Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 02, 2018
Treating women subsistence farmers for intestinal worms improved fitness and could boost food production
A new study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) found that treating women subsistence farmers with just a single dose of a cheap deworming medication significantly improved their physical stamina for the grueling agriculture work needed for their family's survival.

Novel PET imaging agent could help guide therapy for brain diseases
Researchers have developed a new PET imaging agent that could help guide and assess treatments for people with various neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis.

New study uncovers major differences in billing complexity among US health insurers
One frequently proclaimed advantage of single-payer health care is its potential to reduce administrative costs, but new research from the Vancouver School of Economics calls that assumption into question.

Links between eating red meat and distal colon cancer in women
A new study suggests that a diet free from red meat significantly reduces the risk of a type of colon cancer in women living in the United Kingdom.

Elevated blood pressure before pregnancy may increase chance of pregnancy loss
Elevated blood pressure before conception may increase the chances for pregnancy loss, according to an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Solution to 50-year-old mystery could lead to gene therapy for common blood disorders
In a landmark study that could lead to new therapies for sickle cell anemia and other blood disorders, UNSW Sydney-led researchers have used CRISPR gene editing to introduce beneficial natural mutations into blood cells to boost their production of fetal hemoglobin.

Eating more protein may not benefit older men
A randomized, clinical trial conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital investigator Shalender Bhasin, MD, and colleagues has found that higher protein intake did not increase lean body mass, muscle performance, physical function or other well-being measures among older men.

Heart defects in infant may predict heart problems in birth mother later in life
Women who give birth to infants with congenital heart defects may be at increased risk of heart problems including heart attack and heart failure later in life.

Biological ballet: Imaging technique reveals complex protein movements in cell membrane
OIST researchers developed a new imaging technique for observing individual protein molecules for a long time, providing new insights into how cells move.

Higher blood pressure before pregnancy may increase miscarriage risk
Higher blood pressure prior to conception may increase the risk of miscarriage, even in women not diagnosed with hypertension.

Online physician reviews don't reflect responses in patient satisfaction surveys
Physicians who receive negative reviews online do not receive similar responses in rigorous patient satisfaction surveys, according to new Mayo Clinic research in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Earth's stable temperature past suggests other planets could also sustain life
Research about temperatures on the early Earth have ranged from a virtually ice-covered surface to a very hot planet that could not support most of today's lifeforms.

People use emotion to persuade, even when it could backfire
We intuitively use more emotional language to enhance our powers of persuasion, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Single-cell mRNA cytometry via sequence-specific nanoparticle clustering and trapping
University of Toronto researchers developed a liquid biopsy technology to improve prostate cancer treatment.

New insight about how viruses use host proteins to their advantage
Viruses have a very limited set of genes and therefore must use the cellular machineries of their hosts for most parts of their growth.

Farthest star ever seen in the universe detected
An international team of researchers including the Kavli IPMU have observed the most distant individual star, 9 billion light years from Earth.

NASA sees Iris the Zombie Storm reborn near Queensland
During the week of March 26 Tropical Cyclone Iris weakened to a low pressure area and since then it has been lingering off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

First direct observations of methane's increasing greenhouse effect at the Earth's surface
Scientists have directly measured the increasing greenhouse effect of methane at the Earth's surface for the first time.

Where you live, walk, and eat in New York City are important for controlling diabetes
In the first study to directly examine the relationship between environment and individual's ability to control their diabetes, researchers found there is a link between the neighborhood food, built and economic environment where you live and the ability to achieve glycemic control.

Self-rating mental health as 'good' predicts positive future mental health
Researchers have found that when a person rates their current mental health as 'positive' despite meeting criteria for a mental health problem, it can predict good mental health in the future, even without treatment.

Easing uncertainty
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle -- the fundamental impossibility of simultaneously measuring entities such as position and momentum exactly -- is at the heart of quantum theory.

Agricultural fires can double Delhi pollution during peak burning season
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have demonstrated that in October and November, a peak burning season in nearby Punjab, about half of all pollution in Delhi can be attributed to agricultural fires on some days.

Flood risk denial in US coastal communities
Cultural anthropologist David Casagrande along with his colleagues are working to identify flood-prone locations, key individuals, and intervention strategies that lead to community-based mitigation in US coastal communities.

Finding order in disorder demonstrates a new state of matter
Physicists have identified a new state of matter whose structural order operates by rules more aligned with quantum mechanics than standard thermodynamic theory.

