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


Natural solutions to the climate crisis? One-quarter is all down to Earth...
A recent study led by scientists from The Nature Conservancy alongside Conservation International, Woods Hole Research Centre, University of Aberdeen, Yale University and the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (KIB/CAS), has provided a timely reminder in this critical 'super year' for nature not to neglect the power of soils and the many benefits these ecosystems can deliver for climate, wildlife and agriculture.
Finding the Achilles' heel of cancer cells
The key to effective cures for cancers is to find weak points of cancer cells that are not found in non-cancer cells.
Vitamin D boosts chances of walking after hip fracture
Senior citizens who are not vitamin D deficient have a better chance of walking after hip fracture surgery, according to a Rutgers-led study.
African-American men less likely to use targeted prostate cancer detection method
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found in a retrospective study that African-American men are less likely to use a more targeted biopsy option for prostate cancer, despite an increased incidence in this group of patients.
One of Darwin's evolution theories finally proved by Cambridge researcher
Scientists have proved one of Charles Darwin's theories of evolution for the first time -- nearly 140 years after his death.
A protein that controls inflammation
A study by the research team of Prof. Geert van Loo (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) has unraveled a critical molecular mechanism behind autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis.
Changes in cellular degradation hubs can lead to cancer
Cancer cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner. A new study from Uppsala University now shows how alterations in a cell's degradation hubs, called lysosomes, can cause abnormal cell growth.
High levels of iron in the lung linked to increased asthma severity
Iron build-up in the lung cells and tissues is associated with worse asthma symptoms and lower lung function, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.
Independent investigative agency needed to tackle abuse in elite youth sport
An independent investigative agency as well as an international offender database are needed to tackle allegations of abuse in elite youth sport properly, urges an expert, in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Novel high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) can deliver vaccines directly to the skin
Vaxxas announced the publication in the journal PLoS Medicine of groundbreaking clinical research indicating the broad immunological and commercial potential of Vaxxas' novel high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP).
Observed 'gateway' effect of e-cigarettes among teens 'likely to be small'
The observed 'gateway' effect of e-cigarette use among teens is 'likely to be small,' with only a tiny proportion of experimental vapers going on to smoke regular cigarettes, suggests research published online in the journal Tobacco Control.
Seeing with electrons: Scientists pave the way to more affordable and accessible cryo-EM
In recent years, a powerful technology called cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), where flash-frozen samples are embedded in glass-like ice and probed by an electron beam, has revolutionized biomolecule imaging.
Scientists proposed a way of producing water-soluble fullerene compounds for medicine
Scientists developed a single-step method to obtain water-soluble fullerene compounds with remarkable biological properties, such as the ability to effectively suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Hollow-core fiber technology closes in on mainstream optical fiber
searchers from the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics at the University of Southampton have demonstrated a new leap in hollow-core fibre performance, underlining the technology's potential to soon eclipse current optical fibres.
The Lancet Psychiatry: Single dose of psychoactive component in cannabis could induce psychotic, depressive, and anxiety symptoms in healthy people
A single dose of the main psychoactive component in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can induce a range of psychiatric symptoms, according to results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of 15 studies including 331 people with no history of psychotic or other major psychiatric disorders, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
Pesticide seed coatings are widespread but underreported
Seed-coated pesticides -- such as neonicotinoids, many of which are highly toxic to both pest and beneficial insects -- are increasingly used in the major field crops, but are underreported, in part, because farmers often do not know what pesticides are on their seeds, according to an international team of researchers.
Dams in the upper Mekong River modify nutrient bioavailability downstream
Chen et al. shed new light on the effects of hydropower dams on nutrient cycling and ecosystem functioning.
Blocking sugar structures on viruses and tumor cells
During a viral infection, viruses enter the body and multiply in its cells.
Bacterial enzyme could become a new target for antibiotics
Scientists discover the structure of an enzyme, found in the human gut, that breaks down a component of collagen.
Artificial intelligence helps prevent disruptions in fusion devices
Research led by a Princeton University graduate student demonstrates that machine learning can predict and avoid damaging disruptions to fusion facilities.
Protein controls fat metabolism
A protein in the cell envelope influences the rate of fatty acid uptake in cells.
