Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 19, 2020
Step it up: Higher daily step counts linked with lower blood pressure
The smart watches seen on the wrists of roughly 1 in 5 Americans could be more than just a fun gimmick but a potentially useful research tool to track habitual physical activity levels.

Open sesame: Micro RNAs regulate plant pores
Environmental cues prompt small RNA segments to regulate the development and distribution of tiny pores involved in photosynthesis in plants.

The strange orbits of 'Tatooine' planetary disks
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found striking orbital geometries in protoplanetary disks around binary stars.

Improving success of giraffe translocations
In two new studies, an international team of researchers identifies the ideal composition of a group of giraffes to be translocated for conservation purposes and provides guidelines for all aspects of the translocation process.

New mechanism of optical gain in two-dimensional material requires only extremely low input power
Optical gain is a prerequisite for signal amplification in an optical amplifier or laser.

Parental diet affects sperm and health of future offspring
When parents eat low-protein or high-fat diets it can lead to metabolic disorders in their adult offspring.

Observing phytoplankton via satellite
Thanks to a new algorithm, researchers at the AWI can now use satellite data to determine in which parts of the ocean certain types of phytoplankton are dominant.

Graphene underpins a new platform to selectively ID deadly strains of bacteria
A team led by Boston College researchers has developed a prototype sensor that uses an atom-deep sheet of graphene and peptides to rapidly reveal which bacterial species is in a sample and whether it is antibiotic resistant.

Frailty may be highly predictive of complications, death in patients with mitral valve disease
Frailty measurements have become increasingly important in assessing surgical risk in patients with mitral valve disease, and research published online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery shows that frailty plays a significant role in outcomes following mitral valve procedures.

How molecules self-assemble into superstructures
Most technical functional units are built bit by bit according to a well-designed construction plan.

Chip-based device opens new doors for augmented reality and quantum computing
Researchers have designed a new chip-based device that can shape and steer blue light with no moving parts.

COVID-19 response and communications must be directed by public health officials
In the United States today, healthcare providers seem appropriately confused about present and future issues concerning coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Synergy emergence in deep reinforcement motor learning
Human motor control has always been efficient at executing complex movements naturally, efficiently, and without much thought involved.

Stanford scientists program cells to carry out gene-guided construction projects
The researchers developed a technique called genetically targeted chemical assembly, or GTCA, which they used to assemble electronically active biopolymer meshes on mammalian brain cells and on neurons in C. elegans.

Special issue of 'Neurochemical Research' honors Vittorio Gallo, Ph.D.
Investigators from around the world penned manuscripts that were assembled in a special issue of 'Neurochemical Research' that honors Vittorio Gallo, Ph.D., for his leadership in the field of neural development and regeneration.

Associations between vaspin levels and coronary artery disease
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; DOI https://doi.org/10.15212/CVIA.2019.0565, Lutfu Askin, Okan Tanriverdi, Hakan Tibilli and Serdar Turkmen from the Department of Cardiology, Adiyaman Education and Research Hospital, Adiyaman, Turkey consider associations between vaspin levels and coronary artery disease.

Vampire bats form deep social bonds by grooming before sharing blood
For vampire bats, sharing blood with a roostmate is the mark of a true bond.

'Sushi parasites' have increased 283-fold in past 40 years
A new study led by the University of Washington finds dramatic increases in the abundance of a worm that can be transmitted to humans who eat raw or undercooked seafood.

Bone analyzes tell about kitchen utensils in the Middle Ages
Who in the Middle Ages cooked their dinner in copper pots?

Army scientists create quantum sensor that covers entire radio frequency spectrum
A quantum sensor could give Soldiers a way to detect communication signals over the entire radio frequency spectrum, from 0 to 100 GHz, said researchers from the Army.

Serum irisin: Pathogenesis and clinical research in cardiovascular diseases
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; Lutfu Askin, Kader Eliz Uzel, Okan Tanriverdi and Serdar Turkmen from the Department of Cardiology, Adiyaman Education and Research Hospital, Adiyaman, Turkey consider serum irisin pathogenesis and clinical research in cardiovascular diseases.

New research shows promise to treat female group A streptococcus genital tract infections
Puerperal sepsis, also known as childbed fever, is the leading cause of maternal deaths.

