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


SMART and NTU researchers design polymer that can kill drug-resistant bacteria
Researchers from Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed an antimicrobial polymer that can kill bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics - a discovery that can pave the way for developing antibiotics to which bacteria are significantly less resistant.
Scientists discover key neural circuit regulating alcohol consumption
Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, UNC-Chapel Hill research pinpoints a specific neural circuit that when altered caused animal models to drink less alcohol.
A galactic dance
Galaxies lead a graceful existence on cosmic timescales. Over millions of years, they can engage in elaborate dances that produce some of Nature's most exquisite and striking grand designs.
Transformative change can save humans and nature
Human impacts on life on Earth are unprecedented, requiring transformative action to address root economic, social and technological causes.
Scientists map a planet's global wind patterns for the first time, and it's not Earth
A paper in Science documents the global wind patterns on any planet for the first time.
Fukushima: Lessons learned from an extraordinary case of soil decontamination
Following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese authorities decided to carry out major decontamination works in the affected area, which covers more than 9,000 km2.
Depression, anxiety may hinder healing in young patients with hip pain
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that depression and anxiety in patients with hip pain are associated with worse outcomes following hip surgery, including more postsurgical pain, slower recovery and inadequate return to activity.
IBIS-II study finds anastrozole reduces breast cancer rates for high risk postmenopausal women
The Queen Mary University of London professor leading an international breast cancer study says anastrozole -- rather than tamoxifen -- should be the preventive drug-of-choice for post-menopausal women at increased risk of developing the disease.
Newfound Martian aurora actually the most common; sheds light on Mars' changing climate
A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA's MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission.
With novel technique, new study is first to definitively map the early development of PTSD
Only 23 percent of people who experience trauma develop PTSD.
Antiarrhythmic drug identified as potential treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension
High blood pressure in the lungs, known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), is a potentially fatal disease caused by obstruction of blood flow in the lungs.
Daylight saving time does not misalign human cycles
A study from Universidad de Sevilla describes the role of latitude and urges the European Commission to rethink its policy on summertime arrangements
NASA's MAVEN maps winds in the martian upper atmosphere
Researchers have created the first map of wind circulation in the upper atmosphere of a planet besides Earth.
Mites can change their diet depending on environmental conditions
A team of scientists from Tyumen State University together with their foreign colleagues discovered that soil mites change their dietary preferences if their habitat is transformed by human activity.
Model simulation experiments give scientists a clearer understanding of factors that influence monsoon behavior
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Flexible Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land System (FGOALS-f3-L) model datasets prepared for the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) Global Monsoons Model Intercomparison Project (GMMIP) provide a valuable tool to assess sea surface temperature trends and its influence on monsoon circulation and precipitation patterns, while also providing a clearer understanding of how topography can affect the global monsoon system as it passes over landscapes with high altitudes.
Child care centers rarely require flu vaccination for children or their caregivers
Influenza can be especially dangerous for children, who are at greater risk for serious complications from the illness, including hospitalization and even death.
Hubble watches interstellar comet Borisov speed past the sun
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has once again captured comet 2I/Borisov streaking through our solar system on its way back into interstellar space.
The limits of ocean heavyweights: Prey curb whales' gigantic size
Scientists collected data from hundreds of feeding whales, allowing them to determine how much energy species of different sizes invest to capture their prey and which of these species reap the greatest rewards for their efforts.
Veterans study suggest two sub-types of Gulf War illness
Brain imaging of veterans with Gulf War illness show varying abnormalities after moderate exercise that can be categorized into two distinct groups -- an outcome that suggests a more complex illness that previously thought.
New potential cancer players revealed by extensive tumor protein analysis
Analysis of all the proteins of more than 500 cancers from five different tissue sites revealed novel molecular pathways to be considered for further study regarding their potential involvement in cancer.
Secure data backup of medical records using secret sharing and secure communications
The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Kochi Health Science Center and collaborating teams have developed a secure data backup system in an 800 km network connecting the data servers in Kochi, Osaka, Nagoya, Otemachi and Koganei, Japan, using secret sharing and secure communications technologies, and demonstrated distributed storage of medical records and prompt restoration of important items such as prescription records, via a satellite link within a time as short as 9 sec.
Martian aurora offers climate change clues, Embry-Riddle reports
A newly published study reveals that a type of Martian aurora originally detected by NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is in fact the most common aurora on the Red Planet, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University researchers said.
Houston Methodist developed AI app to predict risk and prevent severe patient falls
New research will be live in npj Digital Medicine on Dec.