Passport tagging for express cargo transportation in cells
The collaborative research groups identified a 10-amino acid sequence, which is built in blood coagulation factors, that is specifically recognized as a passport for their intracellular transportation in the secretory pathway.
Webinars with patients-survey: 73% with chronic illnesses feel more COVID-19 risk
Results issued from the first of a series of ongoing surveys, among 1,300 people living with or caring for chronic conditions, that is tracking their awareness of and concerns about the novel coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19.
Novel approach to enhance performance of graphitic carbon nitride
In a report published in NANO, scientists from China underline the importance of defect engineering to promote catalytic performance by providing a simple and efficient way for modifying and optimizing metal-free semiconductor photocatalyst graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) to solve the dual problems of environmental pollution and lack of fossil resources.
The life and death of one of America's most mysterious trees
A symbol of life, ancient sundial or just firewood? Tree-ring scientists trace the origin of a tree log unearthed almost a century ago.
Medical radiation exposure fell in the US from 2006 to 2016
Medical radiation exposure to patients in the US fell by 20% between 2006 and 2016, reversing a quarter century-long trend of increasing exposure, according to a new study.
Scientists shed new light on neural basis of tremors
New insight on what happens in brain cells to cause tremors in mice has been published today in the open-access journal eLife.
Long-distance fiber link poised to create powerful networks of optical clocks
An academic-industrial team in Japan has connected three laboratories in a 100-kilometer region with an optical telecommunications fiber network stable enough to remotely interrogate optical atomic clocks.
'Blind over-reliance' on AI technology to manage international migration could lead to serious breaches of human rights
Over-reliance by countries on artificial intelligence to tackle international migration and manage future migration crisis could lead to serious breaches of human rights, a new study warns.
'Natural killer' cells could halt Parkinson's progression
Researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center and their colleagues have found that 'natural killer' white blood cells could guard against the cascade of cellular changes that lead to Parkinson's disease and help stop its progression.
The COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin, scientists say
Scripps Research's analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered.
How horses can save the permafrost
Permafrost soils in the Arctic are thawing. In Russia, experiments are now being conducted in which herds of horses, bison and reindeer are being used to combat this effect.
Plant water saving system works like clockwork, it transpires
Plants, just like humans, have circadian clocks that allow them to tell the time.
Antioxidant treatment in acute ischemic stroke may delay the onset of Alzheimer's dementia
There is a considerable overlap between vascular risk factors and risk factors of Alzheimer's disease (AD).
UMass Amherst biostatistician lends expertise to white house coronavirus task force
A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine calculates that the median incubation period for COVID-19 is just over 5 days and that 97.5% of people who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days of infection.
New understanding of immune modulator interleukin-2 guides drug discovery
The signaling molecule interleukin-2 (IL-2) has long been known to have powerful effects on the immune system, but efforts to harness it for therapeutic purposes have been hampered by serious side effects.
Predicting reaction results: Machines learn chemistry
In the production of chemical compounds, the success of each individual reaction depends on numerous parameters.
Semiconductors can behave like metals and even like superconductors
The crystal structure at the surface of semiconductor materials can make them behave like metals and even like superconductors, a joint Swansea/Rostock research team has shown.
Tropical Cyclone Herold's eye opens further on NASA satellite imagery
As Tropical Cyclone Herold intensified, its eye appeared more defined in imagery taken by NASA's Terra satellite.
New research reveals that scents alter how memories are processed in the brain
New research from BU's Center for Systems Neuroscience reveals that scents alter how memories are processed in the brain.
Pediatrician uses her 'trusted voice' to help kids
Chidiogo Anyigbo, MD, MPH, hopes to disrupt the cycle of poverty for the families she serves by informing them about the importance of the Census well beyond the April 1, 2020, official Census Day, the Children's National Hospital general pediatrician and health services researcher writes in an essay published by Academic Pediatrics.
Rethinking mortality and how we plan for old age
Many people dream of comfortably living out their golden years.
COVID-19: The immune system can fight back
Researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) were able to test blood samples at four different time points in an otherwise healthy woman in her 40s, who presented with COVID-19 and had mild-to-moderate symptoms requiring hospital admission.