Shedding light on how much carbon tropical forests can absorb
Tropical forest ecosystems are an important part of the global carbon cycle as they take up and store large amounts of CO2.

Portable AI device turns coughing sounds into health data for flu and pandemic forecasting
University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers have invented a portable surveillance device powered by machine learning - called FluSense - which can detect coughing and crowd size in real time, then analyze the data to directly monitor flu-like illnesses and influenza trends.

Public health leadership paramount to emerging coronavirus pandemic
In the 1960s, public health officials led the US and worldwide efforts that resulted in smallpox becoming the first human disease ever eradicated from the face of the earth.

Genetically engineering electroactive materials in living cells
Merging synthetic biology and materials science, researchers genetically coaxed specific populations of neurons to manufacture electronic-tissue 'composites' within the cellular architecture of a living animal, a new proof-of-concept report reveals.

Stretchable supercapacitors to power tomorrow's wearable devices
Researchers have engineered a novel type of supercapacitor that maintains full functionality even when stretched to eight times its original size.

Advances in genetic, geospatial techniques aid efforts to fend off invasive insects
In the fight to protect native ecosystems from invasive insects and related arthropod species, promising new tools are arising from rapid advances on a pair of research fronts: genetic analysis and geospatial technology.

A nanoscale laser made of gold and zinc oxide
Tiny particles composed of metals and semiconductors could serve as light sources in components of future optical computers, as they are able to precisely localize and extremely amplify incident laser light.

Ritalin and similar medications cause brain to focus on benefits of work, not costs
New research from cognitive neuroscientists at Brown and Radboud universities has pinpointed how stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall can change people's motivation to complete difficult tasks.

Achievement gaps may explain racial overrepresentation in special education
US school districts may be flagged as over-identifying students of color as having disabilities when other factors, such as achievement gaps, may explain these disparities, according to new Penn State research.

BU astrophysicist and collaborators reveal a new model of our heliosphere
BU astrophysicist and collaborators reveal a new model of our heliosphere that's shaped somewhere in between a croissant and a beach ball.

Seductive details inhibit learning
Information that is interesting but irrelevant, or 'seductive details', can be detrimental to learning, according to a meta-analysis of 58 studies by Washington State University researchers.

Hayabusa2's big 'impact' on understanding asteroid Ryugu's age and surface cohesion
After an explosive device on the Hayabusa2 spacecraft fired a copper cannonball a bit larger than a tennis ball into the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, creating an artificial impact crater on it, researchers understand more about the asteroid's age and composition, they say.

Melanoma is killing fewest Americans in decades
Advances in treatment have led to the largest yearly declines in deaths due to melanoma ever recorded for this skin cancer, results of a new study suggest.

Unprecedented preservation of fossil feces from the La Brea Tar Pits
A team of researchers from La Brea Tar Pits, the University of Oklahoma and the University of California Irvine report the first coprolites -- or fossil feces -- ever discovered in an asphaltic -- or tar pit -- context.

Impact of postdilation on intervention success and MACE
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; DOI https://doi.org/10.15212/CVIA.2019.0564, the authors consider the impact of postdilation on intervention success and long-term major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) among patients with acute coronary syndromes.

Researchers find key to keep working memory working
Working memory, the ability to hold a thought in mind even through distraction, is the foundation of abstract reasoning and a defining characteristic of the human brain.

The right thumb becomes the left arm
Researchers from Toyohashi University of Technology, University of Tokyo and Keio University have revealed that a re-association of the right thumb with the virtual left arm could be induced by visuo-motor synchronization.

Homeless people receive less treatment in hospitals for heart attacks, have higher readmission rates
Homelessness has become a social crisis and public health problem around the world, affecting people of all ages.

Coronavirus testing kits to be developed using SFU-invented RNA imaging technology
Simon Fraser University researchers will use their pioneering imaging technology -- called Mango, for its bright color -- to develop coronavirus testing kits.

Published consensus statement offers UTI treatment recommendations
The Journal of the American Medical Directors Association published in its January issue a consensus statement for treating urinary tract infections at post-acute and long-term care centers.

We're getting better at wildlife conservation, AI study of scientific abstracts suggests
Researchers are using a kind of machine learning known as sentiment analysis to assess the successes and failures of wildlife conservation over time.