First-ever quality measures aim to reduce diabetes complications
The Endocrine Society and Avalere Health introduced the first-ever quality measures to help healthcare providers assess how well they identify and care for older adults at greater risk of hypoglycemia -- low blood sugar that can be a dangerous complication of diabetes treatment.
Tiny insects become 'visible' to bats when they swarm
Small insects that would normally be undetectable to bats using echolocation suddenly become detectable when they occur in large swarms.
Black/white breast cancer subtype incidence in men differs from trends in women
Incidence rates for hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancers are considerably higher in black men than white men, in stark contrast to lower incidence rates of those cancer subtypes in black versus white women.
Deforestation, erosion exacerbate mercury spikes near Peruvian gold mining
Scientists from Duke University have developed a model that can predict the amount of mercury being released into a local ecosystem from deforestation.
Interstellar comet 2I -- Borisov swings past sun
Comet 2I/Borisov is a mysterious visitor from the depths of space -- the first identified comet to arrive here from another star.
Nurses sleep less before a scheduled shift, hindering patient care and safety
Nurses sleep nearly an hour and a half less before work days compared to days off, which hurts patient care and safety, finds a new study by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
Experiment suggests the best ways to tackle invasive Oregon grape in Belgian coastal dunes
Despite being a protected high conservation value habitat, the Atlantic coastal dunes are severely impacted by invasive species.
Running away from exercise: The curious case of migraine
In spite of the widespread recommendation for regular physical activity as a strategy to manage migraine, for some patients, exercise can instead trigger migraine attacks.
Fundamental discoveries for future nanotools: Chemists distinguish multiple weak forces
The process of building a tiny cube has revealed some of the fundamental mysteries of how molecules bind together in natural environments.
How humans learnt to dance; from the Chimpanzee Conga
Two chimpanzees housed in a zoo in the US have sparked the question about how human dance evolved after being observed performing a duo dance-like behaviour, similar to a human conga-line.
Knee-jerk vaping bans will fail public health, experts argue
Bans and other policies restricting e-cigarette sales could do more public harm than good, according to a group of public-health, tobacco-policy and ethics experts.
Want to avoid the holiday blues? New report suggests skipping the sweet treats
A new study from a team of clinical psychologists at the University of Kansas suggests eating added sugars -- common in so many holiday foods -- can trigger metabolic, inflammatory and neurobiological processes tied to depressive illness.
Why whales are so big, but not bigger
Whales' large bodies help them consume their prey at high efficiencies, a more than decade-long study of around 300 tagged whales now shows, but their gigantism is limited by prey availability and foraging efficiency.
When flowers reached Australia
University of Melbourne research has established when and where flowering plants first took a foothold.
Study highlights high cost of fossil fuel pollution on children's health
A new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health is the first to compile the estimated per-case costs of 6 childhood health conditions linked to air pollution -- estimates that can be incorporated into benefits assessments of air pollution regulations and climate change mitigation policies.
Baby boys born small for gestational age have increased risk of infertility in adulthood
Baby boys who are born small for their gestational age are at increased risk of having fertility problems in adulthood, according to research published in Human Reproduction.
New drugs more likely to be approved if backed up by genetics
A new drug candidate is more likely to be approved for use if it targets a gene known to be linked to the disease; a finding that can help pharmaceutical companies to focus their drug development efforts.
Researchers identify novel biomarkers to accurately measure dietary intake of key bioactives
Recent studies published in Nature Scientific Reports: Identify new biomarkers for measuring the intake of flavanols and procyanidins, key bioactives in apples, blueberries, grapes, pears and cocoa.
Research reveals how muscles talk to the brain to regulate feeding behavior
A study from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital sheds light on the mechanisms governing feeding behavior in fruit flies and how skeletal muscle communicates energy needs to the brain.
Chemists' calculations may advance cancer prediction
A computational study by Rice University chemists showed the dynamics of tumor formation don't necessarily correlate with clinical data on lifetime cancer risks.
NASA's NICER delivers best-ever pulsar measurements, 1st surface map
Astrophysicists are redrawing the textbook image of pulsars (the dense, whirling remains of exploded stars) thanks to NICER, an X-ray telescope aboard the International Space Station.
Here's what police know about digital evidence
In today's criminal justice system, a Play Station and iPhone are just as important pieces of evidence as eyewitness accounts.
The danger behind certain biologics
A research team led by Michigan Medicine may have discovered why certain biologic drugs can lead to deadly infections.
