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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | May 29, 2019


Let's clear the air
New research from the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, in partnership with the Kingsley Association and funded by the Heinz Endowments examined the impact that bottom-up, community-level initiatives have in addressing environmental justice issues.
New evidence links ultra-processed foods with a range of health risks
Two large European studies published by The BMJ today find positive associations between consumption of highly processed ('ultra-processed') foods and risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
Colombia could lose 60% of land suitable for irrigated rice due to climate change
Without significant global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, Colombia will have 60% less land suitable for rice production by the 2050s.
Climate driving new right whale movement
New research connects recent changes in the movement of North Atlantic right whales to decreased food availability and rising temperatures in Gulf of Maine's deep waters.
Some songbird nests are especially vulnerable to magpie predation
A new study has revealed a range of factors that cause a variation in predation by magpies on farmland songbirds.
Study could lead to 'cognitive therapy in your pocket'
People living with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions may soon be able to use a smartphone app to deliver on-demand cognitive bias modification for interpretation (CBM-I), a way to change mental habits without visiting a therapist.
Researchers identify new roles for common oncogene MYC
Cancer researchers have discovered surprising new functions for a protein called MYC, a powerful oncogene that is estimated to drive the development of almost half a million new cancer cases in the US every year.
Analyzing a protein from the cerebrospinal fluid will help diagnose patients with prion diseases
Recently, a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry demonstrates that very high levels of neurogranin in the cerebrospinal fluid can be detected in human patients that suffer from prion diseases.
Outsmarting deep fakes: AI-driven imaging system protects authenticity
To thwart sophisticated deep fake methods of altering photos and video, researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering devised a technique to authenticate images throughout the entire pipeline, from acquisition to delivery, using artificial intelligence (AI).
Genetic analysis of cannabis is here
Research from Washington State University could provide government regulators with powerful new tools for addressing a bevy of commercial claims and other concerns as non-medical marijuana, hemp and CBD products become more commonplace.
Texas A&M researcher makes breakthrough discovery in stretchable electronics materials
With a wide range of healthcare, energy and military applications, stretchable electronics are revered for their ability to be compressed, twisted and conformed to uneven surfaces without losing functionality.
Ocean and space exploration blend at URI's Graduate School of Oceanography
Scientists with a NASA-led expedition are operating from the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography as colleagues explore the deep Pacific Ocean to prepare to search for life in deep space.
Hands that see, eyes that feel? Brain study reveals the mathematics of identifying objects
From a child snapping Legos together to a pickpocket nabbing your wallet, our brains have a remarkable ability to spot new objects and figure out how to manipulate them.
Towards a safer treatment for leukemia
An international team of researchers at VIB-KU Leuven, Belgium, the UK Dementia Institute and the Children's Cancer Institute, Australia, have found a safer treatment for a specific type of leukemia.
Study could improve fire monitoring in Brazilian savana
With the aim of enhancing the quality of Brazilian space research output, scientists investigated the accuracy of different satellite data collections.
New research suggests sugar taxes and labelling are effective
Taxes on sugary products and labels on the front of packages can help reduce sugar consumption, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.
'Fettuccine' may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers report
A rover scanning the surface of Mars for evidence of life might want to check for rocks that look like pasta, researchers report in the journal Astrobiology.
Scientists find telling early moment that indicates a coming megaquake
Scientists combing through databases of earthquakes since the early 1990s have discovered a possible defining moment 10-15 seconds into an event that could signal a magnitude 7 or larger megaquake.
Artificial intelligence boosts proteome research
Using artificial intelligence, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have succeeded in making the mass analysis of proteins from any organism significantly faster than before and almost error-free.
Flow water research and education more towards developing world: UN University
Post-secondary education and research aimed at tackling the global water crisis is concentrated in wealthy countries rather than the poorer, developing places where it is most needed, the United Nations University says.
Renegade fat cells induce bone-damaging lesions in multiple myeloma
A study of samples from patients with multiple myeloma (MM) has demonstrated how 'reprogrammed' fat cells contribute to long-lasting bone damage, even after the cancer has gone into remission.
Chimps caught crabbing
Kyoto University researchers report on chimpanzees in Guinea fishing and consuming freshwater crabs, something previously undiscovered.
Early humans deliberately recycled flint to create tiny, sharp tools
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that prehistoric humans 'recycled' discarded or broken flint tools 400,000 years ago to create small, sharp utensils with specific functions.
