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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | September 12, 2019


Big game hunting for a more versatile catalyst
For the first time, researchers at Harvard University and Cornell University have discovered exactly how a reactive copper-nitrene catalyst works, a finding that could revolutionize how chemical industries produce everything from pharmaceuticals to household goods.
Study led by NUS scientists show that drinking tea improves brain health
A recent study led by researchers from the National University of Singapore revealed that regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions compared to non-tea drinkers.
Elaborate Komodo dragon armor defends against other dragons
Just beneath their scales, Komodo dragons wear a suit of armor made of tiny bones.
Satellite study of Amazon rainforest land cover gives insight into 2019 fires
A University of Kansas study in the journal Ecohydrology headed by Gabriel de Oliveira gives important context to the fires burning big swaths of the Amazon today.
Emerging practice of precision medicine could one day improve care for many heart failure patients
Using precision medicine, healthcare providers may one day be able to identify who is most likely to develop heart failure and which medicines and other treatments are most effective for specific patient groups.
Breaking the 'stalemate' in the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children.
African american bachelor's degrees see growth, behind in physical sciences, engineering
African Americans are seeing growth in engineering and physical sciences but are not progressing at the same rate when compared to the general population.
New review highlights benefits of plant-based diet for rheumatoid arthritis
A plant-based diet may alleviate painful symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new review published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.
How marketers can shape customer sentiment during events
Marketers' ability to influence user-generated content surrounding customers' brand or firm-related interactions, and its sentiment in particular, may be an un-tapped use of social media in marketing.
How relapse happens: Opiates reduce the brain's ability to form, maintain synapses
Exposure to heroin sharply reduces levels of the protein necessary for developing and maintaining the brain's synapses, a preclinical study by University at Buffalo researchers has found.
JILA's novel atomic clock design offers 'tweezer' control
JILA physicists have demonstrated a novel atomic clock design that combines near-continuous operation with strong signals and high stability, features not previously found together in a single type of next-generation atomic clock.
Controversial insecticides shown to threaten survival of wild birds
New University of Saskatchewan research shows how the world's most widely used insecticides could be partly responsible for dramatic declines in farmland bird populations.
'Ringing' black hole validates Einstein's general relativity 10 years ahead of schedule
For the first time, astrophysicists have heard a black hole ringing like a bell.
'Fire inversions' lock smoke in valleys
There's an atmospheric feedback loop, says University of Utah atmospheric scientist Adam Kochanski, that can lock smoke in valleys in much the same way that temperature inversions lock the smog and gunk in the Salt Lake Valley each winter.
Exercising at home has a positive effect on Parkinson's patients
In a large double-blind study, Radboud university medical center researchers show that patients in the early stages of Parkinson's disease can exercise regularly at home for 6 months.
Science snapshots: Messenger proteins, new TB drug, artificial photosynthesis
Science Snapshots: messenger proteins, new TB drug, artificial photosynthesis
Heterogeneity in the workplace: 'Diversity is very important to us -- but not in my team'
Diversity in the workplace is highly sought in theory, but often still lacking in practice.
Markey researchers discover role of nuclear glycogen in non-small cell lung cancers
Researchers at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center have made a breakthrough discovery that solves a mystery long forgotten by science and have identified a potentially novel avenue in pre-clinical models to treat non-small cell lung cancers.
Repeated periods of poverty accelerate the ageing process
People who have found themselves below the relative poverty threshold four or more times in their adult life age significantly earlier than others.
Semiconducting material more affected by defects than previously thought
A promising semiconductor material, halide perovskite, could be improved if flaws previously thought irrelevant to performance are reduced, according to research published today in Nature Communications.
Mysterious Jurassic crocodile identified 250 years after fossil find
A prehistoric crocodile that lived around 180 million years ago has been identified -- almost 250 years after the discovery of it fossil remains.
Specialized training benefits young STEM researchers
The First-year Research Immersion (FRI) program at Binghamton University, State University of New York has proven that young college students are capable of leading real research.
