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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | May 03, 2018


Anti-alcoholism drug shows promise in animal models
Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully tested in animals a drug that, they say, may one day help block the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that incessantly coax people with alcoholism to drink.
Researchers defy biology: Mice remain slim on burger diet
Our bodies are extremely efficient at storing fat from food into our fat tissue.
Walnuts impact gut microbiome and improve health
Diets rich in nuts, such as walnuts, have been shown to play a role in heart health and in reducing colorectal cancer.
Mercury rising: Are the fish we eat toxic?
Canadian researchers say industrial sea fishing may be exposing people in coastal and island nations to excessively high levels of mercury.
Women who eat fast food take longer to become pregnant
Women who eat less fruit and more fast food take longer to get pregnant and are less likely to conceive within a year, according to a study by researchers at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute.
Morphing twisted nanoscale objects to tailor applications in future technologies
For the first time scientists have created a way to model the interaction between light and twisted molecules, as these molecules transition from left- to right-handed versions, or vice versa.
Arts and culture could help Finnish schools reach new heights of excellence
Finland has one of the best education systems in the world.
Study: Transgender people who are denied mental health care at higher risk of self-harm
When those who identify as transgender are denied mental health care, they stand at higher risk of substance abuse as a coping method.
Scientists develop a new test to safely and accurately diagnose peanut allergies
Scientists have developed a new laboratory test to diagnose peanut allergy.
Endorsements enhance an MBA applicant's chance
A Cornell University researcher and his colleague offer the first empirical evidence on the effects of endorsements on MBA students' performance.
UIC researchers create heart cells to study AFib
University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have discovered a way turn pluripotent stem cells into atrial cells.
Shrinking the synthesizer
Engineers team up to reduce the size, cost and power requirements of an optical frequency device.
Atomically thin magnetic device could lead to new memory technologies
In a study published online May 3 in the journal Science, a University of Washington-led team announced that it has discovered a method to encode information using magnets that are just a few layers of atoms in thickness.
SWAT team of immune cells found in mother's milk
Immune cells that are ready to take action against invaders like bacteria have been found in women's breast milk, researchers say.
Environmental quality research questions identified for Latin American region
Using an innovative initiative, Latin American researchers from academia, government agencies and businesses leaders identified priority research questions for the region to tackle pressing environmental quality issues.
Controlling the crystal structure of gallium oxide
Precise control of the atomic structure of gallium-oxide layers improves the development of high-power electronic devices.
Brain stimulation reduces suicidal thinking in people with hard-to-treat depression
A specific kind of brain stimulation is effective in reducing suicidal thinking in a significant portion of people with hard-to-treat depression, according to a new CAMH study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Increased nerve activity may raise blood pressure in anxiety
Sympathetic nerve activity to skeletal muscle blood vessels--a function of the nervous system that helps regulate blood pressure--increases during physiological and mental stress in people with chronic anxiety, a new study finds.
Novel approach for photosynthetic production of carbon neutral biofuel from green algae
Reducing carbon emissions in order to prevent climate change requires developing new technologies for sustainable and renewable biofuel production.
Natural gas prices, not 'war on coal,' were key to coal power decline
Steep declines in the use of coal for power generation over the past decade were caused largely by less expensive natural gas and the availability of wind energy -- not by environmental regulations.
Custom silicon microparticles dynamically reconfigure on demand
Researchers at Duke University and North Carolina State University have demonstrated the first custom semiconductor microparticles to exhibit dynamically selectable behaviors while suspended in water.
Mindfulness at work: UBC study first to uncover positive benefits for teams
Challenges and differences in opinion are inevitable when working in a team.
Smart skin for flexible monitoring
An electronic tag that stretches and flexes while it records location and environmental data can monitor marine animals in their natural habitat.
Brain circuit helps us learn by watching others
MIT researchers have identified a brain circuit required to learn by watching others.
Electrical signals in plants affect photosynthetic activity
Plants are constantly exposed to various stressors, including drought, fluctuations in temperature and light intensity, attacks by insects, etc.
Penn performs first-in-world robot-assisted spinal surgery
Penn neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists performed the first robot-assisted spinal surgery.
A sophisticated design to turn saltwater into freshwater
Scientists have developed an improved type of membrane for desalinating water.
