Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 06, 2020
Lifestyle trumps geography in determining makeup of gut microbiome
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis studied the gut microbiomes of wild apes in the Republic of Congo, of captive apes in zoos in the US, and of people from around the world and discovered that lifestyle is more important than geography or even species in determining the makeup of the gut microbiome.

Making stronger concrete with 'sewage-enhanced' steel slag
Researchers examined whether steel slag that had been used to treat wastewater could then be recycled as an aggregate material for concrete.

Breakthrough in unlocking genetic potential of ocean microbes
Researchers have made a major breakthrough in developing gene-editing tools to improve our understanding of one of the most important ocean microbes on the planet.

Researchers report new understanding of energy fluctuations in fluids
The Casimir Force is a well-known effect originating from the quantum fluctuation of electromagnetic fields in a vacuum.

Artificial light in the arctic
A new study examine how artificial light during the polar night disrupts Arctic fish and zooplankton behavior down to 200 meters in depth, which could affect fish counts.

Researchers hope to improve future epidemic predictions
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, a new mathematical model could offer insights on how to improve future epidemic predictions based on how information mutates as it is transmitted from person to person and group to group.

The ocean's 'biological pump' captures more carbon than expected
Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a new study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the efficiency of the ocean's 'biological carbon pump' has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments.

Researchers use nanotechnology to develop new treatment for endometriosis
Scientists have developed a precise, nanotechnology-based treatment to alleviate the pain and fertility problems associated with endometriosis, a common gynecological condition in women of childbearing age.

Societal transformations and resilience in Arabia across 12,000 years of climate change
Recent archaeological and paleoenvironmental research in the Arabian Peninsula shows a range of societal responses to a series of extreme climatic and environmental fluctuations over thousands of years.

Which healthy lifestyle factors associated with more years free of chronic disease?
What combination of healthy lifestyle factors were associated with the most years lived without chronic diseases was the focus of this analysis that included data from more than 100,000 adults who were participants in 12 European studies.

Surgical masks good for most COVID-19 treatment: McMaster
A systematic review of four randomized controlled trials on masks done between 1990 and last month shows the use of medical masks did not increase viral respiratory infection or clinical respiratory illness.

Alport syndrome severity can be predicted by causative protein genotype
Researchers from Kumamoto and Kobe Universities in Japan have successfully developed a system for predicting the severity of Alport syndrome, a serious hereditary kidney disease.

Doubts cast over accuracy of many popular fertility and pregnancy planning apps
Many popular fertility and pregnancy planning apps may be inaccurate, suggest the results of a scoping review of the available evidence, published online in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.

Immunotherapy prior to surgery is effective in colon cancer
Patients with colon cancer, but no distant metastases, can benefit from a short course of immunotherapy while waiting for their surgery, as it can cause tumours to shrink substantially or clear up in a very short time.

MSU scientists discover legacy of past weather in stories of prairie plant restoration
Michigan State University's Lars Brudvig, associate professor in the Department of Plant Biology, and former MSU graduate student Anna Funk investigated fields of data going back 20 years to find out why some replanted prairies are healthier than others.

AI techniques used to improve battery health and safety
Researchers have designed a machine learning method that can predict battery health with 10x higher accuracy than current industry standard, which could aid in the development of safer and more reliable batteries for electric vehicles and consumer electronics.

The ocean responds to a warming planet
The oceans help buffer the Earth from climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and heat at the surface and transporting it to the deep ocean.

More pavement, more problems
Think your daily coffee, boutique gym membership and airport lounge access cost a lot?

Neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filter SARS COV-2
Both surgical and cotton masks were found to be ineffective for preventing the dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19.

Scientist proposes clinical trials with low-dose rapamycin to protect elderly from COVID-19
The Biogerontology Research Foundation, a registered UK charity supporting and promoting aging and longevity research worldwide since 2008, today announced the publication of a paper titled 'Geroprotective and senoremediative strategies to reduce the comorbidity, infection rates, severity, and lethality in gerophilic and gerolavic infections' in the leading journal Aging.

A new antiviral drug heading into clinical trials offers hope for COVID-19 treatment
Scientists are hopeful that a new drug -- called EIDD-2801 -- could change the way doctors treat COVID-19.