Energy drinks may increase risk of heart function abnormalities and blood pressure changes
Three to four hours after drinking 32 ounces of energy drinks, the heart's electrical activity was abnormal compared to drinking a placebo drink.
Viral study suggests an approach that may decrease kidney damage in transplant patients
Sunnie Thompson's study of BK polyomavirus replication may lead to less failure of kidneys following organ transplant.
Five-year outcomes for Brigham face transplant recipients
In the New England Journal of Medicine, a Brigham team presents the longer-term outcomes for six face transplant recipients who had been followed for up to 5 years after surgery, representing the largest cohort of patients in the US.
Study reports ibrutinib and venetoclax combo effective as front-line therapy for select chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients
Ibrutinib and venetoclax, two FDA-approved drugs for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), have been shown to be effective when given together for high-risk and older patients with the disease, according to a study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
A student's disability status depends on where they go to school, PSU study finds
A new Portland State University study suggests that the likelihood of a child being classified with an educational disability depends on the characteristics of their school and how distinctive they are from their peers
Experimental drug completely effective against Nipah virus infection in monkeys
The experimental antiviral drug remdesivir completely protected four African green monkeys from a lethal dose of Nipah virus, according to a new study in Science Translational Medicine from National Institutes of Health scientists and colleagues.
Among older women, 10,000 steps per day not needed for lower mortality
A new study led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital found that older women, taking as few as 4,400 steps per day was significantly associated with lower risk of death compared to taking 2,700 steps per day.
Manuka honey to kill drug-resistant bacteria found in cystic fibrosis infections
Manuka honey could provide the key to a breakthrough treatment for cystic fibrosis patients following preliminary work by experts at Swansea University.
Immune system discovery inspires a new barometer for inflammatory diseases
A unique discovery about the nature of neutrophils -- the most numerous white blood cells in the body -- may lead to new models for diagnosing and tracking inflammatory diseases such as cancer and osteoarthritis.
Extroverts enjoy four key advantages according to science; here they are
Researchers have determined that extroverts enjoy four key advantages over their more introverted peers.
Compostable food containers could release PFAS into environment
Compostable food containers seem like a great idea: They degrade into nutrient-rich organic matter, reducing waste and the need for chemical fertilizers.
New regulator of immune responses discovered
Scientists have identified a new internal regulator which helps control the body's response to fight infection.
Recovery twice as hard for survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
The cardiorespiratory fitness of survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia is 22% worse than that general Canadian population,and genetics might play a role, an UdeM researcher finds.
NIST study identifies chemical blends as possible alternative refrigerants
More than a dozen chemical blends could serve as alternative refrigerants that won't heat the atmosphere as much as today's refrigerants do, or catch fire, according to a new computational study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Low vitamin D in pregnancy linked to potentially harmful vaginal bacteria in black women
Race plays a role in how vitamin D affects the vaginal microbiome.
Beyond 1 and 0: Engineers boost potential for creating successor to shrinking transistors
A materials scientist from the University of Texas at Dallas has offered a solution to the fast-approaching physical minimum for transistor size: a multi-value logic transistor based on zinc oxide, capable of two stable intermediate states between 0 and 1.
Early onset colorectal cancer rising fastest in the west
Early-onset colorectal cancer -- cancer occurring before age 50 -- is rising most rapidly in Western states, where healthy behaviors are prominent, according to a new study.
ASCO 2019: Delays lead to late-stage diagosis of young people with colorectal cancer
Median 294 days passed between the first time patients noticed rectal bleeding and the time they were diagnosed.
Tempted to cheat on a written exam? Artificial intelligence is 90% certain to nab you
Combining big data with artificial intelligence has allowed University of Copenhagen researchers to determine whether you wrote your assignment or whether a ghostwriter penned it for you -- with nearly 90 percent accuracy.
Godzilla is back and he's bigger than ever: The evolutionary biology of the monster
Godzilla first made his debut in 1954 as a 50-meter tall metaphor for indiscriminate destruction, particularly US hydrogen-bomb testing in the Marshall Islands, which, in the film, destroyed Godzilla's deep-sea ecosystem.
Greater transparency needed over lobbyist influence on UK renewable energy schemes
Greater transparency is needed to understand the influence of lobbyists when delivering crucial renewable energy schemes in the UK, new research has claimed.
More safe havens for native plants and animals needed in New South Wales' west
Location matters for species struggling to survive under a changing climate.
Using nature to adapt to climate change
Climate change poses major threats to people around the world.
