of end-of-life discussions for patients with blood cancers
A majority of hematologic oncologists report that end-of-life discussions happen with patients with blood cancers too late, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
US Department of Energy awards $13.5 million to enhance sorghum for biofuel
The Danforth Center takes part in a multi-institutional research effort to improve sorghum as a sustainable source for biofuel production.
Creativity leads to measuring ultrafast, thin photodetector
Cornell graduate student Haining Wang came up with an inventive way of measuring the near-instantaneous electrical current generated using a light detector that he and a team of engineers made using an atomically thin material.
Confidence counts: Accuracy of eyewitness IDs increases with degree of certainty
Field study of police lineups suggests courts must pay attention to initial witness confidence ratings and police departments should continue using traditional, simultaneous procedure.
The scientific benefits of Rudolph's red nose
We're all familiar with the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L.
New study tests three-step intervention to increase faculty gender diversity in STEM
Workforce homogeneity limits creativity, discovery, and job satisfaction; nonetheless, eighty-one percent of US science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) university faculty members are men.
Evergreens at risk
In a broad analysis of climate change scenarios, researchers see a grim future for evergreen forests in the Southwest region of the United States.
Wasp larvae jump to the dark side
Jumping is not about fun and games for insect larvae.
Protein-protein interaction activates and fuels leukemia cell growth
Building upon previous research, scientists at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer report that a protein called Wnt5a acts on a pair of tumor-surface proteins, called ROR1 and ROR2, to accelerate the proliferation and spread of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells, the most common form of blood cancer in adults.
Rivers, lakes impact ability of forests to store carbon
Forests help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by storing it in trees, but a sizeable amount of the greenhouse gas actually escapes through the soil and into rivers and streams.
Chances of good outcome after stroke reduced by delays in restoring blood flow
Delays in restoring blood flow after a stroke were associated with decreased benefits of intra-arterial clot-busting treatment and reduced chances for a good outcome, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology.
New research shows same growth rate for farming, non-farming prehistoric people
Prehistoric human populations of hunter-gatherers in a region of North America grew at the same rate as farming societies in Europe, according to a new radiocarbon analysis.
High drowsy driving crash risk on daytime commute after night work
Those who commute home after working the night shift may be at high risk for drowsy driving crashes because of disruption to their sleep-wake cycles and insufficient sleep during the night
Wild bee decline threatens US crop production
The first national study to map US wild bees suggests they're disappearing in many of the country's most important farmlands.
New Kaiser Permanente survey shows email between patients and physicians improves health
A third of patients with chronic conditions who exchanged secure emails with their doctors said that these communications improved their overall health, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the American Journal of Managed Care.
Empathy with strangers can be learned
We can learn to empathize with strangers. Surprisingly positive experiences with people from another group trigger a learning effect in the brain, which in-creases empathy.
Bentham Science partners with Kudos
Bentham Science has made its research publications available on Kudos.
International study reveals new genetic clues to age-related macular degeneration
An international study has significantly expanded the number of genetic factors known to play a role in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.
Scientists discover rare sea snakes, previously thought extinct, off Western Australia
Scientists from James Cook University have discovered two critically endangered species of sea snakes, previously thought to be extinct, off the coast of Western Australia.
Battling obesity epidemic: New look at 'fat tax'
Small price differences at the point of purchase can be highly effective in shifting consumer demand from high calorie to healthier low calorie alternatives, according to a study in the Articles in Advance section of Marketing Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
Researchers identify mutations causing butterfly-shaped eye pigment dystrophy
A butterfly-shaped pigment accumulation in the macula of the eye, which can lead to severe vision loss in some patients, is due to mutations in the alpha-catenin 1 gene (CTNNA1), an international research consortium including a team from The Jackson Laboratory reports in Nature Genetics.
Penn researchers find heart attack patients not always receiving lowest-risk care
Physicians often treat heart attack patients with stents, which prop open the arteries to allow blood to flow again.
Wired for gaming: Brain differences in compulsive video game players
Brain scans from nearly 200 adolescent boys provide evidence that the brains of compulsive video game players are wired differently.