Chemists develop MRI-like technique to detect what ails batteries
A team of chemists has developed an MRI-based technique that can quickly diagnose what ails certain types of batteries -- from determining how much charge remains to detecting internal defects -- without opening them up.
Could robots be counselors? Early research shows positive user experience
New research has shown for the first time that a social robot can deliver a 'helpful' and 'enjoyable' motivational interview (MI) -- a counseling technique designed to support behavior change.
Neurons use a single switch to decide whether to make or break new connections
Visualizing the signals that make brain cells connect reveals new insights into the developing brain.
Mistletoe has lost 'most of its respiratory capacity,' two studies show
Most people know mistletoe as a plant to hang up and kiss under at the holidays.
Study: Maternal placenta consumption causes no harm to newborns
A joint UNLV and Oregon State University study found mothers who consumed their placenta passed on no harm to their newborn babies when compared to infants of mothers who did not consume their placenta.
The true 'value' of biodiversity
Planning conservation policies to protect biodiversity using single core 'values' such as the 'usefulness' of a species could put 'less useful' species at risk.
Engineers upgrade ancient, sun-powered tech to purify water with near-perfect efficiency
The idea of using energy from the sun to evaporate and purify water is ancient.
Temperature swings to hit poor countries hardest
Temperature fluctuations that are amplified by climate change will hit the world's poorest countries hardest, new research suggests.
How a type of beneficial bacteria colonize the gut
A type of beneficial bacterium takes hold in the gut by using a protein produced by the host's immune system, a new study in mice reports.
What gorilla poop tells us about evolution and human health
A study of the microbiomes of wild gorillas and chimpanzees offers insights into the evolution of the human microbiome and might even have implications for human health.
Newly-discovered anti-inflammatory substances may potentially treat variety of diseases
Researchers have discovered a new family of substances which has been found to display highly potent activity against the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the toxicity induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Why children with autism may be at risk of bullying
Children with autism may be at risk from bullying because they are more willing to accept unfair behavior say psychologists.
Sex after 65: Poll finds links to health, gender differences, lack of communication
A new poll busts stereotypes about the sex lives of older Americans -- and reveals gender and health-related divides on key aspects of sexual health, while highlighting the need for more people to talk with their health providers about sexual issues.
Volcanic hazard scenarios: Mount Taranaki, New Zealand
Over the last 5000 years, Mount Taranaki volcano, located in the westernmost part of New Zealand's North Island, produced at least 16 Plinian-scale explosive eruptions, the latest at AD 1655.
Cutting number of cancers diagnosed as emergencies could save 1,400 lives a year
Over 1,400 lives could be saved every year -- four more every day -- if more cancers were diagnosed through GP referral instead of emergency hospital admissions, according to a new study led by City, University of London and funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.
Pitt and UPMC join NIH in launching nationwide precision medicine effort
On May 6, the National Institutes of Health will open national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program -- a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds -- in collaboration the University of Pittsburgh and other partners.
A new model for communication in plant cells
A study led by University of Maryland researchers suggests a new model for how glutamate receptor-like proteins (GLRs) function in plant cells.
Weeds take over kelp in high CO2 oceans
Weedy plants will thrive and displace long-lived, ecologically valuable kelp forests under forecast ocean acidification, new research from the University of Adelaide shows.
Marmoset monkey model of Zika virus infection offers new insights into the human condition
A novel marmoset model of human Zika virus infection offers new opportunities for better understanding of how the virus causes congenital disease in humans.
Solar powered sea slugs shed light on search for perpetual green energy
In an amazing achievement akin to adding solar panels to your body, a Northeast sea slug sucks raw materials from algae to provide its lifetime supply of solar-powered energy, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick and other scientists.
A potentially cheap, efficient and eco-friendly system for purifying natural gas
Fundamental researchers have proposed a novel two-part system for separating impurities from natural gas in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.
Topological domain walls in helimagnets
Special domain walls with magnetic vortex structures have been discovered in helimagnets.
PET imaging agent could provide early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis
A novel PET tracer developed by Korean researchers can visualize joint inflammation and could provide early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, a common autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of joints and can lead to deformity and dysfunction.
