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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | April 17, 2017

Termite gut holds a secret to breaking down plant biomass
In the Microbial Sciences Building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect's natural gift for turning wood to dust.
More multiple sclerosis-causing mutations found in Canadian families
Scientists at the University of British Columbia have discovered a 'double gene' mutation in a Canadian family that made them highly susceptible to multiple sclerosis.
Wearable sweat sensor can diagnose cystic fibrosis, Stanford-led study finds
A wristband-type wearable sweat sensor could transform diagnostics and drug evaluation for cystic fibrosis, diabetes and other diseases.
UNC researchers identify a new HIV reservoir
A UNC research team has identified a new cell in the body where HIV persists despite treatment.
Cover crops may be used to mitigate and adapt to climate change
Cover crops long have been touted for their ability to reduce erosion, fix atmospheric nitrogen, reduce nitrogen leaching and improve soil health, but they also may play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change on agriculture.
Houston's gourmet food trucks cooperate, compete to elevate group's prestige
New research by management and organizational behavior experts at Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business finds that gourmet food trucks in Houston cooperate extensively and engage in friendly competition to promote the group members' excellence and uniqueness.
Older victims of fraud have poorer cognitive skills and are less conscientious, honest
When comparing victims of fraud to those who had never been victimized, lead authors Dr.
Children's Hospital Colorado combats antibiotic resistance with 'handshake stewardship'
Recent research from Children's Hospital Colorado has shown the effectiveness of a unique type of antimicrobial stewardship program in the fight against antibiotic (antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial) resistance.
Fibrosis reversed when 'don't eat me' signal blocked, Stanford study finds
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a pathway that, when mutated, drives fibrosis in many organs of the body.
Harnessing heat to power computers
Heat is commonly regarded as computing's mortal enemy. Two Nebraska researchers, however, flipped the question of how to keep computers cool to how to use heat as an alternative energy source.
Glacier shape influences susceptibility to thinning
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have identified glaciers in West Greenland that are most susceptible to thinning in the coming decades by analyzing how they're shaped.
Getting a handle on brain organization
Even among people born without hands, there is an overlap in brain activity when viewing hands and viewing tools, suggesting the connection between the two hands and tools is deeply ingrained in brain organization.
Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals
Microscopic probes developed at Rice University simplify the process of measuring electrical activity in the cells of small living animals.
Electroacupuncture may improve regulation of blood sugar in overweight and obese women
For women who are overweight or obese and are unable to exercise, new research appearing online in The FASEB Journal suggests combining acupuncture with an electrical current may help.
City of Hope researchers successfully prevent graft-versus-host disease
City of Hope researchers believe they may have found a way to prevent graft-versus-host disease after stem cell transplants while retaining the transplants' positive effects on fighting leukemia and lymphoma.
Landslides on Ceres reflect hidden ice
Massive landslides, similar to those found on Earth, are occurring on the asteroid Ceres.
Imbalances in neural pathways may contribute to repetitive behaviors in autism
Researchers in Guoping Feng's lab at MIT hypothesized that a mutation in the autism risk gene SHANK3 differentially affects synaptic development in two neural pathways that contribute to motor control.
NASA spots short-lived Tropical Cyclone Maarutha
On Saturday, April 15, Tropical Cyclone 1B formed in the Northern Indian Ocean and it made landfall in Burma (Myanmar) on April 16.
Penn researchers provide new insight into dark matter halos
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago used the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to find evidence that the dark matter halos surrounding galaxies and galaxy clusters have a discernible edge.
New battery coating could improve smart phones and electric vehicles
High performing lithium-ion batteries are a key component of laptops, smart phones, and electric vehicles.
Science fiction horror wriggles into reality with discovery of giant sulfur-powered shipworm
Our world seems to grow smaller by the day as biodiversity rapidly dwindles, but an international team of researchers discovered a never before studied giant, black, mud dwelling, worm-like animal.
Potential new treatment strategy for neuroinflammation related to severe type of stroke
Scientists have discovered a potential new treatment to reduce the effects of intracerebral hemorrhage.
High-resolution imaging with conventional microscopes
MIT researchers have developed a way to make extremely high-resolution images of tissue samples, at a fraction of the cost of other techniques with similar resolution.
Guideline sets standard of care for treatment of oropharynx cancer with radiation therapy
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) today issued a new clinical guideline for the management of oropharyngeal cancer.
