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Science News and Current Events for February 20, 2017


An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
A tiny snail may offer an alternative to opioids for pain relief.
Changes of supermassive black hole in the center of NGC 2617 galaxy
Scientists have been studying changes in the appearance of emission from around the supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy known to astronomers as NGC 2617.
Sepsis risk prediction model decreases use of antibiotics in newborns
Kaiser Permanente, the largest integrated health system in the nation, led the development of a neonatal sepsis risk calculator that has safely reduced antibiotic use by nearly 50 percent in newborns, according to research published today in JAMA Pediatrics.
Research reveals how the brain remembers fearful experiences
Scientists reveal for the first time the specific patterns of electrical activity in rat brains that are associated with specific memories, in this case a fearful experience.
Differences in the rhetorical styles of candidates in the 2016 US presidential election
A new paper published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities reveals and quantifies dramatic differences in the speaking styles of candidates in the 2016 United States presidential election.
High-sensitivity cameras reveal the atomic structure of metal-organic frameworks
Sensitive cameras enable high-resolution transmission-electron microscopy imaging of the atomic structure of metal-organic frameworks.
UBC study links slot-machine addiction to immersion in the game
Gamblers who feel like they enter into a trance while playing slot machines are more likely to have gambling problems, according to new research from the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC.
Buying green doesn't make you green: QUT study
Company bosses need to walk-the-walk when it comes to greening their business with technology, with new QUT research finding that just buying green IT, doesn't make you green.
New approach to cervical cancer care in Botswana cuts treatment lag time in half
Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for women low- and middle-income countries, including Botswana, where 75 percent of cervical cancer patients suffer from advanced forms of the disease.
Novel plasma jet offshoot phenomenon explains blue atmospheric jets
Physicists working with plasma jets, made of a stream of ionised matter, have discovered a new phenomenon.
Fifth of world's food lost to over-eating and waste, study finds
Almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste, a study suggests.
Pitt study finds potential marker of drug response in many cancer types
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have uncovered a novel genetic mechanism of thyroid cancer, as well as a marker that may predict response to a particular class of drugs, not just in patients with thyroid cancer, but in those with many other types of cancer as well.
Autistic researcher tries to smooth the way for other autistic professionals
The study, led by autistic Portland State researcher Dora Raymaker, aims to determine what helps autistic people do well professionally by interviewing 95 autistic people and those who work with them.
Experiments call origin of Earth's iron into question
New research from The University of Texas at Austin reveals that the Earth's unique iron composition isn't linked to the formation of the planet's core, calling into question a prevailing theory about the events that shaped our planet during its earliest years.
Many cancer survivors change their prescription drug use for financial reasons
A new analysis indicates that many cancer survivors change their prescription drug use (including skipping doses or requesting cheaper medications) for financial reasons.
UT mole study shows anyone can be backyard scientist
Scientific findings are awaiting discovery in your backyard. The requirement?
More black police won't result in fewer police-involved homicides of black citizens
Hiring more black police officers is not a viable strategy for reducing police-involved homicides of black citizens in most cities, according to new Indiana University research that is the first in-depth study of this increasingly urgent public policy question.
Tiny nanoclusters could solve big problems for lithium-ion batteries
As devices become smaller and more powerful, they require faster, smaller, more stable batteries.
A novel positioning algorithm based on self-adaptive algorithm
Much attention has been paid to the Taylor series expansion (TSE) method these years, which has been extensively used for solving nonlinear equations for its good robustness and accuracy of positioning.
Same-sex marriage legalization linked to reduction in suicide attempts among teens
The implementation of state laws legalizing same-sex marriage was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of suicide attempts among high school students -- and an even greater reduction among gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.
Osaka University and Otsuka tie up for comprehensive collaboration
Osaka University and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. signed a comprehensive collaboration agreement for advanced research in immunology between the Osaka University Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) and Otsuka.
Industry funding biases drug trial studies in favor of sponsors' products
Industry-sponsored studies are more likely to favour products of pharmaceuticals and medical devices than non-industry funded research, a new Cochrane Library Review reveals today.
Only one-third of parents think they are doing a good job helping kids eat healthy
If you know healthy eating is important for your kids but you also feel like it's easier said than done, you're not alone.
Winners and losers: Climate change will shift vegetation
Projected global warming will likely decrease the extent of temperate drylands by one-third over the remainder of the 21st century coupled with an increase in dry deep soil conditions during agricultural growing season.
Unlocking crop diversity by manipulating plant sex
Researchers have discovered a key gene that influences genetic recombination during sexual reproduction in wild plant populations.