Ice-free Arctic summers could hinge on small climate warming range
A range of less than one degree Fahrenheit (or half a degree Celsius) of climate warming over the next century could make all the difference when it comes to the probability of future ice-free summers in the Arctic, new University of Colorado Boulder research shows.

UA-led NASA survey seen as steppingstone for astronomy
By studying dust in the habitable zones of nearby stars, the HOSTS Survey -- led by University of Arizona astronomers and performed with Arizona telescopes -- is helping to determine how big future telescopes should be, which stars are likely candidates for harboring Earth-like planets and what the average star system looks like.

Infant death study reveals dangerous sleep practices among babysitters, relatives, others
Babies who died during their sleep while being watched by someone other than parents often had been placed in unsafe sleep positions, such as on their stomachs, or in unsafe locations, such as a couch, a new study has found.

Biomimetic chemistry: DNA mimic outwits viral enzyme
Not only can synthetic molecules mimic the structures of their biological models, they can also take on their functions and may even successfully compete with them, as an artificial DNA sequence designed by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich chemist Ivan Huc now shows.

Stanford researchers engineer yeast to manufacture complex medicine
Stanford University bioengineers have figured out a way to make noscapine, a non-narcotic cough suppressant that occurs naturally in opium poppies, in brewer's yeast.

Protein analysis enables precise drug targeting
Researchers from MIPT and several US and Chinese universities have solved the structure of one of the most important nervous system proteins in complex with a number of drug molecules.

Hubble uncovers the farthest star ever seen
More than halfway across the universe, an enormous blue star nicknamed Icarus is the farthest individual star ever seen.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Josie crawling south of Fiji
NASA obtained an infrared look at Tropical Cyclone Josie as it continued moving very slowly south of Fiji.

New study shows vegetation controls the future of the water cycle
Columbia Engineering researchers have found that vegetation plays a dominant role in Earth's water cycle, that plants will regulate and dominate the increasing stress placed on continental water resources in the future.

Medicare program linked with reduced black-white disparities in hospital readmissions
A Medicare program that penalizes hospitals for high readmission rates was associated with a narrowing of readmission disparities between black and white patients and between minority-serving hospitals and other hospitals in the US, according to a new study from Harvard T.H.

Is the Milky Way getting bigger?
The galaxy we inhabit, the Milky Way, may be getting even bigger, according to Cristina Martínez-Lombilla, a Ph.D. candidate at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in Tenerife, Spain, and her collaborators.

Researchers develop injectable bandage
A penetrating injury from shrapnel is a serious obstacle in overcoming battlefield wounds that can ultimately lead to death.Given the high mortality rates due to hemorrhaging, there is an unmet need to quickly self-administer materials that prevent fatality due to excessive blood loss.

Do men outnumber women in academic neurology programs?
Men outnumbered women at all faculty levels in top-ranked academic neurology programs, findings that are consistent with previous studies of both neurology and other specialties.

First age-map of the heart of the Milky Way
The first large-scale age-map of the Milky Way shows that a period of star formation lasting around 4 billion years created the complex structure at the heart of our galaxy.

New technique makes heart valve replacement safer for some high-risk patients
Scientists have developed a novel technique that prevents coronary artery obstruction during transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a rare but often fatal complication.

We'll pay more for unhealthy foods we crave, neuroscience research finds
We'll pay more for unhealthy foods when we crave them, new neuroscience research finds.

Payment reform fix?
Hospital payment experiment in Maryland failed to deliver on the promise of shifting care from hospitals toward less expensive outpatient and primary care settings.

Proper data analysis might be among Hurricane Maria's casualties
The ability to use statistics to guide decision-making may be collateral damage of Hurricane Maria's devastating blow to Puerto Rico, according to a Penn State demographer.

Even DNA that doesn't encode genes can drive cancer
The vast majority of genetic mutations associated with cancer occur in non-coding regions of the genome, yet it's unclear how they may influence tumor development or growth.

Extinct monitor lizard had four eyes, fossil evidence shows
Researchers reporting in Current Biology on April 2 have evidence that an extinct species of monitor lizard had four eyes, a first among known jawed vertebrates.

Study suggests estuaries may experience accelerated impacts of human-caused CO2
Rising anthropogenic, or human-caused, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have up to twice the impact on coastal estuaries as it does in the oceans because the human-caused CO2 lowers the ecosystem's ability to absorb natural fluctuations of the greenhouse gas, a new study suggests.