Pollen-based 'paper' holds promise for new generation of natural components
NTU Singapore scientists have created a paper-like material derived from pollen that bends and curls in response to changing levels of environmental humidity.

Virginia Tech scientists reveal brain tumors impact normally helpful cells
Unprovoked recurrent seizures are a serious problem affecting most patients who suffer from glioma, a primary brain tumor composed of malignant glial cells.

Bedroom air filters help asthmatic children breathe easier
Using a bedroom air filter that traps particles of pollution with diameters smaller than 2.5 micrometers can significantly improve breathing in asthmatic children, a new Duke University-led study by American and Chinese scientists shows.

Stream pollution from mountaintop mining doesn't stay put in the water
Since the 1980s, a mountaintop mine in West Virginia has been leaching selenium into nearby streams at levels deemed unsafe for aquatic life.

Nanopore reveals shape-shifting enzyme linked to catalysis
University of Groningen scientists observed the characteristics of a single enzyme inside a nanopore.

Cold War nuclear bomb tests reveal true age of whale sharks
Atomic bomb tests conducted during the Cold War have helped scientists for the first time correctly determine the age of whale sharks.

The Milky Way's satellites help reveal link between dark matter halos and galaxy formation
Just like we orbit the sun and the moon orbits us, the Milky Way has satellite galaxies with their own satellites.

RIKEN group leads world in single-cell transcriptome profiling
With the goal of ensuring that single-cell RNA sequencing, a current focus of intense research, makes use of the best possible methods, an international group has benchmarked 13 different methods.

Innovative birds are less vulnerable to extinction
Bird species that have the capacity to express novel foraging behaviors are less vulnerable to extinction than species that do not, according to a collaborative study involving McGill University and CREAF Barcelona and published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Leaving its mark: How frailty impacts the blood
Fifteen blood metabolites are key for diagnosing the age-related disorder, frailty, new study finds.

Adding a measure of patient frailty to Medicare payment model could lead to fairer reimbursement for clinicians
Researchers identified a way to measure frailty using patients' medical claims that more accurately predicts costs-of-care, especially for clinicians with disproportionate shares of frail patients.

Coffee grounds show promise as wood substitute in producing cellulose nanofibers
Researchers at Yokohama National University (YNU) meticulously examined cellulose nanofibers extracted from spent coffee grounds, identifying them as a viable new raw source.

Compound in fruit peels halts damage and spurs neuronal repair in multiple sclerosis
Ursolic acid, abundant in fruit peels and some herbs, both prevents and repairs neurons in animal models of multiple sclerosis.

Identification of new factors important in maintaining lung function in the elderly
Japanese researchers have found that elderly carriers of a specific DsbA-L gene type are at increased risk for lung function decline.

Synthesis against the clock
Radiolabeled molecules help nuclear physicians to detect and precisely target tumors, which are often developing due to pathological changes in metabolic processes.

X-rays reveal in situ crystal growth of lead-free perovskite solar panel materials
Lead-based perovskites efficiently turn light into electricity but they also present some major drawbacks: the most efficient materials are not very stable, while lead is a toxic element.

Evaluating grip strength to identify early diabetes
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, reports valuable new grip strength metrics that provide healthcare practitioners with an easy-to-perform, time-efficient screening tool for type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Examining association between childhood video game use, adolescent body weight
Researchers looked at whether there was a long-term association between using video games at an early age and later weight as a teenager, as well as what role behaviors such as physical activity, the regularity of bedtimes and consuming sugar-sweetened beverages might play.

What makes Saturn's atmosphere so hot
New analysis of data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft found that electric currents, triggered by interactions between solar winds and charged particles from Saturn's moons, spark the auroras and heat the planet's upper atmosphere.

Applying CRISPR beyond Arabidopsis thaliana
In the plant sciences, CRISPR--the bacterial gene editing toolbox that enables more precise and efficient editing of genomic sequences than previously possible--has initially been applied with genetic model organisms like Arabidopsis thaliana.

Atherosclerosis progresses rapidly in healthy people from the age of 40
A CNIC study published in JACC demonstrates that atheroma plaques extend rapidly in the arteries of asymptomatic individuals aged between 40 and 50 years participating in the PESA-CNIC-Santander study.