Sensor-packed glove learns signatures of the human grasp
Wearing a sensor-packed glove while handling a variety of objects, MIT researchers have compiled a massive dataset that enables an AI system to recognize objects through touch alone.
Declining fertility rates may explain Neanderthal extinction, suggests new model
A new hypothesis for Neanderthal extinction supported by population modelling is put forward in a new study by Anna Degioanni from Aix Marseille Université, France and colleagues, published May 29, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
WVU biostatistician studies link between microbiome and preterm birth
Pregnant African American women are more likely than white women to give birth prematurely, but they're underrepresented in studies of preterm birth rates.
Chimpanzees catch and eat crabs
Chimpanzees have a mainly vegetarian diet, but do occasionally eat meat.
Clean air taxis cut pollution in New York City: Study
New York City Clean Air Taxi rules are successful in cutting emissions and reducing air pollution, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Drexel University.
Study examines youth suicides after '13 Reasons Why'
The popular Netflix series '13 Reasons Why' was controversial for its portrayal of the suicide of a 17-year-old girl.
Mass die-off of puffins recorded in the Bering Sea
A mass die-off of seabirds in the Bering Sea may be partially attributable to climate change, according to a new study publishing May 29 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Timothy Jones of the citizen science program COASST at University of Washington, Lauren Divine from the Aleut Community of St.
Snowflakes inform scientists how tooth enamel is formed
Physicists and mathematicians use the classical Stefan problem to explain the principles of crystal formation, such as snowflakes .
Surprisingly, inbred isle royale wolves dwindle because of fewer harmful genes
The tiny, isolated gray wolf population on Isle Royale has withered to near-extinction, but not because each animal carries a large number of harmful genes, according to a new genetic analysis.
New study evaluates transcatheter dialysis conduit procedures over 15 years
A new research study by Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute found that utilization of invasive procedures on hemodialysis conduits -- artificially constructed shuts used by many individuals who require dialysis -- increased markedly from 2001 through 2015 for nephrologists and declined for radiologists.
Healthy fat hidden in dirt may fend off anxiety disorders
Thirty years after scientists first suggested that increased exposure to microorganisms could benefit health, CU Boulder researchers have identified an anti-inflammatory fat in a soil-dwelling bacterium that may be partly responsible.
Potential novel biomarker for alcohol dependence
Specific molecules (small noncoding microRNAs or miRNAs) found in saliva may be able to predict alcohol dependence as biomarkers.
Scientists offer designer 'big atoms' on demand
Physicists report that they can build and control particles that behave like tiny atoms with a precision never seen before.
Brain size and fertility in mammals may depend on who cares for offspring
The evolution of larger brain size in offspring is associated with the amount of paternal care in mammals, whereas higher fertility in the mothers is correlated with additional care support from individuals that are not the offspring's biological parents (alloparents), according to a study published in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology.
Coral reefs can't return from acid trip
When put to the test, corals and coralline algae are not able to acclimatise to ocean acidification.
Endovascular aneurysm procedure as effective as open surgery, study finds
A minimally invasive procedure to repair abdominal aneurysms thought to be less effective than traditional open surgery has been shown to perform as well as the open repair and be as long-lasting.
Texas A&M chemists develop nanoscale bioabsorbable wound dressing
Scientists at Texas A&M University are harnessing the combined power of organic nanomaterials-based chemistry and a natural product found in crustacean exoskeletons to help bring emergency medicine one step closer to a viable solution for mitigating blood loss, from the hospital to the battlefield.
Quantum information gets a boost from thin-film breakthrough
Efforts to create reliable light-based quantum computing, quantum key distribution for cybersecurity, and other technologies got a boost from a new study demonstrating an innovative method for creating thin films to control the emission of single photons.
Asia's glaciers provide buffer against drought
A new study to assess the contribution that Asia's high mountain glaciers make to relieving water stress in the region is published this week (May 29, 2019) in the journal Nature.
Illinois researchers add 'time-travel' feature to drives to fight ransomware attacks
One of the latest cyber threats involves hackers encrypting user files and then charging ''ransom'' to get them back.
'Slothbot' takes a leisurely approach to environmental monitoring
For environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, infrastructure maintenance and certain security applications, slow and energy efficient can be better than fast and always needing a recharge.
Study sheds new light on the harms of air pollution
A new University at Buffalo study based on levels before, during and after the Beijing Olympics reveals how air pollution affects the human body at the level of metabolites.
Kratom's reputed pain-relief benefits could come from one of its metabolites
Kratom is a Southeast Asian tree with a long history of use in traditional medicine.