Aquaplaning in the geological underground
Scientists propose a mechanism that explains how the biggest earthquake ever happened and how more than 50 years later another large earthquake in the same region released some of the stress that had built up in the depth.

Uncovering a mechanism causing chronic graft-vs-host disease after bone marrow transplant
MicroRNA-17-92 is required for the T-cell and B-cell pathogenicity that drives chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) after allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT), report investigators at The Medical University of South Carolina in an article prepublished online March 12, 2018 by Blood.

Sandcastles and surprising origins of basic cellular functions
Cells comprising a tissue can pack into disorderly geometries much as do grains of sand in a sandcastle.

In mice, long-lasting brain proteins offer clues to how memories last a lifetime
In the tiny brain space where two nerve cells meet, chemical and electric signals shuttle back and forth, a messaging system that ebbs and flows in those synaptic spaces, sometimes in ways that scientists believe aid and abet learning and memory.

UMD researcher uncovers protein used to outsmart the human immune system
A UMD researcher has uncovered a mechanism by which the bacteria that causes Lyme disease fights innate immune responses, and observed a never-before-seen phenomena demonstrating the bacteria can spring back in the body weeks later.

Study: Better fitness in pre-pregnant women linked with less risk of gestational diabetes
A new study from a University of Iowa-led research team finds that women who are considering pregnancy would benefit from greater fitness.

A Zika vaccine could virtually eliminate prenatal infections
A Zika vaccine could have a substantial effect on mitigating and preventing future Zika virus outbreaks.

Two-pronged approach could curb many cases of lung cancer
Lung cancer, a leading killer, has been hard to target with drugs.

Study examines energy and nutrient digestibility in wheat co-products fed to growing pigs
With feed costs and the worldwide demand for meat growing, livestock producers are increasingly turning to co-products from the ethanol and human food industries.

Scientists discover new method for measuring cellular age
A team led by scientists at Van Andel Research Institute and Cedars-Sinai have developed a straightforward, computational way to measure cellular age, a feat that may lead to better, simpler screening and monitoring methods for cancer and other diseases.

'Molecular scissors' could be key to cutting off diseases including HIV infection
One way to fight diseases including HIV infection and autoimmune disorders could involve changing how a naturally occurring enzyme called SAMHD1 works to influence the immune system, new research suggests.

Antarctica retreating across the sea floor
Antarctica's great ice sheet is losing ground as it is eroded by warm ocean water circulating beneath its floating edge, a new study has found.

New algorithm enables data integration at single-cell resolution
A team of computational biologists has developed an algorithm that can 'align' multiple sequencing datasets with single-cell resolution.

Using water molecules to read electrical activity in lipid membranes
EPFL researchers were able to map out in real time how charges are transported across and along membranes simply by observing the behavior of adjacent water molecules.

Spear points prove early inhabitants liked to travel
Careful examination of numerous fluted spear points found in Alaska and western Canada prove that the Ice Age peopling of the Americas was much more complex than previously believed, according to a study done by two Texas A&M University researchers.

Researchers find new trigger for onset of colon cancer, which may lead to better therapies
A new function of a colon cancer gene has been found to bring several activators of this disease to a halt.

Coral reefs protect coasts from severe storms
Coral reefs can naturally protect coasts from tropical cyclones by reducing the impact of large waves before they reach the shore, according to scientists.

Water purification breakthrough uses sunlight and 'hydrogels'
Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin, have created a low-cost, clean and safe water purification device using only natural levels of sunlight and inexpensive gel technology which could be used by communities in drought-affected areas or victims of natural disasters with limited access to clean water.

Spaceflight activates cell changes with implications for stem cell-based heart repair
A new study of the effects of spaceflight on the development of heart cells identified changes in calcium signaling that could be used to develop stem cell-based therapies for cardiac repair.

Does metal use slow when a country's wealth grows? Maybe not
In a new study, a Yale-led team of researchers found that GDP remains intrinsically linked with metal use even as affluence grows -- a relationship that might threaten long-term global access to critical metals and hopes for a low-carbon future.

New compound helps activate cancer-fighting T cells
An international research team led by University of Connecticut chemist Amy Howell has created a new lipid antigen that helps stimulate disease-fighting T cells in the immune system, opening up new paths for the development of better cancer therapy drugs and vaccines.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2018
Story tips: An ORNL-led team cultivated a novel oral microbe in adults with periodontitis; ORNL partnered with FCA US and Nemak to develop a new cast aluminum alloy for engine cylinder heads, which could lead to better fuel efficiency; ORNL studies cast doubt on 40-year-old theory describing how plastic polymers behave during processing.

