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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | January 10, 2019


Hubble sees the brightest quasar in the early Universe
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the brightest quasar ever seen in the early Universe.
The pressure's off
Scientists reveal activated structure of a receptor critical for blood pressure, salt homeostasis.
Perceptions of chronic fatigue syndrome in the emergency department
Findings from a novel online questionnaire of people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) suggest the majority of these patients do not receive proper care, say researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center in the first investigation of the presentation of CFS in the emergency department.
Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries'
Your knees and your smartphone battery have some surprisingly similar needs, a University of Michigan professor has discovered, and that new insight has led to a 'structural battery' prototype that incorporates a cartilage-like material to make the batteries highly durable and easy to shape.
New technique more precisely determines the ages of stars, Embry-Riddle researchers report
A new technique for understanding the star-forming history of the Milky Way in unprecedented detail makes it possible to determine the ages of stars at least two times more precisely than conventional methods, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University researchers reported Jan.
Sex differences in 'body clock' may benefit women's heart health
Research suggests that a gene that governs the body's biological (circadian) clock acts differently in males versus females and may protect females from heart disease.
Climate change intensifies war of the birds
University of Groningen (UG) biologists have discovered that climate change has an effect on the regular clashes between great tits and pied flycatchers during the breeding season.
For these birds, climate change spells a rise in fatal conflicts
Researchers have found yet another way in which climate change has been detrimental to migrating birds.
Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought
Heat trapped by greenhouse gases is raising ocean temperatures faster than previously thought, concludes an analysis of four recent ocean heating observations.
Giving Cas9 an 'on' switch for better control of CRISPR gene editing
UC Berkeley scientists have created an 'on' switch for CRISPR-Cas9 that allows it to be turned on in select cells only, specifically those that have a particular protein-cutting enzyme, or protease.
Pharmacists could dramatically reduce ER visits
Nearly one-third of non-urgent emergency department visits in Ontario can potentially be managed by pharmacists, study finds.
Danish malaria vaccine passes test in humans
A vaccine against fatal pregnancy malaria shows promising results in the first tests in humans.
HIV protein function that slows migration of T cells also improves viral survival
A study from a Massachusetts General Hospital research team has identified the specific function of a protein found in HIV and related viruses that, after slowing down viral spread in the earliest stages of infection, may help the virus survive later on by evading the immune response.
Early development of memory for space and time
By observing how newborn rats first navigate and begin to remember the environments they are born into, researchers have gained new insight into how brains develop the ability to turn experiences into memory.
Repeatedly missing GP appointments may indicate greater risk of death from all causes
Repeatedly missing general practice (GP) appointments may be a risk marker for all-cause mortality, particularly in patients with mental health conditions, new research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine suggests.
Bioinspired nanoscale drug delivery method developed by WSU, PNNL researchers
Washington State University researchers have developed a novel way to deliver drugs and therapies into cells at the nanoscale without causing toxic effects that have stymied other such efforts.
Speeding up genetic diagnosis of Huntington's disease
Elongated segments of DNA cause Huntington's disease and certain other disorders of the brain.
Using genetics of human fat cells to predict response to anti-diabetes drugs
In a new study published in Cell Stem Cell, a team of researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have demonstrated--using fat cells derived from human stem cells -- that individual genetic variation can be used to predict whether the TZD rosiglitazone will produce the unwanted side effect of increasing cholesterol levels in certain individuals.
IDIBELL researchers identify a new leukodystrophy in children and its potential cure
The Neurometabolic Diseases research team at IDIBELL and CIBERER, led by Aurora Pujol, has uncovered a novel disease of children affecting the brain white matter -- the myelin sheath --, leading to severe incapacity and death in some cases.
African-Americans may live longer after liver transplant if their donors are the same race
African-American adults undergoing liver transplant to treat liver cancer lived significantly longer if their organ donor was also African-American.
Reading the signs: Semaphorin linked to lung cancer treatment resistance
Osaka University researchers showed that high levels of the protein Semaphorin 7a are associated with resistance to treatment with EGFR-TKIs in lung adenocarcinoma cells with EGFR mutation.
