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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | November 23, 2016

Mutant prion protein could help reveal neurodegenerative disease mechanisms
For the first time, scientists have isolated a mutated prion protein that can multiply in the lab but not in living animals, according to a PLOS Pathogens study.
How to protect your laptop -- even when it's asleep
Hypnoguard is a powerful new software system developed by Concordia University researchers to safeguard data even when computer is in sleep mode.
Cancer signaling pathway could illuminate new avenue to therapy
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Carbone Cancer Center have better defined a pro-growth signaling pathway common to many cancers that, when blocked, kills cancer cells but leaves healthy cells comparatively unharmed. The study, published Nov.
Screen to beam technology: The rise of haptic interfaces
Haptic interfaces have been readily adopted because of their intuitive ease of use and convenience.
Biologist awarded diabetes research prize for studies of fat cells
Columbia University has awarded the 2016 Naomi Berrie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diabetes Research to Peter Arner, M.D., Ph.D., a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Karolinska Institute, whose studies on the turnover of fat tissue in the human body has revealed processes that contribute to obesity and diabetes.
Grow more crops at the same time
By growing more crops at the same time, organic vegetable farmers can reduce nitrogen loss to the aquatic environment and reduce the need to apply fertilizer in the subsequent year, according to research from Aarhus University.
NASA sees Tropical Storm Otto heading toward landfall in Central America
Satellites are keeping track of late-season Tropical Storm Otto as it threatens Central America.
Countdown to the space mission 'Solar Orbiter'
Around five years ago, a team led by a physicist from Kiel University, Professor Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, won the coveted tender for providing instruments to be placed on board the 'Solar Orbiter' space probe.
Your dog remembers what you did
People have a remarkable ability to remember and recall events from the past, even when those events didn't hold any particular importance at the time they occurred.
New study reveals when West Antarctica's largest glacier started retreating
Reporting this week in the journal Nature an international team led by British Antarctic Survey explains that present-day thinning and retreat of Pine Island Glacier, one of the largest and fastest shrinking glaciers of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is part of a climate trend that was already underway as early as the 1940s.
Researchers run largest known transparent checkpointing process
A team of researchers led by Jiajun Cao, a Ph.D.
Diet quality low but steadily improving among US kids
An analysis of diet quality among more than 38,000 US children shows that nutrition for the nation's kids has been getting steadily better in recent years, but what they eat is still far from ideal and disparities persist by income, race and receipt of government food assistance.
Imaging technique measures toxicity of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's proteins
A new super-resolution imaging technique allows researchers to track how surface changes in proteins are related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Which cropping system is best for the environment?
Early sown winter wheat, where the straw is removed every second year and used in biorefining, is the best of six different cereal cropping systems with regard to total environmental impact.
New Rhein concludes successful investment in Chase Pharmaceuticals via sale to Allergan
New Rhein Healthcare Investors LLC ('New Rhein'), an investment firm focused on health-care therapeutics and medical devices, today announced it has successfully concluded its investment in Chase Pharmaceuticals through the sale of this portfolio company to Allergan plc.
What messages do female birds' markings send?
Both male and female birds use traits like plumage brightness to size each other up, but a new study on Northern Cardinals in The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows that the meanings of female birds' markings may vary from one place to another, even within the same species.
Coconut crab claws pinch with the strongest force of any crustacean
The claws of coconut crabs have the strongest pinching force of any crustacean, according to a study published Nov.
JNeurosci: Highlights From the Nov. 23 issue
Check out these newsworthy studies from the Nov. 23, 2016, issue of JNeurosci.
Antarctic explorers help make discovery -- 100 years after their epic adventures
Heroes of Antarctic exploration have played a crucial role in research that suggests the area of sea ice around Antarctica has barely changed in size in 100 years.
Changes in the diet affect epigenetics via the microbiota
Researchers have known for some time that diet affects the balance of microbes in our bodies, but how that translates into an effect on the host has not been understood.
Thinning and retreat of West Antarctic glacier began in 1940s
New research by an international team shows that the present thinning and retreat of Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is part of a climatically forced trend that was triggered in the 1940s.
