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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | January 21, 2019


Scientists discover new 'architecture' in corn
New research on the US's most economically important agricultural plant -- corn -- has revealed a different internal structure of the plant than previously thought, which can help optimize how corn is converted into ethanol.
North Sea rocks could act as large-scale renewable energy stores
Rocks in the seabed off the UK coast could provide long-term storage locations for renewable energy production, new research suggests.
Body size may influence women's lifespan more than it does men's
Body size-height and weight- may influence women's lifespan far more than it does men's, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
Managing gender dysphoria in adolescents: A practical guide for family physicians
As a growing number of adolescents identify as transgender, a review aims to help primary care physicians care for this vulnerable group and its unique needs.
Molecular profiling could catch lung cancer early and lead to new treatments
The world's first genetic sequencing of precancerous lung lesions could pave the way for very early detection and new treatments, reports a new study led by UCL researchers published in Nature Medicine.
Mouse studies show 'inhibition' theory of autism wrong
Today's main hypothesis about the cause of autism symptoms is that neurons receive too little inhibition or too much excitation, causing hyperexcitability.
New nanoparticle targets tumor-infiltrating immune cells, flips switch
A team of Vanderbilt University bioengineers today announced a major breakthrough in penetrating the cells inside tumors and flipping on a switch that tells them to start fighting.
Energizing the immune system to eat cancer
Researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania say they've identified how to fuel macrophages with the energy needed to attack and eat cancer cells.
Researchers conduct first population-based study of suicide risk in people with autism
Researchers at the University of Utah Health conducted the first population-based study of suicidality in individuals with ASD in the United States.
Unexpected link found between feeding and memory brain areas
Researchers reveal an unexpected connection between the lateral hypothalamus and the hippocampus, the respective feeding and the memory centers of the brain.
Broadband achromatic metalens focuses light regardless of polarization
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a polarization-insensitive metalens that can achromatically focus light across the visible spectrum without aberrations.
Genetic study provides novel insights into the evolution of skin color
Skin color is one of the most visible and variable traits among humans and scientists have always been curious about how this variation evolved.
Delaying newborn baths increases rates of breastfeeding
While it has been standard practice for decades to whisk newborns off to a bath within the first few hours of their birth, a new Cleveland Clinic study found that waiting to bathe a healthy newborn 12 or more hours after birth increased the rate of breastfeeding exclusivity during the newborn hospital stay.
Early prediction of Alzheimer's progression in blood
Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and the University Hospital Tuebingen show that a protein found in the blood can be used to precisely monitor disease progression of Alzheimer's long before first clinical signs appear.
New study raises hopes of eradication of malaria
After major global successes in the battle against malaria, the positive trend stalled around 2015 -- apart from in Zanzibar in East Africa, where only a fraction of the disease remains.
Blood test detects Alzheimer's damage before symptoms
A simple blood test reliably detects signs of brain damage in people on the path to developing Alzheimer's disease -- even before they show signs of confusion and memory loss, according to a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St.
Specialist-led bereavement service may help curb legal action after hospital deaths
Hospital bereavement services that are led by senior doctors and nurses and the person responsible for quality and safety may help to curb patient complaints and legal action in the wake of a difficult death, suggest the results of a pilot study, carried out at one NHS hospital trust and published online in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.
How staying in shape is vital for reproductive success
Cells must keep their shape and proportions to successfully reproduce through cell division, finds new research from the Francis Crick Institute and King's College London.
The diversity of rural African populations extends to their microbiomes
In the largest study of its kind, a team led by University of Pennsylvania researchers investigated the gut microbiomes of people from seven ethnically diverse populations from remote areas of Botswana and Tanzania.
Secret to sepsis may lie in rare cell
In a paper published in Nature Immunology, scientists from Seattle Children's Research Institute reveal how a rare group of white blood cells called basophils play an important role in the immune response to a bacterial infection, preventing the development of sepsis.
Mechanical engineers develop process to 3D print piezoelectric materials
New printing technique and materials could be used to develop intelligent materials and self-adaptive infrastructures and transducers.
Leaf age determines the division of labor in plant stress responses
A new study from researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research published in the journal PNAS shows that the crosstalk between plant responses to physical and biological stresses varies between young and old leaves to enable optimal plant performance when the two kinds of stress are encountered simultaneously.
Asking patients about sexual orientation, gender identity
Patients are open to being asked about their sexual orientation and gender identity in primary care, which can help make health care more welcoming, although the stage should be set for these questions and they should include a range of options, found a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Scientists find genes with large effects on head and brain size
The size of children's heads is not only related to the growth of their skull, but also their brain.