'Little Foot' skull reveals how this more than 3 million year old human ancestor lived
High-resolution micro-CT scanning of the skull of the fossil specimen known as 'Little Foot' has revealed some aspects of how this Australopithecus species used to live more than 3 million years ago.
Life expectancy crisis in the USA: The opioid crisis is not the decisive factor
Cardiovascular diseases -- rather than drug deaths due to the opioid crisis -- have the greatest impact on stagnating life expectancy in the USA.
Mysterious ancient sea-worm pegged as new genus after half-century in 'wastebasket'
Fifty years ago, researchers placed a mystery worm in a 'wastebasket' genus and interest in the lowly critter waned -- until now.
Composing new proteins with artificial intelligence
Scientists have long studied how to improve proteins or design new ones.
Bacteria play 'rummy' with genes, UofSC biologist shows
New research by a University of South Carolina biologist shows that when bacteria take on new DNA through horizontal gene transfer, they simultaneously shed DNA at the same time.
Acid reflux drugs linked to increased fracture risk in kids
Proton pump inhibitors -- a widely used class of drugs used to treat acid reflux and related symptoms - may lead to an increased risk of fractures in children and adolescents, reports a study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (JPGN).
New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces
The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in NEJM.
Compartments without borders
A new method by researchers at Penn State allows the creation of compartments within a liquid that do not have physical barriers.
Genetic signature may identify mothers at risk for preeclampsia
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have identified a genetic signature combining certain maternal and fetal gene variants that are associated with a higher risk of preeclampsia.
Urban land could grow fruit and veg for 15 per cent of the population, research shows
Growing fruit and vegetables in just 10 per cent of a city's gardens and other urban green spaces could provide 15 per cent of the local population with their 'five a day', according to new research.
McMaster professor seeks independent agency to tackle abuse in elite youth sport
The author calls for the establishment of an independent international safeguarding agency for sports to handle athlete disclosures, investigate and process allegations, and to support victims of abuse.
For narwhals, the 'unicorn of the seas,' size matters for sexual selection
Showy peacock feathers, extravagant elk antlers and powerful crayfish claws are just a few examples of the ostentatious animal extremes used to compete for and attract mates, a process called sexual selection.
Common anti-parasite treatments used on cattle have devastating impacts on wildlife
Experts have stressed an urgent need to find alternatives to wormers and anti-ectoparasitic products used widely on cattle, following the findings of a study just published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
Building a better botox
Botulinum toxins are FDA-approved and widely used. Although they are safe and effective, they can drift away from the site of injection, reducing efficacy and causing side effects.
AI-powered shoes unlock the secrets of your sole
Researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have developed an AI-powered, smart insole that instantly turns any shoe into a portable gait-analysis laboratory.
Emissions of several ozone-depleting chemicals are larger than expected
MIT researchers have found that much of the current emission of these gases likely stems from large CFC 'banks' -- old equipment such as building insulation foam, refrigerators and cooling systems, and foam insulation, that was manufactured before the global phaseout of CFCs and is still leaking the gases into the atmosphere.
Scientists find sexual dimorphism in cannabinoid 1 receptor expression in mice
A research team led by Dr. WANG Feng from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences demonstrated that CB1R mRNA expression displays a sexually dimorphic pattern in several regions in the adult mouse brain.
Physicists propose new filter for blocking high-pitched sounds
Need to reduce high-pitched noises? Science may have an answer.
Kaiser Permanente finds weight loss lasts long after surgery
People with severe obesity who underwent bariatric surgery maintained significantly more weight loss at 5 years than those who did not have surgery according to a Kaiser Permanente study published March 13 in Annals of Surgery.
Engineered botox is more potent and safer in mice
Botulinum toxin (BoNT) is used for a range of applications, but when injected it can diffuse into the surrounding tissue and give rise to adverse effects.
Perovskite solution aging: Scientists find solution
A research team from the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has proposed a new understanding of the aging process of perovskite solution and also found a way to avoid side reactions.
Major advances in our understanding of New World Morning Glories
A major advance in revealing the unknown plant diversity on planet Earth is made with a new monograph of the flowering genus Ipomoea published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PhytoKeys.

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