Cutting-edge cameras reveal the secret life of dolphins
A world-first study testing new underwater cameras on wild dolphins has given researchers the best view yet into their hidden marine world.
Cedars-Sinai investigators identify human brain processes critical to short-term memory
Cedars-Sinai neuroscientists have uncovered processes involved in how the human brain creates and maintains short-term memories.
Scientists explore the evolution of a 'social supergene' in the red fire ant
Scientists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered that the chromosome responsible for the social organisation of colonies of the highly invasive fire ant is likely to have evolved via a single event rather than over time.
Doctors' biases mean black men don't get the same treatment in healthcare
Black men likely don't get the same healthcare treatment that white men do because of doctors' biases and fear of black men, according to a new qualitative study.
Switched-on DNA
DNA, the stuff of life, may very well also pack quite the jolt for engineers trying to advance the development of tiny, low-cost electronic devices.
Moth gift: Winner of an eBay auction thanks his mother by naming a new species after her
Winner of an eBay auction Steve Mix received the opportunity to pick the name for a new species of satiny-white winged moth collected from the white gypsum dunes of the White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.
Majority of opioid medications not safely stored in homes with children, survey finds
Nearly 70 percent of prescription opioid medications kept in homes with children are not stored safely, a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds.
Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain
Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by sharp, lancinating pain in the teeth or facial area.
Metabolism drives growth and division of cancer cells
Nobel Prize laureate Otto H. Warburg observed in the 1920s that tumor cells radically change their metabolism.
Family focused interventions for at risk children and youth
A new special section published in the journal Child Development includes articles from 12 sets of experts on how interventions can be developed to maximize resilience among children experiencing adversity and improve outcomes for their families as well.
Barriers and opportunities to mainstreaming of a national digital health program
A new study led by the University of Glasgow reports on key barriers and facilitators to implementing a digital health programme -- and provides recommendations to move the field forward.
Basking sharks seek out winter sun
The winter habits of Britain's basking sharks have been revealed for the first time.
Mercury in fish, seafood may be linked to higher risk of ALS
Eating fish and seafood with higher levels of mercury may be linked to a higher risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.
Cars and chlamydia killing Queensland koalas
Being hit by cars and chlamydia were the top causes of a dramatic rise in south-east Queensland koala deaths over the past two decades, according to a new University of Queensland-led study.
University of Missouri recruiting children, adults with autism for landmark genetic study
University of Missouri's Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders already has enrolled 2,500 individuals with autism and their family members in the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge (SPARK) project, the nation's largest autism study, but researchers are continuing to search for more participants.
Origin of spooky meteor noises reappraised by Sandia researchers
Sound travels more slowly than light. Then why does the sound of a meteor entering Earth's atmosphere appear simultaneously, or even prior, to the sight of the meteor itself?
Selenium deficiency promoted by climate change
As a result of climate change, concentrations of the trace element selenium in soils are likely to decrease.
Fluorescence method detects mercury contamination in fish
Researchers from the University of Burgos (Spain) have developed a fluorescent polymer that lights up in contact with mercury that may be present in fish.
Sanaria's PFSPZ vaccine achieves durable protection against heterologous malaria infection in a clinical trial
In a PNAS report published today, 'Sanaria's PfSPZ Vaccine Achieves Durable Protection Against Heterologous Malaria Infection in a Clinical Trial,' investigators from NIAID, NIH and the U.
Online daters ignore wish list when choosing a match
Despite having a 'wish list' stating their preference for potential ideal matches, most online daters contact people bearing no resemblance to the characteristics they say they want in a mate, according to QUT research.
Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality
Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.
Poaching drives 80 percent decline in elephants in key preserve
Forest elephant populations in one of Central Africa's largest sanctuaries have declined between 78% and 81% because of poaching, a new Duke-led study finds.
MS treatment that 'resets' immune system may halt disease progression for at least 5 years
A type of treatment for multiple sclerosis that 'resets' the immune system may stop progression of the disease in nearly half of patients.
Pest ant control improved with water-resistant bait
Pest ants like the red imported fire ant could be controlled more effectively with insecticide baits that can withstand moisture, say researchers with the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS).
Understanding how HIV evades the immune system
Monash University (Australia) and Cardiff University (UK) researchers have come a step further in understanding how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) evades the immune system.
Biomarker predicts poor prognosis in African-Americans with triple-negative breast cancer
Having high levels of a certain biomarker is linked to poor prognosis in African-American patients with triple-negative breast cancer, while the same biomarker doesn't influence disease outcomes in white patients, according to a new study.
