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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | October 14, 2019


Reading the past like an open book: Researchers use text to measure 200 years of happiness
Using innovative new methods researchers at the University of Warwick, University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School and The Alan Turing Institute in London have built a new index that uses data from books and newspaper to track levels of national happiness from 1820.
Cleveland Clinic-led research team develops new genetic-based epilepsy risk scores
An international team of researchers led by Cleveland Clinic has developed new genetic-based epilepsy risk scores which may lay the foundation for a more personalized method of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment.
Study shows a much cheaper catalyst can generate hydrogen in a commercial device
SLAC and Stanford researchers have shown for the first time that a cheap catalyst can split water and generate hydrogen gas for hours on end in the harsh environment of a commercial electrolyzer -- a step toward clean, large-scale hydrogen production for fuel, fertilizer and industry.
Stress during pregnancy may affect baby's sex, risk of preterm birth
A new study has identified markers of maternal stress -- both physical and psychological -- that may influence a baby's sex and the likelihood of preterm birth.
Sensory and motor brain plasticity is not limited by location
The new function of unused cortical regions is not necessarily determined by the function of nearby cortical regions, according to new research in adults born without one hand, published in JNeurosci.
Dementia spreads via connected brain networks
In a new study, UC San Francisco scientists used maps of brain connections to predict how brain atrophy would spread in individual patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), adding to growing evidence that the loss of brain cells associated with dementia spreads via the synaptic connections between established brain networks.
Lehigh to present research, new programs at BMES 2019
Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in Lehigh University's Department of Bioengineering are presenting 26 poster and lecture sessions at the annual meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Oct.
Fishing for answers: Researchers develop tool to incorporate social, cultural concerns in resource management
Okamoto and a group of biologists, mathematicians, social scientists, resource managers and representatives of indigenous cultures have created tools that look at the social and cultural costs and benefits of different management strategies used to protect and recover fisheries.
For low-risk thyroid cancer patients, less may be more for post-surgery surveillance
Patient self-advocacy is important, and although a maximizing preference may be advantageous in many situations, new research led by the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center shows that, in the case of long-term surveillance of treated, low-risk thyroid cancer, health care ''maximizers'' consume more health care resources -- such as doctor visits and diagnostic imaging tests -- which drive up costs without a clear improvement in outcomes.
Interstellar Comet with a Familiar Look
A new comet discovered by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov is an outcast from another star system, yet its properties determined so far are surprisingly familiar -- a new study led by JU researchers shows.
Is bipolar disorder associated with increased risk of Parkinson's disease?
This study, called a systematic review and meta-analysis, combined the results of seven studies with 4.3 million participants to examine a potential association between bipolar disorder with a later diagnosis of Parkinson's disease of unknown cause.
Clinical trial tests varenicline to help adolescents, young adults quit smoking
Many adult cigarette smokers start before they turn 21 and this randomized clinical trial of volunteer participants tested how effective the smoking-cessation medication varenicline was in helping adolescents and young adults to quit.
Women have substantially less influence on Twitter than men in academic medicine
Women who are health policy or health services researchers face a significant disparity in social media influence compared to their male peers, according to a new study.
Yale scientists help immune system find hidden cancer cells
Cancer cells are masters at avoiding detection, but a new system developed by Yale scientists can make them stand out from the crowd and help the immune system spot and eliminate tumors that other forms of immunotherapies might miss, researchers report Oct.
Researchers explore spinal discs' early response to injury and ways to improve it
Researchers showed in animal models that the default injury response of spinal discs can be temporarily stopped to allow for better treatment.
Aggressive and agitated behaviors in dementia are better treated without medications
Nonpharmacologic treatments, such as massage and touch therapy, seemed to be more effective than pharmacologic treatments for reducing aggression and agitation in adults with dementia.
Shipment tracking for 'fat parcels' in the body
Without fat, nothing works in the body: These substances serve as energy suppliers and important building blocks -- including for the envelopes of living cells.
