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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | April 08, 2020


Autoimmunity may be rising in the United States
Autoimmunity, a condition in which the body's immune system reacts with components of its own cells, appears to be increasing in the United States, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health and their collaborators.
Origins of Earth's magnetic field remain a mystery
The existence of a magnetic field beyond 3.5 billion years ago is still up for debate.
NASA finds very heavy rainfall in major tropical cyclone Harold
On April 8, Tropical Cyclone Harold is a major hurricane, a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, as it exits Fiji and heads toward the island of Tonga.
Researchers assess bird flu virus subtypes in China
The avian influenza virus subtype H16N3 is currently detectable in many countries.
AGS COVID-19 policy brief offers roadmap for care of older adults in nursing homes
In a policy brief published today in its namesake journal (DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16477), the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) offered a roadmap to guide federal, state, and local governments addressing COVID-19 concerns for a critical--and critically impacted--group: Older adults in nursing homes and long-term care.
False memories of crime appear real when retold to others
People are no better than chance at identifying when someone else is recounting a false or real memory of a crime, according to a new UCL study published in Frontiers in Psychology.
Restricting sleep may affect emotional reactions
In a recent Journal of Sleep Research study, participants perceived pleasant and neutral pictures in a more negative way when their sleep was restricted for several nights in a row.
Drinking green tea may help with food allergies
Drinking green tea increases Flavonifractor plautii in the gut, which in turn suppresses an allergic food immune response.
Study questions impact of pregnancy-related programme on stillbirth rates
A new Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology study of 11 million pregnancies in the UK calls into question the impact of the Growth Assessment Protocol (GAP) program on stillbirth rate.
What are the environmental impacts of cancer drugs?
Chemotherapeutic drugs, also known as antineoplastic agents, that are prescribed to treat a range of cancer types, enter the aquatic environment via human excretion and wastewater treatment facilities.
Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities
Online and blended (online and in-person) STEM instruction can produce the same learning outcomes for students as traditional, in-person classes at a fraction of the cost, finds research published today in Science Advances.
Periodic physical distancing for COVID-19 control: new modelling study
A new modelling paper, using data from Ontario, indicates that dynamic physical distancing and other measures could help maintain health system capacity and prevent intensive care units (ICUs) from becoming overwhelmed because of COVID-19, while allowing periodic psychological and economic breaks from restrictions.
Vexing Nemo: Motorboat noise makes clownfish stressed and aggressive
Working on the reefs around Moorea in French Polynesia, an international team of scientists exposed 40 pairs of clownfish to recordings of natural reef sounds or motorboat noise for up to two days.
Premature birth linked to the mother's vaginal microbiome
Pregnant women who deliver early are more likely to have a varied vaginal microbiome, especially in their first trimester.
Loss of smell in patient with COVID-19
The case of a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) whose main symptom was a loss of smell without nasal obstruction is reported in this article.
Unwinding the mystery of degraded reel-to-reel tapes
As reel-to-reel tapes make a comeback among audio buffs, scientists are unraveling the secret of why some decades-old tapes are unplayable, while others retain their original superb audio fidelity.
Neuropsychological and psychological methods are essential
Clinical neuropsychology and psychology have evolved as diagnostic and treatment-oriented disciplines necessary for individuals with neurological, psychiatric, and medical conditions.
Protecting thin, flexible brain interfaces from the human body
Researchers have demonstrated the ability to implant an ultrathin, flexible neural interface with thousands of electrodes into the brain with a projected lifetime of more than six years.
A new method for correcting systematic errors in ocean subsurface data
During almost four decades between 1940-1970s the majority of temperature observations in the ocean within the upper 200 meters was obtained by means of mechanical bathythermographs (MBT).
Researchers successfully repair stroke-damaged rat brains
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have succeeded in restoring mobility and sensation of touch in stroke-afflicted rats by reprogramming human skin cells to become nerve cells, which were then transplanted into the rats' brains.
Early bedtime may help children maintain healthy weight
Going to bed early and following a consistent bedtime routine may help reduce children's risk of becoming overweight or obese, according to a new study published in Acta Paediatrica.
Probiotics may help treat acne
Acne is caused by chronic inflammation and is often treated with antibiotics.
Does long-term exposure to air pollution lead to a steeper rate of cognitive decline?