Waste silicon sawdust recycled into anode for lithium-ion battery
By recycling silicon sawdust, researchers have created a high performance anode material.
Augsburg Master Builders' Ledgers now available online
Historians at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have spent three years working on an annotated digital edition of the account books known as the Augsburg Master Builders' Ledgers, which are now online.
AAP, Vanderbilt neonatologist urge public health approach for opioid use during pregnancy
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement today stating that a public health response, rather than a punitive approach, is needed to address the increasing number of pregnant women using opioids.
Long-term heavy drinking may age arteries over time
Heavy alcohol drinking habits over the years may prematurely age arteries, especially in men, putting them at an increased risk for heart disease, compared to consistently moderate drinkers.
VTT's vision of the era of smart and consumer-centric food production
We are moving into the era, where food production and digitization will merge to form a new food economy.
Growing number of teens think getting heroin is 'probably impossible'
How easy do adolescents think it is to get heroin?
Why are there different 'flavors' of iron around the Solar System?
New work from Carnegie's Stephen Elardo and Anat Shahar shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.
University of Louisville researcher to investigate how gut microbiota protect against malaria
Schmidt intends to pursue further research to determine which microbes are responsible for protecting against malaria illness and to learn more about the mechanism behind that protection
A new computer model explores how proteins are controlled 'at a distance'
EPFL scientists have created a new computer model that can help better design of allosteric drugs, which control proteins 'at a distance.'
Neuronal stimulation regulates appetite and glucose levels in mice
This week in the JCI, a study led by Michael Scott at the University of Virginia explores how stimulation of a subset of neurons that produce glucagon-like peptides can control appetite and glucose levels in lean and obese mice.
Researcher uncovers the secret history of self-harm
Taking the reader from the Victorian era to modern Britain, 'Psyche on the Skin' challenges the idea that self-harm is a phenomenon that can be attributed to 'how we live now.'
'Gravitational noise' interferes with determining the coordinates of distant sources
A group of Russian astrophysicists from the Astro Space Center (ASC) of P.N.
Child obesity '35-40 percent' inherited from parents, study finds
Around 35-40 percent of a child's BMI -- how fat or thin they are -- is inherited from their parents, a new study has found.
Creative people have better-connected brains
Seemingly countless self-help books and seminars tell you to tap into the right side of your brain to stimulate creativity.
A maintenance program key to keeping off lost weight
A weight loss program that incorporates a maintenance intervention could help participants be more successful at keeping off pounds long term.
Protein once thought exclusive to neurons helps some cancers grow, spread, defy death
How we think and fall in love are controlled by lightning-fast electrochemical signals across synapses, the dynamic spaces between nerve cells.
GMU researchers helping intelligence analysts make smart decisions
The federal government's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) awarded researchers at George Mason University's Volgenau School of Engineering a highly competitive $7.4 million contract to research, develop and evaluate an intelligent analytical tool called Co-Arg, short for cogent argumentation system with crowd elicitation.
Study reveals 'nightmare' for Central Africa's forest elephants
Forest elephants living in an area that had been considered a sanctuary in the Central African country of Gabon are rapidly being picked off by illegal poachers, who are primarily coming from the bordering country of Cameroon.
A research advocates making cost-effectiveness analyses to improve healthcare management
In healthcare management, making cost-effectiveness analyses based on scientific evidence may bring 'significant benefits for patients and for the healthcare system and the general public, when clinical practice is improved and more efficient use of resources is made; so they should be applied systematically to already established procedures and also prior to introducing new techniques or treatments'.
OU professor awarded highest recognition by Society for mined land reclamation work
University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering professor, Robert W.
Mindfulness shows promise as we age, but study results are mixed
Mindfulness is all the rage, but studies on the elderly have so far been mixed.
Pilot study finds youth more likely than adults to report seeing alcohol marketing online
Underage youth are nearly twice as likely to recall seeing alcohol marketing on the internet than adults, with almost one in three saying they saw alcohol-related content in the previous month, according to a new pilot survey led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
'Champion of diversity' Michèle Lamont awarded Erasmus Prize
Canadian cultural sociologist Michèle Lamont, founding Co-Director of CIFAR's Successful Societies program, has been named the 2017 Erasmus Prize winner.
Those who help each other can invade harsher environments
Through cooperation, animals are able to colonise harsher living environments that would otherwise be inaccessible, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden, together with researchers in England and USA.
New hydronium-ion battery presents opportunity for more sustainable energy storage
A new type of battery shows promise for sustainable, high-power energy storage.It's the world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier.