Experts review evidence yoga is good for the brain
Scientists have known for decades that aerobic exercise strengthens the brain and contributes to the growth of new neurons, but few studies have examined how yoga affects the brain.
Northern Ireland's recovering pine marten population benefits red squirrels
The recovery of pine marten in Ireland and Britain is reversing native red squirrel replacement by invasive grey squirrels, according to new research presented at the British Ecological Society's annual meeting in Belfast today.
Speech could be older than we thought
The theory of the 'descended larynx' has stated that before speech can emerge, the larynx must be in a low position to produce differentiated vowels.
Largest study of its kind reveals that many psychiatric disorders arise from common genes
In the largest-ever study of its kind, published in the journal Cell, researchers identified more than 100 genetic variants that affect the risk for more than one mental health condition.
Outpatient antibiotic prescriptions written without documented reason 18% of the time
A study of outpatient visits to health care providers in the United States during a one-year period suggests 18 percent of antibiotic prescriptions were written without a documented reason for doing so.
Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect
Much about the aerodynamic effects of larger wind farms remains poorly understood.
Demonstration of ultrafast and energy-efficient all-optical switching with graphene and plasmonic waveguides
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation and Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated an ultrafast all-optical switching operation with the lowest energy consumption ever reported for all-optical switching at less than one picosecond (one trillionth of a second).
Comprehensive background check policies effective in Oregon but not in Washington
Updated comprehensive background check policies were associated with an 18% increase in pre-firearm-sale checks in Oregon and a 4% increase in Washington state.
For controlling tsetse flies, fabric color matters
This week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers report that they have engineered an improved colored fabric for the insecticide-treated targets used to control tsetse, based on an understanding of how flies see color.
Researchers perfect nanoscience tool for studies of nuclear waste storage
Studying radiation chemistry and electronic structure of materials at scales smaller than nanometres, the University of Guelph team prepared samples of clay in ultra-thin layers.
UCI-led team releases high-precision map of Antarctic ice sheet bed topography
A University of California, Irvine-led team of glaciologists has unveiled the most accurate portrait yet of the contours of the land beneath Antarctica's ice sheet -- and, by doing so, has helped identify which regions of the continent are going to be most vulnerable to the impact of future climate warming.
Deadly 'superbugs' destroyed by molecular drills
Motorized molecules activated by light target and drill through highly antibiotic resistant bacteria and kill them within minutes.
Can artificial intelligence help prevent suicides?
Researchers at the USC have been enlisting the help of artificial intelligence to help mitigate the risk of suicide.
Biology: Genetic 'clock' predicts lifespan in vertebrates
A model that uses genetic markers to accurately estimate the lifespans of different vertebrate species is presented in a study in Scientific Reports this week.
Significant potential demonstrated by digital agricultural advice
2019 Economics Nobel Laureate co-publishes paper demonstrating the potential for digital agricultural advice to 'sustainably' raise 'agricultural productivity' at low cost for 2 billion smallholder farming families.
Novel e-skin achieves self-powered hippocampal neural stimulation
Chinese scientists recently developed a flexible electronic skin (e-skin) capable of self-powered neural stimulation and inducing a neural response.
Study pinpoints new drug targets to treat Nipah virus
Nipah virus, which is transmitted to humans from bats and pigs, has a high mortality rate and there are no licensed drugs against it.
Computerised CBT could reduce waiting lists for treatment of depression in adolescents
Using a computerised version of cognitive-behavioural therapy to treat depression in children and young adults has the potential to improve access to psychological therapies and reduce waiting lists, a new study suggests.
Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough
A Chinese research team has developed an advanced imaging technique to achieve super-resolution microscopy at unprecedented speeds and with many fewer images.
Unique polymer fibres: Light, strong, and tough
Strong and tough yet as light as a feather - materials with this exceptional combination of properties are urgently needed in many industrial sectors and in medicine, as well as being of great interest for scientific research.
For the first time: Mapping the winds of mars' upper atmosphere with MAVEN
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has allowed researchers to map the winds that blow high above the red planet's surface, reports a new study, which measures the global circulation of Mars' upper atmosphere for the first time.
Older adults with hypothyroidism face elevated risk of death
While older adults with hypothyroidism face an elevated risk of death, individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism, a milder form of underactive thyroid, did not face the same risk, according to new research published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Ultrasound blasts potent glioblastoma drug into brain tumor
A potent drug for glioblastoma can't be used in patients.
