Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 05, 2016
Protein subunit found to rescue afflicted neurons in Huntington's disease
Using an experimental co-culture approach in which two different types of neurons from a mouse model of Huntington's disease (HD) are grown side-by-side, connecting to form critically impacted circuits, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have identified a subunit of a protein that, when expressed, reverse the mutated gene effects responsible for HD.

From DNA to disease, study describes rare, new brain disorder
In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists shows how mutations in the gene GPT2 lead to a rare developmental and potentially degenerative brain disease.

Young people exposed to vaping ads less likely to think occasional smoking bad for health
Exposure to advertisements for e-cigarettes may decrease the perceived health risks of occasional tobacco smoking, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge, prompting concern that this may lead more young people to experiment with smoking.

Tulane researchers find other layers of immunity in TB/HIV co-infections
Tulane University researchers found some monkeys whose immune systems are depleted by the simian strain of HIV have a second line of defense against tuberculosis.

Nitrogen emissions in Latin America should be monitored, experts insist
BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations and Latin American countries are generally the main sources of reactive nitrogen emissions in the form of ammonia and nitrous oxide, among others, due to fossil fuel burning, the use of nitrogen fertilizer, and untreated sewage.

A gene defect as a potential gateway for targeted prostate cancer therapy
The loss of CHD1, one of the most frequently mutated genes in prostate tumors, sensitizes human prostate cancer cells to different drugs, including PARP inhibitors.

New study suggests women do ask for pay rises but don't get them
New research from the Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin shows that women ask for wage rises just as often as men, but men are 25 percent more likely to get a raise when they ask.

Scientists discover what extraordinary compounds may be hidden inside Jupiter and Neptune
Scientists from MIPT's Computational Materials Discovery Lab have discovered that the depths of Uranus, Neptune and their satellites may contain extraordinary compounds, such as Carbonic and Orthocarbonic acids (the latter also known as Hitler's acid).

Biobank storage time as important as age
The amount of time a blood sample used for medical research has been stored at a biobank may affect the test results as much as the blood sample provider's age.

Lizard study finds global warming data not enough to predict animal extinction
Current models used to predict the survival of species in a warming world might be off target because they ignore the spatial distribution of shade.

Grassland tuned to present suffers in a warmer future
One of the longest-running, most comprehensive climate change experiments produced some surprises.

Study opens door to targeted treatments for esophageal cancer
Scientists have discovered that esophageal cancer can be classified into three different subtypes, paving the way for testing targeted treatments tailored to patients' disease for the first time.

Multi-million pound research project to examine the resilience of the UK pig industry
More than £2 million has been awarded to scientists at the University of Lincoln, UK, to lead the most comprehensive study of the British pig industry ever conducted.

During drought, dry air can stress plants more than dry soil
Newly published research finds that low relative humidity in the atmosphere is a significant, growing and often under-appreciated cause of plant stress in hot, dry weather conditions.

Brain circuit that drives sleep-wake states, sleep-preparation behavior is identified
Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have identified a brain circuit that's indispensable to the sleep-wake cycle.

First gravitational waves form after 10 million years
If two galaxies collide, the merging of their central black holes triggers gravitational waves, which ripple throughout space.

High quality evidence suggests vitamin D can reduce asthma attacks
A new Cochrane Review, published in the Cochrane Library today and presented at the ERS International Congress, has found evidence from randomised trials, that taking an oral vitamin D supplement in addition to standard asthma medication is likely to reduce severe asthma attacks.

Deaths from ovarian cancer decline worldwide due to oral contraceptive use
Deaths from ovarian cancer fell worldwide between 2002 and 2012 and are predicted to continue to decline in the USA, European Union and, though to a smaller degree, in Japan by 2020, according to new research published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology.

Good microcirculation indicates increased lifespan
In the CIAO (Cilento Intitiative on Aging Outcome) pilot study, on some of the oldest people of the world, researchers discovered that the perfusion of organs and muscles of the centenarians was as efficient as that in people who were 30 years younger.

An exceptional palaeontological site going back 100,000 years is unearthed in Arrasate
A multidisciplinary UPV/EHU team made up of researchers from the Department of Geography, Prehistory and Archaeology and from the Department of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology has presented the discovery of the new Artazu VII site located in the Kobate Quarry in Arrasate.

Study: Future drought will offset benefits of higher CO2 on soybean yields
An eight-year study of soybeans grown outdoors in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere like that expected by 2050 has yielded a new and worrisome finding: Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations will boost plant growth under ideal growing conditions, but drought -- expected to worsen as the climate warms and rainfall patterns change -- will outweigh those benefits and cause yield losses much sooner than anticipated.

New genus of bacteria found living inside hydraulic fracturing wells
Researchers analyzing the genomes of microorganisms living in shale oil and gas wells have found evidence of sustainable ecosystems taking hold there -- populated in part by a never-before-seen genus of bacteria they have dubbed 'Frackibacter.'

