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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | July 17, 2019


Pokémon-like card game can help teach ecology: UBC research
Playing a Pokémon-like card game about ecology and biodiversity can result in broader knowledge of species and a better understanding of ecosystems than traditional teaching methods, like slideshows, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.
Massive potential health gains in switching to active transport -- Otago study
Swapping short car trips for walking or biking could achieve as much health gain as ongoing tobacco tax increases, according to a study from the University of Otago, New Zealand.
Study: First clinical proof that genotypes determine if Alzheimer's drugs will work
University at Buffalo researchers have determined that a human gene present in 75% of the population is a key reason why a class of drugs for Alzheimer's disease seemed promising in animal studies only to fail in human studies.
Giving a chip about masa
Scientists call for more research into food grade corn breeding, production
Making cancer stem cells visible to the immune system
Leukemia stem cells protect themselves against the immune defense by suppressing a target molecule for killer cells.
The loss of biodiversity comes at a price
A University of Cordoba research team ran the numbers on the impact of forest fires on emblematic species using the fires in Spain's Doñana National Park and Segura mountains in 2017 as examples
Stanford researchers identify possible drug target for deadly heart condition
A genetic mutation linked to dilated cardiomyopathy, a dangerous enlargement of the heart's main pumping chamber, activates a biological pathway normally turned off in healthy adult hearts, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Little genes, big conservation: UM scientists study genetic rescue
A new paper by University of Montana scientists examines the potential and uncertainties of attempting genetic rescue, a conservation approach that involves moving a small number of individual animals from one population to another to reduce genetic problems and decrease extinction risk.
At-home support helps stroke patients adjust after hospital stay
MSU researchers have found that many stroke patients feel unprepared when discharged from the hospital.
Legalized recreational marijuana a substitute for alcohol, but not tobacco
The recent wave of recreational cannabis legalization across the US could generate $22 billion in sales per year, but not everyone is happy about it.
Study: PFAS move from mom to fetus at higher rate in women with gestational diabetes
A University of Massachusetts Amherst environmental epidemiologist studying the presence of PFAS compounds in new mothers and their babies found that women with gestational diabetes had a 'significantly higher' rate of transferring the synthetic chemicals to their fetus.
Lifting the fog on carbon budgets
The concept of a carbon budget has become a popular tool in guiding climate policy since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report was released in 2014.
Protein oxidation reveals the environmental pollution level in Doñana National Park
A Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology team at the University of Cordoba assessed the environmental pollution of Doñana National Park by means of its effects on mice that dwell in the area.
Artificial snowfall could save the west antarctic ice sheet, but with high costs and risks
By pumping ocean water onto coastal regions surrounding parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet and converting it to snow, it may be possible to prevent the ice sheet from sliding into the ocean and melting, according to a new modeling study.
Older adults: Daunted by a new task? Learn 3 instead
Learning several new things at once increases cognitive abilities in older adults, according to new research from UC Riverside.
how the brain distinguishes between voice and sound
Is the brain capable of distinguishing a voice from phonemes?
Red algae steal genes from bacteria to cope with environmental stresses
It's a case of grand larceny that could lead to new fuels and cleanup chemicals.
Prescription opioid misuse: What do medical marijuana laws have to do with it?
Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health report almost no change in nonmedical prescription opioid use or opioid use disorder after states enacted medical marijuana laws.
Your spending data may reveal aspects of your personality
How you spend your money can signal aspects of your personality, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Predators' fear of humans ripples through wildlife communities, emboldening rodents
Giving credence to the saying, 'While the cat's away, the mice will play,' a new study indicates that pumas and medium-sized carnivores lie low when they sense the presence of humans, which frees up the landscape for rodents to forage more brazenly.
Second sight study at Baylor College of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine researchers, in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles and Second Sight Medical Products (Los Angeles, Calif.) are using a visual cortical prosthesis to help bring sight to the blind.
What counts for our climate: Carbon budgets untangled
The more CO2 we emit from burning coal and oil and gas, the more we heat our climate -- this sounds simple, and it is.
Experiencing awe from science influences beliefs about God
Though many Americans perceive science and religion as incompatible, a study from the ASU Department of Psychology found how people engage with science can change how they think about God -- and even promote belief in God.
Undocumented Latina immigrants face PTSD at four times the national rate, new study finds
New research led by George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services found that undocumented Latina immigrants met the threshold for post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis at nearly four times (34%) the rate of civilian women in America as a whole (9.7%).
