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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | March 25, 2020


Weedy rice is unintended legacy of Green Revolution
Weedy rice is a feral form of rice that infests paddies worldwide and aggressively outcompetes cultivated varieties.
APS tip sheet: Ultimate strength of metals
A new model is able to accurately determine the peak strength of polycrystalline metals.
How to break new records in the 200 metres?
Usain Bolt's 200m record has not been beaten for ten years and Florence Griffith Joyner's for more than thirty years.
The Lancet Public Health: Modelling study estimates impact of physical distancing measures on progression of COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan
New modelling research, published in The Lancet Public Health journal, suggests that school and workplace closures in Wuhan, China have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases and substantially delayed the epidemic peak -- giving the health system the time and opportunity to expand and respond.
How trans fats assist cell death
Tohoku University researchers in Japan have uncovered a molecular link between some trans fats and a variety of disorders, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Parents' physical activity helps kids with developmental disabilities improve motor skills
Kids with developmental disabilities face challenges in building motor skills, which makes them less able to participate in routine physical activity, which gives them less opportunity to practice those same motor skills.
New technologies aim to make 3D cameras easier to use
Song Zhang, a professor of mechanical engineering in Purdue University's College of Engineering, led a team to create technologies to help compress 3D camera files and automate focus and exposure settings.
Solving a 50-year-old puzzle in signal processing, part two:
Two Iowa State engineers, who announced the solution to a 50-year-old puzzle in signal processing last fall, have followed up with more research results.
More research on addiction potential needed for use of opioids to treat children's pain
A pair of new studies led by University of Alberta pediatricians indicate that parents are more reluctant to have opioids prescribed for their children than doctors are to prescribe them.
Investigation of inherited mutations in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Scientists from the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) and collaborators investigated inherited mutations in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Tuberculosis bacterium uses sluice to import vitamins
A transport protein that is used by the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis to import vitamin B12 turns out to be very different from other transport proteins.
Ultrasound solves an important clinical problem in diagnosing arrhythmia
Columbia Engineering researchers have used an ultrasound technique they pioneered a decade ago -- electromechanical wave imaging (EWI) -- to accurately localize atrial and ventricular cardiac arrhythmias in adult patients in a double-blinded clinical study.
Acupuncture can reduce migraine headaches
Acupuncture can reduce migraine headaches compared to both sham (placebo) acupuncture and usual care, finds a new trial from China published by The BMJ today.
Eclectic rocks influence earthquake types
New Zealand's largest fault is a jumble of mixed-up rocks of all shapes, sizes, compositions and origins.
Renewable energy developments threaten biodiverse areas
More than 2000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and threaten the natural habitats of plant and animal species across the globe.
COVID-19 should be wake-up call for robotics research
Robots could perform some of the 'dull, dirty and dangerous' jobs associated with combating the COVID-19 pandemic, but that would require many new capabilities not currently being funded or developed, an editorial in the journal Science Robotics argues.
An acute respiratory infection runs into the most common noncommunicable epidemic -- COVID-19 and cardiovascular diseases
Emerging as an acute infectious disease, COVID-19 may be- come a chronic epidemic similar to influenza because of genetic re- combination.
Printing complex cellulose-based objects
Researchers from ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have set a new world record: they 3D printed complex objects with higher cellulose content than that of any other additively manufactured cellulose-based parts.
Female lifespan is longer in wild mammal animals than in humans
Longer lives are not only for female humans: Mammalian female's average lifespan is 18.6% longer than that of males.
Found in mistranslation
In a new study, scientists from Deepa Agashe's group at NCBS find that irrespective of which proteins are impacted, there is indeed a benefit to non-specific mistranslation.
A small forage fish should command greater notice, researchers say
A slender little fish called the sand lance plays a big role as 'a quintessential forage fish' for puffins, terns and other seabirds, humpback whales and other marine mammals, and even bigger fish such as Atlantic sturgeon, cod and bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine and northwest Atlantic Ocean.
OSU research paves way to improved cleanup of contaminated groundwater
Beads that contain bacteria and a slow-release food supply to sustain them can clean up contaminated groundwater for months on end, maintenance free.
Staining cycles with black holes
In the treatment of tumors, microenvironment plays an important role.
Association of cardiac injury with mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China
This observational study of 416 patients in Wuhan, China, with confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reports that cardiac injury is a common condition among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and it is associated with higher risk of in-hospital mortality.
Low risk of coronavirus spreading through tears
Study published today in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found no virus in tears of COVID-19 infected patients.