Simple physical mechanism for assembly and disassembly of structures inside cells
For the first time, scientists have demonstrated a simple charge-based mechanism for regulating the formation and dissolution of liquid-like structures that lack outer membranes inside cells.
PPPL physicists win Torkil Jensen award
Physicists Luis Delgado-Aparicio and Egemen Kolemen of the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have won a national scientific competition to conduct a full day of experiments on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that General Atomics operates in San Diego for the DOE.
Mothers-to-be and babies benefit from group prenatal care, study finds
Group prenatal care can substantially improve health outcomes for both mothers and their infants, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health has found.
Nature's unique way of controlling color explains why birds never go gray
Birds use sophisticated changes to the structure of their feathers to create multi-colored plumage, using a process that could pave the way for the creation of paints and clothing colors that won't fade over time.
Medical first: Discovery of warning symptoms for usually fatal heart rhythm malfunction
Although medical science has long regarded sudden cardiac arrest as a deadly condition that strikes without warning, a new study led by an associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute shows for the first time that many patients experience warning symptoms up to a month before having a cardiac arrest.
A call to regulate starvation of 'Paris thin' models
Prohibiting runway models from participating in fashion shows or photo shoots if they are dangerously thin would go a long way toward preventing serious health problems among young women -- including anorexia nervosa and death from starvation -- according to experts from Harvard T.H.
Living happily in a material world: Material purchases can bring happiness
In a recent study from the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers have shown that material purchases, from sweaters to skateboards, provide more frequent happiness over time, whereas experiential purchases, like a trip to the zoo, provide more intense happiness on individual occasions.
Container-grown conifers benefit from irrigation based on daily water use
Scientists quantified irrigation volume, runoff volume and nutrient content, and plant growth of container-grown conifers irrigated based on plant daily water use (DWU) vs. a standard irrigation rate.
Biochemical clues may predict who develops Alzheimer's disease -- and who doesn't
Investigators have wondered why the brains of some cognitively-intact elderly individuals have abundant pathology on autopsy or significant amyloid deposition on neuroimaging that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
Modeling COPD and asthma in a human small airway-on-a-chip
In a new study published in Nature Methods, a research team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University leveraged its organ-on-a-chip technology to develop a model of the human small airway in which lung inflammatory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the third leading cause of mortality worldwide, and asthma can be studied outside the human body.
UM pharmacy student earns immune system research funding
A hardworking University of Montana undergraduate student will spend the next two and half years studying the hardest-working cell in the human immune system.
Targeted alpha therapy's potential to eliminate HIV-infected cells
Targeted alpha therapy has the potential to selectively eliminate HIV infected cells from the central nervous system, according to a recent study co-authored by the JRC.
Two ERC Starting Grants and 1 ERC Consolidator Grant for IST Austria
Biochemist Martin Loose, Assistant Professor at IST Austria since January 2015, and developmental biologist Anna Kicheva, who joined IST Austria recently as Assistant Professor in November 2015, will be endowed with an ERC Starting Grant each.
NanoOK: Quality Control for portable, rapid, low-cost DNA sequencing
Scientists at TGAC have been putting Oxford Nanopore's MinION sequencer through its paces with an open-source, sequence alignment-based genome analysis tool called 'NanoOK.'
Aryeh Warmflash wins NSF CAREER Award
Rice bioscientist Aryeh Warmflash has won a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to advance his study of human embryonic development.
Vanderbilt study finds hypertension-related visits to emergency rooms on rise in US
The number and percentage of patients treated at emergency departments for hypertension are on the rise across the United States, according to a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study published recently in the American Journal of Cardiology.
Overeating and depressed? Yale team finds connection -- and maybe a solution
Chronic overeating and stress are tied to an increased risk of depression and anxiety, and in a new study, Yale researchers explain why that happens and suggest a possible solution.
New research shows decline in population and breeding success of Antarctic seabird
A fifty year study of the charismatic seabird, the southern giant petrel, on the Antarctic island of Signy shows its population has halved and its breeding success has declined in the last 10-20 years.
University of Exeter research explains the worldwide variation in plant life-histories
A 'window on the tree of life' created by a team which includes a University of Exeter researcher is helping to explain the worldwide variation in plant life-histories.
