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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | January 17, 2018


Semiconductor breakthrough may be game-changer for organic solar cells
In an advance that could push cheap, ubiquitous solar power closer to reality, University of Michigan researchers have found a way to coax electrons to travel much further than was previously thought possible in the materials often used for organic solar cells and other organic semiconductors.
Exposing hypocrisy can effectively reduce collective blame of Muslims for individual violent acts
White Americans were less likely to blame all Muslims for acts of terror committed by a Muslim when they were first asked to think about how much they were responsible for terrorist acts committed by other Whites.
Study says some nursing homes gaming the system to improve their Medicare star ratings
A new study of nursing homes in California, the nation's largest system, by faculty at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Connecticut, found that some nursing homes inflate their self-assessment reporting to improve their score in the Five-Star Quality Rating System employed by Medicare to help consumers.
Alzheimer's disease: Neuronal loss very limited
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's is considered a neurodegenerative disease, which means that it is accompanied by a significant, progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings, or synapses.
Slower walking speed in the elderly may be explained by loss of muscle strength and mass
Research recently published in The Journal of Physiology has found that elderly people walk at a slower speed and tire more quickly because of loss of strength and mass in leg muscles.
No adverse health impacts from long term vaping -- Study
A new peer-reviewed clinical trial to be published in the February edition of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology shows that regular use of e-cigarettes does not have any negative health impact on smokers.
Will there be enough public health workers when baby boomers retire?
In a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers estimate that over one quarter of the governmental public health workforce will disappear.
Study finds minority trainees are up, but not minority faculty
Despite increasing numbers of underrepresented minority (URM) trainees in the biomedical sciences, there is a persistent shortage of URM faculty who are involved in basic biomedical research at medical schools.
Uncovering decades of questionable investments
Researchers used the Wrangler supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to uncover the root cause of the 'beta anomaly' -- a discrepancy between the expected return on high-risk assets and their actual return.
Novel chip-based gene expression tool analyzes RNA quickly and accurately
A University of Illinois and Mayo collaboration has demonstrated a novel gene expression analysis technique that can accurately measure levels of RNA quickly and directly from a cancerous tissue sample while preserving the spatial information across the tissue -- something that conventional methods cannot do.
CCNY study explores a novel candidate for antidepressant treatment
A recent paper published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry explores how a protein named CK2 could play a key role in the formulation of new antidepressants that work more efficiently and faster for more people.
Hepatitis therapy: Kupffer cells adjust the balance between pathogen control and hepatocyte regenera
Scientists from TWINCORE have now published new insights on the processes involved in liver inflammation in the Journal of Hepatology: Type I interferons, on the one hand, limit viral replication and thereby help the immune cells to control the viral pathogen.
New light on the mysterious origin of Bornean elephants
In a study published in Scientific Reports, a research team led by Lounes Chikhi from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC, Portugal) and CNRS, Universite Paul Sabatier (France), and Benoit Goossens, from Cardiff University (Wales), and Sabah Wildlife Department (Malaysia), found that elephants might have arrived on Borneo at a time of the last land bridge between the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia.
Self-healing fungi concrete could provide sustainable solution to crumbling infrastructure
A new self-healing fungi concrete, co-developed by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, could help repair cracks in aging concrete permanently, and help save America's crumbling infrastructure.
Scale-eating fish adopt clever parasitic methods to survive
A small group of fishes -- possibly the world's cleverest carnivorous grazers -- feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics.
Symptoms of depression before undergoing heart procedure and outcomes
Symptoms of depression were common among older adults undergoing a procedure to replace a damaged aortic valve of the heart, and having those symptoms was associated with a higher rate of death up to one year later.
Low fitness is associated with larger waist size and higher degree of inflammation
Low fitness is associated with a larger waist size and a higher degree of inflammation, according to a study published Jan.
Patients with blood cancer precursor at risk of developing cancer even after 30 years
Patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance are at risk of progressing to multiple myeloma or a related cancer -- even after 30 years of stability.
Lessons in nature boost classroom engagement afterward, researchers report
Third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors, scientists found in a new study.
Duration of treatment rather than dose more strongly associated with opioid misuse after surgery
Prescribing higher opioid doses for shorter durations may be a more effective way to treat pain after surgery, while minimizing the risk of longer term misuse and addiction, suggest US researchers in The BMJ today.
Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes
Six novel chromosomal regions identified by scientists leading a large, prospective study of children at risk for type 1 diabetes will enable the discovery of more genes that cause the disease and more targets for treating or even preventing it.
Canine distemper confirmed in Far Eastern leopard, world's most endangered big cat
The Far Eastern or Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is already among the rarest of the world's big cats, but new research reveals that it faces yet another threat: infection with canine distemper virus (CDV).
Fresh approach to TB vaccine offers better protection
A unique platform that resulted in a promising HIV vaccine has also led to a new, highly effective vaccine against tuberculosis that is moving toward testing in humans.
Fort McMurray researchers find simple key to risk of severe peat fires
The scrawny black spruce trees that push up through the peat bogs of Canada's boreal forest are valuable indicators of fire risk, say researchers who studied a burned-over area just outside Fort McMurray, Alberta, where a devastating wildfire struck in 2016.
Study with female rugby players shows a regular season of play results in changes in the brain
Researchers at Western University have shown that a regular season of play can cause changes in the brain that are similar to changes caused by concussion, though less severe.
Mass. General study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators find that MRSA infection impairs the ability of lymphatic vessels to pump lymphatic fluid to lymph nodes in mouse models, which may contribute to the frequent recurrences of MRSA infection experienced by patients.
New 'Buck' naked barley: Food, feed, brew
Researchers are giving an ancient grain a new life: 'Buck' barley is naked, but not in an indecent way.
Multiplex mass spec assay for small-molecule inhibitors of CD73 with diverse modalities
A new original research article in SLAS Discovery presents a fast, sensitive, and robust methodology for screening small molecule inhibitors against CD73/Ecto-5'-Nucleotidase, a promising target for developing anti-cancer drugs.
Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures
For the first time, researchers have shown that an optical fiber as thin as a human hair can be used to create microscopic structures with laser-based 3-D printing.
Odd behavior of star reveals lonely black hole hiding in giant star cluster
Astronomers using ESO's MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely.
California sea lion population rebounded to new highs
California sea lions have fully rebounded under the protection of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, with their population on the West Coast reaching carrying capacity in 2008 before unusually warm ocean conditions reduced their numbers, according to the first comprehensive population assessment of the species.
Morbid obesity: Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are comparable
In Switzerland, 5,500 operations to combat morbid obesity are conducted every year.
Asymptomatic atrial fibrillation poses challenges for cardiac care
In a study published in the journal CHEST®, researchers found that asymptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) patients are more likely to be older, male, and have more comorbidities and a higher risk of stroke than symptomatic patients.
Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production
Columbia Engineering researchers have developed a new method for improving T cell manufacture by focusing on the materials involved in this process.
Weight flux alters molecular profile, Stanford-led study finds
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Genetic drift caught in action in invasive birds
Studies of island bird populations have taught us a lot about evolution, but it's hard to catch birds in the act of naturally colonizing new islands.
Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism.
Modulating molecules
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis.
The brain's creativity controls
Scientists studying brain scans of people who were asked to come up with inventive uses for everyday objects found a specific pattern of connectivity that correlated with the most creative responses.
Researchers discover structure of anti-aging hormone
A new study reveals the structure of a key protein, and how it helps to transmit a hormonal signal that slows aging.
Default setting in electronic medical records 'nudged' emergency department physicians to limit opioid prescriptions to 10 tablets
For patients who have never been prescribed opioids, larger numbers of tablets given with the initial prescription is associated with long-term use and more tablets leftover that could be diverted for misuse or abuse.
Nearly imperceptible fluctuations in movement correspond to autism diagnoses
A new study led by researchers at Indiana University and Rutgers University provides the strongest evidence yet that nearly imperceptible changes in how people move can be used to diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.
New report calls into question effectiveness of pregnancy anti-nausea drug
Previously unpublished information from the clinical trial that the US Food and Drug Administration relied on to approve the most commonly prescribed medicine for nausea in pregnancy indicates the drug is not effective, a new report says.
Reimbursing ranchers for livestock killed by predators supports conservation efforts
Alberta's predator compensation program offsets costs of conserving wildlife habitat on private lands in the province.
New drug combination helps kickstart the immune system to fight back against cancer
Scientists from King's College London have found a way to boost the immune system to help it fight back against cancer.
Commercial software no more accurate than untrained people in predicting recidivism
A new study suggests that a commercial software widely used to predict which criminals will commit crimes again is no more accurate than untrained people, at foreseeing recidivism.