People who live in urban areas with higher levels of air pollution may score lower on thinking and memory tests and may also lose cognitive skills faster over time, or it is possible they also may not, according to a study published in the April 8, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Don't look to mature forests to soak up carbon dioxide emissions
Research published today in Nature suggests mature forests are limited in their ability to absorb 'extra' carbon as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase.
Examining association of preoperative metformin, surgical outcomes in patients with diabetes
Metformin is the most commonly prescribed noninsulin medication for type 2 diabetes and this observational study examined postoperative death and hospital readmission among adults with type 2 diabetes who had a prescription for metformin before major surgery with those who didn't.
Higher levels of coronavirus 'entry point' enzyme in lungs of COPD patients and smokers
People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and people who currently smoke may have higher levels of a molecule, called angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE-2), in their lungs according to a study published in the European Respiratory Journal today (Thursday).
Amazonian crops domesticated 10,000 years ago
As agriculture emerged in early civilizations, crops were domesticated in four locations around the world -- rice in China; grains and pulses in the Middle East; maize, beans and squash in Mesoamerica; and potatoes and quinoa in the Andes.
McGill researchers identify correlation between MBI and Alzheimer's
New research from McGill University has found that the presence and severity of mild behavioral impairment (MBI) in cognitively healthy individuals is strongly associated with the presence of amyloid plaques deposits in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
Excess weight during pre-school linked to higher bone fracture risk
Pre-school children who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of bone fractures during childhood than normal weight preschoolers, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
New data reveals even low levels of air pollution impacts gene expression
New data from a landmark study done by Monash University researchers in Australia raises significant concerns that even short-term exposure to low level air pollution can affect gene expression, leaving us at risk of other diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
House cleaning on the nanoscale
A team of scientists at Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has developed a novel mechanical cleaning method for surfaces on the nanoscale.
New information about the transmission of the amphibian pathogen, Bsal
Using existing data from controlled experiments and computer simulations, researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have found that host contact rates and habitat structure affect transmission rates of Bsal among eastern newts, a common salamander species found throughout eastern North America.
The Lancet Gasteroenterology & Hepatology: First clinical trial finds probiotic treatment with dead bacteria is better than placebo at alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Probiotic bacteria that have been killed by heat can significantly improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) compared to placebo, and are not associated with any safety risk, according to a new 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with 443 patients published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology journal.
Eindhoven researchers present revolutionary light-emitting silicon
Emitting light from silicon has been the 'Holy Grail' in the microelectronics industry for decades.
An experimental study demonstrates the effectiveness of online learning
High-quality online courses are no less effective than traditional classes when it comes to student learning outcomes.
What do soap bubbles and butterflies have in common?
A unique butterfly breeding experiment gave UC Berkeley researchers an opportunity to study the physical and genetic changes underlying the evolution of structural color, responsible for butterflies' iridescent purples, blues and greens.
Carbon emission scheme 'succeeding despite low prices'
A European Union (EU) programme aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has made significant progress despite low prices in carbon markets, according to a study at the Universities of Strathclyde and Pittsburgh.
Thanks to 'flexoskeletons,' these insect-inspired robots are faster and cheaper to make
Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a new method that doesn't require any special equipment and works in just minutes to create soft, flexible, 3D-printed robots.
St. Jude experimental anti-malarial drug shows promise in first clinical trial
Malaria is a leading killer of children worldwide, and new drugs are needed.
Uganda: 20% decline in economic output without climate action
Less nutrition, less productivity, less development: the changing climate hinders poor rural areas of developing countries.
Promising advance in depression research
Despite their effectiveness, only 40% of patients respond to the first antidepressant they try.
Whether marijuana helps with pain is unclear, study suggests
Medical marijuana users who say they have high levels of pain are more likely than those with low pain to say they use cannabis three or more times a day, a new study finds.
Wallflowers could lead to new drugs
Plant-derived chemicals called cardenolides - like digitoxin - have long been used to treat heart disease, and have shown potential as cancer therapies.
Film photosensitizer: High efficient singlet oxygen generation
A new non-polypyrrole-based photosensitizer (LW-PBI) was developed via introducting a nonplanar spirofluorene into a derivative of perylene bisimide (PBI) containing two long-alkyl chains.
Hidden army: How starfish could build up numbers to attack coral reefs
It is known that crown of thorns starfish lie in wait as algae-eating young before attacking coral.