More than victims: Migration images provide a chance to tell a greater story
Keith Greenwood, an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism, has found that a majority of photos depicting the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis portrayed the refugees as victims.
Farmers and food companies hit the dirt to improve soil health
Big food brands, such as Kellogg, Campbell, Mars Wrigley and General Mills, have started investing in their ingredients by helping farmers improve soil health and sustainability.
Patterns of chronic lymphocytic leukemia growth identified
In patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the rate of disease growth is apt to follow one of three trajectories: relentlessly upward, steadily level, or something in between, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Washington report in a new study published in Nature.
From viruses to social bots, researchers unearth the structure of attacked networks
Researchers at USC developed a machine learning model of the invisible networks around us including, how viruses interact with proteins and genes in the body.
Genomics of Isle Royale wolves reveal impacts of inbreeding
A new paper explores the genetic signatures of a pair of wolves isolated on Isle Royale, a remote national park in Lake Superior.
Could repeated squeezes to the arms, legs protect the brain?
What if wearing a blood pressure cuff could help prevent stroke?
NIH-funded study links microbiome composition to African American preterm birth risk
A research project funded by the National Institutes of Health has identified differences in the vaginal bacteria that may raise the risk of preterm birth among pregnant African-American women.
HGF-inhibitory macrocyclic peptide -- mechanisms and potential cancer theranostics
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is involved in cancer progression through MET receptor signaling.
New blood test uses DNA 'packaging' patterns to detect multiple cancer types
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a simple new blood test that can detect the presence of seven different types of cancer by spotting unique patterns in the fragmentation of DNA shed from cancer cells and circulating in the bloodstream.
Model identifies high-risk areas for lumpy skin disease in cattle
Researchers have combined two separate computer models to identify areas at highest risk for outbreaks of lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) in cattle.
Researchers explore the epigenetics of daytime sleepiness
A new, multi-ethnic study led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital explores associations between daytime sleepiness and epigenetic modifications -- measurable, chemical changes that may be influenced by both environmental and genetic factors.
Stress during early pregnancy is linked to reduced reproductive function in male offspring
Men whose mothers were exposed to stressful life events while they were in the first 18 weeks of pregnancy may have reduced sperm counts when they become adults, according to a study published in Human Reproduction, one of the world's leading reproductive medicine journals.
Schools that are socially connected have similar educational outcomes
Ivan Smirnov, a researcher from the Higher School of Economics, analysed the data of 36,951 students from 590 schools of Saint Petersburg and found that there is a strong correlation between the educational outcomes of a school and its digital neighbours.
Sunshine may decrease risk of inflammatory bowel disease
Children who spend half an hour a day outside in the sun reduce their risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).
New findings from Human Microbiome Project reveal how microbiome is disrupted during IBD
A new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is the first to have observed the complex set of chemical and molecular events that disrupt the microbiome and trigger immune responses during flare-ups of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
New substance can form in the OA process of crystal growth, new study reveals
Chinese scientists from the Institute of Solid State Physics (ISSP) under the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Scienceshave revealed that a new substance can form during the oriented attachment (OA) process of crystal growth, which may shed new light on the microscopic mechanism of crystal growth.
Polysubstance use, social factors associated with opioid overdose deaths
A new study led by Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction shows that opioid-related overdose deaths involving another substance is now the norm, not the exception, in Massachusetts.
A new vision for genomics in animal agriculture
Iowa State University animal scientists helped to form a blueprint to guide the next decade of animal genomics research.
Unveiling how the genome has condensed itself inside the virus
Scientists at the University of Helsinki working in collaboration with the University of Oxford have deciphered for the first time how a virus genome is condensed inside the capsid of a virus.
Early statin treatment may help children with Fragile X
Children with an inherited form of intellectual disability and autism could be helped by a medicine commonly used to lower cholesterol, if used early in life, research from the University of Edinburgh suggests.
NHS commissioners are ignoring guidelines by rationing cataract surgery
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England are ignoring clinical guidelines by rationing access to cataract surgery, The BMJ has found.
Cycling lanes, not cyclists, reduce fatalities for all road users
The most comprehensive study of bicycle and road safety to date finds that building safe facilities for cyclists is one of the biggest factors in road safety for everyone.
Humans used northern migration routes to reach eastern Asia
Northern and Central Asia have been neglected in studies of early human migration, with deserts and mountains being considered uncompromising barriers.