Study offers hope, sheds light on how vets respond to trauma
A new study of military veterans who went through trauma finds that those veterans who have related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also more likely to experience 'post-traumatic growth' -- such as an increased appreciation of life, awareness of new possibilities and enhanced inner strength.
Supermassive black holes found in 2 tiny galaxies
U astronomers and colleagues have found two ultra-compact dwarf galaxies with supermassive black holes, the second and third such galaxies found to harbor the objects.
New study shows that antipsychotic medications can be reduced in dementia patients
The use of antipsychotic medication in nearly 100 Massachusetts nursing homes was significantly reduced when staff was trained to recognize challenging behaviors of cognitively impaired residents as communication of their unmet needs, according to a new study led by Jennifer Tjia, MD, MSCE, associate professor of quantitative health sciences.
Aha! Study examines people as they are struck by sudden insight
Everybody loves those rare 'aha moments' where you suddenly and unexpectedly solve a difficult problem or understand something that had previously perplexed you.
Medical mystery solved in record time
In record-time detective work, a team of scientists narrowed down the genetic cause of intellectual disability in four male patients to a deletion of a small section of the X chromosome that had not been previously linked to a medical condition.
Powered stretchers could reduce injuries, keep paramedics on the job
Moving from manual to powered stretchers could reduce the number of injuries to paramedics by 78 percent, a University of Waterloo study has found.
Nanoparticles reprogram immune cells to fight cancer
Study in Nature Nanotechnology describes new method to transform immune cells, while inside the body, into leukemia-fighting powerhouses.
Teaching happiness to men with HIV boosts their health
When individuals recently diagnosed with HIV were coached to practice skills to help them experience positive emotions, the result was less HIV in their blood and lower antidepressant use, reports a new study.
Dietary supplement may enhance dairy cattle health and reproductive capacity
Dairy cattle diets are often deficient in the essential amino acid methionine; supplements have been shown to increase milk production and protein concentration.
For keeping X chromosomes active, chromosome 19 marks the spot
After nearly 40 years of searching, Johns Hopkins researchers report they have identified a part of the human genome that appears to block an RNA responsible for keeping only a single X chromosome active when new female embryos are formed, effectively allowing for the generally lethal activation of more than one X chromosome during development.
Synthetic carbohydrates against autoimmune diseases
Researchers are developing an innovative approach for the treatment of a rare autoimmune disease of the peripheral nervous system, using a type of molecular sponge consisting of carbohydrates to remove pathogenic antibodies from the bloodstream.
Lessons from Parkfield help predict continued fault movements after earthquakes
A new study shows that the San Andreas Fault continued to slip gradually for six to 12 years after the 2004 magnitude 6.0 Parkfield, Calif., earthquake, raising the issue of continued damage to structures built across fault zones after damaging earthquakes.
Do BAT receptors hold the key to treating obesity and diabetes?
According to research published online in The FASEB Journal, scientists have discovered a way to increase the amount of metabolism-boosting brown adipose tissue (BAT) ('good' fat) by employing two receptors on BAT cells as potential therapeutic targets.
Behind the iron curtain: How methane-making microbes kept the early Earth warm
Using mud pulled from the bottom of a tropical lake, researchers at have gained a new grasp of how ancient microbes made methane in the complex iron chemistry of the early Earth.
Mission Control for the body's salt and water supplies
We've all heard it: eating salty foods makes you thirstier.
Creating time crystals
A team of Harvard researchers created a previously-only-theoretical time crystal using a small piece of diamond embedded with millions of atomic-scale impurities known as nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers.
LifeCourse meets Triple Aim for late life care
Late life support care study showed extensive cost reductions and improved patient satisfaction.
Breakdown of neutrophil protein causes severe autoimmune disease of blood vessels
Osaka University researchers revealed that patients with a severe autoimmune disease that attacks the blood vessels lack the membrane form of a protein (SEMA4D) found in white blood cells.
Pinning down abuse on Google maps
A partnership between computer scientists at the University of California San Diego and Google has allowed the search giant to reduce by 70 percent fraudulent business listings in Google Maps.
Study paints somber picture of US mental health status and access to care
More Americans than ever before suffer from serious psychological distress, and the country's ability to meet the growing demand for mental health services is rapidly eroding.
