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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | August 22, 2019


WPI mathematician is helping NASA spacecraft travel faster and farther
By combining cutting-edge machine learning with 19th-century mathematics, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) mathematician is working to make NASA spacecraft lighter and more damage tolerant by developing methods to detect imperfections in carbon nanomaterials used to make composite rocket fuel tanks and other spacecraft structures.
Genetic diversity couldn't save Darwin's finches
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that Charles Darwin's famous finches defy what has long been considered a key to evolutionary success: genetic diversity.
High diversity of harvestmen in Atlantic Rainforest and ancient geological events
Mountain range uplift, river formation and other events that occurred 30 million years ago explain the emergence of new species of the arachnid in the biome's southernmost portion, according to a Brazilian study.
Switching on the Atlantic heat pump
34 million years ago the warm 'greenhouse climate' of the dinosaur age ended and the colder 'icehouse climate' of today commenced.
Memory T cells shelter in bone marrow, boosting immunity in mice with restricted diets
Even when taking in fewer calories and nutrients, humans and other mammals usually remain protected against infectious diseases they have already encountered.
Images from the surface of asteroid Ryugu yield clues to its composition
New images taken by a lander on the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu have yielded clues into the composition and origins of its rocks, which bear strong similarities to primitive meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites.
NASA's Aqua satellite finds a weaker Chantal, now a depression
Over the last day, winds outside of Tropical Storm Chantal have been weakening the storm in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Climate change will alter waves along half the world's coast
New research finds that a warming planet will also alter ocean waves along more than 50% of the world's coastlines.
Nano-thermometer takes temperature inside cells
Rice University scientists develop a nano-thermometer able to take temperatures inside cells.
Study links certain metabolites to stem cell function in the intestine
MIT researchers have found that high levels of ketone bodies, molecules produced by the breakdown of fat, help the intestine to maintain a functional stem cell pool, which are crucial for intestinal regeneration.
Study shows some exoplanets may have greater variety of life than exists on Earth
A new study indicates that some exoplanets may have better conditions for life to thrive than Earth itself has.
Here's how early humans evaded immunodeficiency viruses
The cryoEM structure of a simian immunodeficiency virus protein bound to primate proteins shows how a mutation in early humans allowed our ancestors to escape infection while monkeys and apes did not.
Moffitt researchers develop model to personalize radiation treatment
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers hope to change this mindset for radiation treatment with the development of a genomically-based model that can optimize and personalize a radiation dose to match an individual patient's needs.
Lower levels of dietary vitamins and antioxidants are linked to frailty in older adults
Researchers from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin have shown in the largest study to-date that lower levels of specific dietary vitamins and antioxidants are associated with frailty.
Five things you might not want to mix with birth control (video)
Many forms of birth control are hormone-based--but not everything mixes well with those hormones.
The case for managed retreat
Researchers at Stanford and other institutions present the case for managed retreat in the face of climate change and rising seas in a new Policy Forum article in the journal Science.
Ginkgo biloba may aid in treating type 2 diabetes
Ginkgo Biloba, one of the oldest living trees species, may offer some clues in better treatments for Type 2 Diabetes, says one University Cincinnati researcher.
Microbiology: Atacama Desert microbes may hold clues to life on Mars
Microbial life on Mars may potentially be transported across the planet on dust particles carried by wind, according to a study conducted in the Atacama Desert in North Chile, a well-known Mars analogue.
CBD products, hemp oil may be helpful but more research is needed, Mayo Clinic review says
Cannabidiol (CBD) oils and products have become increasingly popular with consumers as ways to find relief from aches and pains, anxiety, sleep disturbances and other chronic issues.
Researchers discover cause of asthmatic lung spasms
Researchers at Rutgers and other institutions have discovered how muscle contraction (bronchospasm) in the airway, which cause breathing difficulty in people with asthma, occur by creating a microdevice that mimics the behavior of the human airways.
A single gene determines whether a fly has a good sense of sight or a good sense of smell
Trade-offs in the sizes of visual and olfactory organs are a common feature of animal evolution, but the underlying genetic and developmental mechanisms have not been clear.
Rising summer heat could soon endanger travelers on annual Muslim pilgrimage
Over two million Muslim travelers just finished the annual religious pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, traveling during some of the country's hottest weather.
Are we really protecting rivers from pollution? It's hard to say, and that's a problem
More public and private resources than ever are being directed to protecting and preserving aquatic ecosystems and watersheds.