How our brains distinguish between self-touch and touch by others
Our brains seem to reduce sensory perception from an area of our skin when we touch it ourselves, according to a new study from Linköping University, Sweden, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS.
Mice pass on brain benefits of enriched upbringing to offspring
Mice growing up in a basic cage maintain lifelong visual cortex plasticity if their parents were raised in an environment that promoted social interaction and physical and mental stimulation, according to a multigenerational study published in eNeuro.
Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003, study finds
Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought -- and will likely lead to faster sea level rise -- thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth's atmosphere, a new study has found.
Researchers for the first time identify neurons in the human visual cortex that respond to faces
A new study identifies the neurons in the human visual cortex that selectively respond to faces.
How concussions may lead to epilepsy
Researchers have identified a cellular response to repeated concussions that may contribute to seizures in mice like those observed following traumatic brain injury in humans.
Genetic study reveals possible new routes to treating osteoarthritis
In the largest genetic study of osteoarthritis to date, scientists have uncovered 52 new genetic changes linked to the disease, which doubles the number of genetic regions associated with the disabling condition.
Study: On Facebook and Twitter your privacy is at risk -- even if you don't have an account
New research shows that on social media, like Facebook, privacy can be at risk, even if a person doesn't have an account.
Our genes affect where fat is stored in our bodies
A recent study from Uppsala University has found that whether you store your fat around the trunk or in other parts of your body is highly influenced by genetic factors and that this effect is present predominantly in women and to a much lower extent in men.
Cancer survivors face significant hardships related to medical bills
New research indicates that cancer survivors carry greater financial burdens related to medical debt payments and bills compared with individuals without a cancer history, with the greatest hardships in younger survivors.
In China, a link between happiness and air quality
In a paper published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, a research team led by Siqi Zheng, the Samuel Tak Lee Associate Professor in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Center for Real Estate, and the Faculty Director of MIT China Future City Lab, reveals that higher levels of pollution are associated with a decrease in people's happiness levels.
Youthful cognitive ability strongly predicts mental capacity later in life
Early adult general cognitive ability is a stronger predictor of cognitive function and reserve later in life than other factors, such as higher education, occupational complexity or engaging in late-life intellectual activities.
Ancient carpet shark discovered with 'spaceship-shaped' teeth
The world of the dinosaurs just got a bit more bizarre with a newly discovered species of freshwater shark whose tiny teeth resemble the alien ships from the popular 1980s video game Galaga.
Fossil shark teeth discovered in leftover rock that contained SUE the T. rex
Scientists have discovered a new species of fossil shark in the leftover rock excavated with SUE, the world's largest and most complete T. rex.
Are you a super pooper?
You may have heard that your gut bacteria or 'microbiome' outnumbers your own cells -- but did you know that your microbiome ... has its own microbiome?
Timely referral to kidney transplant may improve survival for patients with lupus nephritis
Patients with lupus nephritis and end stage renal disease may benefit from timely kidney transplant, as transplantation was associated with a significant increase in survival in a nationwide cohort study.
FSU research sheds light on spinal cord injuries
A natural immune system response may be responsible for inflicting additional harm in the weeks and months after a spinal injury.
Do endangered woods make better guitars?
Researchers have tested the sounds made by six different acoustic guitars in a study addressing the effects of the type of wood used in their construction.
Promising steps towards large scale production of graphene nanoribbons for electronics
Two-dimensional sheets of graphene in the form of ribbons a few tens of nanometers across have unique properties that are highly interesting for use in future electronics.
Two- to three- fold increase in heatwave occurrence and severity seen directly in UK temperature
A two to three-fold increase in heatwave activity in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century has been identified in a new analysis of historical daily temperature data led by University of Warwick scientists.
Brits and Germans have very different views on the future of state pensions
Germans think the state always has some role to play in providing state pensions but UK citizens split over how to provide social welfare in the future, according to new research conducted at the University.
How long do people need to be monitored after fainting?
For the first time, physicians in the Emergency Department (ED) have evidence-based recommendations on how best to catch the life-threatening conditions that make some people faint.
Scientists achieve the first stable simulations of DNA crystals
The breakthrough made by researchers at IRB Barcelona allows the study of the role of each molecular component in the stability and conformation of DNA crystals.
The first nucleophilic gold complex
A collaborative research effort between the departments of chemistry at the University of Oxford and University of Jyväskylä has resulted in the discovery of a gold compound exhibiting nucleophilic behavior hitherto unknown for molecular gold.
At least half of parents try non-evidence-based cold prevention methods for kids
Despite little or no evidence suggesting certain types of methods actually help people avoid catching or preventing a cold, more than half of parents have tried them with their kids, according to a new national poll.
