Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 11, 2020
Prebiotics help mice fight melanoma by activating anti-tumor immunity
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that two prebiotics, mucin and inulin, slowed the growth of melanoma in mice by boosting the immune system's ability to fight cancer.

Bayreuth researchers discover new arsenic compounds in rice fields
University of Bayreuth researchers, together with scientists from Italy and China, have for the first time sys-tematically investigated under which conditions, and to what extent, sulphur-containing arsenic com-pounds are formed in rice-growing soils.

Understanding how laws affect public health: An update on legal epidemiology
Laws can have important effects on public health risks and outcomes, while research can provide key evidence to inform effective health-related laws and policies.

UC research could help reduce disease incidence in organ donors
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are among the first to adopt genotyping that helps identify and predict the risk accompanying individuals wishing to donate a kidney.

Simple blood test could help predict progression of Parkinson's disease
In order to provide the best medical care for newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, a method of predicting their cognitive and motor progression, beyond using purely clinical parameters, would have major implications for their management.

The nose knows: Study establishes airborne exposure to harmful algal blooms' toxins
There are no limits specific to airborne concentrations of microcystins (blue-green algae) or inhalation guidelines.

NYUAD researchers find new method to allow corals to rapidly respond to climate change
For the first time, a team of marine biology and environmental genomics researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) have demonstrated that epigenetic modifications in reef-building corals can be transmitted from parents to their offspring.

Heroin use in US
Survey responses from a nationally representative group of 800,000 US adults were used to examine changes in heroin use, heroin injection and heroin use disorder from 2002 to 2018.

Social control among immune cells improves defense against infections
After infection, a simple mechanism ensures the balance between rapid expansion of immune cells and an excessive self-damaging reaction.

A novel formulation to explain heat propagation
Researchers at EPFL and MARVEL have developed a novel formulation that describes how heat spreads within crystalline materials.

Cairo car drivers exposed to dangerous levels of pollution, new study finds
Car drivers in Cairo are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution, finds an unprecedented new study from the University of Surrey.

Understanding recent US mumps outbreaks
A single strain of mumps virus has dominated the US since 2006, and is responsible for many of the large numbers of cases seen across the country in the widespread 2016-17 outbreaks.

Mice 'detectives' hint at how humans read between the lines
Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the most famous example of the power of inference -- using indirect evidence to reveal hidden truths.

Clostridioides difficile infection flourishes with a high-protein, high-fat diet
Mice fed a high-fat, high-protein diet were more likely to develop and die from antibiotic-driven Clostridioides difficile infections than mice fed a standard diet.

Using sound and light to generate ultra-fast data transfer
Researchers have made a breakthrough in the control of terahertz quantum cascade lasers, which could lead to the transmission of data at the rate of 100 gigabits per second -- around one thousand times quicker than a fast Ethernet operating at 100 megabits a second.

Why egalitarian values don't catch on in post-Soviet countries
People's values of personal choice, such as their attitudes towards abortion, divorce, and premarital sex, are usually determined their level of education, age, religiosity, and social status.

Texas Tech researcher contributes to 'roadmap' for greater gender equity in academia
The road to gender equality in academia is long, but one Texas Tech University researcher is now part of a nationwide collaboration hoping to shorten the journey by providing a roadmap.

Storm-induced sea level spikes differ in origin on US east, gulf coasts
The Gulf Coast, especially New Orleans, is particularly vulnerable to storm surge.

'Genetic rewiring' drives cancer's drug resistance
Tiny RNA molecule rewires signalling network in bile duct cancer.

Foot-and-mouth-disease virus could help target the deadliest cancer
The foot-and-mouth-disease virus is helping scientists to tackle a common cancer with the worst survival rate -- pancreatic cancer.

Build-up of brain proteins affects genes in Alzheimer's disease
New research has shed fresh light on how the build-up of two proteins in the brain might affect the activity of genes involved in Alzheimer's disease.

Injectable drug for faster healing of bone fractures prepares for clinical trials
Novosteo, a Purdue University-affiliated startup, is moving closer to the start of clinical trials for a novel injectable drug that is targeted to heal broken bones faster and strengthen weak bones.

New synthesis methods enhance 3D chemical space for drug discovery
After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery.

Sitting still linked to increased risk of depression in adolescents
Too much time sitting still -- sedentary behavior -- is linked to an increased risk of depressive symptoms in adolescents, finds a new UCL-led study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Why the goby can conquer the waters of the world
The round goby, one of the most common invasive freshwater fish in the world, boasts a particularly robust immune system, which could be one of the reasons for its excellent adaptability.