Storms on Jupiter are disturbing the planet's colorful belts
Coordinated observations of Jupiter in early 2017 by six ground-based telescopes and Hubble allowed UC Berkeley astronomers to study the evolution of bright plumes and connect them with cloud movements deep in the planet.
Researchers discover how the sun damages our skin
Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have discovered the mechanism through which ultraviolet radiation, given off by the sun, damages our skin.
Malaria control success in Africa at risk from spread of multi-drug resistance
In the first continent-wide genomic study of malaria parasites in Africa, scientists have uncovered the genetic features of Plasmodium falciparum parasites that inhabit different regions of the continent, including the genetic factors that confer resistance to anti-malarial drugs.
Conflicting consequences of climate change for Arctic nesting geese
Climate change is the big wild card when it comes to the survival of many Arctic species.
Fatigue in Parkinson's disease is associated with lower diastolic blood pressure
Amsterdam, NL, August 22, 2019 - Fatigue is a common debilitating symptom in Parkinson's disease (PD).
196,000 youth lose health insurance coverage in past 3 years; yet upsides remain
The national implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014 was associated with gains in health insurance coverage for youth, but some of those gains have reversed during the past three years, according to findings published this month in Academic Pediatrics from researchers at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University.
Heavy drinking and HIV don't mix
Heavy alcohol consumption (3 drinks or more/day for women and 4 drinks or more/day for men) is linked to alterations in immune function among people with HIV.
Discovery of 'hidden' outbreak hints that Zika virus can spread silently
Just when international fears of contracting Zika began to fade in 2017, an undetected outbreak was peaking in Cuba -- a mere 300 miles off the coast of Miami.
Maximum mass of lightest neutrino revealed using astronomical big data
The mass of the lightest neutrino, an abundant 'ghost' particle found throughout the universe, has been calculated to be at least 6 million times lighter than the mass of an electron in a new UCL-led study.
Yale researchers detect unreported Zika outbreak
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) have detected a large unreported Zika outbreak that occurred in Cuba during 2017, a year after Zika outbreaks peaked throughout the Americas.
Scientists successfully innoculate, grow crops in salt-damaged soil
A group of researchers may have found a way to reverse falling crop yields caused by increasingly salty farmlands throughout the world.
International team discovers unique pathway for treating deadly children's brain cancer
An international team of researchers led by Yale University, University of Iowa, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, has discovered a new pathway that may improve success against an incurable type of children's brain cancer.
Lasers enable engineers to weld ceramics, no furnace required
Smartphones that don't scratch or shatter. Metal-free pacemakers. Electronics for space and other harsh environments.
CRISPR-responsive hydrogel system offers programmable approach to smart biomaterials
Using CRISPR as the 'switcher,' hydrogels infused with DNA can be programmed to translate biological information into changes in the constituent gel material's properties, researchers say, triggering the gels to release compounds or nanoparticles, for example.
Researchers reveal plant defense toolkit and insights for fighting crop diseases
At an unprecedented scale, researchers have now catalogued the array of surveillance tools that plants use to detect disease-causing microbes across an entire species.
Bacterial sex drives evolution of microbes to conquer and colonize the gut
Healthy mice study real-time gut colonization and discovered a pivotal role for bacterial sex in the evolution of the mammalian microbiome.
Experiments illuminate key component of plants' immune systems
In new research published in the journal Science, a team of biologists, including Colorado State University Assistant Professor of Biology Marc Nishimura, have shed new light on a crucial aspect of the plant immune response.
Scurrying roaches help researchers steady staggering robots
To walk or run with finesse, roaches and robots coordinate leg movements via signals sent through centralized systems.
Mount Sinai researchers discover that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases
New research is showing the profound benefits -- for longevity and fighting disease -- of intermittent fasting.
In a quantum future, which starship destroys the other?
Quantum mechanics boasts all sorts of strange features, one being quantum superposition -- the peculiar circumstance in which particles seem to be in two or more places or states at once.
Training teams for timely NICU evacuation
Fires, tornadoes and other natural disasters are outside of the control of care teams.
Slow electrons to combat cancer
Slow electons can be used to destroy cancer cells - but how exactly this happens has not been well understood.
Living cells engineered to be computing and recording devices
Cells can be viewed as natural minicomputers that execute programs encoded in their DNA.
Scientists use skin's microbiome to develop health index for children with eczema
Microbiomes aren't just for understanding and modulating gut health -- skin, our largest organ, hosts a vibrant and complex microbiome that can provide health insights.
