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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | February 17, 2020


Reconstructing the diet of fossil vertebrates
Paleodietary studies of the fossil record are impeded by a lack of reliable and unequivocal tracers.
Zooming in on breast cancer reveals how mutations shape the tumour landscape
Scientists have created one of the most detailed maps of breast cancer ever achieved, revealing how genetic changes shape the physical tumour landscape, according to research funded by Cancer Research UK and published in Nature Cancer today (Monday).
Pancreatic cancer 'time machine' exposes plot twist in cell growth and invasion
A pancreatic cancer 'time machine' engineered by Purdue University researchers has revealed that the disease is even more unpredictable than previously thought: cancer cells promote each other's invasiveness when they grow together.
Breaking the communication code
Ever wonder how mice talk to each other. We don't have a dictionary quite yet, but UD neuroscientist Josh Neunuebel and his lab have linked mice chatter (their ultrasonic vocalizations) with specific behaviors.
Controlling the messenger with blue light
IBS scientists have developed a new optogenetic tool to visualize and control the position of specific messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules inside living cells.
Bacteria get free lunch with butterflies and dragonflies
Recent work from Deepa Agashe's group at NCBS has found that unlike other insects, neither butterflies nor dragonflies seem to have evolved strong mutualisms with their bacterial guests.
Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land, Australia
The UQ-led study published in Nature Communications includes the earliest evidence of Homo sapiens use of plant foods outside Africa and the Middle East.
Mediterranean diet promotes gut bacteria linked to 'healthy ageing' in older people
Eating a Mediterranean diet for a year boosts the types of gut bacteria linked to 'healthy' ageing, while reducing those associated with harmful inflammation in older people, indicates a five-country study, published online in the journal Gut.
NUS researchers identify novel protein to prevent neuropathy from chemotherapy
A team of researchers from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine has identified a novel protein that would prevent the development of neuropathy, a major side effect of chemotherapy, in cancer patients.
Research reveals how ski tourism operators can protect profits despite climate change
Research by Cass Business School academics has presented a methodology for identifying how winter tourism operators can protect themselves against the risk of decreasing visitor numbers to ski destinations and lost revenues.
Combination drug therapy for childhood brain tumors shows promise in laboratory models
In experiments with human cells and mice, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report evidence that combining the experimental cancer medication TAK228 (also called sapanisertib) with an existing anti-cancer drug called trametinib may be more effective than either drug alone in decreasing the growth of pediatric low-grade gliomas.
New technique allows scientists to 'listen in' on cancer cells
Scientists have a developed a new technique to decipher how millions of individual cells are communicating with each other in miniature tumours grown in the lab, known as organoids, according to new research published in Nature Methods today (Monday).
Intratumoral heterogeneity may be responsible for chemotherapy resistance in patients with small cell lung cancer
A study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that chemotherapy results in increased heterogeneity within small cell lung cancer, leading to the evolution of multiple resistance mechanisms.
Hospitality, not medical care, drives patient satisfaction
Patients' ratings of hospitals and willingness to recommend them have almost no correlation to the quality of medical care provided or to patient survival rates, according to new Cornell University research.
SR-FACT microscopy reveals the landscape of the cellular organelle interactome
We developed super-resolution fluorescence-assisted diffraction computational tomography(SR-FACT), which combines three-dimensional optical diffraction tomography with two-dimensional fluorescence Hessian structured illumination microscopy.
Hippocampal avoidance during WBRT reduces risks on NRG Oncology trial
Results from the NRG Oncology clinical study NRG-CC001 concluded that lowering radiotherapy dose to hippocampal stem cells improves cognitive and patient-reported outcomes for patients with brain metastases.
New green technology from UMass Amherst generates electricity 'out of thin air'
As reported today in Nature, the laboratories of electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley at UMass Amherst have created a device they call an 'Air-gen.' or air-powered generator, with electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter.
New catalyst recycles greenhouse gases into fuel and hydrogen gas
Scientists have taken a major step toward a circular carbon economy by developing a long-lasting, economical catalyst that recycles greenhouse gases into ingredients that can be used in fuel, hydrogen gas, and other chemicals.
B cells may travel to remote areas of the brain to improve stroke recovery
New University of Kentucky research shows that the immune system may target other remote areas of the brain to improve recovery after a stroke.