Tracking lab-grown tissue with light
Someday, doctors would like to grow limbs and other body tissue for soldiers who have lost arms in battle, children who need a new heart or liver, and many other people with critical needs.
Achieving optimal collaboration when goals conflict
New research suggests that, when two people must work together on a physical task despite conflicting goals, the amount of information available about each other's actions influences how quickly and optimally they learn to collaborate.
Zika vaccine protects both mom and fetus, but mom needs a higher dose when pregnant
Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston showed, for the first time, that a single, higher dose of vaccination to a pregnant mouse safely protects both her and her fetus from the Zika virus.
10-year results of NRG Oncology/NSABP B-42 trial
In the updated results from NRG Oncology/NSABP B-42 trial through 10 years of observation, extending letrozole therapy for additional five years after five years of adjuvant endocrine therapy resulted in a statistically significant improvement in the 10-year disease-free survival (DFS) of postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Canadian tundra formerly covered in rich forest: Ancient plant fossil record shows
Canada's northernmost islands, Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg islands in Nunavut, were home to a vibrant, temperate forest 56 million years ago, according to fossil research just published by University of Saskatchewan (USask) scientists.
Russian scientists studied the effect of selenium on the properties of basil
Today many agricultural plants are grown using hydroponics, i.e. in artificial soilless environments.
Telehealth increases primary care physicians' accurate diagnosis of skin conditions
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine conducted a two-year study of the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) telehealth program in Missouri and found the program provided participating PCPs with expert recommendations that benefited nearly 84% of adult cases and 72% of pediatric cases.
Metabolic adaptation ensures survival of colon cancer cells
Colon cancer cells deficient in p53, one of the most important control proteins in cell growth, activate a particular metabolic pathway to adapt to the lack of oxygen and nutrients inside the tumor.
Chen WeiQiu's team realized the tailoring of topological states via boundary selection
The wave in a topological state can propagate only along the structural boundary or interface.
Scandinavians' little linguistic hat trick
Moving a word to the beginning of a sentence is a useful trick to draw attention to the most important topic you want to relay.
Women and men face gender-related challenges in treatment for neglected tropical diseases
Around the world, women and girls suffer a greater burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) compared to men.
A tortoise never forgets: Scientists show tortoises are elephants of the reptile world
Described as ''living rocks'', giant land tortoises are lumbering beasts with a reputation for being sluggish in both speed and brainpower.
Estimates of ecosystem carbon mitigation improved towards the goal of the Paris agreement
The recent reports from the IPCC concluded that new land-use options to enhance the terrestrial carbon sink are needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate.
Climate cycles and insect pests drive migration timing of reindeer's North American cousin
A new study led by a University of Maryland biologist discovered two unexpected drivers for migration timing that dispute long-held assumptions and provide insight into potential future effects of climate change on caribou.
Ghost imaging speeds up super-resolution microscopy
Researchers have used advanced imaging approaches to achieve super-resolution microscopy at unprecedented speeds.
The mathematics of prey detection in spider orb-webs
Spider webs are one of nature's most fascinating manifestations. Many spiders extrude proteinaceous silk to weave sticky webs that ensnare unsuspecting prey who venture into their threads.
Out-of-network costs soar for non-emergency hospitalizations
Researchers at The Ohio State University analyzed claims from more than 22 million enrollees in private insurance plans and found that out-of-pocket costs for non-emergency out-of-network hospital care nearly doubled in five years.
Insight into the neglected tropical disease sleeping sickness
Researchers have shed light on how the parasite which causes sleeping sickness multiples inside its host.
Breast cancer patients to be evaluated for genetic testing
The guidance from the ACMG differs from a consensus guideline issued in February by the American Society of Breast Surgeons, which recommended genetic testing for all newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer.
Baby's first breath: A new method for helping preemies to breathe
Two new studies in Frontiers in Pediatrics demonstrate that giving premature babies 100% oxygen via face-mask immediately after birth can jump start independent breathing and minimize the amount of ventilation assistance these babies will need.
Students do better in school when they can understand, manage emotions
Students who are better able to understand and manage their emotions effectively, a skill known as emotional intelligence, do better at school than their less skilled peers, as measured by grades and standardized test scores, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
People willing to risk near-certain death for an HIV cure
People willing to risk near-certain death for an HIV cure; protecting individuals and families in genetic and psychiatric research, considerations for including pregnant women in research.