Ancient Antarctic ice melt increased sea levels by 3+ meters -- and it could happen again
Rising ocean temperatures drove the melting of Antarctic ice sheets and caused extreme sea level rise more than 100,000 years ago, a new international study led by UNSW Sydney shows - and the scientists say we're headed in that direction again.

Local genetic adaption helps sorghum crop hide from witchweed
Sorgum crops in areas where the parasite witchweed is common have locally adapted to have mutations in a particular gene, which helps the plant resist the parasite.

Orb-weaver spiders' yellow and black pattern helps them lure prey
Being inconspicuous might seem the best strategy for spiders to catch potential prey in their webs, but many orb-web spiders, which hunt in this way, are brightly coloured.

Dancing matter: New form of movement of cyclic macromolecules discovered
Employing a computer simulation, physicists Maximilian Liebetreu and Christos Likos have shown a unique dynamic behavior of cyclic polymers.

New method predicts individual response to Ebola infection
A team at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has used a specially bred population of laboratory mice that mimics human patterns of tolerance and susceptibility to the Ebola virus to identify human immune factors that predict outcomes among people infected with the disease.

Can T'ai Chi alleviate chronic low back pain in older adults?
A new study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of using T'ai Chi to improve chronic low back pain in adults over 65 years of age compared to health education and usual care.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy diagnosis improved by simple accelerometers
Testing for Duchenne muscular dystrophy can require specialized equipment, invasive procedures and high expense, but measuring changes in muscle function and identifying compensatory walking gait could lead to earlier detection.

More than just a carnival trick: Researchers can guess your age based on your microbes
UC San Diego and IBM researchers reveal a new understanding of how our microbiomes change as we age, setting the stage for future research on the role microbes play in accelerating or decelerating the aging process and influencing age-related diseases.

Replacing animal testing with synthetic cell scaffolds
Electrospun synthetic cell scaffolds are not only more consistent than animal cells for cancer research, they hold the potential to replace animal testing.

Stroke: Macrophages migrate from the blood
Macrophages are part of the innate immune system and essential for brain development and function.

Inquiry-based labs give physics students experimental edge
New Cornell University research shows that traditional physics labs, which strive to reinforce the concepts students learn in lecture courses, can actually have a negative impact on students.

Utah researchers discover key protein in endometrial cancer growth
New research, published today in the journal Cancer Research, outlines findings scientists hope will advance our understanding of endometrial cancer and lead to more effective treatments.

Citizen scientists discover rare cosmic pairing
Citizen scientists have uncovered a bizarre pairing of two brown dwarfs, objects much smaller than the Sun that lack enough mass for nuclear fusion.

New technique allows scientists to study parasitic infections one cell at a time
A new technique may help scientists study the body's immune response to intestinal parasite infections one gut cell at a time, according to a study published today in eLife.

Atom or noise? New method helps cryo-EM researchers tell the difference
Cryogenic electron microscopy can in principle make out individual atoms in a molecule, but distinguishing the crisp from the blurry parts of an image can be a challenge.

Revenge is more enjoyable than forgiveness -- at least in stories
When it comes to entertainment, people enjoy seeing bad guys get their punishment more than seeing them be forgiven, a new study reveals.

Blood-based multiplexed diagnostic sensor helps to accurately detect Alzheimer's disease
A research team at KAIST reported clinically accurate multiplexed electrical biosensor for detecting Alzheimer's disease by measuring its core biomarkers using densely aligned carbon nanotubes.

1 in 5 operations may lead to surprise bills, even when surgeon & hospital are in-network
As if recovering from surgery wasn't hard enough, a new study shows that one in five operations could result in an unwelcome surprise: a bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars that the patient didn't know they might owe.

Software updates slowing you down?
We've all shared the frustration -- software updates that are intended to make our applications run faster inadvertently end up doing just the opposite.

Researchers look to fungus to shed light on cancer
A team of Florida State University researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry found that a natural product from the fungus Fusicoccum amygdali stabilizes a family of proteins in the cell that mediate important signaling pathways involved in the pathology of cancer and neurological diseases.

Personalized cancer vaccines
The only therapeutic cancer vaccine available on the market has so far showed very limited efficacy in clinical trials.

Teens with a history of ADHD need stronger monitoring of health risks
Researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) wanted to better understand how primary care doctors addressed risks with ADHD patients as they transitioned from childhood to young adulthood.

Mass General Hospital researchers identify new 'universal' target for antiviral treatment
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have uncovered a novel potential antiviral drug target that could lead to treatments protecting against a host of infectious diseases.

Study suggests taller young men may have lower dementia risk
Men who are taller in young adulthood, as an indicator of early-life circumstances, may have a lower risk of dementia in old age, suggests a study published today in eLife.