Study suggests home-based telemental health delivers better quality of life for veterans
Home-based telemental health for depression is well received by patients and delivers as good a quality of life as in-person visits, according to the results of a clinical trial in 241 depressed elderly veterans reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry by investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H.
Highest out-of-pocket cancer spending for Medicare patients without supplement
Which Medicare beneficiaries shoulder the highest out-of-pocket costs after a cancer diagnosis?
Harnessing the power of predatory bacteria as a 'living antibiotic'
A naturally occurring predatory bacterium is able to work with the immune system to clear multi-drug resistant Shigella infections in zebrafish, according to a study published today in Current Biology.
Major finding identifies nitrogen as key driver for gut health
Scientists are one step closer to understanding the link between different diet strategies and gut health, with new research presenting the first general principles for how diet impacts the microbiota.
Starch from yeast
Researchers at ETH Zurich have produced starch in yeast -- the first time this has been achieved in a non-plant organism.
Did comets kick-start life on Earth? (video)
The origins of life on Earth are still shrouded in mystery.
Creative activities promote day-to-day wellbeing
Everyday creative activity may lead to an 'upward spiral' of increased wellbeing and creativity in young adults, new research from New Zealand's University of Otago suggests.
Study in rats finds low blood alcohol levels have no effect on total calories consumed
Laboratory rats will drink alcohol if it's available, and may even get a little tipsy, researchers report in a new study.
Catch up on cancer news at ESMO ASIA 2016
The ESMO Asia 2016 Congress announces its press program today.
The eye has it: Vitreous gel could hold clues to visual impairment
Research is underway at Rochester Institute of Technology that will give scientists a better understanding of the vitreous humor, or gel, that fills the eye and could lead to advances in the treatment of vision disorders, drug delivery and eye surgery.
Medicare beneficiaries face high out-of-pocket costs for cancer treatment
Beneficiaries of Medicare who develop cancer and don't have supplemental health insurance incur out-of-pocket expenditures for their treatments averaging one-quarter of their income with some paying as high as 63 percent, according to results of a survey-based study published Nov.
TGen awarded $200,000 by NVIDIA Foundation to accelerate its technology
Faster and more precise information about how best to treat cancer patients should be possible thanks to a $200,000 Compute the Cure grant announced today from the NVIDIA Foundation to the Translational Genomics Research Institute.
New quantum states for better quantum memories
How can quantum information be stored as long as possible?
Alcohol may increase risk of some types of stroke but not others
Light and moderate alcohol consumption of up to two drinks per day is associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke but seems to have no effect on a person's risk of hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.
Biomarker identified to aid in prognosis of pediatric ependymomas
A multi-institutional group of researchers, led by investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Michigan, have identified a simple and inexpensive tool for assessing the prognosis of pediatric brain tumors called ependymomas.
Sealing properties and its influence factors of spherical mechanical seal
The spherical mechanical seal which can automatically adjust the contact state of sealing surfaces is proposed to replace the frequently used plane mechanical seal in order to solve the problems that when a marine stern shaft is bent with shafting misalignment and stern bearing wear factors, etc., the sealing properties of a plane mechanical seal is declined with the increase of both contact pressure and temperature of sealing surface.
Crowdsourced data can help researchers study earthquakes
A new study on how people feel the effects of earthquakes illustrates the value that members of the public can add to the scientific research process.
For wearable electronic devices, NIST shows plastic holes are golden
A NIST research team has come up with a way to build safe, nontoxic gold wires onto flexible, thin plastic film.
Individual cognitive processing therapy had better PTSD improvement
Individual sessions of cognitive processing therapy -- a trauma-focused treatment that teaches patients more balanced thinking about traumatic events -- were better at reducing the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder in active-duty military members, although group sessions also were effective, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Hurricane risk to northeast USA coast increasing, research warns
The Northeastern coast of the USA could be struck by more frequent and more powerful hurricanes in the future due to shifting weather patterns, according to new research.
DNA analysis of bluebird feces reveals benefits for vineyards
Do bluebirds nesting in California's vineyards help grape growers by eating agricultural pests, or hurt them by eating insects that are beneficial?