Regenstrief investigator calls for Medicare payment for team-based care for dementia
CMS can create access to better care for the many millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer's disease -- both patients and their caregivers -- by redesigning the Medicare payment system to support collaborative dementia care writes Regenstrief Institute research scientist Malaz Boustani, M.D., M.P.H., in 'An Alternative Payment Model to Support Widespread Use of Collaborative Dementia Care Models,' published in the January 2019 issue of Health Affairs.
Mapping residual esophageal tumors -- a glimpse into the future?
Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer-associated death and continues to have a very poor prognosis.
How forest termites protect tropical forests from drought
The efforts of tiny forest termites have a big effect on the harmful ecological effects of drought in tropical rainforests, according to a new study, which reveals their important role in maintaining ecosystem function during periods of extended aridity.
Experimental antibody 'cocktail' protects animals from three deadly Ebola viruses
Scientists have developed a combination of monoclonal antibodies that protected animals from all three Ebola viruses that cause human disease.
New research reveals the enduring benefits of hiring a star
The paper looks at the different benefits stars and non-stars bring, both to the task at hand and to the collaborators' ability to come up with breakthrough ideas in the future.
Discovery adapts natural membrane to make hydrogen fuel from water
In a recent study from the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, scientists have combined two membrane-bound protein complexes to perform a complete conversion of water molecules to hydrogen and oxygen.
Unconventional immune cells trigger disturbed cytokine production in human spondyloarthritis
Spondyloarthritis is one of the most common types of chronic joint inflammation affecting nearly 1-2 percent of the Western population.
New dynamic probes for ions interacting with biomolecules
Pairs of negatively charged phosphate groups and positive magnesium ions represent a key structural feature of DNA and RNA embedded in water.
Viral production is not essential for deaths caused by food-borne pathogen
The replication of a bacterial virus is not necessary to cause lethal disease in mice infected with a food-borne pathogen called Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), according to a study published Jan.
Termites mitigate effects of drought in Tropical Rainforest
Termites are commonly regarded as one of the most destructive insect pests, yet its unknown side was recently revealed by a major new study published in the prestigious journal Science -- the collaborative research co-led by Dr Louise Ashton of the University of Hong Kong, with researchers from the University of Liverpool and the Natural History Museum, London, has discovered that termites actually help mitigate against the effects of drought in tropical rain forests.
The Lancet: High intake of dietary fiber and whole grains associated with reduced risk of non-communicable diseases
Peer-reviewed / Meta-analysis and systematic review / People Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fiber a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in The Lancet.
New review shows plant-based diets benefit athletes' heart health, endurance, recovery
A new scientific review published in the journal Nutrients provides evidence that plant-based athletes benefit from improvements in heart health, performance, and recovery.
Targeting an RNA-binding protein to fight aging
Researchers at EPFL found that the RNA-binding protein PUM2 contributes to the accumulation of defective mitochondria, a key feature of the aging process.
Treat vitamin D deficiency to prevent deadly lung attacks
Vitamin D supplements have been found to reduce the risk of potentially fatal lung attacks in some chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London.
Cancer comorbidities reduce clinical trial participation, new SWOG study shows
Cancer patients with other illnesses or conditions, such as hypertension, asthma, or a prior cancer, are less likely to talk with their health care provider about a cancer clinical trial, are less likely to be offered to join a clinical trial, and ultimately less likely to enroll in a trial, according to the results of a new SWOG Cancer Research Network study.
New research shows that women with IBD are at greater risk of mental illness
A study published today in the journal Gut shows that women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at greater risk of developing a mental illness after giving birth compared to the overall population.
Bacteria help discover human cancer-causing proteins
Researchers applied an unconventional approach that used bacteria to discover human proteins that can lead to DNA damage and promote cancer.
Astronomers find signatures of a 'messy' star that made its companion go supernova
On Jan. 10 at the 2019 American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, an international team of astronomers announced that they have identified the type of companion star that made its partner in a binary system, a carbon-oxygen white dwarf star, explode.
Ocean warming is accelerating
Observational records of ocean heat content show that ocean warming is accelerating.