Researchers grow citrus disease bacteria in the lab
Being able to grow the elusive and poorly understood bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), will make it easier for researchers to find treatments for the disease that has destroyed millions of acres of orange, grapefruit and lemon groves around the world and has devastated the citrus industry in Florida.
Charge change: How electric forces vary in colloids
When calculating the electrokinetic force, the convention has been to assume that there is no relative velocity of the fluid compared to the surface, which holds true for hydrophilic surfaces.
Scientists discover new breakthrough in cancer hair loss treatment
Researchers based at The University of Manchester have discovered a new strategy for how to protect hair follicles from chemotherapy, which could lead to new treatments that prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss -- arguably one of the most psychologically distressing side effects of modern cancer therapy.
Finding (microbial) pillars of the bioenergy community
In a new study in Nature Communications, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center scientists at Michigan State University have focused on understanding more about the plant regions above the soil where these microbes can live, called the 'phyllosphere.' Ashley Shade, MSU assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and her lab classified core members of this community in switchgrass and miscanthus.
Heart attack patients take longer to call emergency when symptoms are gradual
Heart attack symptoms can be gradual or abrupt and both situations are a medical emergency.
Humans more unique than expected when it comes to digesting fatty meals
People have very individualized inflammatory responses to eating a high-fat meal.
Discovery concerning the nervous system overturns a previous theory
It appears that when our nervous system is developing, only the most viable neurons survive, while immature neurons are weeded out and die.
The rare molecule weighing in on the birth of planets
Astronomers using one of the most advanced radio telescopes have discovered a rare molecule in the dust and gas disc around a young star -- and it may provide an answer to one of the conundrums facing astronomers.
Researchers develop chemical reaction method for more efficient drug production
Researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) in Japan and Mount Allison University in Canada have developed a more efficient method to produce the building blocks needed for antibiotics and cancer treatment drugs.
Special issue, 'mountain life,' celebrates Alexander von Humboldt's lasting legacy
Alexander von Humboldt was born 250 years ago this month, and while he spent much of his life studying Earth's mountainous regions, his vision of how science is intertwined with the broader human experience has helped to lay the groundwork for aspects of modern science more broadly.
Ultra-thin optical elements directly measure polarization
For the first time, researchers have used ultra-thin layers of 2D structures known as metasurfaces to create holograms that can measure the polarization of light.
Environment: Pollutants found in skin and blubber of English Channel dolphins
High levels of pollutants, such as industrial fluids and mercury, may have accumulated in the blubber and skin of one of the largest coastal populations of dolphins in Europe, a study in Scientific Reports indicates.
Strategies to connect with barricaded buyers
Shrewd suppliers use pre-RFP meetings to intimidate competitors and go above the minimum with their RFP responses to gain advantage with barricaded buyers.
Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer harboring certain BRAF mutations may respond to anti-EGFR
Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer harboring a subset of non-V600 mutations in the BRAF gene, known as class 3 BRAF mutations, were more likely to respond to anti-EGFR treatment.
Bone marrow may be the missing piece of the fertility puzzle
A woman's bone marrow may determine her ability to start and sustain a pregnancy, report Yale researchers in PLOS Biology.
Study offers verdict for China's efforts on coal emissions
Researchers from China, France and the USA have evaluated China's success in stemming emissions from its coal-fired power plants (CPPs).
The genetics of cancer
A research team has identified a new circular RNA (ribonucleic acid) that increases tumor activity in soft tissue and connective tissue tumors.
Why do birds migrate at night?
Researchers found migratory birds maximize how much light they get from their environment, so they can migrate even at night. 
Innovative treatment to prevent common brain infection could save NHS £7 million per year
An innovative solution used to prevent common brain infections in patients having surgery for hydrocephalus has been found to significantly reduce infection rates according to a report published in The Lancet today.
Researchers and rats play 'hide and seek,' illuminating playful behavior in animals
Rats can be taught to play hide and seek with humans and can become quite skilled at the game, according to a new study, which presents a novel paradigm for studying insights into the neurobiology of playful behavior in animals.
Cause of congenital nystagmus found
Researchers from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience have overturned the long held view that congenital nystagmus, a condition where eyes make repetitive involuntary movements, is a brain disorder by showing that its cause is actually retinal.