Highly elastic biodegradable hydrogel for bioprinting of new tissues
Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have developed a highly elastic biodegradable hydrogel for bio-printing of materials that mimic natural human soft tissues.
Fasting boosts stem cells' regenerative capacity
Age-related declines in stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast, according to a new study from MIT.
A designer's toolkit for constructing complex nanoparticles
A team of chemists at Penn State has developed a designer's toolkit that lets them build various levels of complexity into nanoparticles using a simple, mix-and-match process.
Wriggling tadpoles may hold clue to how autism develops
New research sheds light on a phenomenon called neuroplasticity.
Earthquake aftermath: Life-threatening blood clots in legs and lungs from sitting in cars for extended periods
Japanese physicians highlight the risks and clinical significance for individuals who remain seated and immobile in vehicles for prolonged periods.
Mistletoe mystery -- something's missing from the kissing plant?
Scientists at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK, working alongside colleagues at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany, were surprised to discover that mistletoe has evolved in a manner that makes it unique among multicellular organisms.
Deadliest human malaria parasite reveals the genomic chinks in its armor
For the first time, scientists have revealed the essential genes for the most deadly human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.
Lining MOF pockets to detect noxious gases
Custom-made gas-sensing material could lead to inexpensive devices for real-time air quality analysis.
Picking one photon out of the flow
In a collaboration between Aarhus University and the University of Southern Denmark, researchers have discovered a way to subtract a single quantum of light from a laser beam.
Study offers new approach to starve p53 deficient tumors
Sanford Burnham Prebys (SBP) researchers recently discovered an alternative metabolic pathway that might be used by cancer cells to survive nutrient deprivation.
Nation's first cardiac ablation with mapping system recently cleared by the FDA performed at Penn Medicine
After eight years of failed treatment for persistent atrial fibrillation (AF), Janet Szilagyi, 78 of Clayton, New Jersey, became the first patient in the United States to undergo cardiac ablation -- a procedure in which an electrophysiologist will scar or destroy tissue in the heart that's allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm -- using an intraoperative imaging and mapping system recently cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Sylentis announces the results of tivanisiran for dry eye syndrome
The studies carried out with tivanisiran showed an improvement in the inflammatory ocular parameters, tear quality, and a reduction in ocular pain, that is associated with dry eye syndrome.
Researchers levitate water droplets to improve contaminant detection
Researchers showed that using sound waves to levitate droplets of water in midair can improve the detection of harmful heavy metal contaminants such as lead and mercury in water.
Decoding the brain's learning machine
In studies with monkeys, Johns Hopkins researchers report that they have uncovered significant new details about how the cerebellum -- the 'learning machine' of the mammalian brain -- makes predictions and learns from its mistakes, helping us execute complex motor actions such as accurately shooting a basketball into a net or focusing your eyes on an object across the room.
Untangling DNA knots
MIT researchers have discovered the factors that influence how knots travel along a strand of DNA, using technology that allows them to stretch DNA molecules and image the knots' behavior.
Noise throws the heart out of rhythm
With an increasing level of noise, the incidence of atrial fibrillation also increases dramatically.
Plants get a brace to precisely shed flowers and leaves
A study on how petals fall, and plants cope with the lost.
Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis
A new, stable artificial photosynthesis device doubles the efficiency of harnessing sunlight to break apart both fresh and salt water, generating hydrogen that can then be used in fuel cells.
Early HIV treatment key to avoiding brain atrophy
While the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has largely dropped from news headlines since the 1990s, at the end of 2016 there were 36.7 million people living with the infection, and of those only 53 per cent had access to treatment.
Essential malaria parasite genes revealed
Researchers have exploited a quirk in the genetic make-up of the deadly malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to create 38,000 mutant strains and then determine which of the organism's genes are essential to its growth and survival.
Women who eat fast food and little or no fruit take longer to become pregnant
Women who eat less fruit and more fast food take longer to get pregnant and are less likely to conceive within a year, according to a study published in Human Reproduction, one of the world's leading reproductive medicine journals.
3-D batteries pack power into tiny footprints
Batteries might seem like they come in every shape and size that you can imagine.
New study sheds light (and some shade) on anole diversification
The Greater Antilles are home to more than 100 species of Anolis lizards.