Potential therapy for rare neurologic disease
A targeted therapy, currently being studied for treatment of certain cancers including glioblastoma, may also be beneficial in treating other neurologic diseases, a study at the University of Cincinnati shows.

Medicare changes may increase access to TAVR
The number of hospitals providing TAVR could double with changes to Medicare requirements.

Fungi found in cotton can decrease root knot nematode galling
Gregory Sword and colleagues at Texas A&M University inoculated cotton seeds with a diverse array of fungal isolates and tested the resulting seedlings in greenhouse trials for susceptibility to gall formation by root knot nematodes.

Housing prescriptions improve health outcomes in children, anxiety and depression in adults
Results of a study show that enrollment in a program that supports housing and health needs of medically complex families was associated with improved child health and parent mental health within six months.

Clinical trial to assess potential treatment for COVID-19-related respiratory failure
A team of physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are now enrolling patients in a clinical trial to evaluate a common anti-clotting drug for the treatment of COVID-19-positive patients with ARDS.

Alzheimer's trial screening data links high amyloid levels with early stage disease
The first paper from the NIH-funded A4 study supports the hypothesis that higher levels of amyloid protein in the brain represent an early stage of Alzheimer's disease.

Neuroscientists find memory cells that help us interpret new situations
MIT neuroscientists have identified populations of cells that encode distinctive segments of an overall experience.

Curbing the rising toll of adults with complex care needs
In an article just published in JAMA Health Forum, nurse researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) underscore that while responses to the problem have resulted in well-motivated innovations, an effective and actionable path for immediate and long-term remediation should encompass micro- and macro-level solutions.

Tiny marine organisms as the key to global cycles
Marine microorganisms play a very important role in global cycles such as of the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Older entrepreneurs as successful as their younger counterparts, study reveals
From Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, the stories of prosperous, young innovators drive the American economic narrative.

Climate change encouraged colonisation of South Pacific Islands earlier than first thought
Research led by scientists at the University of Southampton has found settlers arrived in East Polynesia around 200 years earlier than previously thought.

Development of a sticker that indicates whether cold-chain food products have gone bad
Can we tell with the naked eye if any cold-chain food products that we have received have gone bad?

Viruses don't have a metabolism; but some have the building blocks for one
'Giant viruses' are many times larger than typical viruses and have more complex genomes.

Making biofuels cheaper by putting plants to work
One strategy to make biofuels more competitive is to make plants do some of the work themselves.

Condensed matter: Bethe strings experimentally observed
90 years ago, the physicist Hans Bethe postulated that unusual patterns, so-called Bethe strings, appear in certain magnetic solids.

INSEAD research finds how much CEOs matter to firm performance
Morten Bennedsen, INSEAD Professor of Economics and the André and Rosalie Hoffmann Chaired Professor of Family Enterprise, along with colleagues Francisco Perez-Gonzalez (ITAM and NBER) and Daniel Wolfenzon (Columbia University and NBER) decided to find out how much CEOs matter by measuring the impact on firm performance when a CEO is absent, specifically, hospitalised.

Mysteries of Uranus' oddities explained by Japanese astronomers
Uranus is a planetary oddity. Our Solar System's planets revolve around the Sun in the same direction, and do so with their axes of rotation - the way they spin locally - orientated roughly perpendicular to their orbits.

NASA finds Tropical Storm Irondro's heavy rainfall displaced
NASA analyzed Tropical Storm Irondro's rainfall and found heaviest rainfall was being pushed far southeast of the center because of strong wind shear.

Clemson researchers unraveling role of fungi in early childhood dental health
Clemson University researchers have conducted a study that may someday lead to better cavity prevention measures and treatments.

Follow your gut
We may try to consciously make good food choices, but our bodies have their own way of weighing in.

Covid-19 tool allows health leaders to plan for critical care surge
The challenges of COVID-19 will require hospital leaders, practitioners and regional officials to adopt drastic measures that challenge the standard way of providing care.

The four horsemen of the COVID-19 pandemic
It is clear that we must prioritize identifying and alleviating the conditions that made the Covid-19 pandemic possible.

Researchers discover pressure-induced polyamorphism in dense SO2
Recently, a team of Chinese scientists and their collaborators at the Institute of Solid State Physics of the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science examined polyamorphism in the molecular substance SO2.

How the chemical industry can meet the climate goals
ETH researchers analysed various possibilities for reducing the net CO2 emissions of the chemical industry to zero.