SARS-CoV-2 transmission in patients with cancer at a hospital in China
Researchers estimated the infection rate of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with cancer and reported on patient outcomes at a single hospital in Wuhan, China.
A stopgap measure to treat respiratory distress
Researchers at MIT and the University of Colorado at Denver propose a stopgap measure to help Covid-19 patients in acute respiratory distress: a drug called tissue plasminogen activator, which dissolves blood clots.
New carbon dot-based method for increasing the efficiency of solar cells & LED
An international group of scientists has proposed a method that allows for significantly increasing the efficiency of solar cells and light-emitting diodes by augmenting the auxiliary layers of the devices responsible for electron transport.
Culturally adapted materials boost Latino participation in diabetes education programs
An Oregon State University study published last week found that diabetes education programs that are linguistically and culturally tailored to Latinos lead to significantly higher rates of completion among Latino participants -- even higher than rates among non-Latinos enrolled in the English versions of those programs.
New mathematical model can more effectively track epidemics
As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, leaders are relying on mathematical models to make public health and economic decisions.
Those living in rural areas, uninsured or on Medicaid less likely to receive recommended lung cancer treatment
Keck Medicine of USC study reveals that socioeconomic status disparities cause lung cancer patients who live in rural areas or are uninsured or on Medicaid to miss out on treatment that improves five-year lung cancer survival rate
Oncotarget: hPCL3S promotes proliferation and migration of androgen-independent prostate cancer cells
The cover for issue 12 of Oncotarget features Figure 11, 'Global analyses of the RNA-Seq data of LNCaP empty vector and LNCaP cells overexpressing hPCL3S (Clone 12)' by Abdelfettah, et al.
Assessing the the global problem of poor sanitation
Experts are investigating a better way of measuring the number of people exposed to the health risks of poorly-managed sanitation systems - and it will help reveal whether the world is on track to deliver UN Sustainable Goal 6 (SDG6).
New hepatitis C cases down by almost 70% in HIV positive men in London and Brighton
New cases of hepatitis C amongst HIV positive men in London and Brighton have fallen by nearly 70% in recent years.
Travel restrictions are most useful in the early and late phase of an epidemic
Analysis of human mobility and epidemiological data by a global consortium of researchers, led by the University of Oxford and Northeastern University, shows that human mobility was predictive of the spread of the epidemic in China.
Understanding differences in streptavidin-biotin binding
Beckman research scientist Rafael C. Bernardi recently published a paper that uses computational tools to explain the mechanism of how streptavidin and biotin binding is affected by streptavidin's tethering.
High-resolution PET/CT assesses brain stem function in patients with hearing impairment
Novel, fully digital, high-resolution positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging of small brain stem nuclei can provide clinicians with valuable information concerning the auditory pathway in patients with hearing impairment, according to a new study published in the March issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
A gene defect associated with a severe canine lung disease identified
A severe hereditary lung disease has been described in Finnish Airedale Terriers with a failure to thrive during the first days of lives.
New imaging method sheds light on Alzheimer's disease
To understand what happens in the brain when Alzheimer's disease develops, researchers need to be able to study the molecular structures in the neurons affected by Alzheimer's disease.
Heat takes its toll on mental health
Hot days increase the probability that an average adult in the US will report bad mental health, according to a study published March 25, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Mengyao Li of the University of Georgia, and colleagues.
Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.
Study shows how diligent we have to be to keep surfaces germ-free
A recent study suggests that even organized efforts to clean surfaces can fall short, a reminder for us all that keeping our surroundings clean may require some additional work.
New dataset reveals trends in social scientists' congressional testimony
From 1946 to 2016, testimony from economists accounted for more than two thirds of all instances of US congressional testimony delivered by social scientists.
Here be dragons: Analysis reveals new species in Smaug lizard group
Smaug, the deadly dragon in J.R.R Tolkien's 'The Hobbit,' has a newly discovered living relative.
How robots can help combat COVID-19: Science Robotics editorial
Can robots be effective tools in combating the COVID-19 pandemic?
The YAP signal plays a crucial role in head-and-neck cancer onset
Joint research between Kobe University and National Hospital Organization Kyushu Cancer Center has revealed that mice with mutations in the YAP signal pathway develop head-and-neck cancer over an extremely short period of time (world's fastest cancer onset mouse model), indicating that this pathway plays a crucial role in the onset of these cancers.
Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.