Thinning forests, prescribed fire before drought reduced tree loss
Thinning forests and conducting prescribed burns may help preserve trees in future droughts and bark beetle epidemics expected under climate change, suggests a study from the University of California, Davis.
Self-healing DNA nanostructures
DNA assembled into nanostructures such as tubes and origami-inspired shapes could someday find applications ranging from DNA computers to nanomedicine.
Study finds link between ambient ozone exposure and progression of carotid wall thickness
Study of nearly 7,000 adults aged 45 to 84 from six US regions is first epidemiological study to provide evidence that ozone may advance subclinical arterial disease, providing insight into the relationship between ozone exposure and cardiovascular disease risk.
Structural sexism: FSU researcher offers new perspective on gender and health inequality
In a new study published in the American Sociological Review, FSU Assistant Professor Patricia Homan developed a new structural sexism approach to the study of gender inequality and health.
Breastfeeding moms' milk can transfer lifelong protection against infection to their babies
Research in mice has found that the transfer of immunity from mum to baby can be long-term, beyond the period of breastfeeding.
Russian scientists investigate new materials for Li-ion batteries of miniature sensors
Researchers of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) are developing new materials for solid-state thin-film Li-ion batteries for micro and nanodevices.
Fuels out of thin air: New path to capturing and upgrading CO2
Engineering researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a new electrochemical path to transform CO2 into valuable products such as jet fuel or plastics.
The grammar of cell development branching time
One of the greatest achievements of science in recent years is the technology for obtaining information about thousands of individual cells extracted from an organism.
Intelligent algorithms for genome research
In order to find out which genes are responsible for diseases such as cancer or diabetes, scientists nowadays frequently resort to using machine-learning models.
Seeing disfigured faces prompts negative brain and behavior responses
A new study led by Penn Medicine researchers, which published today in Scientific Reports, found that people have implicit negative biases against people with disfigured faces, without knowingly harboring such biases.
Striped maple trees often change sexes, with females more likely to die
Although pollen has covered cars for weeks and allergy sufferers have been sneezing, we think of sex as being the realm of animals.
Cognitive behavior therapy shown to improve multiple menopause symptoms
Although hormone therapy (HT) is the most commonly recommended treatment for menopause symptoms, research is ongoing for alternatives, especially nonpharmacologic options.
The University of Cordoba guides plants towards obtaining iron
A team at the University of Cordoba relates the presence of beneficial organisms in plant roots to their response to iron deficiency.
Birds perceive 'warm' colors differently from 'cool' ones
Birds may not have a word for maroon. Or burnt sienna.
Key link discovered between tissue cell type and different forms of arthritis
Research shows, for the first time, that different types of fibroblasts -- the most common cells of connective tissue in animals -- are organized in different layers in the joint and are responsible for two very different forms of arthritis; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Homo sapiens may have had several routes of dispersal across Asia in the Late Pleistocene
Homo sapiens may have had a variety of routes to choose from while dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene Epoch, according to a study released May 29, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Feng Li of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing and colleagues.
Earth recycles ocean floor into diamonds
Most diamonds are made of cooked seabed. The diamond on your finger is most likely made of recycled seabed cooked deep in the Earth.
A rose inspires smart way to collect and purify water
A new device for collecting and purifying water, developed at The University of Texas at Austin, was inspired by a rose and, while more engineered than enchanted, is a dramatic improvement on current methods.
'Ecstasy' shows promise for post-traumatic stress treatment
An international study involving researchers from UBC Okanagan has shown that MDMA, also known as ecstasy, may be a valuable tool for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Secure metropolitan quantum networks move a step closer
Successful new field tests of a continuous-variable quantum key distribution (CV-QKD) system over commercial fiber networks could pave the way to its use in metropolitan areas.
The 'projects' are nice now finds study on HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration Program
A study examined the U.S. Department of HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program to understand residents' experiences and their perspective on the program.
Researchers standardise test for predicting transplant rejection
Researchers from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research have developed a standardised method of measuring the immune response in islet transplant recipients, helping predict patient outcomes.
Research reveals the link between primate knuckles and hand use
Research carried out by the University of Kent has found differences between the knuckle joints of primates that will enable a better understanding of ancient human hand use.
Study helps develop new treatment option for multi-drug resistant infections
A new study, published in 'Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy' conducted by a University of Liverpool led research consortium, has helped develop a new treatment option for some multi-drug resistant (MDR) infections.
How to quell a cytokine storm: New ways to dampen an overactive immune system
BRCA DNA-repair proteins interact with a molecular complex that is also responsible for regulating the immune system.

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#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
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