Penn engineers' new topological insulator reroutes photonic 'traffic' on the fly
Photonic chips promise even faster data transfer speeds and information-dense applications, but the components necessary for building them remain considerably larger than their electronic counterparts, due to the lack of efficient data-routing architecture.
Machine learning improves the diagnosis of patients with head and neck cancers
Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) have successfully solved a longstanding problem in the diagnosis of head and neck cancers.
Battery icons shape perceptions of time and space and define user identities
Research from Cass Business School finds battery icons on mobile phones shape how people view time and space, and how battery conservation practices define user identities.
Texas Biomed researchers pinpoint why HIV patients are more likely to develop tuberculosis
Tuberculosis and HIV -- two of the world's deadliest infectious diseases -- are far worse when they occur together.
Researchers use metamaterials to create two-part optical security features
Researchers have developed advanced optical security features that use a two-piece metamaterial system to create a difficult-to-replicate optical phenomenon.
Hepatitis C-infected kidneys function as well as uninfected organs after transplant
Kidneys from donors who were infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) function just as well as uninfected kidneys throughout the first year following transplantation, according to a new Penn Medicine study.
Terahertz waves reveal hidden processes in ultrafast artificial photosynthesis
Osaka University researchers have succeeded in observing charge transfer and intermolecular interactions in ultrafast artificial photosynthesis.
Routine sparring in boxing can affect brain performance
Routine sparring in boxing can cause short-term impairments in brain-to-muscle communication and decreased memory performance, according to new research.
Princeton researchers explore how a carbon-fixing organelle forms via phase separation
Algae remove vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis thanks to an organelle called the pyrenoid, which boosts the efficiency of carbon-fixation.
Saturn's rings shine in Hubble's latest portrait
Saturn is so beautiful that astronomers cannot resist using the Hubble Space Telescope to take yearly snapshots of the ringed world when it is at its closest distance to Earth.
Knotty problem of cell reprogramming solved, USC scientists report
USC scientists surmount roadblock in regenerative medicine that has constrained the ability to use repurposed cells to treat diseases.
Kidney transplants from donors with HCV safe and functional 1 year post-transplantation
There has been a substantial increase in the number of transplants using HCV-infected kidneys across the United States.
Chinese scientists update soybean genome to a golden reference
Soybean is one of the most important crops worldwide. A high-quality reference genome will facilitate its functional analysis and molecular breeding.
Abnormal gut bugs tied to worse cognitive performance in vets with PTSD and cirrhosis
A study involving military veterans with PTSD and cirrhosis of the liver points to an abnormal mix of bacteria in the intestines as a possible driver of poor cognitive performance -- and as a potential target for therapy.
Hubble reveals latest portrait of Saturn
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on 20 June 2019 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth this year, at approximately 1.36 billion kilometres away.
How breast cancer uses exosomes to metastasize to the brain
In breast cancer, metastases to the brain often spell a death sentence; many women survive for less than a year after diagnosis.
Few people with peanut allergy tolerate peanut after stopping oral immunotherapy
Studies have shown that peanut oral immunotherapy (OIT) -- ingesting small, controlled amounts of peanut protein -- can desensitize adults and children and prevent allergic reactions, but the optimal duration and dose is unknown.
Popular mobile games can be used to detect signs of cognitive decline
New research shows that popular mobile phone games such as Tetris, Candy Crush Saga and Fruit Ninja could provide a new tool to help doctors spot early signs of cognitive decline, some of which may indicate the onset of serious conditions like dementia.
Device generates light from the cold night sky
An inexpensive thermoelectric device harnesses the cold of space without active heat input, generating electricity that powers an LED at night, researchers report Sept.
Gravitational lensing provides a new measurement of the expansion of the universe
Amid ongoing uncertainty around the value of the Hubble Constant, uncertainty largely created by issues around measuring distances to objects in the galaxy, scientists who used a new distance technique have derived a different Hubble value, one 'somewhat higher than the standard value,' as Tamara Davis describes it in a related Perspective.
