Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 13, 2020
Seeing the light: Astronomers find new way novae light up the sky
An international team of researchers, in a paper published today in Nature Astronomy, highlights a new way novae light up the sky: this is shocks from explosions that create the novae that cause most of the their brightness.

Deadliest malaria strain protects itself from the immune system
The parasite causing the most severe form of human malaria uses proteins to make red blood cells sticky, making it harder for the immune system to destroy it and leading to potentially fatal blood clots.

Tech not hurting social skills of 'kids these days'
Despite the time spent with smartphones and social media, young people today are just as socially skilled as those from the previous generation, a new study suggests.

'I saw you were online': How online status indicators shape our behavior
After surveying smartphone users, UW researchers found that many people misunderstand online status indicators but still carefully shape their behavior to control how they are displayed to others.

When fathers are pregnant
Reproduction is still one of the greatest mysteries in nature.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, next steps, and the role of small business
The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.

Could inhibiting the DPP4 enzyme help treat coronavirus?
Researchers and clinicians are scrambling to find ways to combat COVID-19, including new therapeutics and eventually a vaccine.

Scientists discover supernova that outshines all others
A supernova at least twice as bright and energetic, and likely much more massive than any yet recorded has been identified by an international team of astronomers, led by the University of Birmingham.

Future aerosol emission reductions will worsen atmospheric diffusion conditions in eastern China
The climate effects induced by aerosol reduction plays a leading role in the anticyclone change in eastern China.

Illuminating the future of renewable energy
A new chemical compound created by researchers at West Virginia University is lighting the way for renewable energy.

NIH BRAIN Initiative tool helps researchers watch neural activity in 3D
Our ability to study networks within the nervous system has been limited by the tools available to observe large volumes of cells at once.

Discovery of a drug to rescue winter depression-like behavior
A group of animal biologists and chemists at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (WPI-ITbM), Nagoya University, has used a chemical genomics approach to explore the underlying mechanism of winter depression-like behavior and identified a drug that rescues winter depression-like behavior in medaka fish.

Fertility preservation use among transgender adolescents
Transgender adolescents often seek hormonal intervention to achieve a body consistent with their gender identity and those interventions affect reproductive function.

Making big data processing more energy efficient using magnetic circuits
New research finds that magnetic wires, spaced a certain way, can lead to a 20-30x reduction in the amount of energy needed to run neural network training algorithms.

Untangling untidy folds to understand diseases
Copper ions could play a key role when peptide folding goes wrong and leads to harmful aggregates.

NASA missions help reveal power of shock waves in nova explosion
Unparalleled observations of a nova outburst in 2018 by a trio of satellites, including two NASA missions, have captured the first direct evidence that shock waves powered most of the explosion's visible light.

Mathematical modeling draws more accurate picture of coronavirus cases
Mathematical modeling can take what information is reported about the coronavirus, including the clearly underreported numbers of cases, factor in knowns like the density and age distribution of the population in an area, and compute a more realistic picture of the virus' infection rate, numbers that will enable better prevention and preparation, modelers say.

Offshore oil and gas platforms release more methane than previously estimated
Offshore energy-producing platforms in US waters of the Gulf of Mexico are emitting twice as much methane, a greenhouse gas, than previously thought, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

Exercise restores youthful properties to muscle stem cells of old mice in Stanford study
A nightly jaunt on the exercise wheel enhances muscle-repair capabilities in old mice, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford School of Medicine.

Graphene heterostructures with black phosphorus, arsenic enable new infrared detectors
MIPT scientists and their colleagues from Japan and the U.S.

Plant diversity in European forests is declining
In Europe's temperate forests, less common plant species are being replaced by more widespread species.

Molecular & isotopic evidence of milk, meat & plants in prehistoric food systems
A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, with colleagues from the University of Florida, provide the first evidence for diet and subsistence practices of ancient East African pastoralists.

Seeing the light: MSU research finds new way novae light up the sky
An international team of astronomers from 40 institutes across 17 countries found that shocks cause most the brightness in novae.

The building blocks of gum disease
Research focusing on the bacteria responsible for gum disease has revealed the unique assembly mechanism of its pili -- adhesive filaments used for attachment.

Fruit may mask taste of dark green vegetables in commercial baby foods
Commercially prepared baby foods that purport to be loaded with dark green vegetables are sweetened with fruit puree and often don't contain a high percentage of dark green vegetable content, according to a team of researchers.

Chinese scientists determine structure of COVID-19 main protease and identify inhibitors
A team of Chinese scientists has reported the high-resolution crystal structure of the main protease (Mpro) of the COVID-19 virus and has identified drugs that may hold promise in combating the virus.

Cybersecurity, tech infrastructure requires international trust
In new research published in the Journal Technology and Culture, Rebecca Slayton, professor of science and technology studies at Cornell University, uses the field of incident response to shed light on how experts -- and nations -- can more effectively combat cyberwarfare when they foster trust and transcend politics.