Eye expressions offer a glimpse into the evolution of emotion
New research by Adam Anderson, professor of human development at Cornell University's College of Human Ecology, reveals why the eyes offer a window into the soul.
New era of western wildfire demands new ways of protecting people, ecosystems
Current wildfire policy can't adequately protect people, homes and ecosystems from the longer, hotter fire seasons climate change is causing, according to a new paper led by the University of Colorado Boulder.
Banned industrial solvent sheds new light on methane mystery
Since 2007, scientists have been searching to find the cause of a sudden and unexpected global rise in atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, following almost a decade in which concentrations had stayed relatively constant.
South Carolina hospitals see major drop in post-surgical deaths with safety checklist
South Carolina saw a 22 percent reduction in post-surgical deaths in hospitals that completed a voluntary, statewide program to implement the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist.
Time-lapse shows how anticancer and antiviral drugs get into cells
Duke scientists have modeled all of the steps by which nucleosides and their analogs are transported into cells by a specific molecule named the concentrative nucleoside transporter or CNT.
Why don't fish freeze to death in icy water?
Microgravity experiments revealed that supercooled water containing antifreeze glycoproteins accelerates and oscillates its ice crystal growth rate, contrary to what was expected.
Examining cost-effectiveness of initial diagnostic exams for microscopic hematuria
Routine urinalysis for screening of genitourinary cancer isn't recommended by any major health group but patients who undergo urinalysis for a variety of other reasons are often found to have microscopic hematuria, which prompts further evaluation.
Glacier shape influences susceptibility to melting
Just how prone a glacier is to thinning depends on its thickness and surface slope, features that are influenced by the landscape under the glacier.
Washington State University physicists create 'negative mass'
Washington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Atomic structure reveals how cells translate environmental signals
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute have determined the atomic resolution structure of a key molecule that translates signals from a cell's local environment into a language that the cell can understand and use.
Tweaking a molecule's structure can send it down a different path to crystallization
Silky chocolate, a better medical drug, or solar panels all require the same thing: just the right crystals making up the material.
Scientists engineer human-germ hybrid molecules to attack drug-resistant bacteria
Taking a cue from viruses that infect and kill bacteria, the researchers engineered molecules capable of targeting the bugs in a way the human immune system cannot -- an approach that could be particularly valuable against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Vanderbilt-led study shows high-salt diet decreases thirst, increases hunger
The findings, published as a set of two papers in this week's Journal of Clinical Investigation, shed new light on the body's response to high salt intake and could provide an entirely new approach to these three major killer diseases.
Retreating Yukon glacier caused a river to disappear
A postmortem of the first known case of 'river piracy' in modern times outlines how a retreating glacier in the Yukon diverted water from one river to another, leading to many downstream effects.
NASA spots Tropical Cyclone 02W's remnants in South China Sea
The remnants of former Tropical Depression 02W still lingered in the South China Sea when NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead on April 17.
Assay of nearly 5,000 mutations reveals roots of genetic splicing errors
Brown biologists have developed a new system, described in Nature Genetics, that identified and tracked hundreds of genetic variations that alter the way DNA is spliced when cells make proteins, often leading to disease.
Getting things done while you wait for WiFi
To help us make the most of idle moments, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a series of apps called 'WaitSuite' that test you on vocabulary words during moments of waiting, like when you're waiting for an instant message or for your phone to connect to WiFi.
Article examines studies on antidepressants, autism spectrum disorders
A new article published by JAMA Pediatrics reviews and analyzes a small collection of studies on fetal exposure to antidepressants and autism spectrum disorders.
Low cervical cancer screening rates found among mentally ill
Women enrolled in California's Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) who have been diagnosed with severe mental illness have been screened for cervical cancer at much lower rates than other women, according to a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco.
Parents struggle with choosing allergy medicine for their children
Dosing, labeling and a seemingly endless range of allergy medication options can make picking the right medicine a complicated task for some parents.
Researchers working toward indoor location detection
Rice University computer scientists are mapping a new solution for interior navigational location detection by linking it to existing sensors in mobile devices.
Monitoring troubles of the heart
In the near future, researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Dornsife College of Arts, Letters and Sciences believe technology might be employed to help de-escalate any potential conflicts among couples.
'Detergent' molecules may be driving fluctuations in atmospheric methane concentrations
Researchers at Caltech and Harvard have found that changes in the amount of hydroxyl in the atmosphere may be responsible for the recent increase in global methane that started in 2007.