Atomic structures mapped in measles, mumps, flu and RSV
Northwestern University researchers have, for the first time, determined the 3D atomic structure of a key complex in paramyxoviruses, a family of viruses that includes measles, mumps, human parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Beta-arrestin-2 increases neurotoxic tau driving frontotemporal dementia
The protein β-arrestin-2 increases the accumulation of brain-damaging tau tangles, a cause several forms of dementia, by interfering with removal of excess tau from the brain, a new study by the University of South Florida Health (USF Health) Morsani College of Medicine found.
A shift in shape boosts energy storage
More efficient photocatalysts could unlock the potential of solar energy.
Fast-charging, long-running, bendy energy storage breakthrough
A new bendable supercapacitor made from graphene, which charges quickly and safely stores a record-high level of energy for use over a long period, has been developed and demonstrated by UCL and Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers.
New UCL technology analyses single cancer cells in lab grown tumours
New technology developed at UCL is, for the first time, enabling cancer scientists to analyse the individual behaviour of millions of different cells living inside lab-grown tumours -- a breakthrough which could lead to new personalised cancer treatments.
The skinny on why poor sleep may increase heart risk in women
A new study suggests that for women, poor sleep could contribute to unhealthy food choices, increasing the risk of obesity and heart disease.
Sitting more is associated with higher heart disease risk in older women
Post-menopausal Hispanic women sat an average of about 8-1/2 hours per day, compared to more than 9 hours per day for non-Hispanic women.
Freshwater insects recover while spiders decline in UK
Many insects, mosses and lichens in the UK are bucking the trend of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive analysis of over 5,000 species led by UCL and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), and published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Scientists pinpoint brain coordinates for face blindness
Danish and Norwegian researchers have moved one step closer to understanding where face blindness stems from in the brain.
Heavy backpack? Good for you
Rice kinesiologists found specific health deficits in home-schooled adolescents compared to their peers in public schools.
Recommended diuretic causes more side effects than similar hypertension drug
Patients taking the recommended diuretic for hypertension had nearly three times the risk of potentially serious side effects, according to a new study from researchers at Columbia University.
Insufficient evidence backing herbal medicines for weight loss
Researchers from the University of Sydney have conducted the first global review of herbal medicines for weight loss in 19 years, finding insufficient evidence to recommend any current treatments.
Gut bacteria's interactions with immune system mapped
The first detailed cell atlas of the immune cells and gut bacteria within the human colon has been created.
MRI method provides unprecedented insight into the brain's wiring network
Thoughts, sensations, and emotions zap across the brain via a meshwork of fine nerve fibers called axons.
How learning about fish can help us save the Amazon rainforest
They might not be as popular as jaguars and parrots, but fish hold the key to lots of the Amazon rainforest's secrets.
'Birth Settings' report explores medical disparities of childbirth in the US
A report released earlier this month dives deep into the ongoing inequities surrounding childbirth in the US, with Oregon emerging as a leading example of how to do better.
The Lancet Psychiatry: Life-course-persistent antisocial behaviour may be associated with differences in brain structure
Individuals who exhibit life-course-persistent antisocial behaviour - for example, stealing, aggression and violence, bullying, lying, or repeated failure to take care of work or school responsibilities - may have thinner cortex and smaller surface area in regions of the brain previously implicated in studies of antisocial behaviour more broadly, compared to individuals without antisocial behaviour, according to an observational study of 672 participants published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
Cutting off kidney cancer at its roots
Scientists at the MDC have discovered stem cells responsible for the most common form of kidney cancer.
The (un)usual suspect -- novel coronavirus identified
The 2019 novel coronavirus (CoV) causes fatal pneumonia that has claimed over 1300 lives, with more than 52000 confirmed cases of infection by February 13, 2020, all in the span of just over a month.
Antioxidant in mushrooms may relieve features of 'pregnancy hypertension'
A new study in rats suggests that the natural antioxidant L-ergothioneine could alleviate the characteristics of pre-eclampsia.
Scientists pioneer new way to study exoplanets
A team of scientists using the Low Frequency Array radio telescope in the Netherlands has observed radio waves that carry the distinct signatures of aurorae, caused by the interaction between a star's magnetic field and a planet in orbit around it.
The functional diversity in a noxious heat and chemical sensor among mosquito species
Researchers in the National Institute for Physiological Sciences compared functional properties of TRPA1 which serves as a receptor for noxious heat and chemicals among mosquito species.
Kidney patients benefit using organs from Hepatitis C-infected donors
Kidney patients benefit by accepting kidneys from donors with hepatitis C, according to a University of Cincinnati physician-researcher.