Ants that defend plants receive sugar and protein
The aggressiveness of ants in arid environments with scarce food supply helps protect plants against herbivorous arthropods.
Ultrasound-assisted optical imaging to replace endoscopy in breakthrough discovery
Carnegie Mellon University's Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Maysam Chamanzar and ECE Ph.D. student Matteo Giuseppe Scopelliti today published research that introduces a novel technique which uses ultrasound to noninvasively take optical images through a turbid medium such as biological tissue to image body's organs.
HIV vaccine nears clinical trial following new findings
A promising vaccine that clears an HIV-like virus from monkeys is closer to human testing after a new, weakened version of the vaccine has been shown to provide similar protection as its original version.
A single measurement may help determine kneecap instability risk
Knee injuries can be a scourge to collegiate and pro athletes alike, but Penn State researchers say a single measurement taken by a clinician may help predict whether a person is at risk for knee instability.
Link between workplace sexual harassment and women's negative self-views may be weakening
A survey analysis suggests that, between 2016 and 2018, the relationship between workplace sexual harassment and women's negative self-views weakened.
Living longer or healthier? Genetic discovery in worms suggests they can be separated
Gene identified in worms controls how resources are allocated for stress resilience, longevity and fertility.
NASA finds tropical storm Danas northeast of the Philippines
NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Tropical Storm Danas as it continued to move north and away from the Philippines.
Marijuana use may not make parents more 'chill'
Sorry, marijuana moms and dads: Using pot may not make you a more relaxed parent, at least when it comes to how you discipline your children.
Protected area designation effective in reducing, but not preventing, land cover changes
The designation of protected areas in Europe has been effective in reducing, but not completely preventing, land cover changes associated with human activity, according to a study published July 17, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Niels Hellwig of Potsdam University and Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences in Germany, and colleagues.
Ohioans have lost more than 1 million years of life due to drug overdose since 2009
A new study from Ohio University shows that more than 1 million years of life were lost in Ohio from overdose deaths between Jan.
New study works with historically disenfranchised communities to combat sudden oak death
Science often reflects the priorities of dominant industries and ignores the needs of disenfranchised communities, resulting in the perpetuation of historical injustices.
Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia
Apathy is the most common neuropsychiatric symptom of dementia, with a bigger impact on function than memory loss -- yet it is under-researched and often forgotten in care.
How invading fungus forces zombie ant's death grip
Infected by a parasitic fungus, carpenter ants lose free will and die after clamping their mandibles (jaws) onto a twig or leaf vein.
Protecting a forgotten treasure trove of biodiversity
The lesser-known Cerrado biome in Brazil is a hotspot of biodiversity, but it is being destroyed at an alarming rate by unsustainable agricultural activities.
Stone tool changes may show how Mesolithic hunter-gatherers responded to changing climate
The development of new hunting projectiles by European hunter-gatherers during the Mesolithic may have been linked to territoriality in a rapidly-changing climate, according to a study published July 17, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Philippe Crombé from Ghent University, Belgium.
About 44% of high school seniors who misuse prescription drugs have multiple drug sources
Roughly 11% of high school seniors reported prescription drug misuse during the past year, and of those, 44% used multiple supply sources, according to a pair of University of Michigan studies.
Plant viruses may be reshaping our world
A new review article appearing in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology highlights the evolution and ecology of plant viruses.
'Intensive' beekeeping not to blame for common bee diseases
More 'intensive' beekeeping does not raise the risk of diseases that harm or kill the insects, new research suggests.
Community size matters when people create a new language
Why do some languages have simpler grammars than others? Researchers from the Netherlands and the UK propose that the size of the community influences the complexity of the language that evolves in it.
Radiation in parts of Marshall Islands is higher than Chernobyl
Radiation levels in parts of the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, where the United States conducted nearly 70 nuclear tests during the Cold War, are still alarmingly high.
Can gut infection trigger Parkinson's disease?
Results suggest some forms of PD are an autoimmune disease triggered years before noticeable symptoms.
Self-injuring young girls overestimate negative feedback in social media simulation
Adolescent girls who self-injure feel that they receive more negative feedback than they actually receive, and are more sensitive to 'thumbs down' responses, compared to other adolescent girls.