Associations between acid-suppressing medications, antibiotics in infancy and later allergic disease
The use of acid-suppressing medications or antibiotics in the first six months of infancy was associated with an increased risk for the subsequent development of allergic diseases in childhood.

Hubble uses cosmic lens to discover most distant star ever observed
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found the most distant star ever discovered.

When drugs are wrong, skipped or make you sick: The cost of non-optimized medications
Rising drug prices have gotten a lot of attention lately, but the actual cost of prescription medications is more than just the bill.

Reorganization of brain outputs in deaf cats
Cats deaf from an early age have increased outgoing connections from the auditory cortex to a midbrain region responsible for directing the animal to a particular location in its environment.

Rare Scottish dinosaur prints give key insight into era lost in time
A series of rare dinosaur footprints discovered on the Isle of Skye in Scotland is helping experts establish details of an important period in dinosaur evolution.

Modeling future earthquake and tsunami risk in southeast Japan
Geoscience researchers at UMass Amherst, Smith College and the Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology unveil new, GPS-based methods for modeling earthquake-induced tsunamis for southeast Japan along the Nankai Trough.

Breakthrough in determining ages of different microbial groups
An international team of scientists, which includes the University of Bristol, have made a significant breakthrough in how we understand the first three-quarters of life on earth by creating new techniques for investigating the timing and co-evolution of microbial groups.

Unraveling the immunopathogenesis of Johne's disease
A research team has unraveled the immunopathogenesis of Johne's disease, a chronic bovine disease that has caused endemics in Japan and many other countries, placing financial burdens on cattle farmers.

Studies examine relationship between legal cannabis use, opioid prescriptions
Two studies examine the relationship between legal cannabis use and opioid prescriptions.

In zebrafish, the cholera bacterium sets off a surprising flush
Researchers experimenting with live zebrafish witnessed a 200 percent increase in the strength of intestinal contractions soon after exposure to the cholera-causing bacterium Vibrio cholerae, leading to expulsion of native gut bacteria.

Hanging by a thread: Why bent fibers hold more water
Inspired by the large droplets that form on a leaf tip or other thin filament, a team of researchers from Utah State University, University of Liège, Belgium, and Brigham Young University have found the exact angle at which a bent fiber holds the most fluid.

Cosmic lens helps Hubble capture image of most distant star ever seen
Peering through the gravitational lens of a massive galaxy cluster 5 billion light years from Earth, astronomers have discovered a single, blue supergiant star 9 billion light years away, farther than any other normal star seen before.

Potential of manipulating gut microbiome to boost efficacy of cancer immunotherapies
The composition of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract may hold clues to help predict which cancer patients are most apt to benefit from the personalized cellular therapies that have shown unprecedented promise in the fight against hard-to-treat cancers.

Experts define global criteria for hospital programs to tackle antimicrobial resistance
A group of international experts, led by researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in India and the Université de Lorraine in France, has now for the first time defined a standardized set of actions that are relevant for all hospitals around the world to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials and limit the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Astronomers find 72 bright and fast explosions
Gone in a (cosmological) flash: a team of astronomers found 72 very bright, but quick events in a recent survey and are still struggling to explain their origin.

Combination immunotherapy improves survival in mouse models of mesothelioma
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have found that combined treatment with two cancer immunotherapy drugs -- one a novel immune modulator and one that focuses and activates the anti-tumor immune response -- significantly prolonged survival in mouse models of the aggressive cancer malignant mesothelioma.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Predicting water storage beyond 2-5 years over global semiarid regions
Scientists from Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences made skillful prediction for terrestrial water storage over one-third of land areas (excluding Antarctic, Greenland, and desert regions) beyond two to five years, especially for semiarid regions where deep soil water and aquifer have a long memory and a non-negligible variability.

River's evolution unfolds with fresh mix of dating techniques
Griffith University has participated in the first international dating study of the fluvial terraces of the Lower Moulouya river in northeast Morocco.

400-year-old documents reveal evidence of Japanese opium production and winemaking
In 2016, Kumamoto University researchers reported that a Kyusyu lord ordered his people to produce wine in the 17th century.
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