Prebiotics in infant formula could improve learning and memory and alter brain chemistry
Among other benefits, breast milk contains natural sources of prebiotics: small, indigestible fiber molecules that promote the growth of good bacteria in the baby's gut.
Timing of spring birdsong provides climate insights
Climate change has scientists worried that birds' annual migration and reproduction will be thrown out of sync with the seasons.
Court software may be no more accurate than web survey takers in predicting criminal risk
New study challenges thinking that algorithms outperform humans when making important criminal justice decisions.
Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2-D monolayer materials
Working in collaboration with a team from the Leibniz Institute for New Materials, a group of physicists at Saarland University, led by Professor Uwe Hartmann, has for the first time succeeded in characterizing the mechanical properties of free-standing single-atom-thick membranes of graphene.
Hazardous contamination found around lead battery recycling plants in 7 African countries
We collected 118 soil samples from seven African countries and analyzed them for lead.
To maximize sugarcane harvesting, use the right blade
You wouldn't use the same knife to cut through a thick steak as you would to slice an angel food cake, right?
New study validates clotting risk factors in chronic kidney disease
In late 2017, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine discovered and published a potential treatment target to prevent chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients from developing thrombosis (blood clots) without causing bleeding complications.
A step toward ridding register receipts of BPA
Although the US and other countries have banned or restricted the use of bisphenol A (BPA) because of environmental and health concerns, it is still used in thermally printed receipts and labels.
Chemical evolution: Progenitors of the living world
RNA was probably the first informational molecule. Now chemists from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have demonstrated that alternation of wet and dry conditions could have sufficed to drive the prebiotic synthesis of the RNA nucleosides found in all domains of life.
Release of ancient methane due to changing climate kept in check by ocean waters
Ocean sediments are a massive storehouse for the potent greenhouse gas methane.
Patient-derived organoids may help personalize the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers
A new BJS (British Journal of Surgery) review highlights the potential of 3-D organoid models derived from patient cells to help personalize therapy for individuals with gastrointestinal cancers.
Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
In an attempt to better understand the urban environment and its components, scientists have discovered that sunlight causes chemical reactions in the dust found on Edmonton roads.
Dulling cancer therapy's double-edged sword
Researchers have discovered a very promising new pathway to preventing tumor recurrence -- 'resolvins' could be used in complement with chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapies to stave off the tumor-promoting effects of dead cancer cell debris.
Researchers explore psychological effects of climate change
While some people have little anxiety about the Earth's changing climate, others are experiencing high levels of stress, and even depression, based on their perception of the threat of global climate change, researchers found.
Study: Patients benefit from one-on-one PT education before joint replacement
Hospital for Special Surgery study finds that patients who had an education session with a physical therapist and access to a web-based microsite prior to joint replacement achieved physical therapy goals more quickly compared to those who did not have the session or access to the site.
Clean and green: A moss that removes lead (Pb) from water
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have demonstrated that that moss can be a green alternative for decontaminating polluted water and soil.
Double stranded RNA treatment can reduce fertility of adult house fly pests
Double stranded RNA (dsRNA) can effectively reduce house fly fertility, and shows promise as a pest control method, according to a study published Jan.
Cutting the cord is easier said than done
Chances are someone in your life causes a lot of tension and stress.
Mantis shrimp size each other up before ceding a fight
To a mantis shrimp, walking away from a fight doesn't mean being a wimp.
Review examines the pros and cons of surgery to reduce the risk of cancer
Genetic testing is commonplace for many inheritable cancer syndromes, and with that comes the knowledge of being a gene carrier for some patients.
New details emerge on temperature, mobility of earth's lower crust in Rocky Mountains
A research team led by Colorado State University has mapped the temperature and viscosity of earth's lower crust for the first time.
How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus of the human brain by distinct, sparse sets of neurons.
Majority of US physicians say they're burned out or depressed
This release concerns the first-ever Medscape National Report on Physician Burnout and Depression.
Future climate change revealed by current climate variations
Uncertainty surrounding the extent of future climate change could be dramatically reduced by studying year-on-year global temperature fluctuations, new research has shown.
New EU 'urban mining' tools map valuable resources in e-waste, scrap vehicles, mine waste
Expert European organizations have united to create the world's first database of valuable materials available for 'urban mining' from scrap vehicles, spent batteries, waste electronic and electrical equipment, and mining wastes.