Researchers: Synthetic chemicals in soils are 'ticking time bomb'
Synthetic chemicals that were released into the environment for the first time 80 years ago have been linked to harmful health effects, and more of them are migrating slowly from the soil, according to University of Arizona research.

Bush-crickets' ears unlock the science to developing revolutionary hearing sensors
Scientists could revolutionise auditory devices used for monitoring and surveillance purposes after new research into bush-crickets' ear canals found that they have evolved to work in the same way as mammals' ears to amplify sound and modulate sound pressure.

Hybrid transistor improves next-generation displays
A simple, cost-effective technique uses solution-based printing to make better ultrathin transistors.

'Surprise' out-of-network bills after in-network elective surgery
Claims data from a large health insurer were used to examine how often patients unexpectedly receive out-of-network bills after having in-network elective surgery.

Pilot program aims to improve reproducibility, utility, and ethics of biomedical research
Addressing the widespread concern over transparency and reproducibility in biomedical research, one of the largest institutions in German science has begun to provide a framework, interventions, and incentives for improving the quality and value of translational research.

Hot climates to see more variability in tree leafing as temperatures rise
A team of scientists led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that while all regions of the country can expect an earlier start to the growing season as temperatures rise, the trend is likely to become more variable year-over-year in hotter regions.

Climate change could trigger more landslides in High Mountain Asia
More frequent and intense rainfall events due to climate change could cause more landslides in the High Mountain Asia region of China, Tibet and Nepal, according to the first quantitative study of the link between precipitation and landslides in the region.

New research shows how the malaria parasite grows and multiplies
Scientists have made a major breakthrough in understanding how the parasite that causes malaria is able to multiply at such an alarming rate, which could be a vital clue in discovering how it has evolved, and how it can be stopped.

What fuels a 'domino effect' in cancer drug resistance?
KAIST researchers have identified mechanisms that relay prior acquired resistance to the first-line chemotherapy to the second-line targeted therapy, fueling a 'domino effect' in cancer drug resistance.

Free radicals from immune cells are direct cause of salt-sensitive hypertension
In salt-sensitive hypertension, immune cells gather in the kidneys and shoot out free radicals, heightening blood pressure and damaging this pair of vital organs, scientists report.

How the brain's immune system could be harnessed to improve memory
Inflammation can send the brain's immune cells into damaging hyperdrive, an effect that has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases that affect memory, like dementia.

Frailty can affect how well older adults fare following emergency surgery
A new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society sought to gain more information about how frailty affects older adults in the months after surgery.

How some butterflies developed the ability to change their eyespot size
New insight on how a butterfly species developed the ability to adjust its wing eyespot size in response to temperature has been published today in eLife.

Yale study adds to evidence of diabetes drug link to heart problems
A new study published by The BMJ adds to evidence that rosiglitazone -- a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes -- is associated with increased risk of heart problems, especially heart failure.

DIY tools TalkBox and SenseBox help people with disabilities to communicate
Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have developed do-it-yourself (DIY) assistive technology prototypes that are revolutionizing how people with disabilities can access tools that will help them interact with the world.

Combining viral genomics and public health data revealed new details about mumps outbreaks
In 2016 and 2017, a surge of mumps cases at Boston-area universities prompted researchers to study mumps virus transmission using genomic data, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and local university health services.

Recent advances in addressing tuberculosis give hope for future
In September 2018, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases issued its Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Research, which outlined research priorities to reduce and ultimately end the burden of tuberculosis (TB).

Digital intervention reduces depressive symptoms in people living with HIV
New study by Dr. Alicia Hong, Professor at George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services and her colleagues in China tests WeChat social media app intervention with 300 people living with HIV.

Making 3-D printing smarter with machine learning
3-D printing is often touted as the future of manufacturing.

Scientists develop non-invasive method to predict onset of dementia
Information gathered from routine visits to the doctor is enough to accurately predict a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, according to new research led by scientists from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University and Merck.

Young men unaware of risks of HPV infection and need for HPV vaccination
Young sexual minority men -- including those who are gay, bisexual, queer or straight-identified men who have sex with men -- do not fully understand their risk for human papillomavirus (HPV) due to a lack of information from health care providers, according to Rutgers researchers.

Anatomical details of rare electric fish revealed by an advanced imaging technique
Thanks to the use of high-resolution microcomputed tomography, a cross-border research collaboration was able to study the only three known specimens of Tembeassu marauna, held at the University of São Paulo's Zoology Museum.

Blasting 'forever' chemicals out of water with a vortex of cold plasma
Researchers from Drexel University have found a way to destroy stubbornly resilient toxic compounds, ominously dubbed 'forever chemicals,' that have contaminated the drinking water of millions across the United States.