New tool enables imaging of neural activity with near-infrared light
A new, groundbreaking tool for visualizing neural activity has implications for understanding brain functions and disorders, according to new research by University of Alberta scientists and a team of international collaborators.
Implantable device curbs seizures and improves cognition in epileptic rats
A protein-secreting device implanted into the hippocampus of epileptic rats reduces seizures by 93 percent in three months, finds preclinical research published in JNeurosci.
Orthopedic implants double the rate of bone lengthening in kids
Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University have developed implants which make mesenchymal stem cell to differentiate into bone tissue and accelerate limb lengthening in two times.
The living wage may help us achieve social and environmental sustainability
Paying a living wage could be a step toward global economic and environmental sustainability, finds a first-of-its-kind study by the University of Surrey.
New drug resistance process found in bacteria
Researchers at the UAB and the UMBC have described a new process capable of generating resistance to synthetic antibacterial drugs within bacterial populations long before their invention and without the existence of any similar substance in nature.
BFU physicists developed a method of determining the composition of microplastic in water
Physicists from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (BFU) developed and applied a method of identifying microplastic collected in sea waters.
Gene changes may predict breast cancer relapse, study suggests
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have identified genetic changes that may predict the likelihood of breast cancer relapse in women taking a common type of hormone therapy.
Courage to aim for less cleanliness?
Do laws of biodiversity also apply to our own bodies and homes?
Discovery of bacterial signature of intestinal disease
Researchers from the Department of Biomedical Research of the University of Bern and the University Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine of the Inselspital Bern, Switzerland, have discovered that changes in the composition of the intestinal bacteria in patients with chronic inflammatory bowel disease affect the severity of the disease and the success of therapy.
Fossilized slime of 100-million-year-old hagfish shakes up vertebrate family tree
Paleontologists at the University of Chicago have discovered the first detailed fossil of a hagfish, the slimy, eel-like carrion feeders of the ocean.
Leaving 2-hour gap between dinner and bedtime may not affect blood glucose
Leaving a two-hour gap between the last meal of the day and bedtime doesn't seem to be associated with any discernible difference in blood glucose levels among healthy adults over the long term, suggests Japanese research published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.
A surprisingly early replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans in southern Spain
A new study of Bajondillo Cave (Málaga, Spain) reveals that modern humans replaced Neanderthals at this site approximately 44,000 years ago.
Properties of 'wonder material' graphene change in humid conditions
Graphene exhibits very different properties in humid conditions, according to researchers from Queen Mary University of London.
Teens keep active despite asthma or eczema, study finds
A fresh look by the University of Bristol at how teenagers are affected by their asthma, eczema or obesity has some reassuring findings published in BMJ Open today (Monday 21 January).
Antarctic krill population contracts southward as polar oceans warm
The population of Antarctic krill, the favorite food of many whales, penguins, fish and seals, shifted southward during a recent period of warming in their key habitat, a paper published today in Nature Climate Change reports.
Soil fungi secrete an antibiotic with antitumor activity
A team of scientists from I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (MSMU) together with their colleagues isolated a peptide named emericellipsin A from soil fungi.
Corals light the way to a healthy partnership
Corals know how to attract good company. New research finds that corals emit an enticing fluorescent green light that attracts the mobile microalgae, known as Symbiodinium, that are critical to the establishment of a healthy partnership.
Scientists discover new quantum spin liquid
An international research team led by the University of Liverpool and McMaster University has made a significant breakthrough in the search for new states of matter.
Social media privacy is in the hands of a few friends
New research has revealed that people's behavior is predictable from the social media data of as few as eight or nine of their friends.
Environmental 'time bomb' warning for world's groundwater reserves
Future generations could be faced with an environmental 'time bomb' if climate change is to have a significant effect on the world's essential groundwater reserves.
For zombie microbes, deep-sea buffet is just out of reach
A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is beginning to pick apart how bizarre zombie-like microbes survive by examining their source of 'food' -- nearby molecules of organic carbon.
'Silent slip' along fault line serves as prelude to big earthquakes, research suggests
Big earthquakes appear to follow a brief episode of 'shallow mantle creep' and 'seismic swarms,' suggests new research that offers an explanation for the foreshocks observed prior to large temblors.
Otago researcher contributes piece to the puzzle of baleen whales' evolution
An Otago researcher has added another piece to the puzzle of the evolution of modern baleen whales with a world-first study examining the teeth and enamel of baleen whales' ancestors.
New Zealand academic offers new explanation for Alexander the Great's death
It may have happened more than 2300 years ago, but the mystery of Alexander the Great's death could finally be solved, thanks to a University of Otago, New Zealand, academic.

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