Electronics to control plant growth
A drug delivery ion pump constructed from organic electronic components also works in plants.
The impossibility of immorality
A new study suggests that one way people may mediate immoral behavior is by viewing immoral actions not only as wrong but as actually impossible.
Sympathetic nervous system is critical in regulating energy expenditure and thermogenesis
New study suggests that your brain, not your white blood cells, keeps you warm.
NASA team explores using LISA Pathfinder as 'comet crumb' detector
NASA scientists hope to take advantage of LISA Pathfinder's record-breaking sensitivity to acceleration to map out the distribution of tiny dust particles shed by asteroids and comets far from Earth.
Repeating non-verbs as well as verbs can boost the syntactic priming effect
According to Glasgow and HSE/Northumbria researchers, repetition of non-verbs as well as verbs can boost the effect of syntactic priming, i.e. the likelihood of people reproducing the structure of the utterance they have just heard.
3-D prints used to compare effectiveness of top surgical techniques for repairing heel deformity
Using 3-D models of a patient's foot, investigators at Cedars-Sinai have found that the three leading procedures for treating heel deformities do not adequately correct the debilitating problem.
Success in recognizing digits and monosyllables with high accuracy from brain activity measurement
A research group led by Emeritus Professor Tsuneo Nitta at Toyohashi University of Technology has developed a technology that can recognize the numbers 0 to 9 with 90 percent accuracy using brain waves, or electroencephalogram (EEG), while uttering the numbers.
Reading the genetic code depends on context
University of Utah biologists now suggest that connecting amino acids to make proteins in ribosomes, the cell's protein factories, may in fact be influenced by sets of three triplets -- a 'triplet of triplets' that provide crucial context for the ribosome.
Migration from sea-level rise could reshape cities inland
Researchers estimate that approximately 13.1 million people could be displaced by rising ocean waters.
Money a barrier to independence for young adults with autism
Researchers from the University of Missouri have found when teenagers and young adults with autism enter adulthood and age out of many of the services designed to help them, they often are anxious about how to handle new adult responsibilities such as paying bills and filing taxes.
Cells in the retina light the way to treating jet lag
Researchers have found a new group of cells in the retina that directly affect the biological clock by sending signals to a region of the brain which regulates our daily (circadian) rhythms.
Models, observations not so far apart on planet's response to greenhouse gas emissions
Recent observations suggest less long-term warming, or climate sensitivity, than the predicted by climate models.
Mechanism behind the electric charges generated by photosynthesis
Photosynthesis requires a mechanism to produce large amounts of chemical energy without losing the oxidative power needed to break down water.
A single high-sensitivity troponin T result could quickly and safely rule out MI in the ED
High-sensitivity assays for cardiac troponin T can quickly and safely rule out myocardial infarction (MI) in patients presenting to emergency departments (ED) with possible emergency acute coronary syndrome.
Columbia engineers invent method to control light propagation in waveguides
Columbia Engineering Professor Nanfang Yu has invented a method to control light propagating in confined pathways, or waveguides, with high efficiency by using nano-antennas.
'Twist and shine': Development of a new photoluminescent sensor material
OIST researchers develop a material that shines under mechanical stress by incorporating a photoluminescent sensor molecule within a standard polymer.
Think brain games make you smarter? Think again, FSU researchers say
New research finds brain games marketed by the billion-dollar brain-training industry don't improve cognition or help prevent age-related brain decline.
New many-toothed clingfish discovered with help of digital scans
Scientists at the University of Washington, Texas A&M University and the Western Australian Museum have discovered and named a new genus and species of clingfish after stumbling upon a specimen preserved in a jar dating back to the 1970s.
Eat, prey, move
Marine scientists find that the space bullethead parrotfish use is influenced more by competition than by fear of predators.
Updated AATS guidelines help cardiovascular surgeons navigate the challenges of managing ischemic mitral regurgitation
How best to treat IMR is controversial, in part, because of the fragility and complexity of the patients, difficulty of grading IMR, the variety of medical and surgical options, and lack of long-term quality studies.
Lyme disease imposes large cost on the northeast United States
In a new study, Yale researchers find that perceived risks of contracting Lyme disease on average cause a person in the Northeast to forego eight 73-minute outdoor trips per year -- exacting a total cost roughly $2.8 billion to $5 billion annually in the densely populated region.

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