Unlocking the biochemical treasure chest within microbes
An international team of scientists lead by the Joint Genome Institute has developed a genetic engineering tool that makes producing and analyzing microbial secondary metabolites -- the basis for many important agricultural, industrial, and medical products -- easier than ever before, and could even lead to breakthroughs in biomanufacturing.
Study finds topsoil is key harbinger of lead exposure risks for children
Tracking lead levels in soil over time is critical for cities to determine lead contamination risks for their youngest and most vulnerable residents, according to a new Tulane University study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Estuarine waters hold promise in global pain-relief hunt
The worldwide search for an opioid alternative has made a leap forward -- with a scientific discovery in an Australian fungus indicating effective pain relief and the potential for a safer less addictive drug, helping address the opioid epidemic of deaths by overdose.
Investing in love and affection pays off for species that mate for life
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by biologists at the University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina explains how sexual cooperation and bonding evolves in bird species that form pair bonds.
Study: Self-reported suicide attempts rising in black teens as other groups decline
New study in the journal Pediatrics uncovered rise in self-reported suicide attempts in black teenagers, as well as an accelerating rate in black female teenagers.
Sleep apnea linked to blinding eye disease in people with diabetes
New research from Taiwan shows that severe sleep apnea is a risk factor for developing diabetic macular edema, a complication of diabetes that can cause vision loss or blindness.
Lakes worldwide are experiencing more severe algal blooms
The intensity of summer algal blooms has increased over the past three decades, according to a first-ever global survey of dozens of large, freshwater lakes, which was conducted by Carnegie's Jeff Ho and Anna Michalak and NASA's Nima Pahlevan.
UCI scientists reveal mechanism of electron charge exchange in molecules
Through a new scanning transmission electron microscopy method, researchers at the University of California, Irvine are able to observe electron distribution between atoms and molecules and uncover clues to the origins of ferroelectricity, the capacity of certain crystals to possess spontaneous electric polarization that can be switched by the application of an electric field.
Happy, angry or neutral expressions? Eyes react just as fast
Dr Louisa Kulke from the University of Göttingen has investigated how our eyes and brain react when we see emotionally charged or neutral faces.
The nano-guitar string that plays itself
Scientists have created a nano-electronic circuit which vibrates without any external force.
Protecting smart machines from smart attacks
Machines' ability to learn by processing data gleaned from sensors underlies automated vehicles, medical devices and a host of other emerging technologies.
How to control friction in topological insulators
Topological insulators are innovative materials that conduct electricity on the surface, but act as insulators on the inside.
Weak immune system linked to serious bacterial infection in children
A new study has found a bacterial infection that can lead to pneumonia or meningitis is linked to weakened immune systems in children.
Emerging increase in electronic cigarette use by young adults between 2017-2018
This research letter uses updated national survey data for 2018 to estimate how common electronic cigarette use is among adults 18 and older in the United States.
Researchers map the evolutionary history of oaks
Oaks have a complex evolutionary history that has long eluded scientists.
Study reveals how mucus tames microbes
A study from MIT reveals glycans, branched sugar molecules found in mucus, can prevent bacteria from communicating with each other and forming infectious biofilms, effectively rendering the microbes harmless.
How to enable light to switch on and off therapeutic antibodies
IBS researchers have developed a new biological tool that activates antibody fragments via a blue light.
Unique sticky particles formed by harnessing chaos
New research from North Carolina State University shows that unique materials with distinct properties akin to those of gecko feet - the ability to stick to just about any surface -- can be created by harnessing liquid-driven chaos to produce soft polymer microparticles with hierarchical branching on the micro- and nanoscale.
Sperm and egg cell 'immune response' protects koala DNA
Discovery of a type of immunity that protects koalas' DNA from viruses has importance for the survival of koalas and our fundamental understanding of evolution.