Climate change to affect fish sizes and complex food webs
Global climate change will affect fish sizes in unpredictable ways and, consequently, impact complex food webs in our oceans, a new IMAS-led study has shown.

Researchers reveal new understandings of synthetic gene circuits
Recent discoveries by two research teams in the Ira A.

New algorithm aims to protect surgical team members against infection with COVID-19 virus
Researchers have created an algorithm that aims to protect operating room team members who perform urgent and emergency operations from COVID-19.

Magnetoacoustic waves: Towards a new paradigm of on-chip communication
Researchers have observed directly and for the first time magnetoacoustic waves (sound-driven spin waves), which are considered as potential information carriers for novel computation schemes.

Men pose more risk to other road users than women
Men pose more risk to other road users than women do and they are more likely to drive more dangerous vehicles, reveals the first study of its kind, published online in the journal Injury Prevention.

Ride-hailing linked to more crashes for motorists and pedestrians
Ride-hailing trips increase the number of crashes for motorists and pedestrians at pick-up and drop-off locations, reports a new study from researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Oil spill: where and when will it reach the beach? Answers to prevent environmental impacts
When an accident involving oil spills occurs, forecasting the behaviour of the oil slick and understanding in advance where and when it will reach the coastline is crucial to organize an efficient emergency response that is able to limit environmental and economic repercussions.

Brown fat can burn energy in an unexpected way
Researchers in the lab of Joslin's Yu-Hua Tseng, PhD, a Senior Investigator in the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at Joslin Diabetes Center, have discovered an unexpected biological pathway by which brown fat cells can translate energy into heat.

Invasive species with charisma have it easier
It's the outside that counts: Their charisma has an impact on the introduction and image of alien species and can even hinder their control.

Potential early biomarker to track development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Research from Rohit N. Kulkarni's lab at Joslin Diabetes Center has uncovered a biomarker in humans tied to the development of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease that might help doctors detect early stages of the disease.

An updated overview of the complex clinical spectrum of tourette syndrome
Background: Tourette syndrome is a common nerve development disorder which is characterized by a variety of muscle or vocal movements called 'tics', often involuntary.

Development of new system for combatting COVID-19 that can be used for other viruses
A team working to combat the COVID-19 virus has a system that will unlock researchers' ability to more quickly develop and evaluate developing vaccines, diagnose infected patients and explore whether or how the virus has evolved.

Changes in marijuana vaping, edible use among US 12th-graders
About 2,400 students in the 12th grade were surveyed about the frequency and mode of use (smoking, vaping and edibles) of marijuana from 2015 to 2018.

How understanding the dynamics of yeast prions can shed light on neurodegenerative diseases
How understanding the dynamics of yeast prions can shed light on neurodegenerative diseases

Fiber consumption linked to lower breast cancer risk
Consuming a diet high in fiber was linked with a reduced incidence of breast cancer in an analysis of all relevant prospective studies.

Religious believers think God values lives of out-group members more than they do
In a new paper, which will appear in print in an upcoming special issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science, Michael Pasek, Jeremy Ginges, and colleagues find that, across religious groups in Fiji and Israel, religious believers see God as encouraging people to treat others in a more universal, or equal, manner.

Warming-induced greening slows warming at third pole
The Third Pole has seen an increase in vegetation over the past three decades.

Sulfur 'spices' alien atmospheres
They say variety is the spice of life, and now new discoveries from Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that a certain elemental 'variety' -- sulfur -- is indeed a 'spice' that can perhaps point to signs of life.

Researchers help expand search for new state of matter
Scientists have been striving to establish the existence of quantum spin liquids, a new state of matter, since the 1970s.

Cell muscle movements visualised for first time
The movements of cell muscles in the form of tiny filaments of proteins have been visualised at unprecedented detail by University of Warwick scientists.

Hereditary mutation that drives aggressive head and neck, and lung cancers in Asians
New research from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore revealed a genetic variant in a gene called MET that is responsible for more aggressive growth of head and neck, and lung cancers in Asian populations.

Shorter radiotherapy treatment for bowel cancer patients during COVID-19
An international panel of cancer experts has recommended a one-week course of radiotherapy and delaying surgery as the best way to treat patients with bowel cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA): Newborn screening promises a benefit
The earliest possible diagnosis and treatment of infantile SMA through newborn screening leads to better motor development and less need for permanent ventilation as well as fewer deaths.