Twenty four genetic variants linked to heightened womb cancer risk
Twenty four common variations in genes coding for cell growth and death, the processing of oestrogen, and gene control factors may be linked to a heightened risk of developing womb (endometrial) cancer, indicates the most comprehensive review of the published evidence so far in the Journal of Medical Genetics.
Memory games: Eating well to remember
A healthy diet is essential to living well, but should we change what we eat as we age?
Researchers apply new technology to identify plant pathogen strains in Virginia
Genetic sequencing technologies are powerful tools that are used for the early detection and precise identification of pathogens; they have shown great improvement over the past 20 years.
Towards a sustainable future -- Novel technology to measure energy conversion efficiency
Conversion of energy is a constant process but measuring the efficiency of this conversion is not an easy task.
Do the climate effects of air pollution impact the global economy?
Aerosol emissions from burning coal and wood are dangerous to human health, but it turns out that by cooling the Earth they also diminish global economic inequality, according to a new study by Carnegie's Yixuan Zheng, Geeta Persad, and Ken Caldeira, along with UC Irvine's Steven Davis.
Tumor of the touch cells: A first-of-its-kind study in India
A team of researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, a pathologist at the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai and scientists at ACTREC, Navi Mumbai, joined hands to study the basis of a skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).
Study identifies states with highest rates of melanoma due to ultraviolet radiation
A new study finds a wide state-by-state variation in rates of melanoma caused by ultraviolet (UV) exposure with highest rates in several states on the East and West Coast including Hawaii, but also a few landlocked states, including Utah, Vermont, and Minnesota.
Study investigates rates of adverse events for common rheumatoid arthritis drug
Investigators have been able to far more accurately determine rates of adverse events for people taking methotrexate, finding small-to-moderate elevations in risks for skin cancer, gastrointestinal, infectious, lung, and blood adverse events.
After free lunch from drug firms, doctors increase prescriptions
Doctors prescribe more branded medications after marketing visits by the makers of those drugs, new research co-authored by a Cornell University economist confirms.
Low-dose methotrexate associated with small increase in some adverse events
A pre-specified secondary analysis of a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial found that low-dose methotrexate (LD-MTX) was associated with a small to modest increase in the risk for some adverse events, including skin cancer and gastrointestinal, infectious, pulmonary, and hematologic effects in patients at risk for heart disease.
Earth's glacial cycles enhanced by Antarctic sea-ice
A 784,000 year climate simulation suggests that Southern Ocean sea ice significantly reduces deep ocean ventilation to the atmosphere during glacial periods by reducing both atmospheric exposure of surface waters and vertical mixing of deep ocean waters; in a global carbon cycle model, these effects led to a 40 ppm reduction in atmospheric CO2 during glacial periods relative to pre-industrial level, suggesting how sea ice can drive carbon sequestration early within a glacial cycle.
Heated tobacco devices making inroads among young adults, study finds
Heated tobacco devices -- which heat rather than burn tobacco to create a vapor -- are the next products being pushed by the tobacco industry.
New chip brings ultra-low power Wi-Fi connectivity to IoT devices
More portable, fully wireless smart home setups. Lower power wearables.
Light-sheet fluorescence imaging goes more parallelized
In pursuit of 3D visualization of cells and organisms with minimal invasiveness and high spatiotemporal resolution, researchers demonstrated a new form of light-sheet imaging, coined CLAM, which allows scan-free, parallelized 3D fluorescence imaging that results in an even slower rate of photobleaching than scanning light-sheet imaging, yet without sacrificing the image speed and resolution.
Potato plants at highest risk of potato virus Y infection during first three weeks
Potato virus Y is the most economically important and devastating aphid-transmitted virus, affecting both tuber yield and quality.
Charity care provided by nonprofit hospitals
Researchers looked at the net income of nonprofit hospitals in the US and examined how their financial status was associated with the level of charity care they provided in 2017 for uninsured and insured patients.
Parents from lower-income families less likely to say child's water supply is safe
Parents from lower-income families are less likely to describe their home tap water as safe, say their water has been tested or feel confident in the quality of drinking fountain water at their child's school compared with higher income peers, a new national poll suggests.
Road salt harmful to native amphibians, new research shows
The combined effects of chemical contamination by road salt and invasive species can harm native amphibians, according to researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Asylum law in Germany: Fragmented, confusing and full of holes
The research report 'Refugee Protection in Germany' by the EU project 'Multilevel Governance of Migration (RESPOND)' paints a gloomy picture of the human rights protection for asylum seekers in Germany.