New research to help reduce number of algae blooms that form annually
The study shows that sampling headwaters where streams form can identify which landscapes are resilient enough to handle the rigors of farming and which are vulnerable to leaching toxic residue into waterways.
Should all patients be asked about their sexual orientation?
In late 2017, NHS England released guidelines recommending that health professionals ask all patients about their sexual orientation in order to improve services for non-heterosexual patients, but should they?
Lobachevsky University scientists are studying nervous system adaptation to ischemic damage
Lobachevsky University researchers are working to explore the mechanisms of adaptation of the nervous system to ischemic damage.
Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise for preventing deaths from esophageal adenocarcinoma.
How living systems compute solutions to problems
No individual fish or bee or neuron has enough information by itself to solve a complex problem, but together they can accomplish amazing things.
Not just for Christmas: Study sheds new light on ancient human-turkey relationship
For the first time, research has uncovered the origins of the earliest domestic turkeys in ancient Mexico.
Michigan's sugar maples will struggle in a warmer, drier future despite help from nitrogen pollution
Though Michigan's sugar maples benefit from the growth-promoting effects of nitrogen compounds in the environment, those gains will not fully offset the added stresses of growing under a drier climate in the future, according to a new University of Michigan-led study.
Scientists develop a new material for manipulating molecules
A scientist at the University of Córdoba, working with an international research team, has created a new porous single-crystal material which could have numerous applications in nanotechnology and catalysis.
Himawari-8 data assimilated simulation enables 10-minute updates of rain and flood predictions
Using the power of Japan's K computer, scientists from the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science and collaborators have shown that incorporating satellite data at frequent intervals -- 10 minutes in the case of this study -- into weather prediction models can significantly improve the rainfall predictions of the models and allow more precise predictions of the rapid development of a typhoon.
NASA IMERG reveals rainfall rates of Tropical Cyclone Berguitta
Heavy rain surrounded Tropical Cyclone Berguitta as it continued to move toward the island of Mauritius in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Improved home care services and reduced workload for carers with a new work model
Improved home care services and reduced workload for carers with a new work model.
Building blocks to create metamaterials
An international team, led by Chiara Daraio, uses techniques from quantum mechanics to create a system for engineering how metamaterials will interact with waves.
New research could significantly accelerate drug discovery
Many drugs work by inhibiting protein enzymes associated with a particular disease.
Prospective birth control pill for men has its origin in an arrow poison
Women have many options for oral contraceptives that are safe, effective and reversible, but despite decades of research, men have none.
Nearly 25 percent of chronic ischemic heart disease patients dead or hospitalized in 6 months
Nearly a quarter of patients with chronic ischemic cardiovascular disease are dead or hospitalized within six months, reports a European Society of Cardiology study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Brain protein changes could explain how concussions affect patients
Traumatic brain injuries, whether suffered from a blow on the football field or the battle field, can be devastating, leading to disability and shortened lives.
Protonation induced high-Tc phases in iron-based superconductors
The research teams led by Dr. Weiqiang Yu at Renmin University of China and Dr.
Reducing sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy does not affect effectiveness
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients treated with as few as five sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy find it equally effective as receiving 12 sessions.
Scientists shed light on a key molecular mechanism of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
An international team of researchers led by prof. Savvas Savvides (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) has unraveled a crucial aspect of the molecular basis of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.
Microwaves could be as bad for the environment as cars suggests new research
Microwaves usage across the EU alone emits as much carbon dioxide as nearly seven million cars according to a new study by the University of Manchester.
Midbrain 'start neurons' control whether we walk or run
Strolling around or running to catch the train similarly requires us to move.
Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted -- revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.
Presurgical targeted therapy delays relapse of high-risk stage 3 melanoma
A pair of targeted therapies given before and after surgery for melanoma produced at least a six-fold increase in time to progression compared to standard-of-care surgery for patients with stage 3 disease, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report in Lancet Oncology.
Building molecular wires, one atom at a time
Researchers at OIST have found a simple way to construct and deconstruct molecular metal chains, atom-by-atom.
Timothy Ray Brown, cured of HIV, rallies public to support research funding
In the 10th anniversary year since a bone marrow stem cell transplant cured Timothy Ray Brown of his HIV infection, despite disappointment over decreasing public desire to find a cure for HIV, Timothy Ray Brown remains optimistic that the scientific and medical communities can and will achieve this if properly funded.