Medication-assisted treatment helps patients avoid opioid withdrawal complications
Much attention is given to opioid overdose, but opioid withdrawal is a high-risk period where patients could experience serious health complications or revert to misuse or abuse, according to a new clinical review in Annals of Emergency Medicine.
How much is too much? Even moderate alcohol consumption is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation
Excessive alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF), but what are the effects of moderate and mild consumption on AF?
The FASEB Journal: Fish oil supplementation can slow muscle loss during immobilization
A study published in The FASEB Journal demonstrated that dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (or fish oils) reduced the rate at which young women lost muscle mass during a period of immobilization.
UMN Medical School Researchers discover how to treat diastolic heart failure
Research out of University Minnesota Medical School and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight uncovers what causes diastolic heart failure and how it can be treated.
UTSA uncovers the disconnect between the brain's dopamine system and cocaine addiction
Now new data by UTSA shows how the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine changes when working for cocaine.
Clever budgies make better mates
Male budgie birds who show smarts become more attractive in the eyes of female counterparts, a new study suggests.
Excessive social media use is comparable to drug addiction
Bad decision-making is a trait oftentimes associated with drug addicts and pathological gamblers, but what about people who excessively use social media?
Bizarre 'bristle-jaw' creatures finally placed on tree of life
The phylogenetic position of chaetognaths, or arrow worms, stumped scientists for centuries; now, researchers have revealed important evolutionary trends by pinpointing their proper place.
Basel researchers identify drug against the formation of metastasis
The most deadly aspect of breast cancer is metastasis. It spreads cancer cells throughout the body.
Rice plants engineered to be better at photosynthesis make more rice
A new bioengineering approach for boosting photosynthesis in rice plants could increase grain yield by up to 27 percent, according to a study publishing January 10, 2019 in the journal Molecular Plant.
More stable light comes from intentionally 'squashed' quantum dots
Intentionally 'squashing' colloidal quantum dots during chemical synthesis creates dots capable of stable, 'blink-free' light emission that is fully comparable with the light produced by dots made with more complex processes.
How missing appointments increases the risk of death
Missing GP appointments is associated with early death, and those with long-term mental health conditions are at particular risk.
CRISPR study reveals new immune system regulators
Scientists have created the first retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing library to explore the regulation of mouse T cells, which are key cells in the immune system.
New CRISPR-Cas9 variants can respond to viral proteases
Using a technique called circular permutation, researchers at the University of California Berkeley have created a new suite of Cas9 variants called Cas9-CPs, which will simplify design of Cas9-fusion proteins for diverse applications beyond simple DNA cutting, such as base editing and epigenetic modifications.
How dangerous is microplastic?
After early reports of microplastic pollution in our oceans and beaches sounded the alarm, the global scientific community intensified its focus into this area.
Mobile, instant diagnosis of viruses
In a first for plant virology, a team from CIRAD recently used nanopore technology to sequence the entire genomes of two yam RNA viruses.
Social and environmental costs of hydropower are underestimated, study shows
Study shows that deforestation, loss of biodiversity and economic damage done to communities living near dams have not been factored into the cost of these projects.
A human model to test implants for cataract surgery
New research from the University of East Anglia (UK) uses an improved laboratory model to simulate cataract surgery on human donor eyes.
Risk factors for obesity may differ for Hispanic and non-Hispanic white babies
The factors that put children at risk of becoming obese within the first 12 months of their life may differ for Hispanic and non-Hispanic babies.
Expression of a molecule in blood cells predicts atherosclerosis risk
CNIC's scientists have found that the expression level of the molecule CD69 in blood cells inversely predicts the appearance of subclinical atherosclerosis (developing before symptoms appear) independently of classical cardiovascular risk factors.
Seeing shapeshifting receptors at work could yield new drugs
New research out of Duke, Stanford and Harvard is showing precisely how GPCR cell surface receptors interact differently with various drugs, giving researchers hope that they may be able to tailor more specific medications.