Organic-cation intercalation: An effective strategy for manipulating band topology and superconductivity
In the recent article published in Science Bulletin, the researchers develop an effective organic-cation intercalation strategy to manipulate the interlayer coupling of layered materials, and obtain a class of organic-inorganic hybrid crystals with tailored topological properties and enhanced superconductivities.
LTE vulnerability: Attackers can impersonate other mobile phone users
Exploiting a vulnerability in the mobile communication standard LTE, also known as 4G, researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum can impersonate mobile phone users.
Moderate intensity exercise can benefit memory performance
University of Kent research has found that moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, water aerobics or cycling can have the most beneficial effect on memory performance.
Sudden cardiac death often a woman's first sign of heart disease
New research from the Center for Cardiac Arrest Prevention at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai shows that rates of sudden cardiac arrest are rising following decades of a downward trend.
Study: inequality between men and women dramatic in Houston-area
Dramatic inequality between men and women exists in the Houston-area, according to a new study by the University of Houston Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality (IRWGS).
First Swedish transplant of uterus from deceased donor
The Swedish team responsible for uterine transplantation research has, for the first time, transplanted a uterus from a deceased donor.
Vaccine misinformation and social media
People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
A real global player: Previously unrecognised bacteria as a key group in marine sediments
From the shoreline to the deep sea, one group of bacteria is particularly widespread in our planet's seabed: The so-called Woeseiales, which may be feeding on the protein remnants of dead cells.
Complications of measles can include hepatitis, appendicitis, and viral meningitis, doctors warn
The complications of measles can be many and varied, and more serious than people might realise, doctors have warned in the journal BMJ Case Reports after treating a series of adults with the infection.
New artificial neural network model bests MaxEnt in inverse problem example
NCCR MARVEL researchers at EPFL's Chair of Computational Condensed Matter Physics (C3MP) and colleagues have developed an artificial neural network (ANN) model that may serve as a basis for solving inverse problems.
Researchers challenge new guidelines on aspirin in primary prevention
New guidelines recommend aspirin use in primary prevention for people ages 40 to 70 years old who are at higher risk of a first cardiovascular event, but not for those over 70.
Binaural beats synchronize brain activity, don't affect mood
An auditory illusion thought to synchronize brain waves and alter mood is no more effective than other sounds, according to research in adults recently published in eNeuro.
Crops provide chimpanzees with more energy than wild foods
A University of Kent study has found that cultivated foods offer chimpanzees in West Africa more energetic benefits than wild foods available in the region.
Systems analysis for a new Arctic
A major new IIASA report highlights new and emerging policy trends in the Arctic, a region on the front lines of climate change, geopolitics, and global governance.
Nanolaminate-based design for UV laser mirror coating
With the ever-increasing laser power, requirements for UV coatings grow continuously.
Mortality from all causes over 40% higher in female domestic abuse survivors
Women who have experienced domestic abuse appear to be more than 40% more likely to die from any cause compared to the general population, a study led by the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham suggests.
Study: Disease-causing repeats help human neurons function
Researchers found that repeats in the gene that causes Fragile X Syndrome normally regulate how and when proteins are made in neurons.
Stop or go: The cell maintains its fine motility balance with the help of tropomodulin
Tropomodulin maintains the fine balance between the protein machineries responsible for cell movement and morphogenesis.
Gene therapy can protect against ALS and SMA-related cell death
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Milan in Italy have identified a gene in human neurons that protects against the degeneration of motor neurons in the deadly diseases ALS and SMA.
Fifteen years & 20 million insects: Sweden documents its insect fauna in a changing world
The long-term Swedish Malaise Trap Project reports a massive insect inventory in an article in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal.
Light moves spins around
Combining experiment and theory, researchers from the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI) and the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics have disentangled how laser pulses can manipulate magnetization via ultrafast transfer of electrons between different atoms.
Areas near concentration camps give more electoral support to the far right
The study, which focused on the federal elections in Germany held in 2013 and 2017, involved Toni Rodon, professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at UPF, together with researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
How gliding animals fine-tuned the rules of evolution
Since its inception in 1867, The American Naturalist has maintained its position as one of the world's premier peer-reviewed publications in ecology, evolution, and behavior research.
Adolescent male chimps still need their mamas
Even kids who are nearly grown still need a parental figure to help them navigate the long path to adulthood -- and our closest animal relatives are no exception.