Novel study underscores microbial individuality
A single drop of seawater can contain a wide representation of ocean microbes from around the world -- revealing novel insights into the ecology, evolution and biotechnology potential of the global microbiome.
Carolina parakeet extinction was driven by human causes, DNA sequencing reveals
Researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, a joint institute of the Pompeu Fabra University and the Spanish National Research Council, and the Globe Institute (University of Copenhagen), have unveiled the genome of the Carolina parakeet, extinct at the beginning of the 20th century.
Breast cancer cells swallow a 'free lunch' of dietary fat particles from the bloodstream
A research team at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center has previously shown that fatty particles from the bloodstream may boost the growth of breast cancer cells.
Gardens can be havens for soil animals in towns and cities
The fifth edition of the Dutch Soil Animal Days saw earthworms almost grab top spot thanks to the wet autumn weather.
Study finds differences in energy use by immune cells in ME/CFS
New findings published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggest that specific immune T cells from people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) show disruptions in the way they produce energy.
Could some people with schizophrenia in poorer nations simply have a vitamin deficiency?
Four unsolved mysteries around schizophrenia have long plagued the medical community, but a new hypothesis identifying a common link between them and an almost forgotten epidemic of a disease called pellagra could have profound implications for our understanding of psychosis in poorer nations.
To the brain, straight from the vein: IV treatment for TBI
A team of researchers from the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center has found that neural exosomes -- 'cargo' molecules within the nervous system that carry messages to the brain -- can minimize or even avert progression of traumatic brain injury when used as part of a new cell-to-cell messaging technology.
Beyond 'shovelomics': Growing cassava in the air helps study the plant's mysterious roots
Scientists at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture grew cassava in the air -- using a technique called aeroponics -- to better understand the root growth of one of the world's hardiest staple crops.
Combining science and design to measure our exposure to light
Daylight plays an essential role in sleep, alertness and hormone regulation.
New algorithm detects even the smallest cancer metastases across the entire mous
Teams at Helmholtz Zentrum München, LMU Munich and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a new algorithm that enables automated detection of metastases at the level of single disseminated cancer cells in whole mice.
New NASA image provides more details about first observed interstellar comet
A new image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope provides important new details about the first interstellar comet astronomers have seen in our solar system.
Statement advising caution on interpretation of recent paper on cancer risk & hyperthyroidism issued
Caution is advised in interpreting the findings of the recent JAMA Internal Medicine publication1 on radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroid patients and cancer mortality.
Hydration may affect cognitive function in some older adults
Among women, lower hydration levels were associated with lower scores on a task designed to measure motor speed, sustained attention, and working memory.
Is ivermectin safe during pregnancy?
Is it safe to give ivermectin to pregnant women? To answer this question, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that reported cases of accidental exposure to the drug among pregnant women.
Tiny quantum sensors watch materials transform under pressure
Scientists at Berkeley Lab have converted diamonds' atomic flaws into atomic sensors that could lead to a new generation of smart materials.
How can you help your organization's expatriates succeed?
SIOP publishes white paper that explores how to promote your overseas workers' productivity and well-being.
Short-lived light sources discovered in the sky
Roughly a hundred of very red, star-like sources that have appeared and vanished in short period of time have been discovered by a team of researchers when reviewing catalogue data, according to a new paper published in the Astronomical Journal.
Team finds bovine kobuvirus in US
A virus that afflicts cattle that was first discovered in Japan in 2003 has made its way to the US, researchers report in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
University of Miami team investigates why candidates for cochlear implants rarely get them
University of Miami researchers published a study in JAMA Oncology-Head and Neck Surgery that examines why adult candidates for cochlear implants rarely get them.
Scientists say you can change your personality
A review of recent research in personality science points to the possibility that personality traits can change through persistent intervention and major life events.
Harnessing nature's defences against tsunamis
As sea levels rise and adverse weather events become more common, vulnerable coastal communities are at increasing risk of devastation from storm surges and tsunamis.
To help protect research, experts agree on a definition of predatory publishing
Leading scholars and publishers from The Ottawa Hospital's Centre for Journalology, the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management, and other institutions from around the world have agreed on a consensus definition of predatory publishing.
Virus multiplication in 3D
Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies.
Herpes's Achilles heel
Scientists have used the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to disrupt both latent reservoirs of the herpes simplex virus and actively replicating virus in human fibroblast cells.
Breakthrough in Zika virus vaccine
Researchers from the University of Adelaide have made significant advances in developing a novel vaccine against Zika virus, which could potentially lead to global elimination of the disease.

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