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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | February 18, 2020


Solar technology breakthrough at the University of Queensland
UQ researchers have set a world record for the conversion of solar energy to electricity via the use of tiny nanoparticles called 'quantum dots'.
Targeting turncoat immune cells to treat cancer
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has identified a mechanism by which regulatory T cells, which suppress immune responses, adapt their metabolism to thrive in the harsh microenvironment of the tumor.
Gene tests for heart disease risk have limited benefit
Genetic tests to predict a person's risk of heart disease and heart attack have limited benefit over conventional testing.
APS tip sheet: The new fate of the kaon
Preliminary reports of an extremely rare decay of a subatomic particle called the kaon could challenge the standard model of particle physics.
Amazon forest disturbance is changing how plants are dispersed
New research finds tropical forest disturbance goes beyond species loss and includes a shift towards smaller seeds and an increase in the proportion of trees dispersed by animals, impacting how the ecosystem functions.
Researchers show advance in next-generation lithium metal batteries
A Washington State University research team has developed a way to address a major safety issue with lithium metal batteries - an innovation that could make high-energy batteries more viable for next-generation energy storage.
Novel Quantum effect found: Spin-rotation coupling
It is like jumping on and off a carousel: what happens to neutrons changing from a non-rotating frame of referendce into a rotating frame of reference -- and back?
January/February 2020 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
Annals of Family Medicine is a peer-reviewed, indexed research journal that provides a cross-disciplinary forum for new, evidence-based information affecting the primary care disciplines.
NIH-funded study links natural sugars in breastmilk to early childhood height and weight
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) found in breastmilk may influence a child's growth from infancy through early childhood, according to a study supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Scientists may have a way to let preemies breath easier
The continuing epidemic of pre-term births includes this stark reality: tiny, fragile babies are born with underdeveloped lungs and prone to lifelong respiratory infections and related chronic illnesses.
Wall Street investors react to climate change
Institutional investors are factoring climate risks into their investment decisions, according to a first-ever survey conducted by the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.
Readmission risk increases for elderly patients with geriatric-specific characteristics
Researchers have examined new geriatric-specific characteristics that appear to raise the risk of elderly surgical patients having an unplanned hospital readmission within a month of initially leaving the hospital.
Scientists create supersensitive nanomaterials for DNA diagnostics and targeted drug delivery
Russian researchers present a smart material with unique properties, which holds promise for express DNA analysis and next-generation drugs against cancer and other serious diseases.
USask study reveals origin of endangered Colombian poison frog hybrids
The origin of an understudied hybrid population of poisonous frogs -- highly endangered colorful animals that live deep in the Colombian jungle -- is the result of natural breeding and not caused by wildlife traffickers moving them, a University of Saskatchewan (USask) study shows.
Simple, fuel-efficient rocket engine could enable cheaper, lighter spacecraft
University of Washington researchers have developed a mathematical model that describes how rotating detonation engines work.
Researchers discover how cells clear misfolded proteins from tissues
Researchers in Japan have identified a new quality control system that allows cells to remove damaged and potentially toxic proteins from their surroundings.
Scientists: Estonia has the most energy efficient new nearly zero energy buildings
A recent study carried out by an international group of building scientists showed that Estonia is among the countries with the most energy efficient buildings in Europe.
Rules of life: From a pond to the beyond
In a recent study published in the journal eLIFE a team of researchers, including lead author Jordan Okie of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration and senior author Jim Elser of the School of Life Sciences, conducted experiments in the Cuatro Cienegas Basin in Mexico.
Study finds empathy can be detected in people whose brains are at rest
UCLA researchers have found that it is possible to assess a person's ability to feel empathy by studying their brain activity while they are resting rather than while they are engaged in specific tasks.
Primary care patients assess econsult model for provider-to-specialist consultations
A study across five academic medical centers examined the reaction of patients to the use of an electronic consultation (eConsult) service for primary care provider-to-specialist consultation.
Can metformin reduce obesity in children and adolescents?
A new study has shown metformin -- a glucose-lowering drug commonly used to treat diabetes -- to be effective at lowering some measures of obesity in children and adolescents.
Helpful oxygen carriers
Researchers discover a new biochemical compound that can break down environmental pollutants.
Topological materials outperform through quantum periodic motion
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered that applying vibrational motion in a periodic manner may be the key to preventing dissipations of the desired electron states that would make advanced quantum computing and spintronics possible.