Increased risk of pneumococcal pneumonia with hospital admission during school holidays
A study presented Sept. 6, 2016, at this year's European Respiratory Society International Congress in London, UK, shows that adults admitted to hospital during school holidays are 38 percent more likely to have pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia than those admitted during term time.

Proposal for first validating antibody specificity strategies to publish in Nature Methods
The International Working Group on Antibody Validation (IWGAV), an independent group of international scientists with diverse research interests in the field of protein biology, today announced the publication of initial strategies developed to address a critical unmet need for antibody specificity, functionality and reproducibility in the online issue of Nature Methods.

European earthworms decrease species diversity in North America
European earthworms invading the forests of North America are responsible for a decline in species diversity in the forest understory.

Browsing antelope turned ancient African forests into grassy savanna ecosystems
By comparing the timing of the evolution of thorns on about 2,000 woody tree species in southern Africa and the time that antelopes arrived in Africa, a group of scientists found that trees like African acacias evolved thorns as a defense mechanism at exactly the same time that antelope arrived in Africa.

Device rapidly measures growth of single cells simultaneously
A new technique invented at MIT can precisely measure the growth of many individual cells simultaneously.

Warmer, wetter climate would impair California grasslands
Scientists from Rice University, Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science said data from one of the world's longest-running climate-change experiments show that California grasslands will become less productive if the temperature or precipitation increases substantially above average conditions from the past 40 years.

Butterflies: Agonistic display or courtship behavior?
A study shows that contests of butterflies occur only as erroneous courtships between sexually active males that are unable to distinguish the sex of the other butterflies.

Helpers for energy acquisition from plants
Research into plant cells is far from complete. Scientists under the biochemist Professor Peter Dörmann at Universität Bonn have now succeeded in describing the function of chloroplasts in more detail.

Biochemists' discovery could lead to vaccine against 'flesh-eating' bacteria
Biochemists at the University of California San Diego have uncovered patterns in the outer protein coat of group A Streptococcus that could finally lead to a vaccine against this highly infectious bacteria -- responsible for more than 500,000 deaths a year, including toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis or 'flesh-eating disease.'

Early life exposure to antibiotics is related to increased risk of allergies later in life
Research presented Sept. 6, 2016, at this year's European Respiratory Society International Congress in London, UK, shows that exposure to antibiotics early in life is related to increased risk of developing allergies later in life.

Gamblers more prone to violent behavior
Men who gamble are more likely to act violently towards others, with the most addicted gamblers the most prone to serious violence.

Latest ocean warming review reveals extent of impacts on nature and humans
Ocean warming is affecting humans in direct ways and the impacts are already being felt, including effects on fish stocks and crop yields, more extreme weather events and increased risk from water-borne diseases, according to what has been called the most comprehensive review available on the issue, launched today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

CNIO scientists have discovered a specific molecular biomarker for malignant melanoma
Melanoma is one of the types of cancer that poses the greatest challenge to researchers because it manifests itself in many ways, it contains a large number of mutations and displays high metastatic capacity.

Study: Earth's carbon points to planetary smashup
Research by Rice University Earth scientists suggests that virtually all of Earth's life-giving carbon could have come from a collision about 4.4 billion years ago between Earth and an embryonic planet similar to Mercury.

The Lancet: Benralizumab injections reduce exacerbations in severe, uncontrolled asthma, according to 2 trials
A year's course of benralizumab injections has led to a significant decrease in the frequency of asthma exacerbations -- cutting the rate of exacerbations by a third to a half compared with placebo among people with the most severe form of asthma, according to two phase 3, double-blind, randomized controlled trials including more than 2,500 patients in total.

Heavy burden of EHRs could contribute to physician burnout
For every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly two additional hours is spent on electronic health records (EHRs) and other clerical work within the clinic day.

New HIF-2 kidney cancer therapy more effective than current treatment, study shows
A new class of drugs called HIF-2 inhibitors is more effective and better tolerated than the standard of care drug sunitinib in treating kidney cancer, researchers with the Kidney Cancer Program at Harold C.

Harvard conference Sept. 10: Emerging technologies and global development
This conference aims to examine emerging technologies that could address global grand challenges, review their disruptive characteristics, identify potential sources of social concern, and outline business models and public policies on how to address those concerns.

Promising drug leads identified to combat heart disease
Using a unique computational approach to rapidly sample, in millisecond time intervals, proteins in their natural state of gyrating, bobbing, and weaving, a research team from UC San Diego and Monash University in Australia has identified promising drug leads that may selectively combat heart disease, from arrhythmias to cardiac failure.

Resolution of inflammation: The missing key to improve heart failure prognosis?
Heart failure places a heavy social and economic burden in modern societies.

Obesity linked to improved survival in kidney
Obesity almost always increases cancer risk and worsens outcomes, but researchers led by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that overweight patients with advanced kidney cancer had significantly longer survival than those who were normal or underweight.
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