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Science News and Current Events for December 16, 2016


Fundamental solid state phenomenon unraveled
Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt and Technische Universität Dresden have made a pioneering discovery during their study of a phase transition from an electrical conductor to an insulator (Mott metal-insulator transition).
Bacteria control levels of dangerous pollutant in seabirds
Researchers have discovered that levels of mercury in seabirds off the coast of British Columbia have remained relatively stable over the past 50 years.
Certain high blood pressure drugs block cancer invasion
Researchers at the University of Turku, Finland have identified a new way of blocking the spread of cancer.
Outdoor recreation in protected areas negatively impacts wildlife
It's a good thing to explore the great outdoors. But a new study led by Colorado State University and the Wildlife Conservation Society found that recreation activities in protected areas are impacting wildlife.
Many muons: Imaging the underground with help from the cosmos
Alain Bonneville, a geophysicist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will present details on the muon detector for 'seeing' sequestered carbon dioxide and the comparative field tests at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
Penn study finds link between HIV treatment and neuronal degeneration
A study led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that certain protease inhibitors, among the most effective HIV drugs, lead to the production of the peptide beta amyloid, often associated with Alzheimer's disease, and may be the cause of cognitive problems.
World's smallest radio receiver has building blocks the size of 2 atoms
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have made the world's smallest radio receiver -- built out of an assembly of atomic-scale defects in pink diamonds.
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
Warning: surfing the internet in class is now linked to poorer test scores, even among the most intelligent and motivated of students.
AMP issues joint guideline to standardize interpretation and reporting of sequence variants in cancer
AMP has published guideline recommendations for both clinical laboratory professionals and oncologists that assess the status of next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based cancer tests and establish standardized classification, annotation, interpretation, and reporting conventions for somatic sequence variants.
Toward energy solutions for northern regions
Emphasis should be on the energy needs of companies and communities rather than locally available resources.
First data on rare sarcomas in Asian patients presented at ESMO Asia in Singapore
The first data on rare sarcomas in Asian patients is presented in three studies today at the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress in Singapore.
A cure for social anxiety disorders
Social phobia is the most common anxiety disorder of our time.
Artificial intelligence to predict odors
FAU chemists are developing an artificial intelligence application which can predict which molecule structures will produce or suppress specific odors.
Lowering cholesterol to 'levels of a newborn baby' cuts heart attack risk
Reducing our cholesterol levels to those of a newborn baby significantly lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new research.
Dr. Christine Faulkner awarded Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council
The European Research Council has awarded JIC Project Leader Dr.
Researchers develop new test, better understanding of deadly infection in boas and pythons
A newly published study in The Veterinary Journal sheds light on inclusion body disease, and may help veterinary care teams better protect the health of their populations of large snakes.
USDA announces $5 million in funds for smart technology innovations in agriculture
The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of up to $5 million for research to strengthen the science behind the next generation of internet-connected agricultural implements and resources through the Cyber Physical Systems program.
BMJ announces new partnership to support primary health care in China
BMJ, one of the world's leading health-care knowledge providers, has partnered with Guangdong Family Doctor Association to make their fully translated Chinese edition of BMJ Best Practice available to over two million primary health-care professionals across China.
COPD -- what causes the lungs to lose their ability to heal?
In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the patients' lungs lose their ability to repair damages on their own.
Frequent sauna bathing protects men against dementia
Frequent sauna bathing can reduce the risk of dementia, according to a recent study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland.
Graffiti for science
In a new feasibility study, a Swiss-German team of scientists with the participation of Jens Turowski, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam -- GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, shows how erosive processes can be visualized by simple painting on rocks in a mountain gorge in the Swiss Alps.
Children dying preventable deaths from congenital heart disease
Over one million children are born with congenital heart disease (CHD) each year, and 90 percent are born in poor regions with little or no access to care.
Rice, Baylor team sets new mark for 'deep learning'
Artificial intelligence and neuroscience experts from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have taken inspiration from the human brain in creating a new 'deep learning' method that enables computers to learn about the visual world largely on their own, much as human babies do.
Carbon dots dash toward 'green' recycling role
Nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots are used as electrocatalysts to reduce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to valuable hydrocarbons like ethylene and ethanol.
Pacific Northwest researchers to play key role in new Manufacturing USA Institute
PNNL and Oregon State University are part of the newest institute under the Manufacturing USA Initiative.
Rheumatology community applauds CMS's decision to scrap Part B payment demo
The American College of Rheumatology today applauded the decision from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) not to go forward with the agency's controversial Part B payment proposal, noting that the hard-fought outcome is good news for rheumatology patients who rely on Medicare Part B to access life-saving biologic therapies.
New graphene-based system could help us see electrical signaling in heart and nerve cells
Scientists have enlisted the exotic properties of graphene to function like the film of an incredibly sensitive camera system in visually mapping tiny electric fields.
Investigating kidney biomarkers to track lupus
To try to better understand how the disease begins and progresses, researchers at the University of Michigan investigated whether kidney biomarkers would signal lupus progression and signs of complications.
Internet data could boost conservation
Businesses routinely use internet data to learn about customers and increase profits -- and similar techniques could be used to boost conservation.