Certification as a medical home: Does it make a difference in diabetes care?
Practices certified as medical homes have more systems and improved performance for diabetes care, but the differences are modest.
Traditional risk factors predict heart disease as well as genetic test
Traditional cardiovascular risk factors often assessed in an annual physical, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, and smoking status, are at least as valuable in predicting who will develop coronary heart disease (CHD) as a sophisticated genetic test that surveys millions of different points in DNA.
Creating custom light using 2D materials
Making artificial structures that emit light tailored to our specific needs is an even more attractive proposition.
Oversight of fishing vessels lacking, new analysis shows
Policies regulating fishing in international waters do not sufficiently protect officials who monitor illegal fishing, the prohibited dumping of equipment, or human trafficking or other human rights abuses, finds a new analysis by a team of environmental researchers.
Discovery at 'flower burial' site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites
* First articulated Neanderthal skeleton to be found in over 20 years.
Cognitive behavior therapy for diabetes self-management leads to improved outcomes
A peer-delivered program for managing diabetes and chronic pain was shown to be beneficial for rural adults in communities that might otherwise lack access to physician-led services.
More time between prostate cancer screenings could improve outcomes
A new study in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published by Oxford University Press, finds significant benefits to lengthening the amount of time between prostate cancer screenings for men.
Endocrine Society updates osteoporosis Clinical Practice Guideline
The Endocrine Society today announced an update to its osteoporosis Clinical Practice Guideline to include recommendations for romosozumab, a new medication that was approved last year to treat postmenopausal women at high risk of fracture.
Time of day affects global brain fluctuations
As the day progresses, the strength of the brain's global signal fluctuation shows an unexpected decrease, according to a study published on February 18, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Csaba Orban and a multi-disciplinary team of scientists from the Faculty of Engineering, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and N.1 Institute of Health at the National University of Singapore.
An early warning system for damage in composite materials
A team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a tool to monitor changes in widely used composite materials known as fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs), which can be found in everything from aerospace and infrastructure to wind turbines.
Tricky reaction sequence gets a major boost from a flow setup and statistics
Researchers from Osaka University have shown that the enantioselective organocatalyzed Rauhut-Currier and [3+2] annulation sequence in a microflow system can rapidly produce functionalized chiral spirooxindoles (up to 89% yield, 98% ee) within one minute.
Variety and consistency are essential to keep the mind healthy
The well-known adage 'use it or lose it' is just as important in your 30's as it is in older adults.
Hubble turns lens towards gender bias, yielding lessons for Earthlings
Researchers used 'dual-anonymization' techniques to close the gender gap around who gets time on the Hubble Space Telescope.
BU study: Late fall may be best time of year to try to conceive
First-of-its-kind study accounts for when couples are most likely to start trying to conceive, finding couples conceive quicker in late fall and early winter, especially in southern states.
Social factors play a key role in missed well-child care visits
Despite the benefits of well-child care visits (WCV), up to half of WCVs are missed.
How malaria detects and shields itself from approaching immune cells
Malaria parasites can sense a molecule produced by approaching immune cells and then use it to protect themselves from destruction, according to new findings published today in eLife.
More purple than blue: Religiously unaffiliated vary in political beliefs
The number of religiously unaffiliated people has reached nearly one-fourth of the US population, one of the largest demographic groups in the country.
Predicting immunotherapy success
Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have now identified new markers that can help predict which patients have a better chance for a positive response to immunotherapy treatments.
Green approach accelerates process optimization and retrieval of 'switchable' solvents
Researchers have demonstrated a new, green technology for both accelerated screening and retrieving 'switchable' solvents used in green chemistry applications.
Hospitals with internationally trained nurses have more stable, educated nursing workforces
Having more nurses trained outside of the United States working on a hospital unit does not hurt collaboration among healthcare professionals and may result in a more educated and stable nursing workforce, finds a new study by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing published in the journal Nursing Economic$.
Elder-friendly care after emergency surgery greatly improves outcomes for older patients
Tailoring care for older patients who have had emergency surgery can reduce complications and deaths, decrease the length of hospital stays and cut down on the need for alternate care at discharge, according to a new study led a University of Alberta researcher.
New cholesterol-lowering guidelines would increase cost of treatment
The financial burden on health systems would drastically increase if new European expert guidelines for cholesterol-lowering treatment were implemented, according to a new simulation study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, published in the European Heart Journal.