ALMA shows what's inside Jupiter's storms
New radio wave images made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) provide a unique view of Jupiter's atmosphere down to fifty kilometers below the planet's visible (ammonia) cloud deck.
Materials scientists build a synthetic system with compartments like real cells
Polymer chemists and materials scientists have achieved some notable advances that mimic Nature, but one of the most common and practical features of cells has so far been out of reach -- intracellular compartmentalization.
Switching electron properties on and off individually
Electrons have different properties - and they all can be used to create order in solid objects.
Visualizing strong magnetic fields with neutrons
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new method with which strong magnetic fields can be precisely measured.
Researchers find genetic links to child obesity across diverse ethnic groups
An international team of researchers who analyzed data across multiple ethnicities has produced the largest genetic study to date associated with common childhood obesity.
'Malaria cell atlas' reveals gene clusters, possible drug targets
After performing single-cell RNA sequencing on thousands of malaria parasites -- the genomes of which have historically encoded many uncharacterized genes -- researchers report the first high-resolution atlas of malaria parasite gene expression across the entirety of these organisms' complex lifecycles.
The case for strategic and managed retreat in the face of climate change
The best option for adaptation to a rapidly changing climate, at least for some, may be to flee -- a process called 'managed retreat.'
Enzyme that helps protect us from stress linked to liver cancer growth
An enzyme induced by stress to help reduce production of damaging free radicals is also used by liver cancer to regulate two major cell proliferation pathways that enable the cancer to thrive, scientists report.
The Paleozoic diet: Why animals eat what they eat
In what likely is the first study on the evolution of dietary preferences across the animal kingdom, UA researchers report several unexpected discoveries, including that the first animal likely was a carnivore and that humans, along with other omnivores, belong to a rare breed.
Ludwig study identifies an Achilles heel of many types of cancer
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has uncovered a novel vulnerability in tumors that are driven by a common cancer gene known as MYC.
Computer model could help test new sickle cell drugs
A new computer model that captures the dynamics of the red blood cell sickling process could help in evaluating drugs for treating sickle cell disease.
'100-year' floods will happen every 1 to 30 years, according to new flood maps
Princeton researchers have developed new maps that predict coastal flooding for every county on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts and find 100-year floods could become annual occurrences in New England; and happen every one to 30 years along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shorelines.
Genes tell the story of how the Asian tiger mosquito spread
Over the last 40 years, the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has invaded every continent thanks to the transportation of its eggs via human trade and transportation.
Cell suicide could hold key for brain health and food security
Research into the self-destruction of cells in humans and plants could lead to treatments for neurodegenerative brain diseases and the development of disease-resistant plants.
Systemic failures in public health system led to deaths in elderly patients
The deaths of 17 elderly people earlier this summer were the result of systemic failures in the public health system in England, according to a leading public health expert.
New method classifies brain cells based on electrical signals
A team of neuroscientists at the University of Tuebingen and MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory shows how to distinguish four classes of brain cells by their spike waveforms.
High-precision technique stores cellular 'memory' in DNA
MIT researchers have created a technology called DOMINO to store complex 'memories' in the DNA of living cells, including human cells.
Water availability determines carbon uptake under climate warming: study
A research group led by Dr. NIU Shuli from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that water availability in soil determines the direction of carbon-climate feedback.
High-intensity step training boosts stroke survivors' walking skills
High-intensity step training that mimics real world conditions may better improve walking ability in stroke survivors compared to traditional, low-impact training.
How red-eared invaders are hurting California's native turtles
Western pond turtles got fatter and healthier after scientists removed nearly 200 invasive red-eared slider turtles from the UC Davis Arboretum, reports a new study published recently in the journal PeerJ.
Preventing tumor metastasis
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute, together with colleagues from the pharmaceutical company F.
Anxiety among patient factors linked to more opioid use after surgery
Surgeons wielding their life-saving scalpels, laparoscopic tools, or other implements to repair or remove what ails their patients understand all too well that pain is an unavoidable part of the healing process.
NASA finds Tropical Depression Bailu forms east of Philippines
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and captured an image of newly developed Tropical Depression Bailu, east of the Philippines.
Detecting hydrothermal vents in volcanic lakes
Changes in the behaviour of hydrothermal vents may be indicative of changes in the volcanic system underneath, thus being a useful precursor for the next generation of early warning systems.