Study: An aspirin a day does not keep dementia at bay
Taking a low-dose aspirin once a day does not reduce the risk of thinking and memory problems caused by mild cognitive impairment or probable Alzheimer's disease, nor does it slow the rate of cognitive decline, according to a large study published in the March 25, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Innovative thinner electrolyte can improve functioning of solid oxide fuel cells
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are clean and highly efficient power generation systems, which can generate electrical energy but are limited by their high operating temperatures and infrequent applications.
Cellular protein shredders for the fight against cancer
An international team of researchers led by the Universities of Bonn and Ulm has investigated how a cell's own 'protein shredder' can be specifically programmed to fight cancer.
Shifting dimensions: Exciting excitons in phosphorene
Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have explored how an excited state of matter -- excitons -- behaves in phosphorene, a two-dimensional material that could be used in LEDs, solar cells, and other optoelectronic devices.
How tissues harm themselves during wound healing
Researchers from Osaka University discovered that increased expression of Rbm7 in apoptotic tissue cells results in the recruitment of segregated-nucleus-containing atypical monocytes, leading to tissue fibrosis.
A nanoscale device to generate high-power Terahertz waves
Researchers at EPFL have developed a nanodevice, described today in Nature, that operates more than 10 times faster than today's fastest transistors.
Scientists seek to establish community-driven metadata standards for microbiomes research
As the collective body of microbiome data for diverse crops grows, the lack of consistency in recording data makes it harder for the data to be utilized across research projects.
Health researchers find solution to life-threatening side effect
Through studies of rats, researchers from the University of Copenhagen may have found the reason behind of a large drop in blood pressure in patients receiving intravenous pain medication.
Trastuzumab deruxtecan shows early promise in patients with non-breast/gastric cancers
A HER2-targeted antibody-drug conjugate, fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu), showed signs of clinical activity in multiple non-breast/non-gastric cancer types, according to results from a phase I study.
CAR T-cell therapy for solid tumors may advance cancer treatments
The full title of the research is 'The study of the mechanisms of effectiveness of T-cells CAR-T towards solid tumors'; it was supported by nonprofit RakFond (Cancer Fund) and CyStoreLab (a resident of Skolkovo).
Using CRISPR to find muscular dystrophy treatments
A study from Boston Children's Hospital used CRISPR-Cas9 to better understand facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) and explore potential treatments by systematically deleting every gene in the genome.
Snake venom evolved for prey not protection
It is estimated that every year, over 100,000 human deaths can be attributed to snakebite from the world's 700 venomous snake species -- all inflicted in self-defence when the snakes feel threatened by encroaching humans.
Stanford engineers find ankle exoskeleton aids running
Researchers find that a motorized device that attaches around the ankle and foot can drastically reduce the energy cost of running.
Mayo Clinic outlines approach for patients at risk of drug-induced sudden cardiac death in COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to spread, leading to more than 20,000 deaths worldwide in less than four months.
Pharma's potential impact on water quality
When people take medications, these drugs and their metabolites can be excreted and make their way to wastewater treatment plants.
Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.
Bats depend on conspecifics when hunting above farmland
Common noctules -- one of the largest bat species native to Germany -- are searching for their fellows during their hunt for insects above farmland.
SLAC researcher discovers giant cavity in key tuberculosis molecule
The giant cavity, in a protein that transports nutrients across the cell membrane, is unlike anything researchers have seen before.
Prehistoric artifacts suggest a neolithic era independently developed in New Guinea
New artifacts uncovered at the Waim archaeological site in the highlands of New Guinea -- including a fragment of the earliest symbolic stone carving in Oceania -- illustrate a shift in human behavior between 5,050 and 4,200 years ago in response to the widespread emergence of agriculture, ushering in a regional Neolithic Era similar to the Neolithic in Eurasia.
Combination creates powerful central memory T cells for cellular therapy
MD Anderson researchers find that treating T cells with panobinostat and IL-21 re-programs them to a powerful central memory T cell type that persists longer.
Video game experience, gender may improve VR learning
Students who used immersive virtual reality (VR) did not learn significantly better than those who used two more traditional forms of learning, but they vastly preferred the VR to computer-simulated and hands-on methods, a new Cornell study has found.
New molecular probes for opioid receptors
It could be an important step forward in the improvement of pain therapy: Thanks to newly developed molecular probes, the behavior of individual opioid receptors can now be studied in detail.
Fossil finds give clues about flying reptiles in the Sahara 100 million years ago
Three new species of toothed pterosaurs -- flying reptiles of the Cretaceous period, some 100 million years ago -- have been identified in Africa by an international team of scientists led by Baylor University.