Japanese scientists embrace creepy-crawlies
Firms in Japan are changing people's perceptions about common spiders, worms and insect larvae.
How common is long-term opioid use after job injury?
This observational study included 46,000 injured workers in Tennessee who weren't taking opioids at the time of their injury and looked at how common long-term opioid use was and what factors were associated with it.
A new spin on DNA
For decades, researchers have chased ways to study biological machines.
Nationwide study on teen 'sexting' has good news, bad news
The good news is that adolescent sexting is not at epidemic levels as reported in some media headlines.
Flying the final approach to Tranquility Base
Why did Neil Armstrong take over and fly the first lunar landing manually?
Parkinson's: New study associates oxidative stress with the spreading of aberrant proteins
Oxidative stress could be a driving force in the spreading of aberrant proteins involved in Parkinson's disease.
First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
New study reveals surprising gender disparity in work-life balance
Work-life balance and its association with life satisfaction have been garnering a lot of interest.
Health insurance idea born at U-M could help millions of Americans spend less
New federal rule could reduce out-of-pocket costs for key drugs and services for people with chronic conditions in high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts.
Machine learning platform guides pancreatic cyst management in patients
Researchers have created a comprehensive test based on machine learning algorithms to better guide the management of patients with pancreatic cysts -- a potential precursor of pancreatic cancer.
A study demonstrates that p38 protein regulates the formation of new blood vessels
Ángel R. Nebreda's team (IRB Barcelona) publishes a study in the journal Nature Communications addressing the role of the p38 protein in angiogenesis--the formation of new blood vessels--a critical process that fuels tumour cells and allows them to grow and eventually develop metastases.
The physiology of survival
Bacteria do not simply perish in hunger phases fortuitously; rather, the surrounding cells have a say as well.
Staging β-amyloid pathology with amyloid positron emission tomography
This multicenter study used in vivo β-amyloid cerebrospinal fluid, a biomarker of Alzheimer disease, and positron emission tomography findings to track progression of Alzheimer disease over six years among study participants.
West Antarctic ice collapse may be prevented by snowing ocean water onto it
The ice sheet covering West Antarctica is at risk of sliding off into the ocean.
New tuberculosis tests pave way for cow vaccination programs
Skin tests that can distinguish between cattle that are infected with tuberculosis (TB) and those that have been vaccinated against the disease have been created by an international team of scientists.
Cracks in the skin of eczema patients promote allergic diseases
Many babies with eczema go on to develop food allergies, asthma and hay fever, and researchers at National Jewish Health say it's not a coincidence.
New HIV program increased viral suppression, decreased new infections in Botswana
In a randomized trial in Botswana, an HIV prevention intervention that included increased testing and counseling, assistance with accessing care, and expanded ART coverage increased population viral suppression to among the highest levels reported globally.
Could the heat of the Earth's crust become the ultimate energy source?
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Sanoh Industrial developed a very stable battery cell that can directly convert heat into electricity, thus finally providing a way for exploiting geothermal energy in a sustainable way.
Proposed gene therapy for a heart arrhythmia, based on models made from patient cells
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital report creating the first human tissue model of an inherited heart arrhythmia, replicating two patients' abnormal heart rhythms in a dish, and then suppressing the arrhythmia with gene therapy in a mouse model.
How kissing as a risk factor may explain the high global incidence of gonorrhoea
In 2016, there were 87 million people diagnosed with gonorrhoea, the most antibiotic resistant of all the STIs.
A study analyzes the influence of political affinities in the processes of socialization
A study in which the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid participated (UC3M) has concluded that most people prefer not to have much to do with those who have political sympathies which are different from their own.
Modeling predicts blue whales' foraging behavior, aiding population management efforts
Scientists can predict where and when blue whales are most likely to be foraging for food in the California Current Ecosystem, providing new insight that could aid in the management of the endangered population in light of climate change and blue whale mortality due to ship strikes.
Multiple injection safety violations found in New Jersey septic arthritis outbreak
Multiple violations of injection safety and infection prevention practices--from lack of handwashing to inappropriate re-use of medication vials--were identified after an outbreak of septic arthritis at a New Jersey outpatient facility in 2017, according to an investigation published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
Tiny vibration-powered robots are the size of the world's smallest ant
Researchers have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers.
Shaky scaffold changes lung infrastructure
Researchers identify changes in enzymes that may contribute to lung damage in rare genetic disorder.
Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?