High intake of saturated fats linked to increased coronary heart disease risk
Consumption of major saturated fatty acids increases coronary heart disease risk, and these should be replaced with unsaturated fats, whole grain carbohydrates or plant proteins, as part of an effective preventive approach, suggests a large study published by The BMJ today.
Researchers develop soft, microfluidic 'lab on the skin' for sweat analysis
A Northwestern University research team has developed a first-of-its-kind soft, flexible microfluidic device that easily adheres to the skin and measures the wearer's sweat to show how his or her body is responding to exercise.
Educational intervention improves rate of knee replacement among black patients
A decision aid that consisted of a video that describes the risks and benefits of total knee replacement surgery significantly increased the rate of this surgery among black patients, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery.
Compounds produced by phytopathogenic microbes encourage plant growth
A broad range of microorganisms, including phytopathogenic fungi and bacteria, are capable of producing volatile compounds that encourage plant growth, flowering and the accumulation of reserve substances.
Researchers put mouse embryos in suspended animation
UC San Francisco researchers have found a way to pause the development of early mouse embryos for up to a month in the lab, a finding with potential implications for assisted reproduction, regenerative medicine, aging, and even cancer, the authors say.
Missed connections: As people age, memory-related brain activity loses cohesion
Groups of brain regions that synchronize their activity during memory tasks become smaller and more numerous as people age, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.
Consuming high amounts of saturated fats linked to increased heart disease risk
Consuming high amounts of four major saturated fatty acids -- found in red meat, dairy fat, butter, lard, and palm oil -- may increase risk of coronary heart disease.
Break a sweat: Wearable sweat tech offers new way to track health
A sweat-sensing skin patch that connects wirelessly with a smartphone may soon be able to track health during exercise and warn against dehydration.
Long-term remuneration of German board members could have a more lasting effect
In Dax and MDax-listed companies, long-term remuneration generally takes the shape of cash and not shares, reveals a study by PwC and Goethe University Frankfurt.
Study suggests that parental health behaviors may influence children's sleep
A new study indicates that children's sleep duration may be influenced by parental sleep duration and confidence, which suggests that efforts to address insufficient sleep among children may require family-based interventions.
New tool to show advertising revenue generated by each Facebook user
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, as part of a European research project, have developed a new software tool which allows Facebook users to visualize the advertising revenue they generate while browsing in this online social network.
$2 million grant to help youngest students learn science
Using a four-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Michigan State University scholars plan to help teachers across the nation introduce science to the youngest students.
Aqua plantation for strawberries and RUDN student Margarita Romanets' gold medal for
Intensive block aqua plantation for strawberries and RUDN student Margarita Romanets' gold medal for
Scientists trace 'poisoning' in chemical reactions to the atomic scale
A combination of experiments, including X-ray studies at Berkeley Lab, revealed new details about pesky deposits that can stop chemical reactions vital to fuel production and other processes.
New Neiman Institute study evaluates national trends in enteral access procedures
According to a new study by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, the last two decades have seen a substantial decline in new enteral access procedures in the Medicare population.
Uncovering the secrets of friction on graphene
Researchers have uncovered the secrets of friction on two-dimensional materials such as graphene and boron nitride.
Future PM2.5 air pollution over China
There is a long way to go to mitigate future PM2.5 pollution in China based on the emission scenarios.
Lowest stroke rates in older baby boomers; younger people rising
Stroke rates continue to decline in people 55 and older, while more than doubling in those between 35 and 39.
Suicide rates drop among members of White Mountain Apache tribe
Deaths by suicide among the White Mountain Apache in Arizona dropped by nearly 40 percent between 2006 and 2012 compared to the previous six-year period, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the tribe finds.
Molecular chameleons reveal bacterial biofilm
A research team lead by Karolinska Institutet have synthesized a new compound that is set to shine a light on the clandestine life of infectious bacteria.
Stop playing seek-and-hide with latent HIV
A group of researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in collaboration with scientists at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, have developed a new technology that sheds light on the HIV infection and will boost research for drug development.