NRG-LU001 reaches patient accrual goal
NRG Oncology clinical trial NRG-LU001 successfully reached its accrual goal of 168 patients.
New diagnostic test kit offers easy identification of virulent pathogens in remote locations
A team of researchers has developed a portable detection system that can rapidly identify some of the most virulent, often multi-drug resistant pathogens.
NIST device for detecting subatomic-scale motion may aid robotics, homeland security
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed a new device that measures the motion of super-tiny particles traversing distances almost unimaginably small -- shorter than the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
Turning therapeutic antibodies inside-out to fight cancer
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have camels and llamas to thank for their development of a new cancer treatment that is highly selective in blocking the action of faulty matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).
Hookah tobacco labels are misleading, Roswell Park, UB researchers find
Label information on many hookah tobacco products is misleading and may be misinterpreted by consumers, according to new research on nicotine and pH levels in hookah tobacco.
HSE researchers uncover why morning people should not work at night
It has been known for a long time that early risers work less efficiently at night than night owls do.
Home visits uncover fuller picture of challenges among low-income adults with asthma
Nationally, the highest rates of asthma-related deaths and hospitalizations are among low-income minority adults, but most existing research doesn't focus on these patients.
Ultrafast lasers reveal light-harvesting secrets of photosynthetic algae
Using ultrafast lasers, Princeton scientists discovered a surprising mechanism of cryptophyte algae for extremely efficient light-harvesting that gives valuable insight for the design of artificial light capture systems.
Ocean temperatures faithfully recorded in mother-of-pearl
Mother-of-pearl or nacre (pronounced nay-ker), the lustrous, tough-as-nails biomineral that lines some seashells, has been shown to be a faithful record of ancient ocean temperature.
Simulation method helps combat climate change, boost energy supply
Researchers at Kyushu University developed a simulation method to predict the three-phase permeability of rock by oil, carbon dioxide, and water upon injection of high-pressure carbon dioxide for long-term carbon storage.
Early action key to reducing sea lion impacts on salmon, new study finds
A new study used the same kind of models that scientists use to track disease to instead examine how some California sea lions have learned to prey on salmon gathering to ascend fish ladders at Bonneville Dam.
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine honors trailblazers in their fields
Two legends in the Tufts and dental medicine communities will be honored with Dean's Medals from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine at a ceremony today.
Movable microplatform floats on a sea of droplets
A platform floating on tiny droplets, using hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces, could provide precise motion control for optical devices, MEMS and other systems.
What makes influential science? Telling a good story
Researchers from the University of Washington have found that scientific papers written in a more narrative style were more influential among peer-reviewed studies in the climate change literature.
Quantifying radiation damage in SAXS experiments
Biological small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is an experimental technique that provides low-resolution structural information on macromolecules.
Hubble 'cranes' in for a closer look at a galaxy
Spiral galaxy IC 5201 sits 40 million light-years from us in the Crane constellation.
This GI test could help patients avoid a hospital stay
Symptoms of possible upper GI bleeding are a leading cause of hospital admissions through emergency departments.
Listeria infections stable but frequently reported among the elderly
European experts have noted an increasing trend of listeriosis since 2008, but they highlight that the number of affected people stabilized from 2014 to 2015.
Scientists boost catalytic activity for key chemical reaction in fuel cells
New catalysts containing platinum and lead could improve the efficiency of fuel cells -- a promising technology for producing clean energy.
New bioinformatics tool tests methods for finding mutant genes that 'drive' cancer
Computational scientists and cancer experts have devised bioinformatics software to evaluate how well current strategies distinguish cancer-promoting mutations from benign mutations in cancer cells.
NASA sees some strength in Tropical Cyclone Vardah's remnants
After moving into the very warm waters of the southeastern Arabian Sea the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Vardah seemed to have regained some life.
Early surgery increases risk of death for some uterine cancer patients, Penn study finds
Delaying surgery after a diagnosis of uterine cancer can increase a women's risk of death, but operating too soon can be just as detrimental for some, Penn Medicine physicians report in a new study.
A potential pharmaceutical intervention for co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorder
Veterans with co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse disorder (SUD) who received the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine in addition to group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for their SUD had fewer PTSD symptoms and less craving and depression than those who underwent CBT alone, according to the findings of a randomized, controlled pilot trial recently reported by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H.
Tuberculosis virulence factor identified, may be target for new drug
Scientists have discovered the mechanism that hijacks the immune system's response to tuberculosis, revealing an important new drug target for the disease that kills more than 1 million people each year.
Dr. Sakamoto explains signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of diamond blackfan anemia
The results from this research have shed light on a previously undiscovered link between the well-studied p53 pathway and the lesser known pathways associated with ribosome biogenesis and nucleotide metabolism in DBA.
Method enables machine learning from unwieldy data sets
Last week at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and its Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems presented a new algorithm that makes the selection of diverse subsets much more practical.
Guards of the human immune system unraveled
Dendritic cells represent an important component of the immune system: they recognize and engulf invaders, which subsequently triggers a pathogen-specific immune response.

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