Illinois study advances possibility of genetic control for major agricultural weeds
Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, two aggressive weeds that threaten the food supply in North America, are increasingly hard to kill with commercially available herbicides.
200 times faster than ever before: the speediest quantum operation yet
A group of physicists at UNSW Sydney have built a super-fast version of the central building block of a quantum computer.
Correcting historic sea surface temperature measurements
Why did the oceans warm and cool at such different rates in the early 20th century?
Modeling tool addresses uncertainty in military logistics planning
Military deployments to austere environments -- whether humanitarian missions or combat operations -- involve extensive logistical planning, which is often complicated by unforeseen events.
One in 270 births have 'dual burden' of prematurity and severe maternal complications
A quarter of women who have serious maternal complications during childbirth also have premature births, posing a 'dual burden' on families, finds research from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) California Preterm Birth Initiative, and Stanford University.
DistME: A fast and elastic distributed matrix computation engine using GPUs
DGIST announced on July 4 that Professor Min-Soo Kim's team in the Department of Information and Communication Engineering developed the DistME (Distributed Matrix Engine) technology that can analyze 100 times more data 14 times faster than the existing technologies.
Head start accountability systems may be missing how classroom quality varies within preschool centers
The high-stakes accountability policies used to monitor the quality of Head Start preschool centers may miss important variation in classroom quality within centers, which could lead to incorrect representations of center quality and inaccurate decisions about which programs need to re-compete for their funding.
Study estimates contribution of genetic, nongenetic factors to ASD risk
National registry data from five countries (Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Israel and Western Australia) were used to estimate the contribution of various genetic and nongenetic factors on the risk of autism spectrum disorder in this population-based study.
Test shown to improve accuracy in identifying precancerous pancreatic cysts
CompCyst, a new test developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center distinguishes pancreatic cysts that are destined to become cancer and need to be surgically removed from cysts that can be left alone without causing harm.
Neighborhood environment and health
It is well understood that urban black males are at a disproportionately high risk of poor health outcomes.
Study pinpoints cell types affected in brains of multiple sclerosis patients
Scientists have discovered that a specific brain cell known as a 'projection neuron' has a central role to play in the brain changes seen in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Pregnancies persist among women taking acne medication known to cause birth defects
In a new study, investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital evaluated the frequency of reported pregnancies and pregnancy-related adverse events among women taking isotretinoin.
Crystalline 'artificial muscle' makes paper doll do sit-ups
Scary movies about dolls that can move, like Anabelle and Chucky, are popular at theaters this summer.
Win or lose: Rigged card game sheds light on inequality, fairness
Researchers at Cornell University are using a rigged card game to shed light on perceptions of inequality.
Timing of spay, neuter tied to higher risk of obesity and orthopedic injuries in dogs
Spaying or neutering large-breed dogs can put them at a higher risk for obesity and, if done when the dog is young, nontraumatic orthopedic injuries, reports a new study based on data from the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
Fiber-optic vibration sensors could prevent train accidents
Researchers have developed new sensors for measuring acceleration and vibration on trains.
Health insurance rule could help millions spend less for the care they need
Millions of Americans with chronic conditions could save money on the drugs and medical services they need the most, if their health insurance plans decide to take advantage of a new federal rule issued today.
How puffins catch food outside the breeding season
Little is known about how seabirds catch their food outside the breeding season but using modern technology, researchers at the University of Liverpool and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology have gained new insight into their feeding habits.
Improving the odds of synthetic chemistry success
In a new publication in Nature, University of Utah chemists Jolene Reid and Matthew Sigman show how analyzing previously published chemical reaction data can predict how hypothetical reactions may proceed, narrowing the range of conditions chemists need to explore.
Endangered Bornean orangutans survive in managed forest, decline near oil palm plantations
Recent surveys of the population of endangered Bornean orangutans in Sabah, the Malaysian state in the north-east of Borneo, show mixed results.
Researchers put a new spin on molecular oxygen
Reactive molecular oxygen singlets have a multitude of uses in chemistry and medicine, but they are less abundant than non-reactive oxygen triplets.
A new material for the battery of the future, made in UCLouvain
UCLouvain's researchers have discovered a new high performance and safe battery material (LTPS) capable of speeding up charge and discharge to a level never observed so far.
Toward a better battery
Materials scientists uncover source of degradation in sodium batteries.