Scientists find genes that set into motion age-related macular degeneration
Teams of geneticists from nine countries, involving more than 100 scientists, analyzed the genes of more than 33,000 individuals in the hope of finding genetic variations responsible for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 or older.
New framework unlocks secret life of plants, with land management to benefit
Controlling invasive plant species and planting to withstand extreme events could be the big winners from a new international study led by University of Queensland researchers.
Speeding up brain's waste disposal may slow down neurodegenerative diseases
A study of mice shows how proteasomes, a cell's waste disposal system, may break down during Alzheimer's disease (AD), creating a cycle in which increased levels of damaged proteins become toxic, clog proteasomes, and kill neurons.
Low blood flow in back of brain increases risk of recurrent stroke
Patients who have had a stroke in the back of the brain are at greater risk of having another within two years if blood flow to the region is diminished, according to results of a multicenter study led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Study finds genetic convergence between cognition and neurodevelopmental disorders
For the first time, a study has demonstrated a genetic convergence between cognition and neurodevelopmental disorders in the human brain.
New device uses carbon nanotubes to snag molecules
Engineers at MIT have devised a new technique for trapping hard-to-detect molecules, using forests of carbon nanotubes.
Women experiencing delay in labor willing to forsake their own birth plans
Choice less important than safe delivery for women in this situation.
Ending chronic pain with new drug therapy
A brain region controlling whether we feel happy or sad, as well as addiction, is remodeled by chronic pain, reports a new study.
Neutrons offer guide to getting more out of solid-state lithium-ion batteries
A new study conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), has revealed promising results that could drastically boost the performance of solid-state electrolytes, and could potentially lead to a safer, even more efficient battery.
Rail line disruption set for dramatic increase as sea levels continue to rise
Rail services to and from the South West of England could be disrupted for more than 10 percent of each year by 2040 and almost one-third by 2100, a new study suggests.
Improving brain's garbage disposal may slow Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases
A drug that boosts activity in the brain's 'garbage disposal' system can decrease levels of toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders and improve cognition in mice, a new study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center has found.
TSRI and St. Jude scientists study single 'transformer' proteins with role in cancer
A new study led by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and St.
Protecting a few students from negative stereotypes benefits entire classroom
Interventions targeted at individual students can improve the classroom environment and trigger a second wave of benefits for all classmates, new research shows.
Best basil varieties for hydroponic greenhouse production
Researchers studied 35 basil cultivars grown in two hydroponic production systems: nutrient flow technique (NFT) and deep flow technique (DFT).
Almost three-quarters of weekend emergency care caseload linked to booze
Almost three-quarters of the weekend emergency care caseload is linked to excess alcohol intake, finds an activity analysis of one large inner city hospital in England, and published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.
Scientists find: Religion and politics led to social tension and conflict, then and now
Humans haven't learned much in more than 2,000 years when it comes to religion and politics.
New hybrid electrolyte for solid-state lithium batteries
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a novel electrolyte for use in solid-state lithium batteries that overcomes many of the problems that plague other solid electrolytes while also showing signs of being compatible with next-generation cathodes.
Parent touch, play and support in childhood vital to well-being as an adult
Did you receive affection, play freely and feel supported in childhood?
Peering under the hood into the workings of molecular motors
Understanding how tiny molecular motors called myosins use energy to fuel biological tasks like contracting muscles could lead to therapies for muscle diseases and cancers, says a team of researchers led by Penn State College of Medicine scientists.
Potatoes on Mars
A team of world-class CIP and NASA scientists will grow potatoes under Martian conditions in a bid to save millions of lives.
Understanding the wicked problem of climate change
Frank Incropera the H. Clifford and Evelyn A. Brossey Professor Emeritus of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and former Matthew H.
American College of Cardiology broadens mobile clinical app collection
The American College of Cardiology has launched a new STS/ACC TAVR In-Hospital Mortality Risk App and an extensively overhauled the ACC AnticoagEvaluator App, bolstering its expansive Clinical App Collection.