Researchers find brain cell that triggers tremor and how to control it
Researchers have improved our understanding of how tremor -- the most common movement disorder -- happens, opening the possibility of novel therapies for this condition.

Investigation reveals £21 million NHS bill for avoidable deficiencies in heart failure
Nearly 109,000 beds are occupied due to frequent, unplanned hospital readmissions caused by treatable ID/IDA in HF.

Social policies might not only improve economic well-being, but also health
A comprehensive review of US social policies evaluated for their health outcomes found suggestive evidence that early life, income, and health insurance interventions have the potential to improve health.

O-FIB: Far-field-induced near-field breakdown for direct nanowriting in an atmospheric environment
Nanoscale texturing, drilling, cutting and spatial sculpturing require not only high accuracy, but also the capability of manufacturing in the atmospheric environment.

Lehigh University engineers unlock secrets to swimming efficiency of whales, dolphins
Lehigh University MechE professor Keith Moored is PI on a recent Journal of the Royal Society Interface paper on work examining the fluid mechanics of cetacean propulsion by numerically simulating their oscillating tail fins.

New brain disorder discovery
A study has uncovered a new neurodegenerative disorder in which children experience developmental regression and severe epilepsy.

How to operate building services to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus SARS-CoV-2
On March 17, Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations REHVA published guidance on the operation and use of building services in areas with a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

New technology helps in hunt for new cancer drug combinations
A revolutionary new technology has been applied to reveal the inner workings of individual cancer cells - potentially identifying more effective treatment combinations for people with cancer.

New contrast agent for early diagnosis of brain metastases
A group of researchers led by Leif Schroeder from the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut fuer Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) have found a way to detect metastases in certain types of cancer in the brain at an early stage, using only minimal amounts of contrast agent.

Eating more protein could help ward off atrial fibrillation in women
Women who ate slightly more than the recommended daily amount of protein were significantly less likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), a dangerous heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke and heart failure, when compared with those who consumed less protein, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC).

New drug combination passes safety test in pancreatic cancer
A new study has shown a novel peptide antagonist, given in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor, to be safe and well-tolerated in patients with advanced, refractory pancreatic and rectal cancer.

Statins may protect against the heart harms of breast cancer therapies
Statins are widely used to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease and related deaths, but can they also help guard against heart damage caused by certain breast cancer therapies?

How to slow down ageing?
Healthy ageing has become one of the priorities of research in Europe.

New oral vaccine urgently needed to prevent further outbreak of mutant polio
A novel serotype 2 oral poliovirus vaccine -- and complete removal of the current formulation (OPV2) -- is urgently needed, a new statistical modeling study suggests.

UC identifies populations most at risk of opiate addiction
UC's Health Geography and Disease Modeling Laboratory found that white males ages 30 to 39 were most at risk of fatal overdoses in Ohio.

Paving the way for new peptide-based therapeutics with novel method of phage display
Chemists at Texas A&M University are taking a p[h]age from bacteria's playbook in order to beat viruses at their own game and develop new drugs to fight cancer and a host of other human diseases in the process.

NTU scientists transform ultra-tough pollen into flexible material
Scientists at NTU Singapore have found a way to turn pollen, one of the hardest materials in the plant kingdom, into a soft and flexible material, with the potential to serve as 'building blocks' for the design of new categories of eco-friendly materials.

Researchers detail how antineutrino detectors could aid nuclear nonproliferation
The article appears in the latest issue of Reviews of Modern Physics.

New insights into US flood vulnerability revealed from flood insurance big data
An international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has found that current estimates of flood risk rely upon methods for calculating flood damage which are inadequately verified and match poorly with observations.

Nahum Arav part of team to discover quasar tsunamis
'These outflows are crucial for the understanding of galaxies' formation,' Arav said.

Building a better color vision test for animals
University of Cincinnati biologists modified simple electronics to create a color vision test for fiddler crabs and other animals.

Removing belly fat before it sticks to you
University of Cincinnati researchers are producing in the lab a human protein tasked with removing triglycerides from the blood stream.

'Feeling obligated' can impact relationships during social distancing
In a time where many are practicing 'social distancing' from the outside world, people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual.