Reporting the facts on indigenous STIs
Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are being discouraged from seeking medical help due to public assumptions that sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are the result of sexual abuse.
Cyber researchers at Ben-Gurion University fool autonomous vehicle systems with phantom images
In a new research paper, ;Phantom of the ADAS,' the researchers demonstrated that autopilots and advanced driving-assistance systems (ADASs) in semi-autonomous or fully autonomous cars register depthless projections of objects (phantoms) as real objects.
Study reveals how low oxygen levels in the heart predispose people to cardiac arrhythmias
Low oxygen levels in the heart have long been known to produce life-threatening arrhythmias, even sudden death.
How language proficiency correlates with cognitive skills
An international team of researchers carried out an experiment at HSE University demonstrating that knowledge of several languages can improve the performance of the human brain.
NASA finds wind shear doing in Tropical Storm Gabekile
Winds outside of Tropical Storm Gabekile are ripping the storm apart.
Archaeologists receive letter from biblical era
Hebrew University team unearths Canaanite temple at Lachish; find gold artifacts, cultic figurines, and oldest known etching of Hebrew letter 'Samech.'
Early exposure to household cleaning products is associated with asthma and wheeze in young children
Early exposure of babies to household cleaning products is associated with the development of childhood asthma and wheeze by age 3 years, according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
IVF-conceived children have somewhat higher mortality risk in their first weeks of life
Children conceived with assisted reproductive techniques including IVF have a somewhat higher mortality risk during their first weeks of life than children conceived naturally, according to a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
Low folate levels can indicate malnutrition in hospital patients
About 10% of patients who come to complex care hospitals may have low levels of folate and other indicators of malnutrition, investigators say.
Exposure to cleaning products in first 3 months of life increases risk of childhood asthma
The study was published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Reproductive genome from the laboratory
Max Planck researchers have for the first time developed a genome the size of a minimal cell that can copy itself.
Declines in heart attacks greater among men than women
In a study published in the American Heart Association scientific journal Circulation, Kaiser Permanente research scientists report a steady decline in heart attacks for both men and women enrolled in the health system from 2000 to 2014, although that rate of decline slowed among women in the last 5 years of the study.
UCLA researchers discover new compound that promotes lung health
A molecule identified by UCLA researchers helps maintain a healthy balance of cells in airway and lung tissue.
Uber linked to a reduction in serious road traffic injuries in the UK
A study by University of Oxford researchers, published today in Social Science & Medicine, has found that ride-hailing provider, Uber, is associated with a 9% decline in serious road accident injuries in the UK.
South American volcano showing early warning signs of 'potential collapse', research shows
One of South America's most prominent volcanoes is producing early warning signals of a potential collapse, new research has shown.
GP care is valuable for children with life-limiting conditions reducing the need for A+E
Regular involvement of a GP in the care of children and young people with life-limiting conditions can reduce hospital admissions, a new study has found.
Warming oceans are getting louder (audio available)
One of the ocean's loudest creatures is smaller than you'd expect -- and will get even louder and more troublesome to humans and sea life as the ocean warms, according to new research presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020.
Global climate frameworks miss the 'big picture' on food, say scientists
Global schemes to fight climate change may miss their mark by ignoring the ''fundamental connections'' in how food is produced, supplied and consumed, say scientists in a new paper published in the journal Nature Food.
Slithering snakes on a 2D plane
Snakes live in diverse environments ranging from unbearably hot deserts to lush tropical forests, where they slither up trees, rocks and shrubbery every day.
Study finds disparities in timing and type of treatment in colorectal cancer patients
A new study from George Mason University published in Cancer Epidemiology found racial disparities in how the presence of cancer-related diagnostic and treatment technology is related to the time-to-treatment for whites and blacks with colorectal cancer (CRC) in Georgia.
Improving the electrical and mechanical properties of carbon-nanotube-based fibers
University of Illinois researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology recently developed a technique that can be used to build carbon-nanotube-based fibers by creating chemical crosslinks.
Study reveals how too much fluoride causes defects in tooth enamel
Exposing teeth to excessive fluoride alters calcium signaling, mitochondrial function, and gene expression in the cells forming tooth enamel -- a novel explanation for how dental fluorosis, a condition caused by overexposure to fluoride during childhood, arises.
The Lancet: World failing to provide children with a healthy life and a climate fit for their future: WHO-UNICEF-Lancet
No single country is adequately protecting children's health, their environment and their futures, finds a landmark report released today by a Commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world.