First research results on the 'spectacular meteorite fall' of Flensburg
A fireball in the sky, accompanied by a bang, amazed hundreds of eyewitnesses in northern Germany in mid-September last year.
Off-grid sanitation systems show promise, despite toilet paper
Engineers from Duke University are reporting results from the first large-scale, real-world field trials of critical components of their off-grid sanitation system funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's 'Reinvent the Toilet' program.
Testing during studying improves memory and inference
A new study by the Human Memory and Cognition Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led by psychology professor Aaron Benjamin, has found that learning by testing yourself improves your ability to make inferences about the subject matter as compared to rote restudy.
Trust your gut on plant-based diets for heart health
Reducing animal product intake and following a primarily plant-based diet can decrease your risk of heart disease by minimizing the adverse effects of a gut-microbiome associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease, according to research published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
How countries respond to weather change
A two degree Centigrade increase in global average temperature will lead to catastrophic consequences for the planet.
Saliva can be used to predict excess body fat in teenagers
Brazilian researchers found the level of uric acid in saliva to be a good indicator of body fat percentage in a study designed to identify reliable biomarkers that can be used to develop quick noninvasive tests for early detection of chronic diseases.
Test measures immune response to improve ovarian cancer diagnosis
About 300,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed globally each year, with about 60% of women dying within five years after diagnosis.
Extreme weather could bring next recession
Despite obvious market risks brought by fires, floods and other events, asset managers are slow to react.
Research team works to develop new ways to detect air pollutants
With a $2.3 million award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, an interdisciplinary team of Virginia Tech researchers led by Masoud Agah, the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is working to revolutionize a testing process for these harmful pollutants, in particular for truck drivers.
How many gender subtypes exist in the brain?
In a new paper, published recently in the journal Cerebral Cortex, researchers argue that there are at least nine directions of brain-gender variation.
New VA/DoD guidelines address sleep-related issues in military personnel, veterans
Military service is a risk factor for sleep disorders. Recognizing this, the US Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense issued new guidelines for assessing and treating insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea in military personnel and veterans.
Study identifies risk factors for endometrial cancer
An analysis of 149 scientific studies has identified 24 genetic variants which predispose women to endometrial cancer.
Verifying forecasts for major stratospheric sudden warmings
A new study sought to verify multi-system forecasts for major stratospheric sudden warmings using hindcasts of four systems archived in the subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction project database.
Genes from scratch -- far more common and important than we thought
Scientists from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Pittsburgh have discovered that de novo genes -- genes that have evolved from scratch -- are both more common and more important than previously believed.
First glimpse of body's 'steering wheel' joint sparks hope
For the first time, scientists have found a way to reveal the mechanics of the human body's 'steering wheel' -- the subtalar joint.
Mediterranean rainfall immediately affected by greenhouse gas changes
Mediterranean-type climates face immediate drops in rainfall when greenhouse gases rise, but this could be interrupted quickly if emissions are cut.
Warming, acidic oceans may nearly eliminate coral reef habitats by 2100
Rising sea surface temperatures and acidic waters could eliminate nearly all existing coral reef habitats by 2100, suggesting restoration projects in these areas will likely meet serious challenges, according to new research presented today at the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020.
In acoustic waves, engineers break reciprocity with 'spacetime-varying metamaterials'
Working in an emerging field known to as 'spacetime-varying metamaterials,' University at Buffalo engineers have demonstrated the ability to break reciprocity in acoustic waves.
New computational tools identify alternative splicing changes in aggressive cancers
A multi-institutional group of researchers led by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has linked a strong cancer driver gene to changes in proteins that regulate alternative splicing.
Seeding oceans with iron may not impact climate change
A new MIT study suggests that iron fertilization may not have a significant impact on phytoplankton growth, at least on a global scale.
An intelligent and compact particle analyzer
Microscopic particles cannot be seen by human eye but are everywhere.
University of Illinois researchers demonstrate new capability for cooling electronics
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a new type of air jet cooler that overcomes previous barriers to jet cooling systems.
Enigmatic small primate finally caught on film in Taita, Kenya
The Taita mountain dwarf galago was first reported in 2002 but no more signs of it were found for almost 20 years.
The origins of roughness
A Freiburg researcher investigates the origins of surface texture.
Visualizing diffusive dynamics beyond tracking limit with standard optical microscope
The collaborative team including a mechanical engineering scientist (Prof. Hanasaki) and physical chemists (Prof.

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