Monitoring air quality after Fourth of July fireworks
The U.S. recently celebrated the Fourth of July with dazzling fireworks displays in many cities.
Review evaluates how AI could boost the success of clinical trials
In a review publishing July 17, 2019 in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, researchers examined how artificial intelligence (AI) could affect drug development in the coming decade.
Is intensive treatment to lower lipid levels beneficial to older patients after acute coronary syndrome?
In this secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial, researchers examined the association of age with the benefit of intensive treatment to lower lipid levels with a combination therapy of simvastatin and ezetimibe compared to treatment with simvastatin alone after acute coronary syndrome in older patients.
A graphene superconductor that plays more than one tune
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a graphene device that's thinner than a human hair but has a depth of special traits.
Rare inherited enzyme disorder yields insight into fibrosis
St. Jude investigators have discovered an association between a deficiency in the enzyme neuraminidase 1 and the build-up of connective tissue in organs, suck as the muscle, kidney, liver, heart and lungs.
'Semi-synthetic' bacteria churn out unnatural proteins
Synthetic biologists seek to create new life with forms and functions not seen in nature.
Sea level rise requires extra management to maintain salt marshes
Salt marshes are important habitats for fish and birds and protect coasts under sea level rise against stronger wave attacks.
New insight into microRNA function can give gene therapy a boost
Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Oxford have shown that small RNA molecules occurring naturally in cells, i.e. microRNAs, are also abundant in cell nuclei.
Spawn of the triffid? Tiny organisms give us glimpse into complex evolutionary tale
Two newly discovered organisms point to the existence of an ancient organism that resembled a tiny version of the lumbering, human-eating science fiction plants known as 'triffids,' according to research in Nature.
High magnetic field of 10T during activated carbon production improves micropore capacity by 35%
Carbon materials such as nanotubes, graphene, activated carbon and graphite are in high demand.
Megakaryocytes act as 'bouncers' restraining cell migration in the bone marrow
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as 'bouncers' and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics.
Harvesting energy from the human knee
Imagine powering your devices by walking. With technology recently developed by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and described in Applied Physics Letters, that possibility might not be far out of reach.
New study finds both components of blood pressure predict heart attack, stroke risk
Both numbers in a blood pressure reading -- the 'upper' systolic and the 'lower' diastolic -- independently predicted the risk of heart attack or stroke in a very large Kaiser Permanente study that included more than 36 million blood pressure readings from more than 1 million people.
Plant probe could help estimate bee exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides
Bee populations are declining, and neonicotinoid pesticides continue to be investigated -- and in some cases banned -- because of their suspected role as a contributing factor.
NASA tracking post-tropical cyclone Barry to Indiana
NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible image of the clouds associated with Post-Tropical Cyclone Barry moving through the mid-Mississippi Valley on July 16, 2019 and headed toward the Ohio Valley.
Do marine protected areas work?
A study describes how to use data collected before and after Marine Protected Areas are created to verify that they work.
A new level of smart industrial robots control and management reached at FEFU
Robot technicians from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) together with colleagues from the Far Eastern Brach of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS) developed a command-and-control plugin for intelligent industrial robots.
Crunching the numbers of cancer metastasis
While revealing that metastatic breast cancer cells alter their shape to spread to other regions of the body, researchers develop a mathematical model that can be applied to study similar cellular systems.
Body and mind need care in mental illness
The 18-year life expectancy gap between people with mental illness and the general population can only be bridged by protecting patients' physical and mental health, according to a new study.
Sustainable savings on medical care
Over eight years, patients covered under a global budget payment model for doctors and hospitals showed slower spending growth and better quality than comparable populations mostly under the traditional fee-for-service model.
Survey shows surveillance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues as core focus
A survey by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America demonstrates that surveillance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to be a core focus for healthcare facilities.
Increased use of partial knee replacement could save the NHS £30 million per year
New research from a randomised clinical trial published today in The Lancet and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) shows that partial knee replacements (PKR) are as good as total knee replacements (TKR), whilst being more cost effective.
Around one in 20 patients are affected by preventable harm
Around one in 20 (6%) of patients are affected by preventable harm in medical care, of which around 12% causes permanent disability or death, finds a study published by The BMJ today.
AI radar system that can spot miniature drones 3 kilometers away
DGIST made Small AESA radar system with a super-resolution algorithm.

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Now Playing: Science for the People

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Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.