Huge reduction in African dust plume impacted climate 11,000 years ago
Researchers from MIT, Yale University, and elsewhere now report that the African plume was far less dusty between 5,000 and 11,000 years ago, containing only half the amount of dust that is transported today.
ASH announces 2017 Scholar Award recipients
The American Society of Hematology today announced the recipients of its 2017 Scholar Awards.
Should parents lie to children about Santa?
In an essay in the Lancet Psychiatry, psychologist Christopher Boyle and mental health researcher Kathy McKay question the benefits of making children believe in Father Christmas.
Depression prevalence in patients with mild cognitive impairment
Depression commonly occurs in patients with mild cognitive impairment and a new review of the medical literature suggests an overall pooled prevalence of 32 percent, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Active-duty military find PTSD relief through individual cognitive therapy
Although both group and individual therapy can ease post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in active-duty military service members, individual therapy relieved PTSD symptoms better and quicker, according to a study led by a Duke University School of Medicine researcher.
Malaria elimination in Sub-Saharan Africa predicted to be possible under right conditions
Malaria elimination in historically high transmission areas like southern Africa is possible with tools that are already available, provided those tools are deployed aggressively -- according to new research published in PLOS Computational Biology.
Genomics reveals hen harrier is 2 distinct species
Deemed as one species spread across different continents, scientists confirm that the Eurasian hen harrier and the American Northern harrier are in fact two distinct species.
Study supports lower cut-off point for defining prediabetes
The health risks and mortality associated with prediabetes seem to increase at the lower cut-off point for blood sugar levels recommended by some guidelines, finds a large study published in The BMJ today.
Pioneers in IVC filter removal
New, pioneered techniques on IVC filter removal are published in the November issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology by the interventional radiology team at Rush.
TSRI scientists develop vaccine against fatal prescription opioid overdose
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have developed a vaccine that blocks the pain-numbing effects of the opioid drugs oxycodone (oxy) and hydrocodone (hydro) in animal models.
Writing an equation for soil success
Assessing soil physical quality can save time and money. It can help steer away from soils that wouldn't help crops grow their best.
Health diagnosis through bio-signal measuring electrodes on IoT devices
A DGIST research team developed electrodes that can measure biological signals.
Greater job satisfaction for transgender employees
Transgender individuals in the workplace can sometimes feel stigmatized, either through the actions and attitudes of their coworkers, or through their own fears of being treated as an 'other.' But recent research from Larry Martinez at Portland State University shows that the experiences of employees who transition genders is highly dependent on the interactions they have with their coworkers.
Incoming Regenstrief Institute president Embi named chair-elect of AMIA board of directors
Peter J. Embi, M.D., M.S., who joins the Regenstrief Institute as president and CEO on Dec.
Jean-Claude Kieffer and François Légaré honored by the Royal Society of Canada
Professors Jean-Claude Kieffer and François Legaré from INRS's Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications were honored at the Royal Society of Canada's (RSC) Induction and Awards Ceremony, held at the Isabel Bader Centre in Kingston on Nov.
DNA influences selection of partners for educational achievement
A study co-led by the University of East Anglia has found that people with genes for high educational achievement tend to marry, and have children with, people with similar DNA.
Electronic tracking of song birds shows roads and urban features influence their choice of gardens
Birds prefer to fly between the gardens of leafy suburban neighborhoods to visit bird feeders than city terraces or new-build estates.
Study shows low-dose chemotherapy regimens could prevent tumor recurrence in some cancers
Conventional, high-dose chemotherapy treatments can cause the fibroblast cells surrounding tumors to secrete proteins that promote the tumors' recurrence in more aggressive forms, researchers have discovered.
Molecular chameleons reveal bacterial biofilms
Molecules that change color can be used to follow in real-time how bacteria form a protective biofilm around themselves.
Gut's microbial community shown to influence host gene expression
Writing online this week in the journal Molecular Cell, a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison describes new research helping tease out the mechanics of how the gut microbiome communicates with the cells of its host to switch genes on and off.