Solving the ancient mysteries of Easter Island
The ancient people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) built their famous ahu monuments near coastal freshwater sources, according to a team of researchers including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Revealed: Termites mitigate effects of drought in tropical rainforests
A major new study by the University of Liverpool and the Natural History Museum has discovered that termites mitigate against the effects of drought in tropical rain forests.
How drugs can minimize the side effects of chemotherapy
Researchers at the University of Zurich have determined the three-dimensional structure of the receptor that causes nausea and vomiting as a result of cancer chemotherapy.
Uncovering more options in cancer immunotherapy
If scientists want to boost immune cells' ability to kill cancer cells, then vast libraries of small molecules are potentially available.
New guideline recommendations for the treatment of mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis
Most patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) have mild-to-moderate disease characterized by periods of activity or remission, but practice variations exist in disease management.
Far-ranging fin whales find year-round residence in Gulf of California
Researchers from Mexico and the United States have concluded that a population of fin whales in the rich Gulf of California ecosystem may live there year-round -- an unusual circumstance for a whale species known to migrate across ocean basins.
Unusual supernova opens a rare window on the collapse of a star
An unusual supernova studied by multiple telescopes, including the SOAR telescope and other telescopes at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) and NSF's Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), is thought to herald the birth of a new black hole or neutron star, caught at the exact moment of its creation.
Neuroimaging shows social exclusion spurs extremism in those vulnerable to radicalisation
A study conducted by the UAB and the IMIM used neuroimaging techniques to show that social exclusion increases the number of ideological and group values worth fighting and dying for in populations vulnerable to radicalisation.
Pressure on food budgets linked to poor mental health for at least 100,000 Danish households
A significant number of Danes experience being so hard-pressed with their household budgets that they cannot afford enough food.
UCLA researchers correct genetic mutation that causes IPEX, a life-threatening autoimmune syndrome
UCLA researchers led by Dr. Donald Kohn have created a method for modifying blood stem cells to reverse the genetic mutation that causes a life-threatening autoimmune syndrome called IPEX.
A new way to measure solar panel degradation
How does one inspect solar panels in real time, in a way that is both cost-effective and time-efficient?
Chemical synthesis of nanotubes
For the first time, researchers used benzene -- a common hydrocarbon -- to create a novel kind of molecular nanotube, which could lead to new nanocarbon-based semiconductor applications.
2D materials may enable electric vehicles to get 500 miles on a single charge
New 2D catalysts boost energy capacity of lithium-air batteries.
Researchers discover a hidden culprit in heart failure
An international research team led by scientists at the University of Alberta have pinpointed a hidden culprit that leads to dilated cardiomyopathy--a dangerous condition that accounts for 20 per cent of all cases of heart failure--which opens the door to potential new treatments that could help counter the threat.
Fish farmers of the Caribbean
There are only so many fish in the sea. And our appetite for seafood has already stressed many wild fisheries to the breaking point.
How compostable plastic works (video)
Due to the demands of eco-conscious consumers, manufacturers are making more and more disposable plastic products from compostable polylactic acid.
Birth of a black hole or neutron star captured for first time
After combining several imaging sources, including hard X-rays and radiowaves, a Northwestern University-led team now speculates that the telescopes captured the exact moment a star collapsed to form a compact object, such as a black hole or neutron star.
Racial inequality in the deployment of rooftop solar energy in the US
Although the popularity of rooftop solar panels has skyrocketed because of their benefits to consumers and the environment, the deployment has predominantly occurred in white neighborhoods, even after controlling for household income and home ownership, according to a study by researchers from Tufts University and the University of California, Berkeley, published today in the journal Nature Sustainability.
Mothers use sex pheromones to veil eggs, preventing cannibalism
In a new study published in the open-access journal PLOS Biology on Jan.
Giant pattern discovered in the clouds of planet Venus
A Japanese research group has identified a giant streak structure among the clouds covering planet Venus based on observation from the spacecraft Akatsuki.
New biomarker links cancer progression to genome instability
A new Tel Aviv University study identifies elevated levels of a protein called ubiquilin-4 as a new biomarker for genome instability.