Two studies show promise, safety of proton therapy in the brain in children with cancer
From improving outcomes in children with brain cancer to lowering the risk of damage to the brainstem in children with central nervous system tumors, a pair of new studies published today add to the growing body of research showing the potential benefits of proton therapy.
Cells that make bone marrow also travel to the womb to help pregnancy
Bone marrow-derived cells play a role in changes to the mouse uterus before and during pregnancy, enabling implantation of the embryo and reducing pregnancy loss, according to research published Sept.
UMass Amherst researchers release new findings in groundbreaking gambling study
New findings released Sept. 12 from a groundbreaking gambling study by a University of Massachusetts Amherst research team show that out-of-state casino gambling among Massachusetts residents decreased significantly after the Commonwealth's first slot parlor, Plainridge Park Casino, opened in Plainville in the summer of 2015.
The 'pathobiome' -- a new understanding of disease
Cefas and University of Exeter scientists have presented a novel concept describing the complex microbial interactions that lead to disease in plants, animals and humans.
New cardiac fibrosis study identifies key proteins that translate into heart disease
The formation of excess fibrous tissue in the heart, which underlies several heart diseases, could be prevented by inhibiting specific proteins that bind to RNA while its code is being translated.
Gem-like nanoparticles of precious metals shine as catalysts
Northwestern University researchers have developed a new method for making highly desirable catalysts from metal nanoparticles that could lead to better fuel cells, among other applications.
Neonicotinoid insecticides cause rapid weight loss and travel delays in migrating songbirds
Songbirds exposed to imidacloprid, a widely used neonicotinoid insecticide, exhibit anorexic behavior, reduced body weight and delays in their migratory itinerary, according to a new study.
Advanced MRI brain scan may help predict stroke-related dementia
An advanced MRI brain scan analysis in patients with stroke-damaged blood vessels helped predict problems with thinking (planning, organizing information and processing speed) and dementia.
'Time-outs' not associated with long-term negative effects in children
Researchers find no differences in emotional and behavioral health between kids whose parents reported using time-outs and those who didn't.
Why is Earth so biologically diverse? Mountains hold the answer
Life on Earth is amazingly diverse, and exhibits striking geographical global patterns in biodiversity.
Bones secrete a stress hormone
Both rodents and humans release a bone-derived hormone called osteocalcin in response to acute stress, researchers report on Sept.
Researchers produce synthetic Hall Effect to achieve one-way radio transmission
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have replicated one of the most well-known electromagnetic effects in physics, the Hall Effect, using radio waves (photons) instead of electric current (electrons).
Early detection is key: Screening test could improve lives of cats with heart disease
A new, two-minute screening technique could help save cats from dying prematurely of heart disease.
New insights into how astrocytes help the brain process information
A collaboration between the laboratories of Vincent Bonin (NERF, empowered by VIB, imec and KU Leuven) and Matthew Holt (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research) reveals that noradrenaline plays a key role in how astrocytes -- star-shaped cells in the brain closely associated with neurons -- track distinct information during behavior.
Academics call for structured drug monitoring in care homes
Swansea University academics call for policy makers, regulators and healthcare professionals to adopt a structured medicine monitoring system after research showed a positive impact on the care of people living in care homes and taking mental health medicines.
Patients diagnosed with cancer after skipping appointment more likely to die within a year
Cancer patients who miss an urgent referral appointment for their symptoms are 12% more likely to die within 12 months of diagnosis, a major new study has found.
Expert feedback improves antibiotic prescribing decisions in paediatrics
In an experimental study, economists and medical experts tested how expert feedback will affect the antibiotic prescribing behaviour of paediatricians.
A promising treatment for an incurable, deadly kidney disease
A potential treatment for polycystic kidney disease -- a genetic disorder that causes the kidneys to swell with multiple cysts and can eventually lead to organ failure -- has shown promising results in animal testing.
Simple model captures almost 100 years of measles dynamics in London
A simple epidemiological model accurately captures long-term measles transmission dynamics in London, including major perturbations triggered by historical events.