Disease found in fossilized dinosaur tail afflicts humans to this day
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have identified a benign tumor found in a fossilized dinosaur tail as part of the pathology of LCH (Langerhans cell histiocytosis), a rare and sometimes painful disease that still afflicts humans, particularly children under the age of 10.

Artificial atoms create stable qubits for quantum computing
Quantum computing researchers at UNSW Sydney have made improved qubits by exploiting concepts from high school chemistry.

Research points to potential brain marker of stress and its effects on problem solving
Stress response is the body's normal physiological reaction to a situation that it perceives as threatening.

'Atomic dance' reveals new insights into performance of 2D materials
A Northwestern Engineering team used electron microscopy to observe the cause of failure in a widely used 2D material, which could help researchers develop more stable and reliable materials for flexible electronic devices.

Alarmingly low rates of HIV testing among at-risk teenage boys
The majority of teenage boys most at risk for developing HIV are not being tested for the disease, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Novel drug therapy shows promise for quality, quantity of kidneys available for transplant
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UH), Cleveland Clinic and Lifebanc (a Northeast Ohio organ-procurement organization) have developed a new way to preserve donated kidneys -- a method that could extend the number and quality of kidneys available for transplant, saving more people with end-stage renal disease, more commonly known as 'kidney failure.'

DNA misfolding in white blood cells increases risk for type 1 diabetes
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at Penn Medicine found, in mice, that changes in DNA sequence can trigger the chromosomes to misfold in a way that puts one at a heightened risk for Type 1 diabetes.

Rabies: New prophylactic and therapeutic avenues
Rabies is still responsible for approximately 60,000 human deaths per year mostly in Asia and Africa and affects especially underserved people.

Lupus patients who take their medications lower their diabetes risk
Patients with lupus who take their medications as prescribed have much lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a common complication of the disease, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Deep learning can fool listeners by imitating any guitar amplifier
A study from the Aalto Acoustics Lab demonstrates that digital simulations of guitar amplifiers can sound just like the real thing.

NASA finds a stronger Tropical Cyclone Uesi near New Caledonia
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the South Pacific Ocean and found a stronger Tropical Cyclone Uesi after obtaining infrared imagery of the storm.

Telemedicine helps pregnant women tackle taboo issue
Getting pregnant while on opioids is a serious concern. Research by Medical University of South Carolina investigators reported in JAMA Network Open could ensure more women get the right help via telemedicine.

Simulations show effects of buoyancy on drift in Florida Current
Acquiring a better understanding for how objects drift in the ocean has importance for many uses, but most models lack a systematic approach.

Coincidences influence the onset and ending of ice ages
An analysis of the so called climate spectrum shows why the ice ages have not behaved precisely as the models predict.

Pedal to the metal: Speeding up treatments for ALS
Disease-prompting bundles of proteins found within cells are cleared by unexpected processes.

Secularism and tolerance of minority groups predicts future prosperity of countries
Secular cultures which are tolerant of minority groups and respectful of individuals' rights tend to have more wealth, education and democracy, a new study by University of Bristol scientists has found.

New measure of biological age can predict health risks
People age in different ways. Biological age is a metric that scientists use to predict health risks, the relevance of which can be enhanced by combining different markers.

Long-distance skiers may have 'motor reserve' that can delay onset of Parkinson's disease
To better understand the relationship between physical activity and Parkinson's Disease (PD) investigators in Sweden analyzed medical records of nearly 200,000 long-distance skiers who took part in the Vasaloppet cross-country ski race.

Children detect the a speaker's politeness both through intonation and facial expression
The first study demonstrating this in children under 3 was conducted by Iris Hübscher and Laura Wagner, with Pilar Prieto, an ICREA research professor with the Department of Translation and Language Sciences, and has been published in the advanced online edition of Journal of Politeness Research Language, Behaviour, Culture.

Telehealth interventions associated with improved obstetric outcomes
Physician-researchers at the George Washington University published a review suggesting that telehealth interventions are associated with improved obstetric outcomes.

Live imaging of flowers reveals hidden secrets of plant reproduction
Scientists have developed a way to image sexual reproduction in living flowers, according to a study published today in the open-access journal eLife.

Trial shows using two drugs not better than one when treating MRSA blood infections
Researchers attempting to improve the treatment for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood infections have discovered the combination of two antibiotics was no better than one, and led to more adverse effects.

Studies gauge effect of soft drink taxation, advertising and labeling laws
Laws affecting the labeling, marketing and taxation of sugary soft drinks impact the behavior of both consumers and manufacturers, according to two studies published this week in PLOS Medicine.
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