Survey finds Americans strongly support organ and tissue donation for research
A strong majority of Americans agree that organ and tissue donation for research contributes to health and medical breakthroughs and acknowledge significant shortfalls for donation.
Rice boosts 'internet of things' security -- again
Rice University engineers develop a new type of security system for the 'internet of things.' The system leverages on-chip power management to greatly complicate breaching a device to break into a network.
APS tip sheet: Harnessing radar echoes for future neutrino detection
New high energy neutrino detection method could lead to a neutrino telescope able to observe neutrinos with energies beyond the current observable range.
Community LGBTQ supportiveness may reduce substance use among sexual minority adolescents
A new research study provides novel insights into community-level predictors of lifetime substance use among a sample of 2678 sexual minority adolescents.
Uncovering the plastic brain of a fruitfly -- new study
Genetic mechanisms that govern brain plasticity -- the brain's ability to change and adapt -- have been uncovered by researchers at the University of Birmingham.
Intelligent control of mode-locked femtosecond pulses by time-stretch-assisted spectral analysis
Researchers in China led by Lilin Yi at Shanghai Jiao Tong University developed apparatus and software algorithms allowing automatic 'intelligent control' over the femtosecond pulses generated by mode-locked fiber lasers.
Think all BPA-free products are safe? Not so fast, scientists warn
Using 'BPA-free' plastic products could be as harmful to human health -- including a developing brain -- as those products that contain the controversial chemical, suggest scientists in a new study led by the University of Missouri and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
First baby born to cancer patient from eggs matured in the lab and frozen
Fertility doctors in France have announced the birth of the first baby to be born to a cancer patient from an immature egg that was matured in the laboratory, frozen, then thawed and fertilized five years later.
UArizona Health Sciences researchers uncover potential new therapy for concussion-related headaches
Now a Tucson physical therapist and soccer coach, Kelly Farrell collided skulls with a teammate while heading a ball during her junior year of college.
Hurricane Harvey tops league of most extreme US weather this decade
A top ten of record-breaking US weather events of the last decade reveals Hurricane Harvey is the most extreme of the decade, and similar others were among the costliest and deadliest on record, according to magazine Weatherwise.
Highly sensitive sensors show promise in enhancing human touch
People rely on a highly tuned sense of touch to manipulate objects, but injuries to the skin and the simple act of wearing gloves can impair this ability.
When the best treatment for hypertension is to wait
A new study concluded that a physician's decision not to intensify hypertension treatment is often a contextually appropriate choice.
GI societies issue updated colorectal cancer screening recommendations
These evidence-based recommendations support closer follow-up after colonoscopy screenings for some groups, less intense follow-up for others, and provide guidance for removing colorectal polyps.
Study suggests later school start times reduce car crashes, improve teen safety
A study published online as an accepted paper in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that later school start times were associated with a significant drop in vehicle accidents involving teen drivers.
New tool to study how neuronal networks recover their function after neuron loss
A multidisciplinary study led by UB researchers has developed a new experimental tool that enables the application of focalized damage on an in vitro neuronal network of only a few millimetres and record the evolution of the whole network.
Army researchers develop efficient distributed deep learning
A new algorithm is enabling deep learning that is more collaborative and communication-efficient than traditional methods.
Health coaching shown to improve inhaler use among low-income copd patients
Researchers conclude that improved inhaler technique and adherence are one of multiple factors contributing to long-term COPD outcomes, but their research has confirmed one technique--use of lay health coaches--that may help patients get optimal benefit from their COPD medications.
Fruit flies have a radical strategy for dealing with free radicals
Flies belonging to the genus Drosophila combat oxidative stress by removing excess fat from their blood.
Mayo researchers create, test AI to improve EKG testing for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
An approach based on artificial intelligence (AI) may allow EKGs to be used to screen for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the future.
Chemists use mass spectrometry tools to determine age of fingerprints
Chemists at Iowa State University may have solved a puzzle of forensic science: How do you determine the age of a fingerprint?
Despite a marked reduction in the prevalence of dementia, the number of people with dementia is set to double by 2050 according to new Alzheimer Europe report
Today, at a European Parliament lunch debate, Alzheimer Europe launched a new report presenting the findings of its collaborative analysis of recent prevalence studies and setting out updated prevalence rates for dementia in Europe.