DIPG tumor patterns offer new insight on survival
A small subset of patients with tumors that bear mutations in a gene in the basic packaging of DNA (known as histone mutations) may have better outcomes than others, suggests new research from Michigan Medicine's Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Initiative.
Accelerating progress to reduce alcohol-impaired driving fatalities
Despite progress in recent decades, more than 10,000 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities occur each year in the US.
Small but fast: A miniaturized origami-inspired robot combines micrometer precision with high speed
Reported in Science Robotics, a new design, the milliDelta robot, developed by Robert Wood's team at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A.
Whole-population testing for breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations is cost effective
Screening the entire population for breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations, as opposed to just those at high-risk of carrying this mutation, is cost effective and could prevent more ovarian and breast cancers than the current clinical approach, according to research published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Breakthrough enables screening millions of human antibodies for new drug discovery
A new paper in Nature Biotechnology outlines a pioneering method of screening a person's diverse set of antibodies for rapid therapeutic discovery.
Antibodies show effectiveness for HIV prevention and promise for treatment and cure
Recent studies testing multivalent combinations of three broadly neutralizing antibodies, or bnAbs, have yielded promising results in animal models of HIV prevention.
Use of primate 'actors' misleading millions of viewers
More needs to be done to educate audiences, including viewers at home and filmmakers, on the unethical nature of using primates in the film industry, says a leading expert in a new study.
Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow.
How massive can neutron stars be?
Since their discovery in the 1960s, scientists have sought to answer an important question: How massive can neutron stars actually become?
Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out
Researchers at Penn State are using new statistical analysis methods to compare how we observe infants develop new skills with the unseen changes in electrical activity in the brain, or electroencephalography (EEG) power.
Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing
A team of electrical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with Peking University scientists, has developed the thinnest memory storage device with dense memory capacity, paving the way for faster, smaller and smarter computer chips for everything from consumer electronics to big data to brain-inspired computing.
The world's first all-Si laser
All-Si laser is the missing piece of integrated Si photonics.
Siberian chemists have improved hydrogen sensors
A group of scientists from the Siberian Federal University (SFU, Krasnoyarsk, Russia) and the Nikolaev Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (NIIC, Novosibirsk, Russia) combined the useful properties of metal phthalocyanines and palladium membranes in order to create active layers in hydrogen detectors.
Mammogram rates increase after ACA eliminates co-payments
A new study finds that screening mammogram rates increased after the Affordable Care Act eliminated out-of-pocket costs.
Why don't turtles still have tail spikes?
In a study covering 300 million years of evolutionary history, researchers from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences found four necessary components to tail weapon development: size, armor, herbivory and thoracic stiffness.
Magnetic liquids improve energy efficiency of buildings
Next-generation smart windows and facade devices are the main subjects in the research project Large-Area Fluidic Windows which has been coordinated at the University Jena, Germany.
Titan topographic map unearths cookie-cutter holes in moon's surface
Using the now-complete Cassini data set, Cornell University astronomers have created a new global topographic map of Saturn's moon Titan that has opened new windows into understanding its liquid flows and terrain.
Aid for oceans and fisheries in developing world drops by 30 percent
Financial aid to fisheries in developing countries has declined by 30 percent, finds a new study from UBC and Stockholm Resilience Centre researchers, published in Marine Policy.
Recording a thought's fleeting trip through the brain
Recording brain activity via electrodes placed directly on the cortical surface (ECoG) provides much clearer views of thinking activity and how the prefrontal cortex coordinates the brain's response to a perception.
CU researcher reviews effect of general anesthesia on developing brain
The head of the CU School of Medicine Department of Anesthesiology has written a review of scientific studies on the potentially adverse effects of exposing developing brains to general anesthesia.
First surface-based estimation of the aerosol indirect effect over China
Aerosol indirect effect (AIE) can significantly affect climate change and is one of the largest uncertainties in climate change studies.
Lifespan of fuel cells maximized using small amount of metals
KAIST researchers described a new technique to improve chemical stability of electrode materials which can extend the lifespan by employing a very little amount of metals.
What can be done to prevent alcohol-impaired driving fatalaties?
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) outlines a framework for preventing alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.
Children's awarded $2.6M to study stem cells for CHD-related neurological complications
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded researchers at Children's National Health System $2.6 million to expand their studies into whether human stem cells could someday treat and even reverse neurological damage in infants born with congenital heart disease (CHD).

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