Future Army vehicles could see an improvement in structural materials
Materials used for a Soldier's personal protection gear may be tough enough for vehicles too, according to a new Army study.

Tumors hijack the cell death pathway to live
Cancer cells avoid an immune system attack after radiation by commandeering a cell signaling pathway that helps dying cells avoid triggering an immune response, a new study led by UTSW scientists suggests.

Potential risks for children following opioid-related overdose death of a parent
Researchers examined changes in the use of mental health and human services among children in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, following the unexpected death of a parent because of an opioid-related overdose between 2002 and 2017.

A study at zoos shows that 42% of the animals were infected with the 'Toxoplasma gondii'
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease existing around the world that affects a large number of species, including humans.

Super-charging drug development for COVID-19
Researchers are using cell-free manufacturing to ramp up production of valinomycin, a promising drug that has proven effective in obliterating SARS-CoV in cellular cultures.

Heavy iron isotopes leaking from Earth's core
Earth's molten core may be leaking iron, according to researchers who analyzed how iron behaves inside our planet.

Study finds rise in between-workplace inequalities in the US, high-income countries
A new analysis of earnings inequalities by an international team of 27 researchers has found that the between-workplace share of wage inequality is growing in 12 of 14 high-income countries studied, and that the countries vary a great deal in their levels and trends in overall earnings inequality.

UCI-led team designs carbon nanostructure stronger than diamonds
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions have closed-cell plate-nanolattices that are stronger than diamonds in terms of a ratio of strength to density.

Hospitalizations down once power plants retired coal or installed better emission controls
After four Louisville, Kentucky, coal-fired power plants either retired coal as their energy source or installed stricter emissions controls, local residents' asthma symptoms and asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits dropped dramatically, according to research published in Nature Energy this week by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Propeller Health, and partners.

Origin of the first known interstellar object 'Oumuamua
What is the origin of the famous interstellar object 'Oumuamua?

Foxglove plants produce heart medicine; can science do it better?
Wang's research investigates how foxgloves create medicinal compounds, with an eye toward improving the process.

Loss of smell and taste validated as COVID-19 symptoms in patients with high recovery rate
Researchers at UC San Diego Health publish the first empirical findings that strongly associate sensory loss and COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

New model finds countries should work together to control coronavirus, harmful species
Countries looking to contain the spread of harmful species and diseases like COVID-19 should work together in multiple hotspots, according to a new model developed by an Arizona State University researcher.

Why do so many pregnancies and in vitro fertilization attempts fail?
Scientists have created a mathematical model that can help explain why so many pregnancies and in vitro fertilization attempts fail.

Novel metrics suggests electronic consultations are appropriate, useful alternative to face-to-face medical appointments
Using novel metrics, researchers found that 70% of electronic consultations, or e-consults, were appropriate based on their proposed criteria and 81% were associated with avoided face-to-face visits.

Risk of suicide, homicide, unintentional firearm deaths at home
Personal protection is often cited as a reason for owning a firearm.

Cell membrane proteins imaged in 3D
A team of scientists including researchers at the National Synchrotron Light Source II have demonstrated a new technique for imaging proteins in 3D with nanoscale resolution.

New findings shed light on selective therapeutics for IDH1-mutated glioma
Findings of a new study led by Prof. XU Guowang from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Prof.

Large-scale analysis links glucose metabolism proteins to Alzheimer's disease biology
In the largest study to date of proteins related to Alzheimer's disease, a team of researchers has identified disease-specific proteins and biological processes that could be developed into both new treatment targets and fluid biomarkers.

CUNY SPH weekly COVID-19 survey update week 5
The latest CUNY coronavirus tracking survey found that a majority of (77%) of New Yorkers who typically attend holiday services found alternative ways to practice their faith during Easter and Passover week.

Precipitation will be essential for plants to counteract global warming
A new Columbia Engineering study shows that increased water stress--higher frequency of drought due to higher temperatures, is going to constrain the phenological cycle: in effect, by shutting down photosynthesis, it will generate a lower carbon uptake at the end of the season, thus contributing to increased global warming.

Medicare coverage varies for transgender hormone therapies
A new study has shown substantial variability in access to guideline-recommended hormone therapies for older transgender individuals insured through Medicare.

People with type 2 diabetes and heart disease may benefit from newer therapies
Coronary artery disease among people with type 2 diabetes may need to be treated more aggressively than in people with coronary artery disease who do not have diabetes.

UofL researchers describe possible mechanism for link between obesity and breast cancer
It is widely accepted that higher levels of body fat increase the risk of developing breast cancer, as well as other cancers.

COVID-19: Australian research offers hope as world struggles with ventilator shortage
A world-first breakthrough by Australian researchers in ventilator splitting could help hospitals under severe stress as the number of critical COVID-19 cases continues to rise.