Smartphone app makes parents more attuned to their babies' needs, research shows
University of York researchers have designed and tested an app to help new parents become more 'tuned in' to what their babies are thinking and feeling.
Temperatures of 800 billion degrees in the cosmic kitchen
It is among the most spectacular events in the universe: a merger of neutron stars.
What's killing sea otters? Scientists pinpoint parasite strain
Many wild southern sea otters in California are infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, yet the infection is fatal for only a fraction of sea otters, which has long puzzled the scientific community.
Map of malaria behavior set to revolutionize research
The first detailed map of individual malaria parasite behavior across each stage of its complicated life cycle has been created by scientists.
Dietary zinc protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection
Researchers have uncovered a crucial link between dietary zinc intake and protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the primary bacterial cause of pneumonia.
Mayo Clinic study calls for screening of family members of celiac disease patients
Parents, siblings and children of people with celiac disease are at high risk of also having the disease, according to a Mayo Clinic study.
Scientists build a synthetic system to improve wound treatment, drug delivery for soldiers
For the first time, scientists built a synthetic biologic system with compartments like real cells.
New report finds 100% juice helps improve children's diet quality
A new report supports existing scientific data maintaining juice as part of a healthy diet, and reinforces that claims linking 100% juice to negative health outcomes are not supported by research.
Health care workers unprepared for magnitude of climate change
An epidemic of chronic kidney disease that has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers worldwide, is just one of many ailments poised to strike as a result of climate change, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Satellite sees Eastern Pacific Depression 10E form
Tropical Depression 10E has formed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the GOES-West satellite caught its formation far from the Baja Peninsula.
An unreported Zika outbreak in 2017 detected through travel surveillance and genetics
By sequencing virus genomes from infected travelers, analyzing travel patterns and mosquito modeling, researchers reporting Aug.
Yet another way dogs help the military; aeromedical patient evacuations
Animal-assisted therapy has many benefits in health care. Yet, its biological and psychosocial effects in the military are unknown, especially for injured, airlifted patients.
Researchers get first microscopic look at a tiny phenomenon with big potential implications
Matter behaves differently when it's tiny. At the nanoscale, electric current cuts through mountains of particles, spinning them into vortexes that can be used intentionally in quantum computing.
Early life on Earth limited by enzyme
A single enzyme found in early single-cell life forms could explain why oxygen levels in the atmosphere remained low for two billion years during the Proterozoic eon, preventing life colonizing land, suggests a UCL-led study.
Cracking a decades-old test, researchers bolster case for quantum mechanics
At upcoming FiO + LS conference, researchers will discuss creative tactics to get rid of loopholes that have long confounded tests of quantum mechanics.
Software for diagnostics and fail-safe operation of robots developed at FEFU
A team of scientists from School of Engineering at Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), Institute of Automation and Control Processes, and Institute of Marine Technology Problems of the Far Eastern Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences developed a software module to automatically diagnose defects in sensors and electric drives in various kinds of robots.
New insights: Improving function, independence and quality of life of individuals with cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most common movement disorders in children.
Memory research: Fruit flies learn their body size once for an entire lifetime
Drosophila melanogaster develops stable long-term memory for its body size and reach through motion parallax while walking.
Tracing the evolution of vision
The function of the visual photopigment rhodopsin and its action in the retina to facilitate vision is well understood.
Study: Climate change could pose danger for Muslim pilgrimage
According to a new study by researchers at MIT and in California, because of climate change there is an increasing risk that in coming years, conditions of heat and humidity in the areas of Saudi Arabia where the Hajj takes place could worsen, to the point that people face 'extreme danger' from harmful health effects.
Underground links between quakes and eruptions of Japan's biggest active volcano
To better understand subsurface processes associated with earthquakes and eruptions of Mount Aso, Kyushu University researchers investigated a very long period (VLP) seismicity dataset collected over two years.
Dyslexia could affect pass rates in UK GP clinical skills exam
Trainee doctors who have dyslexia, and who declare this prior to taking the clinical skills component of the licensing exam for general practice, are less likely to pass than their counterparts, new research has shown.
How our genes and environment influence BMI and height
Environmental conditions influence our body mass index (BMI) by increasing or decreasing the effect of inherited genetic variations, University of Queensland researchers have discovered.
Brain finds order amidst chaos
How does the brain find order amidst a sea of noise and chaos?
What do criminal justice risk assessments actually assess?