Newborns infected with COVID-19 in China experienced mild symptoms
Researchers have identified a total of four cases of newborn babies with COVID-19 infection in China.
Foods high in vitamin D may benefit heart health
Consuming foods high in vitamin D may have heart-protective effects, according to new research published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.
Doubts about basic assumption for the universe
No matter where we look, the same rules apply everywhere in space: countless calculations of astrophysics are based on this basic principle.
New fossil from Brazil hints at the origins of the mysterious tanystropheid reptiles
A new species of Triassic reptile from Brazil is a close cousin of a mysterious group called tanystropheids, according to a study published April 8, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Tiane De-Oliviera of the Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil and colleagues.
Extreme action costs popular support for protest movements, new study finds
New research has found that social change advocates face an 'activist's dilemma.' While extreme actions can bring more attention to a cause than moderate ones, they are more likely to diminish support, even among natural sympathizers, the study found.
Observing the internal 3D structure of the nipple to understand and fight breast cancer
Researchers from Nagoya University, led by Assoc. Prof. Naoki Sunaguchi, employed X-ray dark-field computed tomography to create three-dimensional renderings of the internal structure of the human nipple, thereby elucidating its varied arrangements.
The Lancet: Modelling study estimates impact of relaxing control measures on possible second wave of COVID-19 in China
New modelling research, published in The Lancet journal, suggests that China's aggressive control measures appear to have halted the first wave of COVID-19 in areas outside Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic.
Social media can forecast economic impact of disasters including COVID-19 pandemic
Social media should be used to chart the economic impact and recovery of businesses in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research published in Nature Communications.
New NUI Galway study helps improve accuracy of future climate change predictions
New research published by NUI Galway's Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS) has shone light on the impact of clouds on climate change.
Public policies push schools to prioritize creating better test-takers over better people
Personal growth and job skills have taken a backseat to an increased focus on standardized test scores in schools across the nation, according to new University at Buffalo-led research.
Novel treatment, social services program improves outcomes for opioid-dependent mothers
A new study published in the April issue of the journal Health Affairs says that, since its inception, Project Nurture has helped to reduce the necessary placement of children in foster care by more than 8 percentage points.
COVID-19 critical care bed modelling study: potential shortage in Canada
A national modelling paper predicting the number of available ICU beds across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that self-isolation will likely not be enough to keep demand from exceeding supply.
Rates of pulmonary complications drastically reduced with newer drug
A team of researchers at Michigan Medicine found the drug sugammadex was associated with significantly reduced rates of pulmonary complications following surgery.
Potential harms of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for treating COVID-19
Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are being used to treat and prevent COVID-19 despite weak evidence for effectiveness, and physicians and patients should be aware of the drugs' potentially serious adverse events, states a review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
When antireflux surgery is needed to treat GERD after endoscopy
Researchers report a growing awareness of gastroesophageal reflux problems among patients who undergo endoscopic, nonsurgical treatment for esophageal achalasia, frequently requiring future surgical intervention.
UCI-led study finds modifiable risk factors could play a role in Alzheimer's disease
Amyloid is a key feature of Alzheimer's disease, but the accumulation of these sticky proteins may not be the only risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published this week.
Researchers uncover importance of aligning biological clock with day-night cycles
UC San Diego scientists studying bacteria have identified the roots of a behavior that is regulated by the circadian clock.
Risk factors for carrying pneumonia-causing bacteria revealed
New research has uncovered the risk factors for Fijians carrying a pneumonia-causing bacteria.
COVID-19: Genetic network analysis provides 'snapshot' of pandemic origins
First use of phylogenetic techniques shows 'ancestral' virus genome closest to those in bats was not Wuhan's predominant virus type.
New 'refrigerator' super-cools molecules to nanokelvin temperatures
MIT physicists have found a way to cool molecules of sodium lithium down to 200 billionths of a Kelvin, just a hair above absolute zero.
Security guards struggle with PTSD and lack mental health support
New research shows that thousands of security guards in the UK are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), having been exposed to frequent episodes of verbal and physical abuse.
Coronavirus pandemic in Germany: Measures relevant to health
The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has published a second ad-hoc-statement entitled 'Coronavirus Pandemic -- Measures Relevant to Health'.
Belle II yields first results in search of the Z' boson
The Belle II experiment started about one year ago. Physical Review Letters has now published the initial results of the detector.