To stay positive, live in the moment -- but plan ahead
A recent study finds that people who balance living in the moment with planning for the future are best able to weather daily stress without succumbing to negative moods.
Mapping the cannabis genome to improve crops and health
Unlocking the full potential of cannabis for agriculture and human health will require a co-ordinated scientific effort to assemble and map the cannabis genome, says a just-published international study led by University of Saskatchewan researchers.
Mother/infant skin-to-skin touch boosts baby's brain development and function
As the world prioritizes social distancing due to COVID-19, research shows that extended use of Kangaroo Care, a skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest method of caring for a baby, can positively benefit full-term infants and their mothers, with important implications for post-partum depression.
MIPT scientists explain why new dangerous viruses are so hard to identify
In response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, an authoritative global scientific journal, aptly named Viruses, published a fundamental review of problems related to identifying and studying emerging pathogens, such as the notorious coronavirus.
Labeling of cannabidiod products becoming a public health concern
The need for accurate and informative labeling of hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products is a critical public health issue.
Coronavirus pandemic in Germany: Challenges and options for intervention
The worldwide spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and its associated respiratory disease COVID-19 proceeds at a highly dynamic pace.
Despite failures, chemo still promising against dangerous childhood brain cancer, DIPG
University of Colorado Cancer Center study shows, '... medicine does reach DIPG tissue in good quantities that have the potential to be effective against the tumor,' says lead researcher.
A critical enzyme for sperm formation could be a target for treating male infertility
Researchers led by Jeremy Wang of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have identified an enzyme essential for the process of male meiosis, the type of cell division that produces sperm.
Teeth serve as 'archive of life,' new research finds
Teeth constitute a permanent and faithful biological archive of the entirety of the individual's life, from tooth formation to death, a team of researchers has found.
Lung cancer trials supported by drug industry stronger
Lung cancer clinical trials supported by the pharmaceutical industry demonstrate no more bias compared to studies funded by other sources, according to a study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.
International ozone treaty stops changes in Southern Hemisphere winds
The Montreal Protocol of 1987 phased out production of ozone-destroying substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Big brains or many babies: How birds can thrive in urban environments
Having bigger brains isn't the only strategy for success for birds adapting to urban habitats.
Diet, nutrition have profound effects on gut microbiome
A new literature review from scientists at George Washington University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology suggests that nutrition and diet have a profound impact on the microbial composition of the gut.
'Whiskey webs' are the new 'coffee ring effect'
Spilled coffee forms a ring as the liquid evaporates, depositing solids along the edge of the puddle.
Analysis predicts purified fish oil could prevent thousands of cardiovascular events
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine have conducted a statistical analysis that predicts more than 70,000 heart attacks, strokes and other adverse cardiovascular events could be prevented each year in the U.S. through the use of a highly purified fish oil therapy.
For clogged and hardened hearts, a mussel is the solution
Prof. Hyung Joon Cha and his research team developed a stem cell therapy on myocardial infarction, using proteins that can be found in mussels, mussel adhesive proteins.
Brake on immune activity identified, raising new possibilities for anticancer therapy
Researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and Fox Chase Cancer Center show for the first time that a molecule called EGR4 -known mainly for its role in male fertility -- serves as a critical brake on immune activation.
Burying or burning garbage boosts airborne bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes
Municipal solid waste is trash -- such as plastic, food scraps and lawn clippings -- that goes into garbage bins and doesn't get recycled.
Women 10% more likely than men to report feeling unsafe on urban public transport
A worldwide study of 327,403 metro and bus passengers shows that women are ten per cent more likely to feel unsafe than men on urban public transport.
Computational human cell reveals new insight on genetic information processing
Researchers have developed the first computational model of a human cell and simulated its behavior for 15 minutes -- the longest time achieved for a biological system of this complexity.
Scientists get first look at cause of 'slow motion' earthquakes
An international team of scientists has for the first time identified the conditions deep below the Earth's surface that lead to the triggering of so-called 'slow motion' earthquakes.
Survey data confirm increases in anxiety, depression, suicidal thinking among US adolescents seeking mental health care
Nationwide survey data on more than 230,000 US adolescents over the period 2005 to 2018 suggest that anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other 'internalizing' problems account for an increasing share of the adolescent mental health burden, according to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Columbia University.
Concerns over 'exaggerated' study claims of AI outperforming doctors
Many studies claiming that artificial intelligence is as good as (or better than) human experts at interpreting medical images are of poor quality and are arguably exaggerated, posing a risk for the safety of 'millions of patients' warn researchers in The BMJ today.

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