Getting a grip: An innovative mechanical controller design for robot-assisted surgery
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology designed a new type of controller for the robotic arm used in robotic surgery.
IU researcher makes skin cancer discovery
An Indiana University cancer researcher has identified eight new genomic regions that increase a person's risk for skin cancer.
Why Zika virus caused most harmful brain damage to Brazilian newborns
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that the strain of Zika that circulated in Brazil during the microcephaly epidemic that began in 2015 was particularly damaging to the developing brain.
Comparison of primary care in hospital- and community-based practices
Understanding the strengths of each practice type with respect to patient experience may inform future efforts to improve the patient experience overall.
People living with HIV diagnosed with COPD 12 years younger than HIV-negative people
Researchers analyzed incidences of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among adults 35 years and older who were living with and without HIV between 1996 and 2015 in Ontario - where over 40 per cent of Canadians living with HIV reside.
Notre Dame physicists see nuclear wobbling in one isotope of gold
University of Notre Dame researchers and collaborators recently discovered that some nuclei wobble on their intermediate axes. 
A blueprint for building transgender health programs in primary care
Leading educators and clinical experts on transgender health care from Harvard, Fenway Health, and The Fenway Institute address access issues for transgender patients seeking care by providing a plan to integrate gender-affirming hormone therapy, surgical referrals, or wrap-around services into primary care.
Unexpected insights into the dynamic structure of mitochondria
As power plants and energy stores, mitochondria are essential components of almost all cells in plants, fungi and animals.
Research suggests statins could lower ovarian cancer risk
A genetic study has found evidence to suggest that women who take statins in the long term could be less likely to develop ovarian cancer.
NIH study supports new approach for treating cerebral malaria
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found evidence that specific immune cells may play a key role in the devastating effects of cerebral malaria, a severe form of malaria that mainly affects young children.
Smart contact lens sensor developed for point-of-care eye health monitoring
A research group led by Prof. DU Xuemin from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a ''smart'' contact lens that can show real-time changes in moisture and pressure by altering colors.
Study: Difference in breast milk concentrations impacts growth up to age 5
In a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine confirmed the findings of previous pilot studies that found an association between human milk concentrations and infant weight and body composition.
APS tip sheet: Capturing election interference
New model analyzes characteristics of the 2016 election and surrounding social media activity.
Tailoring spontaneous infrared emission of HgTe quantum dots with laser-printed plasmonic arrays
Near-to-mid infrared colloidal quantum dots offer a promising platform towards the realization of many useful devices including emitters, detectors, security and sensor systems.
Measuring a dynamical topological order parameter in quantum walks
Nonequilibrium dynamical processes are central in many quantum technological contexts.
Masking the memory of fear: Treating anxiety disorders such as PTSD with an opioid
While fear memory -- or the ability to remember contexts in which to be afraid -- is important for survival, too much of it, and an inability to forget contexts that no longer apply, hinders daily activities.
Cancer screening among women prescribed opioids
US women who take prescription opioids are no less likely to receive key cancer screenings when compared to women who are not prescribed opioids.
Research suggests no difference in morning versus evening dosing for warfarin
Patients taking warfarin to reduce the risk of stroke and pulmonary embolisms are often advised to take the medication in the evening.
Sussex researchers combine lasers and terahertz waves in camera that sees 'unseen' detail
A team of physicists at the University of Sussex has successfully developed the first nonlinear camera capable of capturing high-resolution images of the interior of solid objects using terahertz (THz) radiation.
University of Toronto biologists develop new defense in fight against crop infections
Biologists at the University of Toronto have successfully tested a new strategy for identifying genetic resources critical for the ongoing battle against plant pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses that infect and destroy food crops worldwide.
Catching light: How cobalt can help utilize visible light to power hydrogen production from water
Scientists at Tokyo Tech demonstrate the first visible-light photoelectrochemical system for water splitting using TiO2 enhanced with an earth-abundant material -- cobalt.
Tulane math professor leads effort to map spread of coronavirus
Hyman says mathematical modeling can help public health officials prepare the medical care and allocate resources needed to confront the epidemic.
Scientists discover that human cell function removes extracellular amyloid protein
The accumulation of aberrant proteins in the body will cause various neurodegenerative diseases.
Ultrasound device improves charge time and run time in lithium batteries
Researchers at the University of California San Diego developed an ultrasound-emitting device that brings lithium metal batteries, or LMBs, one step closer to commercial viability.

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