New materials could help improve the performance of perovskite solar cells
New research could lead to the design of new materials to help improve the performance of perovskite solar cells (PSCs).
Phat on potential, lipidomics is gaining weight
Next-generation study of lipids expands in scope with database established by UC San Diego researchers.
New role for brain's support cells in controlling circadian rhythms
An Medical Research Council funded study published today in the journal Science, has found that astrocytes, previously thought of as just supporting neurons in regulating circadian rhythms, can actually lead the tempo of the body's internal clock and have been shown for the first time to be able to control patterns of daily behaviour in mammals.
Novel biomarker appears predictive of outcome in patients with HPV-related head and neck cancers
Rather than classifying based solely on HPV status, MD Anderson researchers have discovered a new biomarker for head and neck cancers that may enable clinicians to better predict patient outcomes and lower treatment intensity to reduce side effects.
Defective glial cells can push neurons toward Parkinson's disease
Researchers from the University of Barcelona have shown that defective versions of human brain cells called astrocytes are linked to the buildup of a toxic protein that is the hallmark of Parkinson's disease.
Foundation funding changes international reporting
Funding by private foundations is inadvertently changing the international journalism it supports, according to a new study led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Birth of a black hole or neutron star captured for the first time
A Northwestern University-led international team of astronomers is getting closer to understanding the mysterious bright object that burst in the northern sky this summer, dubbed AT2018cow or 'The Cow.' With the help of W.
Learning about the impact of multiple symptoms in older adults
Up until now, we haven't had much information about how symptoms that occur at the same time affect an older adult's ability to function.
Saving energy by taking a close look inside transistors
Transistors are needed wherever current flows, and they are an indispensable component of virtually all electronic switches.
Men and women remember pain differently
Scientists increasingly believe that one of the driving forces in chronic pain--the number one health problem in both prevalence and burden--appears to be the memory of earlier pain.
Researchers map previously unknown disease in children
Professor Bente Vilsen from Aarhus University, Denmark, and her research group have mapped out a newly discovered serious disease which causes children to suffer epileptic seizures, loss of magnesium in urine and reduced intelligence.
Application of nanosized LiFePO4 modified electrode to electrochemical sensor & biosensor
The aim of this paper was to construct nanosized LFP modified electrodes, which could be applied as working electrode for rutin analysis and as an electrochemical biosensor for direct electrochemistry of Hemoglobin (Hb).
Lung neuropeptide exacerbates lethal influenza virus infection
Researchers found that lung immune cells (phagocytes) produce increased levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY) when mice are infected with severe influenza virus.
Cardiovascular diseases and nutrition in Europe: A lot of premature deaths preventable
Of the 4.3 million cardiovascular deaths in Europe in 2016, 2.1 million were the result of poor nutrition.
AI approach outperformed human experts in identifying cervical precancer
A research team led by investigators from the National Institutes of Health and Global Good has developed a computer algorithm that can analyze digital images of a woman's cervix and accurately identify precancerous changes that require medical attention.
Turbocharger for the cell machinery
Researchers of the University of Bern have discovered a new molecular regulatory mechanism in unicellular parasites which has never before been observed.
Chirality in 'real-time'
Distinguishing between left-handed and right-handed ('chiral') molecules is crucial in chemistry and the life sciences, and is commonly done using a method called circular dichroism.
Spintronics 'miracle material' put to the test
In a paper published today in Nature Communications, Vardeny, along with Jingying Wang, Dali Sun (now at North Carolina State University) and colleagues present two devices built using perovskite to demonstrate the material's potential in spintronic systems.
The science is clear: with HIV, undetectable equals untransmittable
An overwhelming body of clinical evidence has firmly established the HIV Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) concept as scientifically sound.
Madariaga virus spreads to Haiti
Madariaga virus (MADV), or South American eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), has -- until now -- been found primarily in animals of South and Central America, with the first human outbreak occurring in Panama in 2010.
Researchers answer decades-old question about protein found in Alzheimer's brain plaques
Alzheimer's-affected brains are riddled with so-called amyloid plaques: protein aggregates consisting mainly of amyloid-β.

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#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...