NIH study provides genetic insights into osteosarcoma in children
A study by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, offers new insight into genetic alterations associated with osteosarcoma, the most common cancerous bone tumor of children and adolescents.

High-speed microscope captures fleeting brain signals
UC Berkeley neuroscientists can now capture millisecond electrical changes in neurons in the cortex of an alert mouse, allowing tracing of neural signals, including subthreshold events, in the brain.

Learning to synthesize: Robust phase retrieval at low photon counts
An artifact-free computational approach to extract the phase of light from noisy intensity signals improves imaging of transparent objects, such as biological cells, under low light conditions.

Study reveals secret of 18th-century portrait
Russian researchers and Russia's famed Tretyakov Gallery have conducted a comprehensive preconservation study of 'The Portrait of F.P.

A giant right atrial myxoma with blood supply from the left and right coronary arteries
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; DOI https://doi.org/10.15212/CVIA.2019.0566, Yichao Xiao, Zhenfei Fang, Xinqun Hu, Qiming Liu, Zhaowei Zhu, Na Liu, Xiaofan Peng and Shenghua Zhou from the Department of Cardiology, The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China consider Cardiac myxomas.

New UCI-led study reveals how skin cells prepare to heal wounds
A team of University of California, Irvine researchers have published the first comprehensive overview of the major changes that occur in mammalian skin cells as they prepare to heal wounds.

Symmetry-enforced three-dimension Dirac phononic crystals
Dirac semimetals are critical states of topologically distinct phases. Such gapless topological states have been accomplished by a band-inversion mechanism, in which the Dirac points can be annihilated pairwise by perturbations without changing the symmetry of the system.

Compact beam steering studies to revolutionize autonomous navigation, AR, neuroscience
In three recent papers, Columbia Engineers report the first demonstration of optical phased array technology on-chip at both near infrared and blue wavelength with applications in a broad range of research areas.

Study by international team of scientists investigates evolution during Cambrian Explosion
A new study by an international team of scientists has revealed the developmental and evolutionary mechanisms underlying the origin of a major phylum.

A landmark plan for realizing fusion energy and advancing plasma science
A summary of key points of the fusion and plasma science community's year-long Community Planning Process that proposes accelerating development of these strategic fields.

Glucagon receptor structures reveal G protein specificity mechanism
A group led by WU Beili and ZHAO Qiang at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), a group led by SUN Fei at the Institute of Biophysics of CAS, and a group led by Denise Wootten from Monash University, determined two cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of the human glucagon receptor (GCGR) in complex with its cognate agonist glucagon and distinct classes of G proteins, Gs or Gi.

E-cigarette users had substances linked to bladder cancer in urine, review finds
In a review published in the journal European Urology Oncology, researchers compiled the results of 22 different studies that analyzed the urine of people who used e-cigarettes or other tobacco products, including cigarettes, to check for evidence of cancer-linked compounds or biomarkers of those compounds.

Starlings sleep less during summer and full-moon nights
Researchers of the University of Groningen and the Max Planck Institute have found that starlings sleep five hours less per night during the summer.

Composite metal foams take the heat, move closer to widespread applications
Engineering researchers have demonstrated that composite metal foams (CMFs) can pass so-called 'simulated pool fire testing' with flying colors, moving the material closer to use in applications such as packaging and transportation of hazardous materials.

Nature-inspired green energy technology clears important development hurdle
A new material design has put the long-sought idea of using artificial photosynthesis to generate renewable fuel within reach

Sea otters, opossums and the surprising ways pathogens move from land to sea
A parasite known only to be hosted in North America by the Virginia opossum is infecting sea otters along the West Coast.

Pembrolizumab shows promise for some advanced, hard-to-treat rare cancers
Pembrolizumab shows promise for some advanced, hard-to-treat rare cancers. Open-label Phase II study at MD Anderson reports on four cancer types.

Tighten up law on keeping dangerous snakes as pets, demand animal welfare experts
The law on keeping dangerous snakes as pets should be tightened up, animal welfare experts demand in this week's issue of the Vet Record.

New research shows which ovarian cancer patients won't benefit from immune-PARP combo
In patients with advanced ovarian cancer, a combination of drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors and PARP inhibitors can produce powerful remissions, clinical trials have shown, but up until now investigators haven't been able to predict which patients won't benefit from the treatment and should explore other options.