Substantial percentage of patients surveyed report new visual symptoms following LASIK surgery
In a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology, Malvina Eydelman, M.D., of the US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Md., and colleagues examined the frequency of patient-reported visual symptoms, dry eye symptoms, satisfaction with vision, and satisfaction with laser insitu keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery in the Patient-Reported Outcomes With LASIK (PROWL) studies.
Three UCSB faculty members named 2016 AAAS Fellows
A biologist, an engineer and a computer scientist are among the newest members of the prestigious organization.
New online pharmacy research journal uses open-access publishing to increase dissemination
The University of Huddersfield launches new British Journal of Pharmacy showcasing the latest global research.
Ames Laboratory scientists create first intermetallic double salt with platinum
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are being credited with creating the first intermetallic double salt with platinum.
Colorful clones: Researchers track development and behavior of individual blood stem cells
Two independent research teams, one led by David Scadden, HSCI co-director and Gerald and Darlene Jordan Professor of Medicine at Harvard University, and the other by his colleague Leonard Zon, HSCI Executive Committee member and director of the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children's Hospital, adapted a color-based, cell labeling technique to the blood system to better understand how blood stem cells behave.
Jet lag and obesity share similar pathways to liver cancer
Since 1980, the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, has nearly tripled, and obesity related liver disease is one of the driving forces behind the increasing number of cases.
World of viruses uncovered
A groundbreaking study of the virosphere of the most populous animals has uncovered 1,445 viruses, revealing people have only scratched the surface of the world of viruses -- but it is likely that only a few cause disease.
Generation X at greater risk of stroke than baby boomers, Rutgers study finds
Older baby boomers -- those born between 1945 and 1954 -- can proudly boast a new label: the 'stroke-healthiest generation,' according to a Rutgers study that found the lowest incidence of ischemic stroke in this age group within the past 20 years.
In highly lethal type of leukemia, cancer gene predicts treatment response
Patients with the most lethal form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) -- based on genetic profiles of their cancers -- typically survive for only four to six months after diagnosis, even with aggressive chemotherapy.
Internet of Things (IoT) will demand a step-change in search solutions
A recent article published in IEEE Intelligent Systems highlights the requirements the IoT will place on search engines and brings together the latest research being carried out in this field.
VIB scientists discover neuron-producing stem cells in the membranes covering the brain
In a cross-domain study directed by professor Peter Carmeliet, researchers discovered unexpected cells in the protective membranes that enclose the brain, the so called meninges.
Current evidence does not support vitamin D supplements to prevent disease
Current evidence does not support the use of vitamin D supplements to prevent disease, conclude researchers in The BMJ today.
Climate model predictions are telling a consistent story
Global wheat production will decrease by more than five percent with each 1°C increase in the global temperature.
Nylon fibers made to flex like muscles
MIT engineers create artificial muscles out of ordinary nylon fibers, providing a very simple and low-cost system for producing bending motions.
Hopping to the frontier
A common species of Asian tree frog may actually be two separate species according to new genetic data collected by an international group of scientists.
Going beyond genetics yields clues to challenging childhood brain cancer
When traditional sequencing yielded no genetic drivers, pediatric cancer researchers identified changes at the epigenetic level that suggest a critical marker for predicting prognosis.
Aviation enhancements, better biosensors could result from new sensor technology
Piezoelectric sensors measure changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain or force and are used in a vast array of devices important to everyday life.
Benzodiazepine and related drug use increases hip fractures in persons with Alzheimer's disease
The use of benzodiazepines and related drugs increases the risk of hip fracture by 43 percent in persons with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.
Experts call for fair vaccine pricing, not 'random acts of charity'
Drug companies should stop using donations to atone those who cannot afford expensive vaccines and instead lower prices, argue experts in The BMJ today.
Just add water: New discovery in plant-disease mechanism
New research led by plant scientists at Michigan State University has found that too much rain, coupled with prolonged high levels of humidity, can result in more plant disease.
Stuttering related to brain circuits that control speech production
Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles have conducted the first study of its kind, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to look at brain regions in both adults and children who stutter.
Fibroblasts could provide new target for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
A study led by researchers at the University of Birmingham reveals the key role of different types of fibroblast cells in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, opening up a new avenue for research into treatment of the disease.

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