Scientists' warning to humanity on insect extinctions
As the human race continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have found that the planet's insects are also facing a crisis after accelerating rates of extinction have led to a worldwide fall in insect numbers.

Indigenous knowledge could reveal ways to weather climate change on islands
Some islands have such low elevation, that mere inches of sea-level rise will flood them, but higher, larger islands will also be affected by changes in climate and an understanding of ancient practices in times of climate change might help populations survive, according to researchers.

Link between air pollution and corona mortality in Italy could be possible
A group of scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark and University of Siena in Italy has found another small piece in the puzzle of understanding COVID-19.

How old are whale sharks? Nuclear bomb legacy reveals their age
Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s have helped scientists accurately estimate the age of whale sharks, the biggest fish in the seas, according to a Rutgers-led study.

What is the Asian hornet invasion going to cost Europe?
Since its accidental introduction in 2003 in France, the yellow-legged Asian hornet Vespa velutina nigrithorax is rapidly spreading through Europe.

APS tip sheet: First results from the Belle II experiment
The Belle II experiment reports its first measurements.

'Smart toilet' monitors for signs of disease, Stanford study reports
There's a new disease-detecting technology in the lab of Sanjiv 'Sam' Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D., and its No.

The human body as an electrical conductor, a new method of wireless power transfer
The project Electronic AXONs: wireless microstimulators based on electronic rectification of epidermically applied currents (eAXON, 2017-2022), funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant awarded to Antoni Ivorra, head of the Biomedical Electronics Research Group (BERG) of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) at UPF principally aims to 'develop very thin, flexible, injectable microstimulators to restore movement in paralysis', says Ivorra, principal investigator of the project.

Autoimmunity-associated heart dilation tied to heart-failure risk in type 1 diabetes
In people with type 1 diabetes without known cardiovascular disease, the presence of autoantibodies against heart muscle proteins was associated with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging evidence of increased volume of the left ventricle (the heart's main pumping chamber), increased muscle mass, and reduced pumping function (ejection fraction), features that are associated with higher risk of failure in the general population

New therapy could combat persistent joint infections in horses
A new therapy could combat persistent joint infections in horses, potentially saving them from years of pain.

Changes in brain attention may underlie autism
New research in JNeurosci explores how a particular region of the brainstem might explain differences in attention in people with autism.

NASA finds heavy rainfall in powerful tropical cyclone Harold
One of NASA's satellites that can measure the rate in which rainfall is occurring in storms passed over powerful Tropical Cyclone Harold just after it made landfall in Vanuatu in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Pilot study suggests promise of new approach to treat adults with autism and depression
Medical University of South Carolina researchers report in Autism Research the findings of a pilot study assessing the safety and potential efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, to treat patients with both autism and depression.

Insect wings hold antimicrobial clues for improved medical implants
Some insect wings such as cicada and dragonfly possess nanopillar structures that kill bacteria upon contact.

Texas A&M chemists working on drugs To treat COVID-19
In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Texas A&M University chemist Wenshe Ray Liu and his research team have focused their lab solely on searching for drugs to treat COVID-19.

Stronger Atlantic currents drive temperate species to migrate towards the Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean increasingly resembles the Atlantic, not only regarding its temperature but also the species that live there.

Efforts to control livestock disease PPRV should focus on herd management style, not age
The style by which livestock are managed, but not an animal's age, plays an important role in transmission risk of PPRV, which produces a highly infectious and often fatal disease in sheep and goats.

Lancaster academic sees positives in first published clinical trial of COVID-19 treatment
A Lancaster University statistician who worked on the first published large randomized clinical trial for a potential treatment for the COVID-19 virus said the study produced positive results.

COVID-19: on average only 6% of actual SARS-CoV-2 infections detected worldwide
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease officially issued by countries dramatically understates the true number of infections, a report from Göttingen University suggests.

One-third of younger age groups in northwestern São Paulo lack antibodies against measles
A population study conducted at a regional center of the state of São Paulo (Brazil) showed that 32.9% of subjects under 40 had no immunity against the disease, compared with only 1% in those over 50.
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