Experimentally validated model for drug discovery gets a stamp of mathematical approval
Insilico Medicine, a biotechnology company developing an end-to-end drug discovery pipeline utilizing next-generation artificial intelligence, is proud to present its paper 'A Prior of a Googol Gaussians: a Tensor Ring Induced Prior for Generative Models' at the 33rd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS).
Scientists pinpoint cause of harmful dendrites and whiskers in lithium batteries
Scientists have uncovered a root cause of the growth of needle-like structures -- known as dendrites and whiskers -- that plague lithium batteries, sometimes causing a short circuit, failure, or even a fire.
Breastfeeding disparities among us children by race/ethnicity
Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States.
Monkeys outperform humans when it comes to cognitive flexibility, Georgia State study finds
When it comes to being willing to explore more efficient options to solving a problem, monkeys exhibit more cognitive flexibility than humans, according to a study by Georgia State University psychology researchers.
Prevention of alcohol and other drug overuse among young adult nightclub patrons
A new program developed by researchers at the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation demonstrates that Nightclub Safety Plans (NSPs) help keep drinkers safe.
Subunit contribution to NMDA receptor hypofunction and redox sensitivity of hippocampal synaptic transmission during aging
The researchers examined the contribution of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunits in the redox-mediated decline in NMDAR function during aging.
Astronomers use giant galaxy cluster as X-ray magnifying lens
Astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have used a massive cluster of galaxies as an X-ray magnifying glass to peer back in time, to nearly 9.4 billion years ago.
Stressing metallic material controls superconductivity
No strain, no gain -- that's the credo for Cornell researchers who have helped find a way to control superconductivity in a metallic material by stressing and deforming it.
Non-pharmacologic treatments may be more effective for psychiatric symptoms of dementia
A systematic review and meta-analysis, led by St. Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto and the University of Calgary, suggests outdoor activities were more clinically effective than anti-psychotic medication for treating physical aggression in patients with dementia.
Soil on moon and Mars likely to support crops
Researchers at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands have produced crops in Mars and moon soil simulant developed by NASA.
Hope is a key factor in recovering from anxiety disorders
A University of Houston psychologist is reporting that hope increases in therapy and is a trait that predicts resilience and recovery from anxiety disorders, an important mechanism for therapists to restore in patients to move them forward toward recovery.
Researchers build a soft robot with neurologic capabilities
In work that combines a deep understanding of the biology of soft-bodied animals such as earthworms with advances in materials and electronic technologies, researchers have developed a robotic device containing a stretchable transistor that allows neurological function.
Overlap allows nanoparticles to enhance light-based detection
Rice University scientists use the plasmonic properties of gold nanoparticles to amplify light from molecules triggered by electrochemiluminescence.
RUDN researchers proved that flash-memory 'fingerprints' of electronic devices are truly unique
Experts in applied mathematics at RUDN University have experimentally proved that it is possible to accurately identify electronic devices by defects in flash memory cells.
The makeup of mariculture: FSU researchers examine global trends in seafood farming
The process of farming seafood in the ocean, known as mariculture, is a growing trend yet little is known about the trajectories of its development.
Consumer confidence in package delivery services vital for online retailers
New research published in an upcoming edition of the INFORMS journal Management Science finds that an online retailer's delivery strategy is imperative to that retailer's success and can be a determinant factor as to whether consumers purchase again.
Empty spaces, how do they make a protein unstable?
Partial unfolding of proteins can be a major challenge in the industry, as it may affect the stability of products.
Detection of tyrosine kinase inhibitors-induced COX-2 expression in bladder cancer by fluorocoxib A
Cyclooxygenase-2 is overexpressed in bladder cancer cells, making it an attractive molecular target for the detection and treatment of cancer.
A Yale-developed drug shows promise as immune therapy for cancers
A therapy developed by Yale researchers stimulates immune cells to shrink or kill tumors in mice, according to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
'Back in time': Penn researchers unravel the early makings of an exhausted T cell
Penn researchers explore the path to T-cell exhaustion and what triggers it is.

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