Off-the-shelf artificial cardiac patch repairs heart attack damage in rats, pigs
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed an 'off-the-shelf' artificial cardiac patch that can deliver cardiac cell-derived healing factors directly to the site of heart attack injury.
The effects of inflammatory bowel disease on pregnancy
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis -- often affects women of childbearing age.
A step ahead in the race toward ultrafast imaging of single particles
New research from Argonne National Laboratory takes a step toward the 'holy grail' of imaging: the ability to see the structure of a single, free-form molecule at atomic resolution.
Ménière's disease: New clinical practice guideline
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published the Clinical Practice Guideline: Ménière's Disease today in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
New tool helps gather useful genetic information obtained from blood, skin tissues
Hoping to refine the usefulness of RNA sequencing, a team of researchers reviewed a database of RNA sequencing results in non-clinically-accessible tissues from organs like the brain and heart.
Brain discovery suggests source of lifelong behavioral issues
The finding also could have important implications for a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Babies in popular low-riding pushchairs are exposed to alarming levels of toxic air pollutants
Parents who are using popular low-riding pushchairs could be exposing their babies to alarming levels of air pollution, finds a new study from the University of Surrey.
Cancer mutation in dual role
Researchers show that an oncogenic mutation in leukemia cells also promotes inflammations in the body
Study reveals strongest predictors of menhaden growth in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic
New research suggests that large-scale environmental factors influence the size of one of the ocean's most abundant forage species.
Researchers discover new information on interstellar magnetic field in solar neighborhood
An international research team led by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Turku, Finland, mapped the interstellar magnetic field structure and interstellar matter distribution in the solar neighbourhood.
First study on the health conditions of adults one month into COVID-19 lockdown
A new preliminary study provides some of the earliest pieces of evidence that the COVID-19 outbreak affected people mentally as well as physically.
Putting remdesivir to the test for COVID-19
As the coronavirus pandemic claims lives and overwhelms health care systems throughout the world, scientists are closely watching several late-stage trials of the antiviral drug remdesivir.
Knowledge of cancer diagnosis may affect survival
In a Psycho-Oncology study of adults in China with lung cancer, patients who knew of their cancer diagnosis generally survived longer than those who did not.
Researchers share perspectives on coronavirus pandemic
As COVID-19 ravages the globe, researchers are working tirelessly to develop new diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.
Harnessing the power of electricity-producing bacteria for programmable 'biohybrids'
Someday, microbial cyborgs -- bacteria combined with electronic devices -- could be useful in fuel cells, biosensors and bioreactors.
How does habitat fragmentation affect Amazonian birds?
The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP), located near Manaus, Brazil, began in 1979 and is the world's longest-running experimental study of tropical forest fragments.
COVID-19 in children in Spain
Describes testing for and treatment of children with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Madrid.
National online education platforms could make STEM degrees more affordable, Russia-based study shows
An online education model in Russia in which national platforms license STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses from top universities to institutions with instructor shortages could significantly lower instruction costs, allowing resource-constrained universities to enroll more STEM students, according to a new study.
Life in refugee camps wreaks havoc on children's health
Children's health declines the longer they live in refugee camps.
STEM students learn as well online as in classrooms
Students learned just as much in online STEM college courses as they did in traditional classroom settings, and at a fraction of the cost, according to a first-of-its-kind study.
How effective is quarantine alone or in combination with other public health measures to control coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Today, Cochrane publishes a new Rapid Review looking at quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next gen solar cells perform better when there's a camera around
A literal ''trick of the light'' can detect imperfections in next-gen solar cells, boosting their efficiency to match that of existing silicon-based versions, researchers have found.
Therapy dogs may help lower emergency clinicians' stress
New research published in Academic Emergency Medicine indicates that for physicians and nurses working evening shifts in the emergency department, interacting with a therapy dog for several minutes may help lower stress.
Tracking the atomic pathways by in-situ liquid cell TEM
Using the in-situ liquid cell transmission electron microscopy, the three-stage growth of Pt3Ni-Ni(OH)2 core-shell structures at the gas-liquid interfaces was clearly observed.
Earliest humans in the Amazon created thousands of 'forest islands' as they tamed wild plants
The earliest human inhabitants of the Amazon created thousands of artificial forest islands as they tamed wild plants to grow food, a new study shows.