Exposure to the criminal justice system increases some of the risk factors used to predict recidivism and re-arrest, according to new research out of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
New tool mines scientific texts for fusion protein facts
A new computational tool called ProtFus screens scientific literature to validate predictions about the activity of fusion proteins -- proteins encoded by the joining of two genes that previously encoded two separate proteins.
Research details impact of energy development on deer habitat use
Mule deer avoid areas close to such human disturbance, even when there's quality forage in those areas.
NASA sees a lopsided Atlantic Tropical Storm Chantal form
NASA's Aqua satellite provided a view of newly formed Tropical Storm Chantal in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Scorpion toxin that targets 'wasabi receptor' may help solve mystery of chronic pain
Researchers at UC San Francisco and the University of Queensland have discovered a scorpion toxin that targets the 'wasabi receptor,' a chemical-sensing protein found in nerve cells that's responsible for the sinus-jolting sting of wasabi.
Quantum gravity's tangled time
The theories of quantum mechanics and gravity are notorious for being incompatible, despite the efforts of scores of physicists over the past fifty years.
Shocking rate of plant extinctions in South Africa
Over the past 300 years, 79 plants have been confirmed extinct from three of the world's biodiversity hotspots located in South Africa -- the Cape Floristic Region, the Succulent Karoo, and the Maputuland-Pondoland-Albany corridor.
Carriers of Alzheimer's genetic marker have greater difficulty harnessing past knowledge
Adults carrying a gene associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease had a harder time accessing recently acquired knowledge, even though they didn't show any symptoms of memory problems, according to findings published in a joint Baycrest-University of Oxford study.
Researchers identify key areas of measles virus polymerase to target for antiviral drug development
Targeting specific areas of the measles virus polymerase, a protein complex that copies the viral genome, can effectively fight the measles virus and be used as an approach to developing new antiviral drugs to treat the serious infectious disease, according to a study by the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University published in PLoS Pathogens.
New light on contested identity of medieval skeleton found at Prague Castle
Used as a propaganda tool by the Nazis and Soviets during the Second World War and Cold War, the remains of a 10th century male, unearthed beneath Prague Castle in 1928, have been the subject of continued debate and archaeological manipulation.
E-cigs can trigger same lung changes seen in smokers, emphysema
In a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the UNC scientists found that the lungs of vapers -- like the lungs of smokers -- have elevated levels of protease enzymes, a condition known to cause emphysema in smokers.
The case for retreat in the battle against climate change
With sea level rise and extreme weather threatening coastal communities, it's no longer a question of whether they are going to retreat; it's where, when and how.
Biomaterials smarten up with CRISPR
a research team at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) demonstrates the use of CRISPR as a control element in a new type of stimuli-responsive ''smart'' materials.
Scratching the surface of how your brain senses an itch
Light touch plays a critical role in everyday tasks, such as picking up a glass or playing a musical instrument, as well as for detecting the touch of, say, biting insects.
Structure of protein nano turbine revealed
IST Austria scientists determine the first structure of a cell's rotary engine using state-of-art microscopy.
New study reveals carbon nanotubes measurement possible for the first time
Swansea University scientists report an entirely new approach to manipulation of carbon nanotubes that allows physical measurements to be made on carbon nanotubes that have previously only been possible by theoretical computation.
Revealing the molecular engine that drives pancreatic cancer provides ways to turn it off
Researchers have decoded a chain of molecules that are critical for the growth and survival of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma -- the most common and also the most lethal form of pancreatic cancer.
Gene linked to a rare neurological disorder regulates key enzyme in Alzheimer's
A gene that can become mutated and cause a rare balance disorder also regulates the behavior of an enzyme that increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Adaptation to life in cattle may be driving E. coli to develop harmful features
Research led by Kyushu University finds that E. coli from cattle share widespread genetic similarities with those that cause food poisoning in humans, indicating that the traits that are harmful to humans may emerge to improve survival in the bovine intestine.
September's SLAS Discovery issue now available
September's SLAS Discovery cover article, ''Using physicochemical measurements to influence better compound design,' now available for 30 days.
Comparison of three similar frontline breast cancer drugs reveals important differences
First head-to-head comparison of CDK4/6 inhibitors in cell line and animal models of breast cancer reveals important differences, including one drug that exhibits unique, potentially advantageous therapeutic activity.
Listening to the 'patient voice' can drive improvements in hospital care for patients undergoing heart surgery
Patient-reported experiences have potential for driving improvements in the quality of hospital care, according to a new study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, published by Elsevier.

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