Toxic cell atlas guides new therapies for neurodegeneration
Researchers at Gladstone Institutes have identified a comprehensive molecular profile or 'atlas' of the toxic immune cells that damage the brain.

Is birth by cesarean associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes in adulthood?
Risks for obesity and type 2 diabetes in adulthood were compared among 33,000 women born by cesarean or vaginal delivery between 1946 and 1964 in this observation study that included participants in the Nurses' Health Study II.

Discovered a small protein that synchronizes the circadian clocks in shoots and roots
In a seminal article published in Cell in 2015, researchers from the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) described that the growing tip of the plant shoot is able to synchronize the daily rhythms of the cells in distal organs.

Diagnostics, meet CRISPR
A new diagnostic test to quickly and easily monitor kidney transplant patients for infection and rejection relies on a simple urine sample and a powerful partner: the gene-editing technology CRISPR.

Study finds remdesivir effective against a key enzyme of coronavirus that causes COVID-19
Scientists at the University of Alberta have shown that the drug remdesivir is highly effective in stopping the replication mechanism of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to new research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Research provides new insights into menopause and weight gain
Can women in menopause get the benefits of hormone replacement therapy without the health risks?

Tailoring treatment for triple-negative breast cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer is a particularly aggressive form of the disease with no specific treatment.

New handle for controlling electromagnetic properties could enable spintronic computing
Materials scientists at Duke University have shown the first clear example that a material's transition into a magnet can control instabilities in its crystalline structure that cause it to change from a conductor to an insulator.

Australian study: Many home blood pressure monitors not validated for accuracy
Most home blood pressure monitoring devices sold in Australia by global e-commerce sites such as Amazon and eBay have not been validated (tested for accuracy).

Ocular scientists advise contact lens & spectacles wearers during COVID-19 pandemic
A new peer-reviewed paper from five prominent ocular scientists will help eye care practitioners instruct and reassure contact lens wearers during the global COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic.

Milk allergy guidelines may cause overdiagnosis in babies and children
Current medical guidelines for diagnosing cow's milk allergy in babies and young children may be linked to overdiagnosis of the condition.

Breaking the size and speed limit of modulators: The workhorses of the internet
Researchers developed and demonstrated for the first time a silicon-based electro-optical modulator that is smaller, as fast as and more efficient than state-of-the-art technologies.

Scientists discover bent-toed gecko species in Cambodia
A new species of bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus phnomchiensis) has been described from Cambodia's Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary by Wild Earth Allies Biologist Thy Neang in collaboration with North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Herpetologist Bryan Stuart.

Inhibition of sphingolipid metabolism and neurodegenerative diseases
Disrupting the production of a class of lipids known as sphingolipids in neurons improved symptoms of neurodegeneration and increased survival in a mouse model.

Tight spaces tip presence of petrochemicals
Rice University engineers put to rest a long-held theory about the use of nuclear magnetic resonance to detect oil and gas deposits in the nanoscale pores of shale formations.

Vulnerable cells armor themselves against infection by depleting surface cholesterol
Cells in some of the body's most vulnerable entry routes to bacterial infection buffer themselves when the immune system detects danger by reorganizing the cholesterol on their surfaces, a new study led by UTSW scientists suggests.

Association of blood pressure levels with racial differences in cognitive decline risk
This observational study pooled data from five study groups to examine whether  cumulative blood pressure levels might explain racial differences in risk for cognitive decline later in life.

Spider venom key to pain relief without side-effects
Molecules in tarantula venom could be used as an alternative to opioid pain killers for people seeking chronic pain relief.

Exploring the link between education and climate change
What are the most effective ways to achieve desired sustainable development outcomes across all aspects of wellbeing, and how might the pursuit of some of these goals affect progress toward others?

Gene variant staves off Alzheimer's in some people, Stanford scientists find
People with a gene variant that puts them at high risk for Alzheimer's disease are protected from its debilitating effects if they also carry a variant of a completely different gene, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators report in a large new study.

Livestock and poultry farming should be the future focus of agricultural ammonia emissions control
Livestock and poultry farming is the largest contributor to agricultural ammonia emissions and should be the future focus of agricultural ammonia emissions control.

Structural protein may be new marker of depression
Scientists have zeroed in on a structural protein as a new target for the diagnosis and treatment of depression, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

New formation theory explains the mysterious interstellar object 'Oumuamua
Since its discovery in 2017, an air of mystery has surrounded the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system, an elongated, cigar-shaped body named 'Oumuamua.

New method created by Skoltech scientists will make doping tests quicker
Skoltech scientists and their colleagues proposed a way to simplify the search for traces of medicines, narcotic substances and sports doping drugs in human biological samples by performing two additional tests with the search domain reduced tenfold.

Plants control microbiome diversity inside leaves to promote health
In a new study, published in the journal Nature, Michigan State University scientists show how plant genes select which microbes get to live inside their leaves in order to stay healthy.
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