Vitamin A quells severity of preemie GI disease in mice
After observing that some gastrointestinal disease in premature human and mouse infants progresses only when certain immune system white blood cells go into inflammatory overdrive, Johns Hopkins researchers have found that giving large doses of vitamin A to mice converts those blood cells into inflammation suppressors and reduces the severity of the disease, compared to untreated mice.
Six PNNL scientists among select group of highly cited authors
Six scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are included in a new analysis of scientists whose work is cited most often by their peers.
Economic opportunity may have a significant effect on health behaviors and risks
A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found evidence that economic opportunity -- the prospect that individuals may be able to improve their economic status -- may have important effects on the health of a community.
Intelligence 'networks' discovered in brain for the first time
Scientists from Imperial College London have identified for the first time two clusters of genes linked to human intelligence.
Ben-Gurion U. researchers pinpoint child-pedestrian behaviors that lead to auto accidents
'These results can serve as a tool to construct a hazard perception training intervention for youngsters,' Meir says.
X-ray vision? Laser-derived X-ray method finds hidden nuclear materials
In proof-of-principle experiments, University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists used a laser-driven X-ray source to produce an image of a uranium disk no bigger than a stack of three nickels, hidden between 3-inch steel panels.
Eyes turn into skin: How inflammation can change the fate of cells
EPFL scientists have found that chronic inflammation can cause regenerating cells to grow into new, aberrant types; this is called metaplasia, and is a disorder linked to prolonged inflammation.
Melting sea ice increases Arctic precipitation, complicates climate predictions
The melting of sea ice will significantly increase Arctic precipitation, creating a climate feedback comparable to doubling global carbon dioxide, a Dartmouth College-led study finds.
'Metal' drugs to fight cancer
What is the mechanism of action of metal-based chemotherapy drugs (the most widely used for treating common cancers like testicular or ovarian cancer)?
Major European bioinformatics initiative ELIXIR embraces Open Science publishing
ELIXIR, a major initiative to develop the infrastructure needed to coordinate and sustain Europe's bioinformatics resources, is the latest organization to endorse Open Science by reporting their outputs on the open publishing platform F1000Research.
For low-risk pregnancies home births do not increase risk of complications
For women with low-risk pregnancies who plan to give birth at home with the help of a midwife, there is no increased risk of harm to the baby, compared with a planned hospital visit, according to new research in Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Bringing back transparency in drug regulations at Health Canada
Physicians, researchers and other members of the biomedical community in Canada should demand information on drug safety and effectiveness, argues Matthew Herder, law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Graduate students install diagnostic on NSTX-U
A system of antennas similar to those that astrophysicists use to study radio emissions from stars and galaxies will help shed light on fusion experiments at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
Normal weather drives salt marsh erosion
Coastal wetlands are in retreat in many locations around the globe -- raising deep concerns about damage to the wildlife that the marshes nourish and the loss of their ability to protect against violent storms.
Auroral mystery solved: Sudden bursts caused by swirling charged particles
A Japanese supercomputer model revealed that the rotation of plasma creates electrical currents in the near-Earth space, ultimately triggering auroral breakups.
New laptop program can identify drug resistance from bacterial genomes
Software, developed by Dr Zamin Iqbal and colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, runs on a standard laptop or tablet without the need for any specialist expertise.
Mathematics for child health
The researchers set out to develop a methodology for identifying patient subgroups with significant differences in terms of response to certain treatments, specifically two types of chemotherapy, DEXA and MEDROL.
Scientist awarded £500,000 to address food portion sizes and obesity
Dr. Eric Robinson from the University of Liverpool's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society has been awarded a Medical Research Council grant to research the effect food portion size has on energy intake.
Sudden cardiac arrest may not be so sudden
According to an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine, sudden cardiac arrest may not be an entirely unexpected event.
Salty sea spray affects the lifetimes of clouds, researchers find
Ice particles from sea spray affect the phase structure of clouds and their radiative impacts, a new study from Colorado State University reveals.
New target for potential blood cancer treatment
Mutations present in a blood cancer known as follicular lymphoma have revealed new molecular targets for potential treatments, according to researchers at Queen Mary University of London together with collaborators at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
US approval for bleeding disorder drug
'VONVENDI,' the new drug from Baxalta Incorporated, has just been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

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