Putting artificial intelligence to work in the lab
An Australian-German collaboration has demonstrated fully-autonomous SPM operation, applying artificial intelligence and deep learning to remove the need for constant human supervision.

Chip-based devices improve practicality of quantum-secured communication
Researchers have demonstrated new chip-based devices that contain all the optical components necessary for quantum key distribution while increasing real-world security.

The right dose of geoengineering could reduce climate change risks
Injecting the right dose of sulphur dioxide into Earth's upper atmosphere to thicken the layer of light reflecting aerosol particles artificially could reduce the effects of climate change overall, exacerbating change in only a small fraction of places, according to new research by UCL and Harvard.

Environment: Opening plastic bags and bottles may generate microplastics
Opening plastic packaging, such as plastic bags and bottles may contribute to the generation of small amounts of microplastics -- small plastic particles less than 5 mm long -- during daily tasks, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

The power of light for internet of underwater things
Light can simultaneously transfer energy and data to underwater devices, but there's a long way to go before these systems can be deployed.

Maize, not metal, key to native settlements' history in NY
New Cornell University research is producing a more accurate historical timeline for the occupation of Native American sites in upstate New York, based on radiocarbon dating of organic materials and statistical modeling.

US sees sharp increase in hypertension-related deaths
While it typically has no symptoms, high blood pressure -- or hypertension -- has serious health consequences.

Can stress trigger a second heart attack? Yes, new research suggests
We all have stress in our lives--whether it's due to financial woes, work pressures, relationship issues, illness or even natural disasters or health crises like the emerging coronavirus.

Understanding how COVID-19 affects children vital to slowing pandemic, doctors say
Though COVID-19 so far appears to be largely sparing children, researchers are cautioning that it is critical to understand how the virus affects kids to model the pandemic accurately, limit the disease's spread and ensure the youngest patients get the care they need.

A protein that helps trap bacteria may contribute to metastasis in breast cancer
The protein peptidyl arginine deiminase 4 (PAD4), which enables some immune cells to trap bacteria, promoted breast cancer metastasis in mice when expressed in cancer cells, according to data published in Molecular Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

'Domiciled' feeding studies will lead to new discoveries in human nutrition science
The public's confusion around what constitutes a healthy diet is related in part to nutrition studies that do not standardize the foods consumed by research participants or participants' adherence to their diet programs, argues Kevin Hall in this Perspective.

Scientists learn how vampire bat strangers make friends
Scientists haven't had a good grip on how friendly connections among strangers are made between animals -- until now.

Heterostructure and Q-factor engineering for low-threshold and persistent nanowire lasing
Semiconductor nanowire lasers are a crucial component for on-chip integrated optoelectronics.

Unraveling the optical parameters: New method to optimize plasmon enhanced spectroscopy
Plasmon enhanced spectroscopies allow to reach single molecule sensitivity and a lateral resolution even down to sub-molecular resolution.

NASA finds little strength left in Tropical Cyclone Herold
Wind shear pushed former Tropical Cyclone Herold apart and infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite showed the system with very little strength remaining.

Global human genomes reveal rich genetic diversity shaped by complex evolutionary history
A new study has provided the most comprehensive analysis of human genetic diversity to date, after the sequencing of 929 human genomes by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge and their collaborators.

On-chip single-mode CdS nanowire laser
In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the integration of active nanowires with on-chip planar waveguides for on-chip light sources.

Sugar leads to early death, but not due to obesity
Sugar-rich diets have a negative impact on health independent of obesity reports a new study led by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, UK.

Patients with type 2 diabetes belonging to online support groups have poorer health
Diabetes is a disease that affects people's lives more in the long term and requires emotional support and information.

Speedy antibiotic susceptibility tests for high-priority pathogens
At the core of the antibiotic-resistance crisis is the lack of a rapid and general antibiotic susceptibility test (AST) that can assess the infecting pathogen's sensitivity to antibiotics and inform treatment decisions directly at the point of care.

Nurse practitioner clinical settings key to delivery of patient-centered care
It's long been understood that care that respects and integrates the wants, needs, and preferences of patients results in higher ratings of satisfaction and improved health outcomes.
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