Revolutionary new method for dating pottery sheds new light on prehistoric past
A team from University of Bristol developed a new method to date archaeological pottery using fat residues remaining in the pot wall from cooking.
'Fake news' increases consumer demands for corporate action
New research finds that 'fake news' inspires consumers to demand corrective action from companies -- even if the company is a victim of the fake news story.
Kids or teen smokers are less likely to kick the habit as adults
The younger you start smoking, the more likely you are to smoke daily as an adult and the less likely you are to have kicked the habit by your 40s, according to an international study that includes the US.
COVID-19 news from Annals of Internal Medicine
In this Ideas and Opinions piece from the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the authors discuss the findings of early studies that addressed the use of chest computed tomography for the detection of COVID-19.
Impulse for research on fungi
For the first time, the cells of fungi can also be analysed using a relatively simple microscopic method.
A rapidly changing Arctic
A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their international colleagues found that freshwater runoff from rivers and continental shelf sediments are bringing significant quantities of carbon and trace elements into parts of the Arctic Ocean via the Transpolar Drift--a major surface current that moves water from Siberia across the North Pole to the North Atlantic Ocean.
Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.
Exploring why males are larger than females among mammals
In most animals, females are larger than males, but in most mammals, males are larger than females.
Lobster digestion of microplastics could further foul the food chain
Tiny fragments of plastic waste are dispersed throughout the environment, including the oceans, where marine organisms can ingest them.
KIST develops foldable and washable luminescent film
Infrared radiation, which is invisible yet highly utilizable, is used in various fields and for various purposes, such as for coronavirus detection (i.e. through thermal imaging cameras and biosensors).
New prognostic tool helps leukemia patients plan for cancer treatment
A new prognostic tool predicts how long someone diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) will be able to wait before starting cancer treatment.
First mobile app for caregivers of children with FASD reaches trial stage
In the summer of 2017, a group of University of Rochester researchers teamed up to create the first mobile phone app for caregivers of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
Building a bean that resists leafhoppers
Promising new pinto bean released with increased leafhopper resistance.
Exploring mechanisms of resistance to HIV in people with sickle cell disease
A new analysis supports prior reports that people with sickle cell disease have lower rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but follow-up cell studies did not reveal a mechanism to explain the reduced risk.
Is autoimmunity on the rise?
A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology provides evidence that the prevalence of autoimmunity -- when the immune system goes awry and attacks the body itself -- has increased in the United States in recent years.
Mindfulness program may benefit patients with irritable bowel syndrome
Adults with irritable bowel syndrome experienced fewer gastrointestinal symptoms after they participated in a mindfulness program meant to reduce stress.
Differences by race/ethnicity in stage at diagnosis, treatment, survival for cancers
Data for 950,000 black, white, Asian and Hispanic patients in the U.S. diagnosed with prostate, ovarian, breast, stomach, pancreatic, lung, liver, esophageal, or colorectal cancers were analyzed to examine differences by race and ethnicity in stage at diagnosis, use of therapy, overall survival and cancer-specific survival.
Drug shows promise in reversing kidney damage caused by lupus
A drug used for cancer therapy has shown promise in reversing kidney damage caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus), according to a Yale-led study published April 8 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
COVID-19 in humanitarian settings and lessons learned from past epidemics
A new paper, ;COVID-19 in Humanitarian Settings and Lessons Learned from Past Epidemics' published in Nature Medicine, invokes a global response to protect the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mutation reduces energy waste in plants
In a way, plants are energy wasters: in order to protect themselves from excessive electron transport, they continuously quench light energy and don't use it for photosynthesis and biomass production.
World's largest map of protein connections holds clues to health and disease
A large international team has produced the largest map of interactions between gene-encoded protein molecules.
A bad egg does good for its mother
There is plenty of scientific evidence that the health of a mother can impact the health of her child.
Climate change could cause sudden biodiversity losses worldwide
A warming global climate could cause sudden, potentially catastrophic losses of biodiversity in regions across the globe throughout the 21st century, finds a new UCL-led study published in Nature.
Advance in understanding actin sheds light on cell function
A tiny chemical modification on one of the most abundant and important proteins in cells, actin, has long been somewhat mysterious, its function not fully understood, but scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have now taken a big step towards clearing up the mystery.
X-ray vision through the water window
Physicists at ETH Zurich have developed the first high-repetition-rate laser source that produces coherent soft x-rays spanning the entire 'water window'.

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