CWD prions discovered in Wisconsin soils for the first time
New research out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has, for the first time, detected prions responsible for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in samples taken from sites where deer congregate.
Flockmate or loner? Identifying the genes behind sociality in chickens
Five genes that affect sociality-related behavior in chickens have been identified by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden.
Intestinal worm infections could be dramatically reduced: Study
The number of children suffering from intestinal worm infections could be dramatically reduced around the world by treating adults as well as children, based on the results of a new pilot study in Timor-Leste led by The Australian National University.
Revealing the remarkable nanostructure of human bone
Using advanced 3D nanoscale imaging of the mineral in human bone, research teams from the University of York and Imperial College London have shown that the mineral crystals of bone have a hierarchical structure integrated into the larger-scale make-up of the skeleton.
Milestone research on Madagascar periwinkle uncovers pathway to cancer-fighting drugs
Plant scientists have taken the crucial last steps in a 60-year quest to unravel the complex chemistry of Madagascar periwinkle in a breakthrough that opens up the potential for rapid synthesis of cancer-fighting compounds.
'Digital snapshots' reveal the protein landscape of mitochondrial quality control
Harvard Medical School scientists developed a new technique to analyze, with unprecedented quantitative precision, how cells initiate the removal of defective mitochondria by the cell's autophagy, or 'self-eating,' system.
Weekday for operation does not affect survival from lung cancer
The day of the week on which a patient has a lung cancer operation has no significance for their survival.
Researchers unravel genomic mystery of malaria's deadliest parasite
Antimalarial drugs and vaccines are expected to be far more superior with the uncovering of Plasmodium falciparum's full genome, the parasite that makes malaria so deadly.
Long-distance relationships of particles: Electron-hole pairs in two-dimensional crystals
Researchers of TU Dresden reveal the nature of optical excitations in two-dimensional crystals within an international collaboration
24 and me
American University researchers have identified the first gene of the germline-restricted chromosome in zebra finches, a finding that could pave the way for further research into what makes a bird male or female.
NUS engineers invent smart microchip that can self-start and operate when battery runs out
BATLESS, a smart microchip developed by a team of researchers led by Associate Professor Massimo Alioto from National University of Singapore's Faculty of Engineering, can self-start and continue to operate even when the battery runs out of energy.
Mystery solved: The bacterial protein that kills male fruit flies
An endosymbiotic bacterium, Spiroplasma, specifically kills the males of its fruit-fly host (Drosophila).
Bacterial toxins wreak havoc by crippling cellular infrastructure
Bacterial toxins can wreak mass havoc within cells by shutting down multiple essential functions at once, a new study has found.
At odds: Less sensory neurons induce stronger sensations of itch
The irritating itchiness that affects people as they age and their skin becomes drier may be caused by the loss of Merkel cells, a new study in mice suggests.
Bacteria therapy for eczema shows promise in NIH study
Topical treatment with live Roseomonas mucosa--a bacterium naturally present on the skin--was safe for adults and children with atopic dermatitis (eczema) and was associated with reduced disease severity, according to initial findings from an ongoing early-phase clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health.
World's rarest ape on the edge of extinction
In a new research article, a team of international researchers argue that the Tapanuli orangutan -- a species discovered last year in Sumatra, Indonesia, and one of the rarest animals on the planet -- could lose its battle for survival, unless decisive steps are taken to rescue it.
Cognitive remediation can be implemented in large systems of psychiatric care
Cognitive remediation, an evidence-based, recovery-oriented behavioral intervention for patients with mental illness, can feasibly be implemented in large systems of care, according to researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
Plant relationships breakdown when they meet new 'fungi'
Gijsbert Werner, Postdoctoral Fellow and Stuart West, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, both in the Oxford University Department of Zoology, explain the process of plant cooperation, in relation to their new study published in PNAS, which has shed light on why cooperative relationships breakdown.
Should ethics or human intuition drive the moral judgments of driverless cars?
Driverless cars will encounter situations requiring moral assessment -- and new research suggests that people may not be happy with the decisions their cars make.
How a light touch can spur severe itching
Scientists at the Washington University Center for the Study of Itch have found that itching caused by touch is directly related to the number of touch receptors embedded in the skin.