SWOG study shows strong long-term survival rates for patients with GIST
Researchers show that nearly one in four patients with incurable gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) treated with Gleevec will survive 10 years.
NIH workshop identifies complex health problems among Zika-affected infants
Children exposed to Zika virus in the womb may face complex health and developmental problems as they grow older, according to discussions at a National Institutes of Health workshop.
Radial access, same-day cardiac procedure could save $300 million annually
If hospitals can perform more transradial, same-day percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCIs, not only will patients benefit because it is associated with have less complications, but collectively, hospitals across the U.S. could save $300 million each year, according to research published today in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.
Decision-making suffers when cancer patients avoid math
Many of the toughest decisions faced by cancer patients involve knowing how to use numbers -- calculating risks, evaluating treatment options and figuring odds of medication side effects.
Experimental vaccine protects against multiple malaria strains
An experimental malaria vaccine protected healthy subjects from infection with a malaria strain different from that contained in the vaccine, according to a new study.
A chemical investigation of employees -- How to distinguish a blue collar from a white one
A group of Russian and Kazakh scientists headed by prof Skalnyj from RUDN University (Moscow, Russia) analyzed the level of toxic and essential trace elements in hair of petrochemical workers involved in different technological processes.
Single-payer reform is 'the only way to fulfill the president's pledge' on health care
Proposals floated by Republican leaders won't achieve President Trump's campaign promises of more coverage, better benefits, and lower costs, but a single-payer health reform would, according to a commentary in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Cardiomyocyte autophagia and morphological alterations
In experiments on rabbits we evaluated the intensity of cardiomyocyte autophagia by the level beclin-1 protein and morphology of the left ventricular myocardium on days 1, 3, and 5 after the onset of focal ischemia caused by ligation of the descending branch of the left coronary artery.
Long-term outcomes following stem cell transplant for multiple sclerosis
A new study published online by JAMA Neurology examines the long-term outcomes of patients with aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) who failed to respond to standard therapies and who underwent autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation using their own stem cells.
Volcano Samalas mystery revealed
The international team of scientists with the participation of Krasnoyarsk dendrochronologists offered their answer to one of the mysteries of climatology and volcanology.
Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
Rising temperatures could accelerate climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide stored in ponds and increasing the methane they release, new research shows.
Scientists release final report, recommendations from the 2016 US National Ocean Exploration Forum
Ocean explorers need to think 'beyond the ships' and plan ahead to an age of 'SuBastian and the Roboats' -- a new world of marine technology characterized by autonomy, sensors, precision, miniaturization, machine learning and artificial intelligence, telepresence, better forms of energy storage, and sharing to boost asset utilization.
Students more likely to succeed if teachers have positive perceptions of parents
Researchers have found that teacher ratings of parental involvement early in a child's academic career can accurately predict the child's academic and social success.
New approach for the capture of tumor-derived exosomes from a prostate cancer cell line
In a new paper in Springer's Journal of Materials Science, researchers at Washington State University report a new approach for the effective capture of tumor-derived exosomes from a prostate cancer cell line.
Significant epilepsy gene discovery in dogs
Researh groups from the University of Helsinki, the LMU Munich and the University of Guelph have described in collaboration a novel myoclonic epilepsy in dogs and identified its genetic cause.
Crowdsourcing effort helps researchers predict how a molecule will smell
While it's possible to anticipate the color of light or the pitch of sound, odor defies prediction.
Molecular biology: Fingerprinting cell identities
Every cell has its own individual molecular fingerprint, which is informative for its functions and regulatory states.
Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed
Warming seawaters, caused by climate change and extreme climatic events, threaten the stability of tropical coral reefs, with potentially devastating implications for many reef species and the human communities that reefs support.
Teflon subproducts recycled into valuable pharmaceuticals
Both the US and the EU patent offices granted ICIQ the exclusive exploitation rights of a new waste valorization method.
Body and brain timing can be trained
Good timing is vital in many situations of daily life, but is rarely something we consider.
State same-sex marriage policies associated with reduced teen suicide attempts
A nationwide analysis suggests same-sex marriage policies were associated with a reduction in suicide attempts by adolescents, according to a new study published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
Study points to treatment strategy for anorexia
New research conducted in adolescent rodents provides insights on the mechanisms behind anorexia nervosa and points to a potential treatment strategy.
'Tully monster' mystery is far from solved, Penn-led group argues
Last year, headlines in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American and other outlets declared that a decades-old paleontological mystery had been solved.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."