Diet impacts the sensitivity of gut microbiome to antibiotics, mouse study finds
Antibiotics change the kinds of bacteria in the mouse gut as well as the bacteria's metabolism -- but diet can exacerbate the changes, a new study showed.
UBC researchers design roadmap for hydrogen supply network
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a hydrogen supply chain model that can enable the adoption of zero-emission, hydrogen-powered cars -- transforming them from a novelty into everyday transportation in just 30 years.
Nemours study finds genetic analysis can aid treatment of eosinophilic Esophagitis
Personalized medicine -- where the proper medicine and proper dose are used for the individual patient -- moved a step closer to reality for children suffering from eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an inflammation of the food pipe often caused by an allergic reaction to certain foods.
Epilepsy surgery: The earlier the better, overview study shows
A person with drug resistant epilepsy who gets an early surgical intervention has a better chance of becoming seizure free.
Spin devices get a paint job
Physicists created a new way to fabricate special kinds of electronic components known as spintronic devices.
Delaying start of head, neck cancer treatment in underserved, urban patients associated with worse outcomes
This observational study looked at the factors and outcomes associated with delaying the start of treatment for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in an underserved urban population.
GymCam tracks exercises that wearable monitors can't
Wearable sensors such as smartwatches have become a popular motivational tool for fitness enthusiasts, but gadgets do not sense all exercises equally.
Conservation of a Central American region is critical for migrating birds
A new paper in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, published by Oxford University Press, identifies a previously overlooked area that is critical for conservation: the region between southern Mexico and Guatemala where songbirds fuel up for a grueling flight across the Gulf of Mexico.
Introducing 'phyjama,' a physiological-sensing pajama
Scientists expect that in the future, electronically active garments containing unobtrusive, portable devices for monitoring heart rate and respiratory rhythm during sleep, for example, will prove clinically useful in health care.
Polysubstance use in young adults -- are there predictable patterns?
In a Lancet Psychiatry commentary, Columbia researchers offer their insights on the non-medical use of prescription drugs among US young adults, exploring patterns and drivers of young adults' non-medical use of prescription drugs -- including prescription sedatives, opioids, or stimulants -- and their association with substance use disorder symptoms at age 35.
Innovative model created for NASA to predict vitamin levels in spaceflight food
A team of food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has developed a groundbreaking, user-friendly mathematical model for NASA to help ensure that astronauts' food remains rich in nutrients during extended missions in space.
FASEB Journal: Anesthetic drug sevoflurane improves sepsis outcomes, animal study reveals
Patients with sepsis often require surgery or imaging procedures under general anesthesia, yet there is no standard regimen for anesthetizing septic patients.
Stem cell researchers reactivate 'back-up genes' in the lab
Vincent Pasque and his team at KU Leuven have unravelled parts of a mechanism that may one day help to treat Rett syndrome and other genetic disorders linked to the X chromosome.
New drug target discovered for the lung disease PAH
Study suggests that targeting an 'Eyes Absent' protein could lead to better medicine for treating PAH, a deadly lung disease.
A robot with a firm yet gentle grasp
Human hands are skilled at manipulating a range of objects.
Bone, not adrenaline, drives fight or flight response
Adrenaline is considered crucial in triggering a 'fight or flight' response, but new research shows the response can't get started without a hormone made in bone.
What multilingual nuns can tell us about dementia
A strong ability in languages may help reduce the risk of developing dementia, says a new University of Waterloo study.
Distractions distort what's real, study suggests
A new study suggests that distractions -- those pesky interruptions that pull us away from our goals -- might change our perception of what's real, making us believe we saw something different from what we actually saw.
Four billion particles of microplastics discovered in major body of water
While collecting water samples and plankton, researchers discovered a high concentration of microplastics, which are known to disrupt the marine food chain.
Research discoveries suggest that LH dipeptide improves mental health
A research group led by Professor Tomoyuki Furuyashiki and Associate Professor Shiho Kitaoka (Graduate School of Medicine) in collaboration with researcher Yasuhisa Ano of Kirin Holdings have made discoveries regarding the effect of the dipeptide Leucine-Histidine (LH) in suppressing microglial activation and depression-associated emotional disturbances.

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