The brain's 'rising stars': New options against Alzheimer's?
A study by scientists of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases points to a novel potential approach against Alzheimer's disease.
Mix of natural cures, biomedical devices prompts bone health, growth
In a first-ever effort, WSU researchers improved the bone-growing capabilities on 3D-printed, ceramic bone scaffolds by 30-45 percent with curcumin, a compound found in the spice, turmeric.
Armed conflicts in Sahara and Sahel endangering wildlife in the region
The researchers warn that armed conflicts in the region, which have been escalating since 2011 and now represent 5 percent of all conflicts in the world are wiping out animal species such as the African elephant and dorcas gazelle at an alarming rate.
Study points to the futility of urine tests for salbutamol doping
Salbutamol, also known as albuterol, is a medication that opens up constricted medium and large airways in the lungs and is often used to treat asthma.
COPD-associated inflammation halted in model experiment
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD for short, is believed to be the third most common cause of death worldwide.
Women should have right to reject pregnancy
In a new paper published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, QUT's Dr Andrew McGee and his co-authors argue that, despite decades of debate, advocates and opponents of abortion have been unable to demonstrate conclusively that either side's view is false, or agree on when life starts.
Childhood communication enhances brain development, protecting against harmful behaviors
Children with greater parent communication in early adolescence have less harmful alcohol use and emotional eating in young adulthood, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry.
Antimatter study to benefit from recipe for ten-fold spatial compression of plasma
An international team of physicists studying antimatter have now derived an improved way of spatially compressing a state of matter called non-neutral plasma, which consists of both antimatter and matter particles.
Daily aspirin linked to double melanoma risk in men
Men who take once-daily aspirin have nearly double the risk of melanoma compared to men who are not exposed to daily aspirin, reports a large new study.Women, however, do not have an increased risk.
Purdue researchers create instrument to rapidly test if drugs contain trace crystallinity
Researchers at Purdue University have created a device that can quickly and inexpensively determine whether new pharmaceutical formulations have trace crystallinity that can negatively impact the drug's stability and bioavailability.
Odd microbial partnerships via electrically conductive particles
Human activities have contributed to global warming subsequently leading to increasing erosion of land.
Mining for gold with a computer
Engineers from Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech report important new insights into nanoporous gold -- a material with growing applications in several areas, including energy storage and biomedical devices -- all without stepping into a lab.
New research uncovers 'stability protein' for cancer treatment
Researchers from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences have characterized a new protein that is important to the genetic stability of our cells.
The secret microstructure of bone: Insights into what makes it stiff and tough
The detailed structure of bone on a microscopic scale has been revealed.
Even brief maternal deprivation early in life alters adult brain function and cognition
When a baby is taken from its mother for even a brief period early in life, this traumatic event significantly alters the future, adult function of the brain, according to a new animal model study from the School of Science at IUPUI.
Largest-ever family study of migraine provides new insight into the disease
An international research consortium has shown that an accumulation of many independent genetic risk variants is the reason why migraine tends to run in families.
Crocodiles listen to classical music in MRI scanner
What happens in a crocodile's brain when it hears complex sounds?
Gait assessed with body-worn sensors may help detect onset of Alzheimer's disease
Body-worn sensors used at home and in clinic by people with mild Alzheimer's to assess walking could offer a cost-effective way to detect early disease and monitor progression of the illness.
Bowel disease study points to new therapies for lifelong conditions
Treatments for incurable bowel conditions may be a step closer following the discovery of a key molecule associated with disease flare-ups.
Interconnected cells-in-a-dish let researchers study brain disease
Using multiple types of cells found in the brain's hippocampus, Salk researchers modeled how connections between cells go awry in schizophrenia.
Is prognosis poor for breast cancer diagnosed after negative screening mammography?
A study of mammography data for more than 300,000 women suggests cases of breast cancer diagnosed after a negative screening mammogram were more likely to be associated with poor prognosis than those cancers diagnosed after a positive screening mammogram.
Study sheds light on genetic foundation of migraines
The nauseating, often debilitating, headaches affect 15-20 percent of adults in developed countries, yet they remain stubbornly hard to explain.
Burst of newborn stars in young star cluster puzzles astronomers
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, an international research team led by Dr.

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